'cookieChoices = {};'

The Right of the People to be Secure in their Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects,
Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures,
Shall Not Be Violated


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Obama: We’re Still Going To Collect All The Data, Just May Have Someone Other Than NSA Store It

From Weasel Zippers: 

He doesn’t intend to actually pay attention to the Constitution and stop collecting the massive amounts of data. He suggested that someone other than the NSA could store it, to “prevent abuse”.
So the answer to unconstitutionally taking our info is to let MORE people have access to it? The Orwellian nature of this President makes my head spin.
Actually this is a pretty clever way to ATTEMPT to do an end run around the Fourth Amendment.

But I don't think it will work. Read what the Fourth Amendment has to say:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Now,  the first Amendment says, "congress shall make no law" impeding free speech, etc.

But the Fourth Amendment does not talk about Government. It just flat out says, the people have "the right" to be secure in themselves and their stuff.

That's it.

That Right shall not be violated. It does not stipulate that that right shall not be violated by Congress or the Government, but that it shall not be violated, PERIOD. That's it. Not by anyone.

We have the right to security in ourselves and our stuff.

In a time when our intellectual property is online, then our "persons, houses, papers, and effects" include our intellectual property.

In other words, the Fourth Amendment is a guarantee of our absolute sovereignty as individuals over ourselves and everything that issues from our minds and hearts. We have an absolute right to privacy.

And, the government can not do an end run around that by "Privatizing" the invasion of our privacy. Because our right is absolute. This is not just a right that we have with regard to government invasion of our privacy. We have an absolute right as individuals.

Done. No one can violate that right without violating the Constitution.

We really need to begin pushing back on our Rights. Too often we are accepting the argument that the Constitution merely protects us against the violation of these rights by the Government. No, the Constitution says these rights are the Rights of free men, everywhere. The people are the government. Corporations, Academic Institutions, and Media Companies have no more right to violate these rights than does the government.

Here are some questions to ponder:

Do corporations - or other institutions of society - have the right to set standards of speech and expression for you when you are off-duty, when this right is guaranteed by the First Amendment?

Do corporations have the right to know about your private life, when it's protected under the Fourth Amendment?

Do corporations have the right to prohibit your exercise of your Second Amendment Rights?

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments

New Jersey Muslim Scales Fence & Climbs into Pipe at Water Treatment Plant

From Associated Press:
A township man who lives a stone’s throw from the United Water treatment plant got himself lodged headfirst into a vertical 20-inch outflow pipe for at least four hours.
But rescue officials and neighbors are still scratching their heads as to why 26-year-old Asef Mohammad jumped the chain-link and barbed-wire fence surrounding the Wilson Avenue water plant, climbed into a water holding tank, then the water pipe.
“There is no reason for anyone whatsoever to climb into a pipe,” said Rich Henning, a spokesman for United Water. “It is a facility that pumps water, pumps it out of the ground. This is certainly the first time we have ever seen anything like this.
In May 2013 seven foreigners from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore were arrested for trespassing at the Quabbin Reservoir.

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

Thirteen House Democrats have proposed legislation that would require the government to study hate speech on the Internet, mobile phones and television and radio.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and 12 other House Democrats, would look at how those media are used to “advocate and encourage violent acts and the commission of crimes of hate.”
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

Russian Special Forces Reportedly Kill Top Chechen Jihadist Leader Doku Umarov

A few months ago, he threatened to murder people at the Olympics.

This month, Putin has him killed.

GOOD! That's the way leadership SHOULD work:
MOSCOW — A Chechen rebel warlord who has plagued the region for decades and most recently threatened to attack the Sochi Olympics is dead, Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed strongman said Thursday, but he offered no proof and his claim couldn’t be verified. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on his Instagram that Doku Umarov, who urged his fighters to strike the Games, had died — a claim he has made repeatedly in the past. 
The information about Umarov’s death came from intercepted communications between other rebel leaders who were discussing his replacement, he said, but he didn’t make clear when the conversation took place or how it was heard. T 
his time, however, multiple messages on Chechen jihadist web forums – including an audio recording from top Islamic sharia judge Abu Mohammed Ali Daghestani, who is affiliated with Umarov’s movement, confirmed his death. 
Messages posted on Chechen militant blog sites suggested he was killed in an operation by Russian special forces, but none gave a time or specific place for the alleged killing.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

1 + 1 = TREASON


NSA collects millions of text messages daily; DOJ forbids agents from singling out Muslims in counterterror investigations


Devastating Benghazi timeline: Obama missed intel briefing five days in a row before jihad attack, went to campaign rally right after it


Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 2 Comments

Friday, January 17, 2014

Robert Randolph and the Family Band
North Sea Jazz Festival 1981

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link# 0 Comments

CNS News:

NSA Official: 'We Are Now a Police State'

Last year, high-ranking NSA official Bill Binney said, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” Now, Binney says that the U.S. has already become a full-blown police state.

