“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, June 21, 2013

NSA Whistleblower, Thomas Drake, says NSA Chief is lying in testimony to Congress


SEN. RAND PAUL : "Well, frankly, they told us four months ago they weren't collecting any data on American citizens, which was an outright lie.  So I think theyre at a bit of a credibility gap at this point.

the other question I have - and Ive listened to them both in public and in private hearings, I haven't heard of a single case that couldn't have been captured or investigated with a traditional judicial warrant and looking at the phone calls of a suspect.

To my knowledge - and I'm a bit at a disadvantage, because they have all the secret knowledge and I don't have it - but to my knowledge, none of the people captured or prevented were traced from random numbers.  They were traced from a suspect.  So you have a suspect who makes phone calls.  Im all for looking at a suspect's phone calls with a judge's warrant and then the next person, you look at their phone calls.

My understanding is they like looking at all Americans' phone records because they think it's easier and faster.  That’s what I heard from them, easier and faster, but not that they couldn't have done this with a regular traditional judicial warrant."

(Reuters) - An Icelandic businessman linked to WikiLeaks said he has readied a private plane to take Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programs, to Iceland if the government grants him asylum.
"We have made everything ready at our end now we only have to wait for confirmation from the (Icelandic) Interior Ministry," Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson told Reuters. He is a former director of DataCell, a company which processed payments for WikiLeaks.
"A private jet is in place in China and we could fly Snowden over tomorrow if we get positive reaction from the Interior Ministry. We need to get confirmation of asylum and that he will not be extradited to the U.S. We would most want him to get a citizenship as well," Sigurvinsson said.
Neither a WikiLeaks spokesman nor the Icelandic government were immediately available for comment.
Snowden, a former employee of contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked in an NSA facility in Hawaii, made world headlines this month after providing details of the programs to the Guardian and Washington Post and fleeing to Hong Kong.
Earlier this week, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden to seek asylum in Iceland.
The Icelandic government, which has declined to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson.
Birgitta Jonsdottir, a lawmaker for the Pirate Party in Iceland which campaigns for Internet freedom, said the only way for Snowden to travel to the Nordic country would be to have Icelandic citizenship.
Snowden has mentioned Iceland as a possible refuge.
Iceland has a reputation for promoting Internet freedoms, but Snowden has said he did not travel there immediately from the United States because he feared the country of 320,000 could be pressured by Washington.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sex offences, visited Iceland several times in the run-up to some of the website's major releases. Assange denies any wrongdoing.
WikiLeaks and DataCell won a ruling this year in Iceland's Supreme Court against MasterCard's local partner.
The court upheld a lower court's ruling that the payment card company had illegally ended its contract with the website. WikiLeaks funding had been squeezed without the ability to accept card payments.


Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst who in 2005 blew the whistle on what he alleged was massive unconstitutional domestic spying across multiple agencies, claimed Wednesday that the NSA had ordered wiretaps on phones connected to then-Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004.


  1. Tip of the iceberg.

    What lovely terminology.

  2. Snowden charged with espionage for NSA leaks

    Snowden charged with espionage for NSA leaks

  3. Evidence gathered in Syria, along with flight-control data and interviews with militia members, smugglers, rebels, analysts and officials in several countries, offers a profile of a complex and active multinational effort, financed largely by Qatar, to transport arms from Libya to Syria’s opposition fighters. Libya’s own former fighters, who sympathize with Syria’s rebels, have been eager collaborators.

    “It is just the enthusiasm of the Libyan people helping the Syrians,” said Fawzi Bukatef, the former leader of an alliance of Libyan brigades who was recently named ambassador to Uganda, in an interview in Tripoli.

    As the United States and its Western allies move toward providing lethal aid to Syrian rebels, these secretive transfers give insight into an unregistered arms pipeline that is difficult to monitor or control. And while the system appears to succeed in moving arms across multiple borders and to select rebel groups, once inside Syria the flow branches out. Extremist fighters, some of them aligned with Al Qaeda, have the money to buy the newly arrived stock, and many rebels are willing to sell.

