Archive for March 8, 2017

Hizballah’s Ongoing Threat to U.S. National Security

March 8, 2017

Hizballah’s Ongoing Threat to U.S. National Security, Investigative Project on Terrorism, March 7, 2017

Most analyses of Hizballah focus on the terrorist group’s intervention in Syria or its threat to Israel. But the Iranian-backed organization maintains a significant presence in and near the United States, threatening national security. Current American proposals to strengthen borders and immigration measures may be limited to address this important, yet poorly understood, threat.

A recent Al-Arabiya article examines Hizballah’s North American threat.

It has the expertise to build advanced tunnels on the southern U.S. border, enabling Hizballah terrorists and Mexican cartel operatives to infiltrate the United States. Relations between Iranian-backed proxies, including Hizballah, and Latin American drug cartels are well established. Mexican gang members learn from Hizballah’s combat experience and use of advanced weaponry. Hizballah, in turn, derives a significant portion of its finances from the drug trade and other illicit activities.

In recent years, security officials in southwestern states noticed a rise in tattoos featuring Hizballah’s insignia among imprisoned drug cartel operatives. This surprising trend indicates a strengthened relationship between the terrorist group and Mexican gang members. In line with its foreign policy, Iranian operatives infiltrating Latin America seek to convert individuals to adopt its extremist Shi’ite ideology. Over the years, pro Iranian websites have proliferated across Latin America, in an attempt to cultivate support for the Islamic Republic.

Powerful Latin American politicians also help Iran and Hizballah penetrate the region and threaten the United States. In February, CNN received a 2013 secret intelligence document from several Latin American countries demonstrating ties between Venezuelan Vice President Tarreck El Aissami and 173 Venezuelan identification cards and passports issued to people from the Middle East, including Hizballah operatives. El Aissami “took charge of issuing, granting visas and nationalizing citizens from different countries, especially Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Iranians, and Iraqis,” the report shows.

Iranian and Hizballah operatives have cultivated and consolidated operating bases in South America, especially in the tri-border area (TBA) of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. With a large Muslim population featuring significant numbers of Hizballah sympathizers, the region is ripe for recruitment, arms smuggling and drug trafficking. Hizballah continues to exploit other Lebanese Shi’ite diaspora communities, including in the United States, to strengthen its presence worldwide.

In 2011, the United States disrupted a plot led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in cooperation with a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Washington.

The problematic nexus between Iranian-backed operatives, including Hizballah, and Mexican drug cartels allows terrorists to earn big money to fuel their violent operations. These connections also enable Hizballah to make inroads into the United States through its porous border with Mexico.

American intelligence reports show that Hizballah maintains a significant network of sleeper cells in the United States. Though Hizballah has not conducted a major attack on U.S. soil, the group could decide to strike key American sites should U.S.-Iran relations deteriorate substantially. Preparations to combat Islamist terrorism broadly should strongly consider the nuanced and growing Hizballah threat to U.S. national security.

 

Does the CIA Vault 7 Leak Make America Less Safe?

March 8, 2017

Does the CIA Vault 7 Leak Make America Less Safe? The Daily Bell, Joe Jarvis, March 8, 2017

(President Obama “owned” the CIA and other segments of the intelligence community for eight years. Their apparent focus away from Islamic terror and toward interfering in the politics of other countries — as well, perhaps, as America —  is far from surprising. Whether “we” are better or worse off not knowing depends on the meaning of the word “we.” — DM)

Basically, this confirms what were already the highly suspected capabilities of the CIA. It is really not surprising that they had these cyber weapons, and not a shock that they were less interested in using them to stop terrorists than to influence elections.

The media’s response is typical; pretend that the leak will hurt the United States, and make us more vulnerable to terrorists. This, despite the fact that the CIA was clearly not focused on terrorism.

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Has U.S. intelligence been irreparably damaged by the release of Vault 7, to the point where it puts America and it’s operations at risk?

Well, to a certain extent, yes. But that’s only a problem if you think the CIA was targeting and manipulating the right people and entities.

