Thursday, June 18, 2015

(Consumers Pissy or Just Smartening Up?)  Not Really "London Whale" If You Know What Di(a)mon(d) Means  (Corruption Breeds Rebellion)  Julian Assange Speaks Out About TPP, NSA & Our Future

I'm a few days late publishing these essays (and commentary) but they are still almost spanking new.

(Not even almost, really.)

From Washington’s Blog, which I've noticed sounds more and more like me (or is it me sounding more like him?)

Mirror Mirror . . . .

[Hillary Clinton Backs Fast-Track on Obama’s Trade Deals]

Consumers Not Following Orders

Posted on June 15, 2015

by JimQ

Last week the government reported personal income and spending for April. After months of blaming non-existent consumer spending on cold weather, shockingly occurring during the Winter, the captured mainstream media pundits, Ivy League-educated Wall Street economist lackeys, and Keynesian loving money printers at the Fed have run out of propaganda to explain why Americans are not spending money they don’t have. The corporate mainstream media is now visibly angry with the American people for not doing what the Ivy League propagated Keynesian academic models say they should be doing.

The ultimate mouthpiece for the banking cabal, Jon Hilsenrath, who does the bidding of the Federal Reserve at the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal, wrote an arrogant, condescending, putrid diatribe, directed at the middle class victims of Wall Street banker criminality and Federal Reserve acquiescence to the vested corporate interests that run this country. Here are the more disgusting portions of his denunciation of the formerly middle class working people of America.

We know you experienced a terrible shock when Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 and your employer responded by firing you.
We also know you shouldn’t have taken out that large second mortgage during the housing boom to fix up your kitchen with granite counter-tops.

You should feel lucky you’re not a Greek consumer.

Fed officials want to start raising the cost of your borrowing because they worry they’ve been giving you a free ride for too long with zero interest rates.

We listen to Fed officials all of the time here at The Wall Street Journal, and they just can’t figure you out.

Please let us know the problem.

The "Wall Street Journal" was swamped with thousands of angry responses from irate real people living in the real world, not the elite, QE enriched, oligarchs living in Manhattan penthouses, mansions on the Hamptons, or luxury condos in Washington, D.C. Hilsenrath presumes to know how the average American has been impacted by the criminal actions of sycophantic Ivy League-educated central bankers and their avaricious Wall Street owners.

He thinks millions of Americans losing their jobs and their homes due to the largest control fraud in financial history is fodder for a tongue in cheek harangue, blaming the victims for the crime. Hilsenrath reveals he is nothing but a Fed flunky who is fed whatever message they want the plebs to hear. His job is to obscure, obfuscate, spread disinformation, and launch Fed trial balloons to see whether the ignorant masses are still asleep. The Fed and their owners can’t understand why their propaganda hasn’t convinced the peasantry to follow orders.

A system built upon an exponential increase in debt, cannot be sustained if the masses stop buying Range Rovers, McMansions, stainless steel appliances, 72 inch HDTVs, iGadgets, bling, and boob jobs on credit. His letter to America reeks of desperation. The Fed and their minions have used every play in their Keynesian monetary playbook, and are losing the game in a blowout. With a deflationary depression beginning to accelerate, they have no game.

Despairing mothers, unemployed fathers, impoverished grandmothers, and indebted young people are supposed to feel lucky because they aren’t starving to death like the wretched Greeks. We do have one thing in common with the Greeks. We’ve both been screwed over by bankers and corrupt politicians. Did you know you’ve been given a free ride by your friends at the Federal Reserve? Did you know that zero interest rates and $3.5 trillion of Quantitative Easing (aka money printing) were implemented to benefit you?

According to Hilsenrath, the Fed lending money at 0.25% to their Wall Street bank owners, who then allow you to borrow from them at 15% on your credit card, represents a free ride for you. Are the subprime auto loan borrowers, who account for 30% of all auto sales, paying 13% interest getting a free ride?

