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It’s Not Just A River In Egypt

Dr Cole gives his reaction to Obama’s press conference:

President Obama gave a news conference on Friday in which he addressed the controversy over Edward Snowden’s revelations regarding NSA spying on the American people.

This issue is a very difficult one for Mr. Obama, given that he came to it from civil libertarian position as a senator, but now is president. When you are president, you are president of the nearly one million NSA employees and contractors, who become your constituency– not to mention the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, much of the military, the Intelligence and Research Division of the State Department, etc., etc.

Among the more shameful episodes in the Obama presidency has been his vindictiveness toward whistleblowers and his and Eric Holder’s eagerness to use the fascistic 1917 Espionage Act against them. Seymour Hersh, who provoked the last big reforms of US intelligence, would have been charged with espionage by Barack Obama and would either have been executed or would have been given life in prison. In this regard, Obama’s record is worse than Nixon’s.

Mr. Obama at one point in his press conference called on Edward Snowden to come back to the United States and argue his case. I mean, really. This kind of disinformation and grandstanding can’t possibly be necessary, even given the constraints mentioned at the beginning of this essay. Mr. Obama knows very well that if Snowden returned to the US, we would never ever hear from him ever again. He’d go straight to a maximum security prison for the rest of his days on earth and die there.

Mr. Obama is a very busy man and it is possible that he hasn’t read all of Glenn Greenwald’s Guardian articles on the Snowden revelations. He should. He is being briefed on this matter by people with a vested interest in keeping the surveillance programs going, and is not being given the whole truth.

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August 10, 2013   2 Comments

It Isn’t Just Foreign Companies

I’ve been thinking about the revelations about the Prism program, and have noted how this will impact the sale of Cloud services to foreign companies, as will the loss of secure e-mail services provided by companies like Lavabit and Silent Circle. Then it occurred to me that many US companies will be looking for those same services someplace else, because they have things they don’t want people to have access to, be they governments or hackers.

In ancient times all of the big corporations had their own IT infrastructure, but to increase profits more and more have out-sourced these functions. That means that ‘trade secrets’ and other confidential materials, like bids, are now subject to being hoovered up by NSA. If I’m in one of these companies and I see the government secrets that Snowden was able to access, I have to believe that there are probably people working for these contractors who might want to make a few extra bucks by selling my secrets to the highest bidder.

If you have ever had to deal with a Fortune 50 non-disclosure agreement, you would understand how concerned these corporations are. I will be able to talk freely about what I did at NSA at some point, but never about what I learned at certain clients, even who those clients were.

August 10, 2013   4 Comments