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Edward Snowden’s data dump: Where’s the beef?

By Cynthia McKinney | RT | May 22, 2016

After a big announcement on May 16, 2016, The Intercept made 166 documents available to the public. At this rate, it will take an estimated 600 years to read all of the documents! I would like to ask The Intercept, ‘Where’s the beef?’

Last updated on May 16, 2016, Pierre Omidyar’s The Intercept released its first data dump of the Snowden NSA files. For a long time, I wondered why the Snowden files weren’t available to us like the WikiLeaks files were. After all, the information could further research on US “asymmetric warfare.” I wanted to search them just as I had done with WikiLeaks. And then, perhaps it was fate that gave me a partial answer: I used Wikileaks documents for my dissertation and was forced to scrub every WikiLeaks reference in order to get my dissertation published and receive my Ph.D.

You see, in its zeal to crack the whip on whistle blowers revealing the government’s multitudinous dirty dealings and to deter even more acts of conscience from potential whistle blowers, the Obama Administration chose to prosecute and imprison journalist Barrett Brown who had merely republished via hyperlinks some of the same WikiLeaks sources found in my dissertation.

Thus, my institution foreclosed a similar fate for me and I can write this article from a comfortable room rather than the federal penitentiary—where Barrett Brown currently is located. In one place, I had compiled Operation Condor, COINTELPRO, and WikiLeaks documents pertaining to America’s use of “asymmetric warfare” against inconvenient states and their leaders, as well as US actions against inconvenient civil society leaders.

Our knowledge of COINTELPRO helps us to understand that what was done at home to organizations like the Black Panther Party is also done abroad. In fact, many US political prisoners today are incarcerated as a result of the illegal actions of the US government against organizations like the American Indian Movement as well as the Black Panther Party. If the US would carry out such actions against its own citizens, why wouldn’t it do such things to foreigners?

My dissertation captures some of what was done abroad to President Hugo Chavez of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and places these actions in the larger context of US practice of asymmetric warfare against people and states it doesn’t like. Therefore, I relished the new information revealed in WikiLeaks about US attitudes toward Venezuela and Chavez written by American bureaucrats who believed that their words would be cloaked by classification.

So, when the Snowden leaks became known, I rushed to all sites political to find the treasure trove of US misdeeds—er, asymmetric warfare – that I knew would be buried inside the raw data. But, alas, it was nowhere to be found! I wrote e-mails to everyone I could think of who might have access to the information, but continued to draw a blank. The dribble of stories, sanitized by a suspect press, was not good enough for me. I began to have my doubts about whether I would ever see the data for myself and search it for my research needs. Indeed, articles began to question if we would ever see the Snowden data.

Cryptome, a digital library site especially for whistle blowers, began to keep a count of the released data versus the total number of pages. On May 14, 2016, Cryptome estimated that at its current rate of release, it would take as many as 620 years for the public to see all of the Snowden documents. On May 16, 2016, Omidyar’s Intercept released a fully-searchable tranche of 166 Snowden documents and promised that more are on the way. Sadly, this pace may take more than six hundred years as there are hundreds of thousands or even millions of documents to be released.

The Intercept has set aside a special section for its signals intelligence directorate newsletter releases, known in the National Security Agency (NSA) as SIDtoday. By scrolling down the page, one can find a download button to download all 166 documents, which I have done. Here, The Intercept explains its methodology of unveiling the oldest documents from 2003 first and then working its way through to its most recent 2012 articles.

The Intercept requests readers to contact them if something of public interest is found, while also noting that the names of low-level functionaries have been redacted by its staff. Additionally, it writes that its innovative approach is to partner with newspapers like Le Monde to go through the documents. The Intercept warns that some documents will not appear because of the speculative nature of accusations leveled against individuals by government operatives at NSA. The Intercept maintains that it chose a different route from WikiLeaks (fully searchable complete archive of all documents) because of different conditions set for release of the documents by different whistle blowers which The Intercept is bound to honor.

The Intercept accompanies release of the 166 documents with a story highlighting the “most intriguing” NSA reports. This first release of documents demonstrates how closely the NSA worked alongside the CIA and the Pentagon and other government departments to fight the US ‘war on terror.’ One example is the April 14, 2003 SIDtoday that boasts of the NSA role in the rescue of Jessica Lynch. What is not mentioned (how could it be?) is the role played by signals intelligence in the fabrication of the ‘Jessica-Lynch-is-an-American-hero’ story! Politifact, in reconstructing the false story, finds that the faked intelligence didn’t come from the Pentagon, and came from Iraqi “intercepts.”

The SIDtoday boasts that six government agencies, most from NSA, contributed to the successful rescue of hero Jessica Lynch. It wrote, “Such information assists the warfighter in planning operations to destroy or disable an underground facility, or, in this case, to rescue U.S. personnel and save lives.”

Recently, another leak came to our attention, the results of which are still reverberating throughout the international scene. The Panama Papers came to our attention and caused quite a stir about off-shore bank accounts, usually used to stash tax-free, ill-gotten cash abroad. Even David Cameron, the U.K. Prime Minister was found to have an off-shore account—even while calling an anti-corruption summit!

