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WMR:  Chris Isham, the CBS News Washington was an FBI 'snitch' more below


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  • WMR  January 26-27, 2012 -- Obama administration assaults press freedom like no predecessor  WMR has learned and has personally experienced the unprecedented assault by the Obama administration, aided and abetted by its intelligence and internal security infrastructure, on the First Amendment right of freedom of the press.    ... The Obama administration has indicted a total of six U.S. government employees with violating the arcane 1917 Espionage Act for allegedly communicating classified information to the press. The Obama administration, according to multi-agency U.S. government sources , has authorized the eavesdropping of journalists' e-mails, text messages, and phone calls to determine to whom they are in contact within the government, particularly in the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, the CIA, the U.S. Congress' intelligence oversight committees, and the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA and FBI are also monitoring what websites are visited by government employees, including this one.    ...   The six people charged under the Espionage Act with providing classified information to journalists (the "Obama Six") are: John Kiriakou, former CIA, allegedly passed information on waterboarding torture tactics and the identity of a CIA torturer to someone identified by the government as "Journalist A." The chief government prosecutor is U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, who WMR has identified as a cover-up prosecutor for the CIA ever since the days he suppressed critical intelligence in the trial of the "Blind Sheik," Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted for plotting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later, when he failed to bring Espionage Act charges against Dick Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the Valerie Plame Wilson leak case. Fitzgerald also prosecuted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to protect the CIA's one-time agent, Barack Obama, Jr., from scandal arising from Obama's political and social activities in Chicago. Jeffrey Sterling, former CIA, charged with providing The New York Times' James Risen with classified information on Iran's nuclear program. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, charged with providing over a quarter million State Department classified and unclassified cables from the SIPRnet communication system to WikiLeaks. Thomas Drake, former NSA official, charged with providing classified information to journalists, including former Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman. The charges against Drake were later reduced. Stephen Kim, former State Department contractor, charged with leaking classified information about North Korea to Fox News' James Rosen. Shamai Leibowitz, former FBI Hebrew translator, convicted of leaking classified FBI wiretaps to a blogger on Israeli intelligence activities in the United States directed at stirring up war fever against Iran. As yet, Leibowitz has been the only person convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking information to the media. The government fast-tracked the Leibowitz trial in order to supress coverage of Israel's massive intelligence operations in the United States. WMR knows of six other ex-employees of NSA and the State Department who continue to face criminal probes by the Obama administration for leaking information to the press.    ...   Government employees face constant monitoring of their government emails, as well as their personal e-mail accounts for any contact with the press. The FBI, NSA, and other agencies are also monitoring the web sites visited by government employees. At the State Department, lists of web sites visited by employees are maintained by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). DSS also maintains lists of charities to which State Department employees donate money.    ...    WMR learned of one case where the U.S. Navy blocked access to the web for an employee who visited from a government computer. The employee was required to explain to the system security administrator why WMR was visited and cautioned that WMR is on a "banned" list for Navy employees. At NSA, employees have been ordered not to disseminate any articles from WMR on the agency's internal e-mail system or they will face disciplinary action and possible loss of security access and their jobs.    ...   There are also increasing reports that journalists' e-mails are being monitored or completely blocked by the U.S. government agencies and cooperating Internet Service Providers (ISPs). WMR has recently experienced such a denial-of-service by America On-Line (AOL).    ...   The increased harassment of journalist sources by the Obama administration comes at the same time that Reporters Without Borders has dropped the United States on the World Press Freedom Index to 47 from 20 on the press freedom ranking list. At 47, the United States is tied with Romania and Argentina and ranks below the Union of Comoros in the Indian Ocean; increasingly fascist-oriented Hungary; Papua New Guinea, which has experienced a military coup; Mali; Tanzania; Botswana; Suriname; Niger; and Cape Verde. In 2002, during the second year of the Bush administration, the United States was ranked at 17.
