Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day!

Filed under: International HLS — by Arnold Bogis on July 1, 2015

I don’t have any one specific Canada-related homeland security topic to discuss or highlight. In fact, this post will go up near the end of the day. However, I felt it important to wish all our Canadian colleagues, friends, and family a Happy Canada Day!

It should be obvious the important role that Canada plays in our own security.  We share a long border.  They are one of our, if not the most, important trading partners.  Canada has been an integral part of our air defense system, epitomized by NORAD, for decades.

Despite the old backpacking idea that Americans should sew a Canadian flag on their gear for extra protection overseas, Canada faces the same terrorist threat that the U.S. is dealing with today.  In case it has already been forgotten, the Canadian Parliament was attacked by a terrorist after he killed a soldier standing guard at their national war memorial.  In a scene that should be familiar to all Americans, Canada came together in solidarity following this tragedy.

Not unlike the Patriot Act, the Canadian parliament has passed legislation aimed at responding to this evolving threat.

“Canadians know that Canada is unfortunately not immune to the ever-evolving threat of terrorism,” jointly stated Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney, and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Peter MacKay.

This legislation “will directly address the threat of terrorism by enhancing our government’s ability to share information between relevant government departments and agencies for national security purposes; criminalizing the advocacy and promotion of the commission of terrorism offences; preventing terrorists from travelling and recruiting others; and providing our police forces with the additional tools they need to prevent, detect, deny and respond to the threat of terrorism.”

Every year one of the preeminent conferences focused on disasters is held in Toronto: The World Conference on Disaster Management.

Last, but not least, it should be pointed out that one of the most intelligent and insightful homeland security analysts working today comes from the Land of Gretzky.  Sharon Cardash, Associate Director at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, previously served as Security Policy Advisor to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. She has authored and co-authored many perceptive and thoughtful pieces on homeland security topics.  About the only reason to question her analytical rigor is her insistence that Tim Hortons is better than Dunkin’ Donuts…

And, following the Iraq war and the missing WMD, in case you may have forgotten how misguided our intelligence services can sometimes be, the following evidence provided by the Canadian Desk at the CIA should give us all pause…

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Comment by William R. Cumming

July 2, 2015 @ 6:11 am

IMO the most important US/CANADA tie that binds is the control and defense of our joint Arctic interests [resources?]!

And in the 80’s Canada largely militarized EM and as the Calgary and Alberta Province flooding revealed recently that effort totally failed again IMO.

While 90-95% of of the world relies on their military for primary disaster response there is little to no analysis of the investment in the military for this role!


Comment by William R. Cumming

July 2, 2015 @ 6:17 am

Note Bene! The GWU Center is now labeled for Cyber Security and Homeland Security. And never the twain will meet?

Please hoping all note why improvements in Cyber Security largely left for the future by the Obama Administration that promised a Cyber Czar during the 2008 campaign! And Immigration Reform etc., etc.

And CIP, but in rality Cyber Security one reason DHS created.
And my rating for DHS remains as always an F.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 3, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

Anthony, I do feel a few other things should be pointed out in relation to Canada. First, Canada’s version of the Patriot Act (C-51 as I believe its known as) has been pretty widely criticized as being even worse than ours in several important ways, as well as being generally less necessary. Both the Canadian Bar Association (not exactly a particularly radical group), as well as the major mainstream international human rights groups in particular have been very critical of it. One of the bigger issues is that there’s essentially no parliamentary, ie., legislative oversight, or time limits on it – and amongst other things, it uses unusually vague language, etc., that many feel really lend it to being misused to criminalize legitimate political dissent – which Canada already has as bad or worse a history of doing with its past anti-terror legislation than even the U.S. does. And just to add an exclamation point on that, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney has been making some pretty sad statements lately, and behaving pretty much like Canada’s Donald Trump, by proclaiming that critics of C-51 are siding with terrorists and supporting terrorist organizations. Just in case people didn’t understand what criminalizing legitimate dissent meant, I guess he thought he would give a quick demonstration….. I mean good grief. No wonder EM is in the state its in up there…

Also, regarding terrorism and terrorist attacks in Canada, since the separatist terrorism Canada experienced in the 80s, I believe you’ll find that the more recent terrorist attacks track very consistently with Canada’s only fairly recent support for the U.S. and Israel’s policies and actions in the Middle East – which in turn tracks equally consistently with the slow motion adoption of neoliberalism by Canada via the U.S. as well – which ultimately means, and has meant, that the entire political infrastructure will shift to the right, which is what has certainly what’s happened in Canada. The U.S. is an increasingly costly entity to do business with, on a lot of different levels, and its certainly never bothered conservatives as long as its others and not them that suffers those costs. At this point, I think we really should just call Canada the 51st state, and be done with it.

