Tag Archives: US Government

No! No! Bad SOPA! Bad PIPA! No! No!

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I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/45811/uncensor

I am SO ███████ ████ ██████ who don’t ████ ██████████ how the ████████ █████ ████ the █████ to ███████, and, ██████, █████, a █████-████ ██████ ████ has ██████ the █████ and ██████ █████████ ███████. The Big $ has ██████ our ██████████; our so-██████ ███████████████ are too ██████ and too ██████ to ████ ████ ████ ██████ ████ are █████ to the ███████ ██████ in the US and ██████ the █████.█████ all the █████████ who are ████ █████████████ ██████ for ████ ████ – do ████████ you ████ to do, █████ of ████████, to ████ ███████ █████ █████████ are ██████ out of ██████ and ████████ by ███████████, ████████, ██████ █████ ██████!!

Uncensor This

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Is the Password to Grandma’s Basement “123456” or “password”?

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I enjoyed the article about Gnosis hacking the Gawker website & revealing how apathetic users are about using passwords. There are so many sites requiring a password to “become part of the community”, that it’s quite easy to get password burnout. But “123456”? Really? I understand the temptation. Many times in the last 20 years, I’ve found myself staring at those annoying red letters that announce my failure to join the correct user name with the correct password. I now have a fairly simple, but secure method to generate a unique PW for each individual site, which allows me to remember them easily. No more scribbling pws on yellow stickys – something my 80-year-old father still does “just in case”. He has a healthy disrespect for technology, despite spending 5 hours a day on-line.

In an attempt to further simplify my life & connect with the on-line community, I try to keep the same user name & avatar (now a gravatar…). That way, all the same people who comment on the NYTimes, NPR & BBC sites can recognize me in the Comedy Central forums too! The problem comes when someone else has sneakily acquired it first, & I have to modify it.  I’ve also had issues when the sign-in is an email address that’s not my primary email.

Usually, I’m OK, as long as my browser picks up the pw correctly. Not all sites let me save info in my browser, nor do I want all of it in my browser! I get around this by keeping bits & parts of this info in various files on my system. None of this is any help, however, if I’m attempting a log-on from a remote site!!

Earlier this year, I password protected the administrator ID on my son’s netbook,  using a combination of letters, numbers & symbols – in what I thought was a fairly simple phrase – in order to keep it safe from teenage hacking fingers.  Now, despite the “hint” I set up, I can’t for the life of me remember them! I’ve even tried doing an algorhythm matrix to test all the probable combinations I might have used… Massive fail. Now I can’t access the security OR maintainance features… or upload new, protective firefox add-ons. What I get for being so clever, I suppose – defeated by my own cunning!!

(UPDATE!! 1/2011. My cleverness returned with the new year, I realized there must be a back door in XP Home for all the other idiots who’ve done the same thing… Found it! Also finally pressed the right button at the right time, to get into SAFE mode. It’s one of those computers with a proprietary start-up; it doesn’t have that old fashion black screen. I, once more, have the “Mommy hacker of the House” crown…)

I also use numerous add-ons which allow me to browse fairly anonymously. My next step is to set up a rotating proxy, which is about as far as I am willing to go – there’s just not that much I have to hide & so much time I can devote to dealing with privacy & security features.

Meanwhile, we continue to be bombarded by the convoluted saga of stolen, leaked government documents, Julian Assange’s trumped-up Swedish charges, bail or no bail, Anonymous attacking “anti-wikileaks” sites, etc….

So who needs to spend time on privacy & security features??? Repeat after me – “The US Government”! A very low ranking soldier (what is he, a private?) is accused of up-loading bunches of supposedly sensitive documents from Afghanistan to wikileaks. He’s probably not the same guy responsible for the latest 250,000; there are probably quite a few leaks in that dam. Here’s one of the big problems – these documents were in a place that’s security is roughly equivalent to boxes in my Grandmother’s basement. She wouldn’t let just anyone in the front door, but there were at least 3 half windows downstairs. Like anyone was going to want diplomatic cables, right?