  • WMR July 19, 2011 -- Important words in light of the Murdoch-police caper ...   As the media empire of Rupert Murdoch appears to be dying by a thousands cuts, it is important to focus on the unholy alliance crafted over the decades between Murdoch's media minions, top cops, and senior government officials who traded in surveillance data from law enforcement and other official government sources. This melding of the media and government bears the indelible watermark of fascism in its most cogent definition.    ...   Therefore, the words of the late investigative journalist Jack Anderson, penned on January 1, 1981 in The Washington Post, just a few weeks before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, should be remembered and heeded. Reagan, incidentally, would do so much to change how the news was reported in the United States, especially in the coverage of the President.     ...    Anderson: "Too many reporters have a tendency . . . to act as explainers and apologists for the officials they cover. This chumminess between the press corps and the power structure pollutes the flow of information to the people. The need for the press to occupy an adversary role was clear to America's founding fathers who sought to pit the ferreters of facts against the mobilizers of opinion.    ...   The role of a free press is to give the people an alternative to the official version of things, a rival account of reality, a measure by which to judge the efficacy of rulers and whether the truth is in them.    ...   Long before our present political parties existed, the role of the village editor and disseminating pamphleteer -- as monitor, arbiter, critic and rival of the politician -- was imbedded as a fundamental of the American system.    ...   It was of this role that Thomas Jefferson spoke in his eternally repeatable declaration if he had to choose between a government without newspapers and newspapers without a government, he would take his morning paper."    ...   What Rupert Murdoch and his worldwide emulators have done is turn the media and some newspapers into organs of right-wing and pro-war governments, from David Cameron, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, and Dick Cheney to Australia's John Howard, Canada's Stephen Harper, and Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Olmert, and Ariel Sharon. Murdoch fused his media interests to those of his favorite politicians. For that, Murdoch has relinquished any claims he has to being a journalist. Murdoch has been proven to be a rank media propagandist in the same mold as Joseph Goebbels, Julius Streicher, and Ilya Ehrenburg.    ...   Some journalists have opined that the attack on Murdoch is an attack against journalism in general. Of course, to believe such a fairy tale is to also believe that Murdoch employs journalists. In fact, journalists are a rare discovery in Murdoch's far-flung empire of public relations flacks, political toadies, and other sundry wastrels.
  • Wayne Madsen report August 18, 2008 -- NSA continues surveillance of journalists; WMR editor subject of espionage investigation  ...   On May 10, 2005, WMR reported on the existence of a highly-classified database at the National Security Agency (NSA), formerly code-named "FIRSTFRUITS," that monitored journalists who reported on the activities of the eavesdropping agency, as well as other intelligence matters. A few weeks later, according to an executive-level source at the NSA, and confirmed by a related source within NSA's "Q" Directorate, the Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, this editor has been a subject of a national security investigation since June 2005 that remains ongoing. The investigation of this editor is classified at the level SECRET/COMINT (NOFORN). COMINT is "Communications Intelligence" and NOFORN denotes "Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals/Governments/Non-US Citizens."     ...    According to National Security Agency/Central Security Service Policy 1-27, dated March 20, 2006 and signed by NSA Chief of Staff Deborah Bonanni, the investigation of the public disclosure of the unconstitutional and illegal FIRSTFRUITS surveillance system would be coordinated by the NSA, Department of Defense, Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Justice.
  • Wayne Madsen report Journalists and bloggers under assault by Bush Gestapo publication date: Aug 19, 2008   ...   Yesterday, WMR reported that the editor was the subject of a national security investigation launched by the National Security Agency (NSA), possibly in concert with other federal agencies.    ...    Yesterday, we learned that two agents of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Connecticut wants to question one of our contributing writers, Maher Osseiran. It is not known what the subject is but anytime a journalist or writer is the subject of any kind of questioning by law enforcement, except in very narrow and limited circumstances, First Amendment alarms should be ringing across the nation. The two agents in Connecticut are FBI Special Agent Judy Eide, billed as a "Training Coordinator," and Detective Steven Roy of the Connecticut State Police.    ...   Meanwhile, our colleague Joe Lauria, who wrote a series of exposes for the Sunday Times of London, is also the subject of an FBI probe. This editor assisted The Times with its story on Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI Turkish translator, and her story about a Turkish-Israeli intelligence and influence-peddling ring that involved drug and nuclear smuggling activities.   ....    We also learned yesterday that national security correspondent Bill Gertz of The Washington Times is still not out of the woods yet on a federal probe over the leak of grand jury information on a Chinese espionage case. In addition, the FBI is continuing to investigate New York Times national security reporter Jim Risen over his exposes of the FBI's and NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. A federal grand jury subpoenaed Risen to reveal his anonymous sources but he has refused to appear. It is this editor's oft-stated policy that he will neither appear before nor answer questions posed by any grand jury about confidential sources or any methods used to obtain information for stories.   ...   We have learned from an executive level NSA source linked to NSA Security that when NSA's Security Directorate first began investigating the disclosure of the agency's FIRSTFRUITS journalist surveillance database, an NSA security officer said of the journalists contained in the database, "We should just kill them all." The journalists who were then the subject of the database were, in addition to this editor, Bill Gertz, James Bamford, Vernon Loeb, Jim Risen, Dr. John C. K. Daly, and Seymour Hersh.   