The Guardian calls the Panama Papers, at over eleven million documents, “history’s biggest data leak.” The Panama Papers contain a who’s who and a how to stash cash offshore. At 11 million plus documents, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has made the database available to the public in a fully-searchable format. I can go there and find any information that I want. The possibilities for research are phenomenal. So, what’s up with the Snowden documents and why can’t I search the approximately one million or so of them?

Well, as of May 16, the situation is improved, somewhat. Only 166 documents can be found in chronological order here; 166 documents are not going to create the kind of consciousness for which I believe Edward Snowden made his tremendous sacrifice. He is now marooned in Russia when he would much rather be at home with his family and friends, I would imagine.

Still, I believe he was right to inform us about what the US government is doing with our tax dollars, to its citizens at home and to the rest of the world. In my opinion, the US government is a rogue state and COINTELPRO, Operation Condor, WikiLeaks, and what little we know of the Snowden documents amply demonstrates that. The time for keeping secrets from the people who are paying for them is long over, in my opinion.

Edward Snowden said that he wanted to start a bottom-up revolution. The drip-drip-drip of the Snowden documents is the best way to ensure document release without revolution! I can’t help but wonder what’s going on with The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, whom Vice called “Snowden’s journalist of choice,” and the documents that I can’t wait to review! The researcher in me still wishes that, after doing its due diligence, The Intercept will see to it that Snowden’s more than one million documents will be made available to the public on a fully searchable platform in the manner that WikiLeaks and the Panama Papers has provided to the world.


After serving in the Georgia Legislature, in 1992, Cynthia McKinney won a seat in the US House of Representatives. She was the first African-American woman from Georgia in the US Congress. In 2005, McKinney was a vocal critic of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and was the first member of Congress to file articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. In 2008, Cynthia McKinney won the Green Party nomination for the US presidency.

May 22, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 1 Comment

Surveillance Chills Speech—As New Studies Show—And Free Association Suffers

By Karen Gullo | EFF | May 19, 2016

Visiting an art exhibit featuring works about the U.S. war on terror or going to a lecture about Islam wouldn’t be cause for worry—unless you found out that the government was monitoring and keeping track of attendees. At that point, some people would be spooked and stay away, sacrificing their interests and curiosity to protect their privacy, not look suspicious, or stay off a list some intelligence agency might be keeping.

Government surveillance has that chilling effect—on our activities, choices and communications—and carries serious consequences. We argue in our lawsuit First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, et al v. NSA that the government’s collection of phone records violates the First Amendment rights of our clients—churches and civil and human rights organizations—by discouraging members and constituents from associating and communicating with them for fear of being spied on.

Now two new studies examining the use of Facebook and Wikipedia show that this chilling effect is real. Both studies demonstrate that government surveillance discourages speech and access to information and knowledge on the Internet. What happens is that people begin to self-police their communications: they are more likely to avoid associating with certain groups or individuals, or looking at websites or articles, when they think the government is watching them or the groups/people with whom they connect. This hurts our democracy and society as a whole.

The Facebook study, published in Journalism & Mass Communications Quarterly, showed that people censor themselves on the social network, refraining from posting comments voicing minority views when they’re aware that the National Security Agency (NSA) monitors online activities.

Participants in the study were told of NSA monitoring and shown a fictional Facebook posting about U.S. airstrikes against ISIS. They were asked about their willingness to comment, share, and like the post, or create a new post about the same topic. They were also asked whether they supported or opposed U.S. airstrikes, what they thought most other Americans believed about the airstrikes, and whether surveillance is necessary for national security.

The study showed that people who are aware of government surveillance and support it are significantly less likely to speak out when their views differ from what they perceive to be the majority opinion. As Dr. Elizabeth Stoycheff, Wayne State University assistant professor of journalism and new media and study author, writes:

This is the first study to provide empirical evidence that the government’s online surveillance programs may threaten the disclosure of minority views and contribute to the reinforcement of majority opinion… These individuals expressed that surveillance was necessary for maintaining national security and they have nothing to hide. However, when these individuals perceive they are being monitored, they readily conform their behavior—expressing opinions when they are in the majority, and suppressing them when they’re not.

The Wikipedia study, to be published in an upcoming issue of the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, found a dramatic fall in monthly traffic to Wikipedia articles about terror groups and their techniques after the June 2013 disclosures of the NSA PRISM surveillance program by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The study looked at 48 Wikipedia articles that contained terrorism-related keywords tracked by the Department of Homeland Security, such as “suicide attack” and “dirty bomb.”

Article views dropped 30 percent after June 2013, which supports “the existence of an immediate and substantial chilling effect,” wrote author Jonathon Penney. He also found that monthly views continued to fall, suggesting that the chilling effects of NSA surveillance are long term. The study, he says, has “implications for the health of democratic deliberation among citizens” and the broader health of society.

The government itself uncovered evidence in a recent survey that its surveillance causes Americans to limit their online activity. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) found that in a survey of 41,000 U.S. households that use the Internet, one in five avoided online activity because of concerns about data collection by the government.

These studies provide evidence of what we have long argued—our freedom to read what we choose online and communicate and associate with others privately is profoundly affected by the prospect of the government looking over our shoulder. It’s changed our behavior, whether that means not commenting on a Facebook post about terrorism, avoiding a Wikipedia page, or steering clear of certain organizations.

