Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Revelations about internet spying has just put the chill on President Obama's upcoming visit to Germany.

"You got some splainin to do buddy!"
Courtesy of Reuters:  

German outrage over a U.S. Internet spying program has broken out ahead of a visit by Barack Obama, with ministers demanding the president provide a full explanation when he lands in Berlin next week and one official likening the tactics to those of the East German Stasi. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman has said she will raise the issue with Obama in talks next Wednesday, potentially casting a cloud over a visit that was designed to celebrate U.S.-German ties on the 50th anniversary John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech. 

Government surveillance is an extremely sensitive topic in Germany, where memories of the dreaded Stasi secret police and its extensive network of informants are still fresh in the minds of many citizens. 

In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that the United States could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were "deeply disconcerting" and potentially dangerous. 

"The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is," she said.

 Remember even if WE are cool with being spied on by our government, we do not exist in a vacuum and there are others who have seen how badly this can go once the government stops respecting the rights of its citizens.

Gee the next thing you know Germany will put the wall back up, this time in cyberspace and not to keep the Communists at bay but instead the Americans.


  1. angela2:28 AM

    Gosh, Angela let W close enough to rub her shoulders but never chastised him. . . .

  2. Leland3:24 AM

    Experience has taught them well. After all, it was Germany that had the first homeland agency that successfully watched everything. (Or close enough to everything to have a stranglehold.)

    The Nazis would have LOVED having the technology the world has now.

    Idiots say "I'm not worried because I have nothing to hide anyway." It is just that attitude which can destroy - and does. These fools don't know history and in those instances when they know some, the repetitive nature of history isn't understood. (repetitive because people DON"T know it and keep doing the same crap over and over!)

    Some people could (and would) get hurt, yes, but governments CANNOT bring total safety to it's population without total control.

    So maybe Angela will be able to get their national concerns across to POTUS. Unfortunately she won't be able to get it across to the delusional assholes in Congress who believe total control is a good thing!

  3. Sally in MI3:38 AM

    You know, I'm betting ALL countries are doing this. We are just the current fall guys, because we admitted it. And we are the most frequent targets of the 'bad guys,' so our Congress put the laws in place presumably to protect us. As I understand it, these are not phone conversations out there, but merely numbers and time spent on calls. What we are tracking are calls abroad. It's how the FBI is making the case agains tthe Boston brothers. I don't like it, but I'm wondering if it was inevitable. (watch the GOP blame Al Gore's 'invention of the internet' and then, Democrats, for this whole fiasco.) Frankly, I agree with the President that we need to have this discussion, minus the hysteria, and decide what kind of country we want to be. It is past time to challenge the Patriot Act and its ramifications. Bush surely never thought it through, and his Congress was gungho to pass anything Czar Cheney wanted passed.

  4. Anonymous6:23 AM

    Time to impeach "Peeping Barry"
    Or most countries will block the US Internet

  5. Randall6:30 AM

    We were screwed at the moment 'Citizen's United' made it law that corporations are people. (Actually, I saw it coming much earlier - when they scraped "PERSONNEL" off of the office door and painted "HUMAN RESOURCES" we were no longer 'persons'. We had become 'resources' like light bulbs or toilet paper.)

    YOU don't own your phone calls - Verizon (or another carrier) does.

    YOU don't own your online searches - Google (or Bing, etc.) does.

    Unlike snail mail (which is being phased out by our Government) you don't own your email - your ISP does.

    At the beginning of the 21st century we are seeing the dissolution of nations and de-facto control of the world moving to corporations. Koch Industries, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, GE, etc.

    The point being: state (national) constitutions have little meaning when multi-national corporations actually run the world.


  6. Anonymous7:19 AM

    I find it interesting how the international community did not get so buzzed up about this back when W instituted it after 911... But now that the black man is in charge, it's all his fault!

    I don't like it either! But I am remember some years back (10-12) when a British friend told me that the UK does this routinely and has for many years. They have several "listening stations" that monitor every phone call and every email in countries all over the world. I asked how this was possible and she said they have software that does the job, and people in charge of the software. Every communication is scanned (not actually listened to by a person) for certain "key words." and recorded. And an alarm goes off if one of those words is in the communication; at that point it is listened to. If it seems important and the context of the conversation significant, it is investigated further. If not, the matter is dropped.

    I thought that was creepy and still do! But it's hardly news that this kind of thing occurs. I'd bet we were doing it too, long before it became "official" under the Shrub.

  7. Anonymous8:54 AM

    Barry can always Angela up by rubbing her shoulders in a casual act in violating personal space, instead of cyber-space.

  8. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Too many questions are surfacing that fly in the face of slimebucket Greenwald's assertions and like the dick that he is, he's doubling down on his yellow journalism....

    But there continues to be a growing number of questions key to the NSA surveillance story that remain unanswered by Greenwald.

    Greenwald has flat out refused to offer any sort of revisions or clarifications on his reporting, even though many of the questions have come from other publications and other NSA sources. And that strongly indicates to me that he’s sticking with his reporting and refuses to shed any more light — transparency, if you will — onto some of the rough edges that continue to be uncovered by various other outlets, including CNET, TechCrunch, TPM, The New York Times, ZDNet, the Los Angeles Times and so forth.

    Why are these clarifications so important? Greenwald’s reporting is being presented as hard news, not in the format of his usual journo-activist Glennzilla screeds. There ought to be a very clear wall of distinction between these two areas, and those distinctions ought to be made clear to readers.

