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Israel’s N.S.A. Scandal (nytimes.com)
344 points by not_that_noob on Sept 23, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 134 comments

Instead of being buried at the end of the article, Bamford's penultimate paragraph

   In Moscow, Mr. Snowden told me that the document 
   reminded him of the F.B.I.’s overreach during the days 
   of J. Edgar Hoover, when the bureau abused its powers to 
   monitor and harass political activists. “It’s much like 
   how the F.B.I. tried to use Martin Luther King’s 
   infidelity to talk him into killing himself,” he said. 
   “We said those kinds of things were inappropriate back 
   in the ’60s. Why are we doing that now? Why are we 
   getting involved in this again?”
... should be cut-and-pasted into any comment thread where a security-state apologist is trying to make people believe that Snowden is anything other than a patriot.

We can't fix this by working within the system. That's what the Church Committee tried to do. They failed. There is no reason to think their twenty-first century counterparts will not fail again.

The Church Committee succeeded pretty well; the reforms held for a number of years.

These kinds of checks on state power require regular maintenance. What we need is a modern Church Committee, not to throw up our hands at the political system entirely.

Accompanying one of his later document releases, Snowden himself said:

   In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential 
   enemies are doing, the United States government has 
   perfected a technological capability that enables it to 
   monitor virtually all message traffic.  Now, that 
   is necessary and important to the United States as we 
   look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must 
   know, at the same time, that capability at any time 
   could be turned around on the American people, and no 
   American would have any privacy left, such is the 
   capability to monitor everything — telephone 
   conversations, email messages, it doesn't matter.  
   There would be no place to hide.

   If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator 
   ever took charge in this country, the technological 
   capacity that the intelligence community has given the 
   government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and 
   there would be no way to fight back because the most 
   careful effort to combine together in resistance to the 
   government, no matter how privately it was done, is
   within the reach of the government to know. Such is the 
   capability of this technology.

   I don't want to see this country ever go across the 
   bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make 
   tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that 
   all agencies that possess this technology operate within
   the law and under proper supervision so that we never 
   cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which 
   there is no return.
Oh, wait, no, those words weren't from accused traitor Edward Snowden in 2014, they were from Senator Frank Church in 1975, recast slightly in modern terms to avoid premature discharge of irony. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee )

Sounds like they "succeeded pretty well" to me, too. Succeeded in predicting the future.

What, in your opinion, will be different this time around?

You can't expect reforms made in the seventies to constrain intelligence agencies indefinitely. The Church Committee imposed real, effective limits on domestic surveillance that it took the best part of three decades to weasel out of. Why not do it again, and do it more regularly?

You seem to be arguing that because the Church Committee didn't fix the problem of government overreach once and for all, it accomplished nothing.

Why is constantly maintaining political agreements a superior solution to building crypto solutions that can't be broken (economically)

Because this is ultimately a social problem. You're not going to make conflict or oppression obsolete with encryption; even if a tyrrannical government can't get any actionable information out of someone it perceives as an antagonist, it may feel free to abuse or torture people simply to keep the rest of the population in line - by terrorizing some people and catering by proxy to the sadistic instincts of others.Many different societies are quite happy to tolerate viciously oppressive governments as long as the oppression is concentrated upon a distinct minority population.

The popular show "24" in its most recent season made the express decision to demonize hackers and glorify the use of drones in combat. I implore you to watch the first episode of the last season, where a masculine Jack Bauer is depicted breaking a pale, radical-looking emo hacker out of an underground torture facility in Britain.

Minutes later, Bauer expresses disappointment with the hacker for aiding WikiLeaks. I'd love to pretend they really are losing their creative edge, but the average person tacitly accepts the messaging without question. It's product placement, pure and simple. The psychological seed is being sown.

Who better for the NSA to depict in the "Tor Stinks" slides as the enemy than a 20 or 30-something Tor user: http://media.bestofmicro.com/L/8/403820/original/nsa-tor-doc...

This is why you need to start telling everyone you know to use Tor. If you're capable of getting people to use your shitty consumer applications then you can use your skills to get them to do the right thing.

Funny, I've been binge watching all seasons recently. It's entertaining and pretty well executed.

And it's so obvious and effective propaganda material (and they made 9(!) seasons of it to keep these brains washed) - produced following "Fox News" guidelines, one would conclude.

The central and repeated message is:

1. Terrorists are everywhere

2. Total surveillance is therefor necessary and must be reinforced, not cut back

3. Torture is not nice, but it mostly works and must therefor be maintained

4. Leaking of classified information is in any case a serious crime that can never be justified

And then, we wonder why approximately 50% of the US population think Snowden is a traitor.

It's a television show.

The Century of the Self

Bernays Propaganda

Surely professionals in other industries haven't studied this for decades, or have they?

More than half of American TV shows are produced by the intelligence agency. Hollywood has been a velvet glove for a long time ..

Didn't any of you wonder why season 4 of Community was so bad? Wake up, sheeple!

Because political power can make certain technologies illegal, or constrain their implementation. For example, encryption is not much use if the law mandates that the government gets a copy of every private key. This was really proposed in the 1990s and thankfully defeated through political pressure.

To have the best defense of our freedoms, we need both. We need to be vigilant in the political system and in the courts to protect our rights, and we need to be using the best technical means--and developing better technical means--to protect our privacy not only from overreaching governments but also from careless private businesses and common criminals.

Because humans are always the weakest link in any security mechanism. In the context of the government spying on you, it doesn't matter if you encrypt all your communication. The government can still force you (and/or your friends and loved ones) to give them what they want, and do it in a way that is completely secret (e.g. gag orders). When viewed in this light, encryption is simply an inconvenience for them.

I thought the FISA Court rubber stamped everything brought before it? Where are the checks and balances?

Well, it's not as if all the FISA judges are themselves appointed by a single judge, or anything. They're trying to meet us halfway. Let's be reasonable here.


