Tag Archives | National Security

From North America to Europe, the ‘National Security’ Apparatus Is Being Bought off by Big Oil t

Pic: Quevaal (CC)

Pic: Quevaal (CC)

And here I thought I was a centrist.  Nafeez Ahmed writes at the Guardian:

Over the last year, a mass of shocking evidence has emerged on the close ties between Western government spy agencies and giant energy companies, and their mutual interests in criminalising anti-fracking activists.

Activists tarred with the same brush

In late 2013, official documents obtained under freedom of information showed that Canada’s domestic spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), had ramped up its surveillance of activists opposed to the Northern Gateway pipeline project on ‘national security’ grounds. The CSIS also routinely passed information about such groups to the project’s corporate architect, Calgary-based energy company, Enbridge.

The Northern Gateway is an $8 billion project to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to the British Columbia coast, where it can be shipped to global markets. According to the documents a Canadian federal agency, the National Energy Board, worked with CSIS and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to coordinate with Enbridge, TransCanada, and other energy corporations in gathering intelligence on anti-fracking activists – despite senior police privately admitting they “could not detect a direct or specific criminal threat.”

Now it has emerged that former cabinet minister Chuck Strahl – the man appointed by Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper to head up the CSIS’ civilian oversight panel, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) – has been lobbying for Enbridge since 2011.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

FBI Admits It’s Not Really About Law Enforcement Any More; Ignores Lots Of Crimes To Focus On Creating Fake Terror Plots

Techdirt

Techdirt

Mike Masnick noticed that the declared primary role of the FBI has changed and details his findings at Techdirt:

A couple years ago, it was revealed that the FBI noted in one of its “counterterrorism training manuals” that FBI agents could “bend or suspend the law and impinge upon the freedoms of others,” which seemed kind of odd for a government agency who claimed its “primary function” was “law enforcement.” You’d think that playing by the rules would be kind of important. However, as John Hudson at Foreign Policy has noted, at some point last summer, the FBI quietly changed its fact sheet, so that it no longer says that “law enforcement” is its primary function, replacing it with “national security.”

Of course, I thought we already had a “national security” agency — known as the “National Security Agency.” Of course, while this may seem like a minor change, as the article notes, it is the reality behind the scenes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Canadian Airports Being Wired With Cameras and Microphones To Eavesdrop on Travelers’ Conversations

Reports Ian MacLeod in the Ottawa Citizen:
Airports and border crossings across Canada are being wired with high-definition cameras and microphones that can eavesdrop on travellers’ conversations, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. A CBSA statement said that audio-video monitoring and recording is already in place at unidentified CBSA sites at airports and border points of entry as part of an effort to enhance “border integrity, infrastructure and asset security and health and safety.” As part of the work, the agency is introducing audio-monitoring equipment as well. “It is important to note that even though audio technology is installed, no audio is recorded at this time. It will become functional at a later date,” CBSA spokesman Chris Kealey said in a written statement. But whenever that occurs, the technology, “will record conversations,” the agency said in a separate statement in response to questions from the Ottawa Citizen...
Continue Reading

Amateur Astronomers Track Spy Satellites

USA 193Jim Nash writes in Scientific American:

Earlier this year Iran’s defenseminister put the world on notice: His nation had developed the ability to “easily” watch spacewalking astronauts from the ground. The announcement was largely ignored, in part because it made the minister sound like a James Bond villain. The boast was also a bit anticlimactic, given that even amateur astronomers are already recording in detail what happens in low Earth orbit.

Both the technology involved and the techniques used to observe satellites and even the occasional astronaut perched outside the International Space Station (ISS) are improving, much to the presumed chagrin of governments looking to keep certain on orbital activity confidential.

In a development harkening back to the earliest days of desktop computing, highly skilled stargazers are hacking together optics, electronics and software to create sophisticated observatories of their own. In fact, one French astrophotographer, Emmanuel Rietsch, has begun selling software and hardware that make it possible for backyard astronomers to track and record satellites…

Read More: Scientific American

Read the rest

Continue Reading

U.S. National Reconnaissance Office Launches New Spy Satellite

National Reconnaissance Office“NROL” is the designation for a series of classified satellites operated by the United States National Reconnaissance Office. As Ryan Gallagher reports on Slate:

Last week, a new U.S. spy satellite was launched into orbit as part of a secretive military program enabling the surveillance of Earth from space.

A live webcast showing the Delta IV rocket blast into the sky from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday was blacked out just three minutes after liftoff due to the sensitive nature of the mission, dubbed “NROL-25.”

An official at the Vandenberg base told the Los Angeles Times that the NROL-25 was part of a “national security payload,” which could mean it is to be used for any number of purposes, possibly including domestic surveillance. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that U.S. intelligence agencies, in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, had approved the use of spy satellites for domestic purposes, such as for monitoring border security.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

FBI: “We’re Not Winning” Against Hackers

FBIDevlin Barrett reports in the Wall Street Journal:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's top cyber cop offered a grim appraisal of the nation's efforts to keep computer hackers from plundering corporate data networks: "We're not winning," he said. Shawn Henry, who is preparing to leave the FBI after more than two decades with the bureau, said in an interview that the current public and private approach to fending off hackers is "unsustainable.'' Computer criminals are simply too talented and defensive measures too weak to stop them, he said. His comments weren't directed at specific legislation but came as Congress considers two competing measures designed to buttress the networks for critical U.S. infrastructure, such as electrical-power plants and nuclear reactors. Though few cybersecurity experts disagree on the need for security improvements, business advocates have argued that the new regulations called for in one of the bills aren't likely to better protect computer networks ...
Continue Reading

CFR Report Says U.S. Education Decline Is Jeopardizing Its National Security

CFRVia the Council on Foreign Relations website:

The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role, finds a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)–sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security.

“Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk,” warns the Task Force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state. The country “will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long,” argues the Task Force.

The report notes that while the United States invests more in K-12 public education than many other developed countries, its students are ill prepared to compete with their global peers.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Obama Quietly Rolls Back Miranda Rights

Miranda warningEvan Perez reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

New rules allow investigators to hold domestic-terror suspects longer than others without giving them a Miranda warning, significantly expanding exceptions to the instructions that have governed the handling of criminal suspects for more than four decades.

The move is one of the Obama administration’s most significant revisions to rules governing the investigation of terror suspects in the U.S. And it potentially opens a new political tussle over national security policy, as the administration marks another step back from pre-election criticism of unorthodox counterterror methods.

Once again, the threat of terrorism has given the executive branch carte blanche to roll back rights. Miranda rights, which required law officers to make you aware of your “right to remain silent”, were ubiquitous until 9/11. Today, Miranda warnings are archaic, filled with holes that make national security a higher priority than a person’s knowledge of their constitutional rights…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]]

Read the rest

Continue Reading