You have probably heard by now of the Wikileaks release of Vault 7, a CIA arsenal of cyber weapons including viruses and malware. The capabilities the CIA has been utilizing include taking over smart TV’s and smartphones to use their microphones, and control their operations. The CIA can also get around popular encrypted messaging services like Whatsapp and Signal if they are used on an infected phone.

Among the list of possible targets of the collection are ‘Asset’, ‘Liason Asset’, ‘System Administrator’, ‘Foreign Information Operations’, ‘Foreign Intelligence Agencies’ and ‘Foreign Government Entities’. Notably absent is any reference to extremists or transnational criminals.

Emphasis added. Basically, this release confirmed everything we had already assumed was being done by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. The interesting part, is how the CIA used these espionage tools.

As Wikileaks noted, the CIA did not seem especially interested in ISIS, or drug cartels.

But the French Election did interest the CIA. We know they monitored the candidates to intercept communications. The CIA was especially interested in the prospects of French economic growth, specifically which candidates would follow “the German model of export-led growth.”

What does that say about the faltering French economy under Francois Hollande?

Exports have been shaky at best, with large differences month to month. Unemployment is up over 10%, and economic growth has failed to meet expectations.

So in addition to spying on the candidates, did the CIA use their cyber weapons to influence the election?

What is the Media Spinning About Vault 7?

The breach could undermine the CIA’s ability to carry out key parts of its mission, from targeting the Islamic State and other terrorist networks to penetrating the computer defenses of sophisticated cyber-adversaries including Russia, China and Iran, former officials and tech specialists said.

“Any exposure of these tools is going to cause grave if not irreparable damage to the ability of our intelligence agencies to conduct our mission,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. -Washington Post

But we just got a glimpse into that mission. The CIA mission seems to be controlling the world economy and choosing who will win elections of foreign governments. Where is the focus on Isis, China, and Iran coming from? The leaked documents specifically mention 10,000 targets from North America, Europe, and South America.

So really the leak will do damage to the CIA’s mission, but the media is pretending the CIA has a different mission. The media is still pretending the CIA first and foremost keeps America safe, when in reality it is clearly more interested in exerting influence around the globe.

Other outlets like The Guardian sought to assuage fears that any one of us has been targeted. They say the CIA was saving their technology for high stakes investigation, lest it be discovered and the technology updated to stop such hacks. They won’t hack little guys like us!

Matt Blaze suggested a way to steer clear of the hacking tools, “Don’t become a CIA target.”

And I think that says a lot. The fact is, the CIA can target whoever they want for whatever reason they want. How much–or how little–does it take to become a CIA target?

Do those exercising the right to free speech or freedom of the press run the risk of becoming targets… or have they already?

The Take-Away

Basically, this confirms what were already the highly suspected capabilities of the CIA. It is really not surprising that they had these cyber weapons, and not a shock that they were less interested in using them to stop terrorists than to influence elections.

The media’s response is typical; pretend that the leak will hurt the United States, and make us more vulnerable to terrorists. This, despite the fact that the CIA was clearly not focused on terrorism.

In reality it is the CIA creating and disseminating these weapons in a disorganized insecure way that makes us all more vulnerable to whoever’s hands the cyber weapons have fallen into. We have been less safe since the CIA built the hacking arsenal.

The information coming to public light might make the CIA less effective in their goals, which does not necessarily make us less safe–depending on who you are, it could make you safer.

That is a big part of this story, that advanced hacking tools are now widely available for basically any organization in the world to use. So it isn’t just the CIA that might be listening into your phone’s microphone, or watching you through the camera.

It is beneficial to get confirmation of the tactics employed by the CIA, and open up a public discussion on the issue. Now at least when we talk about these things it isn’t some “conspiracy theory” but confirmed hacking and spying practices of the U.S. government.

Which also brings up more questions about sketchy incidents like the death of investigative reporter Michael Hastings.

Vault 7 confirmed the CIA’s interest in taking over and controlling vehicles. Michael Hastings died in a strange and mysterious car accident.

He was preparing a report on then CIA Director Brennan’s involvement in sanitizing Obama’s passport records. Hastings died when his car hit a tree and exploded, just three months after Brennan became head of the CIA.

