Security Risks of the President's Android Phone

Reports are that President Trump is still using his old Android phone. There are security risks here, but they are not the obvious ones.

I'm not concerned about the data. Anything he reads on that screen is coming from the insecure network that we all use, and any e-mails, texts, Tweets, and whatever are going out to that same network. But this is a consumer device, and it's going to have security vulnerabilities. He's at risk from everybody, ranging from lone hackers to the better-funded intelligence agencies of the world. And while the risk of a forged e-mail is real -- it could easily move the stock market -- the bigger risk is eavesdropping. That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge. That's my real fear.

I commented in this story.

EDITED TO ADD (1/27): Nicholas Weaver comments.

Posted on January 26, 2017 at 7:06 AM • 183 Comments

Comments

WinterJanuary 26, 2017 7:16 AM

"That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge. That's my real fear."

If this fear means that people become very careful with what they tell in the presence of president Trump, I can see this only as a positive.
(this is less of a joke I would like it to be)

jonJanuary 26, 2017 7:17 AM

A microphone, a camera, motion sensors, a GPS...

While hoping that the camera gets a good shot of something interesting is a long shot, the GPS is handy for tracking some one, and motion sensors will allow tracking them even after GPS signal is lost.

So some one could know where he is, what his daily routine looks like, and maybe even what he is seeing... We've no fear of nude photos of the first lady being released at this point, but I'm sure other incriminating things might pass in front of a presidential camera phone.

JuergenJanuary 26, 2017 7:28 AM

Eavesdropping is indeed a minor concern - but imagine being able to SEND something from that phone... a well-aimed Tweet can send stocks plummeting for example, as Trump has already shown.

AnuraJanuary 26, 2017 7:30 AM

Yeah, but Donald promised to take "the cyber" seriously so I have every confidence in his ten year gold's ability to secure his phone.

John E. QuantumJanuary 26, 2017 7:33 AM

In DC, whenever the POTUS motorcade is nearby everyone's cell phone stops working. I've been told that this is due to local jamming by the Secret Service to prevent phones being used for various forms of mischief. If Trump insists on using his Android phone, will the SS have to stop jamming cell signals? This could lead to vulnerabilities having nothing to do with Trump's own phone.

aczarnowskiJanuary 26, 2017 7:38 AM

I believe your dislike the new administration is coming through in your writings here. Fear? From the guy that wrote Beyond Fear?

Our politicians are supposed to be citizens first. It's to everyone's benefit that they're using the same devices we use in their daily lives.

And, if they, or the people around them, are stupid enough to bring a phone, any phone, into spaces where secrets are being discussed then we all have much bigger problems to fear.

EdJanuary 26, 2017 7:48 AM

Hmm, I would be more concerned where he charges it :D. Android is very hackable, but there is so much you can do with it. But, if used as a carrier to open a backdoor on a WH computer that's usually locked down, now we are talking about...
Hopefully someone else in the WH is already thinking like I do...

BernardJanuary 26, 2017 7:55 AM

I'm sure the NSA can shim the phone so that it only talks to NSA devices. That way they can filter everything going to & from the phone.

Which is an entirely different set of concerns, of course.

ÉibhearJanuary 26, 2017 8:19 AM

"That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge. That's my real fear."

Maybe he's agreed to a compromise on where and when he uses it? Only while sitting on the toilet, perhaps?

Where was the fear with the Clinton serverJanuary 26, 2017 8:27 AM

I must note a clear double editorial standard with respect to political candidates here:

- Hillary Clinton had a non secure server that contained classified information that many cyber security experts believe was compromise by foreign state actors. The reason she did this, most likely, is to avoid her dealings with the foundation and other pay for play to be subject to the record keeping requirements that came with her job as Secretary of State.

- Trump uses and Android phone to tweet what everybody can read in twitter - Trump notoriously doesn't use email, only uses phone.

Whom would you think a computer security minded person would prefer as President? In the case of Bruce, it's the person who exposed state secrets. Ironic.

TomJanuary 26, 2017 9:09 AM

Bruce, are you suggesting that open-source software could be written that would give us live streaming and on-demand archive of audio from the president's phone?

TatütataJanuary 26, 2017 10:07 AM

I could envision this could actually being a good thing, if the White House Communications Agency would hire an army of programmers to review the code and plug the holes in Android, and released the patches to the general public.

That surely be money well spent, much better invested than in the 50G$/y mostly useless and even harmful "security" apparatus, or in building a wall, or whatever.

The use of a commercial product suggests the access to WLAN access points close to the Oval Office. Hopefully this one is on a network segregated from the rest of WH operations.

I just had a vision of Portland Mud actually being Vlad's human exploit.

TatütataJanuary 26, 2017 10:26 AM

The TLAs surely already have teams of programmers whose task is to find weaknesses in Android and other OSes. This resources could be reallocated quite quickly, and the NSA would actually implement the "S" in its initials.

Dirk PraetJanuary 26, 2017 10:33 AM

It would be kinda cool if he were to inadvertently leak the nuclear codes like apparently Sean "Squealer" Spicer (*) just did with his password.

@ Saint Aardvark

Don't all cell phones have microphones? Otherwise you wouldn't be able to use them to make a phone call. Or am I missing something?

+1

@ Graham Cluley

I'm not sure anyone would gather any intelligence by listening to Donald Trump.

Remarkable timing. We were just discussing the deliberate dumbing down of the general population in another thread.

(*) Anyone still not familiar with the works of George Orwell: now would be a really good time to start reading.

K.S.January 26, 2017 10:56 AM

I think it is more likely that hardware backdoors introduced on silicon level are going to see play here than exploiting Android zero-days (a nearly sure way to quickly get them patched) or attempt to introduce software flaws (a sure way to get discovered, with attribution). I am certain NSA and secret service already scrutinized images of his device, but it will be much harder for anyone to verify integrity of hardware for something that manufactured and designed outside US. Especially if backdoor functionality isn't something used continuously, but rather activated once during critical times.

If I were in charge of Trump's smartphone usage, and couldn't just tell him not to, I'd send low-level staffer to purchase few devices outside DC to minimize the chances of per-existing 'plant' that doesn't exist in general population. Then disable in hardware cell modem and GPS modules. Then I'd have him use it through WiFi mode that I proxy and have a team continuously screen for unexpected traffic. Then have pipe all traffic through TOR nodes that I (NSA) control.

MikeAJanuary 26, 2017 11:07 AM

All cellphones have microphones, as far as I know, but some also have removable batteries.

Note to Valued Citizens: Taking out your battery or leaving your cellphone behind _may_ be interpreted as a stepping stone to treason, so weigh the cost/benefit.

markJanuary 26, 2017 11:27 AM

Ok, now I need to go on the dark net, and get some H8ck3rz T00lz (tm). Now, there, I''ve pwned his phone, let's see, "I want to order 100,000 sets of brownshirted uniforms, from whereever's cheap - China, 'Nam, whatever - and have it shipped to warehouses to be sold to my supporters.... Oh, and don't forget the jackboots!"

John CampbellJanuary 26, 2017 11:40 AM

Y'know, I figured, for security, there'd be no open WiFi to an insecure network within the White House... and, if there's no Faraday cage to neuter cell-phones, there'd be a cell-phone jammer covering the facility... ensuring no leaks.

Mind you, there is important information leaking due to his 3AM tweets:

1) He's old enough he has to get up in the middle of the night, and
2) He sits ("like a girl") to urinate, so

He is tweeting from the throne.

I think there are some who would find each of these an important datum.

(Now if only I could get that used by SNL or somebody)

Well, these tweets tell us there is "Alternate Security" in-place.

Ross SniderJanuary 26, 2017 12:26 PM

The Trump Administration should abandon these insecure devices quickly. And ideally, if they want to take cyber seriously, they would fund a secure internet infrastructure project (NOT a "trusted" infrastructure initiative) such that officials could feel comfortable using consumer devices and websites for state purposes.

riccardo cabezaJanuary 26, 2017 12:30 PM

The problem is Drumpf is severely mentally ill. Who wants to listen to the rants of a mad man? Does it matter any one listens?

ElliotJanuary 26, 2017 1:01 PM

How could it be a bad thing if hackers get an open mic on Trump? The best possible outcome would be that the phone's GPS location be used to deliver a fatal drone strike.

albertJanuary 26, 2017 1:07 PM

@Graham,
OK, nobody likes a wise guy:)

@Elliot,
Are you sure you don't want to withdraw that statement?
. .. . .. --- ....

BardiJanuary 26, 2017 1:29 PM

"That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge."

How else do you think Putin keeps his lapdog on a leash?

JuliaJanuary 26, 2017 1:38 PM

@Elliot That would be the worst possible outcome.

Ignoring that the USA has never had an acknowledged Coup d'etat and the damage this would do to the US system of civil liberties, consider what the US constitution says happens should the president dies.

Trump may be vile and stupid and possibly mad but he is a showman and most likely quite incompetent. If anything happens to him he would be replaced by Mike Pence. Pence is anti women's rights, anti LGBTIQA rights and is likely to be smart enough to achieve much evil.

BearJanuary 26, 2017 1:38 PM

It's hard to guess whether he's really that stupid, or whether this is just the NSA trolling all the people who'll try to hack a phone that looks like POTUS is still using it.

The particular types of stupidity required for him to still be using this device would be "doesn't listen to people who know more than him even if they are unanimously agreed", "refuses to cooperate with people who are trying to prevent him from getting killed", and "has complete disregard for national interests."

Which, unfortunately, we've seen other examples of so none of them would be all that surprising.

But wouldn't we have seen, by this time, the resignations of a bunch of IT people who don't want any of the shit that's going to splatter from that on their resumes?

Who?January 26, 2017 2:07 PM

@ Bear

It's hard to guess whether he's really that stupid, or whether this is just the NSA trolling all the people who'll try to hack a phone that looks like POTUS is still using it.

No, it is not so hard. Really.

He has been in the White House for just a week and I start appreciating Obama's administration. I usually try to get the best from people, but "Donald duck" Trump's only sensible action [until now] is that he says what he really thinks instead of lying to people, as a difference to Bush and Obama. It is good knowing that at least he is honest, a deference to his voters that previous administrations didn't had.

I really hope Trump will change his mind before he makes a big mistake (I am not talking about his smartphone but in general now), or that other countries' leaders will choose ignore him instead of playing his dangerous game.

AnuraJanuary 26, 2017 2:11 PM

"Donald duck" Trump's only sensible action [until now] is that he says what he really thinks instead of lying to people

lol

BrianJanuary 26, 2017 2:12 PM

If anybody thinks that the NSA or Secret Service is not monitoring Trump's phone, you are severely mistaken! I am absolutely sure that the phone has an NSA/SS app(s) running on it, and its traffic is closely monitored, if not sanitized.

The main security issue is not the phone, but rather its user. "Loose lips sink ships" is an old admonition, and Trump is not the sort of person to keep his mouth shut when he ought.

HJohnJanuary 26, 2017 2:55 PM

@: riccardo cabeza • January 26, 2017 12:30 PM

The problem is Drumpf is severely mentally ill
_________________


So, Dr. Cabeza, where did you get license, how many session did you have with the patient to make your diagnosis, and who authorized the release of your records?

Nothing like name calling (Drumpf) to boost your credibility.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 26, 2017 3:22 PM

@ Saint Aardvark

Don't all cell phones have microphones? Otherwise you wouldn't be able to use them to make a phone call. Or am I missing something?

At the risk of sounding like a pantomime artist...

Q : When is a phone not a phone?

A : When it's a smart phone / pad / traffic light.

The point is mobile phones are about data, one form of which is digitized voice. They are also about the various "Over The Air" secondary services including the Short Message Service and other data streams.

The type of "phone" you have is dependent not just on the actual device but the Subscriber Interface Module that you get from the Service Provider.

Thus you can get SIMs that only do SMS messaging and are used in the likes traffic lights and other systems which you might consider the "Wide Area Network" of "Interconected Devices" (IoT for Big Boys ;). Such as "Smart Meters" and similar like Engineering Order Update systems for work crews, fleet managment systems and even surveillance devices. Then of course there is "broadband mobile" Internet connectivity. None of which require a microphone but do use the mobile phone network.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 26, 2017 4:52 PM

@ Bruce,

That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge.

As I've mentioned a few times before, knowing if the phone is actively communicating is very simple. Slightly harder is to know what type of data is being communicated, though you can do this by ear if you practice a bit.

But it's not very difficult to actually monitor the phone by adding a tiny micro chip and low power status/alarm transmitter (using one of those BlueThoth chips used in headsets would do).

If people care to think back a well known security research was looking to design something similar for everyday users of iPhones last year.

So whilst an open mic bug may be an issues for an unprepared user of a stock phone, being prepared for it would be relatively simple and well within the abilities of many federal entities, not just the NSA.

Sancho_PJanuary 26, 2017 4:58 PM

Oh no, not a risk, it’s an advantage for the taxpayer!
No need for calls from the White House to the Kremlin.
No need for press statements ‘cause Julian will post facts immediately,
-> a win-win.

Phil TJanuary 26, 2017 5:08 PM

You'll notice all Trump's mentally limited minions have been able to muster is "Hillary was bad", rather than admitting that using an Android Zero Day Exploit Incubator is a problem that needs to be corrected. When confronted with something they can't possible hope to dispute that casts them in an unfavorable light, they attempt to change the subject. Even they know how serious the issue is.

As for getting rid of Trump... There's a reason the allied leaders repeatedly squelched discussion of killing Hitler. They understood Napoleon's maxium of "never interrupt your enemy while he making a mistake". If Hitler was replaced by someone capable like Manstein or Raeder, the allies could very well have been forced to sign an armistice instead of forcing a surrender.

Stated differently, it's not the six of months of a clearly treasonous and overwmatched Trump Administration I fear, it's the fourty two month follow up from the Pence administration. Think through the next set of moves on the chessboard, folks.

Sancho_PJanuary 26, 2017 5:37 PM

@Clive Robinson

Hilarious, seems your auto correct came on again, but Thoth belongs to the duress - thread.
However, Bluetooth might be too narrow for effective “surveillance” ;-)

Nick PJanuary 26, 2017 6:03 PM

General Dynamics owns OK Labs. They can just put their OKL4 software on a phone for him. Contract Altran or Galois to secure the firmware. License Moxie's crypto. Chips from DOD Trusted Foundry. Case & interface made to his preference. Should be an easy problem to solve.

Dirk PraetJanuary 26, 2017 6:29 PM

@ Nick P

General Dynamics owns OK Labs. They can just put their OKL4 software on a phone for him.

Earlier in this thread, someone pointed to an article on androidcentral in which Alex Dobie identifies Trump's current phone as a Samsung Galaxy S3. While nobody quite understands why he would still be using such an old (and thus insecure) model, could it be that it is perhaps one of those General Dynamics GD Protected ones? I believe they ported it to that particular model.

ThothJanuary 26, 2017 6:36 PM

@all

He could just setup @Figureitout's Tinfoil Send Data Diode to send his next tweet from his desk and his old phone or account hooked to some Internet from his Trump tower office. Easy solution much more secure and only need some optocouplers, Raspberry Pis and unclassified Internet commectivity. Ok, just kidding above but hey, it's an idea :) .

Forget about the Sectera phone since most users have find it too cumbersome and not user friendly. Expect their OPSEC to drop off and not uae the Sectera after a while.

Modifying phones with OKL or seL4 with open source secure chat and a hardened ARM chip from some trusted foundaries is going to be a dream. If they really wanted to do so, it isn't that hard and would have implemented it in the Obama era and have prevented the Hillary scandals long time ago. Truth is such technology already existed for many years but the fact they didn't bother despite being fully capable is because they don't care. They just want to out source their work to leaky third party contractors to get over with their work and tax the American people for more cash to line their deep pockets. Pure corruption

ThothJanuary 26, 2017 6:39 PM

@Dirk Praet

GD (Un)Prorected uses Galaxy S4 as base which is ... CC EAL 2 :) . Oh and there were problems with KNOX at that era and now as well. Surprised that they were not forced to re-certify for CC golden stickers.

Dirk PraetJanuary 26, 2017 6:53 PM

@ Thoth

GD (Un)Prorected uses Galaxy S4 as base ...

Just did a search for it. They did initially release GD Protected on both Samsung Galaxy S3 and LG Optimus 3D Max.

ThothJanuary 26, 2017 7:37 PM

@Dirk Praet

They have all these toys but never gave it to Hillary :) . Anyone, whichever it is, those phones are not capable of reaching even a Confidential and above level so it's yet another dead end no matter how they modify a stock Android unless they actually decided to take the extra step of inserting MicroSD with embedded smart card chips like the Hagelin Crypto's HC-9100 or Secusmart MicroSD encryptors but even then, they are rated in NATO's eyes as only worthy of Restricted access.

They should spend time updating Sectera with something more palatable and also usable with high security (via trusted foundries) but I guess GD would resist it since updating and upgrading is what such contractors hate as they need to spend time and money yet again for R&D and re-evaluation while the Government relies on whims to make bad decisions.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 26, 2017 9:07 PM

One of the best professional advises that I got early in my life is about the importance of never being a sore loser.

When you are in a competition to get something that you deeply care about, give your best to win. If you win great, if you don't, take as much time as you need to recover from the loss and then move on. Never, never be a sore loser.

It is disheartening to see so many otherwise smart people, including Bruce, in a race to the bottom as to who can be the sorest of losers.

