Archive for June, 2013
Mr. Obama gave a speech where he said he was unwilling to wheel and deal for Mr. Snowden:
He told a news conference in the Senegalese capital Dakar: “I’m not going to have one case of a suspect who we’re trying to extradite suddenly being elevated to the point where I’ve got to start doing wheeling and dealing and trading on a whole host of other issues.”
What he really meant to say is that the United States has nothing Russia wants and Ecuador told the United Stats to go pound sand:
Ecuador said on Thursday it was waiving preferential rights under a U.S. trade agreement to demonstrate its principled approach to the asylum request of former American spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
This was in response to the United Stats underhanded threat:
In Washington, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has threatened to lead the effort to remove preferential trade treatment for Ecuadorian goods if the country decides to offer asylum to Snowden.
As it turns out, Ecuador doesn’t negotiate with terrorists:
Ecuador “does not accept threats from anybody, and does not trade in principles, or submit to mercantile interests, as important as they may be,” Alvarez said, according to the AP.
That’s a pretty big fuck you coming from Ecuador. But the bitch slapping didn’t end there:
“What’s more, Ecuador offers the United States economic aid of $23 million annually, similar to what we received with the trade benefits, with the intention of providing education about human rights,” Alvarado added.
As far as political bitch slaps go this one is pretty spectacular. A tiny South American country just told the United States that it doesn’t give a damn about tariffs and that it supports human rights more vigorously than the nation that likes to refer to itself as “the freest nation on Earth.” I believe Ecuador just remove the United States’ balls and put them in its purse.
It’s refreshing to see a nation that is willing to stand up to the United States and protect the freedom of a man who did the right thing.
The list of known crimes perpetrated the National Security Agency (NSA) keeps growing and growing. So far the agency has been caught intercepting Internet traffic, and accessing customer data directly from corporate systems. As this information has continued to roll out people have assumed that those practices are relatively new. Not surprisingly, the NSA has been spying on us for a long time:
The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
The documents indicate that under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata “every 90 days”. A senior administration official confirmed the program, stating that it ended in 2011.
The collection of these records began under the Bush administration’s wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.
The NSA claims that the program ended in 2011 but the only reason it ended was because they had a new program to accomplish the same things. Same shit, different name.
This day and age it’s very difficult to find trustworthy people. Julian Assange knows this fact better than most people since his involvement in WikiLeaks made him a primary target for state aggression. As it turns out, a volunteer for WikiLeaks was actually a paid Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) informant:
On an August workday in 2011, a cherubic 18-year-old Icelandic man named Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson walked through the stately doors of the U.S. embassy in Reykjavík, his jacket pocket concealing his calling card: a crumpled photocopy of an Australian passport. The passport photo showed a man with a unruly shock of platinum blonde hair and the name Julian Paul Assange.
Thordarson was long time volunteer for WikiLeaks with direct access to Assange and a key position as an organizer in the group. With his cold war-style embassy walk-in, he became something else: the first known FBI informant inside WikiLeaks. For the next three months, Thordarson served two masters, working for the secret-spilling website and simultaneously spilling its secrets to the U.S. government in exchange, he says, for a total of about $5,000. The FBI flew him internationally four times for debriefings, including one trip to Washington D.C., and on the last meeting obtained from Thordarson eight hard drives packed with chat logs, video and other data from WikiLeaks.
This news demonstrates two things: Julian Assange’s paranoid was justified and the FBI was investing notable resources into
destroying investigating WikiLeaks. The FBI’s tenacity in investigating WikiLeaks also shows how transparent the current government isn’t. WikiLeaks does little more than release dirty secrets of corporations and governments. If the government was actually transparent it wouldn’t care about its dirty secrets being released, but the government has actually put a great deal of resources into stopping leaks and prosecuting leakers.
Shortly after the shooting in Newtown Mr. Obama issued 23 executive orders that he claimed would help reduce gun violence in the United States. One of those orders said, “Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.” It’s been half of a year since those executive orders were issued and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has completed it’s study. What did it find out? The opposite of what it was planned to find out:
1. Most gun deaths in the US are due to suicide, not violent crimes with guns or accidental shootings. This is a said statistic, but again, this goes back to mental healthcare, not guns.
“Between the years 2000-2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearms related violence in the United States.” [Source]
2. Mass shootings account for a negligible amount of crime in the US. In fact, mass shootings are one of the rarest forms of violent crime in the country.
“The number of public mass shootings of the type that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School accounted for a very small fraction of all firearm-related deaths. Specifically, since 1983 there have been 78 events in which 4 or more individuals were killed by a single perpetrator in a day in the United States, resulting in 547 victims and 476 injured persons.” [Source]
3. This one is probably our favorite. The study admits that self defense is a common occurrence and happens at least as much violent crimes involving guns. This is a direct busted myth to the anti gun argument that guns are almost never used for self defense.
“Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence […]. Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.” [Source]
4. Furthermore, on self defense, if you carry a gun and fight back against a violent assailant, you are less likely to be killed or harmed than someone who decided to fight back and employ another self defense tactic or weapon.
“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns […] have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies.” [Source]
That has to hurt. I’m sure this study, as with most studies that fail to propagate the state’s propaganda, will never buried deep in some hole and never acknowledged again. It’s also likely that several people at the CDC will no longer have jobs as that is often the price of failing to tow the party line. Still, the report is pretty good for gun owners because it shows that even government agencies can’t successfully coverup the fact that guns are useful tools for self-defense.
WASHINGTON—Citing a series of fatal malfunctions dating back to 1777, flag manufacturer Annin & Company announced Monday that it would be recalling all makes and models of its popular American flag from both foreign and domestic markets.
Representatives from the nation’s leading flag producer claimed that as many as 143 million deaths in the past two centuries can be attributed directly to the faulty U.S. models, which have been utilized extensively since the 18th century in sectors as diverse as government, the military, and public education.
