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News & Opinion


Guardian is running a liveblog on the Miranda situation.  Ruling was just delivered.  BBC reporter calls it a draw. A limited injunction. Another, fuller hearing on Friday (this week?) and police have opened an investigation.  Tens of thousands of pages.  Looks like they can read them, so I don't know what the story is with encryption.  They said that only some of them are 'stolen documents'.

David Miranda lawyers seek high court injunction – live tweets
Follow Robert Booth's live tweets as lawyers acting for partner of Glenn Greenwald, who was held for nine hours under anti-terror laws, take his case to the High Court

Robert Booth live tweets as Miranda's lawyers seek high court injunction.

Jacob Appelbaum says this is huge news.

Kevin Gosztola.

Bradley Manning’s Profoundly Moving Statement on ‘Paying the Price to Live in a Free Society’

Following the announcement of Bradley Manning’s sentence of 35 years in military prison, Manning’s civilian defense attorney read a statement from Manning, which will be included in a filing requesting a pardon from President Barack Obama.

Coombs also described what Manning was like after the sentence was announced. He recounted how he and his other defense attorneys had been crying. Manning looked at him and said, “It’s okay. It’s alright. I know you did your best. I’m going to be okay. I’m going to get through this.”

Bradley Manning Uncovered U.S. Torture, Abuse, Soldiers Laughing As They Killed Innocent Civilians

"It was his opinion that if through crowd sourcing that enough analysis was done on these documents, which he felt to be very important, that it would lead to greater good, that society as a whole would come to the conclusion that the wars weren't worth it, that really no wars are worth it."
[...]
1. The 'Collateral Murder' Apache helicopter video
[...]
2. The Reykjavik-13 cable
[...]
3. The Iraq War Logs
[...]
4. The Afghanistan War Logs
[...]
5. Detention, abuse and torture
[...]
6. U.S. complicity with repressive Arab regimes

ABC News Digital report right after the Manning sentence was announced.  It's interesting to watch the big network news take on it.  This reporter is their Manning trial reporter. Based on the things he said, I have to wonder how often he attended and how well he understands the various people involved. He was shocked that the sentence was so light and he said that Manning has a dedicated group of supporters (true) and that they must feel relieved today because it was only 35 years. It's clear that he doesn't understand Manning supporters,
Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years for Leaking Secrets

8 Real Spies And Actual Bad Guys Who Got Shorter Sentences Than Bradley Manning

William Colton Millay, 16 years for attempting to sell secrets to a Russian spy
[...]
David Henry Barnett, 18 years for selling classified documents to Soviet officials
[...]
Harold James Nicholson, 23 years for providing highly classified information to Russia
[...]
Ana Belen Montes, 25 years for passing classified information to Cuba's government
[...]
Earl Edwin Pitts, 27 years for giving classified information to Russian intelligence services
[...]
Michael Peri, 30 years for passing defense secrets to communist East Germany
[...]
Albert Sombolay, 34 years for giving a Jordanian intelligence agent key information about the U.S. military buildup ahead of the first Gulf War

How A 'Deviant' Philosopher Built Palantir, A CIA-Funded Data-Mining Juggernaut

That mission turned out to be vastly more difficult than any of the founders had imagined. PayPal had started with perfectly structured and organized information for its fraud analysis. Intelligence customers, by contrast, had mismatched collections of e-mails, recordings and spreadsheets.

To fulfill its privacy and security promises, Palantir needed to catalog and tag customers’ data to ensure that only users with the right credentials could access it. This need-to-know system meant classified information couldn’t be seen by those without proper clearances–and was also designed to prevent the misuse of sensitive personal data.

But Palantir’s central privacy and security protection would be what Karp calls, with his academic’s love of jargon, “the immutable log.” Everything a user does in Palantir creates a trail that can be audited. No Russian spy, jealous husband or Edward Snowden can use the tool’s abilities without leaving an indelible record of his or her actions.