We do need that. We also need to get as many people as possible using strong encryption. The less useful mass surveillance is to the government, the easier it will be to get the political reforms we want.

Okay, if not fixing it by working within the system, then what is the next step?

On the eve of the second American invasion in Iraq, the world's largest nonviolent demonstration occurred (to date) in New York City protesting the war. The war went ahead as scheduled.

Protest is totally irrelevant in the modern world. It is shuffled into free speech zones or tear gassed, LRAD'd, and pepper sprayed out of the way. "Less-lethal" armaments and massive police militarization means that there will never be another Kent State to shock us into action; instead, the state can play an indefinite game of divide-and-conquer by marginalizing anyone more radical than Ralph Nader, helped by centrist opportunists.

I lived in Washington, DC most of my life. There were always protests. When the police decided the protests would stop, they would roll in the APCs and the LRADs and flex-cuffs and stop them. Most of the time there was no need, since the protesters did the police's job for them, herding themselves into cages and keeping their voices down.

You could say that more people need to be there, or that the demand needs to be clearer, or that the movement needs to be more cohesive, but you can literally always say those things, so they aren't really useful criticisms. Rather, they betray a sort of Boxer-esque "we must work harder" mindset where it's always the fault of the protesters for not trying hard enough in their use of a wholly ineffective tool.

Combine this with state and corporate control of virtually all news media, and a surveillance and police system that is able to destabilize any social justice movement before it even begins (Occupy was a great example of this), you have an unshakable state that can enact whatever policies it wishes.

Ironically, pleading to Google is probably more successful than pleading to your congressman. The plutocrats at Google actually fear your use of alternative services and aren't fattened on incumbency, so they'll respond (as they have in the past) and use their actual power to attempt, at least, to effect real change. Though we've seen how that works so far.

So then, what's the path out of this totalitarianism?

Or should we just leave?

Those working within the system should follow Snowden's example, IMHO. Force the government to either stop these practices altogether, or reveal their true cost to the American way of life.

Why should any insider do that?

Snowden did it, and look what happened. Nothing. Sad truth is, the majority don't care. If they did, then it would be reflected in voting, and things would change. But no. Mean while, Snowden is a wanted man in exile.

Don't get me wrong, I don't like this one little bit, but it seems I'm in a minority.

I can see 2 major things happened. One good and one bad.

1) The bad is that the average person didn't seem to be outraged enough to do anything or they were outraged but incapable of doing anything. That is not even the bad part. The bad part is that NSA and others have learned that even with such obvious things people are powerless. They will likely ramp up their capabilities in the future.

2) The good thing is that we are discussing it and some who create and are knowledgeable about security and technology have started developing and enhancing their tools. Because a lot of the techniques are open now. We can defend better from them.

Sometimes tools created by a few can be used by the large population. That is a nice side effects.

Notice "us" vs "them". I think that is how "they" see the situation and how we should see it. It is a war between the American public and the NSA so to speak. It is important to keep this adversarial position because the other side already has that position.

It is also important to mention NSA is not monolithic and talking about "it" vs "us" is not quite accurate. Many decisions are probably made based on bureaucratic concerns -- sunk costs, contractor kickbacks and so on, rather than some inherent evil conspiratorial cabal. But for the propaganda domain, I think it is effective in portraying it that way. Because looking at its behavior as a whole it kind of exhibits those traits.

Because it's going to take years and many more Manning and Snowden to fix things. It's not going to happen over one leak, one scandal or one occupation movement. There are no magic wands or easy solutions that would allow us to fold it over the weekend and be home in time to catch up some TV shows on Netflix. Let's remember that it took years for the Vietnam anti-war movement or the peace talks in Ireland to gain traction and it still was a messy road.

edit: grammar&typo

> Snowden did it, and look what happened. Nothing.

"Nothing" understates the impact. Sure, no one insider's revelations alone will suffice to radically change the situation, but, to borrow a Medieval adaptation of a classical aphorism, gutta cavet lapidem, non vi, sed saepe cadendo.

For my fellow uneducated hackers: "a water drop hollows a stone not by force, but by falling often"

I know you're just being cheeky, but I don't believe that "knowing latin" == "educated", same for its corollary.

Knowing Latin may not be identical to having an education. But without Latin, you simply do not have access to over a millennium of pre-Enlightenment written material, which may seriously warp your view of Western culture.

It's the other way; si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

Siue, nimium linguam latinam diligis. Eruditio nunc mera charta est.

Hackers eunt domus!

To inject a bit of realpolitik from this morning's news:

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/techs-surveillance-hop... "The Senate fled Washington last week without taking action on a bill to rein in the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection, a measure that topped the industry’s agenda after Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s expansive snooping programs..."

>Snowden did it, and look what happened. Nothing. Sad truth is, the majority don't care. If they did, then it would be reflected in voting, and things would change. But no. Mean while, Snowden is a wanted man in exile.

Publicly, that is all that happened.

Within the NSA, I imagine there was quite a bit of upheaval. Most importantly, the entire system was redesigned so as to prevent the same thing from happening again.

If you read Julian Assange's early essays State and Terrorist Conspiracies, you'll see the inspiration for Wikileaks and the explanation of the strategic and tactical value of leaking: It breaks the bonds of trust within state organizations, preventing them from starting and executing programs their conspiracies (anything within the NSA is by definition a conspiracy; security clearances are conspiracies writ large).

Imagine the impact if the NSA became mistrustful of itself! Truly it is a vision worth leaking for.

The difference is that we on the outside now know, cannot claim ignorance, and are therefore responsible.

Read Assange's writing on how leaks and the threat of leaks destroy the efficiency of the state security apparatus.

The game is much longer that a couple of individual leakers.

Reforms don't happen overnight.