Finally, re: “the missing WMD, in case you may have forgotten how misguided our intelligence services can sometimes be,” is basically a historical rewrite that must be corrected. There was no “intelligence failure” or mistaken or misguiding intelligence produced in the lead up to the Iraq war. The intelligence analyses and conclusions were wholly and intentionally fraudulent, and produced only after what must have been the greatest politicization of intelligence and pressuring of analysts ever in American history – and everyone who followed things at the time knew this full well, just as we do even more so now. Again, it was widely written about then, and it has been even more thoroughly since – including recently, as the rise of ISIS has reopened old criticisms about the invasion of Iraq, and the neocons and others have tried to institute what I call “the big rewrite” and pretend it was all an amazing surprise, and shamelessly blaming the intelligence community for it (who’s original and most major players steadfastly refused to give Cheney the analyses that he wanted, which then prompted him to set up a whole separate intelligence apparatus to get the conclusions that he wanted – don’t you remember). But they eventually found their lapdog in Tenet and, well, the rest is history. So please make no mistake with regard to the intelligence lead up to the Iraq war – there was no “mistake,” period.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 3, 2015 @ 6:08 pm

And Bill! As usual, I generally couldn’t agree with you more. I confess I’m not properly up on cybersecurity issues, but every new major breach headline leaves me more confused and dismayed than the last. I mean, seriously – I don’t get it. What are the issues here, and why is there so much successful cyber-targeting of the government going on? And no, Obama didn’t keep that promise, along with many others…

Re HS and EM being civil not military functions, agreed again, except I honestly still think that our concepts of national security and now homeland security need to be re-conceptualized into something considerably less aggressive and global, and much more about just defense (and the pun there is definitely intended). If that occurred, there would be no need for the new and decidedly weird if not unAmerican term “homeland” security, and we could just get rid of it, and the ridiculously conceived and designed agency named after it as well. I give DHS the same grade as you do, but it almost doesn’t seem fair really. I remember well how at the time it was formed, people even then warned that it was doomed to failure, and that it would suffer from exceptionally low moral as well (yes people really were warning about the likely eventual moral problem even back then). What I think DHS might be more than anything else is the best example ever of why you shouldn’t put people in charge of government who don’t actually really believe in government – IMHO.

Beyond that, FEMA really does need to be taken out of DHS, desperately, and as soon as possible – and mitigation put properly back into FEMA and EM once and for all, IMHO as well. In a previous Friday forum you and Claire mentioned something about the main presidential candidates in relation to DHS and maybe also FEMA – with you stated that you thought both Hillary and JBush had experience with FEMA, and Claire chiming in that we should not forget about Bernie Sanders as well. So I just wanted to weigh in on all that, because I’m actually a former long-time constituent of Bernie Sanders (and his first wife actually taught me everything I know about wine and cheese – but I digress). I actually don’t think either HC or JB has any particular experience with FEMA that makes them somehow more attractive than candidates who have not, although I do think that what they think about both DHS and FEMA more generally does matter, at least to me. But based on my experience observing Sanders over the years, I would venture to guess that regardless of his specific opinions about either, that it may well not be at or even near the top of his to do list, or problem list, either one. Bernie Sanders is one of the most talented, committed, hard-working and just generally thoughtful and certainly tenacious politicians I’ve ever seen at any level of government, and he’s been as successful as he has been primarily because he is in fact very, very able to work across the aisle so to speak, and win over a lot of former opponents because of his very genuine concern for the issues he works on, and the people and public he represents. Bernie Sanders is the real deal, and unlike any other politician I’ve ever seen before anywhere. And once people see that in him, he gets a lot of support and votes from all along the political spectrum. That’s how he’s been so very successful in VT, which has only had 2 Democratic governors in the entire 20th century (if I’m remembering right). He’s the only reason I’ll be voting in the national elections this time around, because I don’t have the slightest desire to vote for Hillary – and Bernie will get my vote for as long as I can vote for him. But back to DHS, my question is not what he’ll move in or out of DHS, but whether or not he’ll undo the massive mistake that is DHS, and eliminate it altogether – because I think he’s more likely to do that than anything else, if he does decide to bother with it (which I’m not convinced he would, at least right away).

Comment by William R. Cumming

July 5, 2015 @ 3:04 pm

Thanks Vicki again! And in extract:

” Bernie Sanders is one of the most talented, committed, hard-working and just generally thoughtful and certainly tenacious politicians I’ve ever seen at any level of government, and he’s been as successful as he has been primarily because he is in fact very, very able to work across the aisle so to speak, and win over a lot of former opponents because of his very genuine concern for the issues he works on, and the people and public he represents.”