Binney told Washington’s Blog on Wednesday that:

“The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].”

NSA slide
NSA slide

“These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.”

“So, they have to do a ‘Parallel Construction’ and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a ‘planned programed perjury policy’ directed by US law enforcement.”

“And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’”

“This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.”

Binney, a 32-year veteran of the agency, was instrumental in the creation of the NSA’s surveillance program for digital information. He also served as the NSA’s senior technical director.

As a result, he’s been sought after by a multitude of media outlets, like CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, and PBS.

Concerning the collection of data by federal agencies mentioned by Binney, Washington’s Blog added that:

“By way of background, the government is spying on  virtually everything we do.”

All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.”


Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link# 1 Comments

Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s Office Slams CAIR: “We Will Not Take Seriously Criticism From An Organization With Documented Ties To A Terrorist Organization Such As Hamas”

Read CAIR Tweet
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper hasn’t even started packing for his first visit to the Middle East, but the trip already has its first controversy.
A Canadian Muslim group wants Harper’s officials to boot a Toronto rabbi out of the official delegation that will travel with the prime minister.
In a letter sent to Harper on Tuesday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims said it objected to the presence of Toronto Rabbi Daniel Korobkin as part of Harper’s official delegation.
Korobkin declined to comment, but Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s director of communications, slammed the NCCM — formerly known as the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR-CAN — for even making the suggestion.
“We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas,” MacDonald said.
“The delegation accompanying the prime minister to the Middle East includes a range of stakeholders from various business, religious and community organizations.”
Korobkin is the senior rabbi at Beth Avraham Yoseph Congregation, the largest Orthodox congregation in Canada, and is a former regional vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America.
The NCCM rejected MacDonald’s statement as “absolutely false” and says it is neither associated with any terrorist group nor is it anti-Semitic.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 2 Comments

Salon: "I Fell In Love With a Rebpublican" - Liberal Woman Tells The Story of What Happens When She Falls in Love With a Conservative Man

The Author With Her Husband

From Salon:

There’s no other way to tell you this. I just have to say it: I fell in love with a Republican.
Believe me, it gets worse.
I don’t mean he votes Republican, I mean he’s in it up to his eyeballs. The man I love personally called Henry Kissinger to tell him about Richard Nixon’s funeral arrangements. He ran Orrin Hatch’s bid for president and has worked for Rudolph Guiliani and even that poor, dumb bastard Rick Perry. His mother has a framed picture hanging in the house of her arm-in-arm with Robert Dole, autographed with a “Thanks Sharon! Bob.” His father is pastor of an Evangelical church, a man who watches a defective television set built with only one channel. Fox News.
For someone like me, whose earliest memories are of a home with pictures of the pope and JFK hanging side by side on the wall, whose mother was known to say “God is not only Irish but a Democrat,” who comes from a family of self-described “Blue-bellied Yankees,” falling for a West Virginia-bred Republican was like admitting I love Darth Vader.
How could this possibly happen, you ask?
At first it was the usual thing, sex.
No, don’t puke. Get that image of a bellicose, rotund Rush Limbaugh out of your head. Banish thoughts of the pasty Karl Rove and forget entirely that cretin from Missouri who talked about “legitimate rape.”
I first saw a picture of the man I love on an Internet dating site. Why was I there? I’d dated the actor-screenwriter-dancer-musician-producer narcissists on the west side of Los Angeles to disastrous effects for far too long.  If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, then I was determined to get sane. And sane looked to me like trying Match.com. (I know, I know. Don’t look too hard at that last sentence.)
I hadn’t been on there for more than a month when I opened my inbox and saw a wink from a guy named Jimmy. I took one look at the tattooed arms, the flinty, Steve McQueen-like stare, the sardonic twist of his smile, and somehow I knew that he would smell of hickory smoke and Old Spice, and that the scruff of his 5 o’clock shadow would sometimes rub a rash on my pale skin.
I yelled over my shoulder, “Mom, check this one out! I think this guy’s looking for me.”
Mom, out visiting from her retirement in New Mexico, ambled up to assess the candidate on the screen. One eyebrow went up.
“Yum, yum,” came her verdict. Then she added, “But he’s probably a Republican.”

