Category Archives: East Asia

CISA Is Now The Law: How Congress Quietly Passed The Second Patriot Act

Update: CISA is now the law: OBAMA SIGNS SPENDING, TAX BILL THAT REPEALS OIL EXPORT BAN

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Back in 2014, civil liberties and privacy advocates were up in arms when the government tried to quietly push through the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, a law which would allow federal agencies – including the NSA – to share cybersecurity, and really any information with private corporations “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” The most vocal complaint involved CISA’s information-sharing channel, which was ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks and breaches, and which provided a loophole in privacy laws that enabled intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.

Ironically, in its earlier version, CISA had drawn the opposition of tech firms including Apple, Twitter, Reddit, as well as the Business Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and many others including countless politicians and, most amusingly, the White House itself.

In April, a coalition of 55 civil liberties groups and security experts signed onto an open letter opposing it. In July, the Department of Homeland Security itself warned that the bill could overwhelm the agency with data of “dubious value” at the same time as it “sweep[s] away privacy protections.” Most notably, the biggest aggregator of online private content, Facebook, vehemently opposed the legislation however a month ago it was “surprisingly” revealed that Zuckerberg had been quietly on the side of the NSA all along as we reported in “Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying For Privacy-Destroying “Cyber-Security” Bill.” 

Even Snowden chimed in:

Following the blitz response, the push to pass CISA was tabled following a White House threat to veto similar legislation. Then, quietly, CISA reemerged after the same White House mysteriously flip-flopped, expressed its support for precisely the same bill in August.

And then the masks fell off, when it became obvious that not only are corporations eager to pass CISA despite their previous outcry, but that they have both the White House and Congress in their pocket.

As Wired reminds us, when the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21 in October, privacy advocates were again “aghast” that the key portions of the law were left intact which they said make it more amenable to surveillance than actual security, claiming that Congress has quietly stripped out “even more of its remaining privacy protections.”

“They took a bad bill, and they made it worse,” says Robyn Greene, policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute.

But while Congress was preparing a second assault on privacy, it needed a Trojan Horse with which to enact the proposed legislation into law without the public having the ability to reject it.

It found just that by attaching it to the Omnibus $1.1 trillion Spending Bill, which passed the House early this morning, passed the Senate moments ago and will be signed into law by the president in the coming hours.

This is how it happened, again courtesy of Wired:

In a late-night session of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new version of the “omnibus” bill, a massive piece of legislation that deals with much of the federal government’s funding. It now includes a version of CISA as well. Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.

It gets: it appears that while CISA was on hiatus, US lawmakers – working under the direction of corporations adnt the NSA – were seeking to weaponize the revised legislation, and as Wired says, the latest version of the bill appended to the omnibus legislation seems to exacerbate the problem of personal information protections.

It creates the ability for the president to set up “portals” for agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so that companies hand information directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies instead of to the Department of Homeland Security. And it also changes when information shared for cybersecurity reasons can be used for law enforcement investigations. The earlier bill had only allowed that backchannel use of the data for law enforcement in cases of “imminent threats,” while the new bill requires just a “specific threat,” potentially allowing the search of the data for any specific terms regardless of timeliness.

Some, like Senator Ron Wyden, spoke out out against the changes to the bill in a press statement, writing they’d worsened a bill he already opposed as a surveillance bill in the guise of cybersecurity protections.

Senator Richard Burr, who had introduced the earlier version of bill, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Americans deserve policies that protect both their security and their liberty,” he wrote. “This bill fails on both counts.”

Why was the CISA included in the omnibus package, which just passed both the House and the Senate? Because any “nay” votes  – or an Obama – would also threaten the entire budget of the federal government. In other words, it was a question of either Americans keeping their privacy or halting the funding of the US government, in effect bankrupting the nation.

And best of all, the rushed bill means there will be no debate.

The bottom line as OTI’s Robyn Green said, “They’ve got this bill that’s kicked around for years and had been too controversial to pass, so they’ve seen an opportunity to push it through without debate. And they’re taking that opportunity.

The punchline: “They’re kind of pulling a Patriot Act.”

And when Obama signs the $1.1 trillion Spending Bill in a few hours, as he will, it will be official: the second Patriot Act will be the law, and with it what little online privacy US citizens may enjoy, will be gone.

 

 

Source : Zero Hedge.

US Savagery Visited Upon Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Now Visits Bangkok

US ambassador’s appointment portended deadly attack. 

August 17, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – A deadly blast tore through downtown Bangkok on Monday evening as people rushed home from work. Over 15 are reported dead, and over 80 injured, many seriously – missing limbs or sustaining life-threatening injuries.