From 2005 to 2008 the CIA was Palantir’s patron and only customer, alpha-testing and evaluating its software. But with Langley’s imprimatur, word of Palantir’s growing abilities spread, and the motley Californians began to bring in deals and recruits. The philosopher Karp turned out to have a unique ability to recognize and seduce star engineers. His colleagues were so flummoxed by his nose for technical talent that they once sent a pair of underwhelming applicants into a final interview with Karp as a test. He smelled both out immediately.

emptywheel on the newly released FISC opinion where they found NSA in violation of the 4th amendment.
NSA’s “Presumption of Regularity”

As you’ve probably heard, the most striking part of the October 3, 2011 FISA opinion finding NSA’s collection violated the Fourth Amendment is Footnote 14.

[...]

I’m not surprised FISC invoked this (especially not surprised that John Bates, who can be very deferential, did). It is the law.

But (as the case of Adnan Latif showed) we keep extending the presumption of regularity to the government in spite of abundant evidence we shouldn’t.

- See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/...

HISTORY WILL PARDON MANNING, EVEN IF OBAMA DOESN'T

Well before the sentence came down, supporters of Manning were busy campaigning to get him freed. There were demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere, bumper stickers, and online petitions—one of which Daniel Ellsberg, the former Department of Defense official who leaked the Pentagon Papers, helped to organize. In the wake of the verdict, more protests were planned, including a rally outside the White House on Wednesday night. Amnesty International asked President Obama to release Manning and called on the U.S. government to “turn its attention to investigating violations of human rights and humanitarian law” he helped to uncover.

It seems unlikely in the extreme that these efforts will lead anywhere. Obama has insisted all along that Manning’s case was a matter for the military authorities, and that he wasn’t going to intervene. “We’re a nation of laws,” the President said at a fundraising breakfast, in 2011. “We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate …. He broke the law.”

In helping to reveal that the U.S. authorities had repeatedly misled the public about the war in Vietnam, Ellsberg also broke the law, of course. So do most whistle-blowers who are employed by the government. But history tends to be kinder to them than the courts, and I doubt that this case will be an exception. In fifty years, people will look on the Manning case as another blot on a dark era for the United States and the values that it claims to hold dear. As for Manning himself, future historians will surely agree with Ellsberg, who, speaking to the A.P. yesterday, described him as “one more casualty of a horrible, wrongful war.”

The whistleblower's mad moral courage
This is why we pathologise those like Bradley Manning: I saw the ugliness of war, but the 'sane' thing was to keep my head down

In every society, democratic or totalitarian, the sensible, grown-up thing to do is to commit to the long haul of sleazy conformity. The rewards are mostly guaranteed: if not freedom or happiness, then respectability and degree of security. What spoils it is the obstinate few who do otherwise – those, absurdly, who actually believe in the necessary fictions; enough to be moved and angered by the difference between what an organisation does in reality and what it says in public.

In this respect, the whistleblower is arguably more mindful of an organisation's stated values and standards than the vast majority of its members and affiliates – so much so that keeping quiet or going along with it or walking away is not an option. The final irony lies in the whistleblower's faith in normal people, the assumption that they will welcome being less deceived, and use the revelations to press for reform in their governments and institutions.

For these delusions, whistleblowers have been punished, again and again, throughout history. But for whatever reasons, still they do it. In a ghastly way, those Soviet pseudo-scientists might have been right: viewed from the perspective of a normal person, such an individual would have to be a little sick in the head.

Long piece in LA Weekly about Hastings.  I have a lot of thoughts on it for another time.  Two most significant things I read are 1) wife not mentioned even once; 2) he asked close female friend next door to borrow her car at 12:30am just a few hours before he was killed because he was afraid of using his feared for his life, wanted to get out of town, even though his brother was staying with him.   She declined because she was having mechanical problems with it.  Never saw him again. Article spends most of its time on his psychological and pharmaceutical problems.  Female friend weighs in on that too.
Michael Hastings' Dangerous Mind: Journalistic Star Was Loved, Feared and Haunted

One night in June, he came to Thigpen's apartment after midnight and urgently asked to borrow her Volvo. He said he was afraid to drive his own car. She declined, telling him her car was having mechanical problems.

"He was scared, and he wanted to leave town," she says.

The next day, around 11:15 a.m., she got a call from her landlord, who told her Hastings had died early that morning. His car had crashed into a palm tree at 75 mph and exploded in a ball of fire.

der Spiegel.  It makes no sense for Assad to order the use chemical weapons on civilians.  He knows that it will bring military intervention and for him to do it is suicide.
Little Doubt: Experts Attest to Use of Nerve Gas in Syria
Experts are convinced that the hundreds of people who died in attacks in Syria on Wednesday were the victims of chemical weapons. It is yet to be confirmed, however, exactly what was deployed and whether the Assad regime is indeed responsible.

