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back to article 9/11: The day we lost our privacy and power

Investigative reporter Duncan Campbell reflects how 9/11 has torpedoed resistance to intrusion and undermined privacy rights born of earlier struggles. It may, irreversibly, have changed the way we think. 9/11 was a savage nightmare that took too long to happen for some in the West. For 12 fallow years, from the fall of the …

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Holmes

Thanks Duncan, great article...

VPNs and proxies all round?

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Meh

And support for Wikileaks et al!

Whistleblowers need are the only way the public can turn these tools against the people who abuse them. I actually like the fact that there are systems and people keeping track of extremists (they do exist) to protect the public, but someone needs to watch the watchers, and have protection for flagging abuses of power.

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Black Helicopters

The watchers are the extremists; yes, we need to watch them.

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Meh

False positives

It only works if there are no false positives, or the probability of them is about the same as their occurrence. Doctrow's "Little Brother" discusses this really well.

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Coat

Actually

It's not entirely true that we lost our power. We lost our privacy, that's for sure, but we, as in the people, still hold the balance of power and that hasn't changed one bit.

The very nature of a scenario where there are rulers and ruled dictates that the ruled must exceed (in number) the rulers,

Since it is the nature of rulers to extract value from the ruled for as little effort as possible it stands to reason that for a group of rulers to prey on the work output of the ruled they must be numerically inferior, lest the entire ruler/ruled economy collapse under the weight of the predations of the rulers.

The trick is to prey on ruled to the maximum level possible that still leaves the ruled class the ability to survive without noticing that their work value is being siphoned off for the benefit of a ruling class that offers no value in return to society as a whole.

It is usually the extreme greed of the ruling class that is their ultimate downfall.

The middle east riots were not, as the media would have you believe, about citizens wanting to overthrow evil dictators. What they really were about was food shortages and the inability of the citizenry to live with enough of their basic needs fulfilled.

As soon as the ruled group, which is always numerically superior, becomes agitated enough, they will rise up and once they do so in enough numbers the ruling class have no power to stop them.

The ruling class are utterly dependent on the ruled class. Without the ruled class they have no food, power or goods of any type.

Because they have only ever known how to wield power over others to to force them to provide them with life's necessities, once the population at large refuses to do so the rulers have no way of obtaining them by their own work.

They have no skills other than using the threat of force to achieve their ends.

The trouble is that people are not willing to band together to overthrow the parasitical tyrants that leach off the work of the normal working man.

The rulers ensure that this situation remains as the status quo by creating laws that cause conflict, causing groups of people to see other groups of people as their enemies.

Left vs Right politics, anti-discrimination laws and the obscenely biased family courts are just some examples of laws that cause more trouble than they solve.

This is a deliberate policy of our rulers to ensure that we do not see the real enemy (them) and instead expend our anger and frustration on other ruled groups, fighting about small potatoes stuff and ignoring the big picture which is the predations of the ruling class on the majority of free men.

It is no mistake that we are all beholden to befuddling legal system that is incomprehensible to every living man on this planet, even lawyers. It is simply impossible to know every single law that can be possibly broken therefore, by definition, it is impossible to live without accidently breaking a law.

The fact "The Law" requires us to live by a set of rules that cannot be comprehended and that the outcome of any legal proceeding cannot be predicted tells us that the law is not an instrument of justice, but rather an instrument of repression, to be used against citizens that either have value (wealth) that is coveted by the ruling class or is a citizen who has no wealth, but is a threat to the ruling class, through outright agitation or even a simple refusal to submit to the injustices forced on him by our rulers .

The entire western socio-economic-legal-military system is corrupt to the very core and exists entirely to allow a small group of individuals to leach from the work output of the majority. The sooner a large enough group wake up and realise what is going on the better these fuckers can be kicked out and lined up.

And they can stick me in their fucking "agitators database" if they like, because the fact is that if the revolution does come I will be at the front of the pack burning down the corridors of power.

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Big Brother

Lest we should forget.

Or be renditioned...

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Black Helicopters

Or rendered

That has more than one meaning. All the ones I can think of apply...

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Anonymous Coward

Not just the gov't...

