NSA Uses Trick to Spy On Americans

The government is spying on most Americans through our computers, phones, cars, buses, streetlights, at airports and on the street, via mobile scanners and drones, through our credit cards and smart meters, televisions, dolls, and in many other ways.

This week, ZDNet reported that the NSA uses a trick to get around the few flimsy American laws on spying … they shuttle internet traffic overseas so they can pretend they’re monitoring foreign communications:

A new analysis of documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden details a highly classified technique that allows the National Security Agency to “deliberately divert” US internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans.

 

According to the new analysis, the NSA has clandestine means of “diverting portions of the river of internet traffic that travels on global communications cables,” which allows it to bypass protections put into place by Congress to prevent domestic surveillance on Americans.

 

***

 

One leaked top secret document from 2007 details a technique that allows the intelligence agency to exploit the global flow of internet data by tricking internet traffic into traveling through a set and specific route, such as undersea fiber cables that the agency actively monitors.


Leaked NSA document from 2007. (Image: source document)

 

The document’s example noted Yemen, a hotspot for terrorism and extremist activity. It is difficult to monitor because the NSA has almost no way to passively monitor internet traffic from the cables that run in and out of the country. By shaping the traffic, the agency can trick internet data to pass through undersea cables that are located on friendlier territory.

 

Goldberg’s research takes that logic and focuses it on US citizens, whose data and communications is out of bounds for the intelligence agencies without a valid warrant from the surveillance court.

 

The government only has to divert their internet data outside of the US to use the powers of the executive order to legally collect the data as though it was an overseas communication. Two Americans can send an email through Gmail, for example, but because their email is sent through or backed up in a foreign data center, the contents of that message can become “incidentally collected” under the executive order’s surveillance powers.

Thomas Drake – one of the top NSA executives, and Senior Change Leader within the NSA – blew the whistle on this deceptive practice more than a decade ago.

For his troubles, Drake was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and literally framed by the government.

Postscript:  Drake also notes that the government is storing for the long-term just about everything they’re collecting.

But don’t worry … the government would never think of doing anything bad with the information.

“It’ll Be An Avalanche”: Hedge Fund CIO Sets The Day When The Next Crash Begins

While most asset managers have been growing increasingly skeptical and gloomy in recent weeks (despite a few ideological contrarian holdouts), joining the rising chorus of bank analysts including those of Citi, JPM, BofA and Goldman all urging clients to “go to cash”, none have dared to commit the cardinal sin of actually predicting when the next crash will take place.

On Sunday a prominent hedge fund manager, One River Asset Management’s CIO Eric Peters broke with that tradition and dared to “pin a tail on the donkey” of when the next market crash – one which he agrees with us will be driven by a collapse in the global credit impulse – will take place. His prediction: Valentine’s Day 2018.

Here is what Peters believes will happen over the next 8 months, a period which will begin with an increasingly tighter Fed and conclude with a market avalanche:

“The Fed hikes rates to lean against inflation,” said the CIO. “And they’ll reduce the balance sheet to dampen growing financial instability,” he continued. “They’ll signal less about rates and focus on balance sheet reduction in Sep.”

 

Inflation is softening as the gap between the real economy and financial asset prices is widening. “If they break the economy with rate hikes, everyone will blame the Fed.” They can’t afford that political risk.

 

“But no one understands the balance sheet, so if something breaks because they reduce it, they’ll get a free pass.” 

 

“The Fed has convinced itself that forward guidance was far more powerful than QE,” continued the same CIO.

 

“This allows them to argue that reversing QE without reversing forward guidance should be uneventful.” Like watching paint dry. “Balance sheet reduction will start slowly. And proceed for a few months without a noticeable impact,” he said. “The Fed will feel validated.” Like they’ve been right all along.

 

“But when the global credit impulse reverses, it’ll be a cascade, an avalanche. And I pin the tail on that donkey to be Valentine’s Day 2018.”

Of course, the global credit impulse is something that we have been exclusively warning about for the past 4 months

… but “apparently” it wasn’t until Citi’s report last week which explained it’s all that matters:

… that suddenly everyone admits to paying attention. We’ll take it.

Did Europe Surrender To Radical Islam?

Authored by Guy Milliere via The Gatestone Institute,

  • In spite of three attacks in three months, Britain does not seem to be choosing the path of vigilance and determination. June is not even over but the media barely talk about terrorism any more.
  • Then, in the early hours of June 19, a man who acted alone drove a van into a crowd of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London: the main "threat" to the British right now was soon presented in several newspapers as "Islamophobia".
  • Decolonization added the idea that the Europeans had oppressed other peoples and were guilty of crimes they now had to redeem. There was no mention of how, throughout history, recruits to Islam had colonized the great Christian Byzantine Empire, Greece, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East, most of the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hungary, northern Cyprus and Spain.
  • While most jihadist movements were banned by the British government, more discreet organizations have emerged and demurely sent the same message. The Islamic Forum for Europe, for example, depicts itself as "peaceful", but many of those it invites to speak are anything but that. The Islamic Human Rights Commission uses the language of defending human rights to disseminate violent statements against the Jews and the West.

