A thought on the PRISM program

PRISM explained (sorta)

The huge story of the last week was the UK Guardian's revelations of massive data mining by the US government of Verizon and the outrage in its wake. Naturally, the paranoia is ramped up, as is the apologist rebuttal. But one thing no one wants to talk about is this: What is to stop a government determined to "get" someone from simply fabricating electronically transmitted data? If someone is perceived as a "threat to national security" (for whatever reason), isn't it possible to create fake emails and texts?

Like a cyber version of a "throwdown gun"?

Not going all "line the walls with tinfoil, here comes the New World Order, Alex Jones is Christ incarnate" on you, but as such a thing is now doable, who's to stop it? Certainly not a rubber stamp like the FISA courts. Certainly not the "benevolent nature" of politicians. 

Something to consider when you are sanguine about "they're only protecting me".


Right on, Johnny. This is already happening, unfortunately.

What transpired in this week is just the tip of a very slimy iceberg.

Posted by George Rossi on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 10:22 am

Or they could just "extraordinary rendition" your ass to some foreign place where they can torture you and detain you indefinitely.

So, good thing that you never say or do anything bad or wrong, huh?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 10:39 am

To the best of my understanding the defense of warrantless wiretapping since the passage of the Patriot Act has rested on the fact that it did not target US citizens (even if communications involving US citizens may have been incidentally monitored).

The point about the Verizon data grab in particular that would seem to bear repeating is that the order applied specifically to the phone records (including local calls in the US) of US citizens on American soil. (See this Forbes piece for more.)

Having committed this transgression it seems reasonable to wonder what other transgressions the US government has committed in recent years. One thing that keeps occurring to me is that some of the expanded powers of surveillance in the Patriot Act apply not only to terrorism cases but criminal cases more generally, and the last reporting I remember reading (maybe four or five years ago) is that they were being used primarily and overwhelmingly in cases unrelated to terrorism.

With all the new precedents here you wonder if any of this customer data (which includes phone numbers) is being cross-referenced with data connected with open and closed (for lack of evidence) criminal cases unrelated to terrorism.

Posted by Linus on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

this spying (and what else does the CIA do?) might also catch some drug dealers, money launderers, human traffickers and other assorted felons.


Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 1:27 pm

-- or simply pick up evidence which it keeps on file for crimes everyone is guilty of -- then we have lost our legacy.

Incidentally, there is evidence that government spying goes back before 9/11


Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

SF has done that to prosecute landlords, businesses etc.

But, for the most part, those who get framed deserved to get Dirty Harry'ed.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

preferred to to have a bit part in a Clint Eastwood movie... while on the other hand, I'm gleefully picturing anon pulling out his wallet on some trigger happy NYC cops right now.... ;o)

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

record never get shot by cops?

While young black males with mile-long records, like Grant, do?

Must just be a coincidence, right?

Posted by anon on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 3:50 pm

He had none. But that doesn't surprise me, because these pigs shot first and asked questions later, as is often the case.

On an other subject, is your little brain capable of thinking of more creative memes? Aren't you tired of repeating the same tired memes: "white grandmothers," "Aspen," "I'm comfortable," ad nauseum?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

And you claim to have no bias against the police?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 5:24 am

Agree or disagree, this is a term that is so often used, that when someone uses it to describe a certain profession, it is universally understood what profession that person is referring to. There is no other profession that has, attached to it, such a universally recognized derogatory moniker. Not lawyers, or journalists, or accountants. Not even politicians. Do you ever wonder *why* this is so???

Well... when someone shoots an innocent human being, in the dead of night, fumbling for his keys trying to get into his house, puts 42 bullets in him, uneashes a hail of gunfire without asking any questions, because they know that they will get away with it with total impunity... do you have a better description of the type of person who would do that?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 7:59 am

They protect me and my property from the people I am really afraid if.

As such, even if they occasionally they cross some line, I can live with that, especially since their "victims" are invariably bad guys.

"Pigs" is not a word used by someone seeking to be taken seriously and credibly, as it immediately denotes your prejudice.

But then everyone here knows you hate cops anyway.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 9:04 am

Amadou Diallo was an innocent human being. People who murder innocents are scum. Pigs is too good for them.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

or another, if not by their immediate actions then by their prior actions. Very few nuns get accidentally shot by the police.

There will be the odd mistake but, even then, it never seems to happen to, say, grandmothers or nuns. Funny that, huh?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:03 am

It's not funny at all. It's called institutional racism.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:46 am

likely to be innocent as a white nun or grandmother, then I'd remind you that you've already lost that debate many times.