2 months ago, I heard talk about some appliances that will force a MITM attack on SSL connections. Why would someone want to put something like that on their network? Because of "people leaking information". Of course, that means that your company would potentially be reading your bank statements and other stuff they shouldn't be reading. But all in the name of "security"!!!

BTW, the "attack" basically consists on doing a Corleone and asking for the session key; if you don't give it up, your connection's killed. :(

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Anonymous Coward

Forefront Threat Management Gateway

Microsofts threat management gateway sits on your corporate network MITMing your ssl traffic. Your company simply issues a ssl certificate which IE accepts without you noticing(group policy etc) and all your SSL traffic can be monitored by your trustworthy admins.

If you use Firefox you'll get a warning about untrusted certificates, but most corporate users aren't allowed to install software.

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Anonymous Coward

MITM

IIRC there is no Corleone involved, just a simple matter of a trusted cert being installed on the device for whatever domain it's intercepting (the recent Belgian CA that was compromised and used to generate 500+ fake "trusted" certs comes to mind) and the only way anyone would ever know (unless they're running Marlinspike's add-on) would be by manually inspecting the certificate and recognizing, for example, that Facebook is presenting a cert from a CA in China instead of whatever CA they really use.

If the certs are trusted by the browser, most users would never... ever notice their traffic is being intercepted.

Ars Technica has a very good primer on MITM and the core concerns around the entire CA system for anyone interested. My apologies, but I don't have the link handy from my mobile or I'd paste it in. I would imagine Marlinspike has plenty on it as well too.

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Well it begs the question as why you should be accessing your bank account while you are supposed to be working, however, that is the least of your problems, try using wireshark to monitor your traffic while you are logged in to your secure session with your bank, see where else data your data is being sent to.

Try doing a test using the ssl mitm proxy software available on the net if you want to see the traffic sent.

You can try this at work also (if you are brave/stupid/don't give a toss)

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The appliance your looking for..

Can be purchased from here: http://www.bluecoat.com/products/proxysg

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Big Brother

re:Forefront Threat Management Gateway

Bluecoat proxies can do the same.

I've seen this done in banks where data leakage is actually a problem - I've got no problem in principle about doing this on corporate networks. We found people forwarding all their email to gmail, for example. What I really object to is the fact that it wasn't made clear to employees what was going on. Connect to your home network over ssl and the bank can pick up all your passwords. Ditto if you connect to your bank's website. You expect it to be private, but it isn't and there is no warning. Sneaky behaviour and "trust us" don't go together.

Bottom line - don't use someone else's kit or software to connect to your own stuff. A lot of the security guys carry their own personal laptops & 3G connections because we're, well, justifiably paranoid.

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AFAIK it wasn't a Belgian CA but an American CA with offices in Holland.

Funny thing is that mostly US-companies controll and issue these certificates. Has anyone ' investigeted' them?

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Vic
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re:Forefront Threat Management Gateway

> Connect to your home network over ssl and the bank can pick up all your passwords.

My home webserver (which I use for webmail,. predominantly) has an invalid certificate. I signed it, and it's out of date.

If I ever try to connect and *don't* get a warning, I know someone is MITMing me.

If I do get a warning, I check the certificate to make sure it's the one I expect :-)

Vic.

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Thumb Up

TMG isnt the only one

This has been on our network since ISA 2004. As a school we have always monitored "man in the middle" so to speak. Just issue a cert from the domain CA that is trusted throughout the domain. Stops people bypassing the filters via SSL (SSL is stopped then sent through the filters again before going back out as SSL).

Sure ISA 2004 had a more complex ruleset and im sure TMG gets it done a little more seamlessly.

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WTF?

Wow..

so many negative votes, are we all feeling guilty by surfing while at work?, or perhaps you don't understand how to use wireshark?

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GMAIL and corporate

There are even places where the owners ENCOURAGE use of gmail because the existing servers of the primary provided for the company will not handle adequate file sizes. One of the problems with the proliferation of electronic "paper" work is that document sizes have ballooned out enormously. The common means of transfer - email - is gradually losing ground against the shear wordiness of the maximum document sizes. Sharepoint services are gradually becoming much more common. Even gmail will buckle under some loads.

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Big Brother

The honest answer to "Why must you spy on everyone" is

because we *can*.

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Big Brother

The problem is we have become apathetic. We blindly accept new laws without so much of s squeak, we as a society, are as much to blame for not standing up and saying enough if enough.

