Tag Archive: Daniel Ellsberg

Jul 23 2014

HopeX: A Hackers Convention Meets New York City

While a couple of thousand people spent a lost weekend in Detroit Michigan at Netroots Network 2014, a few thousand crammed themselves into the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City at HopeX, a convention for hackers. Hackers? Really? The reason for the enthusiasm was the agenda with speakers, guests and fascinating workshops and projects. It was the place to be for Jane Hamsher and Kevin Gosztola of FireDogLake.

We went in large part because Daniel Ellsberg, Jessalyn Raddack, Thomas Drake and Edward Snowden were all speaking at the event. But I have to give the conference high marks overall; the panels and talks were extremely well coordinated and really interesting. And surprisingly political. [..]

I went there thinking that 50% of the presentations would be extremely technical and go way over my head, but that didn’t happen. Among the programs that I attended:

   Barrett Brown and Anonymous: Persecution of Information Activists with Gabriella Coleman, Kevin Gallagher and Brown’s attorney Ahmed Ghappour.

   Community Owned and Operated Cellular Networks in Rural America with Peter Bloom and Maka Munoz

   Building an Open Source Cellular Network at Burning Man with Johnny Diggz and Willow Brugh

  Darkmail:  A preview of the new encrypted email program being developed by Ladar Levinson (Lavabit) and Stephen Watt, which will attempt to encrypt metadata

   Unmasking a CIA Criminal, Alfreda Frances Bikowsky: A really fascinating presentation by Ray Nowosielski about a largely unknown figure inside the CIA who may have been responsible for epic screw-ups ranging from hoarding data about Al Quada prior to 9/11 to the distorting the truth of the efficacy of torture

   SecureDrop: A Wikileaks in Every Newsroom with William Budington, Garrett Robinson and Yan Zhu

   When You Are the Adversary: Discussion of the infosec needs of the 99% with Quinn Norton

   Biohacking and DIYbiology North of the 45th Parallel with Kevin Chen and Connor Dickie

  Codesigning Countersurveillance: Projects of the MIT Civic Media Codesign Studio which develops civic media projects with community-based organizations

Normally I probably wouldn’t got to that many presentations at a conference but by and large they were all really interesting and many dealt with subjects (like building open source cellular networks and biohacking) that I previously knew nothing about.

However, the highlight of the convention was the conversation between NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the Pentagon Papers leaker, Danile Ellsberg.

Jun 12 2013

When You Support George W. Bush’s Policies, like Obama, I Get to Call You a Republican

Worse than a Republican; I get to call you a fawning sellout with even less principles than the Republican security soccer moms of 2004 that we all remember before. They really believed back then, and still do, that giving up their rights was worth a sense of (fake) security. And you know what? They were more principled than anyone who writes diaries excusing neoconservative policies from the Obama administration that were unacceptable to them when they came from the George W. Bush administration.

Period. End of story. Why? The RW soccer moms didn’t pretend to be outraged about this stuff during the Bush years. They have consistently supported it. So since that is an undeniable fact, I have to ask some of you how it feels to have even less principles than Republican voters who excused and supported some of the worst war crimes in history? How does it feel to enable a Justice Department that has now de facto codified some of the worst war crimes and financial crimes in history? How does it feel now that it is now exposed that, like Republican voters, you need a BS war on terror to feel safe?

How does it feel to repeat the same BS that cretins from the right did in the 2004 election to support their chosen leader? You know that fear mongering bit about “having nothing to hide so then having nothing to worry about?” That came from the RNC, and now that garbage is being recycled by people “who consider themselves Democrats or progressives based mostly on their feelings and nothing more. This similar zeitgeist all started during the run up to the Iraq war after 9/11 when the Patriot Act was passed when almost no one read the Bill in Congress.

Unlike apparently many people who didn’t really mean it, I was actually horrified by what went on during those years, and yet those same policies continue under President Obama. I’m also horrified that some of the same people who call themselves Democrats are not horrified anymore.