As a impartial observer, I can say it ain't pretty. First it was Bruce advertising the unfounded "hacking allegations" in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Then was his "4 year plan" to do who knows what. Then his justifying of the CIA's director smear campaign against Trump with the fake dossier, now "faux outrage" about Trump using an Android phone for twitting.

Other commenters, who give their names are think very highly of themselves as computer security experts, are not faring any better.

These political posts have reminded me very vividly of the late Professor Cipolla's rules on human stupidity.

I am not sure what is Bruce's goal with all this other than making sure that everybody knows he is a partisan hack. The more he writes about this, the less likely I see that people will trust his recommendations in computer security that go beyond the purely technical - such as policy.

Nick PJanuary 26, 2017 10:15 PM

@ Dirk Praet

It was stronger in the past. They might have given him an S3 for that reason. Or he just hasn't upgraded because he prefers the old one he knows works & he's used to. Knox was INTEGRITY Multivisor-based at one point then it seemed to change to something else. I'm not sure what it is now. Important, though, that the MILS kernel not just be on the phone but used correctly. Brick wall between confidential stuff and his play stuff. Especially Twitter, the browser he surfs porn with, his personal email, his gaming apps like Farmville, and whatever coeds he's trying to seduce on Instagram. Any possible sources of penetration from intelligence services in countries with a surplus of (un/barely)employed, attractive women with an IQ of 110 or over.

AFJanuary 26, 2017 11:49 PM

Now that makes it easier for Burka Landlord or Chinatown to pawn that phone and start the next nuclear war from the white house in a single "touch."

TheNetworkJanuary 27, 2017 2:58 AM

If he uses his old phone with the IMEI, even if he uses now a new UICC, then he can be reidentified by the network.

My guess is that he still uses his "old" MSISDN (and UICC), which probably means, that interesting persons are in possession of his IMSI and potentially can get his communications (SMS, data (might not be such a problem, due to application layer sec), calls) and location (cellID level) from the network. That all depends on how well the SS7 infra in US is protected ... is it?

Even if his phone gets special attention by his cellular carrier, what about those around him?

Mike SJanuary 27, 2017 3:37 AM

This shouldn't be a problem if the phone is used properly (from a bugging point of view). I have worked in various secure facilities and most operate some form of zoning policy. If you are going into an area with sensitive information you leave personal electronics outside in a locker. Likewise when you are in a more open zone you don't discuss sensitive information as there could be bugs or people who aren't cleared to hear that information.

Trump could have his phone in his private residence, but not take it into the oval office or other meetings rooms.

Matt StantonJanuary 27, 2017 4:19 AM

Well, I see a link on twitter and I think "Hey, it's Schneier... He has the integrity to actually rise above partisanship to point out something truly substantive," so I click, read, and just shake my head. Yes, a President (and anyone else in our government who might deal with or discuss classified info) shouldn't be using an insecure consumer device, but why didn't you point this out when Obama was using his Blackberry? Why didn't you point this out when our Secretary of State went through 14 different personal cell phones? Easy. Because partisanship is more important than reaching out to all Americans who are concerned about our government's complete lack of action towards securing our computer and network infrastructure. You would rather say "Hurr Hurr! Trump DUMB!!" than rise above partisanship and point out how truly widespread this problem likely is.

Really, you could have written this whole article the exact same way and just changed the first line to something along the lines of "Similarly to Obama and his use of his personal blackberry, reports are that President Trump is still using his old smart phone." You could have gone on to point out that smart phones have only been around for two presidents prior to Trump, and that this is something that is becoming increasingly important to study as more and more powerful and tiny computers are becoming not only more prevelant in our society, but are also becoming more necessary to the ways we conduct business and government. You could even end the article talking about what policies might need to be set as wearable tech becomes more mainstream.

Instead you singled President Trump out as if he is the only person in government doing this. There are probably thousands of people in DC and around the world whose devices could be used to do serious damage to our society. Why isn't it just as critical that the Fed chair's phone not be some personal device? Couldn't a fake tweet/email about interest rates cause enough damage to the stock market at a time when investors are twitchy and the economy is still on shaky ground? Why haven't we been wringing our hands over Senators in the Select Committee on Intelligence possibly carrying their phones to a meeting or having them around at times when they might not be in committee, but could be discussing strategy or policy outside committee with another member?

You rose what I consider to be a valid concern, but it just came off as "sore loser." It really makes me question whether it is even worth visiting your blog again.

AndrewJanuary 27, 2017 4:19 AM

It's not only the phone itself but also the associated accounts where Android uses to send data, more or less without authorisation...for example Gallery app uses to upload pictures on Picassa, just like it happened in celebrities case .
No need to break the phone when you can take it's data by guessing some cloud password.
Of course, in this case it's probably not the stock Android and I guess not even the stock Samsung anymore.

Anyway, a phone and any communication device involves two parties. An ultra secure phone is useless if the other phone in conversation is compromised. Someone would attack the weaker endpoint with the same results.

ab praeceptisJanuary 27, 2017 4:48 AM

As no one else seems to have thought about it -> plausible deniability and relatives.

Trump is about 70 and probably neither too savvy nor too interested in the internet and social media - as opposed to obama.

Don't be fooled by the seemingly obvious quick conclusion "but he is a heavy twitter user!". I don't think so. From what I see he is someone who has seen and understood (possibly after having been introduced and explained) the power of online tools, media, and media like options. More importantly though he seems to be a man who is open to thinking outside the box and to use paths outside the common (in his peer group).

I'm next to certain that it's actually assistents and/or a team to do his postings. I would expect it to work roughly like that: Either Trump feels he has something to say or to comment or his advisors suggest so. Then he either comes up with a raw version of what he wishes to say or his advisor propose something which Trump then gives a go, possibly with some changes or twists desired by him. Next his media and PR team works over it, comments, suggests changes or issues warnings. Only then the tweet or whatever gets out.

Certainly the us-american president has access to and is equipped with high-sec communication devices (which again, possibly others actually use for him, much like a secretary actually typed letters formertimes).

Yet he seems to use a standard smartphone and an old version at that.

I think the explanation is simple once one considers the situation. Trump is pissing off quite some parts of the establishment and big time. One might well say that he leads a war - and wars are dirty. Sometimes it's necessary or useful to leave the usual paths; fighting the mainstream media, for instance, is hard to do, even for a president, when being dependent on them to get ones message out.
And they (the media and establishment) fight dirty, too.

Obviously, even ostentatively using an old every mans smartphone opens paths for him and a worst case escape door: "My phone was hacked!". This makes even more sense when considering the fact that Trump, like JFK, seems to be set to go against the intelligence services super-kraken and to cut them to size and to fence them in.

Think about it. "The presidents phone got hacked" not only can take Trump out of the line of fire but can be also perfectly well used against the intelligence kraken.

Trump, in the beginning painted as the laughing stock, survived the republican selection process, he survived and won the election process, and he survived Jan. 20.
It would seem utterly untenable to me to think he's just ignorant and stupid. *Looking* stupid, however, is indeed a tool he masters and used sometimes. If Trump openly and blatantly uses an old Samsung Galaxy then that perfectly fits the pattern of "look stupid and then hit hard".

Dirk PraetJanuary 27, 2017 5:15 AM

@ Nick P

Important, though, that the MILS kernel not just be on the phone but used correctly. Brick wall between confidential stuff and his play stuff.

Yup. I know several people who bought a Blackphone just for that feature, but after a while you always see that they start mixing stuff up either by oversight or downright carelessness, thinking that somehow miraculously the device itself will compensate for their lack of attention. Trump not particularly striking me as an OPSEC-focused hi-tech is probably not any different.

@ Sore loser thingie

These political posts have reminded me very vividly of the late Professor Cipolla's rules on human stupidity.

Just like the average newspaper hardly ever is a mere enumeration of facts but generally is coloured by the opinion of its editors, so is it with this forum and most others I know. Our host's strong opinions on civil liberties and the false dichotomy that is privacy and security therefor inevitably pushes him towards views that can be perceived as political or even partisan. I personally don't see what's wrong with that. There are plenty of folks her voicing dissenting opinions, the most appreciated of which do so in a civil, substantiated and some even eloquent way. And they are most welcome.

Unfortunately, there are also others with very explicit views of their own, who seem to take offense to anyone expressing an opinion they don't agree with and deem it necessary to accompany that with name calling. To them my advice is to simply start their own blog with their own rules.

@ Matt Stanton

Yes, a President ... shouldn't be using an insecure consumer device, but why didn't you point this out when Obama was using his Blackberry?

If you go back in the archives of this blog, you will find that the issue of Obama's (and Merkel's) Blackberry has been discussed more than once. The subtle nuance here is that at the time it was generally assumed that in his capacity of POTUS he was already using some hardened, government approved version while it remains an open question at this time if president-elect or even president Trump is doing the same and not just using a very old and insecure consumer model that represents a threat of an entirely different magnitude.

And it is especially ironic, as one security researcher recently pointed out, that the password reset email address for his Twitter account apparently is a Gmail account managed by one of his staffers.

ThothJanuary 27, 2017 6:22 AM

@Dirk Praet

The two of them are likely the same identity by the way they reply. Leave it to @Moderator to do the job :) .

Oh, and we do not simply complain because someone that cannot be named uses an outdated phone. We also provide advises and alternatives to fix the problems. A little searching would yield this topic have been covered so many times with many accompanying solutions on hardening smartphones. There are always those who intend to ignore the fact that solutions to the smartphone security have been covered long time ago and Angela Merkel and Obama were no exceptions and have been critisized in past comment posts for their choice of mobile security and advises were also given on many occassions.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 27, 2017 7:18 AM

@ Thoth,

Oh, and we do not simply complain because someone that cannot be named uses an outdated phone.

Hmm, there are a number of "outdated phone" users on this blog, myself included.

The use of an outdated phone is not of it's self a security risk. In the same way a piece of wire is not a security risk. It's the "how" of it's use and the "What" of the traffic carried.

As I've mentioned before, I do not consider any phone secure (including the STU ones, the last of which was designed in the later half of the 1980s). In part because of the "end run" issues and in part because they cause a lack of caution in those using them, thus at best poor OpSec.

My dislike/distrust is especialy true of COTS unit's that have been "hardened" mainly by stripping them of applications, not even hardening/replacing the OS and seldom if never sorting out the security of the hardware.

Thus my use is predicated on the assumption that "I'm sending plaintext postcards".

That's not to say the most insecure of phones can not be used securely, it's a question of where the security end point is, and how you deal with traffic analysis issues.

After all what does "My feet are flat and my nose blue" mean to you? Probably not a lot. But to someone else it could as in the BBC "messages for our friends" during WWII be "a call to arms", or maybe to a lover I want to play the "kinky policeman" tonight in a game of bedroom cops-n-robbers 0:)

As long as such messages have a reasonable meaning in natural language, and are used as a code only once for any particular covert usage then they are secure.

Unless they might have a correlation with events. During WWI a code book had printed in large letters on the front cover the code phrase to be used if there was a crypto compromise and it was "Dam Dam Dam"...

Dirk PraetJanuary 27, 2017 7:24 AM

@ ab praeceptis

If Trump openly and blatantly uses an old Samsung Galaxy then that perfectly fits the pattern of "look stupid and then hit hard".

I'm not sure. If tomorrow the darn thing indeed gets hacked by Guccifer 3.0 announcing a 50% haircut on US Treasuries or that bombers are on their way to Moscow, I don't see any way he can talk his way out of that or pin it on the IC. Depending on the outcome, chances are that he is accused of gross negligence (or lack of due diligence) unbecoming of a US president in the exact same way he attacked Shillary over her emails.

I equally doubt that his team is behind his Twitter feed as he is obviously listening to no one but himself. Another clue may be the strange timing of some of his tweets, like 3 in the morning, which may be quite consistent with a man of his age getting out of bed to take a leak and sending out to the world his musing of the moment while sitting on the Great White Telephone. I hardly doubt that he's regularly playing the "be smart act dumb"-game, but for now I think I'm going to stick to Occam and just assume he's using an old insecure phone because he is the president and because he can. And because all of these so-called experts don't have a clue what they're talking about anyway.

ThothJanuary 27, 2017 8:00 AM

@Clive Robinson

Effectively, most NATO items are simply using crypto, custom chips, custom algorithms, EMSEC and Red/Black/MILS separation for most part of their security these days after WWII to my understanding while glimpsing into their public spec sheets.

The likes of maintaining constant random data sending down the secure comms to defeat traffic analysis or broadcasting seemingly random data are pretty obscure stuff these days. I am guessing the modern agencies do not feel a need for such techniques these days.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 27, 2017 9:34 AM

@Thoth

"The two of them are likely the same identity by the way they reply. Leave it to @Moderator to do the job :) ."

We are not. The biggest mistake that the mostly liberal crowd in academia has made is to believe that you can build a thriving institution by excluding non liberals from academia. Non liberals have indeed been, for the most part, excluded from academia. But the end result is that academia is more insular than ever and more disconnected than ever from society. While this might be a good thing for those professors who can live in their own little bubble without contact with pesky people with different views, the Jonathan Gruber fiasco should have convinced anyone that it is not a good thing for said people in the long term. If Bruce wants to become the Jonathan Gruber of computer security, that's of course, his prerogative.

We, non liberals who are also passionate about technology, are not going anywhere. If we are excluded from forums like this, not only we'll create own own, but we will make sure that Bruce's influence is minimized.

For example, in the US, Fox News is the cable news outlet with the largest audience. On any given day, it has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined. I once saw Bruce being invited as an expert matter in one of their shows. Do you think that if he continues with his path to become "the computer security expert of the left" he will be invited in the same capacity? I saw Jonathan Gruber again recently, but he was invited as the left wing professor who insulted those Americans who dislike Obamacare, not as a subject matter expert.

WaelJanuary 27, 2017 9:47 AM

@Never be a sore loser,

Fox News is the cable news outlet with the largest audience.

Fox News? My sincere condolences!

parabarbaianJanuary 27, 2017 10:10 AM

"That Android has a microphone, which means that it can be turned into a room bug without anyone's knowledge. That's my real fear."

All cell phones -- even my "star trek" phone -- have microphones. The degree of difficulty varies but any cell phone (as well as POTS and VOIP phones) can be turned into a means of eavesdropping. I can leave my phone behind or turn it off for the duration of a meeting. Some people simply will not do that. The danger from the so-called "smart phone" is that so many users cannot be separated from them. They get neurotic if they are out-of-touch for more than few minutes. It is like an addiction and I am not sure that government can separate the nomophobes from their digital drug.

Z.LozinskiJanuary 27, 2017 10:13 AM

@The Network
> That all depends on how well the SS7 infra in US is protected ... is it?

This is a hard problem as it requires redesigning and replacing the equipment that runs the global fixed and mobile networks, without breaking the ability to call from anywhere in the world to anywhere.

The security model for SS7 is that all devices/services that have a Point Code /Global Title (an SS7 network address) are trusted. This model was conceived in the late 1970s and implemented in the 1980s when all telecom networks worldwide were run by "national administrations" (ITU-T speak for a national PTT or a national monopoly like the Bell System in the US). At the time it was a valid assumption. When I held an experimental telecommunications license in the UK in the early 1990s on behalf of my employer, both BT and the regulator had to approve it and BT sent someone to interview me to make sure I knew what I was doing.

At the time the capital cost of equipment that connected to the SS7 network was $1M-$20M, with an additional $1M for each software update. Only national operators and multinationals could afford these prices. Now, you can run SS7 on a PC, and SIGTRAN lets you interoperate between SS7 and IP.

There are now over 1000 operators worldwide, and the telecom industry is well aware of the security issues caused by the SS7 security model. The most usual one are accounting frauds for call and messaging charges. The GSMA (the trade body for the 800 odd mobile operators globally) even publishes technical documents on how to reduce the exposure from SMS fraud.

Finally, there is no encryption within the international telecom network, so insider attacks have a bigger impact on communications privacy.

We are probably looking at least 10 years before these legacy systems are retired.

AnuraJanuary 27, 2017 10:17 AM

@Never be a sore loser

So if I understand you right, Bruce is making a mistake for having beliefs contrary to Fox News, and he should keep quiet about them so that Fox News will let him talk about the subjects that the conservatives want to talk about? And you also said something about liberals avoiding people with different views? Or are you just upset that all scientific theories and "alternative theories" aren't treated equally valid, because it's all just a matter of perspective?

Also, if American conservatives were actually interested in learning, and didn't see school as a place to acquire the skills necessary to get a job, they might actually acquire the education necessary to recognize that Fox News is a propaganda outlet:

http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/10/01/a-history-of-dishonest-fox-charts/190225

And that's ignoring all the religious conservatives who just plain want to avoid anything that contradicts their religion. But don't take it from me, take it from the Texas GOP:

We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/assets/original/2012Platform_Final.pdf

Dirk PraetJanuary 27, 2017 10:23 AM

@ Person obsessed with losers and establishments

If we are excluded from forums like this, not only we'll create own own, but we will make sure that Bruce's influence is minimized.

People on this forum are not excluded for their opinions, but for their demeanor. If you keep up the off-topic soapboxing, name calling and ranting against the blog host, consider your comments a self-fulfilling prophecy.

@ parabarbaian

All cell phones -- even my "star trek" phone -- have microphones

A Motorola RAZR ? I used to have one too until I squashed it beyond repair showing off at the ice skating rink.