The problem is that all the above may not be enough to win the Presidency.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 8, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

Bill, I would argue that’s a problem only if one views electoral processes as fundamentally about gambling on horses, rather than about the opportunity to cast an honest vote for who we actually want to be our political leaders, IMHO. The problem is we’ve been sucker-punched into functioning like the former because of an extraordinary lack of decent candidates to vote for. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of holding my nose and voting democratic, and ALWAYS being deeply disappointed, pretty much every time. This country is very lucky that Bernie Sanders has decided to run for President, and I for one don’t plan on wasting my vote on anyone else, ever again. And he may not win the Presidency, but I predict he will have fundamentally changed the political debate in this country, especially about economics, before its all over – and that would be a very good thing, and an extraordinary contribution in and of itself.

Below is a very recent extended interview with Sanders that just appeared in The Nation. I think it gives you a good sense of who he is politically, but as importantly, it also gives you a sense for the power, commitment, and just intellect behind the man himself. And he’s in it to win, make no mistake about it. And it would be our very lucky day if he did so….

Bernie Sanders Speaks
by John Nichols, The Nation

When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told The Nation last year that he was “prepared to run for president,” he said he would do so only if it was clear that progressives were enthusiastic about a movement campaign seeking nothing less than “a political revolution.” It was an audacious proposal—but after traveling the country for a year, Sanders decided that the enthusiasm was there and announced in late April as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. There were plenty of doubters then. Two months into the campaign, however, everything about this candidacy—the crowds, the poll numbers, the buzz—is bigger than expected. That says something about Sanders. But it also says something about the prospects for progressive politics. In late June, The Nation sat down with Sanders for several conversations that asked the longtime Nation reader (“started when I was a University of Chicago student in the early 1960s”) to put not just his campaign but the moment in historical perspective for our 150th-anniversary issue:?

The Nation: Your campaign for the presidency has surprised people. The crowds are big; the poll numbers are stronger than the pundits predicted. You’re a student of political history. Put what’s happening now in perspective. Are we at one of those pivot points—as we saw in the 1930s—where our politics could open up and take the country in a much more progressive direction??

Sanders: Obviously, we’re not in the midst of a massive depression, as we were in the 1930s. But I think the discontent of the American people is far, far greater than the pundits understand. Do you know what real African-American youth unemployment is? It’s over 50 percent. Families with a member 55 or older have literally nothing saved for retirement. Workers are worried about their jobs ending up in China. They’re worried about being fired when they’re age 50 and being replaced at half-wages by somebody who is 25. They’re disgusted with the degree that billionaires are able to buy elections. They are frightened by the fact that we have a Republican Party that refuses to even recognize the reality of climate change, let alone address this huge issue.

In 1936, when Roosevelt ran for reelection, he welcomed the hatred of what he called “the economic royalists”—today, they’re the billionaire class—and I’m prepared to do that as well. That’s the kind of language the American people are ready to hear.

The Nation: There are other people who have tried to do what you’re doing with this campaign. But you seem to have the platform, the microphone, at this point. Why so??

Sanders: I am getting a lot more national media ever since I’ve been running for president. But even with all of the national media I’ve been getting, what’s always shocking to me is that still half the American people don’t know who I am—which talks about not me in particular, but just about political consciousness in general. I can tell you what is more of an indication: We have by far now what I think is the most successful Senate Facebook page—I think [more than] 1.2 million people who are part of our Facebook network and, on any given day, there might be a million people or more talking about us. So there is no question but that there’s a significant part of the population that follows what we’re doing—and that has been following us for years.

The Nation: Obviously, for a lot of those who have followed you, the economic issues, the populist message, is at the heart of your campaign. But when you talk about the crisis, you always include a discussion of climate change.?

“I do not separate the civil-rights issue from the fact that 50 percent of African-American young people are unemployed or underemployed.”
Sanders: Look, for those of us who believe in science, you simply cannot ignore what the scientific community is saying almost unanimously. And that is that climate change is real; it’s caused by human activity; it’s already causing devastating problems; and it will only get worse in years to come if we don’t transform our energy system. You cannot ignore what is happening every day in terms of the climate and what it will mean—what it’s meaning today to the folks in California and elsewhere—for your kids and my kids. There is a moral responsibility that we must accept to transform our energy system. It cannot be ignored.


The Nation: As a candidate for president, would you refuse money from fossil-fuel companies??

Sanders: (laughing and speaking sarcastically) Well, let me see—it’s true the Koch brothers did send us a large check, and we’ve been debating whether to accept it or not. Of course, for us, it’s rather an unrealistic issue: a) I don’t take corporate PAC money, and b) if, by some accident, some company sent us money, we would send it back—absolutely.