Democracy and living in a free society is an illusion - pure and simple.

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Big Brother

Re: "We blindly accept new laws without so much of a squeak"

It's not that "we" accept them, but our "elected representatives" (who are supposed to tell Parliament what *we*, their constituents think) usually blindly follow their Party Whips' instructions "this is Party Policy, this is how you will vote".

A few have the courage to stand up and object, but their voices are generally drowned out and even if they manage to get an amendment tabled, it's usually voted down by the rest.

"[...] voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

- Herman Goering

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Unhappy

Well, we elect them,

so in the end, we (in aggregate) are still to blame.

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Facepalm

It's Even Worse...

The masses flock to gadgets(aka toys) and PAY to give away their privacy under the guise of 'convenience'. All the while, every metric is recorded, stored and sold to 'affiliates'.

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Thumb Down

@Well, we elect them...

... no, the blame is on those who, when we had the chance to *change* a broken electoral system, decided to believe the FUD spread by the vested interests in politics and the media and *stay* with that broken system after a choice of "FPTP or AV" was foisted upon us instead of us being allowed to decide amongst *ALL* the possible options.

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Flame

Patriot Act...

""[...] voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." - Herman Goering"

Which is precisely why Bush called it the Patriot Act and promptly said that you were either with us, or against us thus poisoning the debate against anyone who dared to speak out against it...

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Unhappy

But do we elect them?

I made this argument during the AV debate. Basically, we *don't* actually elect our representatives, because human nature is to vote on minor issues on which the population is roughly evenly split and ignore major issues on which there is broad agreement. A candidate with an unpopular position on a major issue but who makes no pronouncement on a minor issue can get elected by default.

Example:

Candidate A supports beheading cute, fluffy kittens.

Candidate B opposes beheading kittens and supports serving beer in litres instead of pints.

Candidate C opposes beheading kittens and also opposes serving beer in litres.

The following Thursday, candidates B and C each score 33% of the vote. Candidate A scores 34% of the vote and wins. And cute, fluffy kittens end up beheaded, even though most people voted against that.

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Meh

FPTP / AV / STV / all the others

Suppose for a second that we had been offered a choice between first-past-the-post, AV, STV, Party List, Condorcet, IRV, punch-up in a pub car park (it's still fairer than FPTP) and maybe a few other methods.

Since the new voting system most probably would have been chosen by a first-past-the-post ballot, we most probably would have ended up with FPTP anyway -- even if more people had voted for something else.

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Go

Recommended Reading

The PDF linked below might be a bit on the long side at 120 pages and the first 10 or so pages a bit superfluous but the bulk of it is highly recommended.

Start at page 11 section 3 "Introduction"

http://www.rossco.org/HumanNature.pdf

http://www.strike-the-root.com/51/ross/ross3.html

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Wingnuts

Good article.

But you try and broach this subject to colleagues, friends and family and they will consider you a paranoid wingnut, or dismiss it as "too difficult to understand; who won the football last night?"

I'd also posit that the act of you writing, and me commenting positively on, this "seditious" article is enough to flag both of us on a database within GCHQ, and we are now considered "domestic extremists" and will be the first to be arrested when the oil runs out and the s**t hits the fan.

Thats ultimately what this infrastructure is preparing for: 7 billion hungry people with nothing to lose.

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Anonymous Coward

Scary, and correct

"Thats ultimately what this infrastructure is preparing for: 7 billion hungry people with nothing to lose."

After the global cock up that is Wall Street, that is the harsh reality. That too was ""made in the USA". I suspect China will step in soon - after all, they own their asses already many times over.

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Well...

If 7 billion hungry people with nothing to lose are going to come at us, and try to take away the peaceful, prosperous, and free lives we've enjoyed from us and our children, hadn't we better be fully prepared to resist them?

Especially if we aren't able to feed them.

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Anonymous Coward

Just a teeny weeny bit pathetic?

The tone of some of the answers here sounds like children scaring each other with ghost stories:

"I'd also posit that the act of you writing, and me commenting positively on, this "seditious" article is enough to flag both of us on a database within GCHQ...."

Grow up, you are really not that important.