FirstFruits, Warrantless Surveillance of American Journalists       top
  • Summary
  • NSA listening to private conversations of  Americans, data mining, blackmail? ABCNews , Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller investigating. 
  • FIRSTFRUITS NSA wiretaps of American Journalists, program revealed by Wayne Madsen, name of program then changed.  WMR  Higher Than Top Secret
  • Daily Newscaster Martial Law Training, Indianapolis --- June, 2008
  • Neil Entwistle, 911, FAA, NORAD, Ptech, foreknowledge of 911 communication systems role in 911, convicted of murder, questionable trial, proceedings.
  • Cnet Tech News First
  • Jurist University of Pittsburg, School of Law,   Primary sources. Global perspective 
  • AP Yahoo story below
  • notes: WMR has learned from additional National Security Agency (NSA) sources that this editor's (Madsen) communications -- cell phone, e-mail, text messages, and faxes -- are under a full digital interception order by the NSA. Previously, I was informed by NSA sources that a "full digital" surveillance package was authorized on all my communications.  ...   It is becoming apparent that the "Eyes Only"/compartmented code word program authorized by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the wake of the 9/11 attacks included warrantless surveillance of American journalists and their sources. WMR exposed the existence of a database containing journalist surveillance data that was code-named "FIRSTFRUITS" before the code name was changed after our disclosure.
  • ABCNews  
  • FBI
  • New York Times NSA executive order authorizing data mining of phone calls and file.
  • Whitehouse  Bush
  • Republicans opposed to Bush Warrantless wiretapping are irrelevant and impotent. 
  • UPI  file  In order that the database did not violate United States Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID) 18, which specifies that the names of "U.S. persons" are to be deleted through a process known as minimization, the names of subject journalists were blanked out. However, in a violation of USSID 18, certain high level users could unlock the database field through a super-user status and view the "phantom names" of the journalists in question. Some of the "source" information in FIRSTFRUITS was classified—an indication that some of the articles in database were not obtained through open source means. In fact, NSA insiders report that the communications monitoring tasking system known as ECHELON is being used more frequently for purely political eavesdropping having nothing to do with national security or counter terrorism.
  • WMR  Higher Than Top Secret  "One of the most classified surveillance programs in the Bush administration was so limited in access only very few individuals, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney Chief of Staff David Addington, CIA director Michael Hayden, FBI director Robert Mueller, then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and three successive Attorneys General -- John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Mukasey -- know of its existence.  ...   Known by a code word, sometimes abbreviated, following the classification TOP SECRET - EYES ONLY and which was contained on some files that Gonzales took home with him and kept in an unsecured manner against Justice Department regulations, the warrantless National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program was so beyond legality that acting Attorney General James Comey refused to re-certify it upon its expiration in March 2004. There is a strong possibility that the code word program was connected to the NSA surveillance program aimed at tracking down leaks of classified information to the media from government sources. The leak tracking program was code named FIRSTFRUITS. Due the program's revelations by WMR, NSA has renamed the operation with a new code word. Previously, WMR learned from an informed source that part of the domestic surveillance system may have also involved a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) database of suspect Americans. The database is called Main Core. "
  • DailyKOS "Apparently, they've also been spying on other members of the government who may have been potential whistleblowers, journalists and even members of Congress. ... NSA spied on its own employees, other U.S. intelligence personnel, and their journalist and congressional contacts. WMR has learned that the National Security Agency (NSA), on the orders of the Bush administration, eavesdropped on the private conversations and e-mail of its own employees, employees of other U.S. intelligence agencies -- including the CIA and DIA -- and their contacts in the media, Congress, and oversight agencies and offices. ... The journalist surveillance program, code named "Firstfruits," was part of a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) program that was maintained at least until October 2004 and was authorized by then-DCI Porter Goss. Firstfruits was authorized as part of a DCI "Countering Denial and Deception" program responsible to an entity known as the Foreign Denial and Deception Committee (FDDC). Since the intelligence community's reorganization, the DCI has been replaced by the Director of National Intelligence headed by John Negroponte and his deputy, former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden."
