Heroic Ed Just Grows More Heroic!

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“…if I end up in chains in Guantanamo, I can live with that.”

So says the Heroic (and Handsome, if Ed will pardon a personal observation. Love that he lost the glasses! The honesty in his eyes shines even more noticeably now) Ed in his interview with the Guardian posted on today’s LRC.

Contrast that incredibly patriotic statement with this fascist gloating from Towson University (I’ve emphasized the pertinent parts in case wading through Jargon distresses you as much as it does me): “The National Security Agency (NSA) and the United States Cyber Command have designated Towson University a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Operations for 2014-2019. TU is one of only 13 such designees and the only Maryland institution on the list. … This NSA/DHS-sponsored program is intended to reduce vulnerabilities in the national information infrastructure by promoting higher education in information assurance/cyber security with the goal of producing more professionals with expertise in various disciplines. Centers of Academic Excellence have enabled government, academia and industry to recruit students to meet their specific requirements.” I believe the Hitlerjugend boasted of the same achievement.

Here’s a list of the “Centers of Academic Excellence Institutions” as a whole, should you wish to boycott them while steering any pupils you know to less offensive universities.

Meanwhile, though Our Rulers have thoroughly corrupted American education from kindergarten to graduate studies, here and there a few victims resist. “’Keith Devlin, a mathematician at Stanford University” courageously denounced the NSA’s dragnet for both practical and philosophical reasons, despite his being on the Feds’ payroll (again, I’ve highlighted the essence for those impatient with context): after Devlin “spent five years researching ‘the area of extracting actionable information from vast amounts of data’ funded by the US Department of Defense, [he]claimed that mass data collection is an ineffective way of preventing terrorism, and that resources would be better deployed elsewhere. ‘I concentrate on whether indiscriminate ‘vacuuming up’ of personal information that, according to the documents Edward Snowden has released, the NSA has routinely engaged in for several years, can effectively predict terrorist attacks,’ Devlin writes. ‘I’ll say up front that, based on everything I learned in those five years, blanket surveillance is highly unlikely to prevent a terrorist attack and is a dangerous misuse of resources that, if used in other ways, possibly could prevent attacks such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Anyone with a reasonable sense of large numbers could surmise a similar conclusion. When the goal is to identify a very small number of key signals in a large ocean of noise, indiscriminately increasing the size of the ocean is self-evidently not the way to go.’”

The piece next cites “Andrew Odlyzko, professor of mathematics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis,” who “claims that the concentration of power represented by mass collection of data by both the NSA and private organisations is dangerous for the entire political system. ‘The antiterrorism mantra is driving public policy, and it is corroding the already weakened trust in democratic governance. When high-level officials feel free to give the ‘least untruthful’ answers or provide assurances of careful oversight and of intelligence successes that are then shown to be false, much is lost,’ Odlyzko says. Odlyzko claims that this is just the beginning, and that the incipient Internet of Things will allow much greater levels of data collection and therefore potential for abuse.”

Finally, the article ends on an outrageously encouraging note: “In the interest of balance [the journal that published Devlin and Odlyzko] also sought mathematicians prepared to write in defence of the NSA, but said that for whatever reason ‘this proved difficult’.” Yee-haw!!!!!

12:49 pm on July 18, 2014