Now, it turns out that most of them are really, really just trash. The “what are you doing Tuesday night? Let’s have dinner” sort of trash. Why do you think only a few have been released? How long will it take to sift through a quarter million potential junk mails, in order to find something actually interesting? As an scientific information specialist in one of my former lives, I spent LOTS of times sorting through confidential corporate documents, most of which were exactly the same sort of trash. Much sympathy I have for the wikileaks sorters!

Why is so much trash considered “confidential”, “classified”, “secret” or “top secret”? And if it’s so important, why is it in Grandma’s basement? Here’s my theory: It’s been shown that government correspondence suffers from “over-classification”;  those red stamps are so pretty! Government officials are notorious for thinking anything they do is much more important than it actually is. So, the ones in charge of security know most of it was completely drivel, and, as such, didn’t think it was worth extra-special security. By this, I mean “security that a high school graduate can’t hack”…the equivalent of using a password more secure than “123456” or “password”. Unfortunately, that also means worthless paper is mixed with documents that truely might be important (or embarrassing…)!

Even though Grandma would never let a stranger through her door, she invited several of these sweet young leakers in. After all, they were her grandchildren’s friends. Some of them may have even been her grandchildren… She wasn’t aware of it, but she really did need help cleaning out the basement!!!

Thank you, Mr. Assange & wikileaks.

Hydras Happen: When Do Governments become Terrorists?

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A Hydra…

Cut off its head – how many more will grow back?

(Bold/underlines by me; red is obviously my biased, snarky commentary. I altered photographs & art to suit my purposes. )

Today, JA turned himself in to the British authorities. They’re holding him without bail, which is only a bit bizarre, since he turned himself in… He’s fighting extradition, so, I believe (gotta check this fact) that the British judge has to look at the evidence to see if there are actually any grounds.   That’ll b e a fun one – the charges now are something like… “the condom broke” and “I was half asleep”…

Can we all sayWitch! Witch!“? Now, who were we talking about???

Even before today’s less-than-momentous events (Just ’cause JA is in the brigg doesn’t mean WL stops!!), the forces have been massing (or is that “the masses have been forcing???). I’ll get back to the Hydras in a bit. First, I need to let this out….

Why is there a huge amount of hysteria around the release of information that is already public???? From NYTimes article of 12/7/2010:

British Court Denies Bail to Assange…

“Perhaps in a warning shot of sorts, WikiLeaks on Monday released a cable from early last year listing sites around the world — from hydroelectric dams in Canada to vaccine factories in Denmark — that are considered crucial to American national security.

Nearly all the facilities listed in the document, including undersea cables, oil pipelines and power plants, could be identified by Internet searches. !!!!!But the disclosure prompted headlines in Europe and a new denunciation from the State Department, which said in a statement that “releasing such information amounts to giving a targeting list to groups like Al Qaeda.” (How dumb do you think they are???)

Asked later about the cable, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the continuing disclosures posed “real concerns, and even potential damage to our friends and partners around the world.””… (How dumb do we think she is?)

Justice Department prosecutors have been struggling to find a way to indict Mr. Assange since July, when WikiLeaks made public documents on the war in Afghanistan. But while it is clearly illegal for a government official with a security clearance to give a classified document to WikiLeaks, it is far from clear that it is illegal for the organization to make it public. (especially when they aren’t American, anyway – you have NOOOOO jurisdiction!!!)

As to the burning question, When Do Governments become Terrorists?... On Sunday’s Meet the Press

GOP Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said of Assange:  ”I think the man is a high-tech terrorist. He’s done an enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if that becomes a problem, we need to change the law.” As usual, when wielded by American authorities, the term “terrorist” means nothing more than: “those who impede or defy the will of the U.S. Government with any degree of efficacy.”  Anyone who does that is, by definition, a Terrorist.  And note McConnell’s typical, highly representative view that if someone he wants to punish isn’t a criminal under the law, then you just “change the law” to make him one. (in this case, the bold was added by GLENN GREENWALD, color by me)

Umm, let me see – no law for someone to break. Hate that someone. Make up new law, so can say “he break!!. I don’t want to sound like, gasp!, Glenn Beck, but, OMG!!

Hitler Did This.

Will ou r government actually cross this line? I’m peeking through my fingers; I don’t want to look. It’s like one of those awful movies where you see someone standing with their back to a cliff, slowly walking backwards… Cliff! Cliff! Look Out!!!