ThothJanuary 27, 2017 10:33 AM

@Never be a sore loser

Liberals and Non-liberals are the affairs of the USA. This comments section is open to anyone internationally and many of us including myself are not Americans. We simply comment here since the topic has been brought up.

The problem with the Liberal/Non-liberal view is that technology is neutral. If someone uses poor security, they would be criticized. There are many of us who are non-Americans and the Liberal/Non-liberal views in security makes your so-called "impartial observer" more biased than anyone else here.

By the way, somewhat off-topic yet related. Your nation is lucky to have at least a Constitution that the Government have been rather afraid to violate in most circumstances despite multiple attempts. If you have ever considered some of the commentators here who might be from more authoritarian countries (i.e. South East Asia) where the voting is mostly a one sided race and any dissent is quelled swiftly and sometimes in a bloody fashion, think of how lucky your people are with a mostly working Constitution that is well regarded and respected despite all the internal discontent.

Oh, and as an engineer living in a mostly locked down country viewing US's situation, this very deep divide is the one thing that might be the Achilles heel. The good fortune to freely exercise your rights with not as much restriction is an envy to most other nations. Maybe a decade of staying in China or South East Asia would give a taste of what a locked down society feels like where there is no such thing as a Constitution and there is only one legitimate party to the Government is most of these countries.

never be a complete sore loserJanuary 27, 2017 10:52 AM

@Anura

He is making a mistake by conflating his own political bias with his expert opinion.

Expert opinion only matters when there isn't a clear/cut answer (that's why it's "opinion") to a complicated question on a subject area, in this case computer security.

That AES-256 is secure even if quantum computers were to be developed is not expert opinion, it is an acknowledgement that there are no known practical attacks against AES-128 and that all quantum computing would do is to convert breaking AES-256 into breaking AES-128.

Making a blog about the Android habits of Trump is political bias masquerading as expert opinion. Making a blog supporting Brennan's smear campaign against Trump is again political bias masquerading as expert opinion.

I hope you get the idea.

AnuraJanuary 27, 2017 10:57 AM

@never be a complete sore loser

He is making a mistake by conflating his own political bias with his expert opinion.

Is this your expert opinion?

Clive RobinsonJanuary 27, 2017 11:12 AM

@ Thoth,

The likes of maintaining constant random data sending down the secure comms to defeat traffic analysis or broadcasting seemingly random data are pretty obscure stuff these days.

The kit still does it, have a look at the BID950 and later.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 27, 2017 11:54 AM

@Thoth,

"Liberals and Non-liberals are the affairs of the USA. This comments section is open to anyone internationally and many of us including myself are not Americans. We simply comment here since the topic has been brought up."

It is not my blog, so it is not up to me to say who should be or shouldn't be commenting. However, you made a clear call to Bruce to "do the job", whatever that means. I interpret it as "censoring opinions we, the good liberal thinkers don't like".

On the issue that technology is politically neutral, I agree. What is not neutral, as we can see with Bruce's series of posts, is political bias masquerading as "expert opinion".

"By the way, somewhat off-topic yet related. Your nation is lucky to have at least a Constitution that the Government have been rather afraid to violate in most circumstances despite multiple attempts. "

I agree, and one of the reasons many of us supported Trump is that Hillary Clinton, continuing Obama's work, wanted to dismantle the US constitution. There are many ways of doing this. One way is by promoting open borders, as both Obama and Clinton did. Another way is by appointing US Supreme Court justices that say "the constitution be damned, it's our opinion that counts irrespective of what the text says". There are 5 US supreme court justices that last year invented a non existent right to gay marriage. Even the European Court of Human Rights didn't go that far when they had to rule on the topic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schalk_and_Kopf_v_Austria .

Then there is subversion of the voting process. For all the complains about hacking, it is the Democratic Party in the US who leads the charge against the requirement that a valid government government issued ID be required for voting. Many of my European friends don't understand the controversy because I know of no European country who lets people vote without a valid government issued ID.

So all these reasons, and others, fueled the rise of Trump. If you watch his speeches, particularly the one he gave at the Republican National Convention, and his inaugural address, both are strong on enforcing the rule of law.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 27, 2017 12:22 PM

@Anura

"Is this your expert opinion?"

Yeah, that's what happens with opinions, just like a-holes: everybody has one.

Look, as I said, I have no problem is Bruce's goal is to become the Jonathan Gruber of computer security. He should openly say so instead of pontificating Trump this, Trump that and then give a pass to every single computer security violation committed by those he politically agrees with.

The facts are pretty clear: we know of no information that the enemies of the United States, particularly state actors, have acquired by Trump's use of his Android phone for twitting. We do know that state actors -who are adversaries of the United States- have acquired new, confidential information by hacking Hillary Clinton's email servers and devices.

Getting outraged at Trump and expect the readers of this blog to take that as an honest and objective assessment is very disingenuous.

BabakJanuary 27, 2017 1:21 PM

Are you afraid of eavesdropping by Cell Phones?

Just use a thick aluminum foil to wrap your Cell Phone.

No Signal after that. You can use it for all Credit Cards too.

Dirk PraetJanuary 27, 2017 1:52 PM

@ Person obsessed with sore losers

He is making a mistake by conflating his own political bias with his expert opinion.

However much your Great Leader can legally gag the EPA's tweets and website content, it is fortunately (still) not up to his followers to dictate what topics our host can and cannot discuss on his blog.

As to your claim of political bias by @Bruce's questioning Trump's possible use of an insecure old phone, there is not a single security analyst - irrespective of his/her political beliefs - who will make claims to the contrary. Furthermore, you have been pointed out by several people that Obama's use of a Blackberry was previously discussed here too. Same thing for Shillary's emails. So what do you keep blabbing about?

With regards to respect for the US Constitution, neither of your political parties has a particularly impeccable record, and in general just yell "Constitution" whenever it suits their agenda while completely discarding it when it doesn't. In recent times, Bush Jr.'s post-9/11 surveillance program was a blatant violation of your Constitution and to which he referred as nothing but "a goddamn piece of paper". So was Trump's campaign proposal for a full ban on Muslim immigration, while his EO on denying federal funding to sanctuary cities is equally on very shaky constitutional ground.

E. GoldsteinJanuary 27, 2017 2:16 PM

@ Ab Praeceptis -> "Acting stupid and hit hard"

That is more easily said than done. I understand the effectiveness of such move, but it is hard to do for someone with an ego. I have tried to apply this wisdom on occasions, to no avail. I never had the nerve to go all the way as stupid. MY slightly enlarged ego, and a vague sense of dignity prevent me. I can`t help it.

@ Bruce

Thanks for setting up and maintaining this corner. I appreciate your service.

@ Sore Loser

Don`t be a dick.


Clive RobinsonJanuary 27, 2017 3:33 PM

@ Wael,

Fox News? My sincere condolences!

Yeah the fox may look like a dog but it's lucky if it lives more than a year and a half.

Anyway the thought occurs, thay say "People look like their dogs" I wonder if a similar logic applies to talking head shops that pretend to be news outlets rather than thr private black propaganda units they actually are. After all Fox are little more than rather taudry shucksters fawning at the feet of an authoritarian owner of noticeably diminished capabilities hiding away from the law. Thus do those who apparently avidly watch Fox do so because they have a void in their lives that they alow to be filled by the authoritarian clap trap that Fox spew out or is there some other more sinister reason for watching Fox? That might say give rise to bacofoil cranial attire in their genuflectors?

http://www.bacofoil.co.uk/product/non-stick-kitchen-foil/

Clive RobinsonJanuary 27, 2017 4:24 PM

@ Babak,

Just use a thick aluminum foil to wrap your Cell Phone.

Sorry that advice is out of data and has been for a few years now.

Basically you can have a hidden app that records audio and transcribes it down to a very low bit rate thus can store many hours of audio. When the app detects there is a suitable signal strength it transmits the low bit rate recording as a burst of data.

To stop a modern smart phone being used as a bug, you realy need to either remove the battery, or the transducers. And yes it's possible to use transducers other than the microphone to pick up audio.

So removing the battery is still your best bet. Which is an option only older smart phones tend to have these days...

And yes it's one of several reasons I have an older smart phone.

Dirk PraetJanuary 27, 2017 5:09 PM

@ Clive, @ Wael

Thus do those who apparently avidly watch Fox do so because they have a void in their lives that they alow to be filled by the authoritarian clap trap that Fox spew out or is there some other more sinister reason for watching Fox?

They actually provide the answer themselves on their website: "Fox News Channel is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group subsidiary of 21st Century Fox."

Their "news" is the same type of popular lowbrow entertainment as "Temptation Island" is, and which is far easier to understand and digest than complex facts people actually have to think about. Thus drawing larger audiences, higher ratings and more revenue. Not that I don't like "Temptation Island". It's a priceless display of human stupidity. A friend and me once tried to register with the intent of spending a free vacation on an exotic island and getting l**d every evening but the producers at the introduction interviews were rapidly on to us that we actually weren't a real couple. Which was a bit of a bummer.

And yes it's one of several reasons I have an older smart phone.

Same thing here. I do have an iPhone too, but it hasn't got a SIM and I only carry it around when I have to VPN into my home network or when we don't like the music at a party or a bar and forcefully have to take over the DJ booth.

Jen Gold StockholmJanuary 27, 2017 5:55 PM

@ Dirk

> intent of spending a free vacation on an exotic island

vacation? I thought you were Dutch, or at least in Holland, Dirk.

I've never had a vacation in my life. I have however had loads of holidays

ThothJanuary 27, 2017 6:12 PM

@Never be a sore loser

Your approach to the host and the two of you have almost identical writing styles raises suspicion that multiple identities which is not tolerated in the forum.

Change your approach if you want a more meaningful conversation.

Dirk PraetJanuary 27, 2017 6:21 PM

@ Jen GS

I thought you were Dutch, or at least in Holland, Dirk.

I'm Flemish. But I can perfectly mimic several Dutch accents.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 27, 2017 7:04 PM

@Thoth

I couldn't care less that you think there aren't two of us -there are- or that you want to use your suspicion to back out of a meaningful discussion.

I don't know which country you are from, but the advice I have Bruce is good advice. He is becoming the Jonathan Gruber of computer security with his politically biased blogs. If that's what he aspires to, I have nothing to object.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 27, 2017 7:17 PM

@Dirk Praet

If you seek somebody to defend the G W Bush administration, you'll have to look elsewhere. I found it very corrosive in general. Not only for the abuses you mention, but also because with the benefit of hindsight, it is patently clear that many of the problems we face as a country today are the result of said administration's ill advised decision to invade Iraq.

With respect to the US constitution and the banning of certain classes of immigrants. Non American citizens have no right whatsoever to come to the United States. The same is true of all countries in general: non citizens have no right whatsoever to come to said countries. While once admitted to the United States immigrants enjoy many of the protections that apply to US citizens, they have zero rights with respect to entering the US once they are outside. And again, this is true also of every country I am aware of.

The American president has a great deal of discretion as to whom he lets in for national security reasons. In the aftermath of the Iran hostage crisis, Jimmy Carter banned Iranian students from entering the United States.

With all this said, it must be a joke to put forward the notion that Obama respected the US Constitution. He was rebuffed several times in unanimous or near-unanimous decisions by the US Supreme Court -the one that has 5 people who couldn't care less about what the text itself says. You see, some of the things Obama attempted were so extreme, that even these 5 found his actions appalling.

I have European friends and I am familiar with the propaganda the media over there projects about both Trump (extremely negative) and Obama/Clinton (extremely positive). As it happens with every country, watching biased media is no substitute for on the ground knowledge of a particular society.

With Bruce, you have a clear anti-Trump bias.

Dirk PraetJanuary 28, 2017 5:45 AM

@ Person obsessed with losers

Non American citizens have no right whatsoever to come to the United States.

The US is party to the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, so this statement is at least open for debate. But even under the assumption that it would not affect in any way a full immigration stop, a selective ban based on religion will likely face a constitutional challenge in which the administration will have to prove in court that it has legitimate reasons to do so. I refer to Kleindienst v Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, in which SCOTUS held that the US Attorney General indeed has the right to refuse somebody's entry to the United States (in casu Belgian marxist Ernest Mandel), while at the same time leaving the door open for future challenges stating that such a measure requires reasons that are “facially legitimate and bona fide”.

A ban on Syrian and Iraqi immigrants is particularly heinous given the huge responsibility the US has in destabilising that entire region.

I have European friends and I am familiar with the propaganda the media over there projects about both Trump (extremely negative) and Obama/Clinton (extremely positive).

The general view of Obama over here is that he was a lame duck president who achieved little to nothing while at the same time continuing the disastrous foreign policy of his predecessor(s). He is however generally respected for his grace and style, and for being the first black president. What most people remember from Clinton is the Lewinsky affair and him not being a particularly gifted saxophone player.

With the exception of European populist parties and their followers, the general impression of Trump is probably best phrased by American novelist Philip Roth: "Trump is ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency. He wields a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.” And that is just from watching the man's speeches and public appearances.

If you're not familiar with Roth, do pick up a copy of his 2004 novel "The Plot Against America". It's an alternative timeline in which American hero and political isolationist Charles Lindberg and the America First party defeat FDR in the 1940 presidential election, signing non-interference treaties both with Hitler and Japan all while antisemitism becomes rampant in the US.

While you're at it, grab a copy of American Pastoral too. It's beautiful, and I think it has just been made into a movie.

Never be a sore loserJanuary 28, 2017 9:31 AM

@Dirk Praet

The US constitution trumps treaties signed by the United States. There is even case law about this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_v._Covert .

Second, on matters of national security, the power of the executive branch is near absolute https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege . While it is subject to controls by the courts, once invoked executive privilege requires the opposing part to show that it is not warranted. Since refugees don't have a right to come to the United States to begin with, they don't have standing to sue against the presidential actions adopted by Trump yesterday to begin with.

I have my own sources to know what European think about American presidents. In my own analysis, the reason many European had a crush on Obama is the same reason many Westerners had a crush on Gorbachev: they saw Obama as the fifth columnist that could destroy the country so much despise.

The psychology of self-hatred produces interesting phenomena. In the case of these Europeans, I understand that they are appalled at a continent that has produced 2000 years of constant wars -with WWII being such a catastrophe that it almost took the entire world with it. But why hate the United States, the country that saved the Europeans from themselves 3 times in the XX-th century- WWI, WWII and the Balkans? That I don't understand. Whenever somebody has helped me in my life when I was going through a rough time, I have nothing but gratitude towards that person.

As I mentioned to one of these Obama loving Europeans a while back: I would love if he were hired by the European Commission to spend the Europeans' money after he leaves office. He has added 10 trillion dollars to the debt held by all Americans with very little to show for it, other than the fact that currently 8 individuals have as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity.

European contempt for Trump is nothing but welcome news. It means he is doing a great job.

trump_be_nimble ...January 28, 2017 11:15 AM

From this weeks squid:

A Phil Roth quote in the New Yorker:

“I was born in 1933,” he continued, “the year that F.D.R. was inaugurated. He was President until I was twelve years old. I’ve been a Roosevelt Democrat ever since. I found much that was alarming about being a citizen during the tenures of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. But, whatever I may have seen as their limitations of character or intellect, neither was anything like as humanly impoverished as Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/30/philip-roth-e-mails-on-trump
by Judith Thurman

Clive RobinsonJanuary 28, 2017 11:22 AM

@ Never be a sore...,

But why hate the United States, the country that saved the Europeans from themselves 3 times in the XX-th century- WWI, WWII and the Balkans?

Hmm either you've be taught badly or you are trying a bit of "Revisionist History" there.

Of all the things the US did the only thing that most would agree was holding out a helping hand was the Marshal plan.

If it had not been for Pearl Harbour it is unlikely that the US would have become as involved in the European theatre of war as they did. And the real reason that Germany got defeated in the end was like Napoleon Hitler marched on Moscow and the Russian's eventually ripped the Germans appart and would have occupied most if not all of North and Central Continental Europe.

As for "Lend Lease" that was deliberatly designed to destroy the UK and it's holdings in North America and much of the rest of the world. The only reason it did not do as intended was Lord Beaverbrook who advised Churchill to run up debts so high that the only way the US could get the money back was by investing their own assets. One of the few good things Maggie Thatcher did was get rid of the "War Debt" in the 1980's that US Politicians had repeatedly held over the heads of UK politicians.

I could go on at length about all the nastyness that went on, but you might want to look into why US Citizens not Politicians organised "Food Parcels" for the UK after WWII atleast some of my relatives owed their lives to the generosity of those US Citizens, who against the plans of their politicians kept Britton's alive untill they could get back on their feet.

Never be a sore loser January 28, 2017 1:39 PM

@Clive Robinson

Amazing, specially coming from somebody who appeals to revisionist history. Irrespective of the reasons the US got into WWII, I know of no historian that questions the notion that at the very minimum, the US involvement in the European theater meant that Western Europe didn't fall under Russia's orbit, specially the non UK countries. Because Western Europe was freed by the United States, and the United States provided -via NATO- security assurances, the EU - as EEC- was born and so was the current European status quo.

Also, I see you don't bother discussing the issue of the Balkans. The matter is too recent to argue, I suppose. Without the United States, not only the conflict wouldn't have ended, but many at the time feared it could have started another large European war if it hadn't been contained. BTW, Clinton intervened without explicit Congress authorization back then, which goes to show that when it comes to circumventing the US constitution, Europeans are always OK if said circumvention benefits them.