The Nation: A criticism directed toward you early in the campaign was that you were very focused on economics, but not sufficiently focused on critical issues such as police brutality and mass incarceration. Isn’t this something you have to address??

Sanders: Clearly, police brutality and what goes on in African-American communities and other communities is a huge issue…. The question is: How do you have police departments in this country that are part of their communities, not oppressors in their communities? How do you have police officers who, when they commit acts of crime, are held accountable and are indicted? How do you have police officers receiving the proper training that they need? How do we demilitarize our police departments? All of these are important issues. The good news is that, as a country, we are paying far more attention to this issue than we previously did. If anyone thinks that the kind of police brutality that we’re seeing now is something new, they are sorely mistaken. The good news, in a sense, is that it’s now becoming public and we’re seeing it and talking about it.

There has to be, I think, a significant change in police culture in terms of [the use of force]. That is a major issue that has to be dealt with. And we will deal with it, period.

The other thing, to be frank, that does trouble me is that there is so little discussion about African-American youth unemployment. How do you discuss Ferguson and not know that, in that particular community, unemployment is off the charts? How do you discuss Baltimore and not know that, in that particular community, unemployment is off the charts? African-American youth unemployment in this country is 50 percent, and one out of three African-American males born today stands the possibility of ending up in jail if present trends continue. This is a disaster. So, of course, we’ve got to talk about police brutality; of course, we’ve got to talk about reforming our criminal-justice system; of course, we’ve got to make sure that we are educating our kids and giving them job training and not sending them to jail. But I get a little distressed that people are not talking about what I consider to be a huge problem: How do you not talk about African-American youth unemployment at 50 percent?

The Nation: That focus on employment goes back to the historic message of the civil-rights movement. Civil-rights organizing was one of the ways into political activism for you, wasn’t it??


Bernie Sanders
Sanders at a town hall at the Culinary Workers Union, March 2015, in Las Vegas (AP Photo/John Locher)
Sanders: Civil rights was a very important part of it. I was very active in the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago. I got arrested in trying to desegregate Chicago’s school system. I was very active in demanding that the University of Chicago not run segregated housing, which it was doing at that time. We were active in working with our brothers and sisters in SNCC [the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee]… at that point helping them with some very modest financial help. So, yes, I was active. And I do not separate the civil-rights issue from the fact that 50 percent of African-American young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Remember the March on Washington—what was it about? “Jobs and Freedom.” The issue that Dr. King raised all the time was: This is great if we want to desegregate restaurants or hotels, but what does it matter if people can’t afford to go to them? That’s still the issue today.

The Nation: As long as we’re talking about the evolution of public policy, let’s talk about the evolution of a word: socialism. You appeared on ABC’s This Week and, when you were asked whether a socialist can be elected president, you did not blink; you talked about socialism in positive, detailed terms. I don’t believe a presidential candidate has ever done that on a Sunday-morning show.?

“Do they think I’m afraid of the word ‘socialist’? I’m not afraid of the word.”
Sanders: Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, often criticizes President Obama, incorrectly, for trying to push “European-style socialism,” and McConnell says the American people don’t want it. First of all, of course, Obama is not trying to push European-style socialism. Second of all, I happen to believe that, if the American people understood the significant accomplishments that have taken place under social-democratic governments, democratic-socialist governments, labor governments throughout Europe, they would be shocked to know about those accomplishments. One of the goals of this campaign is to advance that understanding…. How many Americans know that in virtually every European country, when you have a baby, you get guaranteed time off and, depending on the country, significant financial benefits as well. Do the American people know that? I doubt it. Do the American people even know that we’re the only major Western industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee healthcare for all? Most people don’t know that. Do the American people know that in many countries throughout Europe, public colleges and universities are either tuition-free or very inexpensive?

I have always believed that the countries in Scandinavia have not gotten the kind of honest recognition they deserve for the extraordinary achievements they have made…. The Danish ambassador, whom I talked to a couple of years ago, said to me that in Denmark it is very, very hard to be poor; you really have to literally want to be outside of the system. Well, that’s pretty good. In Denmark, all of their kids can go to college; not only do they go for free, they actually get stipends. Healthcare is, of course, a right for all people. They have a very strong childcare system, which to me is very important. Their retirement system is very strong. They are very active in trying to protect their environment…. And, by the way, the voter turnout in those countries is much higher; in Denmark, in the last election, it was over 80 percent. Political consciousness is much higher than it is in the United States. It’s a more vibrant democracy in many respects. So why would I not defend that? Do they think I’m afraid of the word? I’m not afraid of the word.

The Nation: Of course, if you’re not afraid of the word, they can’t attack you. You can actually focus on the policies.?