It's because of people like the ignorant or apathetic commenters here that the stuff is allowed to continue -- dropping a quick angry post and thinking you've done your bit; well, you haven't. And that's why this shit will continue until you start to do something.

I'm currently preparing a complaint against the ICO for not responding to my request for an explanation to this <http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_releases/116_11/> (see comments for text of my complaint).

I have, by absolute coincidence, had a reply just this morning from the EU when I requested they put further pressure on the British government re. this same press release.

I've been politely reminded by the censors people that if I don't fill it in (which I don't wish to due to its involvement with Lockheed Martin, and this <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/25/confidentiality_of_census_data_not_guaranteed/>) then I can face criminal charges.

And you think you've been 'flagged'? Well you haven't, and I rather doubt I have, and unlike you *I don't fucking care* anyway.

I can do these things -- and I've done many others too -- in democracy (which this is close to, despite what people protest here) and I will not be spied on, rendered, tortured, beaten up, have the thugs sent round, receive unsubtle death threats etc, but you seem to think that I will? Do you have any idea what life is like other people in other parts of the world? No you don't. It won't cost me very much to stand up and be counted, unlike many people elsewhere who face exactly these threats but do it anyway.

Suggestion: grow some balls and do something about it. All of you.

@Mr Campbell, interesting and useful reminder, thank you.

(posting AC to preserve my id from you sad lot, not the govt).

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FAIL

Bullcrap

By creating a "real" reason for this you both cheapen and legitimise it. This is no plan for an end of world disaster or otherwise.

Its being done because they can *AND WE LET THEM*.

Any utility outside of this is pure co-incidence or after the event justifications.

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Paris Hilton

puzzled

I dont get it. How can all this surveillance prepare for the 7 billion hungry people with nothing to lose? Is it a way of weighing up whos "up against the wall" first?

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FAIL

""I'd also posit that the act of you writing, and me commenting positively on, this "seditious" article is enough to flag both of us on a database within GCHQ...."

Grow up, you are really not that important."

You do not understand the nature of the beast. The security services made records of all such "seditious" letters sent to the national newspapers back before the Internet; their capacity to record such things has increased dramatically along with their desire to do so. Only a nutter would think they've stopped doing it.

Like stage magicians, the security services routinely rely on mugs like you thinking that noone would bother with that amount of effort. They would, and they do.

If you really don't care that you've been flagged for many things you have posted on the Net, that's fine, but don't kid yourself that it hasn't happened.

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quote

Grow up, you are really not that important.

so why did you post anonymously?

of

(posting AC to preserve my id from you sad lot, not the govt).

weak excuse

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You, Me & Dupree

@John Savard

What makes you think that you and your children aren't going to be part of that 7 Billion? Did you notice I didn't say anything about where those 7 Billion are coming from? That 7 billion are US.

In WW2, the UK had a population of 44 million and was barely able to feed itself using the entire landmass of the UK, with minimal imports due to U-Boats - why do you think we had rationing and Buck Palace's gardens being converted into allotments??

The UK population is now officially 62 million, or really 77 Million - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/city-eye-facts-on-a-plate-our-population-is-at-least-77-million-395428.html.

The only way those 77 million are being fed is through imports, intensively mechanised farming and distribution and artificial, energy intensive nitrogen fertilisers; all of those will not happen without oil.

We will be going back to a WW2 subsistence situation, only with an extra 34 million mouths to feed. All countries will be having the same problem at the same time and will feed themselves first. With no major transport ability we wouldn't be able to import their non-existent exports anyway.

You and your children ARE in that 7 billion.

And don't think we can simply migrate to bio-diesel and it remains all hunky-dory - we either eat or drive, not both, and there's not enough lithium in the world for us to all spin around in electric cars.

Do you know what really triggered most of those Arab Spring uprisings? Food prices, forced up by food crops being replaced with bio-diesel crops. Watch some Al-jazera, read eg Flat Earth News to understand why you haven't been hearing this angle from Western media.

That is the future.

And read this: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/17036

You won't see any national Governments' similar official assessments in public any time soon, even though they do exist as highly classified documents; their populations cannot psychologically handle the news, and the default psychological response is denial - you are an example of this..."it'll never affect me and mine".

Sorry John, but it will.