The stakes are high for the 24 diverse political and activist groups that are our plaintiffs in First Unitarian. They connect people to advance political beliefs, and sometimes take dissenting positions on issues. Government surveillance of phone records to and from these groups, which work with whistleblowers, dissidents, Muslims, patients, gun owners, laborers, and others, have hurt their ability to carry out their missions. Their members and potential clients simply don’t want to call them, visit them on the web, or email them when they know the government is watching. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Ohio, a community service and civil rights organization that assists Muslim facing racial profiling, harassment, and discrimination, has seen a decrease in communications from its constituency of Muslim Americans. Calguns, a group that assists California gun owners in exercising their rights, has also experienced fewer communications from members who want their communications with the group to be confidential. Human Rights Watch, another plaintiff, says fewer people are reporting human rights abuses—the organization can no longer guarantee security and confidentiality in their communications and those people contacting the group fear retaliation.

We’ve documented these and other affects of the government surveillance in our court filings. We argue that phone record collection violates our clients’ freedoms to associate with others to advance political beliefs. Their work is hampered by the fact that people are deterred from contacting them and they can’t guarantee confidentiality because of government surveillance.

Penney points out that courts, legal scholars, and researchers have been skeptical about the extent and even the existence of the chilling effects of government surveillance. We think these studies strongly support that phone record collection has discouraged Americans from communicating and speaking out, and should put that skepticism to rest.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

ln Israel, Greenwald reveals whose agenda he is serving

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | January 7, 2014

When waging unconventional warfare, timing is everything.

In some pro-Israel circles, President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry are now being hysterically compared to Neville Chamberlain for their alleged “betrayal” of the self-defined “Jewish state” to yet another imminent Holocaust as a result of Obama’s historic, albeit so far limited, rapprochement with today’s supposed equivalent of a genocidal Nazi regime in Tehran and Kerry’s sustained diplomatic effort to get Israel to return to its so-called “Auschwitz borders” prior to its premeditated 1967 Land Grab. In light of this dual “existential threat” posed by the Obama administration to a Greater Israel, the interview given to Israeli TV by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first published documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that revealed the scope of U.S. spying worldwide, is as close to a “game theory warfare” smoking gun as you’re going to get.

Speaking to Israel’s Channel 10 — whose biggest shareholder, cosmetics billionaire Ronald Lauder, is President of the World Jewish Congress — Greenwald criticized “the continued imprisonment of Jonathan Pollard,” who was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after passing more than a million highly classified documents to Israel while working as an intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy. (Incidentally, Channel 10 owner Lauder is also a supporter of clemency for Pollard.) As reported today by Haaretz, here’s what Greenwald told his Israeli audience about the spy, who, in the words of former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, “did more damage to the United States than any spy in history”:

Greenwald agreed that the Snowden revelations are relevant to Pollard’s case. “When the U.S. government goes around the world criticizing other countries for spying on allies and prosecuting them,” he said, “are they going to maintain that with a straight face when they’re doing exactly that?”

It’s proper to raise Pollard’s case in the context of U.S. spying on its Israeli ally, he continued, because that underscores the hypocrisy of what the U.S. itself is doing. The U.S. government, Greenwald charged, does exactly what it accuses its enemies of doing, and no country has the right to say other countries shouldn’t do something while it is secretly violating that very same taboo.

While some may be willing to concede that Greenwald’s charge of U.S. government hypocrisy is perfectly valid, the acclaimed “independent” journalist’s remarks that American national security does not require surveillance of its so-called “ally” in Tel Aviv is at best naïve, at worst disingenuous:

Asked about the U.S. government’s claim that the purpose of the eavesdropping is to fight terrorism, he responded by citing the documents’ revelations that the NSA eavesdropped on both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israeli officials, asking, Does the U.S. government think Angela Merkel is a terrorist? Or that democratically elected Israeli officials are involved in terror?

Although many Greeks and other Europeans may justifiably view Chancellor Merkel’s austerity measures as a form of economic terrorism, could Greenwald seriously be oblivious to Israel’s long track record of terrorism, not only its state terrorism against the indigenous Palestinians and their neighbours but its less widely-known, albeit acknowledged, false flag terror attacks on its American benefactor and imperial proxy?

Given the account of the “Five Dancing Shlomos” caught celebrating in Liberty Park, New Jersey as the twin towers burned on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as much other well-documented evidence pointing toward Israeli complicity in the 9/11 attacks — seized on with great alacrity by Israel loyalists such as Joe Lieberman as a pretext to strip Americans of much of their constitutional rights while others such as Michael Chertoff profited from the hyped “need” for greater “security” in the post-9/11 “Homeland” — what kind of journalist genuinely concerned about civil liberties would deny that monitoring the conversations of a “spook, terrorist or criminal” such as Netanyahu, a harsh critic of NSA spying who infamously admitted that 9/11 as “very good” for Israel, is an essential requirement of any genuine fight against terrorism?