London, June 5, 2017. A minute of silence is held at Potters Field Park, next to the City Hall, to pay tribute to the victims of the London Bridge jihadist attack three days before. Those who came have brought flowers, candles and signs bearing the usual words: "unity", "peace" and "love". Faces are sad but no trace of anger is visible. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, gives a speech emphasizing against all evidence that the killers' ideas have nothing to do with Islam.

A few hours after the attack, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May also refuses to incriminate Islam, but dares to speak of "Islamic extremism". She was immediately accused of "dividing" the country. On election day, June 8, her Conservative party lost the majority in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn, a pro-terrorist, "democratic socialist", who demands the end of British participation in the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), led the Labour party to thirty more seats than it had earlier. In spite of three attacks in three months, Britain does not seem to choose the path of vigilance and determination. June is not even over but the media barely talk about terrorism any more. A devastating fire destroyed a building in North Kensington, killing scores of residents. Mourning the victims seems to have completely erased all memory of those killed in the terrorist attacks.

Then, in the early hours of June 19, a man who acted alone drove a van into a crowd of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London: the main "threat" to the British right now was soon presented in several newspapers as "Islamophobia".

The United Kingdom is not the main Muslim country in Europe, but it is the country where, for decades, Islamists could comfortably call for jihad and murder. Although most jihadist movements were banned by the British government, more discreet organizations have emerged and demurely spread the same message. The Islamic Forum for Europe, for example, depicts itself as "peaceful", but many of those it invites to speak are anything but that. One was Anwar al-Awlaki, who for years planned al-Qaeda operations until he was killed in Yemen in 2011 in an American drone strike. The Islamic Human Rights Commission uses the language of defending human rights to disseminate violent statements against Jews and the West.

The most flamboyant radical preachers have all but disappeared. The most famous among them, Anjem Choudary, was recently sentenced to five years and six months in prison for his open support of the Islamic State, but hundreds of imams throughout the country continue similar work. No-go zones, forbidden to the "infidels", continue to grow in big cities, and sharia courts continue to dispense a form of justice parallel to, but different from, the national one. Khuram Shazad Butt, one of the three London Bridge terrorists, could raise the Islamic State flag in front of cameras, be the main character of a documentary on jihad in Britain and still be considered "low priority" by the police. Salman Abedi, the Manchester killer, travelled to Libya and Syria for training before he decided to act; he could easily cross borders without being stopped.

The most famous of Britain's radical Islamic preachers, Anjem Choudary (pictured holding the microphone), was recently sentenced to five years and six months in prison for his open support of the Islamic State, but hundreds of imams throughout the country continue similar work. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Attempts to sound an alarm are rare, and quickly dismissed. Left-wing British politicians long ago chose to look the other way and indulge in complicity. Conservatives did not do much to help, either: after the uproar sparked by Enoch Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech in 1968, British conservatives avoided the subject and became almost as complacent as their political opponents. In 2002, while portraying Islamism as the "new Bolshevism", Margaret Thatcher noted that "most Muslims deplore" terrorism. She described the "jihadist danger" without saying a single word on radical Muslims spreading Islamism in her own country.

In 2015, David Cameron said, "We need far more Muslim men and women at the head of British companies, more Muslim soldiers at the highest command posts, more Muslims in parliament, Muslims in a position of leadership and authority". He did not mention those who were joining jihad in London even as he was speaking.

When he was at the head of Britain's UKIP party, Nigel Farage said that there is a Muslim "fifth column" in the country. He was ferociously criticized for these words. Paul Weston, chairman of the GB Liberty party, was arrested by the police in 2014 for reading in public a text on Islam written by Winston Churchill. One wonders how Churchill would be regarded today.

Britain — in spite of the Brexit referendum and even though it is more undermined by Islamization than most other European countries — is fully imbued with a European, defeatist state of mind that corrodes its existence and is present throughout Europe.

At the end of World War II, Europe was exhausted and largely destroyed. The idea that prevailed among politicians was that it was necessary to make a clean sweep of the past. Nazism was described as the rotten fruit of nationalism and military power, and the only war that seemed to have to be waged was a war against war itself. Decolonization added the idea that the Europeans had oppressed other peoples and were guilty of crimes they now had to redeem. There was no mention of how, throughout history, recruits to Islam had colonized the great Christian Byzantine Empire, Greece, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East, most of the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hungary, northern Cyprus and Spain. Cultural relativism gained ground. The anti-Western revision of history gradually gained ground in media, culture, politics and education.