The Onion is awesome.
Following along with the war on terror is difficult because the state’s official story constantly changes. One moment we’re lead to believe that the terrorists are a very sophisticated group that utilizes many high-tech communication methods in order to avoid surveillance. The next moment we’re lead to believe that the terrorists are idiotic cavemen who barley have enough intelligence to comprehend the invention of the wheel. Before Snowden leaked information regarding the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program we were told that the terrorists were sophisticated, now that he has leaked that information we’re being told that the terrorists were simpletons:
The U.S. intelligence community says terrorists are trying to change the way they communicate because of what they learned from Edward Snowden’s admitted leaks of classified information about government surveillance programs.
“We can confirm we are seeing indications that several terrorist groups are in fact attempting to change their communications behaviors based specifically on what they are reading about our surveillance programs in the media,” a U.S. intelligence official told CNN.
This is bullshit. Last year a report noted that most terrorist forums existed on, what is often referred to as, the deep web:
In a January 2012 report titled “Jihadism on the Web: A Breeding Ground for Jihad in the Modern Age,” the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service drew a convincing picture of an Islamist Web underground centered around “core forums.” These websites are part of the Deep Web, or Undernet, the multitude of online resources not indexed by commonly used search engines.
The only terrorists using communication channels that can be watched by the NSA are the dumb ones, the ones who pose no legitimate threat. Most terrorists aren’t retarded, they know how to use a search engine to find information on securing communications. By claiming that terrorists are now moving to communication systems that can’t be watched by the NSA the United States government is also claiming that the terrorists are stupid. If the terrorists are that stupid then the government has been lying to us when it claimed that terrorists were sophisticated and therefore a legitimate threat to Americans.
Don’t fall for the bullshit, if the terrorists are intelligent enough to pose a threat then they’ve been using unwatchable forms of communications for decades. The state simply wants to run Snowden’s name through the mud in order to erode popular support for the man’s actions.
Bureaucracies tend to be monstrous abominations that force us to fill out needless paperwork in triplicate just to gain the privilege of filling out more needless paperwork in triplicate. Joy can seldom be found through bureaucracies but when two of them collide they can be very entertaining. When Snowden fled to Hong Kong the United States attempted to extradite him. The Hong Kong government had little interest in sending Snowden back so it looked over the extradition paperwork to find an error that would allow Hong Kong to reject the request. As it turns out, a minor error existed and it may be the thing that allowed Snowden to flee:
According to multiple reports, it was in large part Beijing’s decision to let Snowden leave Hong Kong. But at the very least the US middle-name mix-up provides Hong Kong with a solid diplomatic excuse.
The red tap of bureaucracy has its advantages once in a while.
Since Colorado passed its recent ban on standard capacity magazine Magpul has been demonstrating how to fight for gun rights. With the ban taking effect on July 1st, Magpul has decided to have a little shindig on June 29th:
Come on out and join the festivities at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO, this Saturday, June 29, celebrating FREEDOM on the last weekend before the unconstitutional mag ban takes effect, and get your last shot at purchasing PMAGs. We’ll be there, and we’ve ponied up a LOT of PMAGs. First 1500 through the gate get a Boulder Airlift or Free CO PMAG FREE! Food, live music, and a helo-borne aerial delivery of PMAGs. Proceeds from mag sales go towards the legislative and legal fight for 2A rights in CO. Get tickets and pre-purchase PMAGs at:
“GLENDALE— Saturday, June 29th, Free Colorado, a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of gun owners, will host “A Farewell to Arms” Freedom Festival. This event marks Coloradan’s last chance to celebrate the ability to own standard capacity magazines prior to new Colorado laws taking effect on July 1st.
The first 1500 attendees through the gate over the age of 18 will receive a free Magpul Gen M2 MOE 30rd magazine featuring either the Free Colorado or Boulder Airlift design, courtesy of Magpul Industries Corp. Tickets for attendees and magazines can be pre-purchased online at www.freecolorado.net.”
I’m glad to see Magpul is doing what it can to ensure as many standard capacity magazines are distributed in Colorado before the ban becomes enforceable. After July 1st it will be up to us gun owners living outside of Colorado to ensure our friends inside of Colorado can still get access to standard capacity magazines. Together we can render this ban irrelevant.
I made a few updates to the site. Why do things still look the same? Because all the changes I made were on the back end.
A report released by Netcraft discussed the severe lack of servers that implement perfect forward secrecy (PFS). I hadn’t given PFS any thought but I decided to implement it yesterday. What does this mean to you? As we know, the National Security Agency (NSA) has been busy collecting everybody’s data. The agency claims to dispose of any information from persons inside of the United States but save all encrypted data because the identify of the creator can’t be verified (in truth, the NSA is almost certainly keeping all data regardless of the physical location of the creator). It’s saving everything in the hopes of decrypting it later.
Normally, under Hyper Text Transport Protocol Secure (HTTPS), any intercepted data can be decrypted with the private key. PFS negotiates a temporary keypair between a server and each client. This means the NSA can’t decrypt HTTPS secured data even if they are able to obtain a copy of the server’s private key.
Additionally, I redirected the unsecured version of this site to the secured version. If you try to access https://blog.christopherburg.com your browser will automatically be redirected to https://blog.christopherburg.com/.
I don’t have anything else for you today because last night’s CryptoParty went longer than I expected. The turnout exceeded my expectations by a notable amount so I think we managed to get a good number of people setup with OpenPGP. As it turns out, explaining OpenPGP in two hours isn’t feasible so there is still some fine tuning requires on our behalf but I think we did far better than last time. If anybody reading this has previous CryptoParty experience feel free to comment below or send me an e-mail covering what you’ve learned.