There may have been some unfortunate collateral damage on this occasion but, overall, the cops get it right far more than they get it wrong, and you won't get far with your kneejerk attacks on those who keep us safe.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 8:07 am

1. It's irrelevant how "likely" a person is to be innocent. What's relevant was that Amadou Diallo *was* innocent, and under the law he should have been treated as such, regardless of what you, or these pigs think is likely.

2. It's not collateral damage. It's murder.

3. Getting the last word is not the same as winning an argument.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

What is with reactionary idiots and the conflation of real life and film?

Must be the idea that Reagan the chickenhawk was a war hero or something.


Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

1) Anyone can be framed with or without these powers, and

2) Most people who get framed are guilty

Nuns typically don't get framed, but bad guys do. Coincidence?

Posted by anon on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

If they're guilty, why would you have to frame them?

As far as blacks being more likely  to get pursued for crimes, ahem: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/us/marijuana-arrests-four-times-as-likely-for-blacks.html?smid=tw-share&_r=3&

Or perhaps this (and spare me the knee jerk reactionary bullshit as per the ACLU, please): http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/driving-while-black-racial-profiling-our-nations-highways

If I'm looking for Safeway waffles in a Whole Foods, I'm not gonna find 'em there, am I? If I'm not looking at white people as perps, I'm not gonna find many of them, now am I?




Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

Any cop will tell you they often know who did the crime, but cannot prove it because key evidence is inadmissible on some technicality.

Police profiling is routine. Certain demographics commit more crime than others, which is why Oakland has the worst crime rate in the US, and Mill Valley probably the lowest. You gotta go where the crime is if you want to catch criminals, and it's not white grandmothers in Marin.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 5:24 am

From Sperling.com:


  • Tucson, AZ
    Tucson has one of the highest property crime rates in the country, especially larceny. On the bright side, Tucson has a low murder rate.
  • Memphis, TN-AR-MS *
    Residents of Memphis contend with the nation's second-highest violent crime rate. In addition, the rate of robbery and burglary are among the nation's highest.
  • Miami, FL
    Miami's violent crime rate is the highest in the nation, with especially high incidences of robbery and assault. Thankfully, the murder rate is relatively low.
  • Phoenix-Mesa, AZ
    Phoenix-Mesa has one of the highest rates of auto theft in the nation.
  • Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR
    The Little Rock area has a high rate of property crime, especially larceny.
  • Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    I'm sure Detroit is worse though.

    The point remains.

    Posted by Guest on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 9:05 am

    Good work, Johnny Angel.

    SFBG should re-report more UK Gaurdian stuff.

    Posted by Yolando on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

    More to the point, if China is stealing US corporate secrets for their own use, what is the US Government doing with the corporate secrets that it steals?

    Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

    If the government really wanted to get you, it could do that now. Every half-baked "activist" in the country thinks he/she is so important that the government is interested in his/her activity, which is nothing but crude egotism and narcissism. What the programs revealed last week show is that the feds are trying to nab potential terrorists that have overseas contacts. The problem with that strategy: the inidividual jihadist acting on his own in the US doesn't need overseas contacts to strike a blow for radical Islam. The Boston Bombers and the Fort Hood killer didn't need foreign contacts to do what they did. They got their inspiration and information from online sources.

    Posted by Rob Anderson on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    The older Tsarnaev was allegedly "trained" and "radicalized" on trips back to his homeland and the Fort Hood killer was trained by (you guessed it) the American military.

    That they "turned"--well, it happens. But they got their training in person.

    Posted by JohnnyW on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 12:17 pm


    Wow. I am in awe of this man's courage. He had it all and he threw it away because it was the right thing to do. What a hero.

    And Republicans are now calling for his extradition. Why am I not surprised? For a minute there I thought maybe they'd start calling for Obama's impeachment. After all, the surveillance state that Obama now heads has been turned against some of their peeps too. But no. They've proven themselves to be, once again, the hypocritical scoundrels they are. They'll throw the tea party and even FOX News under the bus for the sake of the surveillance state. Because it doesn't matter. Both parties are guilty in this. It wouldn't make one bit of difference if the Republicans or Democrats are in power. Either way, we're hurtling toward fascism.

    But as long as there are people like Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, Daniel Ellsberg... there's hope for us yet.

    Posted by Greg on Jun. 09, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    WILL get his traitorous ass back here.

    Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:02 am

    There's a certain smugness among the trolls here that's very disconcerting. It's as if they know that whatever minor victories are won for freedom, we'll all wind up at the Ministry of Love in the end.

    And yet, as powerful and invincible as the state seems, it won't last. For every Manning and Snowden they persecute, more will rise up. It's always darkest before the dawn.

    Posted by Guest on Jun. 10, 2013 @ 7:53 am

    They've always been proven wrong, and you will be proven wrong as well.


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