The bombing is the latest in a string of attacks carried out by US-backed, ousted dictator Thaksin Shinawatra and his violent political front, United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or simply the “red shirts.” In addition to violent street mobs, Shinawatra has augmented his front with heavily armed militants and terrorists who made their debut in 2010 when 300 of them confronted Royal Thai Army soldiers in the streets of Bangkok, leading to weeks of armed clashes that ended nearly 100 lives and injured hundreds more.

Image: Shinawatra’s militants opening using protesters as cover as they attack Thai soldiers on April 10, 2010. The ambush would be followed by weeks of armed clashes in the streets, leaving nearly 100 dead. 

Again in 2013-2014, these militants would be deployed to attack, terrorize, and mass murder protesters marching in the streets to depose Shinawatra’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who held office in his place. Over 30 would be killed, including women and children killed in grenade attacks.

In May 2014, the Thai military finally ousted the Shinawatra regime in a peaceful coup and has since begun dismantling Shinawatra’s terrorist and political networks – much to the displeasure of the US. It was predicted then, based on demographic and strategic analysis, that the “civil war” and mass demonstrations Shinwatra and the Western media threatened Thailand with were all but an impossibility, and that the only option left would be a campaign of systematic terror – terror that has since unfolded.

In early 2015, two powerful bombs would detonate just down the road from the most recent bombing in downtown Bangkok. The bombing was carried out just days after Shinawatra’s red shirts vowed to “create violence like that seen in the South.”

In April 2015, there would another bombing carried out in coordination with a concerted propaganda campaign launched by the Western media to degrade Thailand’s economy. The bombing attacked a popular tourist destination.

There was also a grenade attack on Thailand’s Criminal Court building in a desperate bid to derail moves by the Thai government to hold accountable the Shinawatra regime for its various and egregious crimes committed while in power – the suspect  linked directly to Thaksin Shinawatra’s brother, Chaiyasit Shinawatra. The Bangkok Post would report in their article, “Chaiyasit admits knowing suspect, ‘ready to explain‘,” that:

Gen Chaiyasit Shinawatra, a former supreme commander and a cousin of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has admitted he knew one of the suspects in the grenade attack on the Criminal Court, saying the man had once asked him for charity. 

It is abundantly clear that Shinwatra’s US-backed political front, unable to muster mobs in the streets and being systematically uprooted from the political landscape of Thailand, has turned to a campaign of terrorism to extort concessions from the ruling Thai government. Many of Shinawatra’s closest allies remain both in Thailand, and prominent members of the political opposition.

US Savagery Visits Bangkok 

The nomination and recent appointment of Glyn Davies as US Ambassador to Thailand was long warned would bring with it political subversion and violence like that seen in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine shortly before large scale US-backed proxy wars erupted.

Before Davies began his career in “diplomacy,” according to his official biography hosted on the US State Department’s official website, he attended and graduated from the National War College in Washington D.C. earning a master’s degree in “National Security Strategy.”

The National War College trains mid-senior military leaders as well as select members of the US State Department. The curriculum includes topics such as “The Non-Military Instruments of Power” which is described as (emphasis added):

Core course 6300 focuses on the utility of the non-military instruments of power in achieving national security objectives. Specifically, the course analyzes the nature, purposes, capabilities, leadership potential, and limitations of the non-military instruments of statecraft, with blocks of instruction on the diplomatic, informational and economic instruments. The course also investigates and critiques a variety of ways to orchestrate these instruments into coherent strategies. The focus here is on coordinating the use of non-military instruments in persuasive, inducement, and coercive strategies.

There is also “The Global Context,” which is described as (emphasis added):

Course 6500 is to help students understand the world and assess emerging strategic threats and opportunities in the global arena. Students will study selected drivers of international relations, and their impact on a range of nation-states and international regions. Students will examine how states respond to these drivers – analyzing trends and developments within nations, comparing and contrasting regional contexts and national perspectives, and recommending how best to prioritize US interests within and across regions. The course incorporates states, non-state actors and transnational actors in enhancing student understanding of the global context. Through their examination of trends, national responses to those trends, and US responses to changes in the global context, students will develop a working knowledge of the international security context essential for creating, analyzing and carrying out national security strategy and policy.

A War College graduate versed in “non-military instruments of power” being posted in Thailand as US Ambassador as increasingly violent means to overturn the military-led government and its attempts to uproot the Shinawatra regime and the foreign-backed networks propping it up, bodes poorly for Thailand’s peace and stability.

It was reported in NEO Journal in May in an article titled, “US Nominates War College Grad as Ambassador to Thailand,” that:

The worst case scenario sees Davies, just as US Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford did in 2011, openly consorting with armed terrorists in a blatantly US-backed attempt to violently overthrow Thailand’s political order. The prospects of a “civil war” in Thailand are impossible. What is possible however, is widespread terrorism aimed at destroying the Thai economy and tarnishing its image both regionally and internationally.