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Unhappy

@ Chrissy

Why the f* do we have 7bn anyway?

many overlook the simplest, cheapest method of returning to sustainability - ethical population control. It can be done, and the results far more effective than any green wash. It would at least allow us to wean ourselves off oil-based agriculture.

Why do we always think earth does have enough resources to support us...why don't we think the alternative - that perhaps there's too many of us for earth to support? Why is population control so taboo?

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Anyone who believes peak oil or similar shit is the end of our world can just fuck off, find a corner, and blow thier brains out.

Leave the rest of us who actually have a small iota of faith left in the human race rest get on with working out how to get through it.

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Anonymous Coward

The 7 billion...

...will include us.

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Population control, yes.

Ethical ?

No.

The only population control that will work is not birth-quantity control, but death-by-age-or-health.

Quite simply....

Over 65 ?

Not ample financial provision for old-age/retirement ?

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

Are you seriously suggesting that, in terms of GCHQ tying a real name to a post on this or any other forum, it makes one iota of difference whether the post is attributed to AC, or the poster's 'real' nick, 'Scarlet_Pimpernel7' ?

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Anonymous Coward

"If 7 billion hungry people with nothing to lose are going to come at us" - I think you completely missed his point...there are 7billion people in the world , you will be amoungst them not part of the ruling elite.

Fortress America...hmmmm.

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Stop

7 billion hungry people?

7 billion hungry people... there's a solution for that... plague, war, famine, pestilence... all four horsemen of the apocalypse will be loosed on us and only the elite and their favoured drones will get to survive...

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> The UK population is now officially 62 million, or really 77 Million - http://www.independent.co.uk /news/business/comment/city-eye-facts-on-a-plate-our-population-is-at-least-77-million-395428.html.

I really wouldn't put much faith in the numbers in that article, for two reasons :

1 - food waste is a huge problem, All the food companies (be it producers, manufacturers or retailers) can tell you is how much food THEY sell (and how much THEY waste), not how much WE actually EAT vs. how much WE waste. We waste a lot more food than the food companies want to talk about, because our waste is easy money for them.

2 - As demonstrated in the article regarding supermarket market share, they have an inherent bias towards making the market seem as large as possible.

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@Chrissy

>>"I'd also posit that the act of you writing, and me commenting positively on, this "seditious" article is enough to flag both of us on a database within GCHQ, and we are now considered "domestic extremists" and will be the first to be arrested when the oil runs out and the s**t hits the fan."

But surely, if even things as minor as posting on this forum gets you on the Big List, when allowing for all the other things of similar meaningfulness that people do, that would mean that a good fraction of the population will probably be 'first to be arrested'?

Even just practically speaking, how would that actually *work*?

Though if indeed it is true that whenever you try and warn people you are dismissed as a paranoid wingnut, what would 'they' be scared you'd do once the big police state *had* finally uncloaked and started snatching people en masse - walk around annoying people by saying "I told you so!" after it was too late to do anything?

Unless your claim to be being ignored now is some kind of subtle attempt at bluffing camouflage, wouldn't your current doubts (that you claim to be having no success in propagating) logically become *less* threatening once it was obvious to everyone else that you'd been right?

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Headmaster

How It Works

Everything goes into a enormous data warehouse and is cross referenced to the hilt.

Of course your futile forum posts will be completely ignored up until the point that you do/say something that triggers one of their alarms.

Then, they go to their data warehouse and pull out everything that you have ever said/done and use it to crush you.

THAT is how it works.

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@Goat Jam

>>"THAT is how it works."

Interesting...

Though how come you know that?

'They' haven't publicly crushed anyone that way yet.

If 'they' were going to privately crush someone, they wouldn't need a long history of trivial comments, they could presumably just crush on the basis of the later serious infraction.

Are we supposed to be living in fear of being crushed, in which case why aren't 'they' more blatant?

Is it supposed to be secret, in which case why do 'they' let people talk about it.

Etc.

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The Global War On Terror...

... is something that makes me feel thoroughly ashamed of my country. It's more evil than terrorism itself... our cowardly politicians need to admit that it's bullshit and put a stop to it.

That was a great article, thankyou.

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Anonymous Coward

[EDIT]

For 12 alarming years ... There was no excuse for the construction, funding and operation of surveillance platforms, or justification to tap data funnels into society's communications and transport arteries.

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