US troops land in Syria to launch Raqqa operation

March 8, 2017

US troops land in Syria to launch Raqqa operation, DEBKAfile, March 8,  2017

According to our sources, President Donald Trump decided, after consulting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, that the US army would go it alone in the Raqqa offensive together with a single local force: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

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EXCLUSIVE:  DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources disclose that elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment have arrived in Syria for the Trump administration’s first direct military operation in Syria: the long-delayed offensive to capture Raqqa from the Islamic State. The plan was put before the US, Russian and Turkish chiefs of staff who were getting together for the first time on Tuesday, March 7, in the Turkish town of Antalya, as revealed earlier on this site.

Rangers Regiment troops, which will spearhead the Raqqa attack, flew in from Fort Lewis air base, Washington, to the US air facility in Rmeilan, near the Syrian Kurdish town of Hasaka, equipped with light Striker tanks. More tanks and heavy equipment reached the Syrian base overland from Iraqi Kurdistan.

According to our sources, President Donald Trump decided, after consulting with Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, that the US army would go it alone in the Raqqa offensive together with a single local force: the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

The SDF is composed of 45,000 fighters of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and 10,000 Arab tribesmen, most belonging to the north Syrian branch of the Shamar.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russian Chief of Staff, and Gen. Hulusi Akar, Turkish army chief, were conferring in Antalya when the Rangers landed in Syria.

DEBKA Weekly, which comes out on Friday, March 10, will provide the background leading up to the US president’s decision to go for Raqqa.

If you are not yet a subscriber, click here for this and other exclusive stories.

Canada’s New Blasphemy Laws

March 8, 2017

Canada’s New Blasphemy Laws, Gatestone InstituteKhadija Khan, March 8, 2017

Hardliners who support this form of censorship, and presumably other restrictions required by Islamic sharia law, aim to blur the line between genuine bigotry and criticism of core problems across the Muslim world, such as the murder of apostates and homosexuals, communal hatred, anti-Semitism, violence against women and minors, female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, unequal legal and inheritance rights for women, stoning, flogging and amputation, and social taboos such as honour killings or right to choose a husband for girls or restrict girls’ education.

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Although these motions against “Islamophobia” are not legally binding, extremists have already started demanding them as laws.

People in hostile societies put their lives at risk by speaking against the majority; meanwhile, shutting out any criticism against hardliner behaviour in the West actually means giving extremists a license to keep on committing atrocities.

Motions such as these are how most Muslim societies — and other authoritarian states — were founded: by depriving citizens of the basic right to express a difference of opinion, and worse, on the pretense of “doing good.” The blasphemy laws of Pakistan were introduced on the premise of protecting the sanctity of the people’s religious beliefs, but the laws only ended up meting out public death sentences to innocent and marginalized victims.

A resolution, M-103, seeking to condemn so-called “Islamophobia,” was introduced a few weeks ago in the peaceful country of Canada by Liberal Party MP Iqra Khalid in the House of Commons, sparking a controversy.

A similar motion, labelled M-37, was later tabled in the Ontario provincial legislature by MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers on February 23, 2017, and was passed by the provincial parliament.

M-37, like its predecessor, demanded that lawmakers condemn “all forms of Islamophobia” and reaffirm “support for government efforts, through the Anti-Racism Directorate, to address and prevent systemic racism across government policy, programs and services”.

Although these motions are not legally binding, extremists have already started demanding them as laws.

There are, of course, no comparable motions against “Judeophobia” or “Christianophobia”.

Neither motion M-103 nor motion 37 exactly define “Islamophobia,” leaving that to the imagination of the supposed victim(s).

Hardliners who support this form of censorship, and presumably other restrictions required by Islamic sharia law, aim to blur the line between genuine bigotry and criticism of core problems across the Muslim world, such as the murder of apostates and homosexuals, communal hatred, anti-Semitism, violence against women and minors, female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, unequal legal and inheritance rights for women, stoning, flogging and amputation, and social taboos such as honour killings or right to choose a husband for girls or restrict girls’ education.

Those who present these motions claim that “Islamophobia” is rampant across the country, but seem blind to Islamic sharia law’s endorsement of killing homosexuals, violence against women and minors, atrocities such as those enumerated above, and notions of Muslim supremacy across the planet.

