Berto Jongman: Post-Snowden NSA-Proof Phone?

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

In the post-Snowden world is it time to switch to NSA-proof phone?

Millions of us share our most personal feelings and most potentially damaging data through our smartphones. But isn’t it time to lock them down after last June’s revelations that the NSA collects data from phone calls, texts and emails of people all over the world? The developers of Blackphone, a new privacy-focused smartphone, say ‘yes.’

Toby Weir-Jones, the general manager of Blackphone, says the NSA’s digital surveillance has created a new demand for privacy, Newsweek reports. However, he says, “the wider market was not equipped to look for a solution.” Apple and Android phones, says Weir-Jones, are caught up in a battle over larger screen sizes, higher resolution and faster operating systems, while Blackphone is offering privacy.

Theoretically, experts say, the new device could provide considerable security for users trying to protect themselves from corporate spying and the countries with lesser surveillance programs than the US. Blackphone, which goes on presale February 24,can do texting, video, calling, searching, browsing, file storage and sharing — all shielded from the prying eyes of governments and hackers.

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Feb 23

2014 Intelligence Reform (All Others)


Under Construction – Send Nominations to

Updated 23 Jan 2014 14:58 E

Phi Beta Iota: The current literature on intelligence reform is underdeveloped and under-specified.  An example of this under- or mis-specification can be seen in the treatment of 9/11. The dominant position that 9/11 was an intelligence failure is correct in principle. It was, however, a failure of counterintelligence not of warning. Ample warnings had been provided, including from 9 different nations warning the White House and the CIA in advance. George Tenet had a clear role in positioning the intelligence community away from these warnings, including ABLE DANGER. Keith Alexander seems to have shared this misplaced analytical view, along with the Acting Director of the FBI who was not able to lever influence when  the actual Director resigned. 9/11 was – in effect – enabled by Dick Cheney, who ordered a national counter-terrorism exercise for “the day,” months in advance, despite the numerous and clear warnings  – not to stop 9/11, but to allow it, embrace it, enhance it, and leverage it. Today’s US Intelligence Community is dedicated to moving money — nothing more — and of course this is all Congress wants, with its eye on the standard 5% kick-back to sponsoring Members.  It is not in any way, shape, or form committed to producing ethical evidence-based decision support applicable to national strategy, national policy, national acquisition, or national operations. Intelligence with integrity is not to be found in the US Government (good people, bad system — this is a meta-challenge). Most intelligence scholars are currently serving to bolster this system rather than to stand as critical friends to challenge and help in the reform of it.

Below the line is an integrated list from the past several years. This is everybody else.  For an alternative perspective on intelligence reform, see 2014 Robert Steele on Intelligence Reform.

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Jan 15

Stephen E. Arnold: NSA and Google Compete for Internet – We All Lose

Stephen E. Arnold

Stephen E. Arnold

The NSA and Google Compete for the Internet, and We All Lose

An article posted on Tech Eye titled US Spying is Killing the Internet Claims Google explains the outrage expressed by Google when it was released that the NSA had tapped into their system in order to obtain user information. Google’s security director Richard Salgado warns that the US government’s snooping could eventually lead to a “splinter net” in which governments put up barriers and cause the market to be restricted.

The article explains:

“Salgado warned that the NSA operations led to “a real concern” inside and outside the United States about the role of government and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which decides in secret on legal problems about electronic surveillance efforts.”

But is the lady protesting too much? Google has been accused of its own plans to take over the Internet, as this article titled Google’s Latest Scheme to Control the Internet May Surprise You investigates on Worldcrunch. Google Plus in particular might warrant extra attention. In spite of being considered a failure when likened to Facebook, the article suggests that comparison is faulty. The number of Google Plus members may be small, but more important is Google’s ability to track and store the information we input.

And the money talks:

“Perhaps the proof is in the numbers: Google generated $50 billion in 2012 revenue, $40 billion of it from advertising. And though 2.7 billion Facebook “likes” are being registered every day, its revenue during the same period was just $4 billion.”

So let Google worry about the NSA all they want. Some of us are preoccupied with our paranoia about another company, which the article sums up as a Keanu Reeves style matrix in which we will all stay happily ignorant of our dependence.

