Rebellion Exists Everywhere

New York City, which is ruled be the despotic dictator Michael Bloomberg, is generally ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing a complete police state. To paraphrase a Star Wars quote, the more you tighten your grip, the more people will slip through your fingers. While New York City has a prohibition against gatherings larger than 50 people, unless the group buys a permit, people have decided to give the oligarchy of that city a giant middle finger and hold massive illegal gatherings underground:

In the distance, beyond the bend in the trackbed, a weird chanting began to ripple out and echo through the space. I saw the glow of candles, and as I approached I saw that everyone had been drawn to the end of the line. On what would have been part of a subway platform, a few people were leading the group in some sort of wild incantation. By the time I got there it reached a euphoric crescendo, and one of the performers overlooking the crowd yelled something like, “Bring your candles to the Echo Vault!”

By the time I drifted back to the vault with the others, a woman on “stage” (Jessica Delfino) was singing a hypnotic a cappella ballad about New York. Then a drummer, Joel Saladino, joined her, bashing away at the kit in a series of increasingly ferocious drum solos.

I climbed the stairs up another two stories and carefully tiptoed across one of the crossbeams extending the width of the Vault, trying not to think about how I’d probably break an ankle or worse if I fell. The view from back there was incredible, and when the stage at the opposite end filled with the Extra Action Marching Band, I could see the party was really getting started. It was like the Zion dance party in Matrix Reloaded, but with fewer douchebags. The music was thunderous and suddenly the mood was exultant—everyone danced, because that was the only way to deal with the inexplicable joy that was exploding down there.

If we’d gotten caught, the organizers would no doubt have faced some serious criminal charges. But if it was up to me, I’d give them the keys to the city for raising such an audacious middle finger to the notion that New York City’s underground is dead and gone.

What Stark and Austin and the musicians managed to create, almost miraculously, was a Temporary Autonomous Zone to remind us that this is still a city worth living in, despite the creeping feeling that New York’s being bled dry by an ever-expanding corporate vampire real estate army.

No matter how tight the rulers of New York City, or anywhere else, clamp down the people will always find a way to bypass the authorities. This is why human progress, which is only possible thanks to anarchy, can continue. The state tries to prevent change from occurring by passing laws but laws are meaningless when they can’t be enforced.

Knowing that illegal underground gatherings like the one mentioned in the story, albeit on a much smaller scale, occur here in the Twin Cities puts a smile on my face. Rebellion is everywhere and it’s a beautiful thing.

It’s a Thug’s Life in the IRS

Look, I get it, the state needs to threaten people with violence in order to coerce them into paying taxes. If we’re going to give people guns and send them out to threaten peaceful people could we at least hire competent individuals:

Special agents at the IRS accidentally shot their firearms 11 times between 2009 and 2011, and at least three of the cases “may have resulted in property damage or personal injury.”

Agents actually fired their guns accidently more often than they intentionally fired them in the field, according to an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Emphasis mine. Give a man a gun and he’s held accountable for his actions. Give a man a gun and a badge and he’s unaccountable for anything. I still think gun control advocates should be focusing their efforts on these unaccountable government thugs instead of people like me. If I negligently discharged a firearm in public I’d be brought up on charges yet government agents who negligently discharge their firearm in public are let off. Who’s more dangerous, the accountable individual or the unaccountable thug?

Encrypt Everything: Installing Thunderbird and Enigmail

After a longer than expected break I’m returning to the Encrypt Everything series. Previously I discussed OpenPGP and explained how to generate keypairs in OS X, Windows, and Linux. In this installment I will explain how to install the Thunderbird e-mail client and its Engimail plugin, which enables sending and receiving OpenPGP signed and encrypted e-mails. Be sure you’ve followed the previous guide for your operating system as installing GNU Privacy Guide and generating a keypair is a prerequisite. This guide will apply to OS X, Windows, and Linux.

Step one is to download a copy of Thunderbird. This can be done by going to Mozilla’s Thunderbird website, which should automatically detect what operating system you’re running and provide you with the appropriate binary. If you, like me, run NoScript then separate links for each operating system will be displayed.