Hilsenrath is purposefully lying. Bernanke and Yellen have been saying they want to start raising interest rates for the last four years. Remember the 6.5% unemployment rate bogey set by Bernanke in January 2013? Unemployment dropped below 6.5% in early 2014 on its way to 5.5% today. Did they raise rates? In 2013 we had two consecutive quarters of 4% GDP growth, with no Fed rate increase. In 2014 we had two consecutive quarters of 4.8% GDP growth, with no Fed rate increase. We have added ten million jobs and the stock market has tripled since 2009, with no Fed rate increase.

We are supposedly in the sixth year of an economic recovery and the Fed is still keeping the discount rate at a Lehman “world is ending” emergency level of .25%. Six years after the last recession the discount rate was 5.25%. The last time the unemployment rate was this low the discount rate was 4%.

The only ones getting a free ride from the Fed’s zero interest rate policy and QE to infinity have been Wall Street banks, the .1% who live off the carcasses of the dying middle class, zombie corporations who should have gone bankrupt, and politicians who keep running up the national debt with no consequences – YET. The Federal Reserve is a blood sucking leech on the ass of America. Their cure has been far worse than the original illness – Wall Street criminality. In fact, their cure has been to reward the Wall Street criminals while spreading cancer to the working class and euthanizing senior citizens.

Hisenrath and his puppet masters at the Fed can’t figure you out. For decades you have followed their orders and bought Chinese produced shit with one of your 13 credit cards. The Bernays’ propaganda playbook has produced wins for the ruling class since the early 1980’s.

Their record is 864 – 0 versus the working class. Our entire warped economic system since the 1980’s has been dependent upon an exponential increase in debt peddled by Wall Street to citizens, government and corporations to give the appearance of a growing, healthy economy.

An economy built upon the consumption of iGadgets, Cheetos, meat lovers stuffed crust pizza, and slave labor produced Chinese baubles, along with the production of enough arms to blow up the world ten times over, and the doling out of trillions to the non-productive class, is doomed to fail. Maybe I can explain the situation in such a way that even an Ivy League-educated central banker or a "Wall Street Journal" faux journalist will understand.

Maybe Jon and his Fed cronies could be enlightened by a look at the American consumer before the bubble boys (Greenspan, Bernanke) and gals (Yellen) at the Fed, along with the corporate fascist takeover of our political system, and the propaganda spewing corporate media monopolies, combined to deform our financial and economic system for their sole enrichment.

The lack of spending by consumers might just be due to some of the following factors:

  • Back in 1980 income meant money earned through working, investing, and saving. The amount of personal income made up of wages totaled 60% in 1980. Today it totals 51%. Interest earned on savings accounted for 14% in 1980. Today it accounts for 8%, as the Fed has punished seniors and savers with negative real interest rates. Since 2009 the Fed has robbed over $1 trillion in interest income from seniors and savers with their zero interest rate policy and handed it to the Wall Street banking cabal. Bernanke didn’t just throw seniors under the bus, he ran them over, backed up over them, and ran them over again.
  • In a shocking development, government welfare transfers accounted for 11% of total personal income in 1980 and have risen to 17% today. Only the government could classify money which has been absconded at gunpoint from working Americans in the form of taxes and redistributed back to other Americans as welfare payments, as personal income. If you take money from your left pocket and put it in your right pocket, is that income? The replacement of wages and interest by welfare redistribution payments has not benefited society whatsoever.
  • In 1980 consumer credit outstanding as a percentage of personal income totaled 15%. Today it totals 22%, an all-time high. It is higher than the bubble peak in 2007-2008. Real per capita disposable income has only risen by 88% over the last 35 years. Meanwhile, real per capita consumer debt has risen by 288%. Wages and earnings from saving have been replaced by debt. The propagandists for consumerism have convinced the ignorant masses to spend money they don’t have, while pretending to be wealthier and successful.