Immigrants from the Muslim world arrived in increasing numbers. They were not encouraged to integrate or respect the countries to which they came. In school, their children were told that European powers had misbehaved towards the Muslim world and that Muslim culture was at least as respectable as the Western one, maybe even more

Muslim districts emerged. Radical Islam spread. Whole neighborhoods came under the control of gangs and imams.

When violence erupted and riots took place, European politicians chose to placate them. European populations sometimes tried to resist, but they were constantly told that criticism of immigration and Islam is "racist". They were intimidated, pushed to shut up.

What is happening now in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe is merely a continuation.

European political leaders all know that radical Islam has swept throughout the continent, that hundreds of Muslim areas are under Islamic control, that thousands of potential jihadists are there, hidden among the immigrants and ready to murder, and that the police are overwhelmed.

They know that radical Islam has declared war on the Western world and that it is a real war. They see that they are prisoners of a situation they no longer control and that reversing the course of events would involve drastic actions they are not ready to take, such as closing thousands of mosques, taking back lost territories by force, arresting thousands of suspects, and deporting foreign jihadists.

They are aware that an apparently unstoppable replacement of population is underway in Europe and that there will be more attacks. They speak as if to limit the damage, not prevent it.

European populations also see what is happening. They watch as entire areas of European cities become foreign zones on European soil; they view the attacks, the wounded, the corpses. It seems as if they have simply lost the will to fight. They seem to have chosen preemptive surrender.

British political commentator Douglas Murray writes in his important new book, The Strange Death of Europe: "Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide". He then wonders if the Europeans will agree to go along with what is happening. For the moment, it seems, the answer is yes.

The “World’s Policeman” Retires On Disability

Authored by Wayne Madsen via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Ever since the end of World War II, the United States, rightly or wrongly, but most of the time, wrongly, has fancied itself as the «world’s policeman». Even a disastrous and costly military intervention in Southeast Asia did not deter the United States from acting as the chief arbiter of what governments were «in» and which were «out» as evidenced by Central Intelligence Agency interloping in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Angola, Haiti, and Colombia. Two military interventions in Iraq and a U.S.-led military campaign directed against Yugoslavia were not enough to pry the United States from its self-appointed role as the chief «global cop». In fact, American neoconservatives continued to fanaticize about the United States leading the world into a post-Cold War «new American century».

The United States under Donald Trump now resembles a disabled policeman who was forced to retire on disability after being injured, not in the line of duty, but by engaging in self-destructive piques of bravado. The United States has abandoned internationalism as witnessed by Washington’s withdrawal from the free trade Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris climate agreement. The United Kingdom’s decision to depart the European Union in the Brexit referendum has put the final nail in the coffin of Britain’s status as a minor «superpower».

Until another nation steps forward to claim the title of chief world cop, the world will be subjected, as coined by the New Testament’s Book of Matthew, to «wars and rumors of wars».

Arising from a combination of Donald Trump's tweets and outbursts about subjects ranging from Qatar to Taiwan and NATO to Palestine, old border disputes and diplomatic rivalries are beginning to flare up. The Trump administration also appears to be unwilling to fill a number of vacancies in the State Department, a development that has added to a de facto American hands-off approach to many simmering international disputes.

Trump's siding with the Saudi Arabian-led bloc of Arab and Muslim nations in its confrontation with Qatar has resulted in Trump’s Saudi and other Gulf allies demanding that Qatar close down Al Jazeera and other media operations in Doha that are out of favor with Qatar’s neighbor oligarchic potentates. The Saudi-contrived demands of Qatar’s government, in return for a lifting of Saudi and United Arab Emirates sanctions against Doha, amount to nothing less than total political and economic subjugation of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, which is akin to Saudi Arabia’s de facto colonization of Bahrain. In the past, the United States would have simply ordered the Saud regime to cease and desist in making threats against neighboring countries. Saudi action against Qatar has had wide-ranging effects in the region, which include renewed border tensions between Qatar and Bahrain over some largely uninhabited islands, as well as between Eritrea and Djibouti, on whose border Qatar had provided a peacekeeping force.

In 2001, the International Court of Justice awarded many of the disputed Hawar Islands, which lie closer to Qatar than to Bahrain, to the Bahrainis. As a consolation prize, the world court awarded Janan Island to Qatar. The decision never sat well with Qatar. As the Bahrainis were announcing a mega-development project for the largely-uninhabited Hawar Islands, the pro-Saudi press in the Middle East began writing stories about Qatari intelligence operations directed against Bahrain. Press items included the interest shown by Qatari intelligence in the military deployments and readiness of Bahraini forces stationed in the Hawar Islands.