These issues are genuine concerns for millions of Muslims as well as human rights defenders, but are never addressed by those apologists, who always try to present these atrocities as perfectly acceptable “cultural norms”.

People in hostile societies put their lives at risk by speaking against the majority; meanwhile, shutting out any criticism against hardliner behaviour in the West actually means giving extremists a license to keep on committing atrocities.

Broadly speaking, in the West, where people have the opportunity to stand up against persecution, Muslim extremists seem determined to sell themselves as victims and to get rid of whatever obstacles contradict a clearly expansionist agenda.

Motion M-103 claimed: “Recently an infinitesimally small number of extremist individuals have conducted terrorist activities while claiming to speak for the religion of Islam”.

Are those who set forth these resolutions oblivious to the clerics who rally hundreds of thousands across the world — organizations such as Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, CAIR, ISIS, Hezbollah, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Jamat e Islami, Sipah-e-Muhammad, TehrikNifaz-i-FiqahJafaria, JamatudDawa, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-jhangwi, TehrikNifaz-i-Shariat Muhammadi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Islam, Jamiat-ul-Ansar, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Khuddam-i-Islam, Fatah Al Islam (Lebanon), Ansar Al Sharia in Libya, Jabhat Al Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) in Syria, the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and other offshoots of these jihadi movements?

The sales pitch for M-103 was given a pretty façade of human rights concerns, but actually inside was a veiled endorsement of a Muslim supremacist mentality.

While M-103 asks to recognize the need to curb systematic racism and religious discrimination against Muslims, there are no traces of any systematic hatred or racism against Muslims or any religious groups in Canada.

On the contrary, Canada already has laws to curb any discrimination or abuse against individuals or groups. All that is needed is to enforce those laws already on the books.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Criminal Code, carry progressive laws to handle hate crimes or racism. Section 318, 319(1) and 319(2) are specifically designed to deal with such offenses.

Moreover, criticizing any genuine social concerns about a community or belief system is the democratic right of every citizen in a civilized country.

Motions such as these are how most Muslim societies — and other authoritarian states — were founded: by depriving citizens of the basic right to express a difference of opinion, and worse, on the pretense of “doing good.” The blasphemy laws of Pakistan were introduced on the premise of protecting the sanctity of the people’s religious beliefs, but the laws only ended up meting out public death sentences to innocent and marginalized victims.

Under Muslim blasphemy laws, such as those being slowly presented to Canada, such deeds are punishable by death or life in prison.

Unfortunately, blasphemy laws are often interpreted as a state’s permission to attack, lynch or destroy non-Muslim minorities, while the attackers are regarded as heroes for their crimes.

Victims of these laws also include critics of this barbarism such as Punjab’s Governor Salmaan Taseer, Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Shahbaz Bhatti, and often even human rights activists and the victims’ lawyers.

Aren’t we setting up the foundation of such norms in the West on pretense of curbing “Islamophobia”?

For example, a supposedly “infinitesimally small” number of jihadis are capable of shutting the mouths of approximately 200 million people (equivalent to the entire Pakistani population), seemingly forever, by literally killing dissent.

In the last century, the jihadis’ spiritual father, Sayyid Qutb, commissioned Muslims to impose salafist-style Islamic rule on the world by destroying the “infertile West” and eliminating anything non-Muslim.

Qutb’s book, Milestones, would undoubtedly be an eye-opener for those still unaware of what is required of “true” Muslims. The same is true of the writings of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This ideology is clawing its way into very fabric of the West, in places such as Britain, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, America, Australia and France.

It poses an imminent threat to the free world. Free societies will have to pay a heavy price if they choose to ignore the menace of extremism through a policy of appeasement and accommodation.

There is no need for specific laws about “Islamophobia”: it is not even defined. Worse, many extremist clerics also consider as “Islamophobic” any criticism of their jihadism, communal hatred, polygamy and violence against women, minors or possibly anyone else they target.

Canada has always been one of the most tolerant countries in the world; please let us keep it that way.