  •  Wired blog  "Inside Operation Highlander: the NSA's Wiretapping of Americans Abroad  ...   A top secret NSA wiretapping facility in Georgia accused of spying on Americans illegally was hastily staffed with inexperienced reservists in the months following September 11, where they worked under conflicting orders and with little supervision, according to three former workers at the spy complex.   ...    "Nobody knew exactly what the heck we were doing," said a former translator for the project, code named Highlander, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We were figuring out the rules as we were going along."   ...   Former Army Reserve linguist Adrienne Kinne, who worked at the facility at Fort Gordon, won new attention this week for her year-old claim that she and her group intercepted and transcribed satellite phone calls of American civilians in the Middle East for the National Security Agency. Senate intelligence committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) opened a probe into the alleged abuses after ABC News reported on them Thursday." Oct 2008
Freedom of the Press    top
Liberal vs Conservative media labels    top
  • WMR October 14, 2010 -- How CNN was taken over by the neocons    ...    The demise of CNN and its hostile takeover by neo-conservatives who turned CNN News into an echo chamber for Israel supporters and neocons and Headline News into a tabloidish concoction of crap news was brought about by a concerted effort by Time Warner executives to embarrass CNN founder Ted Turner and force him out of the corporate leadership, according to informed sources in Atlanta who spoke to WMR.     ...   Ted Turner made his professionally-fatal mistake of merging CNN with Time Warner in 1996. Turner resigned as vice chairman of the merged AOL Time Warner in 2003. Turner lost some $7 billion in stock after the merger in 1996 but his financial losses would soon grow larger.     ...   In 1998, Time Warner, according to our Atlanta sources, convinced CNN to run a story about Operation Tailwind, a covert U.S. military and South Vietnamese Montagnard incursion into Laos from September 11 to 13, 1970, that was designed to put pressure on North Vietnamese troops during a Laotian Army offensive. CNN ran a "Newstand CNN & Time" story called "Valley of Death," narrated by CNN correspondent Peter Arnett with lead CNN producer April Oliver, in cooperation with Time magazine, that reported that US forces used sarin gas in Laos between 9/11 and 9/13, 1970. CNN reported that 100 Laotian villagers were killed by a US sarin gas attack.     ...    WMR has learned that in an operation similar to the setting up of CBS Dan Rather in the George W. Bush Texas Air National Guard AWOL story, bogus elements were introduced into an otherwise legitimate story on Operation Tailwind. Moreover, according to our sources in Atlanta, the bogus elements were known to certain executives of CNN and Time Warner with the intention of weakening CNN to the point where its executive management could be fired and replaced with those who would steer the pre-eminent news network to the right in all respects, including strong support for Israel in its Middle East coverage. It was CNN-US President Rick Kaplan who pushed the Tailwind story over the objections of several CNN news veterans. Kaplan is now the executive producer of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric in the anchor chair once occupied by Rather.    ...    As with the CBS 60 Minutes story on Bush's AWOL status that was reported by Rather, CNN named an investigation panel to examine the facts of the story after the Pentagon stated that no sarin gas was ever used and the story was false. Ultimately, CNN agreed that there were several factual errors in the story and issued a retraction. Some military experts suggested that while CS tear gas may have been used in Tailwind, sarin was somehow substituted in the story, resulting in the controversy and retraction. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer claimed he was erroneously quoted about sarin being used in Laos.    ...   Producers Oliver and Jack Smith were fired after the retraction and Arnett left the network after being formally reprimanded. Arnett briefly joined HDNet, the same network that hired Rather after his departure from CBS News. CNN President Tom Johnson left CNN a few years later.     ...    CNN was faced with law suits from Tailwind veterans. Turner, who lost several billions in stock after the merger with Time Warner in 1996, saw the company's stock take a further hit as a result of the Tailwind debacle. The stock value loss weakened Turner's financial interest in the firm, making it more vulnerable for a buyout. Turner would see Time Warner and its chairman Gerald Levin, a heavy donor to Jewish causes, exercise more control over the editorial direction of CNN. After the disastrous Time Warner merger with AOL in 2000, CNN, as it was originally envisaged by Turner when he founded the world's first global cable news network, was a thing of the past. CNN's editorial direction saw correspondent Wolf Blitzer, formerly a public affairs spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), assume dominant anchor responsibilities for CNN's influential Washington bureau after first becoming a CNN anchor in 1999 and moving up the ranks to hosting the three-hour Situation Room in 2005.    ...   The recent firings of CNN Middle East editor Octavia Nasr and news anchor Rick Sanchez capped off the slow drift of CNN to becoming a propaganda outlet for Israel and the Israel Lobby in the United States. CNN announced that in its move to help rehabilitate former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, forced from office over a prostitution scandal, would co-host a program in Sanchez's time slot. CNN Washington is now essentially a Blitzer and Spitzer operation.    ...   The lesson of the demise of CNN is a textbook case of how special interests have and will continue to dictate news content and reporting in the United States. After the recent verbal attack by Broadcasting Board of Governors chairman Walter Isaacson, the managing editor of Time during the Tailwind episode and, from 2001 to 2003, the chairman and CEO of CNN, on the expanding independent global news networks of RT [Russia Today], Telesur of Venezuela, Iran's Press TV, and a planned Chinese network as "enemies" of America, these and other embryonic networks like Turkey's TRT English network, should take note of the downfall of CNN and the players who engineered it. Forewarned is forearmed.   