Dirk PraetJanuary 28, 2017 1:41 PM

@ Person obsessed by losers

The US constitution trumps treaties signed by the United States.

It's not as black and white as you make it sound. Under Article VI § 2 "treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States" will form part of "the supreme law of the land... any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." In practice, it is generally held that international law is applicable in the US for as far as the underlying treaty has been ratified by Congress.

Since refugees don't have a right to come to the United States to begin with, they don't have standing to sue against the presidential actions adopted by Trump yesterday to begin with.

A challenge could also be made by someone already legally residing in the US and whose wife or other relatives are now barred from entry.

But why hate the United States ...

Contrary to popular belief, we don't "hate" the US. You are somehow projecting your Great Leader's message of hate and division onto others. Many Europeans just have a serious problem with US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. The US intervening both in WWI and WWII - which was actually in their own interest - is not a get out of jail free card to get away with anything. We like to consider ourselves allies, not minions (UK mileage may vary).

He has added 10 trillion dollars to the debt held by all Americans with very little to show for it

Absolutely. Before Obama, spectacularly increasing US national debt was primarily a Republican thing. But I would expect it to grow even more in the time to come with Trumps' ambitious infrastructure projects and the "rebuilding" of the US military he has just signed. Again: we do not idolize Obama over here. Many of us were initially smitten with a black man becoming POTUS and who in a really eloquent way brought a positive message of hope and change.

Although he mostly failed to deliver, the contrast with the negativity, serial lies, oversimplifications and downright hillbilly posture of his successor couldn't have been more dramatic. Perhaps we should also add hypocrisy now, leaving off his migration sh*t list Saudi Arabia, arguably the cradle of salafism, OBL, and country of origin of 15 out 19 of the 9/11 hijackers.

trump_be_nimble ...January 28, 2017 2:09 PM

@Dirk, @Clive, @Nicholas (or his students), @Thoth, @Figureitout or @Other

From @Dirk above referencing a @Clive post:

"'And yes it's one of several reasons I have an older smart phone.'
Same thing here. I do have an iPhone too, but it hasn't got a SIM and" ...


Recently an Apple Store, in the USA, activated an unlocked phone with an ATT sim so the phone could be an expensive iPod that works with the Apple watch. Questions:

1) Since this sim has not paid for any cell service, that I know of, what are the pros and cons of leaving the sim in?

2) Eff hasn't updated "who has your" back since 2015. Consumer Reports magazine has rated Consumer Cellular (att) and Ting (sprint and t-mobile) highly and reasonably priced. Aside from cost Credo might have the best terms and conditions (see eff above), but is expensive (verizon (may not be available with byod) and sprint). Questions:

2a) What carriers, if any, do members of this blog recommend in the USA?

2b) How about using a cellular Ipad as a hotspot instead? Again what carriers or vendo (cellular modem mifi type devices?

2b1) T-Mobile has a small monthly free allocation of bandwidth afaik for new Ipad accounts. Would setting up a John Doe account, no credit card is required, iirc, asking for it?

2c) Again in the Surveillance State of America ("'SSA'"); prepaid vs. month to month with credit card?

3) Because of geolocation, traffic anaylysis, plentiful cameras, relatively poor Opsec, I assume trying to maintain "privacy", or whatever, is an exercise in futility, at least for me.

4) Is setting up an "anonymous" Apple ID asking for it?

5)Finally, I have read some stuff by @grugq (sp?) and Fileippo (sp?) about hardening iPhones; anyone want to take it from there?

Any other relevant discussion or input will be appreciated, too.

We don't need more sore losersJanuary 28, 2017 3:33 PM

@Dirk Praet

On the treaties thing, as I said, there is US Supreme Court case law. The generally agreed that the supremacy clause of the US constitution, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supremacy_Clause , makes any provision on any treaty the conflicts with the US Constitution invalid. This is a common source of confusion for Europeans who are used to the notion of EU treaties taking preference over their own national laws. In the United States, federal law trumps state law, but international law doesn't trump the US Constitution.

On the Obama thing, I stand by what I said. Europeans are still haunted by WWII and the notion that it is the most murderous conflict in human history. Some of the estimates put the death toll at 85 million. Not to mention the notion of Germany going nuts attempting to eliminate an entire ethnic group, the Jews, from the face of the Earth. But it gets even worse. A lot of people are unaware of the predecessor of the Jewish Holocaust https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aktion_T4 . The only way it was possible to prevent European countries from making war with each other was by weakening them. This has taken a toll in those countries' national pride and they love all American presidents, such as Obama or Jimmy Carter, that try to make the United States as weak as these European countries are. Presidents that assert the United States' unique role in the world, such as Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump, are hated over there because they remind Europeans of their own place in history as the main theater of World War II.

MarkHJanuary 28, 2017 4:40 PM

Some rather confusing (or perhaps simply incorrect) statements appear above, concerning the legal authorities of international treaties under US law.

The US constitution is indeed held to be superior to all treaties.

In turn, ratified treaties (during their period of legal force) are superior to all other US law, federal or otherwise.

This situation is not so very different from "EU treaties taking preference over ... national laws."

By the way, this seems to be a fairly standard provision. Other constitutions give priority to international treaties; without such constitutional clauses, various treaties could be overturned or impaired at any time by domestic legislation. Such a state of affairs would greatly diminish the incentive of other states to enter into treaty relations.
_____________________________________________

Even the Russian Federation has such a provision in its constitution (Article 15 §4).

Few in Russia seem to realize, or to care, that Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula violates its own constitution, and therefore is devoid of legal validity.

DraganJanuary 28, 2017 5:29 PM

With all respect to vulnerabilities, does it really matter? What Mr. Trump says is over reported, and while excellent for media, hardly seems to have practical use. What he does...that is and will be reported anyway. I would say that he is the greatest threat himself, his words, location and images are fairly irrelevant. Sticks and drones may hurt my bones, but words will never harm me. If anyone wanted to pay attention to his words, time to do that was before election. Now, all that matters is what he does. If you want listen or read quality alternative facts, I suggest Terry Pratchet and Douglas Adams. Both make much more sense and will make you much happier.

We don't need more sore losersJanuary 28, 2017 6:22 PM

@MarkH

I think you are the one who is confused.

Let's be more specific: no treaty approved by the US senate will be able to overturn any of the free speech protections guaranteed by the US constitution for example. When in conflict, the US constitution takes precedence over a treaty.

This is very different from what you have in a European context. While the European Court on Human Rights has no enforcement authority, there are many cases of ECHR decisions that contradict signatory countries' top tribunal decisions and these countries, for the most part, abide by what the ECHR says, not by what their respective top tribunals say.

The only way to alter the US constitution is by the amendment process -which is hard by design. A treaty approved by the US senate is not the same as a constitutional amendment.

WaelJanuary 28, 2017 7:24 PM

@Clive Robinson, @Dirk Praet,

thay say "People look like their dogs"

For sure! I've seen that before I heard of the expression. My landlord and his Doberman looked alike.

That might say give rise to bacofoil cranial attire in their genuflectors?

Fox News focuses on certain areas and adds drama. They often ignore news that don't fit their mantra. I stopped watching them because they don't come across as a non-biased, fact based news organization. Slippery tinfoil hats are better than normal ones! They are more "stealthy".

They actually provide the answer themselves on their website: "Fox News Channel is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group subsidiary of 21st Century Fox

Mind control wrapped in entertainment garment.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 28, 2017 7:24 PM

@ Never be a sore...,

Irrespective of the reasons the US got into WWII, I know of no historian that questions the notion that at the very minimum, the US involvement in the European theater meant that Western Europe didn't fall under Russia's orbit, specially the non UK countries.

I don't think you know any historians, from that statment.

If you bother to look it up, Russia did not enter WWII untill the Germans attacked them. Prior to that they had tried to appease the Germans in all sorts of ways. I doubt you will find a 20th Century History book that says much different.

The allies actually regarded Russia as allied to Germany untill shortly before Germany attacked. The allies realised that an invasion was planned from Ultra Intercepts and Traffic Analysis and tried to warn Stalin who chose either not to listen or for other reasons not to act on the warning.

The British Merchant Marine then started running supply convoys to Russia with weapons etc. The US later participated in supplying the weapons and ran some ships. This supply mission ramped up over time.

The Russian's now on a war footing turned tractor and railway factories etc into producing tanks and other weapons.

The Russians started to push the Germans back after some very harrowing warfare.

The allied leaders met at a conferance and decided how they were going to in effect split the invasion of Germany up. Churchill was deeply suspicious of Stalin however the US had it's own agender and as such an opportunity to stop what became the permanent invasion of Eastern Europe was lost.

The Russian's ploughed ahead in their march on Berlin whilst the othet allies got bogged down in Europe. I'll let you look up the disaster that was Italy and various other parts of the Western European campaign.

Russia got to Berlin long before the rest of the allies, and could easily have captured the rest of Germany and areas of Western Europe but in effect stuck to the original agreement.

So it was Russia that stopped Russia invading Western Europe during WWII not the USA or the British or the Canadians or any other nations.

Russia meanwhile had other fish to fry with Japan and China and other parts of asia including Korea.

Their military activities there make it clear that had they wished to they could have pushed across much more of Europe.

Now one area of disagreement is how much Stalin knew about the British "Tube Alloys" project and what became of it when it was handed over to the US and became the Manhattan project. We now know that there was atleast two people handing top secret information over to the Russians. It was certainly clear only slightly later that Stalin knew a great deal about the nuclear weapon long prior to it being tested. Thus it might just have been this knowledge that kept the Russians out of Western Europe during the later part of the European conflict. But I doubt you will find many historians that would give that creedence. They would be more likely to indicate that Stalin was on a land grab invasion of Asia and had discounted the nuclear weapon as being actually viable. As it was the deployment of the two different devices that caused Japan to capitulate and brought a rather abrupt end to that conflict before Stalin could grab as much land in Asia as he wanted.

Now if you feel compelled to disagre with this go ahead and state your case, I'm sure others will enjoy the entertainment value.

Being a sore loser is badJanuary 28, 2017 8:00 PM

@Clive Robinson

And I guess that the invasion of Normandy was just an unnecessary publicity stunt because the Western allies could count on Russia to finish the job of defeating Germany and they couldn't care less about Russia controlling Western Europe after Hitler's defeat because Russia would give back the liberated territory to their previously lawful owners as it did with Poland for example. In fact, the Warsaw Pact was composed of countries that had the word "Democratic" in their official name. I also suppose that the United States sacrificed 200000 lives liberating Europe because they had nothing better to do with these lives.

Give me a break. Revisionist history is nothing new. We have people denying the holocaust, so I am not surprised you have created an alternative narrative of WWII history that only exists in your mind.

Liberals are known for believing in imaginary realities and dynamic explanations of history. The way you are trying to advance your contention is proof of it.

all the spin is making me dizzyJanuary 28, 2017 8:52 PM

@Clive Robinson

If you bother to look it up, Russia did not enter WWII untill the Germans attacked them.

Invading Poland only counts as entering WWII when done from the west.

Prior to that they had tried to appease the Germans in all sorts of ways.

Calling it appeasement doesn't make it so.

We don't need more sore losersJanuary 28, 2017 9:43 PM

@all the spin is making me dizzy

Being surrounded by liberals, and listening to their imaginary realities and imaginary histories, I have lost the ability to be surprised or shocked by their delusions.

The worst of all is that they usually believe what they say. Ie, it is not that they say things like these to troll those who dare listen to them, it is that they truly believe it.

WaelJanuary 28, 2017 10:26 PM

This would be exponentially more dangerous if he were carrying this phone into especially secure places.-- Nicholas Weaver

Do we know the detailed security capabilities of "secure places"?

So what can be done? -- ditto

Conceptually very simple. Prepare an identical phone. Make sure it runs Android on a secure VM. Wait until he sleeps then swap the phone! There are other ways, too.

Ya'll have a great weekend, while it lasts.

Monday run up on you like what?

MarkHJanuary 29, 2017 2:01 AM

Here's a new bit of "advises," which Mr Trump could use:

Don't be a sore, bitter, impulsive, petulant, whiny, self-obsessed tantrum-throwing winner.

The security of all Earth would benefit.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 29, 2017 2:37 AM

@ Being a sore...,

And I guess that the invasion of Normandy was just an unnecessary publicity stunt...

That is a quite a repelant thing to say, and you are trying an old straw man diversionary argument.

You originally made a statement that was factually wrong in a number of respects,

But why hate the United States, the country that saved the Europeans from themselves 3 times in the XX-th century- WWI, WWII and the Balkans?

Obviously to push your agenda and mythology of "The US as some kind of lone ranger", and I called you out on it.

You then tried to make a series of disprovable claims by arguing back from effect to cause (just like a golfer after teeing off claiming that the ball landed on a particular tuft of grass because that's exactly where they wanted it to land).

You have been wriggling around trying to claim what is not factual is factual and raising a smoke screen --rather ineffectualy-- to try to escape behind.

As I pointed out the US entered those wars for it's own reasons as did many other countries from all around the world, that is why they were called "World Wars" (or is that point lost on you?). In the case of WWII the US was very strongly against getting involved in another European conflict due to the losses it had received from not just WWI but also from a massive flu pandemic that circled the globe. Newspaper articles of the time actually show that quite a few prominent Americans were quite enthused by Hitler and strongly admired him as he marched across Europe both East and West and calls for what we now call antisemitic behaviour were also in those newspapers. Some US politicians who actually realised that the US could not "live in splendid issolation" did what they could to help but they were fighting a very uphill battle. What caused a sea state change in the American citizens was because it was attacked by a nation (Japan) that rightly or wrongly claimed the USA was intefering with it's national interests. What caused the biggest shock was just how unprepared the US politicians and military appeared to be to the ordinary US citizen. Because of the treaties that Japan and other nations had signed with Germany this involved going to war not just with Japan but Germany, Italy etc most of whom for one reason or another had invaded other countries just as Germany had. Likewise the US became allies not just with Britain but many other nations in the world, including some of those that had been invaded but had governments in exile.

What Britain uniquely provided in the European theatre was "an unsinkable aircraft carrier" that could be used as a bridge head. What the US provided was an industry free from attack to manufacture weapons ships and supply food. However these were not supplied for free, Britain had to sell just about everything often at fire sale prices to pay for these and incurred hugh debts that as I said were not payed off untill the Thatcher era in the 1980's. Thus the US did very well with what was an economic boom for them but a blight that Britain suffered for the rest of the 20th Century and Britain nearly starved to death after the war ended, significant rationing of everyday essentials carried on for many years. As I said it was the ordinary American people who sent the food parcels not the US politicians. Try looking at what happened prior to the Marshal Plan and why it was that and the Treaty of Rome that stopped Europe sliding back into warfare. With hindsight it is clear what some --but not all-- of the reasons were that contributed to WWII and why the Marshal Plan and the Treaty of Rome did to limit the potential for that to happen again.

As for your comments about Russia invading Western Europe after the conclusion of WWII... Well that's up for debate along with why the US MIC/IC used them as a very profitable "boogeyman" to extract vast amounts of money from the US Tax take, and how that has morphed in this century into "terrorists under the bed" and now appears to be going back to Russia again (George Orwell had a take on this back in 1948 if you ever read his 1984 book). What we do now know is that Russia did not have the economic ability during the cold war to do that (and most likely does not have it now either). Likewise the West did not have the economic ability to push the Russians out of Eastern Europe that it had occupied as part of defeating Germany (and most likely does not have it now...).

The US did not win WWII, many nations peoples won the Peace of which the US citizens where a participent. What has kept the peace such as it is, is not national power but self interest via trade and the economic prosperity it brings to some. I'll let others give the reasons why the US supposadly has economic consumption per head of population something like ten times that of the world average and "the West" three times the world average. Oh and why --if true-- just eight Americans have half the total wealth... As some may point out it might just have to do with the lie behind the Great American Dream, that some Americans just can not see, like so many other lies they are told.

MarkHJanuary 29, 2017 3:16 AM

[This] is true of all countries in general: non citizens have no right whatsoever to come to said countries.

Heard of Israel?

MarkHJanuary 29, 2017 4:35 AM

{whatever kind of} loser seems to have conflated two distinct (though interrelated) matters:

• whether a treaty is held as overriding rights guaranteed by a state's constitution; and

• the choice of courts in which a state reposes jurisdiction

I suggest that these are not quite the same thing

Clive RobinsonJanuary 29, 2017 4:50 AM

@ all the spin...,

Invading Poland only counts as entering WWII when done from the west.

Err no, the invasion of Poland actually happened "before" WWII started, it's this invasion that caused the response that started The "phoney war" that then evolved into the world war.

As for Russian appeasement, have a look at the raw materials and resources Russia was handing out in the hope of keeping Germans out of Russia.

But I get the feeling you did not read the article you linked to on the German–Soviet Non-aggression Pact.

If you look in the first paragraph of the "background" section you will find,

    Moreover, facing a German military advance, Lenin and Trotsky were forced to enter into the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk,[1] which ceded massive western Russian territories to the German Empire.

This fear of German Military might and It's eastwards expansion stayed with the Russian leadership, and was part of the root cause of the 1939 non-agression pact. Along with what is oultined in the third paragraph that begins,

    At the beginning of the 1930s, the Nazi Party's rise to power increased tensions between Germany and the Soviet Union along with other countries with ethnic Slavs, who were considered "Untermenschen" (inferior) according to Nazi racial ideology...