    Consumer debt currently stands at a towering all-time high of $3.4 trillion, almost ten times the $350 billion level in 1980. Hilsenrath and the Fed are upset with you because credit card debt still lingers $122 billion, or 12% below 2008 levels. It has forced them to dole out $900 billion of government controlled subprime debt to University of Phoenix wannabes and any deadbeat that can scratch an X on an auto loan application. The U.S. economic system is like a Great White Shark that must keep swimming or it will die. The Federal Reserve run U.S. economic system must keep generating debt or it will die. They are growing desperate and you are not following orders.
  • Before the grand debt delusion overtook the populace, they were saving 11% of their disposable personal income. In 1980, Depression era adults still believed in saving for large purchases such as a house, car, appliance or home improvement. The young adult Boomers didn’t have the same experiential deterrent. They were convinced by the Wall Street debt peddlers, Madison Avenue maggots, and corrupt politicians that saving was for suckers. Live for today, for tomorrow may never come. Well tomorrow did come. Boomers are entering their retirement years with $12,000 in retirement savings, while still in debt up to their eyeballs. There have been 10,000 Boomers turning 65 every day since 2010. This will continue unabated through 2029. This demographic certainty was already depressing consumer spending, as this age demographic spends far less than 25 to 54 year olds. Factor in the pitiful amount of savings and you have an ongoing spending implosion.
  • The propaganda machine was so well oiled, the savings rate actually reached 1.9% in 2005, as the masses all believed they would live luxurious retirements off their home equity windfall. How’d that delusion work out? The current level of 5.6% is seen as troublesome by the powers that be. They cannot accept the crazy concept of saving and investment when their entire warped paradigm is built upon borrowing and consumption. Banks don’t make money when you save and they despise when you use cash. They can’t sustain their opulent lifestyles without their 3% VIG on every electronic transaction, 15% compounded interest on the $5,000 average credit card balance, billions in late fees for being one day late with your payment, $4 on every ATM transaction, and the myriad of other fees and surcharges designed to bilk you and keep you from saving. The saving rate will continue to climb as people have no choice to make up for years of living beyond their means.
  • Hilsenrath is willfully ignorant as he pretends to not understand why the American people will not or cannot accelerate their spending. It is really quite simple. Even a PhD should be able to understand. Real median household income was $52,300 in 1989. Real median household income today is $51,939. The median household has made no economic advancement in the last quarter of a century. And this is using the manipulated lower CPI figure. Using a true inflation rate would show a dramatic decline over the last 25 years. There has been virtually no wage growth during this supposed six year recovery. The industrial base of the country has been gutted, except for the production of arms to blow up brown people in the Middle East. Young people have $1.3 trillion of student loan debt weighing them like an anchor, and those Ruby Tuesday waitress jobs and Home Depot cashier jobs aren’t going to cut it.
  • So we have the demographic dilemma of aging, under-saved, over-indebted Boomers who are being forced to spend less. We have an over-indebted, under-employed youth who don’t have anything to spend. And lastly we have the 25 to 54 year old age bracket who should be in their prime earning and spending years who are still 4 million jobs short of where they were in 2007 before the Fed induced financial collapse. The only age bracket to gain jobs since the crisis has been 55 to 69, as they have been forced to work to make up for their lost interest income. The only people making job gains are those least likely to spend.

  • The spending crescendo in 2004 through 2007 was fueled by the Greenspan housing bubble and the $3 trillion of mortgage equity withdrawal used to buy BMWs, in-ground Olympic size pools, Jacuzzis, vacations to Tahiti, home theaters, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and boob jobs, by delusional, apparently brain dead Americans who fell for the Bernaysian propaganda spewed by the Wall Street criminal class, hook line and sinker. The majority of shell shocked underwater home owners have been unable to sell since the housing crash. A 35% price decline will do that. The Fed has created $3.5 trillion out of thin air, more than quadrupled their balance sheet with toxic mortgages from Wall Street, artificially suppressed interest rates to bring mortgage rates to record lows, and was a co-conspirator along with Fannie, Freddie, FHA, and Wall Street hedge funds (Blackrock) to delay foreclosure sales and pump home prices with their buy and rent scheme. The result has been unaffordably high prices, mortgage applications at 1997 levels (60% below 2005 levels), first time buyers at a record low, and a non-existent housing recovery – despite the MSM propaganda saying otherwise.