While Thailand possesses several key advantages over Libya, Syria, and Ukraine, primarily the fact that the US and Shinawatra are incapable of fielding military forces capable of challenging Thailand’s territorial integrity, the prospect of a protracted and viscous terrorist campaign aimed at disrupting Thailand’s capital, including tourism and commuting is seen as a point of viable leverage the US can use against the Thai government.
In addition to ousting and uprooting a loyal US proxy, the current Thai government has been gravitating ever closer to China, disrupting long-laid plans to use Southeast Asia as a united front with which the US can encircle and contain Beijing.
Thailand now faces two choices. It can choose like Libya, Syria, and Ukraine did, and allow increasing violence to threaten the peace, stability, and even survival of Thailand as a functioning nation-state, or it can choose as Egypt has done, rounding up all senior and mid-level leaders left in Shinawatra’s political front, as well as those working throughout US-funded NGOs backing them, try and sentence them – forever removing them from Thailand political landscape once and for all.

The terrorism may still continue, but in vain – and while Thailand will certainly become “unpopular” among the so-called “international community” – a term perceived widely to actually mean “the West,” it will at least survive. The current government is already “unpopular” with the West and the prospects of restoring beneficial ties with them have already diminished irreparably.

The world appears to be increasingly descending into a global conflict – albeit fought through fourth generation warfare. Proxy wars, political subversion, and terrorism have replaced the lighting maneuver warfare and deep operations of World War II. By denying this reality, nations like Libya and Syria failed to prepare sufficiently for when one phase of this new warfare shifted into a more deadly variety. Thailand today has examples of how to, and more importantly, how not to navigate through this next phase.

Doubling down its alliances regionally, and removing the vectors of sedition and terrorism the US and its proxies are using within the Kingdom – including the eradication of their client political fronts and US-funded NGOs – appears to have well served those on the front line of this new global war who are still standing.

 

Source : Land Destroyer.

Activist Post: Disloyal to the United States? Wesley Clark Wants to Detain You For Duration of War on Terror

Former US General Wesley Clark went on MSNBC to promote detaining domestic ‘radicals’ or people ‘disloyal to the United States’ in internment camps for the duration of the war on terror.

The host asked Clark “How do we fix self-radicalized lone wolves, domestically?”

First, Clark cites people who lose a job or break up with a girlfriend as being especially dangerous. Next he tells us what he’d do to those who’re disloyal to the U.S. during the war on terror.

“In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech. We put them in a camp,” Clark continued, “They were prisoners of war.””If these people are radicalized, and they don’t support the United States, and they’re disloyal to the United States, as a matter of principle, fine, that’s their right, but it’s our (the government’s) right and our obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict. And I think we’re going to have to get increasingly get tough on this.”

 

Source : Activist Post

US Embassy Mute Over Bangkok Bombings

Imagine a bomb going off in New York City’s Times Square and the US government making an announcement about the Super Bowl instead.

That’s just what happened in Thailand Sunday evening when a double bombing took place in the very heart of downtown Bangkok. While there were no injuries, it is a dangerous sign sent by incredibly dangerous terrorists who have killed hundreds of people in the past 10 years as part of deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s bid to claw his way back into power. In the wake of the bombing, the US Embassy in Thailand neither warned people about the violence, nor condemned it.

Instead, the official US Embassy Twitter account congratulated the New England Patriots for their win during the Fortune 500 social-engineering sporting spectacle, the Super Bowl.

Bombing is Part of US-backed Strategy

If you visit the US Embassy’s website, the first link is to information about the “roles of civil society and political institutions on democratization in Thailand,” or in plain English, US-backed subversion aimed at overwriting Thailand’s indigenous institutions with foreign-backed NGOs that serve foreign interests. The story features a publication titled, “Democratic Regression in Thailand (.pdf),” referring to the ousting of US-backed dictator and mass murderer, Thaksin Shianwatra.

Image: Shinawatra’s political party, led by demagogues like Nattawut Saikua
to this day continues to threaten violence and in particular, bombings in
Bangkok, as a means to leverage concessions from the current government.

Reuters, BBC, CNN, and others who were last year were hysterical over protests aimed at ousting the Shinawatra family, claiming they were “anti-democratic militants,” brushed off the bombing as a non-event – with some even inferring the current government may have staged it – a tempting theory if Shinawatra’s political party didn’t openly threaten to bomb Bangkok just days ago, as reported by the Nation.

The bombing is most likely a trial balloon to see how the government reacts, with more likely to follow if the US believes it can sufficiently destabilize Thailand and the popularity of the current government in order to either stage large protests or execute a US-backed “counter-coup” or a combination of both. The bombing may have been small, but the implications are large.

Complacency is precisely what the perpetrators of this attack need to move on to the next step. Galvanized resistance and demonstrable resolve will indicate to the terrorists and their sponsors that they have met yet another obstacle in their efforts undermine and overthrow Thailand’s current sociopolitical order.

 

Source : Land Destroyer