Thus the appeasment as Russia also had wars over in the asian side of their teritory in that period, and did not want a war on both sides of the country (a lesson Hitler failed to heed even though his generals warned him before he ordered Russia invaded). However in 1938 the decision (mainly by Britain) not to include Russia in the Munich Conferance was seen badly by the USSR and this had repucusions in the following months that led to effectivly a stalemate in the tripartate talks. Thus it was hardly surprising that Russia would look favourably on the secrect treaty with Germany.

Have a read through the article, after all you did bring it up...

[1] The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed towards the end of WWI.

AnonJanuary 29, 2017 8:45 AM

Russia and Germany signed what was called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. They agreed early on at the start of WW2 that they would annex Europe, with Hitler controlling West Europe and Russia/USSR controlling East Europe.

Germany became greedy and wanted Russia, too. They might have succeeded had they not invaded at the start of winter. The Russians knew how to survive; the Germans didn't. It was the cold and lack of food that defeated them. Russia just needed to hold them back long enough.

Germany became so obsessed with taking Russia, that they became thinly spread in the rest of Europe. That was how they lost. If they focused on the original plan, they likely would have succeeded.

>> European contempt for Trump is nothing but welcome news. It means he is doing a great job.

The media bias over here against Trump is off the charts. Take the outcry against his immigration stance - if people bothered to read what he actually signed, they would see it is quite proportional and reasonable. Of course, why let facts get in the way when there is an agenda to be had?

Part of the problem is there has been too much freedom of movement, both in the EU and the US. Undoing at least some of the damage requires these types of actions.

What is Europe doing about all these migrant terrorists that are running around? The attacker in Germany passed through 3 countries by train no less after the attack, until a sharp Police officer in Italy spotted him and shot him dead.

Border security exists for a reason. Unfortunately it is a lesson the EU still has yet to learn.

Sore losers should reflect firstJanuary 29, 2017 9:10 AM

@Clive Robinson

Speaking of straw-men: you are accusing me of making an argument that I have never made -please read carefully what I said- namely, that the United States didn't have reasons of their own to save the Europeans' asses. They did, but that doesn't hide the fact that, as I said, the United States saved the Europeans from themselves 3 times in the XX-th century- WWI, WWII and the Balkans. It seems you would have loved to see Europe being destroyed rather than being saved the the United States. The only conflict I remember vividly, because I was both alive and old enough to realize what was going on, is the one in the Balkans. I can assure that if the United States hadn't intervened first to stop the Bosnian war, then to stop the one in Kosovo, the map of Europe would look very different today. The European leaders were literally freaked out because they lacked the military might to stop what was happening over there. For the first time since WWII, the European continent saw genocide in their own land https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srebrenica_massacre . The European forces serving as UN peacekeepers were unable to stop it.

So, gee, give me a break already. You should be thankful to the United States, not look at us with contempt.

@MarkH

You don't understand the United States' legal framework. The US constitution was adopted in 1789, 160 years before the creation of the UN. The issue of how to deal with international treaties that conflict with American law has been confronted several times and the conclusion is the same: the US constitution and the rulings of the US Supreme Court take preference over international treaties -even those adopted by the US senate- and over decisions of international courts. For example, the US stopped accepting the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice -setup by the UN- after https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicaragua_v._United_States because it understood it violated its own rights a sovereign nation. No president afterwards, including Obama, has reversed course and decided to accept the ICJ's rulings as legally binding.

AnuraJanuary 29, 2017 9:14 AM

@Anon

The media bias over here against Trump is off the charts. Take the outcry against his immigration stance - if people bothered to read what he actually signed, they would see it is quite proportional and reasonable. Of course, why let facts get in the way when there is an agenda to be had?

Blocking legal US residents from entering the country to be with their families is proportional and reasonable? This is an order that would not have prevented a single terrorist attack in US history, and at best will accomplish nothing and at worse will simply validate everything the terrorists have been saying. Treating minorities as second-class citizens is something that has happened before, and never ends well.

But, of course, they are brown people, so what do you care?

Never be a sore loserJanuary 29, 2017 9:19 AM

@Anon

Thanks for stepping in. There is the old saying in war and love everything is fair. In war, previously accepted rules -including decades old- are shattered. That's true of international laws as well as civil wars, as the United States painfully learned.

It is patently clear to me that the Europeans could not have solved the 3 aforementioned conflicts by themselves because they were the result of countries finding the status quo unacceptable and acting on their own interest. Sure the United States did the same, but as a result Europe has had its largest period of peace it has known since the Pax Romana.

With respect to Trump's executive order on immigration from certain countris, I have my own reservations about the details -because I have American Iranian friends who have been personally affected by it by way of their families not being able to come to the US for visits- but I agree with the overall objective: we need to keep people who hate the United States away. I hope that as the initial chaos fades away, the Trump administration will streamline the process so that people like my friends' families can come to the US all while keeping the troublemakers away.

Stop being a sore loserJanuary 29, 2017 9:26 AM

@Anura

As I mentioned before, I have my own reservations as to the way the executive order has implemented and I hope things will improve in the near future.

With this said, US immigration law is very clear: nobody who isn't an American citizen as a legal right to be admitted to the United States, not even greencard holders. The ruling by the judge yesterday didn't alter this, it only accommodated those who were in transit when the order was enacted.

I always tell my greencard holder friends who are in no rush to become US citizens that they should do it as soon as possible, specially if they have a long term intention of staying in the US, because what happened yesterday is perfectly legal and can happen at any time for any reason. In fact, we saw a similar thing happening in the aftermath of 9/11 with foreign professionals working in biotechnology fields from all countries without exception.

AnuraJanuary 29, 2017 9:32 AM

@loser thing

Deferring to the law as justification for an act that is deliberately cruel... How much more fascist can you get?

As for "we need to keep people who hate the United States away." - considering how obvious your hatred for the vast majority of Americans is, maybe you should start with yourself?

Stop being a sore loser January 29, 2017 9:49 AM

@Anura

The strong enforcement of the "rule of law" is what attracts immigrants from all around the place, including the countries mentioned in the executive order, to the United States to begin with. If the United States didn't have a strong and fair law system, we would be a banana republic just like for example Iran is.

Fair laws and strong enforcement of the same is what brings order into society where otherwise there would be chaos, that's particularly true for private property rights.

I am an American citizen and I cannot be deported under the US constitution. I am afraid that if my presence in the US bothers you, you will be the one who will have to exercise your right to self-deportation.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 29, 2017 2:23 PM

@ Anon,

Germany became greedy and wanted Russia, too.

You kind of have your time line the wrong way around.

Germany made clear it's intentions towards Russia towards the First World War, a war they very nearly won, and might well have done if they had used U-Boats more effectivly than they did. A lesson Carl Donitz learned and tried to rectify in the Second World War but technology developed in Britain limited the effectiveness (thus a lesson the US needs to learn about "Carrier Groups" and submarines appears not to have been learnt).

The Communist leadership in Russia were all to aware of this German desire, which persisted. In the late 1920's it became clear that the Russian leaders were trying to mitigate any future German threat. And as Hitler rose to power in the early 1930's his speaches made it ubundently clear that he had every intention of wiping out Communism which he blaimed for many sins as well as being a Jewish conspiracy.

Russias leaders tried in the mid 1930's to get treaty agreaments with the likes of Britain and France to try to neutralize the German threat. The British on seeing the deep hatred that Hitler and many German's had towards Russia and the continuing German expansion towards the East decided to not include Russia in negotiations with Germany fearing it would be counter productive. The Germans came up with the secret treaty as a way to change the game in his favour, it is now ubundantly clear to historians it was nothing but a ruse that Hitler had absolutly no intention to honour. It simply took Russia of the threat board to his continued eastwards expansion, thus made the eventual push into Russia tactically easier.

The Russian leadership signed up to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact just four months before the end of 1939 more in hope than anything else due to the failure to get treaties with Britain and France.

Russia had to much on it's plate militarily in the east with both China and Japan and the fact that Germany and Japan had treaties caused the Russian leadership even more concern. The combined invasion of Poland only happened after Russia concluded a major conflict in the East. It was not untill 1989 that partial details of what went on in the Russian leadership thinking became more clear, and it's been said that the British attitude towards Russia was a major contributor to their actions.

I could go on in quite a lot more detail but people can look the details up either on the internet or any degree level textbooks on 20th Century history. Contrary to what others may be saying the majority of historians are in agreement with this, and thus it's by no means "Revisionist History" which others are certainly doing here.

Further, with regards Donald Trump and,

Take the outcry against his immigration stance - if people bothered to read what he actually signed, they would see it is quite proportional and reasonable.

The reaction is about what has been reported from within the USA in the last 48hours by those in the US MSM and other sources. Now I know not what the accuracy of this is but it appears that a US court has ruled against part of what was happening (deportation).

Untill more confirmable details become available it's going to be a compleate mess of "He said, She said, etc etc".

Thus you might want to wait a while on what you are saying.

With regards "free movement" this is a highly contentious issue in Europe for a whole host of reasons. Your assumption that boarder checks would have stopped the terrorist you mention is actually unfounded. The UK has some of the toughest border policies with natural bottle necks making the task considerably easier than it would be in any other European nation or between the US and Mexico. Yet it fails every day as illegal economic migrants make their way into the UK. Thus the Trump wall is going to be no more successful than the baracades and boarder controls that have been put in place in south and East Europe to try to limit the influx of quite genuine refugees, who repeatedly risk their lives to get into Europe, or Mexicans likewise getting into the US, all of whom on average have little or no resources. So how do you expect to stop a similarly suicidaly motivated terrorist with considerable resources at his disposal?

The crux of the issue is that history shows us peace only lasts where there is equitable trade. The problem with trade is that for it to be efficient and thus profitable it requires the movment of people. This has been known since the European Middle Ages and considerably earlier in other parts of the world. The sort of security people think is possible is an illusion, not just because of the almost unimaginable economic cost of the guard labour, but also because it will have a significant and detrimental effect on trade, that has had significant negative effects historically one of which is effectivly making war a viable option. Have a look at how the Roman Empire and other Empires failed, put simply the cost of defending the perimiter was to great thus "The Barbarians were at the Gates" which were not sufficiently defended...

Clive RobinsonJanuary 29, 2017 3:44 PM

@ don't be sore...,

as I said, the United States saved the Europeans from themselves 3 times in the XX-th century

And as I've pointed out your "lone ranger" fantasy is wrong.

The US was a participent at best for some of the time. Which any fool can verify with any of hundreds of standard text books.

To say otherwise is the same sort of Revisionism that the likes of David Irving practiced.

As you are just wriggling like a worm caught in the light of day I am going to stop pandering to your fantasy and revisionism, and wish you and your sad politics good bye, because as has oft been observed you can not help those who refuse to see.

don't be a sore loserJanuary 29, 2017 4:18 PM

@Clive Robinson

Sure. The Europeans did such a great job preventing the Srebrenica massacre.

Look, I understand that being told that the fairy tales with which you have been brainwashed since you were a kid about Europe this, Europe that is a fantasy sucks. I truly get it. However, nobody said that the truth had to be pretty. The truth is always more interesting than the fairy tales, but some times is ugly.

Dirk PraetJanuary 29, 2017 5:25 PM

@ Person obsessed with losers

The generally agreed that the supremacy clause of the US constitution, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supremacy_Clause , makes any provision on any treaty the conflicts with the US Constitution invalid.

You obviously seem to have missed that I actually quoted from the very supremacy clause (Article VI § 2) in my previous post.

This is a common source of confusion for Europeans who are used to the notion of EU treaties taking preference over their own national laws.

The way it technically works is that EU member states are required to translate EU law into national law.

... they (Europeans) love all American presidents, such as Obama or Jimmy Carter, that try to make the United States as weak as these European countries are.

Europe has zero military, political or economic interests in a "weak" US. That's an idea that only exists in your mind.

I agree with the overall objective: we need to keep people who hate the United States away.

If the purpose indeed were the stopping of terrorists, the ban would affect countries like Saudi Arabia (9/11) and Pakistan (San Bernardino). The measure in its current form is nothing but an arbitrary, even wanton selection of one "unfriendly" nation and six war-torn countries, several of which got in that state in the first place because of the disastrous foreign policy of both the US and several of its key allies in the region.

The ruling by the judge yesterday didn't alter this, it only accommodated those who were in transit when the order was enacted.

Federal Judge Donnelly granted a temporary injunction ordering the government not to send back or detain anyone on the basis of the executive order and until the court has time to rule on the larger issues surrounding its legality. Case in point the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that bans all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin. Your Constitution equally forbids any form of discrimination based on religion, and which apparently still hasn't sunk in with the Great Leader judging from his comments about "favouring Christian refugees".

During the hearing, the government totally failed to prove that the rounding up and detaining of people with valid papers in airports was warranted or commensurate in any way, and as I previously explained a requirement put in place by Kleindienst v Mandel.

They did, but that doesn't hide the fact that, as I said, the United States saved the Europeans from themselves 3 times in the XX-th century- WWI, WWII and the Balkans.

While arguably the US played a material role in both world wars, it was a UN sanctioned NATO decision and joint effort to intervene in the 3rd Balkan War.

The lack of something like a European Defence Force is because the EU is primarily an economic instead of a political union and whose military arm to date is NATO. To which extent this is a good thing can be questioned, and of which the incompetence and criminal negligence on behalf of UNPROFOR command and Dutch civil and military authorities that lead to the Srebrenica massacre is indeed a lasting testimony.

@ anon

Of course, why let facts get in the way when there is an agenda to be had?

Something we can completely agree on. The obvious agenda here is being perceived as a "strong leader" by an electorate that after years of Fox-induced fear mongering can no longer differentiate between a Saudi terrorist and a Syrian refugee. And to send out a clear message to Muslims that they are no longer welcome. Josef Goebbels couldn't have done a better job.

Not obsessed with losers, but with truthJanuary 29, 2017 9:43 PM

@Dirk Praet

As I mentioned earlier to others, your description of how the US laws deal with treaties approved by the US senate doesn't reflect reality. I repeat: the only way to change the constitution is through the amendment process that requires 3/4th of the states to agree to them (currently, that's 38 states). Treaties are only approved by 2/3 of the US senate. When in conflict, the US constitution - including its amendments- trump treaties. You can repeat your BS "it is generally held that international law is applicable in the US for as far as the underlying treaty has been ratified by Congress" all day long, but it doesn't make it true.

You should take a class on US constitution to clarify your understanding. Coursera offers a couple - https://www.coursera.org/learn/written-constitution and https://www.coursera.org/learn/unwritten-constitution - taught by one of the most respected experts US wide on the subject matter. I am sure it will be a good learning experience for you.

The same applies to your understanding of the 1965 law. Until that law was enacted, the US discriminated in favor of Northern Europeans in its immigration quotas. That law changed that quota system for the current one: no country is discriminated against, but there is still a limit to the number of immigrants from any given country that can become greencard holders on any given year. This is why if you come from a country that sends large numbers of immigrants to the US each year (currently Mexico, the Philippines, China or India) you might have to wait for a long time. There is right to admission to the United States afforded to any immigrant. Period. Only US citizens have a right to be admitted to the United States.

With respect to the pervasiveness of anti-American sentiment in Europe, as I said, I have my own sources of information. The only reason Obama is loved over there is because of the hatred many Europeans feel towards the United States and the way they see him as the Gorbachev of the United States. Luckily for us, we have the 22nd amendment, so he left office before he could inflict further damage to the United States.

UN approval or not, the reality is the Bill Clinton went to save Europe without an explicit approval of the US congress, the only one that matters in the context of US law.

Not obsessed with losers, but with truthJanuary 29, 2017 9:49 PM

@Dirk Praet

Typo in my previous post,

"There is NO right to admission to the United States afforded to any immigrant. Period. Only US citizens have a right to be admitted to the United States."

The ruling yesterday was about people who were already on US soil detained in secondary inspection, not about potential immigrants. Once admitted to the United States, immigrants have the right to due process in deportation proceedings. While most of the people detained have now been freed, it wasn't clear if the people detained in secondary inspection qualify as "admitted" for the purpose of immigration law.

And as I said, no country I am aware of gives non-citizens a right to be admitted to their country. None whatsoever.

Not obsessed with losers, but with truthJanuary 29, 2017 10:05 PM

@Dirk Praet

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_Clause

" an international accord that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution is void under domestic U.S. law, the same as any other federal law in conflict with the Constitution. This principle was most clearly established in the case of Reid v. Covert.[9]"

Take the two Coursera classes above. Treaties approved by the US senate do not trump the US constitution under any circumstances.

FigureitoutJanuary 29, 2017 10:23 PM

Thoth
--Lol, I called it banana eh? Remember? Maybe call it banana split :p It's far from production ready, I just needed a PoC to see it work. I need access to the realterm code or make a program from scratch that does what I want...

trump_be_nimble ...
--None of the phone companies "have your back", I personally recommend no carriers, verizon's the best service wise but they overcharge (greedy execs, f*ck em), I don't trust them whatsoever when it comes to handing over customer data, tapping people's phones...and don't like what I've heard about it's leadership (bunch of morons). Tmobile service is considerably worse than verizon, will do the same throw customers under the bus, and don't get service in areas I would w/ verizon. My calls randomly die. Sprint, same thing.

Regardless it is an exercise in futility and wasting your time, switching carriers or going apple/android. Whether you're doing something illegal or trying to hide, you may find out hard way why. If you want privacy over regular phone channels, have to pre-encrypt and take extraordinary precautions to do so anonymously (getting other people to do it for you). And otherwise just use normally and know everything you say is recorded and could be read by someone, since everyone has a phone. I've reached the point where I think it's hilarious someone would want to read my normal traffic. I'd personally delete most all of it if I were storing it.