Like that other much-adored Jewish “critic of Israel” Noam Chomsky, Glenn Greenwald would appear to be just the latest branded anti-imperial “hero” serving to provide cover for a less transparent Israeli agenda.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

January 8, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Anything Left of the US Constitution or Privacy Rights?

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Vying for a Supreme Court appointment? US District Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that the NSA’s massive spying program is legal.

By Franklin Lamb | Fig Trees and Vineyards | December 28, 2013

The answer to this question is being pondered across America in light of two seemingly contradictory federal court decisions handed down this month from two separate courts, one in Washington, the other in New York.

Since the Bush Administration’s “war of terrorism” was launched, civil liberties advocates have voiced growing alarms about the erosion of Constitutional guarantees. Yet with the disclosures by whistle blower Edward Snowden, concerns about what protections Americans have remaining—protections from governmental intrusions into their privacy as well as home or office invasions by police forces—have rapidly gained new impetus. Because of Snowden’s leaks, legal challenges have been brought against the National Security Agency; without the leaks, no challenge could have been mounted.

Now all of a sudden two US Federal District Courts, with identical powers under the US Constitution, have reached seemingly opposite conclusions on the same legal issue, i.e. the right of the NSA to conduct “metadata” searches and store the information of scores of millions of unknowing Americans. This means, given that appeals have been filed in both cases, that the issue is likely going to be decided by the US Supreme Court.

Civil libertarians were encouraged earlier this month when Federal Judge Richard Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on December 16 that the NSA’s bulk collection of cell phone data of Americans (everyone you called, when you called them, and where you were when you called them) violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Calling the data gathering “Orwellian,” Judge Leon reasoned that we now use our smartphones for a wide variety of personal activities in which we have the expectation of privacy, that probably we have more expectation of privacy from cell phones now than we did, say, from a pay phone in the 1980s. And he also noted, crucially, that cell phones today make it possible to determine the caller’s GPS location. “It’s one thing to say that people expect phone companies to occasionally provide information to law enforcement; it is quite another to suggest that our citizens expect all phone companies to operate what is effectively a joint intelligence-gathering operation with the Government,” Leon wrote.

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US District Judge Richard Leon

The judge then focused on whether the massive NSA surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

He writes:

“The threshold issue that I must address, then, is whether plaintiffs have a reasonable expectation of privacy that is violated when the Government indiscriminately collects their telephony metadata along with the metadata of hundreds of millions of other citizens without any particularized suspicion of wrongdoing, retains all of that metadata for five years, and then queries, analyzes and investigates that data without prior judicial approval of the investigative targets. If they do – and a Fourth Amendment search has thus occurred– then the next step of the analysis will be to determine whether such a search is ‘reasonable.’”

Judge Leon found that the NSA, when demanding citizens’ telephone metadata, is conducting a search, and that it is most likely an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, given there is no specific suspicion of wrongdoing by any individual whose records are demanded.

In his ruling he granted the request for an injunction against the collection of the plaintiffs’ phone data, ordering the government to destroy any of their records that have been gathered. But the judge stayed action on his ruling pending a government appeal, recognizing in his 68-page opinion what he termed as the “significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”

But no sooner had Judge Leon’s decision been published, bringing hope to civil libertarians, than US District Judge William H. Pauley III in New York issued what looks almost like a diametrically antithetical ruling, making for the latest in a contentious debate that has also seen a presidential commission weighing in on certain aspects of NSA spying as well. On December 27, Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of vast oceans of data on private phone calls is legal—meaning that in a period of just 11 days the two judges, along with the presidential panel, had reached “the opposite of consensus on every significant question before them, including the intelligence value of the program, the privacy interests at stake and how the Constitution figures in the analysis,” as the New York Times reported it.

The case in New York was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it would appeal.

Judges Leon and Pauley have starkly differing understandings on how valuable the NSA program is. Echoing arguments made recently by former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III and other senior government officials, Pauley, whose courtroom is not far from where the World Trade Center towers stood, said he believed the program might have caught the 9/11 hijackers had it been in place at the time. “While robust discussions are underway across the nation, in Congress and at the White House, the question for this court is whether the government’s bulk telephony metadata program is lawful,” Pauley wrote. “This court finds it is.”

The finding stands in stark contrast to Leon’s ruling in Washington:

“The government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the N.S.A.’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature,” Judge Leon wrote.

What these conflicting decisions leave us in is a profound quandary with respect to the issues raised by Edward Snowden. In a Christmas address that was carried by British Channel 4 and widely aired on the Internet, the former NSA contractor expressed the legitimate concern of all people who value individual liberty and privacy. A child born today, he said, might “never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought.” He added that people are essentially walking around with a tracking device in their pockets, noting that this disappearance of privacy is important because privacy “is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”

December 29, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The NSA Killed the Radio Star and American High Tech

By Richard Silverstein · Tikun Olam · November 2, 2013

While I don’t pretend to be a technical expert, it seems clear to me that one of the major pieces of collateral damage regarding the NSA spying scandal is the savaging that the American technology industry has taken. Though they initially denied it, it became apparent that companies like Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others essentially rolled over and played dead in the face of Justice Department and NSA directives that they essentially unlock their data for inspection. Later it became clear that the government didn’t really need these data dumps, it could invade the company servers and sift through data at will.