  • April 7-8, 2011 -- Journalists colluding with the government? While WMR rarely defends the so-called "main stream media," this will be a major exception. The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a Washington, DC-based watchdog group, recently floated a story that Chris Isham, the CBS News Washington, DC bureau chief since 2007, and before that, the chief investigative producer for the late Peter Jennings's ABC World News Tonight in New York, was a "snitch" for the FBI after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.     ...    Isham, who, it should be noted, in the interest of full disclosure, that I have met on a few occasions, now stands accused in the court of some public opinion of being an FBI rat. But the CPI story about Isham may have another motive during the same week the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the extremist right-wing Jewish organization, is holding its National Leadership Conference in Washington.     ...     Isham, according to the CPI report, passed a tip, which turned out to have originated from a suspicious Saudi source, that erroneously held Iraq's Saddam Hussein responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. In fact, there was no Arab connection to Oklahoma City, although certain circles, including Isham's competitor and Israel Lobby hack, former CNN investigative reporter Stephen Emerson, attempted to spin that story.     ...    But there mere fact that the Isham story "broke" the same week that the ADL was holding its annual conference in Washington raises red flags all over the place.     ...    Isham reportedly received the Saudi tiip from former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vince Cannistraro, a consultant for ABC News while Isham was chief investigative producer for Jennings in New York. Isham also maintained close ties with John O'Neill, the chief of the FBI's counter-terrorism unit at the time. In all likelihood, Isham's tip resulted in an over-zealous FBI agent, maybe even with O'Neill's concurrence, placing the ABC News producer on the FBI's informant list. While it is never a comfortable situation for a reporter to be considered an informant by any government agency, whether it be the FBI or CIA, it does not appear that Isham had any control or even knowledge about the FBI's decision.     ....    A few days after 9/11, this editor passed to an FBI official a tip on two shady characters who were transferring from an international flight at New York's JFK airport two days before the 9/11 attacks. The two were acting strangely at JFK's departure lounge before we boarded an American Airlines commuter flight to Washington's Dulles International. Later, the FBI official thanked me for my information and stated that the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York found it "useful." For that act, I may, like Isham, be on an FBI informants list.     ...    The CPI report on Isham, which this editor considers to be more propaganda than journalism, may be a "pay back" for a major ANC News investigative story on the ADL in 1993. That year, Isham and ABC News Washington chief investigative producer James Bamford broke a story on a major espionage operation being conducted by the ADL against American citizens on the right and left of the political spectrum. The on-air reporter forthe ADL spying story was James Walker, the nephew of George H. W. Bush.     ...    Targeted by the ADL were groups opposed to Israeli policies in Palestine, U.S. policies in Central America, anti-South African apartheid groups, labor unions, gay rights organizations, and African-American groups. Among the targets were the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Greenpace, KQED-TV San Francisco, the anti-abortion Operation Rescue, and the United Farm Workers. Individuals targeted by the ADL included former Representative Pete McCloskey (D-CA), perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, and Los Angeles Times South Africa correspondent Scott Kraft. In all, 950 groups were being spied on by the ADL, as well as at least 12,000 individuals.     ....    