I recommend getting your ham radio license (got mine w/ 4 hours studying, going to get my extra license after I'm done w/ engineering school) and learn how to set up a PSK31 station w/ an offline PC, to bypass AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and any other scumbag cable/phone company. You want COMSEC, it doesn't come easy, gotta work for it. If you have no one on other side willing to do the work, then it's just a hobby. Downloading an app is not gonna cut it. Gonna have to do TFC-style isolation for internet transfers, OTP's over traditional RF channels for just conversation (disguised as normal amateur radio traffic). Deniable and what we're stuck w/ b/c if we allow encryption scumbags will come in and abuse the bands for commericial purposes. Don't hog the bands, get your message off and turn off TX switch. Those channels will be fine until some politicos or someone decides to screw up the bands and ruin those channels.

Prepaid cards are best (w/ cash and under fake names and addresses, in high traffic areas since most places have cameras and the purchase will have a time stamp on it), but I was still giving like $5.95 to Visa or Mastercard, f*ck that. If you know a place where someone isn't there often, for getting a package delivered you could get it mailed there and check their place a lot, likely illegal so your call. It's your call if that risk is worth it, for me and most normal people it's a definite no almost always, but I like having the option if need be. Feel trapped otherwise if every option for digital security is backdoored and hopelessly broken.

At first it's a rush doing all this opsec, after a few times, like driving it becomes a chore. But necessary when it needs to be done.

Jen Gold StockholmJanuary 29, 2017 10:49 PM

@ Figureitout

w/ b/c


thanks FIO for above.

you use the abbreviation w/ from time to time, and w/b/c in the above. I had the impression w/ meant 'with' however from what I can glean, you appear to use it in the context 'without'
and - I am guessing b/c means because! At any rate if you could be bothered clarifying it would be great :-)

FigureitoutJanuary 29, 2017 11:15 PM

Jen Gold Stockholm
--The w/ stands for "wiggly-piggy" and the b/c stands for banana/cola :p. Yeah, you go it. Just a habit.

MarkHJanuary 30, 2017 1:45 AM

@Dirk:

Probably best that we not feed this troll ...

rm -rf *loser*

s/he/it furiously and repetitiously argues that treaties can't change the U.S. Constitution, which seems odd because I have seen no statement above suggesting that they can!

Also, this entity wrote "no country I am aware of gives non-citizens a right to be admitted to their country. None whatsoever."

... after I helpfully offered a counterexample!

Either failing to read, or reading and failing to understand. Either way, no point in dialogue.

PS if you say "s/he/it" a couple of times quickly, it sounds like a word in the Texan language

Dirk PraetJanuary 30, 2017 5:12 AM

@ Person obsessed with losers

When in conflict, the US constitution - including its amendments- trump treaties.

I am familiar with Reid v Covert, thank you. SCOTUS back then found that the executive agreement between the US and the UK violated the 5th and 6th Amendment rights of the defendant and eventually ruled in her favour with two judges dissenting. If you would care to re-read my original comments, I said that the situation is just not as black and white as you represent it with the words "generally held" meaning "unless constitutionally or otherwise challenged". Perhaps I should have phrased that a bit clearer.

Unless the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees is somehow or another found unconstitutional or otherwise void, it does apply under the supremacy clause, and I am not aware of any such past or current challenges.

That law changed that quota system for the current one: no country is discriminated against, but there is still a limit to the number of immigrants from any given country that can become greencard holders on any given year.

Exactly my point. And which the current EO in even temporarily barring citizens of a specific nationality is a direct violation of. Note that Obama in 2011 equally enacted a six month ban on Iraqi immigration following the discovery of a potential terrorist plot on US soil by two Iraqi nationals. To the best of my knowledge, the current administration has not presented any facially legitimate and bona fide reasons for their ban, resulting in a temporary injunction order pending full legal scrutiny of the EO.

The only reason Obama is loved over there is because of the hatred many Europeans feel towards the United States

Please stop projecting your own feelings onto other people. Repeating something ad nauseam doesn't make for a better argument.

And as I said, no country I am aware of gives non-citizens a right to be admitted to their country. None whatsoever.

You are obviously unaware of Aliyah, and which @MarkH had already referred to too. Do you actually read what people are telling you?

@ MarkH

s/he/it furiously and repetitiously argues that treaties can't change the U.S. Constitution, which seems odd because I have seen no statement above suggesting that they can!

It is, like you say, beside the point. Unless Texas thingie here comes up with a valid legal reason why the 1967 Refugee Protocol would be violating the Constitution or how Reid v Covert has effectively rendered null and void any past and future treaties the US is signatory to, the entire argument is moot.

Moreover, I find it a bit disingenuous that he is not replying in any way to the main point, i.e. Trump's EO targeting arbitrary countries instead of those where terrorists committing atrocities on US soil actually come from. I think we all know the reason for that, but that would be an admittance that the Great Leader is just every bit of an hypocrite as his predecessors were.

Cry babies are worse than losersJanuary 30, 2017 9:42 AM

@MarkH @Dirk Praet

I suggest both of you take the aforementioned Coursera classes. It will do both of you a lot of good.

The 1965 is about the makeup of immigrants ONCE THEY HAVE BEEN ADMITTED but nobody has a right to be admitted to begin with. You guys continue to be confused. Further, when it comes to the technical meaning of "admission" in that law as it pertains to immigration quotas, it means "eligibility for a greencard" not entry to US territory.

When it comes to national security, the powers of the president are near absolute. The president has a right to exclude any immigrants he wants from consideration for admission, as Trump did last week. The judicial rulings affected the few people who had been caught in transit when the Executive Order began to be enforced.

The statement by DHS on admission of greencard holders from those countries make it very clear,

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/statement-secretary-john-kelly-entry-lawful-permanent-residents-united-states

" absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations."

The part in bold applies to any immigrant from any country attempting to come to the United States: you can always be denied entry if you are determined to be a threat to the United States. Period.

With respect to whom Israel lets in, it's their prerogative to let in whomever they want. Under US law, nobody who isn't a US citizen has a right to get into the United States. Period, end of the story. You can repeat your own lies to yourselves all day long, it doesn't make them true.

Finally, I stand by my statement about the prevalence of American hatred in Europe. I have my own sources of information on the topic.

Dirk PraetJanuary 30, 2017 10:47 AM

@ Person obsessed with losers

Since you are not listening to a word anyone is saying, refuse to answer pertinent questions and in essence keep soapboxing the same simplistic lines accompanied by a wide array of logical fallacies and a blatant disregard of facts, I see no point in continuing this discussion. You even seem to have missed the DHS's backpedalling on greencard holders who were originally affected too.

Expect the EO to be legally challenged as a violation of statutory law (the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act) as well as the 1st (freedom of religion) and the 5th Amendment (due process). Since meanwhile it has become clear that the entire thing was concocted by Steve Bannon & co., bypassing both DoJ and DHS, I expect it to be just a matter of time before it gets struck down by SCOTUS.

Have a nice day. And feel free to have the last word.

MarkHJanuary 30, 2017 11:18 AM

@Dirk:

My mom (God rest her soul) had some vivid turns of speech.

Two that came to mind in the past day or so, are:

"dumber than a hoe handle"

"doesn't have the brains of a tuna-fish sandwich"

I also think of John Stuart Mill, one of the great thinkers of his time:

"I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it."

Cry babies are worse than losersJanuary 30, 2017 3:22 PM

@losers,

I am listening. In fact my contention is that you guys are the ones not listening. Only a person ignorant about American law could say the following,

"Expect the EO to be legally challenged as a violation of statutory law (the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act) as well as the 1st (freedom of religion) and the 5th Amendment (due process)"

I don't expect any of that because, as I said, non citizens have no right whatsoever to be admitted to the United States, so those affected by this order who are outside the US don't have legal standing to sue to begin with. And any remedies available for those already in, would be specific to those in, not against the entire Executive Order.

I keep saying that you guys should study how American laws work. Here is an appetizer. Unlike most of the EU -with the exception of the UK-, the United States is a common law system,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_law_(legal_system)#/media/File:Map_of_the_Legal_systems_of_the_world_(en).png

Here is more info about the difference between civil law and common law systems,

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/robbins/CommonLawCivilLawTraditions.html

Your understanding of how civil law systems operate does not translate into how common law systems operate. It is no accident that the only major common law system in Europe, the UK, has decided to abandon the EU.

Dirk PraetJanuary 30, 2017 4:55 PM

@ Person unable to use same handle

I don't expect any of that because, as I said, non citizens have no right ...

It's already happening, wise guy. Try picking up a newspaper some time. Then have a go at reconciliating U.S. Code § 1182 on inadmissible aliens with the non-discrimination clauses of U.S Code § 1152, adding on-record religious bias to the equation. It's just one of several issues a lot of US judges will be wrapping their minds around in the weeks and months to come, all the way up to SCOTUS. I sure ain't no lawyer, but with every word you write - or should I say repeat - you're making it more clear that you haven't got the foggiest idea what you're talking about.

all the spin is making me dizzyJanuary 30, 2017 5:15 PM

@Clive Robinson

the invasion of Poland actually happened "before" WWII started

As you would say, I get the feeling you did not read the article I linked to on the Soviet invasion of Poland. (Hint: Part of the Invasion of Poland in World War II.)

As for Russian appeasement, have a look at the raw materials and resources Russia was handing out in the hope of keeping Germans out of Russia.

So we'll just forget about the Soviet Union putting into practice what the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact was all about and invading Poland, annexing Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Romania, and going to war with Finland. That was all to appease Nazi Germany.

trump_be_nimble ...January 30, 2017 6:11 PM

From @Figureitout above:

"At first it's a rush doing all this opsec, after a few times, like driving it becomes a chore. But necessary when it needs to be done."

Ouch.

Sitting in a comfortable "public" chair, using portal capture free wifi, using Tails' Tor browser (booted from a DVD), about an hour ago I accidentally shut-down Tails (or Tails crashed). Yes, not counting a quick trip to the restroom, that's about how long it took to get back to the Schneier on Security ("SOS") blog using Tails/Tor. Coincidentally, at the time of the shutdown/crash a person in uniform had just walked by.

Coincidentally I was writing about opsec should I be detained, while browsing with Tor in public in the USA when the shutdown/crash happened. For example, if approached by a leo in uniform in public, should I:

1) scream, iirc Clive recommended this at one time under certain circumstances

2) clam-up until I get to speak to an attorney
2a) ask if I am free to leave

3) engage in chit-chat (carefully) in an attempt to avoid handcuffs and arrest
3a) For example, I was just blogging on SOS.

4) ask people nearby to call such-and-such a number and say Frank (my name is not Frank, but you can call me Frank) has been arrested (or is being detained).

5) other


As you probably know it is illegal to lie to a law enforcement officer ("leo") in the USA. This begs the question:

6) Do they even have to tell you they are a leo officer when they question you. For example, a plainclothed person chatting with me in a public place (ie. before arrest or detention) under a social pretext.

I am working on being more sociable. Paranoia/Fear/Skeptical thinking can definitely impact social interactions or lack therof. For example, the other day a new aquaintance (I think) was very interested in where I was from. I had asked her to dance, however, so without being too rude, I was sort of stuck with her for the duration of that piece of music, with some hemming and hawing.

7) Does anybody recommend a good opsec source for Paranoia/Fear/Skeptical thinking people? For example, what personal information or contact information to give out or ask for. Or at least some pros and cons of different tracks.

From @Figureitout above:

"--None of the phone companies "have your back", I personally recommend no carriers, verizon's the best service wise but they overcharge (greedy execs, f*ck em), I don't trust them whatsoever when it comes to handing over customer data, tapping people's phones...and don't like what I've heard about it's leadership (bunch of morons). Tmobile service is considerably worse than verizon, will do the same throw customers under the bus, and don't get service in areas I would w/ verizon. My calls randomly die. Sprint, same thing."

I recall Mike Perry on hardening an Android phone, as an impossible task, perhaps considered Verizon #1 and T-Mobile #2 a few years ago.


Some missing links from above:


https://www.eff.org/who-has-your-back-government-data-requests-2015
bi-annually updated I think


searched something like: inexpensive mifi services
https://20somethingfinance.com/cheapest-mobile-wifi-hotspot-plans/

https://www.walmart.com/c/kp/mifi-hotpsots ; not Tor friendly

http://www.prepaid-wireless-guide.com/best-mifi-plans.html ; not Tor friendly

I don't like losersJanuary 30, 2017 7:24 PM

@Dirk Praet

It's not that you are not a lawyer, it's that you are clueless about the US system of laws. Things are happening only in your mind. There is plenty of precedent to what Trump has done, including Jimmy Carter's adopting actions against Iranian students during the hostage crisis.

The Trump Executive order will remain in force because it is the president's prerogative to do things like that. Non citizens living outside the United States have absolutely no rights whatsoever to be admitted back. None.

What's worse, the Obama administration American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki without due process in the name of national security. So this fantasy that a treaty will grant non Americans the right to enter the United States, is just that: a fantasy.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 30, 2017 7:45 PM

@ all the spin,

Historians with hindsight give the start of the Second World War as a timeline fron Sept39-March40, because you do not go from peace to World War as a single event.

In practice there were the events in The Spain Civil War and the Far East that were prior to this period. Arguably the closing events of WWI were the seeds/germination of WWII.

The historians thus have a time span for "The Start of..." to try to stop the hindsight nitpicking.

Just one example being that the invasion of Poland by Germany on 1st of Sept was not the start of WWII, the declaration of war by Britain was not the start of WWII, but some say the declaration of War by France as it was now more than two countries was, other say no it was not the Begining of WWII etc because it was still a "European War" not a World War...

Hence the ~six month time period which was the transition between a nominal peace (which it clearly was not if you consider either Spain or Asia) through to a world war where most of the protagonists had declared their status even though fighting was taking place.

Some argue that 1st Sept was picked by the victors to make a chosen target the agressor. Others argue that having been already invaded by Germany that the start of the war was earlier... So long ago historians just came to a common agreement of the time span.

But at the time, when Russia invaded Poland it was seen by all concerned as an Eastern European or European conflict that still did not concern them. Even though the likes of the Spanish Civil War, the Second Italo-Abyssinian War etc that preceded Sept39 and involved more than two countries from different continents including Germany they were seen at the time as civil or colonial wars.

So technically the invasion by Russia happened whilst it was still a European not World War. I can fully understand why you might think it was part of the World War, but it's technically and of the period historically not. It's in what we with hindsight see as the start of the period of transition to the World War (that has been narrowed down to aproximatly six months of Sept39 to Mar40). Likewise those other events you mentioned, along with the other wars and invasions prior to Sept39 in Europe.

AnuraJanuary 30, 2017 8:44 PM

@loser thing

Are you under the impression that Trump is only bound by what is written in the constitution and not other laws? Because any treaty we are party to is supreme law of the land.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 30, 2017 9:24 PM

@ trump_be_nimble,

1) scream, iirc Clive recommended this at one time under certain circumstances

It is a valid form of defence, people tend to act more cautiously if there are third parties watching and filming with their mobile phones. Loud screaming especially from a woman is likely to attract such attention (the UK police have recommended it in the past).

There is also the other issue of "your rights" police officers in several jurisdictions are required to read them to you and get an acknowledgment you understand them. It's going to be difficult to represent hysterical screaming as either being able to hear them being read or acknowledging them.

Which further brings on the issue of how they try to calm you down, if you have been hysterical it is easy to point out to a judge and jury that the person will be neither rational or responsable for some considerable period even after you calm down which means mentaly you would not be competent to answer questions. Likewise if sedatived are administered.

However like all things there are issues. There is footage of a now ex police officer tazzering a woman repeatedly whilst she was restrained and in the back of the police vehicle. It's not to difficult to realise that from the footage of police officers gunning down people that are not a threat to them, that some police officers might just shoot you to hush you up, then claim they were in fear of their lives...

As my father used to tell me "The best place to be when there is trouble, is to be seen somewhere else".

all the spin is making me dizzyJanuary 30, 2017 9:31 PM

@Clive Robinson

Historians with hindsight give the start of the Second World War as a timeline fron Sept39-March40, because you do not go from peace to World War as a single event.

Even those historians would consider the occupation and later annexation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and parts of Romania by the Soviet Union in June 1940 to be part of WWII.

So the Soviet Union put the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact into practice and annexed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Romania (after invading Poland and going to war with Finland "before" WWII), but that was just appeasement. The things they did to avoid upsetting Nazi Germany!

For reference, this is what you said before:

If you bother to look it up, Russia did not enter WWII untill the Germans attacked them. Prior to that they had tried to appease the Germans in all sorts of ways. I doubt you will find a 20th Century History book that says much different.

Michael MoserJanuary 30, 2017 10:20 PM

i would assume that his phone is not on a public cellular network and that every packet that goes in an out is monitored by the service; if that is not the case then he should fire the whole of the NSA or whoever is supposed to protect his communication.

Losers will be losersJanuary 30, 2017 11:15 PM

@Anura

"Because any treaty we are party to is supreme law of the land"

It is not. It becomes part of federal law, but it doesn't become the supreme law of the land (it, it doesn't become part of the constitution). Thus, any treaty that contradicts the US Constitution or any of its amendments is void, even if it has been approved by the US senate.

