Former top NSA official says – “We are now in a police state”

Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees…

Last year, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said…We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.

But today, Binney told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has already become a police state.

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.

This is a bigger deal than you may realize, as legal experts say that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all … and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it.

The NSA also ships Americans’ most confidential, sensitive information to foreign countries like Israel…the UK and other countries … so they can “unmask” the information and give it back to the NSA … or use it for their own purposes…

RTFA for details – including instructional slides on how this info is shifted between countries to mask the source. And at the end – there are further links to other related posts. Read ’em and weep!

Understand that our government is not only spying on everything we do – they lie to us about what they are doing and what they do with that information.

Thanks to Barry Ritholtz

Senator Mark Udall demands hidden CIA report on torture

A member of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday disclosed the existence of a secret Central Intelligence Agency document that committee members believe supports their conclusions in a study highly critical of “waterboarding” and other harsh counterterrorism practices.

Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, demanded the document – a CIA study of the interrogation techniques – at a confirmation hearing for Caroline Krass, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the CIA’s general counsel.

Udall said he would not support Krass’ nomination until the previously undisclosed document was provided, raising the possibility that he might use a “hold” to stop the nomination.

The intelligence panel’s disagreement with the CIA over its 6,300-page report and the need for cooperation with Congress were a major focus of Tuesday’s hearing, which also covered the nomination of Daniel Smith to be assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research.

The dispute over the report – and revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden about sweeping electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency – have sparked debate over whether congressional oversight of U.S. spy agencies is effective enough.

The Senate panel approved a draft of its report a year ago. But the CIA disputes many of its findings and has not met lawmakers’ requests that parts of it be made public, leaving some senators frustrated at what they see as a lack of cooperation.

So much for Congressional oversight of agencies supposedly representing the interests of the American people. I know that sounds corny and old-fashioned to people who accepted torture as a “normal” part of the Bush/Cheney government. The less fascist-minded quest to justify most of the same illegal pursuits by the Obama/Biden administration is no less disgusting.

We are held as a nation in contempt of standards long recognized by treaties around the world on what is and isn’t admissible in war and intelligence-gathering. History recognizes nations that deliberately violate those standards as outlaw states, unworthy of trust.

It is especially pleasing – if not unique – to witness a member of our elected Congress with the backbone and integrity to stand up to the White House and their flunkies in the CIA. Kudos to Mark Udall.

Message from the past illustrates glacier’s melting

message-in-a-bottle
Click to enlargeI’ve digitally enhanced the image a wee bit

Canadian researchers said a message in a bottle revealed a rock cairn located 333 feet from a glacier was only 3.9 feet away in 1959.

Warwick Vincent, who led a team of scientists studying at Laval University’s remote research station in Ward Hunt Island, one of the most northerly pieces of Canadian land, said the team discovered a message in a bottle placed on a cairn of rocks that appeared to have been built by humans, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

“It was really quite extraordinary to be holding that piece of paper in my hands,” Vincent was quoted as saying.

The note was written by U.S. geologist Paul T. Walker and dated July 10, 1959. It asked whoever discovered the message to measure the distance between a nearby cairn and a glacier, a distance of only 3.9 feet when the letter was written.

The distance between the cairn and glacier has since grown to 333 feet, the researchers said.

Walker died at the age of 27 only a few months after writing the note…

Vincent said he and his team added another note to the bottle in the hopes of hearing from future visitors.

You have to presume Walker was concerned about the glacier melting, retreating. If it had continued normal glaciation and expansion, the cairn wouldn’t be visible today.

Foresight in a society that still doesn’t value science or the predictive nature of scientific analysis.