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Government The Media United States News Politics

WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan 241

On Monday, The Intercept reported that the NSA is recording the content of every cell phone call in the Bahamas. At the time of publication, The Intercept said there was another country in which the NSA was doing this, but declined to name it because of "specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence." Now, reader Advocatus Diaboli points out that WikiLeaks has spilled the beans: the country being fully monitored by the NSA is Afghanistan. Julian Assange wrote, "Such censorship strips a nation of its right to self-determination on a matter which affects its whole population. An ongoing crime of mass espionage is being committed against the victim state and its population. By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimization, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere. Pre-notification to the perpetrating authorities also permits the erasure of evidence which could be used in a successful criminal prosecution, civil claim, or other investigations. ... We do not believe it is the place of media to 'aid and abet' a state in escaping detection and prosecution for a serious crime against a population. Consequently WikiLeaks cannot be complicit in the censorship of victim state X. The country in question is Afghanistan."
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WikiLeaks: NSA Recording All Telephone Calls In Afghanistan

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  • Unreliable source (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @08:56AM (#47073507)

    I'm sorry, but there is just no source that is possibly less reliable than this. The asshole has no credibility.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:02AM (#47073565)
    Translators? Why bother, the data probably just ends up poorly filed in some tape farm. Data collection is sexy, data processing is dull.
  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:11AM (#47073623)

    The "censorship" in question is the decision not to publish the name of the nation in question:

    "By denying an entire population the knowledge of its own victimization, this act of censorship denies each individual in that country the opportunity to seek an effective remedy, whether in international courts, or elsewhere."

  • by bemenaker ( 852000 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:12AM (#47073625)
    This part of the Snowden leaks is the part I have a problem with. This is EXACTLY what the NSA is supposed to be doing. Making this part public record does do damage to the US and is part of being a traitor. I have zero problems with Snowden leaking information about the NSA spying on Americans, not because it effects me, but because it's a violation of the Constitution and the NSA does NOT have that authority, regardless of what laws Congress passes. If the SCOTUS wasn't such pussies they would have taken this on years ago and stopped it, but instead they are 100% complicit in this as well. If Snowden has a problem with these actions from the NSA, why did he take a job there in the first place?
  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:12AM (#47073627) Homepage Journal

    When you listen to them talking politics, and then bomb the wedding down the street instead... that's US Intelligence.

  • Re:Well duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:31AM (#47073737)
    That isn't the problem. Joe Everyman expected them to be doing this, but don't know why it's A Bad Thing. All they see is "It's to stop the terr'rists / perverts / commies!" and don't see how it can be abused, not by those in power now, but those in the future.

    20 years from now, when the bigots finally get a real right-wing guy in power, they'll look back at all this data and say "Ok, fella's; Find me everyone who ever talked to a brown guy and revoke their passport."
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:44AM (#47073821)

    After all, we were at war there.

    No we're not. No war was ever declared and the majority of our troops have left. At best our troops are in an advisory role now. We're training and supporting the afghan military. Once again we invade a country under the pretense of protecting the innocent citizens of that country... but what we really end up doing is victimizing those very citizens. I wont even bother with "if it's legal"... our government clearly doesn't care... but it's immoral, unjust and completely ineffectual. Despite having every phone in the country tapped it took us how long to catch Bin Laden?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2014 @09:45AM (#47073827)

    You seem to be under the illusion that the US and the other "5 Eyes" countries were not collecting metadata and recording conversations pre-2001. This is an inaccurate belief on your part.

  • by Flytrap ( 939609 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:13AM (#47074053)

    Most of us can live with the fact that our security and secret agencies sustain our way of life, maintain our security and liberties, preserve our freedoms and protect our and values by denying others (often in far flung lands) of the same as long as we are not forced to confront the morality of that reality or explain to those whose rights, freedoms and liberties the preservation of our own tramples upon why they are not worthy of the very values, liberties and freedoms that we are willing to go to such lengths to protect and preserve?

    The activities of spy agencies of every country are conducted in secret for a reason. Often we, the tax payers in whose name those agencies conduct their business, do not want to know the price that some innocent person in some part of the world that we barely know of may have paid for the preservation of our own way of life. We would much rather believe that they deserved to have their rights trampled upon, their liberties denied, their freedom curtailed and yes, if necessary, their life snuffed out; so we grasp at the justifications that our security agencies give us to help us sleep at night: Afghanistan is a cesspool of terrorists... they want to destroy our way of life... etc, etc.

    So, it seems that the NSA is monitoring every cell phone call in the Bahamas, Afghanistan and probably every other country that uses US made telecommunication equipment. This revelation should not be a surprise, and we, the tax payer that pays for this should, be relieved to see confirmation that our spy agencies are using our tax dollars to detect threats to our freedoms, liberties, and general way of life before they materialise on our shores...

    Our feigned disapproval comes not from finding out the details of what our spy agency has been up to in our name, but rather from the internal conflict that we all must confront at discovering the true price of our way of life.

    Here is a reality check for all of us: our freedom, liberties and way of life often come at at the cost of denying someone else of their freedom, liberty and sometimes their life. So, instead of pretending to be surprised at the discovery of what the NSA has been up to in Afghanistan, we should instead seek to bestow upon the people of Afghanistan the very same freedom, liberties and values that we treasure and hold dear, so that hopefully one day, they too can attain the same levels of property that we enjoy and drive out the terrorists who not only threaten us, but threaten them and their ability to prosper as well.

  • Re:Well duh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:25AM (#47074159)
    Given that Afganistan is a military theatre of war, I don't think that it's actually legally an issue that they're monitoring all communications, as those communications are almost certainly being used to conduct warfare.

    And perhaps if actually listening to the conversations helps to not detain innocent people because one can actually know what they're talking about, as opposed to the metadata approach where anyone talking to someone associated with opponents is grabbed, then it might not be a bad thing, again, within the scope of a theatre of war.

    In the "us versus them" argument, this is a legitimate differentiation between us and them. As opposed to treating us as them as the metadata approach used domestically.
  • Re:Well duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @10:39AM (#47074249)

    The wing-wing in the US is fairly good at not being overtly racist. They'e be more likely to target their efforts religiously: Trawl the archives to make a list of everyone who ever insulted God and get them on an employment blacklist. Much as happened during the red scare, when suspected communists faced similar semi-official sanctions, but made possible on a much larger scale by automation.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.