As of Wednesday, the death toll in Arbeen was 63. But if what the opposition is reporting turns out to be true, that is only a small sliver of the carnage: Up to 1,300 people were allegedly killed in a toxic gas attack by the Syrian army that day.

Shocking videos have been uploaded to YouTube. In them, children are seen to make up a large percentage of the dead. The videos have already had political consequences, as governments around the world reacted with horror. On Wednesday evening, the UN Security Council announced the need for "clarity" about the reported use of chemical weapons, but they didn't reach agreement about launching an investigation.
[...]
Witnesses told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the missiles began hitting a number of places northeast of Damascus around 3:45 a.m., with Harasta, Zamalka, Arbeen and smaller villages among them. The missiles were reportedly fired by twos, and one witness in Zamalka counted more than 20 hitting the city.
[...]
It seems odd that, of all times, the attacks were launched just two days after United Nations chemical weapons experts had arrived to determine whether such weapons had been used in the country. But for Riad Kahwaji, head of the Institute for Near East & Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) in Beirut, it comes as no surprise. "With this timing the Syrian government is sending the opposition a clear signal: 'You're alone and we can do with you what we want.'"
The use of chemical weapons in the presence of the UN team also makes a mockery of the international community. Even so, Kahwaji doubts there will be a decisive response from the West. "The Syrian regime will remain immune to this as long as it is protected by the Russians on the UN Security Council," he says.

MoonofAlabama says it is a false flag attack.  Whoever did it, how f'ing despicable.
Syria: Another False Flag "Chemical Weapon" Attack

Whenever there is some international action with regards to Syria, a United Nations security council meeting or a G8 conference, the Syrian insurgents create and/or propagandize some "massacre" that they allege to have been perpetrated by the Syrian government.
[...]
It would of course be totally irrational for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons just the moment that chemical weapon inspectors arrive in the country. But it makes a lot of sense for the insurgents and their foreign supporters to create such an incident, as the did previously, and to use it to renew their propaganda campaign against the Syrian government. It is therefore no surprise that the British government immediately jumped all over the case.

Simply answer "cui bono?" and you will know who is responsible for this incident.

More on the newly disclosed FISC ruling by DS Wright. The fact that this has been disclosed and it's now pretty clear that NSA was lying to the FISC too, leads me to believe that the Obama admin will be sending somebody under the bus soon to try to apply some damage control.  But sending people who know where all the bodies are buried under the bus has a lot of risks involved too.  Of course these operations seem to have unlimited access to large amounts of funds and just about anyone can be bought.
http://news.firedoglake.com/...

The initial defense of the NSA spying program echoed by everyone from Congress to the agency heads to the White House was that the program was “legal.” But newly declassified material shows that even the secret court stacked with Chief Justice Roberts’ judges recognized that the NSA was conducting a domestic spying program when the NSA gathered thousands of Americans’ e-mails.

[...]

The FISA court opinion demonstrates at least that we did have a domestic spying program. And no, once again, that is not Constitutional.

In a strongly worded opinion, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court expressed consternation at what he saw as a pattern of misleading statements by the government and hinted that the NSA possibly violated a criminal law against spying on Americans.

“For the first time, the government has now advised the court that the volume and nature of the information it has been collecting is fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe,” John D. Bates, then the surveillance court’s chief judge, wrote in his Oct. 3, 2011, opinion.

Oh brother.  Isn't there a lot of cognitive dissonance to this?  U.S. Intelligence Community Now Has Tumblr Blog Site

Two weeks ago President Obama directed  Clapper to become more transparent. DNI’s response was to start a blog, but with the exact same surfeit of materials that currently characterizes the DNI’s somewhat barren website.


Action





From the Imgur Public Gallery



"Congress and NSA are asleep, post pictures of Constitution'"


Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


The Evening Blues
Pfc. Manning Statement Re: Gender Identity on Today Show


F you, Erickson.

Conservatives will probably make use of this!



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Neil Young - On The Way Home / Tell Me Why

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