The top ADL spy on the West Coast, Roy Bullock, a Castro District, San Francisco art dealer, was exposed as the ADL's chief gatherer of intelligence on American citizens. Bullock was paid via laundered ADL money transfers to Bruce Hochman, a Beverly Hills attorney, former federal prosecutor, and former president of the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported that the ADL's Los Angeles regional director, David Lehrer, aka "L. Patterson," was also involved in the secret slush fund used to pay for the collection of intelligence on West Coast groups and individuals. In April 1993, Los Angeles and San Francisco police conducted searches of ADL offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Bullock obtained his files on groups and individuals by conducting everything from "dumpster diving" to paying Tom Gerard, a former CIA agent who became a San Francisco police inspector, for information, including wiretap records, gathered from government files. Like convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, Bullock was spying for both the Israelis and South Africa's apartheid regime.     ....    Isham pursued the Gerard lead to the Philippines where the San Francisco cop fled after being questioned by the FBI. Gerard left behind in San Francisco fake passports, foreign identity cards, and drivers' licenses. Isham's ABC team tracked the money payments to the ADL in Los Angeles and San Francisco back to the ADL's national headquarters in New York. Other ADL spying operations were discovered in Chicago and Atlanta. In breaking the story on the involvement of the top leadership of the ADL in the espionage operation, ABC stated, "for several decades the spying operation has snooped into the records and activities of more than 10,000 people in the United States, including many who simply opposed the policies of Israel and South Africa . . . the leader of the intelligence ring is Irwin Suall." Suall was head of ADL New York's 15-member "research unit." Ultimately, Suall, said to be an "ex-Marxist," reported to ADL President Abe Foxman. The ADL spying operation was located at the ADL's 605 Third Avenue headquarters in mid-town Manhattan, not far from UN headquarters.     ....    There is even reason to believe that Isham's boss, Jennings, the network's one-time Middle East correspondent who was known to be a friend of Palestine Liberation Organization spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi, was also a subject in the ADL's espionage files.     ...    ABC caught tremendousheat fromthe ADL for its story and was referred to as the "Arab Broadcasting Company."      ...    The release of the disparaging report about Isham the same week that Shimon Peres is in Washington demanding the release of Pollard and retraction of the UN's Goldstone Report on Israeli targeting of civilians during OPERATION CAST LEAD in Gaza, comes at the same time Israel is engaging in a major propaganda blitz worldwide. A "score settling" with Isham may be yet another attempt by the Israel Lobby to stifle criticisms by media figures of the Israeli regime. After the treatment of Hearst Newspapers' Helen Thomas and CNN's Rick Sanchez and Octavia Nasr, Chris Isham may be the latest target in Israel's attempt to purge its perceived opponents from American newsrooms and editorial offices.      ...    As a Vice President for CBS News and the news network's DC bureau chief, Isham is constrained about what he can say on the matter. WMR has no such constraints, however.      ...    In Washington, timing is everything and the Isham "hit piece" appearing the same week as the ADL was meeting in Washington to formulate its propaganda strategy for the coming year does not pass any smell test, kosher or otherwise.      ...    ---- Postscript: There have been numerous times when journalists have shamelessly colluded with the government. Cases where such collusion takes place usually involves top media and government officials. Take, for instance, Washington Post senior columnist Joseph Alsop V's collusion with President Lyndon Johnson to keep the lid on any full blown investigation by independent experts from outside Texas on investigating the assassination of President John Kennedy in Dallas just a few days prior. Johnson told Alsop in a November 25, 1963 phone conversation, that he wanted no "carpetbaggers" coming to Texas to interfere with his own plan: the establishment of a blue ribbon panel packed with LBJ cronies to issue a report on the assassination. Alsop mentioned that Fred Friendly, President of CBS News, and former Secretary of State Dean Acheson were party to a planned cover-up of the investigation in order to deter any suspicion about Johnson's role in the assassination matter. Alsop's collusion with Johnson remains a shocking example of media collusion with the government.
Media Consolidation    top            boycott Sinclair
  • Fox Network  Conservative, Pro-Bush, pro-war,  pro-violence, pro military industrial congressional complex. eating worms and excrement.  fear factor.
Media Technology Convergence    top
  • Microsoft  Windows Media Center,  see campaign contributions. 