Sanders: When I ran for the Senate the first time, I ran against the wealthiest guy in the state of Vermont. He spent a lot on advertising—very ugly stuff. He kept attacking me as a liberal. He didn’t use the word “socialist” at all because everybody in the state knows that I am that. It has lost its cachet.

The Nation: You’re the son of an immigrant, and you’ve made an issue over the years of the exploitation of immigrant workers. What’s your sense of how these issues will figure in the 2016 campaign?

Bernie Sanders as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont
Bernie Sanders as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, 1981 (AP Photo/Donna Light)
Sanders: I’ve been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, the Dream Act, a number of these initiatives. But as you know, the Republicans have blocked action; worse than that, they talk about “self-deportation” and these other draconian proposals. So I supported the president’s executive action—I think that was a good step. But we have to push harder: We have to fight against this politics of division that seeks to divide working families, that disrespects hard work, that disrespects the contributions immigrant workers make to our economy. This politics of division doesn’t fix anything; it just makes it easier to exploit millions of workers who are vulnerable because of their undocumented status. We have to address that exploitation and end it. We also have to speak about who benefits from that exploitation: the same corporations that we see pushing these race-to-the-bottom policies. Instead of trying to divide workers, which is the oldest story in the book, we’ve got to be focused on uniting them, and the way to do that is by saying, “Look, the problem isn’t with this group of workers or that group of workers. The problem is with the corporations and the policies that make the exploitation possible.” We’re going to talk a lot about that in this campaign.

The Nation: Another issue you’ve focused on over the years is mass surveillance. In addition to voting against authorization for the use of force in Iraq, you voted against the Patriot Act. That was almost 15 years ago, and you’re still fighting on these issues.?

Sanders: I did vote against the Patriot Act. I said at the time that it gave the government far too much power to spy on innocent Americans, and I believe I’ve been proven right about that. What frustrates me is this false choice that says the United States of America cannot pursue terrorists and protect people from harm while still respecting the Constitution and civil liberties. I didn’t believe that was the case in 2001, and I do not believe that is the case now. So I’ve raised these issues, and I will continue to raise them. And one other thing: I believe it’s important—vitally important—to recognize that it isn’t only what the federal government does that should concern us. We have to recognize that corporations collect huge amounts of data on us. There is no question in my mind that technology is outpacing public policy in this area, and I do not think we should be casual about this or say that it’s something we should let the corporations figure out. We should all be talking about this—about how we’re going to maintain our privacy rights in very rapidly changing times.

The Nation: You feel the same about corporations warping the future of the Internet to their advantage.?

Sanders: Absolutely. I’ve been very involved in the fight to maintain net neutrality. This is about the free flow of information, the free flow of ideas, on the Internet. If we let corporations put a price tag on that, so that some ideas move more quickly than other ideas because a billionaire is paying for an advantage, that changes the debate in a way that harms democracy. This is common sense, and we’ve had some success in defending net neutrality—but we have to be vigilant. These fights over communication policy are really fights about how our democracy is going to function—if it is going to function—in the 21st century.?

The Nation: One line of criticism from the pundits goes: “Sanders is strong on the issues, but he can’t get anywhere if he doesn’t attack Hillary Clinton.” You get attacked for not going negative!?

Sanders: (laughing) I’ve had writers who have sat exactly where you’re sitting, and I’ve talked for an hour on every major issue facing the American people—gone on for an hour—and at the end, somebody asks me for a word on Hillary Clinton. And the story is “Bernie Sanders [vs.] Hillary Clinton.” That is the corporate media’s worldview. That is their only understanding of how a campaign can be run: when one candidate attacks the other candidate.

Bernie Sanders announces his candidacy for Senate in 2006.
Bernie Sanders announces his candidacy for Senate in 2006. (AP Photo/Alden Pellett)
Now, I’ve known Hillary Clinton for many years. Let me confess: I like Hillary. I disagree with Hillary Clinton on many issues. My job is to differentiate myself from her on the issues—not by personal attacks. I’ve never run a negative ad in my life. Why not? First of all, in Vermont, they don’t work—and, frankly, I think increasingly around this country they don’t work. I really do believe that people want a candidate to come up with solutions to America’s problems rather than just attacking his or her opponent. If you look at politics as a baseball game or a football game, then I’m supposed to be telling the people that my opponents are the worst people in the world and I’m great. That’s crap; I don’t believe that for a second…. I don’t need to spend my life attacking Hillary Clinton or anybody else. I want to talk about my ideas on the issues.

The Nation: Which brings us to the subject of debates. My sense is that you’d be happy to debate every day.?

Sanders: Well, not quite every day.

The Nation: But you have argued for a lot more debates. And you’ve suggested the radical notion that Republicans should be included in the debates.?