Now these same companies are telling us that they’ll regain our trust by encrypting their data so that it can’t be hacked by NSA snoops. Such encryption is not going to be an effective tool if the NSA retains the same privileges it’s had to subpoena any data at any time for any person it wishes. In such cases, the only thing standing in the way of wholesale exposure of virtually every secret is a toothless FISA court which never questions a subpoena or prevents any spying.

The only benefit to encryption is that it will make it harder for the NSA to collect the reams of data which it sifts through in order to decide which individuals’ records it wants to subpoena. But given the creativity and ingenuity of NSA spooks, you can be sure they’ll discover a way to circumvent even this obstacle.

There is a certain attraction for the average NSA hacker to et everything they can; to open all possible doors; to pry into every possibly nook and cranny. That’s what spooks do. You can’t blame them for that. But you can blame the executive branch and legislators who were supposed to exercise oversight and, with a few exceptions like Marc Udall and Ron Wyden, abdicated their constitutional responsibility. 9/11 made them all go soft in the head.

Now even Rep. James Sensenbrenner, one of the chief architects of that foul piece of legislation called the USA Patriot Act, seems to have second thoughts. He’s gone so far as to call the actions of the NSA “criminal.” But is it too late? Once the NSA let the horse out of the barn, how will the U.S. technology industry get it back in?

These companies, the backbone of the U.S. economy, have shown themselves to be at the beck and call of the government. The trust we customers placed in them to protect our security has been savaged. Does anyone believe anything Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, Larry Page or Sergey Brin say on this subject?  Frankly, I think they can’t regain that trust no matter what they do.

The NSA has torn a hole in the high tech industry big enough to drive a super computer or Mack truck through. Countries like Brazil and others are already developing competing systems that will not be subject to the intrusive scrutiny of the NSA. Will any American want to maintain telecommunications accounts with U.S. companies?

If we lose the edge we’ve had in such technological development over the past 60 years, we will lose a huge sector of U.S. commercial innovation. We will hurt our economy, lose jobs, and slow the pace of development in our own country. In a strange and ironic way, NSA spying may ultimately hurt the U.S. and our national security.

An equally damaged victim of NSA spying has been our formerly warm relations with allies like Berlin, France, German, Mexico and Brazil.  One must ask: was the benefit of whatever was learned by hacking the phones of their leaders worth the years of damage and mistrust that will ensue from this mess? Further, one has to marvel at the hubris of U.S. spymasters who believed that their massive House of Spies would never be exposed. As a result of Edward Snowden’s revelations the House of Spies has become a House of Cards.

In addition to all the nations with whom we’ve had tense of even hostile nations over the last decade or so, now we have to add allies who have lost trust in us.

I am delighted to learn that attitudes in the international community toward Snowden are gradually changing. With every new insult to the national pride of these countries with further NSA spying charges, more people find Snowden’s work admirable. German legislators met with him over the past few days to determine whether he can travel to German to testify before the Bundestag about the hacking of Prime Minister Merkel’s cell phone. If they find a way to bring him to Germany, I fear the cat will be out of the bag.  As long as the U.S. could confine him to countries like China or Russia, with whom we have tense or hostile relations, Obama could dismiss Snowden as a crank.  But once he begins spilling his guts before national legislatures of U.S. allies, he becomes a technological Robin Hood.

November 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snowden ready to testify in Merkel tapping case – German lawmaker

RT | October 31, 2013

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has met with a German MP in Moscow. He passed a letter addressed to the German government and federal public prosecutor where he allegedly said he is ready to testify over Washington’s probable wiretapping of Merkel’s phone.

During the meeting, Snowden made it “clear that he knows a lot,” Greens lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele told ARD channel.

“He expressed his principle readiness to help clarify the situation. Basis for this is what we must create. That’s what we discussed for a long time and from all angles,” the MP said. “He is essentially prepared to come to Germany and give testimony, but the conditions must be discussed.” 

Stroebele, 74, is a member of the German parliament’s control committee which is responsible for monitoring the work of intelligence agencies.

Snowden wouldn’t be able to travel to Germany to give evidence, as that would effectively see his refugee status lifted. If that were to happen, it would be possible for him to be extradited to the US, Interfax news agency quoted an unknown source as saying.

“At the same time, the German General Prosecutor’s Office could in principle send its representatives to Russia or pass its written questions on to Edward Snowden,” the same source said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dispatched the country’s top foreign affairs and intelligence advisers to Washington this week to further investigate the allegations that her cell phone was tapped by the NSA, the report which caused fierce outrage in Germany.

The scandal initially broke when journalists working with Snowden’s leaked documents contacted the German government for clarification. German politicians subsequently suggested involving Snowden as a witness in the wiretapping case.

The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office may summon Snowden to be a witness in the case, German justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Deutschlandfunk radio on Sunday.

“If our suspicions prove correct and a case is opened, the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office will have to consider the possibility of interrogating Snowden as a witness,” she said.

If Snowden were to come to Germany for the case, the EU country could breach US’ requests for extradition, the minister added.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger also said that the phone tapping is illegal and constitutes a crime,    therefore those responsible should be held accountable.