  4. ... on Friday the Golden State reached a turning point: Helped by a recovering housing market, its jobless rate plunged to 8.6% in May, down from 9% in April and the lowest level in nearly five years. The improved economy has cut the number of unemployed Californians to 1.5 million from a peak of 2.3 million in 2010.

    Economists said the latest batch of government data showed the state is creating jobs faster than the labor force is growing, a sign of true strengthening in the labor market. Some previous dips in the unemployment rate were the result of discouraged job seekers dropping out of the workforce.

    "California is making a big comeback," said Esmael Adibi, a Chapman University economist. "That's why you see such a sharp drop in the unemployment rate."

    The state's employers added 10,800 employees to their payrolls in May, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department.

  5. You are repeating yourself.

    You are repeating yourself.

    This is the first sign of serious brain damage.

    You are also repeating death threats.

    I have noticed it before. Twice, even three times

    Take warning.

    See a shrink now.

    Medication works.


  6. No, boobie, it is to allow you an opportunity for greater understanding.
    You never get it right the first time.

    Why did you not report the rape of your daughter to the police?

    Why did you allow the rapist to get away?

    Why did you put the women of your community at risk?

    Why did you not even try to make your neighborhood safe, for the women?

  7. Civic responsibility, boobie, it is the mark of adulthood.

    You are such a child, is it senility, or have you always been an irresponsible citizen?

    One that does not care for the safety of your community or the women that reside there?

  8. Bob,

    The Rat can only function by insult and lies.

    It's his world.

    Try discussing the NSA, Fly Fishing, Casino's buffets and dont even try to hold a discussion with him.

    If you feel the urge? Ridicule is aways fine, but to try to explain ANYTHING to him is futile.

    A waste of time.

    1. Bob...

      here he is again:
      desert ratFri Jun 21, 11:32:00 PM EDT
      Civic responsibility, boobie, it is the mark of adulthood.
      You are such a child, is it senility, or have you always been an irresponsible citizen?
      One that does not care for the safety of your community or the women that reside there?

      SO let's question HIS civic responsibility....

      Dear Mr Rat, When you were getting information from your "informant" at the AZ FBI, who you said was checking me out for "national security issues" was it your civic duty to tell us all on this open blog about your illegal activities?

  9. .

    Britain's GCHQ one of the big players in the Five Eyes nexus.

    British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal


    1. All but a very few of our politicians are highly paid liars. That’s a top down proposition which finally clarifies the real schism between us and them. Why have we let this get so far along?

  10. .

    Four days before a sweeping government surveillance law was set to expire last year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the chamber’s Intelligence Committee, took to the Senate floor. She touted the law’s value by listing some of the terrorist attacks it had helped thwart, including “a plot to bomb a downtown Chicago bar” that fall.

    “So I believe the FISA Amendments Act is important,” the California Democrat said before a vote to extend the 2008 law, “and these cases show the program has worked.”

    Today, however, the government is refusing to say whether that law was used to develop evidence to charge Adel Daoud, a 19-year-old Chicago man accused of the bomb plot.

    And Daoud’s lawyers said in a motion filed Friday that the reason is simple. The government, they said, wants to avoid a constitutional challenge to the law, which governs a National Security Agency surveillance program that has once again become the focus of national debate over its reach into Americans’ private communications.

    “Whenever it is good for the government to brag about its success, it speaks loudly and publicly,” lawyers Thomas Durkin and Joshua Herman wrote in their motion. “When a criminal defendant’s constitutional rights are at stake, however, it quickly and unequivocally clams up under the guise of State Secrets...”


  11. .

    The FISC is supposed to operate as a check. But it is a secret court, notorious for its low rate of denial. From 1979 to 2002, it did not reject a single application. Over the past five years, out of nearly 8,600 applications, only two have been denied.

    Congress has an opportunity to create more effective checks on executive power. It could withdraw Sections 215 and 702 and introduce new measures to regulate intelligence collection and analysis. There are many options.

    James Madison put it best: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”


  12. Did the NSA Prism program keep us safe at the Boston Marathon bombing?

    You have greater chance of being struck by lightening on your way to your car when you go to work than you do of being killed by a terrorist.

    And for that, you are willing to give up being a free people and spend a over a trillion dollars a year on a secret police spy apparatus?