    1. Anonymous9:46 AM

      Greenwald the constitutional lawyer is a dick because he's gay, but President 0 the constituional lawyer is ok because he's a black guy and everyone is picking on him?

      I think G is right on this post.

    2. Anonymous10:45 AM

      What? First of all, this is the first I've heard of Greenwald being gay, so there's that. He is a dick, gay or straight, because he is a dick.

      President Obama being bi-racial has NOTHING to do with any of this. I don't care about gay or black or any other aspect of someone's sexuality or skin color, I care about CHARACTER and President Obama could wipe the floor with Greenwald when it comes to knowledge, character or just plain integrity.

      That you put it in those terms speaks to YOUR prejudice. Projecting that prejudice on someone else is disingenuous and frankly, stupid. President Obama doesn't play victim, and you suggesting that is disgusting and flat out wrong.

      Greenwald is a flack, a partisan hack who thrives on stirring the pot and creating drama. He's being busted for his exaggerations and hyperbole as we speak, with more and more digging revealing his sloppy reporting. By the time the week is out, he will be further discredited because he's flatly dishonest and unscrupulous.

    3. Anonymous10:28 PM

      I didn't know or care about GG's sexuality, but I learned from America Blog on G's blogroll.

      This I learned from G's blogroll:
      "The American-led “war on terror” has been used to justify every manner of attacks on democracy and wars abroad. By invading country after country—including the current operation in Syria—the US and its European allies have postured as the champions of “freedom” and “democracy”. The Snowden revelations have further exposed these pretenses, with immense political implications in the US and in Europe."

      There are ramifications to what we do here. Attacking the messenger misses the point.

  9. Anonymous10:12 AM

    If You're Still Freaking Out About The Government Grabbing Your Phone Records, Calm Down And Read This ...

    So should you be freaked out that the government is collecting your telephone records?

    Actually, no, says Stewart Baker, the former top lawyer at the National Security Agency, in a column at Foreign Policy.

    Baker starts off by emphasizing the following points:

    The government is not collecting the content of your telephone calls — just the "meta-data" records associated with them.
    There are very tight restrictions on how the government is allowed to search and use these records once it has collected them.
    The NSA is not allowed to use any insights it gleans from these records to do anything to you unless it thinks you are a spy or a terrorist.

    Baker then offers the following example to explain why the NSA would want to build a database of call-record meta-data and how it might use that data for good — to help stop terrorists. (Many people have assumed that the only reason the NSA would want this data is that it wants to spy on ordinary law-abiding Americans.)

    Baker's example is complicated. But it will give you a sense of what the NSA might legitimately be trying to do with this data, as well as the challenges the agency faces in doing the job that the country has asked it to do.

    [W]hy would the government collect all these records ... And, really, what's the justification for turning the data over to the government ...?

    Consider this entirely hypothetical example.

  10. Anonymous10:19 AM


    IT'S OFFICIAL: The Initial Government Spying Report About Google Was

    So that's one big spying claim debunked. What's next?

    The initial reports about the National Security Agency's Internet data-collection program, PRISM, said that the government was "tapping directly into the central servers" of Google, Facebook, and other massive Internet companies to gather information and spy on users.

    This was a shocking claim, and the companies immediately denied it.

    The denials led to privacy fanatics, conspiracy theorists, and some journalists accusing the companies of lying--or at least "parsing" their denials so carefully that the claim might still be true.

    The denials also, however, led to one of the publications that broke the story--the Washington Post--changing its story.

    And now, for the first time, according to Amir Efrati of the Wall Street Journal, Google has explained exactly how it fulfills government data requests (all of which require court orders and attorney approval):

  11. Anonymous1:06 PM

    The Guardian quietly walks back their PRISM overreach without correcting previous reporting

    A huge difference

    In their most recent article on the fallout from their Edward Snowden reporting, the Guardian dials back their initial claims.

    Here’s what they alleged in their first PRISM article, nearly a week ago:

  12. Anonymous3:10 PM

    Between Glenn Greenwald, Paul supporter Snowden, and now Paul himself jumping into the fray, it is becoming clear that there is a definite agenda being pushed here for profit and gain. Notice that Paul’s organization isn’t raising money in order to expose the dangers of the Patriot Act. Nope, they see this as a, “a real opportunity to reach out and bring more individuals into our Liberty Movement.”

    Snowden, Greenwald, and Paul could be shining light on the Patriot Act, but talking about the Patriot Act doesn’t generate publicity, hits, and most importantly cold hard cash.

    Running ads about Obama’s NSA isn’t going to do any good for the cause of getting rid of the Patriot Act. The Snowden/Greenwald circus is taking attention away from the Patriot Act. This story of the path Greenwald/Snowden chose is about sacrificing doing the right thing for the sake of self serving publicity. A story that could have prompted a serious discussion about one of the worst laws that our country has ever passed, renewed, and renewed again has been turned into a reality TV show featuring a high school dropout hiding in Hong Kong, an egomaniacal pseudo journalist, and a former congressman warning that Barack Obama is going to drop a drone on your ass.

    A vital issue has been turned into a joke, an opportunity has been lost, and the Patriot Act is not being discussed.

  13. I thought that was creepy and still do! But it's hardly news that this kind of thing occurs. I'd bet we were doing it too, long before it became "official" under the Shrub.


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