  • The last data point which might help the math-challenged Hilsenrath understand why you aren’t spending is total U.S. vehicle miles driven. The chart below shows a relentless climb from 1982 through to the 2008 collapse. It coincides with the debt-fueled consumption orgy over this same time frame. The unrelenting expansion of retail outlets and importing of cheap Chinese crap required a lot of trucks to haul the crap. It required a lot of trips to the mall in the minivans and SUVs by soccer moms living in our suburban sprawl paradise.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the fastest growing retailer in the U.S. since 2008 has been Space Available. The well run retailers like Home Depot and Wal-Mart saw the writing on the wall and stopped expanding. The badly-run retailers like Sears and JC Penney have been closing hundreds of stores. And the really badly-run retailers like Radio Shack have gone bankrupt. Vehicle miles have essentially flat-lined for the last six years as retailers are closing more stores than they are opening, job growth has been non-existent and commerce within the U.S. is stagnant. If we were experiencing a real economic recovery, vehicle miles would be surging.

So this concludes my little tutorial for the Ivy League-educated central bankers at the Fed and the "Wall Street Journal" Fed mouthpiece – Jon “I don’t understand” Hilsenrath. I know it is difficult for people to understand something when their paycheck depends upon them not understanding it, but this is pretty simple stuff. Pompous, arrogant, egocentric assholes who write for the "Wall Street Journal," run JP Morgan, or control monetary policy for the world, know exactly what they have done, what they are doing, and who is benefiting. We all know the benefits of ZIRP and QE have gone only to the .1% who run the show. We know income inequality is at all-time highs. We know TPP will be passed, because the corporate fascists control the purse strings of our political class. We know the status quo will be maintained at all costs by the Deep State.

We know mega-corporations continue to ship jobs overseas and replace us with cheap foreign labor. We know the current administration actively encourages illegals to pour over our borders, swamp our social safety net, increase crime, and take jobs from Americans. We know the government has us under mass surveillance and will not hesitate to use all of that military equipment in the hands of local police against us. The will of the people is nothing but an irritant to those in power.

They might not have us figured out, but a growing number of critical thinking, increasingly pissed off people, have them figured out. The debt expansion days are numbered. A deflationary depression is in the offing. The coming civil strife, financial panic, war, and overthrow of the existing social order will rival the three previous tumultuous upheavals in U.S. history – American Revolution, Civil War, Great Depression/World War II. Fourth Turnings are a bitch.

Hopefully I’ve explained the situation to the satisfaction of Jon and Janet. The mood in this country is darkening by the day. There is no going back to the good old days of yesteryear. They are long gone. No amount of debt issuance and propaganda is going to work. The system is overloaded. The people are angry. The politicians are captured. The banking elite are ransacking the nation for every last dime they can get their grubby little hands on. The military industrial complex is itching for war with Russia and China. The world hates us. If you can’t see it coming, you are either blind, dumb, or an Ivy League-educated economist. So go out and spend to make your slave owners happy.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Treasury Reveals What JPMorgan Was Really Doing With London Whale Trades

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

June 15, 2015

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Financial Research (OFR), the body created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation to make sure another 2008 epic crash never happened again, quietly released a report last week which not only suggests another 2008-style crash is possible but that regulators will likely be blindsided again.

The report, written by Jill Cetina, John McDonough, and Sriram Rajan, reveals that the big Wall Street banks are ginning up their capital measures by engaging in opaque and potentially dangerous “capital relief trades.”

To illustrate how dangerous this kind of capital relief arbitrage can be, the report says that JPMorgan’s London Whale trades (which blew a $6.2 billion hole in the insured bank) was a capital relief trade.

