While the first tropical storm is making its way over Florida, and TCM is having an evening of creature features…here are a few news items to discuss tonight.
Yesterday’s big break via The Guardian and Glen Greenwald had a bit of company this evening. The Washington Post is reporting more companies are involved in the NSA Data “collection.”
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track one target or trace a whole network of associates, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority.
Congress obliged with the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection. PRISM recruited its first partner, Microsoft, and began six years of rapidly growing collection beneath the surface of a roiling national debate on surveillance and privacy. Late last year, when critics in Congress sought changes in the FISA Amendments Act, the only lawmakers who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.
You can read more at the link…
Here are a few more links on the matter.
It is disgusting, and in my opinion, with the way these terrorist sting operations are handled, that “border” on entrapment or set up and organized by the feds themselves…these secret courts and top-secret decisions scare the crap out of me.
In other news, that did not get much notice today…
Today is the 69th Anniversary of D-Day: Before and After D-Day: Color Photos From England and France, 1944 | LIFE.com
It’s no mystery why images of unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term, “D-Day.” We’ve all seen — in photos, movies, old news reels, and usually in grim black-and-white — what happened on the beaches of Normandy (codenamed Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword) as the Allies unleashed their historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944.
But in color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE magazine’s Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after: American troops training in small English towns; the French countryside, implausibly lush after the spectral landscape of the beachheads; the reception GIs enjoyed en route to the capital; the jubilant liberation of Paris itself.
As presented here, in masterfully restored color, Scherschel’s pictures — most of which were never published in LIFE — feel at-once profoundly familiar and somehow utterly, vividly new.
June 6 is the 45th anniversary of the death of Robert Francis Kennedy. Shot the day before as he claimed victory in the 1968 Democratic primary in California, he remains a lasting influence on the politics of this day.
Clearly a progressive and a liberal by any measure, Robert Kennedy’s message transcends political boundaries. Expressed in the vocabulary of humanity, Kennedy’s intellectual perspectives can be found in the policy proposals of Reagan as well as Obama. It was Robert Kennedy’s concept, for example, that Reagan borrowed to advocate targeted regulatory relief and specialized tax incentives to economically depressed areas. Kennedy called it “operation bootstrap”; Reagan called it enterprise zones, both liked it for the same reason: it confessed faith and confidence in a person’s ability to stand on his own if given a fair chance.
And…one of Hollywood’s legends passed away, Esther Williams, Who Swam to Movie Fame, Dies at 91 – NYTimes.com
Esther Williams, a teenage swimming champion who became an enormous Hollywood star in a decade of watery MGM extravaganzas, died on Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif. She was 91.
“Esther Williams had one contribution to make to movies — her magnificent athletic body,” the film critic Pauline Kael wrote. “And for over 10 years MGM made the most of it, keeping her in clinging, wet bathing suits and hoping the audience would shiver.”
For some vintage images: Esther Williams in Pictures – Slide Show – NYTimes.com
Isn’t she beautiful…
So of course you know this is an open thread, but I leave you with this little clip….of Gods and Monsters.