With Glenn Greenwald’s really spectacular fireworks show having been quashed by the US government mere hours prior to publication on the increasingly suspect website The Intercept, we have been deprived – at least for now – of really big and shocking revelations but that doesn’t mean that stories of the rampage of the NSA aren’t getting out through other forums. In the most recent non-shocking disclosure of the war on privacy by the American Stasi anyone who attempts to use encryption and privacy tools in order to circumvent their prying eyes is on the ever-growing list of suspects. In a story from the German websites Das Erste and Tagesschau (you will need Google Translate) that is cited in stories on the blog Boing Boing and on libertarian financial website Zero Hedge the criteria that is used by the hive of scum and villainy at Fort Meade to cull the herd for those meriting the most attention via the XKeyscore program that was exposed by Greenwald based on documents provided to him by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden last year.
According to the German stories, in which the deep packet inspection rules as revealed by authors Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz specifically target internet users who search for and utilize privacy tools such as the Tor Project browser and the Tails operating system. According to the story on Boing Boing, entitled “If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance”:
Since the start of the Snowden story in 2013, the NSA has stressed that while it may intercept nearly every Internet user’s communications, it only “targets” a small fraction of those, whose traffic patterns reveal some basis for suspicion. Targets of NSA surveillance don’t have their data flushed from the NSA’s databases on a rolling 48-hour or 30-day basis, but are instead retained indefinitely.
The authors of the Tagesschau story have seen the “deep packet inspection” rules used to determine who is considered to be a legitimate target for deep surveillance, and the results are bizarre.
According to the story, the NSA targets anyone who searches for online articles about Tails — like this one that we published in April, or this article for teens that I wrote in May — or Tor (The Onion Router, which we’ve been posted about since 2004). Anyone who is determined to be using Tor is also targeted for long-term surveillance and retention.
One expert suggested that the NSA’s intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats — to split the entire population of the Internet into “people who have the technical know-how to be private” and “people who don’t” and then capture all the communications from the first group.
Goats and sheep – how apropos, considering the overwhelming number of the latter the NSA’s job will be much easier, these are the sort of low-information, self-centered, living in denial ignoramuses whose standard reply to the unprecedented scale of domestic surveillance is usually “I don’t care if they are spying on me because I am doing nothing wrong” who can be pretty much eliminated in that they gobble up the state supplied bullshit biscuits and therefore are low maintenance. Goats on the other hand – and I include myself as well as all of you readers in that particular group – are very dangerous in that they are able to understand the grave violations of the Constitution and extrapolate into the future of star-spangled totalitarianism that is coming soon.
Let’s face it, the Goats have the ability to make life difficult for the criminal classes and their fascist protectors in agencies like the NSA and therefore they need to be identified and tracked very closely to prevent them from organizing, gaining popularity or penetrating the propaganda system and gaining the crossover appeal that could rapidly trigger the tipping point. The Goats have very sensitive bullshit detectors and fully understand that the apple pie authoritarianism won’t resemble the classical fascist and totalitarians of the past.
I have always agreed with the comments of former New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (he was played by Kevin Costner in the Oliver Stone movie JFK) from a 1967 Playboy Magazine interview from which I excerpt:
Over the years, I guess I’ve developed a somewhat conservative attitude — in the traditional libertarian sense of conservatism, as opposed to the thumbscrew-and-rack conservatism of the paramilitary right — particularly in regard to the importance of the individual as opposed to the state and the individual’s own responsibilities to humanity. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to formulate this into a coherent political philosophy, but at the root of my concern is the conviction that a human being is not a digit; he’s not a digit in regard to the state and he’s not a digit in the sense that he can ignore his fellow men and his obligations to society.
I was with the artillery supporting the division that took Dachau; I arrived there the day after it was taken, when bulldozers were making pyramids of human bodies outside the camp. What I saw there has haunted me ever since. Because the law is my profession, I’ve always wondered about the judges throughout Germany who sentenced men to jail for picking pockets at a time when their own government was jerking gold from the teeth of men murdered in gas chambers. I’m concerned about all of this because it isn’t German phenomenon; it’s a human phenomenon. It can happen here, because there has been no change and there has been no progress and there has been no increase of understanding on the part of men for their fellow man.
What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough, seems to be emerging from prosperity. But in the final analysis, it’s based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we’ve built since 1945, the “military-industrial complex” that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of war conditions; and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution.
In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can’t spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can’t look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won’t be there. We won’t build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We’re not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn’t the test. The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same.
I’ve learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I’ve always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government’s basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I’ve come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I’m afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security.
Garrison was absolutely right, fascism has come to America in the name of national security and the NSA serves as that all-seeing eye at the top of they pyramid and from it flows all of the information that drives the machinery of the police state. Ironic that today as I write this it is the Fourth of July, the day of an orgy of excess of blindly-obedient flag-sucking and worship of the fascist state. The sheep will gather at their celebrations of the glories of their red, white and blue Leviathan swilling beer, stuffing their faces with hamburgers and hot dogs and flying high off of the jingoism and subservience to a system that they have no inkling of what it really stands for, its true history of murderous wars, suppression and imposition of corporate friendly dictators upon those who were once identified as Goats but had the misfortune of living in a country policed by graduates of the School of Americas.
In a way it is hard to fault them for their “American Insouciance”, the indoctrination of the exceptional people has been drilled into their brains since their formative years when they were taught to stand with their hand over their hearts and to pledge allegiance to the flag. Such a thing has no place in a free society but neither does massive warrantless surveillance nor paramilitary police shock troops. It is just easier not to think and just watch the fireworks displays though rather than tax the brains of lemmings with existential questions that contradict their false belief systems.