Here’s the precise language from the report:

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s losses in the 2012 London Whale case were the result of CDS [Credit Default Swap] usage which was undertaken to obtain regulatory capital relief on positions in the trading book.”
That analysis stands in stark contrast to Jamie Dimon’s testimony on the "London Whale" before the Senate Banking Committee on June 13, 2012. Dimon told the Committee that the "London Whale" trades were to “hedge the company against a systemic event, like the financial crisis or Eurozone situation. Among the largest risks we have as a bank are the potential credit losses we could incur from the loans we make.”

While few people actually believed Dimon’s version of what was going on, it was more widely believed that this was simply high-risk proprietary trading that JPMorgan did not want to admit to because it was occurring in its insured bank rather than its investment bank using its own capital.

The focus on opaque capital relief trades by the biggest Wall Street banks has been an outgrowth of regulators demanding that the mega banks hold more capital to protect them from potential losses that could once again spill over into a taxpayer bailout. Regulators allow banks to calculate their regulatory capital under a risk-based formula that requires more capital for riskier assets and loans and less capital for safer ones. The OFR report gives the following example as to how a bank can window-dress its capital ratio:

“To see how a bank can structure regulatory capital relief, let’s look at a hypothetical bank required to hold capital equal to 8 percent of its total risk-weighted assets. A relatively safe asset held by a bank might be assigned a 100 percent risk weight, requiring 8 cents of capital for every dollar of the asset. A more risky loan is assigned a 750 percent risk weight, requiring 60 cents of capital for every dollar of the asset. A bank’s riskiest assets are assigned a 1,250 percent risk weight, requiring one dollar of capital to back  every dollar of the asset (8 percent times 1,250 percent = 100 percent).

“The same bank can reduce its regulatory capital by purchasing credit protection. For example, suppose that the bank wants to reduce the $60 of regulatory capital it must hold against a specific $100 loan that has a 750 percent risk weight. The bank buys CDS protection from a hedge fund for the full value of the $100 loan. That transaction allows the bank to substitute the 750 percent risk weight on the loan with a lower 100 percent risk weight assigned to the counterparty credit risk of the hedge fund that sold the credit protection. The difference in the risk weighting means the bank now must hold only $8 in regulatory capital against the same $100 loan…”
Unfortunately, according to the OFR report, regulators, the public and shareholders are flying blind when it comes to these capital relief trades. The OFR writes:

“Relatively little data are available about U.S. banks’ regulatory capital relief transactions, the financial strength of nonbank counterparties selling the credit protection, and the impact of those trades … Although banks are required to report their use of some forms of credit protection to obtain capital relief, even instances where they do report, banks do not have to disclose the effect of these transactions on their risk-weighted assets and capital ratios. Without that information, it is difficult for investors and counterparties to know the effect of these transactions on a bank’s risk.”
The report further notes that there is “limited counterparty information available to bank supervisors when a bank turns to a hedge fund, private equity firm, or other nonbank to buy credit protection, since those companies are outside the jurisdiction of bank supervisors.”

Let that sink in for a few seconds:  some of the most dangerous Wall Street banks on the planet are able to dodge their capital requirements by buying protection from even more dangerous, unsupervised hedge funds.

Welcome to the new, new world of financial reform.

( is a financial news site operated by Russ and Pam Martens to help the investing public better understand systemic corruption on Wall Street. Ms. Martens is a former Wall Street veteran with a background in journalism. Mr. Martens' career spans four decades in printing and publishing management.)

Chris Hedges knows the wages of corruption.

And rebellion.

And revolt.

Revolution anyone?

Connecting a few of the undotted I's?

Someone's got to do it. Our stellar sources at "WhoWhatWhy" perform the accounting duty:

Missing Evidence of Prior FBI Involvement with Boston Bombers

Will the TPP Force US To Privatize the Post Office, Educational Institutions, Government Agencies Or Be Sued for Their Loss of Profits?