After Eritrea and Djibouti sided with Saudi Arabia in its diplomatic dispute with Qatar, Qatari peacekeeping troops were withdrawn from the Eritrean-Dijbouti border. The result was Eritrean troops quickly occupying the Doumeira mountain border area, which is claimed by Djibouti. The border dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti began in 2008, when Eritrean troops occupied the Doumeira mountain and dug in. Qatar sent some 450 peacekeepers to patrol the disputed zone in 2010. With their hasty departure, the border has become a renewed flash point in the volatile Horn of Africa.

Although the African Union got involved in the border dispute, the U.S. State Department, once a nexus for geopolitical status quo enthusiasts, remained quiet. It is unusual for the State Department not to comment on such border disputes. Not only does the United States maintain the large U.S. Central Command airbase at Al-Udeid in Qatar, but it also has a major military presence at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

China, the power that is eclipsing the United States in international importance as an arbiter of disputes, is building a military base in Djibouti. It is also establishing a maritime port in Gwadar in Pakistan, from which it can deploy naval forces to the Persian Gulf.

Elsewhere in Africa, a border dispute over Lake Nyasa has erupted after a 50-year dormancy between Malawi and Tanzania. A dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi Peninsula also shows signs of re-erupting. At issue are natural gas deposits under Lake Nyasa and oil in the Bakassi region. Sudan and Egypt are, once again, bickering over control of the Halayeb triangle border region, currently under Egyptian control.

Two NATO allies, Croatia and Slovenia, are awaiting a decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on its decision in a border dispute. Croatia has accused the Slovenians of conspiring with the judges. Croatia also likely distrusts the United States and its Slovenian-born First Lady Melania Trump for possibly influencing the court's decision in favor of Slovenia. Mrs. Trump’s parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, have visited the White House and they are in a perfect position to deliver to President Trump, «personal» messages from the Slovenian government. The court's decision is expected on June 29, 2017.

The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union has re-triggered sovereignty issues between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar and Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands and Dependencies and British Antarctic Territory. Britain also saw a stinging rebuke over its treatment of the Chagos Islanders in its unilaterally-created British Indian Ocean Territory. In the late 1960’s, the people of the Chagos Islands, which include the island of Diego Garcia, were deported from the islands to Mauritius and Seychelles to make way for a U.S. military base on Diego Garcia. In a 94 to 15 vote, the United Nations General Assembly ordered the case of the legal status of the Chagos Islands to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. If the court rules against Britain, the United States will have to make a new long-term lease deal with Mauritius, the original legal administrator of the Chagos Islands, to keep the base at Diego Garcia.

In the UN vote, Britain’s soon-to-be-former European Union allies abstained. The United Kingdom, backed by the Trump administration, saw NATO and EU members France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, and Greece abstain. Canada, a «Five Eyes» intelligence partner of the United States and Britain, also abstained. Voting with the United States and Britain and against Mauritius were a collection of countries that are nothing more than beggars for U.S. and British military aid: Afghanistan, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Israel, Lithuania, Montenegro, and South Korea, in addition to the other Five Eyes spy partners Australia and New Zealand. The Maldives no vote is based on a competing claim for the Chagos Islands by Maldives, which views Diego Garcia and the 64 other islands as the southern part of the Maldives chain. Mauritius claims sole sovereignty over the same islands. The eclipse of U.S. and British dominance in the Indian Ocean sets the stage for several conflicts over islands and sea beds.

The «Trump Effect» of a diminished U.S. role in international affairs is also being felt in South America, where Ecuador has irritated Peru by building a Trump-style border wall on its frontier with its neighbor to the east and south. Peru claims the wall is illegal because it violates a 1998 agreement prohibiting border construction within 33 feet from the border. Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has also prompted Botswana to start construction on an electrified fence along its border with Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's Deputy Home Minister Obedingwa Mguni lashed out at Botswana's decision, telling the Zimbabwe press: «We should not copy the United States of America’s idea of putting a border wall on its border with Mexico when we are actually one people who are related».

There are other long-simmering border disputes and secessionist movements emerging from «cold» status to hot conflicts in Asia, the Arctic, the Pacific region, and the Caribbean. As U.S. State Department dominance fades, in addition to Halayeb, Bakassi, and Chagos, the world will soon see headlines concerning flashpoints having other unfamiliar names – Ladakh, Baltistan, Riau, Otong Java, Rotuma, Chuuk, Pemba, the Rif, Cabinda, and Oduduwa – and those with more familiar names – Biafra, Zanzibar, Scotland, and Catalonia.

The American neo-conservatives predicted the 21st century would be a «New American Century». Instead, it is becoming a «New Chinese Century», with the United States still believing, wrongly, that it is the «leader of the free world» and a «super power». As Mao Zedong once stated, the United States is a «paper tiger». And Mao had another prediction: «The day will come when the paper tigers will be wiped out». That day is now upon us.