Chelsea Kerwin, November 27, 2013

Sponsored by, developer of Augmentext

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Nov 27

NATO WATCH: Time for a No-Spy Zone? Or More Realistically, Time for EU/NATO to Discover Open Source Intelligence with Integrity?

nato watchNATO Watch Comment:

Time to establish a ‘No Spy Zone’ in NATO?

By Dr Ian Davis, NATO Watch Director

22 November 2013 Promoting a more transparent and accountable NATO

Disclosure of US intelligence surveillance activities in Germany and other allied countries has aroused angry political and public reaction in those countries. The whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed close technical cooperation and a loose alliance between British, German, French, Spanish and Swedish spy agencies. The German Government in particular has expressed disbelief and fury at the revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored Angela Merkel’s mobile phone calls. Even the Secretary General of the UN is regarded as fair game by the NSA.

But questions concerning the integrity and professionalism of UK and US intelligence services are nothing new. In March 2003, GCHQ‘whistleblower’ Katharine Gun revealed in a leaked email that the NSA was eavesdropping on UN Security Council diplomats belonging to the group of ‘swing nations’ that were undecided on the question of war against Iraq. The NSA requested the help of its British counterparts at GCHQ to collect information on those diplomats.

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Nov 24

Marcus Aurelius: Conflicted About Ethics, Secrecy, & the Public Interest

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius


1.  This is one of more internally contradictory pieces I can remember reading;
2.  Mark Bowden certainly knows a thing or three about perpetuating compromise of classified information since he’s done bunch of it;
3.  Bowden harkens back to old saying, “.. there are good secrets, there are bad secrets, and there are non-secrets …”, but people at working level don’t have luxury of playing that game.  If something is classified, it’s classified and there are only two lawful options:  get it declassified through established process or protect it;
4.  Impact of Bradley Manning is broad and deep.  Manning impacts me throughout every working day.  Despite clearances, less information is available to me.  Like every Federal employee, I now  have fewer tools to work with.  Formerly routine procedures are now either totally proscribed or so laden with requirements for pre-approval, two-person control, and so forth that cost vastly exceeds benefit.  I am under automated surveillance as I perform my official duties.  And we have not yet seen impacts of Snowden, which will surely come;
5.  Thus, I strongly DISAGREE with Bowden that Bradley’s 35-year sentence was excessive but forced to strongly AGREE that it will likely be reduced., August 23, 2013

What Snowden And Manning Don’t Understand About Secrecy

Government often finds bad reasons to keep information hidden, but the recent indiscriminate leaks are foolish.

By Mark Bowden

As an old reporter who has from time to time outed classified information, I have watched the cases of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden with professional interest.

What troubles me about them is not that they broke the oaths they swore when they took their classified government jobs, the thing that makes them liable to prosecution. Government finds all kinds of dubious reasons to keep secrets, sometimes nefarious reasons, and conscience can force one to break a promise. My problem is with the indiscriminate nature of their leaks.

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Aug 24

Berto Jongman: NSA Gives GCQQ at Least £100m

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

How much to the Germans and others?

Exclusive: NSA pays £100m in secret funding for GCHQ

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programmes.

The top secret payments are set out in documents which make clear that the Americans expect a return on the investment, and that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands. “GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight,” a GCHQ strategy briefing said.

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Aug 1

Worth a Look: Wickr — Data at Rest, Data in Flight, Encrypted and Not Stored in Cloud

logo wickrThe Internet is forever.

Your private communications don´t need to be.

Wickr is a free app that provides: military-grade encryption of text, picture, audio and video messages ·sender-based control over who can read messages, where and for how long ·best available privacy, anonymity and secure file shredding features ·security that is simple to use

“Wickr – an iPhone encryption app a 3-year-old can use.”

“There is no reason your pictures, videos and communications should be available on some server, where it can easily be accessed by who-knows-who, or what service, without any control over what people do with it.” 

Wickr’s mission is to provide secure communications that Leave No Trace.

People are being tracked online and their data is being sold in ways they do not understand by numerous governments and corporations.

Wickr flips messaging on its head, giving control to the sender instead of the receiver (or servers in between).

After all, who doesn’t want control of the messages and media they share with others?  Security has never been so easy!