Sanders: This is what I believe. I’m the ranking member on the Budget Committee. The Republican budget gave over $200 billion in tax breaks over a 10-year period to the wealthiest two-tenths of 1 percent—massive cuts in Medicare, massive cuts in Medicaid, massive cuts in education, threw 27 million people off their health insurance. That is the Republican budget. That is what they believe…. This is a fact. That’s exactly what their budget did.

The Republicans get away with murder because what they do and what they want is not seen, is not understood by the American people, because it’s not talked about…. So I think the more that we can confront Republicans about their ideology of tax breaks for the billionaires and cuts to every program that is a benefit to the American people, and can expose them for their subservience to the billionaire class—I think that wins for us every single time.

So this is what I would like: I would like as many debates as possible, and I would also like to break new ground and have debates with Republicans and Democrats. I think that will be very positive for the American people in that we’ll be able to focus on issues. Let the Republicans defend why they want to give tax breaks to the billionaires and make massive cuts in Medicare. I would love to hear it.

The other thing I want to do is to take these debates into the so-called red areas of the country. I think it is insane that the Democrats do not have a 50-state strategy [along the lines championed by Howard Dean]. How is it that, if you are the party of working people, supposedly, you abdicate your responsibility in some of the poorest states of America? Where are you in Mississippi? Where are you in South Carolina? Where are you in Alabama? Where are you in other low-income states? If you don’t get started now, you will never advance. So I intend in this campaign to go to states that many Democratic candidates don’t usually visit.

The Nation: Would you do one-on-one debates with Republican presidential candidates? Would you sit down with Scott Walker and debate about unions with him??

Sanders: Of course I would—I’d debate him about anything. And I’ll tell you the truth: I don’t think it would be a bad idea to have more than one Republican and more than one Democrat. The most serious political problem facing this country is that we don’t discuss the serious issues facing this country. And the American people are becoming increasingly alienated from the political process; 63 percent of the American people didn’t vote last November. I’m looking for ways to bring them into a serious discussion about serious issues. When we do that, the Republican agenda will be exposed for the disaster it is.

The Nation: You have a strong sense of history. What’s your measure for a historic campaign??

Sanders: The title of our campaign, the working slogan, is “A Political Revolution.” That’s what this campaign is about. If it results in millions of people beginning to move in that direction, beginning to understand the potential of our country, what we can become; if people understand why we are where we are in terms of income and wealth inequality; if people begin to understand that participating in our democratic process is our patriotic duty and what people fought and died to defend; if people begin to stand up and say, “America is not supposed to be a country where 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent, or where the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent… that is not what America is supposed to be”; if people begin to ask, “What can we do as Americans? How do we move to healthcare for all? How do we have the best educational system in the world? Let’s get involved in that discussion. Let’s make it happen”—if we accomplish that goal, I will be elected president of the United States. And even if I am not elected president of the United States, this country will be in much better shape for having made that effort.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 8, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

Sorry about the above cut and paste, which I didn’t edit very well, and didn’t realize some extraneous stuff copied from the website in middle of the article that had nothing to do with the article itself. Again, sorry.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

July 8, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

Bill, just for you. Re cybersecurity, an interview by Democracy Now with Bruce Schneier:

The End of Encryption? NSA and FBI Seek New Backdoors Against Advice From Leading Security Experts

Wednesday, 08 July 2015 00:00
By Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now! | Video Interview

FBI Director James Comey is set to testify against encryption before the Senate Intelligence Committee today, as the United States and Britain push for “exceptional access” to encrypted communications. Encryption refers to the scrambling of communications so they cannot be read without the correct key or password. The FBI and GCHQ have said they need access to encrypted communications to track criminals and terrorists. Fourteen of the world’s preeminent cryptographers, computer scientists and security specialists have issued a paper arguing there is no way to allow the government such access without endangering all confidential data, as well as the broader communications infrastructure. We speak with one of the authors of the paper, leading security technologist Bruce Schneier.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to look at a major new push by the U.S. and Britain to allow law enforcement agencies to unlock encrypted digital messages. Encryption refers to the scrambling of data sent, for example, via your phone or applications like Facebook so it cannot be read without the correct key or password. The FBI and GCHQ have said they need “exceptional access” to encrypted communications in order to track criminals and stop them from acting. More recently, they’ve said new encryption technologies will prevent them from monitoring the communications of terrorists.

AMY GOODMAN: But in a paper released on Tuesday, 13 of the world’s pre-eminent cryptographers, computer scientists and security specialists argued there is no way to allow the government such access without endangering all confidential data, as well as the broader communications infrastructure.