Surveil them back, root out every underhand connection, business, deal, operation that the nsa or its chronies undertake, and put a spotlight on it. Crowdsource it.

> We can't fix this by working within the system. That's what the Church Committee tried to do. They failed. There is no reason to think their twenty-first century counterparts will not fail again.

So take it to the logical conclusion and disband the state completely.

Or more to the point, be intellectually honest, and argue for the thing you actually want, instead of disguising it with smoke and mirrors about the supposed "impossibility of oversight".

The Church Committee was actually brilliantly successful, if the Snowden leaks are any indication of their effect on NSA. Instead of simply breaking the law outright, they employ every possible trick in the book to get what they need while staying within the confines of the law. Never mind that those interpretations don't hew to what you think the law should be, they were trying very hard to stay within the lines.

Smoke and mirrors? That's rich. What is the definition of "impossibility of oversight," if not the knowledge that you can lie to Congress with impunity?

These agencies are running completely open-loop. They can't be reigned in by the rule of law, because the modern security state exempts them from it.

This is about emotion, not logical conclusions. Today, the number one threat to our freedom comes from the prospect of terrorist attacks on US soil. Even with this fact, we see endless complaints about the NSA. However, even the NSA's biggest critics can't answer simple questions about the supposed danger they pose:

  1. Cite a single example of an American citizen suffering
  any type of loss or damages resulting from the NSA's actions.

  2. Make the case for the US government unilaterally crippling
  or disarming it's signals intelligence capability.
I chalk it up to a bunch of tinfoil hat types and libertarians living in a fantasy world. When you look at the threats to freedom in the world today, the NSA falls at or near the very bottom of the list.

>Today, the number one threat to our freedom comes from the prospect of terrorist attacks on US soil.

This is only because of the actions the US government would certainly take in response, i.e. eliminate various freedoms that still remain.

(I wonder if it's appropriate to speak of 'freedom' anymore? Most of the stuff in the Bill of Rights seems more like revokable privileges at this point.)

> This is only because of the actions the US government would certainly take in response

Happy to see that you agree. To take your assertion a step further, the US government would likely take such action through the legislative branch, duly elected by US citizens. It is those citizens who would demand that legislators take action.

To some extent, the US government does merely reflect the paranoia and action-at-any-cost attitude of its citizens, as it, and they, go about their daily business of paying mere lip service to freedom and little else. They're also complicit in seeing to it that the culture they govern continues to promote this social trait.

Even so, a democracy which has voted away all its freedom, still can no longer be described as 'free'.

Also, re-reading your previous post, for part #1, parallel construction means there are numerous, in fact literally uncountable (without top secret clearance, anyway), examples of that. Which, to my mind, is a solid start on #2.

In theory, the whole reason those legislators are there is to insulate the country from knee-jerk reactions on the part of the citizenry (or a vocal component thereof.) The framers understood that direct democracy wouldn't be sustainable.

Instead, what we've seen since 9/11 is that the legislators themselves are the ones who are afraid of their own shadow. Just as nobody marched in the streets after 9/11, demanding that George Bush invade Iraq, nobody begged the NSA to implement ubiquitous domestic surveillance capabilities with no effective oversight. These are crimes of opportunity.

I think this is the most damning leak to date. There is no justification for freely giving information to Israel. And the part about people's porn habits being tracked is even scarier. That could be used to discredit virtually anyone (well, any male at least). Who hasn't visited an embarrassing porn website at least once in their life ? Now imagine your name being publicly associated with that website.

Surely one could just deny any such assertions on their pornographic habits (or other embarrassing information)?

Anything that would be claimed as proof could just as well be a collection of manufactured lies rather than leaked truth.

Accusations can last forever even if they're thoroughly debunked, and they can be dominant in large part thanks to SEO and the spread of info online rather than anything the victim can control.

This is why the EU wants the "right to be forgotten" on Google etc - to let the innocent be innocent.

Exactly, the accusation is sufficient - no proof is required to discredit someone.

Denying the existence of provable facts? I have a hard time imagining how that could be effective without a PR team and a compelling narrative to be spun.

What does "proof" of your visiting a porn site look like, when bad actors set out to discredit you? I weakly agree with your second sentence, but I am not sure I understand the first.

There is justification, it's a co-operation between Israel and the U.S. Just like the US helps Israel, Israel helps the US.

Co-operation between countries still requires that laws are followed. You can't just send the private data of your citizens to foreign nationals. That is unequivocally against the law and could even be interpreted as treason.

"could even be interpreted as treason."

That seems far-fetched.

Edited to add: Just to be clear, "not treason" doesn't mean "good"; "not deplorable"; or even, necessarily, "not deserving of the death penalty" - it just means "not treason".

Not really. Treason requires we be at war, but the 'war on terror' never really ends.

Any reasonable interpretation requires that someone involved (either the traitor or a person specifically aided by the traitor) be engaged in "making war against the US." There being a war isn't anything like sufficient, and not all criminal acts make one "an Enemy of the United States," foreign national or not.

I'm sorry but exactly how does Israel help the US?

Provides influence/reach in another part of the world?

by funding millions to AIPAC.

My guess would be Israel is more likely to handle sensitive and controversial data more strictly with unofficially "defected" US employee's. Domestic surveillance of any questionable kind can be kept very secret and they can apply very strict control over who has access to the data and how they can handle it - as well as bypassing any laws/legislation already in place.

Plus if you pissed off Israel whilst you're still there, you're in trouble..

The way Israel owns American military and foreign policy should be a national shame. Reminds me of this other story about Israel going behind Obama's back to get weapons straight from the Pentagon. http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-sway-over-israel-on-gaza-...

That's politics bullshit, Obama wanted to "remind" the Israelis who's boss and make sure the world sees.

Political influence arising from an active group of Jewish-Americans lobbying their own government not "ownership". If you're against it, you too are free to get involved, form a special interest group, and lobby our government in the other direction.