The Atlantic:

Wikileaks is a powerful new way for reporters and human rights advocates to leverage global information technology systems to break the heavy veil of government and corporate secrecy that is slowly suffocating the American press. The likely arrest of Assange… has nothing to do with the importance of the system he has built, and which the US government seems intent on destroying with tactics more appropriate to the Communist Party of China — pressuring Amazon to throw the site off their servers, and, one imagines by launching the powerful DDOS attacks that threatened to stop visitors from reading the pilfered cables.

(OMG! NOOoooo! It’s not even a slippery slope, it’s a CLIFF!!!…)

 

Now that I’ve given myself a headache, back to Hydras!

Wikileaks isn’t the only group with all the info:

Again, today’s NYTimes:

So far, the group has moved cautiously. The whole archive was made available to five news organizations, including The New York Times. But WikiLeaks has posted only a few dozen cables on its own in addition to matching those made public by the news publications. According to the State Department’s count, 1,325 cables, or fewer than 1 percent of the total, have been made public by all parties to date.

In recent months, WikiLeaks gave the entire collection of cables to four European publications — Der Spiegel in Germany, El País in Spain, Le Monde in France and The Guardian. The Guardian shared the cable collection with The New York Times.

First 5 heads – the allegedly free press...

Since Nov. 28, each publication has been publishing a series of articles about revelations in the cables, accompanied online by the texts of some of the documents. The publications have removed the names of some confidential sources of American diplomats, and WikiLeaks has generally posted the cables with the same redactions.

From WIRED:

A truly free press — one unfettered by concerns of nationalism — is apparently a terrifying problem for elected governments and tyrannies alike… The greatest threat we face right now from Wikileaks is not the information it has spilled and may spill in the future, but the reactionary response to it that’s building in the United States that promises to repudiate the rule of law and our free speech traditions, if left unchecked.

Scary Scary Free Press!!! Where’s “Deep Throat” when we need him? Oh, that’s right – he’s already said he supports WL.

Then there are the members of the “great unwashed masses” – that’s everyone who’s not a diplomat or the press…. Examples:

Quote from yesterday’s NYTimes about the backlash:

“an orchestrated effort [by an Internet group, Anonymous] was under way to attack companies that have refused to support WikiLeaks and to post multiple copies of the leaked material. The Anonymous manifesto singled out PayPal, which cut off ties with WikiLeaks for “a violation” of its policy on promoting illegal activities, a company statement said. “The reason is amazingly simple,” Mr. Housh said of the campaign. “We all believe that information should be free, and the Internet should be free.”…

By late Sunday, there were at least 208 WikiLeaks mirror sites up and running. “Cut us down,” said a message on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed on Sunday, “and the stronger we become.””

PC World:

WikiLeaks has asked the Web community to open mirror sites so it cannot be downed or censored and said Monday that 355 new sites are already up.

McCarthy? Watergate? Hypocrisy? Stupid threats that are going to get a LOT of people in trouble, eventually? You decide….

HuffPo (with Wired & NYTimes):

Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects, a State Department official warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs this week. The State Department said they never told anyone to say this. Well, yeah. It was one of their guys just sayin’ (the obvious).

Here’s the email:

From: Office of Career Services
Date: Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM
Subject: Wikileaks – Advice from an alum
To: “Office of Career Services (OCS)”

Hi students,

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

Regards,
Office of Career Services

To their credit:  On Monday, John H. Coatsworth, the SIPA Dean, reversed the university’s earlier position, affirming that students “have a right to discuss and debate any information in the public arena…without fear of adverse consequences.”

I think they are afraid of even more heads from this Hydra.  They should be.

We’ve come full circle. Our government using threats, international pressure & lies (what do you call someone who terrorizes???). A press wavering in its tracks,   unable to decide whether to stand up for democracy or cringe like a cowering dog. Hydras, brave people popping up all around the world, dedicated to restoring sanity & spreading

the truth that information is freedom.  (Isn’t that what the West keeps trying to tell all those dissidents

in “repressive” countries?) All followed by more massive hypocrisy from previously mentioned Western government. I don’t like playing this game, but Who’s the Terrorist?

NNNOOOOoooooo!!  I told you IT WAS A CLIFF!!!!!