Skeptiles: Episode 49 – Dr. Chaps, Dragons and Spoons

Skeptiles: Episode 49 – Dr. Chaps, Dragons and Spoons

SkeptilesSkeptiles for Tuesday, August 20th,2013 in which we talk about the harassment of Guardian reporter, Glenn Greenwald’s boyfriend by UK authorities, lifelong angry and confused fratboy, Rick Santorum’s recent claim that acknowledging there is a middle class is Marxist propaganda, Google’s statement that its user’s should not have an expectation of privacy, activist security culture and we debate whether government spying is really having an effect on activists, organic hippies getting raided by Texas cops for non-existent pot, Christian loons explain how the bible proves that dragons existed and we digress on the subject of sex, we hear a couple krazy klips from “Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt, Focus on the Family cites convicted Watergate felon, Chuck Colson, as a figure of moderation when compared to James Dobson, an Iranian woman politician considered “too pretty” to hold office, how spoons can save victims of forced marriages, Coptic Christians in Egypt and Joe brings us fresh Arrested Developments.



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Related Links:

Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours

Santorum: Term ‘Middle Class’ Is ‘Marxism Talk’

Google: Email Users Can’t Legitimately Expect Privacy When Emailing Someone On Gmail

Texas cops raid farm commune when mistaking tomato plants for marijuana

Why does the Bible talk about ‘dragons’?

Klingenschmitt: Wendy Davis Is ‘Ruled By A Demon Of Murder’ And Should Be Prosecuted

Klingenschmitt: Obama Creating Atheist Military to Attack Christians

Focus on the Family Spokesman Distances Himself from Dobson While Mefferd Is Curious About Pro-Gay Group’s ‘666’ Address

Iranian Politician ‘Too Pretty’ For Office?

A Spoon Can Stop A Forced Marriage? It Works!

Lavabit CEO: ‘If You Knew What I Know About Email, You Might Not Use It’

VIDEO: Egypt’s Coptic Christians living in fear

Strongbad Email


3 Replies to “Skeptiles: Episode 49 – Dr. Chaps, Dragons and Spoons”

  1. Wow, the David Miranda story escalated fast – your overview was already out-of-date by the time the podcast was live! Yesterday I was reading about the Guardian editor who recently received a visit from GCHQ who, in what he described as “a peculiarly pointless piece of symbolism that understood nothing about the digital age” forced the Guardian to burn the HDD it possessed containing information from Edward Snowden, even after it was “explained to the man from Whitehall about the nature of international collaborations and the way in which, these days, media organisations could take advantage of the most permissive legal environments. Bluntly, we did not have to do our reporting from London. Already most of the NSA stories were being reported and edited out of New York. And had it occurred to him that Greenwald lived in Brazil?”!!! How stupid are these people? Or was this simply a warning of where this could head?

    And that isn’t even the latest?! On my way to work this morning I was reading about how, even though the US had been informed about David Miranda’s detention, it had not known about or approved the torching of a newspaper’s HDD. From the Guardian website:

    “The White House responded with surprise to the report of the destruction. Asked at his daily briefing on Tuesday whether President Obama’s administration would enter a US media company and destroy media hard drives – even to protect national security – the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said: “That’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate.””

    Right, because the US government has never, ever, burned any documents [cough] Wilhelm Reich [cough]… ok, so that was a while ago now. I’m sure that the US would never infringe the rights of the press and journalists, right [cough] Press Assoc. phone records seizure [cough]…. Not to mention the ongoing mistreatment and smearing of Manning and Snowden. Man, Obama and his government have some balls, acting like an evil totalitarian government, ingoring their own laws, bombing the shit out of civilians and children in other countries, trying their best to chill journalism, then act all fucking shocked when GCHQ pointlessly burn some HDD in the hope of getting a pat on the head from the US, like the spineless lap-dogs they are. I don’t know who’s worse, and if I could defect to another country I probably would, only they’re pretty much all fucked by this diseased idea of ‘democracy’ first peddled by the British Empire and now by the US. I’d find a nice little island-nation somewhere, but it’d probably end up having oil reserves underneath and getting screwed for those, like in Huxley’s ‘Island’…. Feeling like shit today, these governments make me sick…