That's not how a democracy is supposed to work. Extreme influence by a small group of individuals outside of the voting process indicated a broken system.

This was not a one-sided trade. You can be sure the NSA received similar feeds from Israel on targets of great interest to US national interests. The inherent problem in these NSA debates is the inability of the NSA or policy makers to give the American people believable metrics that describe the value received for the effort. Could it be the US received important intel in return for its feeds? Yes. By not articulating a believable ROI on collection or sharing its looks increasingly like there wasn't one.

I think this all is going to take time to sink in, but in the end, Americans will do the right thing, which has been the overwhelming trend in the past. Think slavery. Think women's suffrage. Think civil rights. Think gay marriage.

This one is a little tough because the targets are unsympathetic and the anecdotes of specific harm are non-existent. It's difficult to argue against fighting dirty as a principle; it's much easier when you can point to a specific person (like MLK) and say, "That dude was clearly wronged."

I wish it was different. I wish people got more upset about government fighting dirty against anyone[1], even against the enemies that we ourselves agree are despicable and evil. Fighting dirty hurts us far more than it hurts them, because it damages our moral identity.

[1] The one exception is if there is an existential threat to the US. However, terrorism has never been, and will never be, an existential threat to the US[2] - except insofar as, in a fit of epic but unfunny irony, they manage to manipulate us into destroying our own moral fabric.

[2] The same argument applies to Israel. Israel playing dirty against state actors like Iran would be far more defensible, because Iran really could wipe Israel out.

Why was the title changed? Here's the operative paragraph from the article below - there is a document that indicates the NSA is spying on porn visits of ordinary Americans to use against them in intimidation for exercising their rights to free speech. It doesn't get any worse than this.

"It should also trouble Americans that the N.S.A. could head down a similar path in this country. Indeed, there is some indication, from a top-secret 2012 document from Mr. Snowden’s leaked files that I saw last year, that it already is. The document, from Gen. Keith B. Alexander, then the director of the N.S.A., notes that the agency had been compiling records of visits to pornographic websites and proposes using that information to damage the reputations of people whom the agency considers “radicalizers” — not necessarily terrorists, but those attempting, through the use of incendiary speech, to radicalize others. (The Huffington Post has published a redacted version of the document.)"

[Edit] For reference, the original title was: "NSA spying on porn visits of ordinary Americans" - which is exactly what they seem to be doing.

The title you submitted (which was not the original title at all) was a classic case of editorializing: cherry-picking one thing you think is important about the article. HN doesn't allow that. HN titles are pointers to stories, not little op-eds, and need to neutrally reflect the story's content as a whole.

HN readers can make up their own minds about what parts of an article are important. It's not the submitter's prerogative to do that for everybody. Being first to submit a story confers no authority over it.

HN's value hierarchy starts with respect for the content and for the reader; submitters are somewhat down on the list. Sorry, but it does apply to all of us qua submitter.

I'm not disagreeing about the detail you singled out. Arguably, the article buries the lede. The place to point that out, however, is not in the title but in the comments, where there is ample opportunity to discuss the details and where the submitter is on the same footing as everyone else.

Edit: this discussion always comes up in the context of a title where people agree with the submitter's rewrite and disagree with moderators' reversion to the original. But that's not a good basis for assessing the rule. Instead, you should consider the far more common case of all the rewritten titles you disagree with, either because they're flat-out wrong or because the author's and your opinions differ. Imagine what HN would be like if it that were routinely ok. The front page would mostly be spin. HN would be more tendentious and have more kibitzing about titles than it does now. Those effects would be compounded everywhere else. It would be a very different place. The more experience I have with HN, the more I feel that pg's decision to have it always focus neutrally on content is one of the wisest design choices he made.

There was a similar incident that comes to mind, BlueCoat hardware deployed by Assad's government in Syria.

It was found that Assad was having traffic monitored through BlueCoat proxies installed at the ISP level. Logs were leaked showing monitoring of religious, sexual, political content.

Of course many are now dead, countless others imprisoned. Much thanks to BlueCoat and salesmen who assisted Assad's government in procuring the hardware.

Sidenote: This topic, and others around it have gotten several accounts of mine here ghosted. Best stick to discussing how your start-up wants to sell traffic monitoring hardware and SaaS via independent sales agents to whoever has cash.

I've noticed this as well.

Similarly, reddit will completely shut down any threads that start to become too activist on the grounds of "witch hunting." It's amazing how we've already systematically nerfed the internet as a tool for bringing about political change.

To be fair to the authors of the HN guidelines, witch hunting has been a serious problem on Reddit. Few people want to see HN become another Reddit.

But reverting this title was arguably inappropriate because the NYT's original title is misleading in its understatement.

HN's Guidelines say to use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait.


The article clearly states the NSA is cataloging porn visits of ordinary Americans exercising their rights to free speech. How was the title not appropriate?

>How was the title not appropriate?

I'm not arguing that what you submitted as the title is not an accurate summary of the article; HN guidelines are that you're supposed to submit the original title of the article, and only submit a new title if the article's original title is appropriate.

The given title was not appropriate because it did not fit the HN rule of "Use the original title"

Because that is peripheral to what the article is mainly about.

Don't forget the JTRIG program, either.

Discrediting anyone looking to change the status quo.

Yes, they get to designate "radicalizers" with almost no oversight.

A discussion of Unit 8200 I read today: http://strategypage.com/htmw/htintel/articles/20140923.aspx

(I read other sources because my Swedish media is like some inverse of Fox News. Stories like that Hamas had admitted murdering the three teens that started the last war is not... emphasized. The biggest morning newspaper didn't even mention that the accused murders of those teens died in a firefight today. Pallywood was never mentioned. Neither torture between Palestinian groups. Etc.)

Palantir has their hand in all of this.

We live in such a cyberpunk novel. Governmental conspiracies, global dystopia (overt or covert), and slick-named surveillance-tech megacorps.