Today, FBI Director James Comey is set to testify against encryption before the Senate Intelligence Committee. In a blog post on Monday, Comey wrote, quote, “The current ISIL threat … involves ISIL operators in Syria recruiting and tasking dozens of troubled Americans to kill people, a process that increasingly takes part through mobile messaging apps that are end-to-end encrypted, communications that may not be intercepted, despite judicial orders under the Fourth Amendment.” That’s Comey speaking about encryption. Let’s go to him speaking about it last October.

JAMES COMEY: We’re seeing more and more where we believe significant evidence is on that phone or on that laptop, and we can’t crack the password. If this becomes the norm, I suggest to you that homicide cases could be stalled, suspects walk free, child exploitation not discovered and prosecuted. Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted device.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Meanwhile, a new report about wiretapping in 2014 that was published last week found that law enforcement personnel at the state and federal level were only hindered by encryption on four wiretaps all year.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go to London, where we’re joined by Bruce Schneier, a security technologist and author of the book, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World. He is one of the co-authors of the paper that was released yesterday by encryption experts called “Keys Under Doormats: Mandating Insecurity by Requiring Government Access to All Data and Communications.” He’s also a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Bruce, welcome back to Democracy Now! A major paper that you all, the security technologist gurus of the world, have just released. Talk about the significance of what the U.S. and Britain are demanding right now and why you consider it such a threat.

BRUCE SCHNEIER: It’s extraordinary that governments—that free governments are demanding that security be weakened because the government might want to have access. This is the kind of thing that we see out of Russia and China and Syria. But to see it out of Western countries, I think, is extraordinary. What we wanted to do in the paper is say, as technologists, trying to do this will be incredibly damaging. There’s a policy debate going on right now. You talked about Comey talking before the Senate. We want to come together as technologists to try to inform that debate, and that’s why we wrote the report.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And why do you say it will be incredibly damaging?

BRUCE SCHNEIER: Because what Comey wants is encryption that he can break with a court order. But as a technologist, I can’t design a computer that operates differently when a certain piece of paper is nearby. If I make a system that can be broken, it can be broken by anybody, not just the FBI. So his requirement for access gives criminals access, gives the Chinese government access. We need encryption for security, for many more reasons than he wants to break it. Trying to break it just makes it weak. We all have less security because of that.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to FBI Director James Comey speaking in October, when he warned against smartphone data encryption.

JAMES COMEY: Encryption is nothing new, but the challenge to law enforcement and national security officials is markedly worse with recent default encryption settings and encrypted devices and networks, all in the name of increased security and privacy. For example, with Apple’s new operating system, the information stored on many iPhones and other Apple devices will be encrypted by default. Shortly after Apple’s announcement, Google announced plans to follow suit with its Android operating system. This means that the companies themselves will not be able to unlock phones, laptops and tablets to reveal photos or documents or email or stored texts or recordings in those instruments.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s FBI Director James Comey. Bruce Schneier, your response?

BRUCE SCHNEIER: So, he said that, and problem is, whenever we hear these arguments, we don’t get any examples. You mentioned the recent report that said encryption only foiled wiretaps in four cases. Comey has not been able to give good examples of iPhones being encrypted. He gave some examples; they were pretty much instantly refuted. So we get a lot of scare stories, but we don’t get actual credible evidence that this is hindering law enforcement.

It turns out we give a lot of data that is not encrypted and can’t be encrypted—Facebook, email, lots of conversations, location data on our cellphone. This is actually the golden age of surveillance. And a lot of this stuff can be used against us. Remember, Apple’s—the photos from Apple’s servers that were stolen and leaked, and these were compromising photos of celebrities. And this is how our data is being stored. The fact that some stuff is being put on phones, some communications are secure, that’s not a hindrance to him. He says it is, but it’s scare stories.

And we heard these scare stories before. In the mid-’90s, we had this exact same debate. And most of the group of us that wrote the report we released yesterday released a report in the mid-’90s saying the same things. Here we are 20 years later, and there hasn’t been a problem. So I don’t see a problem, and I’m afraid the solution is damaging.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Bruce, there seems to be more attention to the issue of the potential isolated group of terrorists being able to take advantage of the Internet, and not all of the companies that, on a daily basis, are being breached in one way or another. Consumers are going crazy with their private information being grabbed by all kinds of other folks that are able to penetrate systems, so that the emphasis, it seems to me, should be on more encryption, more protection for consumers on the Internet, and not the government being able to access everything.

BRUCE SCHNEIER: I mean, that’s exactly right. We’re concerned about criminals. We’re concerned about Chinese nationals, other countries. We’re concerned about the security of our data, and encryption is a valuable tool. To deliberately weaken that at the behest of the FBI or the U.K. government, I think, is a really crazy trade-off. It doesn’t make us safer; it makes us more at risk.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you’re speaking to us from the U.K. What is David Cameron proposing for the United Kingdom?