If you haven’t installed GPGTools yet do so.

After GPGTools has been installed download the latest version of Thunderbird from Mozilla’s website. The file you download will be a .dmg. Double-clicking on the file will mount it and you’ll be greeted with the following window:

To install Thunderbird simply drag the Thunderbird icon over the Applications folder shortcut and release the mouse button. That’s it, Thunderbird is installed.


If you haven’t installed Gpg4win yet do so.

Once you’ve installed Gpg4win download the latest version of Thunderbird from Mozilla’s website. The downloaded file is a standard Windows installer. Double-click on it to start the installation process:

Once the installer has opened click the Next button twice followed by the Install button. Once Thunderbird is installed click the Finish button and you’re done.


GNU Privacy Guard is installed by default on many Linux distributions but you still need to generate a keypair. If you haven’t generated your keypair yet do so.

As with my previous Linux guide this guide was created using Xubuntu 13.04, which includes Thunderbird as the default e-mail client. Likewise, according to Ubuntu’s website, Thunderbird has been the default e-mail client since version 11.10. According to this guide Thunderbird is also included by default on Fedora Core.

Therefore, if you’re using any of the distributions this guide is applicable to, you already have Thunderbird installed. Wasn’t that easy?

Installing Enigmail

Now that you have Thunderbird installed you will need to install the Enigmail plugin. Doing so is simple thanks to Thunderbird’s built-in ability to find and install plugins. The following steps apply to OS X, Windows, and Linux. Screenshots will be taken on an OS X virtual machine because it is my default operating system.

First, if you are running OS X or Linux, go to the Tools menu and click Add-ons:

If you are running Windows click the menu button on the right-hand side of Thunderbird (next to the search box) and click Add-ons:

This will open the Add-ons Manager tab:

See the box in the upper right-hand corner of the tab labeled “Search all add-ons”? Enter “enigmail” into it and hit the enter key. You will get a list of available plugins:

The Enigmail plugin will likely be the first result:

Click the Install button to begin the installation process. You will see a progress indicator:

Once Enigmail has been downloaded and installed you will be asked to restart Thunderbird:

That’s it, you’re setup and ready to begin sending OpenPGP signed and encrypted e-mails. As you can guess sending actual e-mails will be the topic of the next Encrypt Everything installment.

Make the NSA Pay, Encrypt and Anonymize Your Communications Today

As it turns out there is yet another reason to encrypt and anonymize your communications, it will directly cost the National Security Agency (NSA):

Using online anonymity services such as Tor or sending encrypted e-mail and instant messages are grounds for US-based communications to be retained by the National Security Agency even when they’re collected inadvertently, according to a secret government document published Thursday.

The document, titled Minimization Procedures Used by the National Security Agency in Connection with Acquisitions of Foreign Intelligence, is the latest bombshell leak to be dropped by UK-based newspaper The Guardian. It and a second, top-secret document detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed or can be retained. The memos outline procedures NSA analysts must follow to ensure they stay within the mandate of minimizing data collected on US citizens and residents.

While the documents make clear that data collection and interception must cease immediately once it’s determined a target is within the US, they still provide analysts with a fair amount of leeway. And that leeway seems to work to the disadvantage of people who take steps to protect their Internet communications from prying eyes. For instance, a person whose physical location is unknown—which more often than not is the case when someone uses anonymity software from the Tor Project—”will not be treated as a United States person, unless such person can be positively identified as such, or the nature or circumstances of the person’s communications give rise to a reasonable belief that such person is a United States person,” the secret document stated.

The more encrypted and anonymized data sent across the Internet the more hard drives the NSA has to buy. Do your duty to cost the NSA money, encrypt and anonymize your data today.

Oh, and it goes without saying but, the NSA is certainly lying when it claims it ceases surveillance upon determining a target is within the United States. This is the same agency that claimed it wasn’t spying on American citizens while it was spying on American citizens.

The Netherlands Closing Prisons Due to Lack of Prisoners

Here’s a headline you’ll never read in the United States:

The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty.