Except, in this world, the balance is too weighted in favor of the powerful. There will be no Panther Moderns in our world's cyberpunk future. There will be no punk in our cyberpunk. Only a cyberboot stamping on our cyberface(book), forever.

Palantir has their hand in all of this.

What is the evidence for this statement? (I read the fine article, and didn't see a lot of discussion of the business corporation Palantir there.)

They're the only company that has the technology to parse / analyze datasets like the ones mentioned in the article.

can you be more specific? the xkeyscore100 rule set leak seems to indicate hadoop map reduce use which to me indicates a vanilla build out of the NSAs own. so what could you use to show more clear involvement from Palantir

Israel's Arab civilian's regularly attempt to blow themselves up in public places (believe me, I've stopped a few on them myself). Meanwhile the Palestinians gleefully lob rockets at populated cities in Israel. Of course Israel would want to monitor them as much as possible, and corroborate with the NSA to get as much data as possible. If that monitoring saved YOUR child from getting blown up on a bus, wouldn't you support it, or would you prefer your kid gets blown to smithereens so that social justice can be upheld? There's a big difference between America's domestic surveillance program and Israel's. Last time I checked, the central USA hadn't just recently been shelled.

You make it sound like Israel is just a victim here, getting terrorized, when in fact they have the Palestinians sequestered into ghettos and denied basic human rights like food, water, medicine. The violence is a symptom on inhumane treatment, not simply the cause of "evil doers".

I won't even being to respond to your sensationalized argument about saving children being a justification for mass invasion of privacy with no oversight.

I think that the borders with Gaza and the West Bank were very open, people commuted and travelled to buy stuff etc. After the second Intifada, the stops went up to hinder very common attacks on civilians. This stopped a quite integrated economy -- and caused problems on the Israeli side, too.

(I am no expert, I follow the subject just to find out how non-serious my native Swedish media are. So I'm probably pro-Israel, since I literally look for the stuff censored from Swedish media. You seem like you should learn Swedish? :-) )

The violence isn't a symptom of their treatment. IS, Al-Qaeda, and Hizballah aren't "sequestered into ghettos" and they happily indulge in the same violence as Hamas. Maybe you should visit Israel and have a Falafel?

Western involvement cannot be ignored in analysis of the middle east ever since the end of WW1. Extremism is the product of continuos destabilization of democracies, funding of extremist groups and puppet regimes. Pick pretty much any country, specifically ones that the Western powers have been having their war of terror in recently and look at the history. Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afganistan, etc, etc, etc.

Al Qaeda was created to fight the Soviets and backfired, IS could be seen as an offshoot from funding extremists in Syria at the end of Bush's presidency to overthrow Assad. Unless you prefer to believe that an entire racial group is just predisposed to committing acts of terror...

You might find this wikipedia article interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_re...

Interesting link.

Since the cold war, the US involvement seems to be in non-democracies exclusively. (I thought Venezuela was a case, but the page claims that wasn't proven?) [Edit: Maybe the coup against Aristide in Haiti? I don't know enough.]

Frankly, I see a big difference between on one hand a country and its population -- and on the other, a junta that has stolen a country. If such a junta is ousted it is a good thing, as long as it isn't completely fubared as in Iraq 2003 (Libya might also end up even worse than under the last pack of murdering rapists).

My main problem with the US administration right now is Obama's unwillingness to do something about Syria. Assad is no lesser murderer and torturer than IS.

The terrorism that Israel deals with predates significant US involvement in the Middle East. Bedouin attackers, not to mention marauding arabs from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt have been attacking Jews since before the 1920's.

You can blame what you want on western influence, but the truth is - and you'll know this if you've lived with Arabs - that they don't subscribe to western ideals of pacifism and anti-violence. It's not what they believe in.

For example, I witnessed an honor killing in 2002. It was done in the middle of the village with all the inhabitants cheering. Not sure you'd get the same reaction if you did that in Times Square.

Will happily read the wikipedia article.

> You can blame what you want on western influence, but the truth is - and you'll know this if you've lived with Arabs - that they don't subscribe to western ideals of pacifism and anti-violence. It's not what they believe in.

You're slurring an entire ethnic group. I can see where that would be a useful component for justifying rights violations to yourself but hopefully you can see why we wouldn't want the US to take any part whatsoever.

I can understand your outrage at such a comment - it is a very western response.

But have you lived in an Arab country, specifically a Muslim one? Or even an Arab neighborhood? Have you been a part of an Arab community for a prolonged period? I have.

These ideals of pluralism and equality work wonderfully in novellas about utopian human co-existance, but they simply aren't reality. The Arabs think differently to American liberal arts students - they have a different ethical code.

That is one of the main reasons that the US was completely unsuccessful in their political endeavors in the Middle East, and which everything from Lebanon to Iran looks like a well-cooked pot of shit-stew right now.

If westerners better understood the Arab mindset, as it applies in countries in the middle east, we would live in a more peaceful world.

> The Arabs think differently to American liberal arts students - they have a different ethical code.

The Arabs I've known ARE American students. It only takes a single example to disprove a universal statement about "The Arabs." (or The Blacks, or The Jews, etc.) They've usually been great people that I like a lot.

So you've met one or two American Arab students, studying in nice universities, and that dictates the social norms that spread across the middle east?? Wow man, I want some of what you're smoking.

Please, go and visit Yemen, visit Afghanistan, even visit Jordan for heaven's sake, and you'll find that the reality of the Middle East can't be understood from within a college cafe in upstate California.

There are powerful cultural rules at play in Arab society that the west has no conception of, and I think that if you get a good look at them up close, it will completely change your perspective.

You know, dealing with people like they're out of a Leon Uris novel is a great way to make sure the status quo never changes.

Not to flame or anything, but that really doesn't make any sense.