Click on the link below for the latest excellent reporting on our current whistleblowing heroes from Democracy Now!

Julian Assange Speaks Of TPP, NSA & His Own Future

Interview with Julian Assange by Amy Goodman

May 28th, 2015
The Obama administration’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk will likely expire next week after senators from both parties rejected attempts to extend it. First, the Republican-led Senate rejected a House-passed measure to curb bulk spying by keeping the records with phone companies instead of the government. The Senate then rejected a bid by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to extend the current bulk spying program for two months. The Senate adjourned and will reconvene May 31, the day before the program expires. In an exclusive interview from his place of refuge inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, "WikiLeaks" founder Julian Assange weighs in on the NSA standoff.

Watch more from our Julian Assange interview: Part 2 || Part 3 ||Part 4 || Part 5


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.


We turn now to a "Democracy Now!" exclusive with "WikiLeaks" founder Julian Assange, who has spent nearly three years inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London, where he has political asylum. Assange faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. Here in the U.S., a secret grand jury is investigating "WikiLeaks" for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables.

In Sweden, he’s wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. Earlier this month, Sweden’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal to lift his arrest warrant. Swedish prosecutors are reportedly preparing to travel to London to interview Assange after refusing to do so for years.

While Assange has been holed up inside the Ecuadorean Embassy, "WikiLeaks" has continued to publish documents, from leaked drafts of the TPP — that’s the Trans-Pacific Partnership — to the recent disclosures of the British nuclear submarine whistleblower William McNeilly, to secret details of a European Union plan to use military force to curb the influx of migrants from Libya. I spoke to Julian Assange about these issues and more when I sat down with him inside the embassy on Monday.

AMY GOODMAN:  This is "Democracy Now!," "The War and Peace Report." I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. That’s right. Here is where Julian Assange has been holed up, granted political asylum by Ecuador, holed up here for almost three years. June 19th will mark the date that he came to this embassy in 2012.

Welcome to "Democracy Now!," Julian. So it has been three years since you came here. How are you doing?

JULIAN ASSANGE:  I’m not doing too badly, given the situation. And I think that’s really because I have something significant to focus on other than just my personal circumstance. That’s the same for all people who are in a situation of detainment. I’ve been five—almost five years now detained, in one form or another, without charge, here in the United Kingdom. I don’t live in the United Kingdom. I’m an Australian. So, it’s quite difficult for my family. But for me, "WikiLeaks" ’ work and the various cases that we have, defensive and offensive, is enough to keep my mind out of the situation that I’m in. And that’s very important for detained people.

AMY GOODMAN:  Which brings us to Edward Snowden, a man who you helped to secure his freedom, at least for now, though he’s not in the United States where he would like to be — he has political asylum in Russia — and what the revelations have led to — well, so many things all over the world, but in the United States, congressional action just in the last week, the challenges to the USA PATRIOT Act. Can you talk about what’s taken place? This is an absolutely critical week. June 1st, the USA PATRIOT Act, sections of it sunset unless they are continued. The administration has not appealed — applied for an automatic extension. And a number of senators, Republican and Democrat, have now bucked the corporate Republican - Democratic establishment and said they don’t want the overall surveillance of Americans. Explain more specifically what’s taken place.

JULIAN ASSANGE:  The Edward Snowden revelations documented various forms of National Security Agency spying and secret interpretations of U.S. law that have been constructed by the Justice Department and the FISA courts. Now, some of those hinged on Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, a secret interpretation, that has been found just this month to be unlawful in the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals.