    Rant over. FYI on internet security and privacy shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. The tools required for ensuring nobody ever has access to anything you don’t want them to are there, and usually open source, clean and free, for anyone who has the intelligence to use them. For you and any other listeners who are interested here are just a few of the most essential:

    1. TOR – allows you browse the internet anonymously, via a series of randomly routed, encrypted, connections through the TOR servers. It’s very safe and was originally designed so that freedom-fighters in countries with oppressive net-laws could contact the outside world (eg China). Often used in the ‘West’ to buy drugs, hire assassins, access Pirate Bay, and the like, so I think we can assume that this is totally safe, else they would have caught the Dread Pirate Roberts by now…

    2. GPG – an encryption program that allows you to encrypt txt or files. Security-agency grade encryption (used correctly) and the download I had came with a suite of other useful things. Read up LOTS of how-tos and wikis to ensure you’re doing it right, but the NSA cannot read anything encrypted this way

    3. Liberte Linux – A super-secure distro of Linux, that can be installed on a hidden encrypted partition of a bootable USB stick, natively TORified (routes through TOR), comes with GPG installed.

    4. TrueCrypt – disk encryption software, can encrypt a volume, a hidden volume, a whole disk, or even a system volume/disk with bootloader/password. Means even if someone gets physical access to your HDD they can’t read anything on it.

    5. Orbot/Orweb – TOR for Android phones

    6. Gibberbot – Encrypted messenger for Android, uses Jabber/XMPP, so you can even use your google account to msg without your crap being given to the NSA. Similar software is available for PCs…

    And I think Shawn is very naive to say that only people breaking the law have anything to worry about; what about if you are considered a threat and they decide to smear you? What about if they decide that thinking for yourself is illegal? ‘The innocent have nothing to worry about’ sounds like something straight out of 1984 or McCarthyism….

  2. Hi Antony,

    Thanks for your comment. A word about TOR. It’s been rooted by the US government and thousands of previously private sites have been taken out or exposed. One of the biggest TOR webhosts in the world has also been shut down.

    Also about activists not doing anything illegal not having to worry about being spied upon. As someone whose spent years in activist groups, spying is the least of your problems. If you’re worried about going to jail for trying to change the world (even if everything you do is legal and above board), then don’t be an activist. This isn’t a hobby and the possibility that you might piss the authorities off enough to get you in trouble with the law grows with your success.

    Everything the Freedom Riders ever did was completely legal and above board yet they were jailed and murdered. People have to choose between doing what’s right and remaining safe. Having a real impact on the world is not for pussies.


    1. Hi Shawn,

      I totally agree with you re:activism, and even law-abiding activists should prepare for trouble. That was my point as to why even the innocent should be worried by their privacy being violated and why if anything is conducted by the internet all possible attempts at security should be followed, failing that meeting up in person.

      Re: TOR. Interesting articles, but TOR has not been ‘rooted’ (ie, someone has access to the root-protocols) according to them. An exploit has been inserted into the TOR-browser (or, one version of it at least), enabled through Java-script. As the article says, the risk is removed if Java is disabled (and this was the default position until recently). But the actual TOR-network is still sound, so long as it’s accessed carefully. I will again stress that people should read ALOT of wikis/how-tos and AFAIK the Liberte Linux is the safest way to access I know of.

      Since we’re on the subject of flaws/loopholes in software, I will mention a couple of others. TrueCrypt; there is now commercially available software that claims to be able to ‘crack’ the encryption. It does no such thing, but exploits a slight flaw in the encryption protocol – in order to enable transparent encryption a computer needs to store the encryption key and password in the RAM/memory-bus, the software can then under certain circumstances extract that data. Mostly, if your computer still has power through it, so the solution is to never ‘sleep’ or ‘hibernate’ your computer, but to always power-off and unplug. GPG; there is all kinds of meta-info encoded into a GPG/PGP message, including the email that was used by the person who encryption key was used. Same with signatures.

      Like I said, if you’re going to ensure your privacy with these tools (and I’ll bet that Glenn Greenwald, along with the authorities, do just that!) do make sure you are well-read on the subject, seek out any flaws that are known so you can avoid them, and even if you are doing nothing wrong and breaking no law I would still encourage you to use them – if everyone encrypted everything that’d REALLY piss off the NSA and provide cover/camouflage for activists using it!

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