Anecdotal stories of Arab primitivism and lack of state/societal secularism doesn't mean progressive currents will never win out. I'm sure Europe in 1648 was depressing as fuck too.

You think the current antics of Islamic State are anecdotal? You just need to watch the news for all of 17 seconds to see that this is a very accepted cultural norm.

What is your point exactly?

Some nonsense about all Arabs being XYZ (i.e. something as silly as equating Moroccans with Saudi Arabians with Arab Americans, same Arabs right?) and then using that to explain unsuccessful foreign policy in places like Iran, which is not at all an Arab state? (Only 2% of Iran are Arabs, in fact there are MORE arabs in the US than there are in Iran. Give me a break)

Let me know if you have more great insights. I always enjoy a good laugh.

You paint too simple a picture. And, if you go back to before the (successful and on-going) attempt to ethnically purge Palestine by European Jewish immigrants, you will see that Jews, and Christians were not persecuted when that land was under Muslim rule.

In Israel, only 7% of the land was owned by Jews when the state of Israel was created. The rest was stolen. Homes were stolen at gunpoint. The Israelis repeatedly engage in massacres of the Palestinian and Lebanese civilians to this day. Resistance should be expected. And, with the level of violence perpetrated by Israelis, a violent resistance is understandable.

The death toll for civilians is pretty lopsided. In just the massacre of operation cast lead, the Israelis murdered nearly 1500 people, nearly 450 children. Israel suffered 3 civilian deaths in retribution. Again and again, the Israelis call for evacuation to U.N. schools, then bomb the schools. Once a mistake, twice maybe a mistake, but we are well beyond twice. IDF soldiers wear t-shirts with a picture of a pregnant woman in cross-hairs with (in Hebrew), "one bullet two kills" Israel recently even apologized (therefore admitted to) harvesting organs from Palestinian prisoners for transplant into Jews. The Israelis even use their massacre of civilians as a selling point for their weapons exports, "battle tested in Gaza." The Israelis are the terrorists by any objective measure.

There was a poll in Haaretz that showed overwhelming support by Israelis of the cast lead massacre. The percentage in support of the massacre was exactly the Jewish population of Israel. So, complete justification to paint in a very broad brush.

The Israelis have Jewish only roads. And there are around 30 laws that give special treatment to Jews over other citizens. And, if you want to be truly disgusted, visit some of the Palestinian villages neighboring Jewish settler towns-- you will see things like the Jewish settlers directing their raw sewage into the Palestinian village below (well what is left of the Palestinian village with the constant raids by Jewish terrorist settlers, and Israeli military). Jewish settlers walk around everywhere with powerful weapons intimidating the Palestinians who are not permitted to do the same.

Ugliest place I have ever been (Every Arab I met there was kind and generous, and even in refugee camps, I never heard a hateful word about the Israeli Jews, the other way, I only met two Israeli Jews [out of 10s] who did not make some sort of slur). Only place I have zero desire to ever return to.

To be perfectly honest, the Jews bought much of the land fair and square from large holdings of absentee Arab landlords based in Beirut.

This was propaganda from a karma 9 account. I'll touch some points but I think that there are too many fanatics on this subject, it doesn't work on HN.

(I got a couple of comments first upvoted and then down voted a bunch of points, so I guess this will go the same way.)

>>In Israel, only 7% of the land was owned by Jews when the state of Israel was created.

More Jews were thrown out of the Muslim countries than Palestinians fled. (And not in a burning civil war, but from cold blooded racism.)

The possessions stolen from those Jews included land area multiple times the size of Israel.

Most of those Jews fled to Israel. So how about a reasonable view -- do a swap and call it even? The Palestinians get some of the resources stolen by their allied Muslim countries?

Why is that bad?

>>Jews, and Christians were not persecuted when that land was under Muslim rule.

This is in fact true now... Since most every Jew were thrown out of the Muslim world because of what some other Jews did, there are none to persecute..

Worth reading:



It is easy to find more.

>> IDF soldiers wear t-shirts with a picture of a pregnant woman in cross-hairs [...]

You demonise a country for what some individuals do.

What do you then say about about officially sanctioned racist hatred, copied from the Nazis?! Like the Arab countries... In state controlled media.

The previous Egyptian president spoke about the importance of teaching your children to hate Jews... And so on.

So how many hundreds of times worse is that? You're not a dishonest hypocrite with different standards for different sides, are you?

>> [Latest Gaza war]

- Started by Hamas, which also gave murderers of three children a hero status. (Note that some Israelis did a revenge murder -- and will end up in jail.)

- Shooting from civilian areas -- at civilians. (There are empty areas in Gaza: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4580/gaza-population-densi... )

- http://www.thewire.com/global/2014/09/hamas-quietly-admits-i...

- Ah... No. Waste of time and damaging HN. :-(

(Also worth mentioning is how the Muslim world kept the Palestinians in camps and refused to integrate them for generations. Just to keep the hatred going. Smart, since most every other land loss from WWII is forgotten. Just a pity they destroyed so many lives to do it. Arguably, much worse than anything the Israelis ever did to the Palestinians, even in your description...)

I don't see how you have countered anything that I have said. I think the actions of governments like Egypt's are horrible WRT the Palestinians too, but that was not the point of my post. I was responding to a racist anti-arab rant (that ended up being down-voted by the time I finished composing my response). Hasney Mubarak became an American/Israeli puppet.

As for keeping the Palestinians in refugee camps, the Palestinians have a right of return. The U.N. recognized this right decades ago. The root cause of refugees is Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing (against international law). Look for references to the "red house", to find early plans for this ethnic cleansing dating back to the founding of Israel.

As for land swap, it doesn't work that way, and I'm sure you realize this.

One bullet two kills, was not a "few individuals". And, it was only one of many slogans of the same ilk the Israeli military wore to that slaughter.