Unmanned Rafael PROTECTOR USV SSM firing SPIKE missiles

March 8, 2017
Published on Mar 8, 2017

Rafael PROTECTOR SSM USV firing SPIKE missiles

North Korea Could Soon Launch Attack on Hawaii

March 8, 2017

North Korea Could Soon Launch Attack on Hawaii, Washington Free Beacon, March 8, 2017

This undated photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 11, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) during a combat drill of the service personnel of the special operation battalion of the Korean People’s Army Unit 525. (Photo credit KNS/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea could soon have the capacity to launch an attack on Hawaii that would devastate America’s Pacific military bases, accelerating the need for the United States to upgrade missile defenses in the area.

The United States today relies on ground-based ballistic missile interceptors deployed in California and Alaska to protect Hawaii, but these defenses would do little to guard U.S. territory in the Pacific against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which officials believe is nearing completion.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency in February test fired a new SM-3 Block IIA missile from Hawaii that successfully intercepted an incoming ballistic missile, but the Pentagon does not maintain a permanent missile defense installation or detection capabilities on the Hawaiian Islands.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii hosts an experimental, land-based ballistic missile defense system called Aegis Ashore. The facility served as a prototype for the U.S. missile defense facility in Romania, which was declared operational last year, and another in Poland that will be completed in 2018.

Ariel Cohen, director of the Center for Energy, Natural Resources, and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, told the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday that the Defense Department needs to immediately upgrade the Aegis Ashore facility in Hawaii from experimental to operational to guard against North Korean aggression.

“Senior national security leaders have stated that the U.S. needs to work off the assumption that North Korea will have ICBM capabilities soon, and in this business ‘soon’ could mean five to 10 years, or earlier,” Cohen said.

“This question is, do we need to wait until North Korea successfully launches a test ICBM to know that they have that capacity? The answer is no … The [Aegis Ashore] is a proven system. Why would we protect our European allies before we protect the homeland?”

Aegis, developed by Lockheed Martin Corp to be used on U.S. Navy destroyers, is one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world. Deploying the land version of that technology to Hawaii, coupled with Aegis-equipped Navy destroyers, would establish a permanent missile defense installation in the U.S. Pacific that could protect the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast from a North Korean missile launch.

Converting the Aegis Ashore site from an experimental facility to a combat-ready platform would cost an estimated $41 million, which Cohen described as “inexpensive” compared to typical Defense Department expenditures.

The proposal to improve Hawaii’s missile defense capabilities gained support among defense officials on Monday after North Korea launched four missiles that coincided with joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises in the region.

The U.S. joint chiefs initially believed that at least one of the projectiles launched by North Korea was an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking America’s West Coast, but ultimately concluded the projectiles did not have the range of an ICBM.

Defense officials have warned that North Korea is on the brink of producing an ICBM that could target the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced in January during his New Year’s address that Pyongyang had “entered the final stage of preparations to test-launch” an ICBM that could reach parts of the United States.

President Donald Trump rejected Kim’s assessment, tweeting after the statement: “It won’t happen!” The administration has not yet established a missile defense plan that would protect the United States from a North Korean ICBM, though it is in the process of reviewing U.S. policy toward North Korea.

Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, told the Washington Free Beacon that the administration will likely look at defense and deterrence tactics to use against Pyongyang, rather than diplomatic engagement.

“Our intelligence has been surprised again and again by technology developments by adversaries or attacks the U.S. didn’t foresee,” Cohen said. “Hawaii has a particularly symbolic history of this given the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Let’s not be surprised this time, let’s be prepared.”

Pyongyang has worked for years to improve its missile capabilities, launching an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles in 2016 while conducting its fifth nuclear test in September 2016.

WikiLeaks’ CIA Download Confirms Everybody’s Tapped, Including Trump

March 8, 2017

WikiLeaks’ CIA Download Confirms Everybody’s Tapped, Including Trump, PJ MediaRoger L. Simon, March 7, 2017

(Please see also, Retired NSA Official: Every Phone Call You Make Is Recorded And Stored | Hannity Fox News. And we were concerned about the privacy implications of “transgender” use of little girls’ bathrooms. — DM)

Remember the old joke about the definition of a paranoid — someone who knows all the facts?