Now, that has dovetailed with the electoral process in the United States, and so there’s now increasing push to be — increasing push for popularism. Rand Paul and Ron Wyden have tapped into that. The USA PATRIOT Act has been on rolling sunset clauses since 2001. The sunset clause is June the 1st, and so Ron Wyden and Rand Paul engaged in a filibuster, pushing the passage of the renewal of the PATRIOT Act off to a week where Congress had scheduled to be away all the way leading up to June 1st. So unless there’s an emergency recall of enough of the Senate and Congress, the sunset clause will hit, and that means there will have to be a newPATRIOT Act reintroduced. So it will have to be resuscitated as opposed to having a rollover, and that’s a more involved process. However, our sources say that the NSA is not too concerned, that it has secret interpretations of other authorities that give it much the same power that it would have had under the secret interpretation of 215 and other areas of the USA PATRIOTAct.

What Edward Snowden revealed about the secret interpretation of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act was that the National Security Agency was using it to bulk-collect the calling records, every day, of essentially every American in the United States — the majority of the big telecommunications companies. However, that’s only a very small part of the National Security Agency’s mass interception system. On one hand, it can suck information out of the — of Google, Facebook and so on, under the PRISM system; and on the other hand, even more data is collected as a result of information flowing across the border of the United States or across borders of the United Kingdom, which has a sharing agreement with the National Security Agency.
But it is a type of at least political victory, showing that you can — Rand Paul clearly believes that you can garnish a type of political power by having a filibuster on this issue. I think that’s quite an important thing leading up to the 2016 presidential election. It’s safe now to have this as part of the political debate.
AMY GOODMAN: The administration has said, well, we’ll put the information in the control of the telecoms, the telephone companies, but that’s also something that Rand Paul has challenged: Why should the telecommunications companies, why should private enterprise have this information, holding it to be sought by the government?
JULIAN ASSANGE: That’s right. So the alternative proposal, which is something that was in the USA FREEDOM Act, which is pretty misnamed — it is a sort of milder version of the USA PATRIOT Act, in some ways. Instead, Verizon and the other — AT&T and other big telcos will hold the information, ready for the National Security Agency. But, you know, it doesn’t make much of a difference if that’s an automated system. It’s just — you know, 80 percent of the National Security Agency is outsourced anyway, in terms of the management of its data. In this case, if it has automatic connections to AT&T and Verizon, there’s no difference in terms of its searching ability. Now, in terms of whether there’s warrants that are used for searches, it is perhaps an aid, because the companies could be made legally liable — that’s up to Congress — for not insisting on a warrant to access that information. I rather suspect that Congress won’t mandate that the companies can’t hand over information unless there’s a warrant.
Now, it’s interesting to contrast that with the situation here in Europe. So, in Europe, there was legislation that telcos should hold that information for 18 months. Now, in Germany, that has been found — in fact, at the European Court level, has been found to be unconstitutional. And in Germany, it was ordered that all that information be flushed away. And now there’s a fight on with various European states, such as Sweden, insisting that they can retain the information, even though the laws of Europe say that they’re not permitted to retain that information.
AMY GOODMAN: Before we get to Germany and what you’ve revealed there, I want to stay with the U.S. for a minute, because President Obama famously said that the debate over privacy and surveillance would have been had without Edward Snowden. Can you respond to that?
JULIAN ASSANGE: Oh, I think it’s obvious to everyone that that is false. How can you have a debate with secret interpretations of the law? How can you debate them? They’re secret. Similarly, what are the actual actions that are occurring, not just in policy, but what is actually happening? What are these bureaucracies actually doing? If you don’t know, how can you possibly have the debate? Information is classified, no debate is possible.


"WikiLeaks" founder Julian Assange, speaking inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. If he steps foot outside, he will be arrested by British authorities. We’ll return to our interview with him in a minute and talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as British nuclear submarine whistleblower William McNeilly. Stay with us.

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TONY @oakroyd said...

Hillary is relying on one critical demographic and it's not women. It's people with short memories.

Cirze said...

And there's a *load of them, right T?

Cirze said...

Sorry to be down for so long, friends.

But my computer has crashed and doesn't want to be restored. (Again!)

Could be that 10 years old thing happening, but who knows?

Remember when the "future" was going to cure these problems?

Don't computers last forever now?