Current PM of Israel has not only said things like, "... put Palestinians on a diet." In the context of starving the civilian prisoners in the giant open air prison that is Gaza (illegal collective punishment), but also was instrumental in multiple massacres of Palestinians. How is a speech worse than actual mass murder? Read transcripts of the Knesset (Israeli legislature) to see the attacks on the non-Jewish minority-- including death threats, rape threats, etc. (yes, stated openly in the official meetings).

Started by Hamas is usually a fiction. In almost every case, go back one or two weeks more than the Israeli propaganda, and you will see Israeli aggression, Israel breaking a cease fire, Israel assassinating a politician, Israel killing a fisherman/farmer/child etc. That said, there are no innocents among those active in a battle, but the balance of power, balance of aggression, and balance of casualties is such that Israel carries the vast majority of the blame. The ratio of civilian deaths prove who is the aggressor.

It is unfortunate that Briton essentially wanted a white-ish colony in the Middle East. It is sad that most of Europe were only too happy to be rid of their Jews. It is also terrible how Jews, Romani, disabled, gays, etc. suffered under the Nazis. But, it is not fair that the indigenous Arabs of Palestine suffer for it.

"Copied from the Nazis" hmmmmm... Gaza =~ Warsaw ghetto, Organ harvesting for benefit of Jews, etc. I see your point, but it is probably not the point you meant to make.

As for antisemitism, everything is antisemitism (or self hating) in regards to criticism of Israel. Yet, antisemitism is OK when practiced by an Israeli-- the Arabs subject to oppression and massacres by Israelis _are_ Semitic people.

Israel is an imperialist enterprise, and yes 7% was bought by Jews, I said that in my original post, but the rest was stolen. It is a terrible situation that has only a couple outcomes. Some radical Jews want to see Israel's borders expanded to the biblical boarders to, in their minds, allow the return of the Messiah, some radical Christians want to support those radical Jews in the hopes that WWIII breaks out centered in Israel, in their minds, allowing the return of their Jesus, some radical Muslims want the invaders gone no matter what it takes, and will gladly give their lives (and as many of the invaders as they can take) to this end. Yet, the only solution today would be to make up (including honoring the right of return). It would be hard since the Israelis are essentially the Afrikaners of S. Africa, and worse nearly all the prime land is stolen, and some must be given back to the returning families, but if Israel were to actually become a democracy, and not what is in fact a theocracy (see Israeli laws preferential to Jews), and begin re-integrating refugees, it might be possible to overcome the other obstacles. It seems to me as uncertain as this path is, that any other path will lead to certain destruction-- a stopped up pressure cooker eventually explodes.

>>Organ harvesting for benefit of Jews

Organ harvesting was one doctor -- which took organs from Jews too (I think that is even against the religion). You again blame a whole country for an individuals action.

>>As for antisemitism, everything is antisemitism (or self hating) in regards to criticism of Israel.

- First you complain about Israel because of an individuals' action.

- Second, you shrug off state sanctioned racial hate propaganda, partly copied from the Nazis and partly religious?!

Talk about double standards... this literally gave me vertigo.


Interesting. The double standard I see here is yours. I had hoped I was speaking with a reasonable person (in spite of the silly ad hominem about low karma, new account; and now, this nonsense). This entire thread (all responses, including mine) should be down voted for going off the rails. To everyone else, I apologize for feeding the troll (my original response, not to bugbrother; those to bugbrother were just a futile attempt to inform an apologist for a criminal regime).

I was involved in the Israeli Security establishment for over 5 years. I never saw any ethnic cleansing, massacres, or any of the other horrid things you talk about. As a combat commander, I had to give 1hr lectures to my soldiers about ethical behavior before EVERY mission. It was crazy, and I thought it was over the top, but even during the intifada, we were held to a crazy moral standard as soldiers.

For example, the rules during my time stated that if an Arab throws a rock at you (big, heavy, can break your skull apart), you are not allowed to shoot. If they have a knife and are charging from a distance, you are still not allowed to shoot. If they have a molatov cocktail, but are at a distance where it can't hurt you, you are not allowed to shoot. If you shoot and kill in these situations, you will be tried before a military court for murder and jailed.

The Israel you talk about is an anti-semitic PR fantasy that holds no resemblance to the reality of what goes on there. Part of my job taking care of terrorists with blood on their hands that we'd arrested was to ensure they got hot bloody food while we took care of them.

Not exactly a world of massacres and ethnic cleansing. Sorry, your rant is just rhetoric.

I showed by examples of your double standards that you are a lying hate propagandist, which have no problem even with teaching children racial hatred.

If you could have shown that was wrong, you would have. Instead you just classify me...

So if you object to this type of surveillance then you prefer your children to be blown up by suicide bombers?

Wait - how many suicide bombers have there been in the USA over the weekend? I've not read the papers or watched tee vee since last Friday. Geez, what pests those suicide bombers are!

They fundraise from America, have schools and training centers in America, collaborate on PR projects, planning, etc... I could really go on and on here....

Very frankly, I find the "schools and training centers" a bit much. I mean, the DHS has disseminated weird posters about how to spot a terrorist in hobby shops and stuff like that. Nobody is going to mind their own bidness if they get wind of a suicide bomber school and/or training center.

I'm going to need a couple cites from a reputable, mainstream media web site: you said "schools" not "school", and "centers" not "center". Not to belittle your viewpoint, I just haven't seen any such news reports.

Do I need to say any more on this, or is it ok if it just goes ahead and speaks for itself?


Interesting, but are you sure of that one? The only references to Jihadi training camps or schools look vague:

A key American aide of hate preacher Abu Hamza suggested setting up a terrorist training camp in the United States so British Muslims could learn to fire guns and practise warfare tactics

Ujaama drove nine hours from his home in Seattle to tiny Bly, Oregon, to check out a potential camp where he said the arid mountainous terrain was similar to parts of Afghanistan.