A parliamentary session will be held on November 18 to discuss the phone tapping. The Greens, along with the far-left Die Linke party, previously asked for a public inquiry into the matter. They were the ones to call on witnesses, including Snowden.

In June, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who disclosed secret US surveillance programs, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia.

President Vladimir Putin rejected US demands to extradite Snowden to face charges including espionage.

In early August, Snowden was granted temporary asylum, which can be extended annually.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazilian lawmakers press Greenwald for greater detail on Snowden’s NSA leaks

RT | October 10, 2013

Brazilian lawmakers indicated that, in lieu of direct teleconferences with Edward Snowden to gain further insight into allegations of NSA spying in their country, they may seek to seize documents now held by American journalist Glenn Greenwald.

On Wednesday Greenwald spoke to Brazilian senators currently investigating evidence of US as well as British and Canadian espionage in the Latin American country.

The legislators are part of a probe into potential foreign surveillance — the Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito, or CPI — called into action by President Dilma Rousseff in the wake of initial news reports alleging that even the president’s online communication had been intercepted.

Greenwald, who appeared along with his partner David Miranda, a Brazilian national, broached several topics during the hearing, including the possibility of granting asylum to NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden.

So far, Brazil has been vague as to whether it would seriously consider extending Snowden, who is currently residing in Russia, an offer of political asylum.

“There are many nations saying, ‘We’re glad to be learning all this information,’ but almost nobody wants to protect the person responsible for letting the world discover it,” Greenwald told the panel.

In the meantime, Brazilian legislators seem eager to find out the extent of foreign surveillance on the country in greater detail.

To that end, the country’s government — specifically, the CPI inquiry — is now seeking to establish teleconferencing sessions with Snowden.

Asked by the commission to turn over documents obtained through the whistleblower Greenwald refused, citing the need for a separation between journalism and government. His partner, Miranda, also cited that divulging the documents would constitute an “act of treason” and prevent Greenwald from entering the US again.

One Brazilian Senator, Ricardo Ferraço, went so far as to suggest that the government commission seek the authority of the country’s courts to seize documents now held by Greenwald if such communication with Snowden proved unfeasible.

Unlike allegations of NSA surveillance in the US, coverage of the agency’s activities in Brazil have taken on a broader scope, and in particular centered on the country’s economy.

Greenwald himself has shaped the narrative of Snowden’s disclosures through his testimony to Brazil’s government, as well as his work with the O Globo newspaper and Rede Globo’s news television.

In August, the journalist told Brazil’s government that alleged American espionage in Brazil was centered on gaining economic advantages rather than on any national security concerns.

“We now have several denunciations that show that the spy program is not about terrorism. It is about increasing the power of the American government,” Greenwald told senators on Wednesday, speaking in Portuguese.

In the most recent report last Sunday, Greenwald said on Globo network television that Canadian spies had targeted Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry, intercepting the metadata of phone calls and emails passing through the ministry.

The impact of the steady stream of surveillance allegations on Brazil has been swift. Last month Petrobras announced that it would be investing $9.5 billion over the next five years to heighten its data security.

Meanwhile, Communications Minister Paulo Bernardo announced that the country’s government was pursuing legislation requiring domestic data exchanges to use locally made equipment.

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Polls Continue to Show Majority of Americans Against NSA Spying

By Mark M. Jaycox | EFF | October 7, 2013

Shortly after the June leaks, numerous polls asked the American people if they approved or disapproved of the NSA spying, which includes collecting telephone records using Section 215 of the Patriot Act and collecting phone calls and emails using Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The answer then was a resounding no, and new polls released in August and September clearly show Americans’ increasing concern about privacy has continued.

Since July, many of the polls not only confirm the American people think the NSA’s actions violates their privacy, but think the surveillance should be stopped. For instance in an AP poll, nearly 60 percent of Americans said they oppose the NSA collecting data about their telephone and Internet usage. In another national poll by the Washington Post and ABC News, 74 percent of respondents said the NSA’s spying intrudes on their privacy rights. This majority should come as no surprise, as we’ve seen a sea change in opinion polls on privacy since the Edward Snowden revelations started in June.

What’s also important is that it crosses political party lines. The Washington Post/ABC News poll found 70 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans believe the NSA’s spying programs intrude on their privacy rights. This change is significant, showing that privacy is a bipartisan issue. In 2006, a similar question found only 50 percent of Republicans thought the government intruded on their privacy rights.

Americans also continue their skepticism of the federal government and its inability to conduct proper oversight. In a recent poll, Rasmusson—though sometimes known for push polling—revealed that there’s been a 30 percent increase in people who believe it is now more likely that the government will monitor their phone calls. Maybe even more significant is that this skepticism carries over into whether or not Americans believe the government’s claim that it “robustly oversees” the NSA’s programs. In a Huffpost/You Gov poll, 53 percent of respondents said they think “the federal courts and rules put in place by Congress” do not provide “adequate oversight.” Only 18 percent of people agreed with the statement.

Americans seem to be waking up from its surveillance state slumber as the leaks around the illegal and unconstitutional NSA spying continue. The anger Americans—especially younger Americans—have around the NSA spying is starting to show. President Obama has seen a 14-point swing in his approval and disapproval rating among voters aged 18-29 after the NSA spying disclosures.