During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees.

Unlike the Netherlands, the United States is heavily dependent on slave labor. Between Federal Prison Industries, better known as UNICOR, the organization that all federal government agencies, excluding the Department of Defense, must source supplies from first and Corrections Corporation of America, a private industry that sells slave prison labor to interested companies, the United States is dependent on the prison-industrial complex. Because of this dependency the United States will continue to create more prisons and prisoners to fill those prisons.

While the situation may suck here in my home country I’m glad to see the prison-industrial complex isn’t as pervasive in other countries.

How Do You Sign “Shut Up Slave”

I often hear people say that the right to free speech much have reasonable restrictions placed upon it. Usually these people are hyper sensitive ninnies whose skin is so thin that it’s penetrated by even the most childish of insults. A school board in New Jersey, a state that is well ahead of the average American police state curve, have found another reason to curtail the freedom of speech, safety:

School officials have threatened a hearing-impaired girl with suspension if she uses sign language to talk to her friends on the school bus, the girl’s parents say.

Danica Lesko and her parents say sign language is the only way to for the 12-year-old to communicate, especially while riding to school on a noisy bus.

But officials at Stonybrook School — which is not a school for the hearing-impaired — and district officials in Branchburg, N.J., apparently believe signing is a safety hazard. They have sent a letter to the Lesko family ordering Danica to stop using sign language on the school bus or risk a three-day suspension.


In a statement released through the school district’s attorney, David Rubin, the Branchburg Board of Education refused to discuss the details of Danica’s case, saying only that its version of events differs from the parents’ version.

However, the board insisted it has not violated anyone’s rights and is only trying to protect other students who must ride on the school bus.

“The Board is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all students with disabilities, and is satisfied that there has been no violation of that policy in this case,” officials said in the statement. “The Board is also committed to assuring the safety of all students who travel on District buses, and will continue to take appropriate steps to accomplish that goal.”

It appears that little Danica’s reliance on sign language to communicate is a danger to her fellow students. By Odin, she could have expressed ideas that haven’t been expressly approved by the Thought Police! Imagine the damage she could cause if she incited her fellow slaves to throw off the shackles of the public education system. There could be freethinkers running around in a few years!

Minnesota Pirate Party CryptoParty

On Tuesday, June 25th the Minnesota Pirate Party will be hosting its second CryptoParty. For those of you who aren’t signed up with Facebook, the event will be held at the Churchill Apartments located at 111 Marquette Ave. South in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To gain entry ring apartment #483.

At this event we will go over public-key cryptography, how to setup OpenPGP to encrypt e-mail, and how to use Off-the-Record Messaging to encrypt instant messages. Everybody is welcome even if you work for a three letter government agency that has been caught spying on American citizens (in fact agents of that agency are encouraged to attend so we can emasculate you by demonstrating how futile your spying efforts are).

The Government Learned Its Lesson, Kill the Whistleblower Before He Blows the Whistle

Michael Hasting’s mysterious death last week left a lot of unanswered questions. Somehow the man managed to die in a car accident, that was so horrific his vehicle burst into flames, shortly after contacting WikiLeaks with concern that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) was investigating him. More evidence has been brought to light that gives credence to the idea that Hastings was murdered by the United States government:

Hours before dying in a fiery car crash, award-winning journalist Michael Hastings sent an email to his colleagues, warning that federal authorities were interviewing his friends and that he needed to go “off the rada[r]” for a bit.

[…]Here’s the email, with the recipients’ names redacted.

Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA

Hey (redacted names) — the Feds are interviewing my “close friends and associates.” Perhaps if the authorities arrive “BuzzFeed GQ,” er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.

Also: I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit.

All the best, and hope to see you all soon.


I think the federal government learned its lesson with Edward Snowden, kill the whistleblower before he has a chance to blow the whistle. Anything is possible considering how out of control the federal government has proven to be.

The Most Transparent Government in History Charged Edward Snowden with Spying

During his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama promises to create the most transparent government in history. He must have been using Orwellian doublespeak because a transparent government, upon learning about criminal activity within itself, would move to punish the corrupt individuals within the system not the person who brought the corruption to light. In fact Obama’s website still has the following posted:

Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

For a man who promised a transparent government and protections for whistleblowers it’s pretty ironic to see his administration charged Edward Snowdan with spying:

The US justice department has filed criminal charges against a fugitive ex-intelligence analyst who leaked details of a secret surveillance operation.

The charges against ex-National Security Agency (NSA) analyst Edward Snowden include espionage and theft of government property.

In May, Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong after leaking details of a programme to monitor phone and internet data.

The US is also reported to be preparing an extradition request.

Fortunately, for Mr. Snowden and transparency, the government of Hong Kong told the United States government to pound sand by buying Snowden some time to vacate their country:

HONG KONG — A former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a “third country” because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory’s government said Sunday.

Hong Kong’s government did not identify the country. Snowden, who has been in hiding in Hong Kong for several weeks since he revealed information on the highly classified spy programs, has talked of seeking asylum in Iceland.

Where in the world is Mr. Snowden? By the sounds of it, Ecuador:

Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.

Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.

I wonder what this will do to the United States attempt to arrest him? Ecuador has demonstrated an unwillingness to play ball with other nations by giving Julian Assange asylum in their embassy in Britain. It seems unlikely that Ecuador will hand over Snowden, which means the charges of spying are a moot point, unless the United States decides to declare war on Ecuador (I wouldn’t put it past them).

There’s also a great deal of irony in the United States government charging Snowden with spying after he revealed the United States was spying on everybody. This double standard shouldn’t surprise anybody, it’s inherent in statism.

The FBI Arresting People for Writing Bad Science Fiction

I guess the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has decided that creating terrorists to arrest is too much work and are now opting to arrest people who write intricate fantastical plots involving science fiction inventions:

New York (CNN) — Two New York state men have been charged in a bizarre plan to develop a mobile X-ray system that would be used from afar to silently kill people that they deemed “undesirable,” federal officials said.

Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, and Eric J. Feight, 54, were arrested Tuesday after an undercover operation by the Albany FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. They were charged with conspiracy to provide material support for use of a weapon of mass destruction, according to the criminal complaint.

Crawford and Feight were developing a device “intended to be mobile … designed to turn on remotely from some distance away” that would emit “some dangerous levels of X-ray radiation,” according to John Duncan, executive assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York.

Perhaps it’s too much to ask that a charge involving a conspiracy to build a weapon of mass destruction actually require the construction of the weapon to be plausible. If those two are found guilty it will sets a precedence that will allow the FBI will be arrested every male elementary school student who gets into a competition with his friends to see who can imagine the most powerful weapon ever.

Whether those two are found guilty or not the fact that they were arrested at all should invalidate any legitimacy the FBI claims to have. The agency actually invested resources into this investigation. As soon as the FBI agents assigned to this task heard that the plan was to build a ray gun they should have laughed, told the two to carry on, and went back to doing what the FBI does best, finding people with lukewarm intelligence to hand a fake bomb to so the agency can claim to have stopped another terrorist plot.

This story also demonstrates a total lack of creativity on behalf of the agents assigned to this task. The best science fiction plot they could drum up involved a ray gun? Really? That shit is so 1950s. Since I’m sure somebody in the FBI is reading this post (if they have time to investigate those two bozos they probably have time to watch me) let me post a proposal. For a small fee I will gladly write a low grade science fiction plot for the FBI that actually involves weapons of mass destruction. It could involve an orbital ion cannon, a walking robot that lobs nuclear missiles, a device capable of create localized black holes, or an alien invasion. If I get paid a little extra I’ll even get creative and come up with something halfway original. Then the next time the FBI encounters a group of people with science fiction fantasies the agents assigned to the investigation can suggest something far more interesting than a ray gun. After the arrest the agency can then claim they saved the lives of millions, or even billions, of people.

Seriously, I can’t even sum up how incredibly stupid this story is. If nothing else convinces the American people that the FBI is, quite literally, making shit up as they go nothing will.