Other articles (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/19/abu-hamza-found...) are equally or more vague about whether this training camp actually existed or not. Politco.com explores this issue: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/the-terror-ca... Again, the article doesn't come right out and say "Here's the training camp".

I'm not sure it speaks for itself, I'm sorry.

Sorry, this one just doesn't count. It's a transcript from Sean Hannity's Fox show. Even Hannity can't quite pin down whether there's a terror training camp or not:

HANNITY: You're saying without a doubt you can look in these cameras tonight and tell the American people that there are terrorist training camps on our soil, we're not doing anything about it, and they're planning, and they will hit America?

MAWYER: I would say without a doubt al Qaeda would love to have such compounds that range from 25 acres to 300 acres sitting on American soil in order to hide terrorists, hide weapons, and train future jihadists for the United States. It's shocking.

Mawyer's answer seems like a dodge to me. I even get the feeling from reading the transcript that Hannity didn't quite believe him.

To sum up, I'm pretty sure there were never any jihadi or training camps or schools in the USA. Your articles are vague at best.


Errr... well, if you insist.

Unfortunately, yes. I'm a commander in the Israeli Defense Forces, and I've made 10's of arrests of terrorists. Most of them were attempting to hit populated centers with no military connection. If we didn't have the intel on them, we never would have been able to stop them. There is a big difference between that type of domestic surveillance and what the NSA carries out on the citizens of its own country - namely that things aren't blowing up in the USA every single day.

Most every democracy with serious and continuing problems with terrorism throw out the law book and human rights.

Afaik, this goes for USA, Britain, Israel, Germany, Spain and Italy. And probably more cases. (Note "continuing problems". e.g. Breivik was a lone crazy.)

The reason is shown by the grandparent comment; terrorism is optimized to scare voters. And politicians are scared of hysterical voters, they need to fix that to keep their jobs.

> Most every democracy with serious and continuing problems with terrorism throw out the law book and human rights.

Most every government (whether or not it is a democracy, and whether or not it actually has serious and continuing problems with terrorism) latches on to terrorism as an excuse (though rarely the only excuse) to throw off legal (and/or traditional, depending on the nature of the--note the small "c"--constitution) constraints on the powers and activities of government.

> The reason is that terrorism is optimized to scare voters.


> And politicians are scared of hysterical voters, they need to fix that.

Less true; politicians have a often want hysterical voters -- hysterical voters that can have a prepackaged solution (even if the conception has little to do with the problem that has made the voters hysterical) are very popular with politicians, because its how they get approval to do things that they want to do that would, aside from the hysteria, never be acceptable. Note how many of the measures adopted in the US in response to terrorism were things which had either been tried previously under other pretexts (most recently, in many cases, in the Drug War) -- either proposed as legislation and failed, attempted without legislation but ruled illegal without supporting legislation, or had legislation passed but ruled unconstitutional when adopted for domestic law enforcement purposes.

Yes, it is a common excuse in e.g. non-democracies to call democracy activists for terrorists (often combined with claims that all the democratic countries are in a conspiracy against them, because we hate Russia/Pakistan/Iran/etc.)

And no, if there is a terrorism problem scaring voters the politicians are empirically motivated to fix it -- see my examples of throwing out the law book -- or it isn't a democracy. [Edit: To be clear, I think the Drug War etc are different; propaganda -- not really about scared voters.]

I've went through 9 terrorist attacks in Israel before I joined the military - I lived in downtown Jerusalem during the Second Intifada. In the other countries, you're right - there is no excuse for getting rid of personal rights and freedoms, but in Israel the sheer number of terrorist attacks cause the reality to be different. If we didn't have the intel, we could never stop the terrorists, and that is simply unacceptable.

Israel do have everything on a different scale; multiples of times more terror against its civilians than what the rest of the western world have -- combined.

Afaik, despite this the courts in Israel seems to better keep up rule of law than the US ones, re terrorism... Which is sad.

But I think that without terror problems, the situation would be very different in Israel. And you probably agree.

Edit: I think you missed my point a little. I didn't discuss if it is right to throw out freedoms or not, I noted that empirically democracies seems to be very likely to do that in a certain situation.

Don't think the solution to people who is to monitor these people or atleast not entirely. You make it sound like the just out of nowhere choose to blow themselves ,like it's in the DNA . There's an atmosphere of hate and oppression ,as long as that exists ,there will always be terrorist.

No amount of spying will solve that ,9/11 was planned by a bunch of guys in a basement . Data mining my porno history won't stop groups like ISIS from forming.

So on a hike once with my unit, a bedouin who was irrigating his field with a tractor simply turned it on us and tried to run us down. He failed, miserably I might add, but it proves the point that Arabs will often attack Jews with no advance warning. There are many more example of this.

> it would first be “minimized,” meaning that names and other personally identifiable information would be removed.

minimized?? Im pretty sure he meant Anonymized

No he meant minimized, which in FISA terms means purged of irrelevant and over-collected information, including data about US persons.


Sounds like U.S. has not been a sovereign country for sometime. It's intelligence service has been working for another country, passing sensitive information of its own citizens to Israel. Interesting. Even more interesting is that the bulk of the comments are on somewhere else whether this is a witch hunt or not, if it resembles to what Mr. Hoover did or did not do, if the committee in the past succeeded or not.

The US is a close ally of Israel for obvious reasons. Israel wants to better defend itself, so it co-operates with the N.S.A. This is what Israel needs to defend itself, and Israel probably does the same thing to help defend the US.

There will always be a conflict between privacy and security, you can stick to one on expense of the other, but you will never be able to "fix" things.

How is Israel any different from any other country? What's so obvious about why they are a close ally?

Wait a minute. What are those "obvious reasons" you speak of?

We're allied with Israel so we can get valuable intelligence from Israel on all the people who want to blow us up because we're allied with Israel.

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