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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

Excerpts of Rumsfeld Testimony (
Topic: Miscellaneous 5:42 pm EDT, Oct 29, 2013

We're functioning in a - with peacetime restraints, with legal requirements in a wartime situation, in the information age, where people are running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs and then passing them off, against the law, to the media, to our surprise, when they had not even arrived in the Pentagon.

Abu Ghraib

Excerpts of Rumsfeld Testimony (

Topic: Miscellaneous 11:06 pm EDT, Oct 28, 2013

Ed Felton's clear evisceration of the government's claims about the necessity of the NSA meta-data program is an example of the reason I like the judicial process - it enables a discussion of issues in a forum where there isn't as much room for bullshit as there is in the legislature.


Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall: Anna Funder
Topic: Miscellaneous 4:47 pm EDT, Oct 28, 2013

After a recent visit to Berlin, I picked up a copy of Stasiland by Anna Funder as a way of understanding the places I had just visited, and because understanding the Stasi may be a guide to thinking about the possible scenarios that could unfold over time as a result of domestic telecommunications surveillance in the United States. Funder travels through East Germany and interviews people who were part of the Stasi or who were victims of the GDR regime.

There were a few key themes that emerge from the book that are worth considering.

Partisans are dangerous. One of the people Funder interviews is the a former propagandist for the GDR regime, who still clung to his views about communism after the fall of the wall. His rationalizations were immediately familiar to me. I see them every day in Facebook memes and political oped pieces in newspapers.

The partisan starts with his conclusion, and weaves together a narrative by emphasizing facts that support the desired conclusion and ignoring or minimizing facts that complicate it. The worst part about partisans is that they are rarely self-aware of the abuse they are doing to the truth in weaving those narratives. They have a total emotional commitment to the conclusion they want to reach and they see the facts as just supporting structures that reenforce their position.

Its very easy for a person like this to see opposing points of view as epitomizing evil - literally a threat to everything that is good and decent. This is what happened in the GDR. Communist partisans were put in power by the Russians. They truly believed a warped version of reality - that people with other points of view were dangerous and evil. Those points of view were not suppressed directly - the GDR had multiple political parties and elections - they were subverted covertly. Networks of powerful people worked together to create bad consequences for those who stepped out of line or who held the wrong views. People were denied career opportunities or were more likely to find themselves in prison if they weren't of the right mind.

Some of this happens in America today. Partisans who own businesses hire likeminded employees. Various voter suppression efforts are engaged in - pamphlets giving the wrong election day are distributed in neighborhoods with particular political persuasions, the allocation of voting machines to different communities and the drawing of electoral districts biases results in favor of particular interests.

One difference is that in the GDR the state security establishment was responsible for pursuing this domestically through the use of surveillance and lots of funding was provided in order to enable it. In America we have many different kinds of partisans and control of the government is mixed between them and shifts back and forth. This prevents a significant effort by one faction to use the security apparatus of the state of maintain their power. However, it... [ Read More (0.4k in body) ]

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall: Anna Funder

Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress | Alan Grayson | Comment is free |
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:29 pm EDT, Oct 26, 2013

Members of Congress do not trust that the House Intelligence Committee is providing the necessary oversight.

I've requested classified information, and further meetings with NSA officials. The House Intelligence Committee has refused to provide either. Supporters of the NSA's vast ubiquitous domestic spying operation assure the public that members of Congress can be briefed on these activities whenever they want. Senator Saxby Chambliss says all a member of Congress needs to do is ask for information, and he'll get it. Well I did ask, and the House Intelligence Committee said "no", repeatedly. And virtually every other member not on the Intelligence Committee gets the same treatment.

Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress | Alan Grayson | Comment is free |

Nine Inch Nails - Disappointed (HD) - YouTube
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:00 pm EDT, Oct 26, 2013


Nine Inch Nails - Disappointed (HD) - YouTube

The Lawfare Podcast : Episode #43: A Debate on NSA Surveillance
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:56 am EDT, Oct 22, 2013

Benjamin Wittes, Steven Vladeck, and Orin Kerr debate NSA surveillance and the Snowden leaks at an event hosted by the George Washington University chapter of the Federalist Society.

This podcast is essential listening if you're interested in the legality of the NSA meta-data program. More comments to follow...

The Lawfare Podcast : Episode #43: A Debate on NSA Surveillance

Why Money Is the Root of All That’s Wrong With Washington - The Daily Beast
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:10 pm EDT, Oct 21, 2013


For remember, there was only one clear victor in this latest governance collapse: the war chests of the radicals who brought this government to its knees. We lost $24 billion. They raised millions.


Why Money Is the Root of All That’s Wrong With Washington - The Daily Beast

N.S.A. Plan to Log Calls Is Renewed by Court -
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:06 pm EDT, Oct 19, 2013

In the six-page opinion, which was signed on Oct. 11, Judge Mary A. McLaughlin said she was personally approving for the first time the extension of the call log metadata program, which must be approved every 90 days.

Mary McLaughlin's decision briefly addresses both the definition of "relevance" and whether the program violates the Fourth Amendment, but she doesn't address the First Amendment, Freedom of Association concerns.

N.S.A. Plan to Log Calls Is Renewed by Court -

Dick Cheney feared assassination by cardio device hack, had docs turn defibrillator's wireless off - Boing Boing
Topic: Miscellaneous 6:37 pm EDT, Oct 19, 2013

Former vice president Dick Cheney asked his doctors to disable the wireless feature of his implanted heart defibrillator device because he feared that terrorists might try to assassinate him by hacking the device.

Dick Cheney feared assassination by cardio device hack, had docs turn defibrillator's wireless off - Boing Boing

Visual Investigations of Botnet Command and Control Behavior
Topic: Miscellaneous 8:47 am EDT, Oct 15, 2013

The data available from Lancope’s malware research suggests that 85% to 95% of malware samples use TCP port 80 to communicate with their command and control servers. The alternate ports chosen by the remaining samples are worth investigating to determine if there are patterns of port selection behavior that can be useful for detection. In order to learn more about that subject we took a look at the command and control behaviors of a collection of nearly two million unique botnet malware samples that were active between 2010 and 2012. These samples reached out to nearly 150,000 different command and control servers on over 100,000 different TCP and UDP ports. This data set is complex and heterogeneous, and thus it is difficult to analyze. However, when the data is represented visually, patterns emerge that lead to interesting insights.

Visual Investigations of Botnet Command and Control Behavior

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