  • Microsoft anti-trust lobbying
Digital TV    top
Television Violence, Sex & Ratings    top
  • notes
  • cell phone dangers, exploding batteries, electromagnetic radiation, software gliches that could damage ears, disconnection tune
FCC      top
Cell Phone Safety, Driving      top
Media Consolidation      top
Murdoch      top
VOIP (Internet Telephone Service)      top


By Annalee Newitz, AlterNet <>
December 23, 2002

Worse than the Trent Lott show on BET, more agonizing than Patrick Stewart's "acting" in "Star Trek: Nemesis," and 10 times more awful than the message on John Poindexter's home answering machine - it was the low-profile, we'll-just-remove-your-freedom-now meeting that took place two weeks ago between high-tech industry execs and Defense Department reps. The subject of this meeting? Dangerous WiFi networks! Apparently wireless computer networks are spreading everywhere like some kind of commie menace, soiling our precious military spectrum and making it possible for crafty terrorist hackers to get free Internet access.

The meeting followed closely on the heels of several announcements made by policy makers associated with the Department of Homeland Security that WiFi needed to become more secure or face government regulation. It was only a matter of time before techno-supergeniuses like cybersecurity czar Richard Clarke would start getting funny feelings about WiFi. The technology is both too libertarian and too anticapitalist to please any good servant of the U.S. government.

But before I cheerfully rip into Clarke and co., I should note that there are excellent reasons to be concerned about the security of wireless networks. Most schemes for locking down wireless networks are easy to hack, and the majority of people setting up WiFi for themselves aren't very clueful when it comes to making sure nobody is sniffing their radio waves. The ever resourceful publisher O'Reilly even has a new book out on the issue called 802.11 Security, which underscores my point by arguing that most WiFi networks - which use the 802.11 transmission protocol specified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers - are wide open to attack.

But Clarke and his cronies aren't really worried about the kind of security that geeky O'Reilly authors are. This is obvious if you take a look at the working draft of President George W. Bush's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. Its authors, a collection of consultants from the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, suggest that WiFi networks can be secured with tools "such as password access requirements, address filtering, encryption, or using a virtual private-network." With the exception of encryption, all of these tools are used in the context of WiFi exclusively to prevent random people from hopping onto a network. None of them is particularly difficult for a skillful hacker to circumvent. So obviously the threat model the CIPB types are working with is not evil terrorist hackers, who laugh in the face of your address filtering.

What, then, is the government's threat model for WiFi? It's most worried about people whose "hacker" tool kit includes nothing more complicated than Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, software that is used to grant users open access to a publicly available wireless network. Most free WiFi networks use DHCP to assign visitors a temporary address on the network, giving them access to the Internet or whatever nifty things the network owners have made available. A deliberately open WiFi network is not an insecure network; it's a public works project. It's a resource that some generous geek has made available to anyone who wants to partake - and usually said geek has carefully secured all parts of the network he or she wants to keep private.

Nearly all of CIPB's suggestions for "securing" a wireless network are actually rules for creating a closed WiFi network. Let's go through them one by one. "Password access requirements" are already used by Starbucks in its pay-per-use coffee shop WiFi; "address filtering" allows only certain machines to log on to the network; and a "virtual private-network" allows selected people to log on to an already secured network remotely. None of these so-called security methods will protect the content of a network. As long as you have a password or a machine whose address the network recognizes, you're in. Only "encryption" will protect sensitive data (precisely what a terrorist hacker would want, right?). So most of the "security" recommended by the government for wireless isn't aimed at stopping bad guys from drinking up our precious data. Nope, it's aimed at preventing people from using and setting up open wireless networks.

In other words, the government is dubbing open WiFi networks a security risk. Just having a network that's open to the public makes you part of the national vulnerability problem. Huh? This only makes sense if you consider that open networks across the globe have given people yet another way to gather in public places to disseminate information. Nobody in the Bush administration likes it when a piece of technology makes information exchange easy, anonymous, and ubiquitous.

So why did the Defense Department have that meeting two weeks ago with industry types whose next-generation products are all heavily laced with 802.11? Apparently the military is worried that increasing uses of unregulated spectrum (like WiFi's 802.11) will interfere with secure military radio frequencies. Although department officials admit there are no examples of such interference ever occurring - and despite the fact that spectrum-sharing technologies already being used in Europe could make interference almost physically impossible - this is what the Defense Department is freaked about. Do you see a pattern emerging? Somebody doesn't like the idea of unregulated communication. WiFi is scaring the government not because it's a tool of terrorism but because it's a tool of unregulated political dissent.

Annalee Newitz ([email protected]) is a surly media nerd whose wireless network is going to stay open until they pry the antenna from her cold dead hands. Her column also appears in Metro, Silicon Valley's weekly newspaper.

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