Coming from her that was like saying the man beats his dog when he’s not in prison. During what we termed “the terrible years,” Mom had forsaken most major news outlets for fear of coming across the latest pronouncements from George W. (Bad for her blood pressure, you understand.)
My response was ha-fucking-ha, very funny Mother, why do you always have to find fault with every guy in the world? Or words to that effect.
You know already the joke was on me. Four months later, I found myself seated at a swanky fundraiser for the California Republican Party, deep in the red heart of Orange County. The tattooed bad boy named Jimmy was indeed a Republican. Not merely a Republican, but a well-established campaign manager and political consultant for the GOP.  Relative to my politics, not only had I fallen in love with Darth Vader, I was now dining aboard the Death Star.
After the speech from then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger but before conservative radio talk-show host Dennis Prager took the mic, I slipped outside with Jimmy so I could get a breath of fresh air and stop biting my tongue. He, meanwhile, was jonesing for a cancer stick.
Jimmy had forgotten matches, so he bummed a light from a woman puffing on her Virginia Slim. The two had worked together on campaigns and fell into easy shop talk, but the woman’s eyes narrowed as she began to dish about Schwarzenegger’s chief of staff, who evidently leaned too far left to suit her.
“It’s Maria’s influence,” she hissed. Did I imagine it or had her eyes hardened as she looked at us? “That’s what happens when our Republican men hook up with liberal women.”
Jimmy immediately became very interested in lighting another cigarette. Meanwhile, I smiled, said nothing, and thought, Lady, if you knew we drove here in my hybrid you’d have me burned at the stake.
Today Jimmy’s driving a hybrid, tomorrow he could join a labor union — all because of this writer chick he’s dating. When will it end?
This would not be the last time Jimmy and I would find ourselves in the minefield where love and politics meet. What surprised me was that mostly it was not the intolerant, sanctimonious Republicans but my love-the-world, yoga-practicing, gluten-free progressive best friends who were apoplectic over my new romance. “A Republican? Are you that desperate? Don’t you know what they’re doing to our country?” (Funny, they were never as worried about the heroin addicts or that one guy who’d seen the inside of Folsom.)
Some friends of mine even disinvited us to a dinner party when they found out what Jimmy did for a living. Too bad. Not only because they made an awesome artichoke risotto, but because they missed talking to him. They missed his encyclopedic knowledge of American history, his fervent love of wilderness and of the American park system, his wry sense of humor, his love of great books, his punk-rockabilly past as a professional musician, his arrest record. They missed joining with me to tell him that he is socially liberal and fiscally just wrong, and they missed the argument over the fiscal part that always gets my blood going.
Mostly they missed knowing a man who is loyal to the people he loves. He is fierce, and smart, and unique, and particular, a man whose sum total is not represented by any politician or confined within the doctrine of political party. He drives me absolutely crazy at times, and there are things we will never, ever agree on, but being with him always makes me reconsider what I do believe, and why I believe it. It makes me look closer at all people and not assume I know everything about them from their (stupid, dumb-ass) bumper stickers. (OK, so I have to work on that part. Maybe.)
I guess I need to mention here that I married him. We eloped. Could you imagine a wedding reception? Just one mention of Ayn Rand and my mother would have broken a chair over somebody’s head.
But my point is, I realized that in all those years dating maybe I was the real narcissist, looking for someone exactly like me, who would reflect back to me exactly that which I wanted to see, that which I took to be the indisputable correct way of being. Maybe if we all slept with an enemy, or at least took him to dinner, we’d understand more, maybe even find places of agreement. It happens.
Take Jimmy’s dad, the Evangelical pastor, who now happens to be my father-in-law.  He calls me “daughter.”  I love him. We have great arguments. Once, he even saw my point and voted the same way I did. Granted, it was for Kirstie Alley on “Dancing With the Stars,” but, hey, it’s a start.
Excerpted from “True Tales of Lust and Love,” edited by Anna David, copyright Soft Skull Press.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 2 Comments

Muslim militants are crucifying children to terrorize their Christian parents and encourage them to flee Iraq