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May 14

Steve Aftergood: Drake Classification Complaint Dismissed and Court Severely Critical of Executive Over-Classification, Arbitrary Classification, and Lack of Accountability for Same

Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergood


In July 2011, J. William Leonard, a former director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), took the extraordinary step of filing a formal complaint with the Office he once led charging that a document used to indict former NSA official Thomas Drake under the Espionage Act had been wrongly classified in violation of the executive order on classification. (“Complaint Seeks Punishment for Classification of Documents” by Scott Shane, New York Times, August 2, 2011; “Ex-federal official calls U.S. classification system ‘dysfunctional’” by Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, July 21, 2012)

Last December, in a newly disclosed response, John P. Fitzpatrick, the current ISOO director, concluded that Mr. Leonard’s complaint did not warrant the sanctions that Mr. Leonard had urged.  Neither the original classification of the NSA document, titled “What a Wonderful Success,” nor its continued classification “rise to the level of willful acts in violation of the Order,” Mr. Fitzpatrick wrote in his December 26, 2012 response.

With that, the matter was officially closed.  But the divergent views underlying the complaint remain unresolved and continue to fester.

“I have devoted over 34 years to Federal service in the national security arena, to include the last 5 years of my service being responsible for Executive branch-wide oversight of the classification system,” Mr. Leonard wrote in his 2011 complaint. “During that time I have seen many equally egregious examples of the inappropriate assignment of classification controls to information that does not meet the standards for classification; however, I have never seen a more willful example.”

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Mar 19

Berto Jongman: Legendary Russian Documentary on Nazi Interest in Antartica, Now with English Sub-Titles

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Includes 1947 US naval expedition led by Robert Byrd broken off after being attacked by objects that vertically take off from the sea. Russian scientists hypothesize US military HAARP bases on Antartica and Alaska are intended for identifying the characteristics of wormholes used by alien visitors to access and leave earth.

Published on Sep 25, 2012

Phi Beta Iota:  RIVETING.  Superb subtitles easy to follow.  Brilliant photography.

Below the Line: Lengthy overview of film.

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Mar 16

Mini-Me: Hillary Injured in Secret Mission to Iran?

Who?  Mini-Me?

Who? Mini-Me?


Hillary Was Injured In Secret Iran Mission: Report

The real reason U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not been seen for the last month is because she was injured during a secret mission to Iran, according to published intelligence sources.

Quoting sources around Tehran and the Gulf Emirates, DEBKAfile, a Middle East news service known as an outlet for Israeli and Western intelligence, says Secretary Clinton made the clandestine trip during the first week of December.

Although the objective of her mission remains unclear, the incident, which took place shortly after December 1, coincides with an earlier DEBKAfile report that Obama administration officials launched secret talks with senior representatives of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Iran’s nuclear program.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

The DEBKAfile article speculates that Secretary Clinton was on her way to a secret meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in regard to those negotiations.

The plane carrying Secretary Clinton and her entourage of advisers and security personnel left Bahrain for its logged destination of Baghdad, but changed direction in midair and headed for Ahvaz, capital of the south Iranian province of Khuzestan. The Iranian president was waiting there for her arrival.

According to DEBKAfile, the plane somehow ran into technical trouble during the flight and made an emergency landing. Secretary Clinton was injured in the crash, and several of her staff were either injured or killed.

The unexplained death of Navy SEAL Commander Job Price is tied by some to the Clinton incident. At the time, the Pentagon reported that his sudden death on December 22, in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, was under investigation. Sources have told the UK Guardian that the reason for Commander Price’s death was suicide. It is now suggested that he headed the security detail for Secretary Clinton’s Iran mission and was killed in the accident.

Officially, Secretary Clinton came down with a flu and stomach virus in early December. During the illness, she became dizzy and fainted, hitting her head and going into a concussion. Doctors who continued to treat her at home discovered a blood clot during a follow-up exam and admitted her to hospital last Sunday. She was released yesterday.

The vague details and fuzzy timeline of events have led to wild speculation about the real reason for her sudden illness. Several top-ranking Republicans, including former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, claimed Secretary Clinton came down with “diplomatic illness” to avoid testifying at a House Foreign Affairs Committee on the September 11 terrorist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi. Others have claimed she really had a stroke, or fell during a drunken stupor.

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Jan 4