Sorry pal, you also need to take those two Coursera classes I mention above.

BTW: I am happy to learn that Trump has said to his lawless acting AG: "you're fired!".

AnuraJanuary 31, 2017 12:17 AM

@loser thing

all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land

Two points for anyone who knows where that quote is from!

WaelJanuary 31, 2017 12:27 AM

@Anura,

Two points for anyone who knows where that quote is from!

It came from Wikipedia!. I mean where else would it come from? Uncle Google, Aunt Wiki, or Cousin YouTube!

Usually quotes come from the first search hit on google! That must be the answer you're looking for ;)

Two, please! Harry up before someone changes what the wiki article says ;)

WaelJanuary 31, 2017 1:03 AM

Three points for anyone who tells me who sang this song :)

Peep-sight
Strange sound in my basement
Has the goon lost her treachery
She is a sailing lone drone
In the limelight
...
And the pinned begins to moan
A fantastic warning
The cellphone is dawning

FigureitoutJanuary 31, 2017 1:18 AM

trump_be_nimble ...
--Why would someone do that, I've had remote shutdowns before, but it's hard to distinguish between sh*t hardware, sh*t software, or an actual attack. All these remote shutdowns always happen when I have internet on. But if you care about that, at least take computer into bathroom w/ you, I'd never leave my laptop out in a public place unless I don't care about it.

Why would you be detained, there's no reason. Yeah if you're just sitting on a computer and get more or less "jumped" then yeah I would scream and start fighting. I've taken a self-defense class (could polish up a bit) and you have to be constantly aware of your surroundings and be prepared to fight if need be. Unless someone pulls a gun or knife on you. Main thing is keeping your center of gravity, avoiding any punches by moving your body w/ them, and get any kind of hit on their head, even a slap, to stun them a bit, giving time for a blow that'll put them down for a bit (maybe kill if hard enough).

If detained, then yeah just say calmly you'd like to exercise your right to legal counsel before answering any questions. I've made mistake of not doing that one time, of course cops screwed me over and lied. My buddy did and he got detained for a bit, I got my cuffs off, I still screwed us over talking when I should've kept my mouth shut. The cops never have your interests at heart, they just want more arrests, private prisons want more inmates, never talk.

The paranoia, that's on you to learn to deal w/, don't let it rule your brain. Do things to make it better, install your own surveillance/data loggers on your computers and residences, take self-defense classes, make your daily schedule more safe if you can. I work late a lot, there's been armed robberies in daylight where I'm at, so I just make my walks quick and my head on a swivel til I get in my car and get hell out for another day.

Yeah that hardening link was pretty good, still it's way too much code to trust. I've found a few things (vulnerabilities), latest one I found at work, you read the code and you probably won't see it. I only found it b/c the bug made itself known, then I was able to track down where it was, and a coworker beat me w/ a patch. That's just code, smartphones are cutting edge of tech in a few places, and it's hard to inspect physically.

Really the best advice is to pre-encrypt whatever you want to protect, and only use internet or phones to transmit encrypted material. The most usable is MCU's now, if you can build your own CPU, memory, I/O, assembler and maybe compiler, well...do that. Otherwise use it like someone's listening all the time. I don't care if someone listens to vast majority of my traffic, I've got work to do.

Cider WarriorJanuary 31, 2017 7:02 AM

@don't be a sore loser,

This blog is becoming more about security in the wider meaning, so what follow is not really off topic.

Few Europeans hate the US or wish it weaker. Those who do, are mostly fringe types who would wreck their own countries too. What many Europeans don't like though, is the never ending instability next door in the Middle East, where the US led the way repeatedly screwing one country after the next for no reason than US own interests, at least since the end of the Cold War, leaving Europe to deal with the ensuing neighborhood problems.

Alleging 'hate' is a misunderstanding due to the genuine difficulty of many US citizens to acknowledge that the US primarily intervened in conflicts when and where it suited its own perceived interests, just like our own old world great powers of the past. See Clive's posts about Pearl Harbor and WWII for instance.

I'm in fact glad Trump won. Saying 'US will only do what benefits the US' is a candid statement of the truth. It will be easier for Europeans to disengage from US interests when they are honestly labeled as US such, rather than wrapping them in colorful stories of kid eaters, dictators with WMD and what not. Americans too will see things as they are, stop expecting eternal gratitude from the rest of the world, and avoid disappointment when said gratitude doesn't come.

This is not from somebody who is anti-American, to the contrary. I am thankful the US screwed with post-WWII elections in my own country and bought up everybody with the Marshall Plan, preventing the communists from taking power. It did crystallize corruption and other political and social problems, but it spared us the miseries of Soviet Union's satellite countries. However gratitude is very different towards a disinterested benefactor vs. an associate you did mutually beneficial dirty business with.

When American exceptionalism paints the US as the steady holder of the moral high ground and the savior of world freedom, foreigners wonder what the average American knows of the long list of US-made dictators like Pinochet in Chile and so many other Latin American 'jobs'. Of the dubious friends of today like Saudi Arabia & Co., Egypt and de-secularizing Turkey. Of genocides and mass rape witnessed and denounced by US diplomats like 1971 Bangladesh of the 'Archer Blood telegram' but ignored out of 'enemy of my enemy' or 'friend of my enemy' considerations, and because busy enough with 'fighting for freedom' in Vietnam. Of the many dubious friends of yesterday empowered and let/made to become the enemy of tomorrow: Afghan mujaheddin -> Taliban; Shah's Persia -> Revolutionary Iran; Iraq the anti-Iran -> Iraq of the non-existing WMD -> half of Islamic State; Syrian 'opposition' -> other half of Islamic State. Who will be next? Heavily armed once secular NATO member Turkey, 100 million potential refugees to Europe? Are those examples of ingratitude towards the US or divide and rule policies the US like any superpower since at least Rome has used, and badly implemented?

Bosnia (and Kosovo). What Europe lacked wasn't military might, it was the political interest and will to seriously mess with Serbia. Serbia was the last client left to Russia this side of the belt of former communist countries trying at that time to get back on their feet after the end of the Cold War an their regained sovereignty. Instability and genocide have long been recurring traits of Balkan history, and massacres during the ex-Yugoslavia wars later turned out to be not as one-sided as claimed at the time. I don't know what was truly known to western governments, but like with Saddam's alleged WMD, painting it all as Serbian misdeed served to justify intervention against Russia's client Serbia alone. Culminating in the other Clinton's 1999 deliberate NATO bombing of civilian targets in and around Belgrade, well outside any conflict zone and without UN mandate.

For this too I'm glad Trump won and doubly glad Clinton lose. Another proxy war in Europe, this time over Ukraine, is less likely. Sadly for Ukrainians, they may end up being tacitly traded for the Baltics. But letting Russia save face over Ukraine can avoid the West losing face over hypothetical Russian action against EU and NATO member Estonia. Ironically Estonia is the only NATO country besides the US spending their promised BNP % on defense.

Trump's blunt stance about the need for other NATO countries to spend more for their own militaries may help Europeans think to global trends. I think Europeans will increasingly have to fend for themselves without US assistance anyways, something most Europeans prefer to ignore. Long after the end of the Cold War and with the emergence of Asian economies, the cost-benefit balance of Europe's alignment in exchange for US military protection is changing. The North Atlantic, NATO and Europe are less strategic to the US, and US foreign policy is increasingly neutral or damaging to European interests. Sanctions against Russia harmed Europe, some places pretty hard, only to keep playing what was a US power game to put pressure on Moscow - remember Nuland's 'fuck the EU'? Russia has about the GDP of Spain, we and them have much more to gain from business than war. Regardless, in the coming decades tensions will likely escalate in the Far East. With Asia becoming the manufacturing and trading center of the world, today's relations between China, India, Russia and Japan will change. Japan is the only US ally and the only without own nuclear weapons. A major conflict in the Pacific and South East Asia will almost certainly embroil Japan and therefore the US too. Will Europe sit watching from a hemisphere away? Will it take a European Pearl Harbor to intervene? Will we have our own agenda/agendas?

Anyways, nothing bad of Schneier picking on Trump, we are his guests remember, and Trump is objectively more than a little off, so it's good he is kept under scrutiny. The risk is gone of a Holy Clinton getting away with anything because she says all the right things and who cares what she actually do, so relax and enjoy the ride.

Losers lose big timeJanuary 31, 2017 8:16 AM

@Anura,

In addition to referring you to the two Coursera classes above, I think that you should read about the difference between expert knowledge and amateur knowledge https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6-stark-differences-when-speaking-expert-vs-amateur-anders-berg . Some people believe this is the difference between success and failure.

Quoting the US constitution and inserting your own interpretation on it, is different from the case law and precedent that already exists about how the supremacy clause has been already interpreted by the courts and the precedents set by the executive branch. No treaty trumps the US constitution. The qualification "under the Authority of the United States" is enough to strike down any treaty perceived as contradicting the US constitution. The US constitution might be a relatively short document, but it is full of nuance all around the place.

I can only hypothesize you are a physicist by trade or training. Physicists are known for their arrogance and tendency to believe that they automatically know everything in fields outside their expertise https://galileospendulum.org/2011/02/17/the-arrogance-of-physicists/ . What you are doing with the US constitution is akin to what an arrogant physicist does when he/she ventures in a field he/she knows nothing about.

Don't be a sore loserJanuary 31, 2017 8:32 AM

@Cider Warrior

"What many Europeans don't like though, is the never ending instability next door in the Middle East, where the US led the way repeatedly screwing one country after the next for no reason than US own interests, at least since the end of the Cold War, leaving Europe to deal with the ensuing neighborhood problems."

I have had many discussions with Europeans about this. Typically these Europeans go on to be perfectly fine with the US solving the Europeans' own problems like the one in the Balkans, a fight in which the US had no dog. The Europeans attitude seems to be that they are perfectly fine when the US intervenes militarily -regardless of whether the intervention is legal- as long as it benefits the Europeans but they are not so OK when the US does this for its own interests. It is not a very strong position to have. If the Europeans want to have a military voice, perhaps they should have a strong army of their own, which is at the same time a terrifying prospect because we have a 2000 years history of Europeans having strong armies and using them to screw anybody they could. The peace and prosperity Europe has enjoyed since WWII is due to the US assuring their security. The least they can do is to understand that the US will pursue its own interests just as the Europeans pursue their own. Unlike the European colonial powers of the past, the US has not used its military might to colonize countries.

On the rest of what you say, we are for the foremost in agreement. I am also tired of seeing the US messing other countries in an incompetent manner and for no obvious benefit. For all the fuss about the immigration executive order, Trump has no interest in messing other countries. He wants to secure the border -and that includes making sure immigrants from certain unstable places are thoroughly vetted- and focus on improving the economic conditions of the people who elected him, primarily in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, that have suffered the effects of treaties like NAFTA more than others. Unfortunately, the roll out was messy and lots of innocent people got caught in the mess. In the last couple of days, things have been clarified that greencard holders from these countries will continue to enjoy the benefits of their greencards unless there is new negative information about them, which is basically business as usual because any greencard holder can be deemed inadmissible at any time if new information comes to light that renders the beneficiary of the greencard inadmissible.

AnuraJanuary 31, 2017 8:49 AM

@loser thing

You said:

"Because any treaty we are party to is supreme law of the land"

It is not. It becomes part of federal law, but it doesn't become the supreme law of the land (it, it doesn't become part of the constitution)

I responded with this:

all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land

You respond with this:

Quoting the US constitution and inserting your own interpretation on it

Where exactly did I interpret the constitution? All I did was quote it, and it clearly and directly contradicts what you said. The reason I point this out is because it's pretty clear that you haven't studied law, but yet you keep railing about how [insert left-wing stereotype here] keeps talking about things outside of their expertise. Tell me, what is your expertise in? Talk radio?

Dirk PraetJanuary 31, 2017 8:57 AM

@ Anura, @ Wael

all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land

I refer to my previous posts on the matter. They are once ratified, and until constitutionally or otherwise challenged and struck down. The Reid v Covert case was a fine example thereof, and in which SCOTUS upheld the constitutional rights of the defendant despite an executive agreement between the US and the UK saying otherwise.

The underlying authority Trump's immigration EO probably is based on is 8 U.S. Code § 1182, which indeed confers very broad authorities on the executive, and which @loser thingie has been shouting about all the time without ever specifically mentioning it. Similar stuff has been adopted in the past, such as a full ban on Chinese immigrants in the late 19th century and the rounding up of Japanese nationals in the wake of Pearl Harbor. Although arguably not America's finest hour, both measures were found constitutional, beit that the then arguments were later abandoned.

SCOTUS ever since has repeatedly upheld other immigration restrictions, such as in Kleindienst v Mandel, and which I also previously mentioned. In more recent times, Jimmy Carter ordered a crackdown on Iranian immigrants, as did Obama on Iraqi immigration in 2011, and for which both presidents delivered strong arguments as to the legitimacy thereof. It needs however to be noted that neither at the time entailed a full stop, as clarified yesterday by an Obama spokesman.

The main point @loser thingie has been driving is that no non-US citizen has some kind of automatic right to enter the US and that the executive has very broad powers to enforce this. Which no one is contending. What he refuses to acknowledge, however, is that this power is neither absolute, nor arbitrary. Which brings us to the specific problems pertaining to Trump's EO:

  • The ban is directed against nationals of 7 specific nations. A provision in 8 U.S. Code § 1152 that postdates § 1182 specifically forbids discrimination based on gender, race, religion or even nationality. The apparent contradictions in 1152 and 1182 are a grey area that so far has never been resolved by SCOTUS and almost certainly will be put to the test now.
  • Intent: during his campaign, Trump specifically talked about a ban on Muslim immigration. Giuliani in so many words confirmed that he was asked to see how they could legally make this stick and that this was the best they could come up with. In a recent interview, Trump made statements about favouring Christian over Muslim refugees. Not only would this be equally contrary to § 1152, but also a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment. SCOTUS has never before had to rule on an immigration issue involving religion.
  • Valid reasons: a requirement introduced by Kleindienst v Mandel is facially legitimate and bona fide reasons for a ban. No national of any of the seven impacted nations has caused any terrorist casualties on US soil in the last 30 years, whereas countries of those that have, are prominently missing from the list. If national security is the reason behind the EO, then it is fighting a phantom menace that is either non-existing or already sufficiently contained by the additional measures imposed by the previous administration. Good luck explaining this to any judge.
  • Due process: the haphazard way the EO was concocted and implemented has lead to people with valid visa and green cards to be illegally detained and in some cases apparently put back on planes without the possibility to either defend themselves or consult a lawyer. Which is a clear violation of the 5th Amendment and probably the main reason why the DHS quickly backpedaled on the issue.
  • The 1967 Refugee Protocol: although in its capacity as a sovereign state the US under the doctrine of exceptionalism can exempt itself from its obligations under a treaty that has not been nullified by either constitutional or other challenges, it will incur serious loss of face an moral highground on the international stage by not honoring its commitments. Because an EO cannot Trump federal law or its equivalent.

There's probably quite some elements still missing here, so if @AlanS or @Skeptical are around somewhere, please feel free to chime in.

@ loser thingie

What you are doing with the US constitution is akin to what an arrogant physicist does when he/she ventures in a field he/she knows nothing about.

Please be so kind as to present your formal accreditation as a law expert or to shut up under your own reasoning.

Don't be a sore loserJanuary 31, 2017 9:08 AM

@Dirk Praet,

You are better informed than the other crowd, but only partially:

"The apparent contradictions in 1152 and 1182 are a grey area that so far has never been resolved by SCOTUS and almost certainly will be put to the test now. and the rest"

The US Supreme Court will never, ever give a non citizen deference over the President on matters of national security. Insisting otherwise is ignorant. The countries affected by the executive order were picked by the previous administration through a very rigorous process. Not a chance. There is plenty of case law that on genuine matters of national security, the president's powers are near absolute. And to challenge anything the president does in the name of national security that infringes on other rights, the affected person needs to have standing to sue, something that none of the immigrants that will be prevented from coming has. A different story is say family members of US citizens. But even that, unless there are extenuating circumstances -such as the family member risking death- there is plenty of precedent that family ties to a US citizen alone are not a bar for inadmissibility or deportation. Plenty of parents of US citizens infants have been deported to Mexico with their children over the years.

"Please be so kind as to present your formal accreditation as a law expert or to shut up under your own reasoning. "

I am using the Tor Browser to connect here. The last thing I am going to do is give information about myself. I know what I am talking about what obviously you guys don't. In an American law context, putting one's faith in an international treaty when national security interests are at stake is foolish and any expert in American or immigration law will tell you that. Even Bruce will tell you that.

Don't be a loserJanuary 31, 2017 9:13 AM

@Anura

Believe me, if there is anybody who seems obsessed about letting it be known to the world that he is clueless about American laws, that's you.

You asked me where did I get my education. Can I ask where did you get yours? You sound like a Berkeley leftie that confuses People's Republic of Berkley with the United States of America.

WaelJanuary 31, 2017 9:38 AM

@Dirk Praet, @Anura,

Giuliani in so many words confirmed that he was asked to see how they could legally make this stick and that this...

Giuliani said that on TV. The seven chosen countries are a first step in making the EO happen. I doubt it'll stop at that.

There is no guarantee this will be limited to Muslims. There is a story...

There were once upon a time three big bulls in the jungle. A purple bull, a blue bull and a green bull (chose colors for a reason, so they don't map to human race.) There was also a lion in the same jungle.