The Muslims Are Restless

Every time I think Muslims can't get sicker than they are already are, Muslims get sicker than they already are:
Muslim militants are crucifying children to terrorize their Christian parents and encourage them to flee Iraq, yesterday was told a parliamentary committee studying the persecution of religious minorities. 
Since the beginning of the war in 2003, about 12 children, some as young as 10, were abducted and killed, then nailed to makeshift crosses near their homes to terrify and torment their parents. 
The Committee was informed that a child has been snatched, decapitated, burned and left on the doorstep of his mother. 
Filham Isaac, speaking on behalf of the Advocacy Committee Nineveh, told the committee of human rights as the Christian churches in Iraq were bombed, clergy murdered and unveiled women were raped or marked the acid. 
This is part of a systemic campaign - and very effective it is- of the ethnic cleansing of non-Muslims in the region, he said. Chaldean and Assyrian Christians, known as the Assyro-Chaldeans, were once the largest Christian minority in Iraq. They are also the oldest, being the descendants of ancient Mesopotamians who adopted Christianity in the first century. 
The Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syrian Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Eastern Church are among the Christian churches in Iraq. 
Today, about 300,000 Christians, or one out of three, fled, he said. 
"It's a crisis point," said Zaya Oshana later, a colleague of Mr. Isaac. "Christians will be completely destroyed."
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments

Benghazi Timeline

From Breitbart (Click on the image to enlarge it):

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Always On Watch at permanent link# 0 Comments

"we could get along without it”

Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, talking about US military Aid to Israel.
Israel and the United States have been quietly discussing the prospect of ending military assistance to the Jewish state.
Diplomatic sources said Israel and the United States have broached options of reducing defense aid to the Jewish state. At bilateral meetings, they said, participants from both countries agreed that Israel no longer needed formal U.S. military assistance.Arens, who was defense minister three times in the 1980s and 1990s, has long advocated Israel’s military independence. He told a parliament caucus on U.S.-Israel relations that Jerusalem could no longer rely on the current $3.2 billion in annual aid as the United States underwent the worst financial crisis since 1929.
“The United States is going through a financial crisis with debts in the trillions of dollars,” Arens said. “We would be unhappy to find that aid is being cut, but we could survive without it.”
U.S. military aid represents only a tiny fraction of Israel’s gross development product and 1.5 percent of the overall state budget. 
This came out the same week as a story about Israeli cooling devices (things that can make heat seeking missiles more accurate, for instance) ending up in CHINA.
This came out the same week as a story about Iran telling the world there is a (secret?) side deal in the nuke agreement which allows them R&D on much more powerful and efficient and faster UF6 centrifuges.
This came out the same week as a story about Iran telling the world they can walk away from the nuke agreement and be refining past 20% U-235 IN 24 HOURS.
This came out the same week as a story about Kerry being a messianic freak over impossible peace talks with Palestinians who still refuse to either give up right of return or recognize Israel as Jewish homeland, and the hope as quoted by the current defense minister that Kerry win the real goal, the Nobel Peace Prize, and leave them alone.
This came out the same week as a story about a senior Iranian commander saying Teheran has formulated a strategy meant to surround Israel with hostile states
Does anyone BELIEVE in coincidence?
What will the next story be about?
Rafael Electronics in the Chinese (Israeli) J-10?
Or is that the Israeli Lavi ?
Where are we headed? 
Never mind Obama and his admin’s view that ISRAEL IS THE PROBLEM, does Barak Obama believe Iran is a candidate to be a strategic partner to the USA (i.e. the GREAT SATAN) because in our eyes they will behave like Metternich, Talleyrand, or Disraeli?
Has ANY plan in the foreign domain worked out for Barack Obama?
Naive? Hates America? Hates Americans? Believes we should not lead anything? Thinks equality of nations and peoples trumps individual achievement and is playing that out?
Bookmark and Share
posted by Epaminondas at permanent link# 0 Comments

UNESCO cancels a pro-Israel event

This is no surprise, since they did approve of welcoming the PLO to their membership:
Days before it was scheduled to open, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization cancelled an exhibit in Paris entitled, “The People, The Book, the Land: The 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.”

The exhibit, created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada, and Montenegro. SWC worked closely with UNESCO on the exhibit since 2011, when UNESCO accepted Palestine as a member state, the first UN body to do so.
They made a serious mistake working with the UN.
The Wiesenthal Center is slated to hold a press conference on Monday to discuss the cancellation.

Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, said that the excuse to shelve the event was “mean and stupid,” according to Israel Radio.

In an interview with Algemeiner, SWC Dean Marvin Hier called the moved an “absolute outrage.”