These recent polls confirm that Americans are not only concerned with the fact that the spying infringes their privacy, but also that they want the spying to stop. And this is even more so for younger Americans. Now is the time for Congress to act: click here now to join the StopWatching.Us coalition.

October 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rep. Mike Rogers Threatens Extrajudicial Execution

By Daniel McAdams | Neocon Watch | October 4, 2013

Mike Rogers

The US State Department every year releases its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, arrogating to itself the right to judge how the rest of the world measures up to US standards of respect for human rights.

One of the key measurements the US uses to determine whether the rest of the world is up to its stated standards of human rights protection is whether the country engages in “extrajudicial executions,” i.e. the state killing people without a legal trial. Needless to say, countries which engage in or promote extrajudicial killing are considered among the worst of the human rights abusers.

At a Washington Post sponsored panel yesterday on cybersecurity attended by former NSA/CIA chief Michael Hayden and by current Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers (R-MI), Hayden quipped that while NSA leaker Edward Snowden is on the consideration list for a European Human Rights Award, he had “also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list.”

Considering the input that Hayden had over the US administration’s “kill list,” the implication was fairly clear. One might imagine what among some at least was (hopefully) nervous laughter.

Is it funny to joke about killing someone when everyone knows you have had the power to make it happen? At least Hayden made the comment while he was no longer serving in a position where he could call out the drones.

What is worse, however, was the reaction of the neoconservative warmonger and enemy of civil liberties, Chairman Mike Rogers. To Hayden’s confession that he had thought of putting Snowden on “a different list,” Rogers did not miss a beat.

“I can help you with that,” Rogers said.

It is incredible to imagine that an individual in such a powerful position as is Mike Rogers — not just a Member of Congress but the Chairman of the Committee that coordinates with the CIA, NSA, and the rest of the Intelligence Community on matters covert and operational — would even if perhaps in a lighthearted moment make such a deeply disturbing comment.

Killing is so casual to people like Rogers.

It is the kind of thing that — were the US not the authors — would be written up in a report on human rights abuses and threats to the rule of law.

October 7, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brazil to bypass US-centric internet amid spy revelations

Press TV – September 17, 2013

Brazil has announced plans to bypass the US-centric internet amid revelations that Washington conducts spy operations on web communications.

amin20130917172800197Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced the country’s measures to boost the Brazil’s independence and security on the World Wide Web, including storing data locally and bypassing internet traffic that goes through the United States.

Rousseff said plans are in the works to lay underwater fiber optic cable directly to Europe and all the South American nations in order to create a network free of US eavesdropping. This is while most of Brazil’s global internet traffic passes through the US.

The president also announced that she will push for new international rules of privacy and security in hardware and software during the UN General Assembly meeting later this month.

The country’s postal service also plans to create an encrypted e-mail service that would serve as an alternative to Gmail and Yahoo, two companies being monitored by the NSA.

Experts said the move may herald the first step toward a global network free from US monopoly and its illegal surveillance of global communications.

The development comes following the publication of documents leaked by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in July, exposing US spying on Brazilian companies and individuals for a decade.

Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Face book, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The NYT’s Selective Spin on Extradition, Torture, and Murder

By Michael McGehee ·  NYTX · August 5, 2013

The way the New York Times presents Moscow’s rejection of Washington’s extradition request for Edward Snowden, the leaker of details on the massive NSA global spying program, one would think Russia is in the wrong.

According to last Friday’s front page article by Steven Lee Meyers and Andrew E. Kramer, “Defiant Russia Grants Snowden Year’s Asylum,” the words chosen reveal a lot about the paper’s tone.

Moscow was “defiant “ as they “infuriated” Washington by “brushing aside pleas.”

A look at the treatment of Bradley Manning to see how Washington might treat Snowden is apt, but this is not mentioned by Meyers and Kramer.

Nor do Meyers and Kramer mention Ilyas Akhmadov, a former Chechen separatist leader who is on Russia’s most-wanted list. Akhmadov lives in Washington.

Also missing from the coverage is how Moscow has had their requests for an extradition agreement ignored by Washington. As Newsweek reported last week: “The bottom line, Russian officials agreed, was that Snowden would be useful for Russia,” because “Moscow’s biggest complaint was that Washington ignored Russia’s idea to sign ‘an agreement for extradition,’ that would guarantee both sides a mutual exchange of bad boys.”

There is also a differential treatment provided to leakers and whistle-blowers, as opposed to those who commit serious crimes in service of the government.

While Bradley Manning faces more than 130 years in jail for leaking classified documents, consider the following:

Marine Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, a squad leader, participated in the brutal killings of 24 Iraqis in Haditha seven years ago. Many of the victims were women and children . A plea bargain on Wuterich’s case resulted in a drop in rank and conviction for dereliction of duty. No jail time.

As U.S. troops were leaving in December of 2011, Michael Schmidt, a New York Times reporter, stumbled upon hundreds of pages of U.S. military documents pertaining to the 2005 Haditha massacre. Schmidt reported on a testimony of a soldier who said the murders were not “remarkable” because, “It happened all the time, not necessarily in MNF-West all the time, but throughout the whole country.”

