A woman checks her mobile phone in Vienna.Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images
The NSA has a diverse range of surveillance capabilities—from monitoring Google Maps use to sifting through millions of phone call records and spying on Web searches. But it doesn’t end there. The agency can also track down the location of a cellphone even if the handset is turned off, according to a new report.
On Monday, the Washington Postpublished a story focusing on how massively the NSA has grown since the 9/11 attacks. Buried within it, there was a small but striking detail: By September 2004, the NSA had developed a technique that was dubbed “The Find” by special operations officers. The technique, the Post reports, was used in Iraq and “enabled the agency to find cellphones even when they were turned off.” This helped identify “thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq,” according to members of the special operations unit interviewed by the Post.
It is not explained in the report exactly how this technique worked. But to spy on phones when they are turned off, agencies would usually have to infect the handset with a Trojan that would force it to continue emitting a signal if the phone is in standby mode, unless the battery is removed. In most cases, when you turn your phone off—even if you do not remove the battery—it will stop communicating with nearby cell towers and can be traced only to the location it was in when it was powered down.
In 2006, it was reported that the FBI had deployed spyware to infect suspects’ mobile phones and record data even when they were turned off. The NSA may have resorted to a similar method in Iraq, albeit on a much larger scale by infecting thousands of users at one time. Though difficult, the mass targeting of populations with Trojan spyware is possible—and not unheard of. In 2009, for instance, thousands of BlackBerry users in the United Arab Emirates were targeted with spyware that was disguised as a legitimate update. The update drained users’ batteries and was eventually exposed by researchers, who identified that it had apparently been designed by U.S. firm SS8, which sells “lawful interception” tools to help governments conduct surveillance of communications.
In recent weeks, the NSA’s surveillance programs—both domestic and international—have been the subject of intense scrutiny following a series of leaked secret documents. The NSA says that a vast database that it maintains on phone calls made by millions of Americans does not include location data. But the revelation that the agency has developed a technique that apparently enables it to monitor thousands of cellphones—even when turned off—is likely to only inflame civil liberties groups’ concerns, prompting further questions about the full extent of the agency’s spying efforts.
FIELD & STREAM ‘GUN NUTS’ COLUMNIST ZAPRUDERS SARAH PALIN
by REBECCA SCHOENKOPF
Poor Sarah Palin. She got fired from Fox (probably, why not) and doesn’t even have a reality show anymore. Since nobody in her family seems to have a job, ever, who is going to keep her in Taco Bell? And now the “Gun Nuts” columnists at Field & Stream are examining a three-year-old video from when she did have a reality show, and saying that Little Miss Authenticity is a nitwit loser phony who can’t even shoot large meese? WHAT THE FUCK, FIELD & STREAM.
Take it away, “Gun Nuts”!
In my previous post, I was surprised that no one defended John McCain against my accusation that he’s at least partly nuts, which probably means that he is at least partially nuts. Some of you, however, took umbrage at my interpretation of Sarah Palin botching the shooting of a caribou. I felt so poorly about this that I went back and re-viewed the tape (You can see it below. It runs about 3 ½ minutes) and it made me even more depressed than I was before.
Ms. Palin is an extremely inexperienced shooter.
First, she allows her dad and the guide, who are both apparently nitwits, to jabber at her continually throughout the performance, make suggestions, swap rifles when it turns out that the first one has a bum scope (!), and allow her to blaze away at a moving animal. […]
If nitwits are yammering at you, you tell them to shut the f**ck up because you can’t concentrate. No experienced shooter would put up with their nonsense. […]
Why, before the fatal shot was fired, did the editor of the film superimpose a bogus crosshair on the poor dopey caribou? Why do we not see Ms. Palin firing the rifle? Is it because she did not do the shooting?
Finally, look at the way she carries the rifle as the party walks up to the late lamented ungulate. No experienced shooter carries a rifle like this.
I have nothing in particular against Sarah Palin. But I do believe in watching politicians with a critical eye, especially if they try to palm themselves off as something they’re not. She undoubtedly hunts, and is undoubtedly is OK with guns, but to say that as a shooter she’s anything but a rank beginner is wishful thinking.
So happy Valentimes, Sarah Palin. We are sorry that even Field & Stream thinks you suck.
These words are uttered by the philosopher or person who uses reason only. He always sleep peacefully. He is not endowed with the pity/compassion that moderates self-love (l’amour-propre or l’amour de soi-même) in the savage. (Part One, more than two paragraphs after Note 15)
The Romney-Ryan Team
Allow me to place in the proper mouths, the mouths of extremists in theRepublican Party, Rousseau’s “Perish if you wish; I am safe.” I may be wrong, but I suspect that the reason these Republicans can speak like choir-boys on the subject of planned parenthood is that they are sufficiently wealthy to fly to countries where birth-control is available and inexpensive as well as to countries where abortions are not criminalized. They can also pay a doctor the “right” fee. In other words, I suspect a substantial degree of hypocrisy. “Perish if you wish: I am safe.” (On rape, see The Washington Post). On the “Gag Rule,” see The Huffington Post).
In fact, hypocrisy may not be the only sin. We are also looking atinequality and at an unjust society. The rich and wealthy will have a freedom that will be denied the poor. As I have indicated in earlier blogs, the rich and the wealthy do not need health-insurance. They can pay for medical treatment and medication. Well, let’s raise that curtain again: the wealthy, wealthy women, need not give up controlling how many children they will have and when these children will be born. This is again something they can buy. In fact, they can also afford several children and help galore, in which they are very fortunate (no pun intended). They are therefore saying: “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
So it could be that the debate is not about morality
So, if Republicans are against planned parenthood and abortion, I am inclined to think it has little to do with morality. I hope I’m wrong, but the debate about abortions seems such a convenient front. They will attract the votes of persons who are against abortion and who think naively that because a party does not criminalize abortion, members of that party are for abortion. This is not the case and there are very real drawbacks to criminalizing abortion. For instance, what are doctors to do when an abortion is an imperative?
Tying up the hands of doctors: unfit women
An abortion may indeed be an imperative. What does a doctor do, assuming a woman can afford to see a doctor, if a woman’s life is at risk, if the fetus is abnormal, if she is taking medication that can harm the child, if she is taking drugs or is an alcoholic or if she cannot otherwise face a pregnancy, etc. What can a doctor do if his or her patient is poor or a woman of humble means? Under privatized health-insurance, it may again be privatized, not only will these unfit women be told that they are suffering from a pre-existing condition, but if an unfit woman consents to an abortion and a doctor intervenes, he or she, i.e. the doctor, and the unfit patient will face criminal charges. “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
A few years ago, I met a woman who had not slept since giving birth. Her son was three years old but she could not look after him. Nor could she work. Fortunately, she lived in Canada so all that could be done, medically-speaking, was done at no cost to her. However, I doubt that a doctor would have allowed a second pregnancy. She was sick: severe postpartum depression. Doctors need a little leeway.
Would that matters had been as they are now when my mother was having her babies. My poor mother carried a child every year knowing that the child would probably die in infancy of a congenital blood disease. Her first children survived. But she buried all the others. I will spare you the number. To make matters worse, in those days, a good Catholic woman could not say “no” to her husband. Sexual intercourse was a duty (un devoir). It was called: le devoir conjugal. I fail to see what was good in having babies that would die. This was cruelty. And I also fail to see what was good in our attending a funeral or two every year.
Saying “no” as the only recourse
If Mr Romney is elected to the office of President of the United States, the only recourse women who are poor and “women of humble means” will have is the word “no” both outside and inside marriage. There are husbands, such asCharles de Gaulle (rumor has it), who will not ask their spouse to engage in sexual intercourse if she is not prepared to carry a child and give birth to this child.
That is rather noble, but it isn’t very realistic in the case of most couples. After a fine meal and, perhaps, one or two glasses of wine, hormones tend to take over, crippling intellectual resolve, particularly in younger people. In fact, even we, older folks, snuggle up from time to time and just may be induced to “play doctor.”
The above poster: reality
The above poster goes a long way into describing the situation poor and raped women will face (there is no “legitimate rape”) if planned parenthood is criminalized. Before abortion was decriminalized in Canada, women, particularly unmarried women, who could not face a pregnancy, sometimes used tools that killed (metallic coat hangers) or went to charlatans and, in many cases, they committed suicide. In the Quebec of my childhood, to avoid bringing shame on their family, young girls who got pregnant were sent to special institutions and when the baby was born, it was taken from them. The babies were raised in an orphanage or adopted. It would appear that some were sold.
So allow me to say that when it comes to a woman’s right to choose when and if she will have a child and her right to undergo an abortion when an abortion is necessary, I take matters very seriously. It would be my view that a woman
should not be forced into a pregnancy, especially if she has been raped (there are no “legitimate rape”), including rape within marriage;
that she should act responsibly when she engages in sexual intercourse, as should her husband or partner. Pregnancies can usually be avoided. And I would like to point out
that there are cases when a doctor, with the consent of his or her patient, should be allowed to end a pregnancy.
On Day One: shackling women
However, if Republicans get into office, “On Day One,” not only will Mitt Romney call the Chinese “currency manipulators” and end the health-care reforms introduced by President Obama, but he will also shackle women who are poor and women of “humble means.” Poor women and women of “humble means” will not have access to what is available to the rich.
So scratch out most of the paragraph preceding the “On Day One,” because the conclusion is that “On Day One” women who are poor and women of humble means will be denied what will be accessible to the rich. It will again be all about money and appearing virtuous when virtue is not part of the equation, but a convenient means to an end: being elected. People who are against abortions will be fooled into thinking that are voting for the morally superior party.
Such is not the case. If members of that party are elected they will impose on the poor repressive measures that seem virtuous, yet they will be hiding millions and billions, if not more, and demand tax cuts thus acting criminally. So how can these persons talk about morality? So wake up; it’s a smokescreen. What they are saying is “Perish if you wish; I am safe.”
Make sure everyone knows that if the President does not criminalize abortions, it does not mean that he is for abortion.
Canadians were lucky. In 1967, future Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau got the Omnibus Bill passed. One can access the details, including videos by clicking on Omnibus Bill, or CBC* Digital Archives.
The Washington Post today tells a story that opens on a scene that’s almost cinematic in its beauty; Cranbrook Prep School, Michigan in springtime. It is, by all accounts, a beautiful campus befitting the status of its privileged student body. Cranbrook boasts many wealthy and powerful alumni, including Mitt Romney, whose father was then the Governor of Michigan.
Many of Romney’s friends from his school days paint him as a ‘prankster’ and his wife Ann publicly gushes over what a, “Wild and crazy man” she fell in love with during her days at Cranbrook’s ’sister school,’ Kingswood. But some of his schoolmates don’t remember him quite as endearing. There are stories of institutional racism and faculty endorsed homophobia, that seem almost commonplace in stories of prep-schools of the era.
But far more troubling than hurtful nick-names or sophomoric cat-calls is the story of Jon Lauber. Lauber was a year behind Romney, and described as “soft-spoken,” although that’s perhaps due to his being, “teased for his non-conformity and presumed homosexuality.”
We call that ‘bullying’ nowadays.
At any rate Jon Lauber fell victim to young Mitt’s ire when he returned to campus after school break with his hair dyed blonde and hanging down over one eye. Romney reportedly told his best friend, “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” Romney’s anger over another boys haircut didn’t subside over time, and three days later he recruited a group of boys and went after Jon Lauber, he of the offending locks.
What happened next was cruel, brutal and public. At least five former students confirm the story of Mitt Romney and a gang of friends attacking Lauber, wrestling him to the floor and hacking his hair off with a scissors. It was an incident that stayed with Lauber (now deceased) his entire life.
There are further recollections of Romney’s cruel treatment of an elderly teacher, and more homophobic japes, but his outrage and subsequent attack of Jon Lauber stands out in its hatefullness. What a senseless, unnecessary reaction to something that was clearly of no concern to him.
There will be those who will instantly dismiss this as an example of a ’boys will be boys’ type indiscretion. But Mitt Romney’s seeming revulsion over someone he perceived as different, coupled with the his actions to punish the boy, paint a picture of a person with little empathy or concern; the kind of person who could thoughtlessly strap an animal to the roof of a car and drive hundreds of miles. It is no wonder that man like that, who never needed to work a day in his life, furthered his personal fortune by dismantling the businesses and jobs of thousands of others.
The American people need someone who can understand and empathize with the difficulties many of us face, Mitt Romney is clearly not capable of being that man.
A new chapter in the Trayvon Martin shooting saga opened up earlier today when it was reported that George Zimmerman was going to in fact be charged in the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing. We were told that Special Prosecutor Angela Corey would hold a press conference stating the charges being held against George Zimmerman. A few hours later, we learned that George Zimmerman was in fact taken into custody in Florida, but Special Prosecutor Corey refused to release the whereabouts.
Prosecutor Corey took to the podium around 6pm and remained as patient and candid as she could.
Here are some key statements made by Special Prosecutor Angela Corey during the MSNBC live televised News Conference held at the state attorney’s office in Jacksonville, Florida :
“ The team with me has worked tirelessly to find answers to Trayvon Martin’s death.” Adding, “We prosecute on facts and we will continue to seek the truth”
“Today, we charged George Zimmerman with Second Degree Murder“
It seems a second-degree murder charge in Florida carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and it’s ordinarily charged when there is a fight or other altercation that results in death and where there is no premeditated plan to kill someone.
“Mr. Zimmerman is indeed in custody and I will not tell you where. “
“We do not discuss the information involved in a case”
“Mr. Zimmerman turned himself in and was subsequently arrested on the capias that was issued”
On the issue of it being a whopping 45 days before an arrest was made.
“I can tell you that the investigation was in full mode and that the governor appointed us less than three weeks ago and we had to make sure we had everything proper in place in order to prosecute,” said Corey
One constant theme was why an arrest took so long and the state appeared to be deliberately dilatory in doing so, Mrs. Corey perpetually said that “we have many homicides in Florida and it takes us time to investigate them all.”
In sum, after all the media outcry, all the protests, and all the rabid racism that seems to have a permanent home a Fox Nation’s blog (or at least a timeshare with Stormfront), it appears that Trayvon Martin’s friends and family can finally take solace in the fact that they are finally getting justice for the murder of their 17-year old teenage boy. But don’t think for one moment that this case is over or that its coverage will suddenly find itself buried in the blogs and back pages, as the latest Washington Post poll on the Trayvon Martin case revealed a woefully deep racial divide on the case. It’s gotten to the point where the Trayvon Martin case is the bizzaro O.J. Simpson Case with regards to race; that is, you have a white (somewhat hispanic) individual who committed a heinous crime and where all the facts thus far point to him being ridiculously guilty, yet you have people of the same race as the murderer either supporting him or undecided. Conversely, the same Washington Post poll showed that 80 percent of blacks said the shooting was unjustified.
Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, produces a chapter of Laughing Liberally, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for MSNBC.com affiliatedCagle Media. Follow him on Twitter andFacebook, Youtube, and like NJ Laughing Liberally Lab. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you a photo of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong.
In a super-neato sting operation today, the FBI totally intercepted a Muslim Terrorist wearing a suicide bomb vest en route to the Capitol, to blow it up. Sucker! Caught you! Go eat an Abortionplex-sized bag of dicks, guy! (But really, thank you for taking all of the pretend bombs our agents gave you and going with them on field trips to test explosives and all the other things we tricked you into doing so we could arrest you.)
The FBI is masterful when it comes to thwarting their own baroque terrorist plots in dramatic fashion at the very last minute, just as their scripts instruct them to do. The Feds found today’s lucky arrestee, a 29-year-old Moroccan, about a year ago and thought, Sure, this one looks Muslim enough to me, he’ll do… now let’s start brainstorming a plot and getting him all the fake bombs and training and support he needs so we can arrest him in a year.
(WASHINGTON) — A 29-year-old Moroccan man was arrested Friday near the U.S. Capitol as he was planning to detonate what he thought was a suicide vest, given to him by FBI undercover operatives, said police and government officials. Amine El Khalifi of Alexandria, Va., was taken into custody with an inoperable gun and inert explosives, according to a counterterrorism official.
El Khalifi expressed interest in killing at least 30 people and considered targeting a building in Alexandria and a restaurant, synagogue and a place where military personnel gather in Washington before he settled on the Capitol after canvassing that area a couple of times, the counterterrorism official said. During the investigation, the official said, El Khalifi went with undercover operatives to a quarry in the Washington area to detonate explosives.
El Khalifi came to the U.S. when he was 16 years old and is unemployed and not believed to be associated with al-Qaeda. He had been under investigation for about a year and had overstayed his visitor visa for years, according to the counterterrorism official and a government official briefed on the matter who spoke on a condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Two people briefed on the matter told The Associated Press he was not arrested on the Capitol grounds, and the FBI has had him under surveillance around the clock for several weeks.
“He was suspicious,” said Dynda. “He was getting mysterious packages labeled “book,” but I didn’t think there were books in them.”
Savvy eye, Dynda. There weren’t any books in there. Those packages were filled with all of the cool terrorist presents that the FBI kept sending him.
All in all, another magnificent production — four stars. Will this be the year that the FBI *finally* wins that Best Director statuette it’s coveted for so long? Ugh, let’s not get into studio politics…
Ron Paul, well known as a physician, congressman and libertarian , has also been a businessman who pursued a marketing strategy that included publishing provocative, racially charged newsletters to make money and spread his ideas, according to three people with direct knowledge of Paul’s businesses.
The Republican presidential candidate has denied writing inflammatory passages in the pamphlets from the 1990s and said recently that he did not read them at the time or for years afterward. Numerous colleagues said he does not hold racist views.
But people close to Paul’s operations said he was deeply involved in the company that produced the newsletters, Ron Paul & Associates, and closely monitored its operations, signing off on articles and speaking to staff members virtually every day.
“It was his newsletter, and it was under his name, so he always got to see the final product. . . . He would proof it,’’ said Renae Hathway, a former secretary in Paul’s company and a supporter of the Texas congressman.
And there’s more; Paul apparently made a deliberate effort to peddle his newsletters to racists and extremists, using the mailing list of a notorious antisemitic newspaper published by Holocaust denierWillis Carto:
Ed Crane, the longtime president of the libertarian Cato Institute, said he met Paul for lunch during this period, and the two men discussed direct-mail solicitations, which Paul was sending out to interest people in his newsletters. They agreed that “people who have extreme views” are more likely than others to respond.
Crane said Paul reported getting his best response when he used a mailing list from the now-defunct newspaper Spotlight, which was widely considered anti-Semitic and racist.
This comes as absolutely no surprise, but I predict it will have no impact on Ron Paul’s popularity. Anyone who still supports this creepy old crypto-racist has either found a way to rationalize this stuff, or has no problems with it.