“The Arabs don’t want the world to know that the Jews have a 3,500-year relationship to the Land of Israel.”
More of Rabbi Marvin Hier's response is here:
Failure to open the exhibit as planned, warned the dean of the Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier, would “confirm to the world that UNESCO is the official address of the Arab narrative in the Middle East.” [...]

“Let’s be clear,” Hier wrote in his letter to Bokova, “the Arab Group’s protest is not over any particular content in the exhibition, but rather the very idea of it – that the Jewish people did not come to the Holy Land only after the Nazi Holocaust, but trace their historical and cultural roots in that land for three-anda- half millennia. If anything will derail hopes for peace and reconciliation among the people of the Middle East, it will be by surrendering to the forces of extremism and torpedoing the opening of this exhibition – jointly vetted and co-organized by UNESCO and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.”
This is just another reason why Israel should not be part of the UN. It may not matter so much, since the SWC should be trying to arrange an exhibition with local political/educational outfits, and not with such a corrupt, repellent world body.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Avi Green at permanent link# 0 Comments

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

The UnChecked, UnAccountable, UnConstitutional NSA hard at work

The Guardian:

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep

• NSA extracts location, contacts and financial transactions
• 'Dishfire' program sweeps up 'pretty much everything it can'
• GCHQ using database to search metadata from UK numbers
 • Dishfire presentation on text message collection – key extracts   

Texting on BlackBerry mobile phone

The NSA has made extensive use of its text message database to extract information on people under no suspicion of illegal activity. Photograph: Dave Thompson/PA

The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.

The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of “untargeted and unwarranted” communications belonging to people in the UK.

The NSA program, codenamed Dishfire, collects “pretty much everything it can”, according to GCHQ documents, rather than merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets.

The NSA has made extensive use of its vast text message database to extract information on people’s travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more – including of individuals under no suspicion of illegal activity.

An agency presentation from 2011 – subtitled “SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit” – reveals the program collected an average of 194 million text messages a day in April of that year. In addition to storing the messages themselves, a further program known as “Prefer” conducted automated analysis on the untargeted communications.

An NSA presentation from 2011 on the agency's Dishfire program to collect millions of text messages daily. Photograph: Guardian
The Prefer program uses automated text messages such as missed call alerts or texts sent with international roaming charges to extract information, which the agency describes as “content-derived metadata”, and explains that “such gems are not in current metadata stores and would enhance current analytics”.

On average, each day the NSA was able to extract:

• More than 5 million missed-call alerts, for use in contact-chaining analysis (working
out someone’s social network from who they contact and when)

• Details of 1.6 million border crossings a day, from network roaming alerts

• More than 110,000 names, from electronic business cards, which also included the ability to extract and save images.

• Over 800,000 financial transactions, either through text-to-text payments or linking credit cards to phone users

The agency was also able to extract geolocation data from more than 76,000 text messages a day, including from “requests by people for route info” and “setting up meetings”. Other travel information was obtained from itinerary texts sent by travel companies, even including cancellations and delays to travel plans.

A slide on the Dishfire program describes the 'analytic gems' of collected metadata. Photograph: Guardian
Communications from US phone numbers, the documents suggest, were removed (or “minimized”) from the database – but those of other countries, including the UK, were retained.
The revelation the NSA is collecting and extracting personal information from hundreds of millions of global text messages a day is likely to intensify international pressure on US president Barack Obama, who on Friday is set to give his response to the report of his NSA review panel.

While US attention has focused on whether the NSA’s controversial phone metadata program will be discontinued, the panel also suggested US spy agencies should pay more consideration to the privacy rights of foreigners, and reconsider spying efforts against allied heads of state and diplomats.

In a statement to the Guardian, a spokeswoman for the NSA said any implication that the agency’s collection was “arbitrary and unconstrained is false”. The agency’s capabilities were directed only against “valid foreign intelligence targets” and were subject to stringent legal safeguards, she said.

The ways in which the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA Dishfire database also seems likely to raise questions on the scope of its powers.

While GCHQ is not allowed to search through the content of messages without a warrant – though the contents are stored rather than deleted or “minimized” from the database – the agency’s lawyers decided analysts were able to see who UK phone numbers had been texting, and search for them in the database.

The GCHQ memo sets out in clear terms what the agency’s access to Dishfire allows it to do, before handling how UK communications should be treated. The unique property of Dishfire, it states, is how much untargeted or unselected information it stores.