One day the lion took the green and blue bulls on the side and said: Look, I have no problems with you. But that purple bull is annoying the hell out of me. Allow me to eat him without interference, and the jungle will be exclusive for the three of us. They agreed.

The lion got hungry again a few days later. He went to the green bull, and told him the same story. The green bull turned a blind eye to the lion and let him eat the blue bull without defending him.

A few days later, the lion got hungry, and walked to the green bull. Upon seeing the lion, the green bull said: I was eaten the day the purple bull was eaten.

It's not clear if Giuliani is going to be under heat for disclosing the true intentions of the EO. It's not clear if was asked to say exactly what he said. Times will show...

More on US constitutionJanuary 31, 2017 9:41 AM

And I forgot, although it rarely happens, presidents, both Republican and Democratic, have ignored US Supreme Court rulings when national security was at stake,

http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2011/10/constitution-check-can-the-president-ignore-supreme-court-rulings/

Abraham Lincoln (Republican) and FDR (Democrat) are two of the most respected presidents in US history. Both ignored the US Supreme Court when they felt they needed to do so to fulfill their duties as commanders in chief.

So in the hypothetical case that the case arrived to the US Supreme Court, and said Supreme Court went nuts ignoring the precedent that gives presidents deference on matters of national security, I wouldn't count on it being the final word. I don't think I have to convince anyone that Trump would ignore such a ruling.

AnuraJanuary 31, 2017 9:46 AM

@loser thing

I didn't ask you where you got your education, I asked you what your expertise is in. So let me try it this way:

I do not have a degree in law, nor have I ever implied that I did, nor have I given more than fairly general statements about the law, nor have I suggested that people who are not experts in law should not talk about law, nor have I made anything but the most general statements about the law. You have suggested that people who are experts in fields other than law should not talk about law, yet you act like you are an authority on the subject. So the question is: do you have a degree in law?

Cider WarriorJanuary 31, 2017 10:12 AM

@Don't be a sore loser

"Typically these Europeans go on to be perfectly fine with the US solving the Europeans' own problems like the one in the Balkans, a fight in which the US had no dog."

The US had no dog? How about Serbia being the only remaining and willing client of Russia in Europe?

It may well be a lot of Europeans are not too clear about what happened back then, because our own countries were involved in the NATO operations and all mainstream news were duly aligned as far as I remember. Anyways, the 1999 NATO air campaign set a grave precedent. Irrespective of what one thinks of its justifications and outcome, NATO (a mutual defense alliance) attacked a third country which had not threatened NATO, and did so by completely bypassing the UN Security Council where Russia had veto power. UN SC permanent members and veto power are there to make so nothing happens that is unacceptable for a major nuclear power signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Because war crimes in a local war are bad but another world war is worse.

Russia was so crippled back then that it could do anything. But you may not be aware that Putin used precisely the example of Kosovo breaking from Serbia and NATO's unilateral bombing of Serbia as a parallel for Crimea breaking from Ukraine. Sending the obvious message that a Russian attack on Kiev would have had the same legitimacy of NATO's own on Belgrade.

Finally, to be cynical but objective, Bosnia and Kosovo were a local problem in a long history of regional ethnic conflicts for which the rest of Europe bears as little responsibility as basically anybody else except perhaps the Ottomans, which do not exist any longer. So it was not like the US came to Europe's rescue. They came to the rescue of the muslim part of the populations of Bosnia and Kosovo. Clinton's Administration went as far as supporting that same Kosovo Liberation Army that its own top diplomats described as a terrorist organization busy with ethnic cleansing against non-Albanian in Kosovo, aided by mujaheddin fighters come in from Afghanistan, Yemen and US' ally Saudi Arabia.

Dirk PraetJanuary 31, 2017 10:59 AM

@ Person obsessed by losers and unable to use same handle

The US Supreme Court will never, ever give a non citizen deference over the President on matters of national security.

A moot argument because the administration will first have to prove that the ban is indeed about national security. You can waive that flag in front of a judge as much as you want, but alternative facts generally don't fly in a court of law.

The countries affected by the executive order were picked by the previous administration through a very rigorous process.

I refer to my previous post about the number of terrorist casualties on US soil by nationals from said countries and who were already under enhanced vetting. From a security vantage, the ban makes as much sense as introducing a bill against abortion on similar grounds of national security.

I know what I am talking about what obviously you guys don't.

That does not qualify as a valid credential until at least one person with valid credentials here says you actually do. FYI: you cannot bring imaginary friends to this forum, and which will immediately get you banned.

I don't think I have to convince anyone that Trump would ignore such a ruling.

Which will most likely lead to a constitutional crisis and a swift impeachment procedure. Note that both examples you quote (Lincoln and FDR) date back to war times with presidents executing their powers as commander-in-chief and that FDR ultimately did not go against SCOTUS. A legal expert not only would have known this but never would have used these examples for whatever reason knowing it would destroy his entire case in front of any US judge. I rest my case.

Cider WarriorJanuary 31, 2017 11:21 AM

@Don't be a sore loser

"The peace and prosperity Europe has enjoyed since WWII is due to the US assuring their security."

Ironically, Russian nukes played more or less the same role. It was the confrontation that froze all other conflict, not any of the two sides on its own. And surely no Yugoslav Wars if the Cold War were still going. Happily, today after decades of flawed but nevertheless united Europe it seems really unlikely someone could convince many Germans or French or British or Italians that they should pick up a rifle and march to the border - unless perhaps if some idiot EU top-smartie keep going around as it already happened telling idiocies like giving the harshest possible terms to the UK to make them sorely regret Brexit. That is precisely the kind of argument warmongers exploit so they can blame on evil neighbors whatever domestic misfortune. Even the much feared anti-EU parties seem exclusively concerned about protecting their countries by keeping / kicking immigrants out rather than being aggressive towards they neighbors. They even have their own European meetings.


"The least they can do is to understand that the US will pursue its own interests just as the Europeans pursue their own."

Absolutely, and surely with the same right as anybody else. It's in fact Europe that seem to preferentially pursue self-damaging policies (see Libya for a recent example).


"Unlike the European colonial powers of the past, the US has not used its military might to colonize countries"

Well, sorry, this is hot air. Setting up bloody dictatorships by locals not to soil one's hand doesn't make it any different, and the US has done this in lots of countries for more than a century.

never be a sore loserJanuary 31, 2017 11:35 AM

@Dirk Praet

"Note that both examples you quote (Lincoln and FDR) date back to war times with presidents executing their powers as commander-in-chief and that FDR ultimately did not go against SCOTUS. A legal expert not only would have known this but never would have used these examples for whatever reason knowing it would destroy his entire case in front of any US judge. I rest my case."

I am sorry, eventually FDR prevailed, as he prevailed locking up Americans of Japanese ancestry. You have rest your case of ignorance to be sure, which is my what my experience has been arguing these matters with Europeans that only have civil law systems and the workings of the EU and the ECHR as reference: they think all legal systems work the same way.

With respect to Lincoln and FDR, if you look at this rankings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_presidents_of_the_United_States and rank them by "frequency of position", both of them are in the top 2. So I have no doubt that face with an unreasonable decision by the US Supreme Court, Trump would ignore it and put the security of Americans ahead of ideologically driven decisions by the dictators who sit at the US Supreme Court.

If you think that the propaganda you are reading in the media reflects what is happening on the ground, you should widen your point of view,

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/us/migrants-ban-trump-supporters.html

Opinion polls show that what Trump is doing is popular. Only in Europe you have the type of carnage we saw in France, Belgium and Germany and the reaction of the people be "business as usual, we want to be the next killed".

don't be a loserJanuary 31, 2017 11:38 AM

@Cider Warrior

"Well, sorry, this is hot air. Setting up bloody dictatorships by locals not to soil one's hand doesn't make it any different, and the US has done this in lots of countries for more than a century."

One thing is clear: no country in the world today currently speaks English or has adopted American customs because of a US military action. On the other hand, I can name you many countries -including the United States- that became culturally British, French or Spanish because of invasions by the United Kingdom, France and Spain respectively. To me there is a great deal of difference, even though at the same time I acknowledge the US doesn't have a stellar record when it comes to messing in other countries' affairs.

What you are doing is a psychological phenomenon known as "projection" :-).

Don't be a sore loserJanuary 31, 2017 11:46 AM

@Anura

It should be patently clear to anybody reading, that I know a thing or two about American law and jurisprudence and that Europeans like Dirk Praet know next to nothing.

Here is what I would say as a matter of practicality. If you know somebody who is affected by the travel ban -and I do by way of their family members being prevented to come to the US until further notice- listening to people like Dirk Praet is a complete waste of your time.

Hire a good immigration lawyer, specialized in litigating the US government that will help you in your particular case -particularly since the Trump administration has said that greencard holders will be treated on a case-by-case basis. If you are hopeful that the BS Dirk Praet mention will become reality, you will be waiting for a long time before getting your situation remedied.

AnuraJanuary 31, 2017 12:01 PM

@loser thing

So, no you do not have a law degree. Okay, thank you for the simple and straightforward response. So maybe you should take your own advice and stop pretending to be an expert in everything while attacking anyone who contradicts you as an elitist for talking about things they aren't experts in.

Don't be a sore loserJanuary 31, 2017 12:51 PM

@Anura

I cannot confirm nor deny. You cannot give out too much info about yourself.

On the other hand, there are many ways to know about how the law system works in the US without being a lawyer. You can be a "law maker" or have top lawyers working for you on matters like the ones we are talking about here to cite a few examples.

With respect to the advise I gave. I don't know if you know anybody who has been personally affected by Trump's executive order. If you do, I stand by what I said: listening to people like Dirk Praet will not get you anywhere if you are caught in the middle.

One of the features of common law systems, in comparison with civil law systems, is that there is room for discretion, specially when the directive from the president is that some cases will be evaluated on a "case by case" basis. Civil law systems have uniformity embedded on them because their statutes codify law whereas in the common law systems, statutes are more like guidelines with room for interpretation.

So relax pal, relax.

Dirk PraetJanuary 31, 2017 1:02 PM

@ Anura

So I have no doubt that face with an unreasonable decision by the US Supreme Court, Trump would ignore it and put the security of Americans ahead of ideologically driven decisions by the dictators who sit at the US Supreme Court.

And bang goes the Republic! I just knew it was only a matter of time before he could no longer contain himself. Now if we could only get Napoleon or Squealer to do the same and get this charade over and done with before people actually get hurt.

Cider WarriorJanuary 31, 2017 2:03 PM

@Don't be a sore loser

"no country in the world today currently speaks English or has adopted American customs because of a US military action"

How about the (survivors among the) native peoples of North America itself, at least west of the Mississippi. I take it was not always a very peaceful business.

Anyways mixing up languages and colonialism with proxy wars and puppet dictators is a bit of a straw man argument. For all bad things one can say of colonialism, building schools was not the purpose but was still a common part of it, together with improved sanitation. It may have been just to make running the place and exploiting its resources more efficient, but it was nonetheless a good thing that is often missing from modern 'missions'.

I don't care about psychology, it's too much like religion with everybody having their own true explanation for everything.

stop being a loserJanuary 31, 2017 2:24 PM

@Dirk Praet

Of course they are dictators. Their decisions cannot be appealed even when they contradict the opinion of the voters, as it happens when they nullify statewide initiatives. None of them is elected and none of them is accountable to the voters as presidents, congressmen and senators are. Within the first generation after the enactment of the US constitution, they began to behave that way. FDR tried to expand the US Supreme Court and pack it with liberal judges to have total and absolute power in the 1930s. Thankfully his plan backfired.

From the last 10 years, I can pick decisions 5-4 on matters of utmost importance that were decided across ideological lines that one of the two sides hate:

- The Heller (2008) and Chicago (2010) cases established that gun ownership is an individual right with few restrictions by 5-4 decisions. These decisions were decried by liberals.

- Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) invented a non-existent right to gay marriage, also via a 5-4 vote. This decision was decried by conservatives and in general by those who decry judicial activism.

There are many said decisions in recent years, those are among the most controversial. If from the fact that these 5-4 decision are some times hated by the right and some by the left you try to extrapolate fairness, you'd be mistaken. On all three cases, Anthony Kennedy -an avowed libertarian- was in the majority. So the reason the decisions look libertarian -ie, favorable to gun rights, big business but socially liberal- it's because there are currently 4 strong conservatives in the court, 4 strong liberals in the court and 1 libertarian. So the US supreme court has become effectively a libertarian dictatorship on controversial matters.

This is a fact. My analysis doesn't change when it is my side that wins.

Stop being a loserJanuary 31, 2017 2:28 PM

@Cider Warrior

I don't want to re-open the colonialism wars. To me there is a very clear difference between the kind of world domination that was attempted by the British, French and Spaniards and the kind of world domination that the United States exercises today via soft power. Note that I haven't condemned what the colonial powers did. For example, having been colonized by the British has given India and its professionals an edge in a world dominated by the United States. The main reason you have so many successful professionals, executives and entrepreneurs of Indian ancestry in the US today is their ability to speak fluent English. Both Microsoft and Google have CEOs who were born in India. Without their ability to speak fluent English, that would not have happened.

Gerard van VoorenJanuary 31, 2017 2:39 PM

I just counted the number of "loser" in this thread. It's 71. Pretty good fishing weather.

No more sore losersJanuary 31, 2017 2:42 PM

@Dirk Praet

Although it is arguably written from a conservative view point, here is a longer explanation of the judicial dictatorship the US finds itself under, with Anthony Kennedy as its dictator,

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/america-is-a-judicial-dictatorship/

As with all dictatorships, those who have praised Kennedy when he has ruled in favor of gay marriage, or abortion, always forget that as long as the composition of the court is subject to change through the death or retirement of its members, ideologically driven, 5-4 decisions can be changed and reversed by similarly ideologically driven 5-4 decisions on the other side. Given that the 4-1-4 equilibrium will be restore shortly -tonight we will know Trump's nominee to replace Scalia- and that there are older people among those tilting left (Ginsburg, Kennedy, Breyer), it is very likely that the court will tilt conservative in the next 8 years. So I hope that those ideologically driven liberals who praise the court when it pushed their agenda are equally generous when a conservative court pushes a conservative agenda.

No more losersJanuary 31, 2017 2:43 PM

@Gerard van Vooren

When the majority of commenters is liberal, one needs to deal with more animosity than if the majority were conservative or simply neutral.

ModeratorJanuary 31, 2017 3:00 PM

I just counted the number of "loser" in this thread. It's 71. Pretty good fishing weather.

A telling finding. @No more sore losers: Please move on.

There still 100+ liberal posts January 31, 2017 9:14 PM

@Moderator,

When I am the only one defending the non liberal point of view and you have several commenters defending a liberal point of view, with which I am sure you agree, it's normal that I have more posts than them. So 71 posts presenting a non liberal point of view, 100 + presenting a liberal point of view, and you moderate -aka censor- mine.

If you want to establish a policy that only politically liberal comments are welcome here, fine, but for the sake of transparency you should be open about it, not appeal to "71 posts" to masquerade your censorship.

Bye!

AnuraFebruary 1, 2017 12:26 AM

@Wael

When it comes to music, I only know the classics:

The creature tells of evil gnomes, Coming to destroy our homes. And trolls who come with gun and knife, To threaten our way of life.

The creature has enslaved our town,
But no one thinks to bring it down.
Provided with so much distraction,
The people can't be moved to action.

(I'm pretty sure I've posted this one before)

Clive RobinsonFebruary 1, 2017 12:29 AM

@ Wael,

And there was my "Memory" lyrics thinking you might have misheard/remembered lyrics to 'Grizabella' by Andrew Lloyd Webber from CATS.

MarkHFebruary 1, 2017 12:39 AM

@Incontinent Commenter:

Your political "theology" isn't the problem.

Over the years, many views expressed here have been strongly libertarian (hardly liberal), opposed to governmental solutions to almost any problem (is that liberal?), rants against legal restrictions on weaponry, etc. etc.

As I observed when I gave up responding to you, you were arguing against a position which nobody else made. Either you were failing to read the other comments, or failing to understand them.

It's like somebody running around a ping-pong table fast enough to return his own shots: an impressive display of energy ... but in the end, he's simply playing with himself :/

Twisting other people's arguments into something they didn't say is "straw man," which is Very Bad Form and grounds for banning.

Also, the frequent changes of Name (though evidently the work of one commenter) comes dangerously close to sock-puppeting, which is Very Bad Form and grounds for banning. When I saw the first variation of "loser", I thought it was another person making an ironic response to your comments.
____________________________________________

If you want to be Conservative, be conservative: prudent, respectful of morals, customs, traditions and persons. Understand the institutions fulfill certain functions, and don't rush to tear them down.

Anybody who goes about as a loud, whiny, bullying cry-baby victim shouting "they're not fair to me" risks being mistaken for Donald Trump.

WaelFebruary 1, 2017 12:57 AM

@Clive Robinson, @Anura,

And there was my "Memory" lyrics

Must be a remnant bit-flipped rowhammer glitch in my internal memory system caused by alpha particles and/or cosmic radiation.

@Anura,

You posted an abridged version. Was on a related topic, it seems.

Clive RobinsonFebruary 1, 2017 10:04 AM

@ Moderator, Bruce,

Maybe closing thos threed for a week or two would calm things down...

I don't know what other people think but, I can nolonger make sense of this thread.

Comments on this entry have been closed.

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of IBM Resilient.