    What manner of madness is this?

  13. What I want to know is where is OJ Simpson when I need him? Fucking impossible to get ahold of Hertz in Germany. This is no way to run a mega-culture.

    But am getting some help from an old girlfriend, The Concierge of America out of Vegas.

    Now aren't you jealous.
    (that is no her)

  14. It just pisses me off.

    After forty million dead and a holocaust and you can't rent a Hertz car in Germany -- what is this world coming to?


  15. The real one would knock your shoes off. You would not know what hit you. She handled Frank after she left me at the Desert Inn. You are just a Philly schoolboy. A young child.


  16. This was when Q worked the Golden Nugget. When they had the single zeros on the roulettes. When Hamdoon used to sit to the east. Back in the better days before you were born, puppy.


  17. E85 in Michigan for $2.55

    Michigan Prices

    $0.07/mile in a new Ford Focus.

    1. .

      Once again you prove your inability to deal with statistics. You continually weaken your arguments by skewing the data. Ridiculous to anyone who actually looks at what you are saying.

      The very top of your chart shows the averages in Michigan

      Average E85 Price: $3.15

      Average Gas Price: $3.84

      Average Spread: 18.2%

      Sounds great except

      MPG. FFVs operating on E85 usually experience a 25–30% drop in miles per gallon due to ethanol’s lower energy content.2

      (From,, the official U.S. source for fuel economy information.)

      Also from the same source

      Cost [of ethanol]. Cost varies regionally. It is cheaper than gasoline in some areas, such as the Midwest, and more expensive in others.

      Michigan usually has some of the most expensive gas prices in the U.S. This month we had 'the' most expensive. The prices went through the roof on June 1st, the day the government 'mandates' that the oil companies switch over to the summer blends which always kicks up the price, This year, we also had refinery problems over and above the usual shutdowns for maintenance.


    2. .

      To get to Dundee, MI which is where the $2.55 was listed it is about 90 miles for me and about 1 1/2 hour drive to get a spread of 28% which is about what the government tells me I would lose in fuel economy (in addition to the fuel I would waste just getting there and back, 180 miles, 3 hours, roundtrip).

      I've got better things to do.

      And I am assuming Michigan is one of the better case examples for ethanol.


    3. Sounds great except

      MPG. FFVs operating on E85 usually experience a 25–30% drop in miles per gallon due to ethanol’s lower energy content.2

      What is the impact or variance that happens if we take into account the fact that "average gas" contains 10% ethanol?

    4. .

      It means the gas is already at a lower base (feul efficiency-wise) because of the 10% ethanol before you even start the comparison.


    5. It means that one more time you're babbling about something of which you know squat. My Impala gives up about 21% on E85, and the new Ford Focus I referenced only loses about 10% on E85.

    6. .

      I've already shown how you skew the data. Why would we accept anything you say?

      I'll go with what the government says on averages.

      We are talking about the US not some guy in Mississippi.


  18. .

    It means that one more time you're babbling about something of which you know squat.


    You are hilarious.

    Everything I posted was either from the U.S. government link I put up or from the link you put up yourself. (Oh, except for the actual example, using the data you posted, to point out what it would cost, in time and money, for me to use the E85 you posted about here in Michigan.)

    Rufus, our self proclaimed expert, when really all you do is take whatever you are fed out of CleanTechnica, the good along with the bullshit, and reprocess it here. On numerous occasions, you have proved you don't know shit about about the many factors that drive fuel prices in different regions of the country or the U.S. as a whole.

    You'll pardon me if I take your criticism of my knowledge on the subject with a sardonic smile.

    By skewing the data as you often do you merely make yourself look foolish.


  19. All this talk means not a damn but to fall totally in love with a swarthy intelligent Hindu woman means a damn.


  20. The ethics of PRISM can be put in terms of lying, as evinced by Robert Clapper, Director of Intelligence at the NSA, before Congress. Kant’s critique of lying can shed light on whether Clapper should have lied. If he should not have, what are the implications for the republic from the compromised democratic accountability? See "The NSA Goes to Congress: Kant on Lying as Unethical"