“In contrast to [most] GCHQ equivalents, DISHFIRE contains a large volume of unselected SMS traffic,” it states (emphasis original). “This makes it particularly useful for the development of new targets, since it is possible to examine the content of messages sent months or even years before the target was known to be of interest.”

It later explains in plain terms how useful this capability can be. Comparing Dishfire favourably to a GCHQ counterpart which only collects against phone numbers that have specifically been targeted, it states “Dishfire collects pretty much everything it can, so you can see SMS from a selector which is not targeted”.

The document also states the database allows for broad, bulk searches of keywords which could result in a high number of hits, rather than just narrow searches against particular phone numbers: “It is also possible to search against the content in bulk (e.g. for a name or home telephone number) if the target’s mobile phone number is not known.”

Analysts are warned to be careful when searching content for terms relating to UK citizens or people currently residing in the UK, as these searches could be successful but would not be legal without a warrant or similar targeting authority.

However, a note from GCHQ’s operational legalities team, dated May 2008, states agents can search Dishfire for “events” data relating to UK numbers – who is contacting who, and when.

“You may run a search of UK numbers in DISHFIRE in order to retrieve only events data,” the note states, before setting out how an analyst can prevent himself seeing the content of messages when he searches – by toggling a single setting on the search tool.
Once this is done, the document continues, “this will now enable you to run a search without displaying the content of the SMS, especially useful for untargeted and unwarranted UK numbers.”

A separate document gives a sense of how large-scale each Dishfire search can be, asking analysts to restrain their searches to no more than 1,800 phone numbers at a time.

An NSA slide on the 'Prefer' program reveals the program collected an average of 194 million text messages a day in April 2011. Photograph: Guardian
The note warns analysts they must be careful to make sure they use the form’s toggle before searching, as otherwise the database will return the content of the UK messages – which would, without a warrant, cause the analyst to “unlawfully be seeing the content of the SMS”.
The note also adds that the NSA automatically removes all “US-related SMS” from the database, so it is not available for searching.

A GCHQ spokesman refused to comment on any particular matters, but said all its intelligence activities were in compliance with UK law and oversight.

But Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile phone companies with operations in 25 countries including Britain, greeted the latest revelations with shock.

“It’s the first we’ve heard about it and naturally we’re shocked and surprised,” the group’s privacy officer and head of legal for privacy, security and content standards told Channel 4 News.

“What you’re describing sounds concerning to us because the regime that we are required to comply with is very clear and we will only disclose information to governments where we are legally compelled to do so, won’t go beyond the law and comply with due process.

“But what you’re describing is something that sounds as if that’s been circumvented. And for us as a business this is anathema because our whole business is founded on protecting privacy as a fundamental imperative.”

He said the company would be challenging the UK government over this. “From our perspective, the law is there to protect our customers and it doesn’t sound as if that is what is necessarily happening.”

The NSA’s access to, and storage of, the content of communications of UK citizens may also be contentious in the light of earlier Guardian revelations that the agency was drafting policies to facilitate spying on the citizens of its allies, including the UK and Australia, which would – if enacted – enable the agency to search its databases for UK citizens without informing GCHQ or UK politicians.

The documents seen by the Guardian were from an internal Wikipedia-style guide to the NSA program provided for GCHQ analysts, and noted the Dishfire program was “operational” at the time the site was accessed, in 2012.

The documents do not, however, state whether any rules were subsequently changed, or give estimates of how many UK text messages are collected or stored in the Dishfire system, or from where they are being intercepted.

In the statement, the NSA spokeswoman said: “As we have previously stated, the implication that NSA's collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false.

“NSA's activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements.

“Dishfire is a system that processes and stores lawfully collected SMS data. Because some SMS data of US persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA’s lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for US persons exist across the entire process concerning the use, handling, retention, and dissemination of SMS data in Dishfire.

“In addition, NSA actively works to remove extraneous data, to include that of innocent foreign citizens, as early as possible in the process.”

The agency draws a distinction between the bulk collection of communications and the use of that data to monitor or find specific targets.

A spokesman for GCHQ refused to respond to any specific queries regarding Dishfire, but said the agency complied with UK law and regulators.

“It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters,” he said. “Furthermore, all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.”

GCHQ also directed the Guardian towards a statement made to the House of Commons in June 2013 by foreign secretary William Hague, in response to revelations of the agency’s use of the Prism program.

“Any data obtained by us from the US involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards, including the relevant sections of the Intelligence Services Act, the Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act,” Hague told MPs.


Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link# 1 Comments

Older Posts Newer Posts