In 1995 three American soldiers kidnapped and raped a 12-year old Japanese girl. The three men got no more than seven years jail time.

Even Charles Graner and Lynndie England, who were found guilty of abuses in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal—where detainees were tortured, humiliated, beaten, raped, and killed—received no more than ten years in jail.

The writing on the wall is clear: sounding the alarm to the general public about widespread crime and corruption (some of which includes the kind of crimes I bring up above and below) can get you life in prison—but raping, torturing, and killing dozens of civilians will get you no more than a reduction in rank, or a fraction of the time in prison.

And it is more than the differential treatment. There is also the hypocritical attitude towards extradition. Mentioned above was the case of Akhmadov, but he is hardly an exception.

During the spring of 2000 Washington helped Tomas Ricardo Anderson Kohatsu, a Peruvian intelligence official accused of torture escape arrest, saying he was entitled to diplomactic immunity.

In October of 2001, as Washington was asking the Taliban to turnover bin Laden, Haiti was asking Washington to turnover Emmanuel Constant for his role in a 1994 massacre. Washington was “defiant” as they “infuriated” Haiti by “brushing aside” their request.

Then there is Venezuela’s request for Luis Posada Carriles over his role in the 1973 bombing of a jet airliner that killed 73 people off the coast of Cuba.

Nearly a year ago Washington defied and infuriated Bolivia when they brushed aside the latter’s extradition request for former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozado, who was wanted for charges of genocide.

Also, there is Armando Fernandez Larios, a Chilean soldier who was part of The Caravan of Death, a death squad group that went from prison to prison in Chile, following the 1973 military coup, and executed prisoners. But it wasn’t this crime that got him in trouble in the U.S. It was his role in the assassination of Americans on American soil. Though, as SF Weekly reports:

Fernandez Larios later fell out of favor with his military. He cut a deal with the U.S. Justice Department, much of which remains secret. In exchange for providing information on the assassin and Chilean intelligence operations, he’d go to a federal prison for seven years and would never be deported to Chile. Argentina wanted to extradite Fernandez Larios for his alleged involvement in another political hit, but the plea agreement protected him from that as well.

And finally there is the case of Robert Seldon Lady, the former CIA station chief in Milan, who is wanted in Italy, along with 22 of Lady’s accomplices in the agency, for his role in the 2003 abduction of Abu Omar, an Egyptian cleric. Omar was renditioned to Egypt, where he was repeatedly tortured.

A more exhaustive search of Washington’s foreign policy could reveal a book’s worth of examples where Washington comes to the aid of kidnappers, torturers, terrorists, executioners, and war criminals, either to avoid extradition or be granted a punishment considerably less than what a whistle-blower can expect. And it is this context which the New York Times has conveniently left out of their coverage of both Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.

August 5, 2013 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The NYT’s Selective Spin on Extradition, Torture, and Murder

Snowden deals blow to ‘global electronic prison camp’ – Russian Orthodox Church

RT | July 30, 2013

Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has praised Russian authorities for not caving in to pressure from abroad, saying granting asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden would help prevent the establishment of a ‘global electronic prison camp’.

“It is encouraging news that Russia is demonstrating its independence in this case as it has in many others, despite the pressure” said the head of the Holy Synod’s Department for Relations between the Church and Society.

Vsevolod Chaplin added that the Snowden saga has been broadly discussed both on the domestic and international level, with Russia’s position potentially bolstering its image as a country upholding “the true freedom of ideals.”

The Russian cleric further argued that Snowden’s revelations confirmed the existence of a pernicious problem discussed by Orthodox Christians for many years – “the prospective of a global electronic-totalitarian prison camp”.

“First they get people addicted to convenient means of communication with the authorities, businesses and among each other. In a while people become rigidly connected to these services and as a result the economic and political owners of these services get tremendous and terrifying power. They cannot help feeling the temptation to use this power to control the personality and such control might eventually be much stricter that all known totalitarian systems of the twentieth century,” Interfax news agency quoted Chaplin as saying.

The church official added that in his view true democracy remained an unreachable ideal.

“Any political system fixes the domination of a few over many. In the twentieth century the harshest forms of such political power used brute force, but now they are using soft power, through total data collecting and through soft persuasion of people, first through slogans but then through legal acts,” Chaplin explained. He noted that currently the soft power system was promoting such topics as declaring the western political system as the only viable option, making religion a marginal trend, and sidelining both criticism of market fundamentalism and leftist political platforms.

Chaplin urged Russian authorities to defend “real freedom, the freedom from the global ideological dictate and from the electronic prison camp.”

The cleric also offered a possible solution – the development of its own electronic communications system that would be independent from foreign-based mediums. “The nation has the brains for this and I hope we will also have a will,” Chaplin declared.

Russia is currently considering Edward Snowden’s request for temporary asylum and the former NSA contractor still remains in the transit zone of the Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

The Russian Justice Ministry on Tuesday sent a formal response to a letter from US Attorney General, who assured Moscow that Snowden would not face the prospect of death or torture if handed over to the United States.

The Russian ministry did not provide the details of its reply to the press.

July 31, 2013 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment