"What Edward Snowden revealed about the secret interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was that the National Security Agency was using it to bulk-collect the calling records, every day, of essentially every American in the United States -- the majority of the big telecommunications companies. However, that's only a very small part of the National Security Agency's mass interception system. On one hand, it can suck information out of the -- of Google, Facebook and so on under the PRISM system; and on the other hand, even more data is collected as a result of information flowing across the border of the United States or across borders of the United Kingdom, which has a sharing agreement with the National Security Agency." -- Julian Assange read more
A couple of weeks ago, the Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush was asked in an interview with Fox News whether, knowing what he knows now, he would have invaded Iraq. It's the kind of predictable question for which most people assumed he would have a coherent answer. They were wrong. Jeb blew it. "I would have [authorised the invasion]," he said. "And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody. And so would almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got."
For the next few days, as he was hammered from left and right, he flailed around like a four-star general in search of a plausible exit strategy. In a number of do-overs, he answered the same question with "I don't know", "I didn't understand the question", and "no" before finally falling back on the perennial Republican default of blaming everything on Barack Obama. read more
"Clinton's campaign staff is working overtime
to show how well she relates to ordinary Americans," writes Elizabeth Schulte at Jacobin. "But the people whose opinions really matter in the presidential election know better."
"As one Wall Street lawyer put it," Schulte continues, " If it turns out to be Jeb vs. Hillary, we would love that and either outcome would be fine' ":
Indeed, if Clinton talks today about economic inequality while she throws her crown into the ring, she has a long and loyal relationship with money and power. Among the top ten contributors to her 2008 campaign were employees from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, Morgan Stanley, and Lehman Brothers -- institutions that can all benefit from a few friends in high places. read more
The naive belief that history is linear, that moral progress accompanies technical progress, is a form of collective self-delusion. It cripples our capacity for radical action and lulls us into a false sense of security. Those who cling to the myth of human progress, who believe that the world inevitably moves toward a higher material and moral state, are held captive by power. Only those who accept the very real possibility of dystopia, of the rise of a ruthless corporate totalitarianism, buttressed by the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history, are likely to carry out the self-sacrifice necessary for revolt. read more
Over the weekend, the British surveillance agency GCHQ -- the most extremist and invasive in the West -- bathed its futuristic headquarters with rainbow-colored lights "as a symbol of the intelligence agency's commitment to diversity" and to express solidarity with "International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia." GCHQ's public affairs office proudly distributed the above photograph to media outlets. Referring to Alan Turing, the closeted-and-oppressed gay World War II British code-breaker just memorialized by an Oscar-nominated feature film, Prime Minister David Cameron's office celebrated GCHQ's inspirational lights: read more