BRUCE SCHNEIER: Cameron is proposing something even more extreme. He’s made statements saying that secure encryption should be illegal. Now, that, I think, would be incredibly damaging. It’s also unworkable. I mean, if he wants to make that so, he has to seize my computer, my laptop, when I enter the country. He’s not going to do that. That will destroy tourism. But the noise here is even more extreme, that it should be a crime to use secure encryption. I think it really should be the opposite, that not using it, you should be liable for damages.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk, Bruce Schneier, about the backdoors that exist, and especially for a completely lay audience around the world, what we should be concerned about right now, now and also what Britain and the U.S. are considering, what Comey will be testifying about today?

BRUCE SCHNEIER: It’s an interesting question, because while encryption is a very powerful too and very strong, computer security is very weak. We, as scientists, don’t know how to build secure computers. So I can protect the encryption of your phone, but I can’t stop someone from hacking into it. And if you look at what the NSA does, what the Chinese government does, what criminals do, they hack into devices. And that’s something that we’re still very much at risk at. The big breaches you’re seeing are not breaches of encryption. They’re hacking. We know the FBI does hacking.

And a lot of us on the group believe that lawful hacking is the solution to Comey’s problem. Don’t break encryption for everybody, but hack into the computers of just the suspects you want to eavesdrop on. That’s more powerful. That’s something we can’t really prevent. And that gives you, the FBI, the U.K. government, the access you need. And that is both a problem and a solution. We do need to get better at it. I mean, all the breaches you’re seeing show how bad it is, whether it’s Office of Personnel Management; whether it’s a cyberweapons arms manufacturer in Italy, Hacking Team, last week; whether it’s Target or Home Depot or any bank. You know, these are all breaches of computer security from these flaws.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, I wanted to ask you about one of those, another story in the news. Leaked documents appear to show an Italy-based private spyware company known as the Hacking Team was selling its products to U.S. law enforcement agencies and repressive governments around the world. The Hacking Team sells software which lets users seize remote control of another person’s computer. Its customers include the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Army, as well as foreign governments including Ethiopia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The documents were published to the company’s own Twitter feed following an apparent breach.

BRUCE SCHNEIER: So this is an amazing story. Hacking Team is a company—it’s a cyberweapons arms manufacturer—that sells both to the U.S. government and to repressive regimes all over the world. Hacking Team has been responsible for people dying. I have no doubt about that. And what happened is, some hacker decided to publish all of their documents. We learned some extraordinary things, like the company has secret access into the products it sold to all these countries and didn’t tell them. The company has problems. I mean, it’s one thing to have dissatisfied customers. Hacking Team has dissatisfied customers with hit squads. This is going to be bad. This is a company that I believe has behaved immorally. So I’m really kind of happy to see them on the ropes here.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about Edward Snowden. The person we were just talking about in the last segment, the former attorney general, Eric Holder, interestingly, after Eric Holder stepped down, he just recently said that he thinks the possibility exists for the Justice Department to cut a deal with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, allowing him to return to United States. I wanted to get your response to that and also how Edward Snowden’s revelations, now in political asylum in Russia, have informed your work, Bruce.

BRUCE SCHNEIER: You know, the data that Snowden revealed via the reporters has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve learned a lot about how the NSA works, the justifications behind what they do, the things they do. And by extension, we’ve learned what other countries do, as well. Right? The NSA is not made of magic. These are the same things Russia and China and Israel and France and other countries do. So we’re learning a lot about nation-state surveillance. And that teaches us how to make things more secure. At the same time, we’ve had this great political debate in the United States about what are the limits of U.S. surveillance. There’s been less of a debate in the U.K., but there has been some, as well. So Snowden has done two things, from my perspective: He’s shown citizens what the government is doing in their name, and he’s shown technologists what the capabilities of attack are, so we can build better defensive capabilities.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think he should be allowed to come back into the United States? And do you think he should be able to live as a free man?

BRUCE SCHNEIER: I mean, I certainly think he should. But this is—that’s very much a political decision. I’m a technologist. I think it’s still very—the emotions are very raw in the intelligence community. He did betray them. And I don’t know how many years have to pass before it doesn’t sting anymore, how many people have to retire. I think it would be great if he could return as a free man, but I don’t know.

AMY GOODMAN: Bruce, we want to thank you very much for being with us. Bruce Schneier, security technologist, author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World, one of a group of 14 of the world’s pre-eminent cryptographers and computer scientists who have presented a paper challenging what the U.S. government and the British government want to do about encryption. We’ll continue to follow this story, of course.

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