Well, we’re all paranoids now because — since Tuesday’s, unprecedented in size and scope, Wikileaks document dump of massive cyber spying by the CIA — everything we ever thought in our wildest imaginations is true… and then some.

To channel the late Preston Sturges, privacy is not only dead, it’s decomposed.  The CIA’s Remote Devices Branch, known as UMBRAGE, is capable of — or is — watching you everywhere you go, even when you think they’re not or such surveillance would seem impossible.

The question about whether President Trump was tapped has been reduced to a joke.  The real questions are how often and from how many places.  The answer would probably shock us, if we were ever to learn the truth.  (And did President Obama know what they were doing?  Either that or the CIA, FBI or NSA wasn’t telling him. You decide.)

The Wikileaks documents (everyone believes their downloads now) show how the CIA, via their eerily named “Weeping Angel” program, has devised a method of listening to us through our smart TVs.  Even when we think they’re off, they are able to keep them on — and recording — through a “fake-off” program.

Just how many smart TVs does Donald Trump — a known television addict — watch in a day?  Who is he talking to at the time?  A foreign leader perhaps?  And what is he saying in supposed confidence?

These days it’s hard to buy a television that isn’t a smart TV.  The Wikileaks documents show only the popular Samsung has been hacked, but since the agency assiduously hacks both Apple and Android cellphones, one can assume all major brands are covered.  (They’re not stupid.  We are.)

And that’s far from their only way of listening in.  Tyler Durden — considerably more tech savvy than I — expresses the amazement of that community that the CIA was able to bypass the purportedly powerful cellphone data security apps (Signal, Telegram) so many business executives, politicians and journalists rely upon, even to using our own anti-virus programs (McAfee, etc.) to spy on us.  They also, apparently, can control our cars through the latest automobile computers.  (NOTE TO SELF: Skip the Apple CarPlay upgrade.)

Further, Durden quotes Twitter star Kimdotcom’s instant observation that the DNC/Russian hacking connection is also now a joke (at least highly suspect) since the CIA also has a program, via UMBRAGE again, to imitate Russian hacking techniques and leave the Russkies’ “fingerprints”  on their own handiwork. Could the CIA have hacked the DNC and then blamed it on the Russians for some purpose?  It seems unlikely, but anything’s possible in this crazy and increasingly bizarre and alienating world.  If it is true, don’t look now, but our country just exploded.

Our hope, for now, is in the congressional investigations, but it’s hard to have much confidence in them.  The media, of course, is ludicrous.  They have clearly become the witting/unwitting lackeys of all manner of leakers from any number of intelligence agencies. It’s become dizzying as the internal contradictions mount up daily.  (Who told you there was a FISA order again? Oh, wait…)  The New York Times and the Washington Post, among others, have reached self-parody in their cock-eyed denials of what they asserted only weeks ago, while the CIA grows progressively more partisan and ominously totalitarian in its values and methods.

Pretty soon every citizen is going to need a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility) of his or her own.

Whatever the case, we all have to do some serious thinking — way beyond the general superficiality and contrived drama of congressional hearings or indeed the quick in-and-out of an op-ed.  What is being revealed here is a sea change in the human condition that is almost evolutionary in its implications. What are our lives like without the presumption of privacy?  What kind of creatures will we become in this brave new world that appears already to have arrived?   It’s not fun to contemplate. Even the medieval peasantry had moments of escape from their feudal lords.

While initially critical of the Snowdens, Assanges or, for that matter,  the mystery man behind this latest literally Earth-shattering dump, I now have somewhere between mixed and positive feelings towards them. (Well, maybe not Snowden.) With all the problems we have, having visited the Soviet Union, the Russian Republic and Communist China (when they were still in Mao suits), I know those countries are mostly little more than giant prisons and we are still (again for now) the good guys.  Nevertheless, I am increasingly concerned we are creating our own “digital prison” that will make Darkness at Noon seem like child’s play.  At least in Arthur Koestler’s novel of the Stalinist purge trials the inmates could communicate by tapping on the walls.  What do we do?