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Photo by: joanneleon.  May, 2013.

Photo by: joanneleon.  May, 2013.


Less than Jake - Johnny Quest Thinks Were Sellouts

News & Opinion

I've read that there is more video. I've also read that Greenwald has been working on this story for two months.  Yesterday was another day where trying to keep up with this story was like trying to drink from a firehose.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden

More People On Twitter Describe Edward Snowden As A Hero Than A Traitor

When the news broke identifying NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the tweets calling him a hero outweighed those calling him a traitor nearly 30-1, according to data from Topsy.

#NSA and other varying items have been trending for days.  Here is the trending list for yesterday during the hours of 5pm, 8pm this morning at 8am.

From today's Guardian liveblog.

Guardian Liveblog

My colleague Nick Hopkins notes that since the revelations on Friday, neither GCHQ nor any government minister has denied the agency had access to material gathered by Prism.

The classified documents obtained by the Guardian stated that GCHQ had last year generated 197 intelligence reports from Prism, which was set up in 2007 to help the US monitor traffic of potential suspects abroad.

The papers also showed GCHQ, the UK's eavesdropping and security agency, has had access to Prism since at least May 2010.


David Cameron's official spokesman has also spoken about GCHQ's relationship with Prism this morning:

I think the PM's view is that the agencies operate within this framework and as the foreign secretary said the idea that in GCHQ people are sitting working out how to circumvent a UK law with another agency in another country is fanciful.

He thinks that the necessary and important frameworks are in place and that there has been a lot of questions that have been raised and the right thing to do is for the foreign secretary to go to the House [of Commons] and give a statement.

From the Greenwald Q&A with Snowden:
Guardian Liveblog

Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?

A: "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."

Q: What about the Obama administration's protests about hacking by China?

A: "We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries."

Q: Is it possible to put security in place to protect against state surveillance?

A: "You are not even aware of what is possible. The extent of their capabilities is horrifying. We can plant bugs in machines. Once you go on the network, I can identify your machine. You will never be safe whatever protections you put in place."

Intelligence officials overheard joking about how NSA leaker should be 'disappeared' after handing classified documents to press

According to Clemons, the men had been attending an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

One of the officials was wearing 'a white knit national counter-terrorism center shirt,' Clemons told the Huffington Post. He added that it was clear from their conversation they were among the intelligence community.

The Numbers Don't Lie: It's Irrational to Give Up This Much Liberty to Fight Terror
When confronted by threats far deadlier, Americans are much less willing to cede liberty and privacy.
The U.S. should certainly try to prevent terrorist attacks, and there is a lot that government can and has done since 9/11 to improve security in ways that are totally unobjectionable. But it is not rational to give up massive amounts of privacy and liberty to stay marginally safer from a threat that, however scary, endangers the average American far less than his or her daily commute. In 2011*, 32,367 Americans died in traffic fatalities. Terrorism killed 17 U.S. civilians that year. How many Americans feared dying in their vehicles more than dying in a terrorist attack?
Americans would never welcome a secret surveillance state to reduce diabetes deaths, or gun deaths, or drunk driving deaths by 3,000 per year. Indeed, Congress regularly votes down far less invasive policies meant to address those problems because they offend our notions of liberty. So what sense does it make to suggest, as President Obama does, that "balancing" liberty with safety from terrorism -- which kills far fewer than 3,000 Americans annually -- compels those same invasive methods to be granted, in secret, as long as terrorists are plotting?

That only makes sense if the policy is aimed at lessening not just at wrongful deaths, but also exaggerated fears and emotions**. Hence my refusal to go along. Do you know what scares me more than terrorism? A polity that reacts to fear by ceding more autonomy and power to its secret police.

Edward Snowden as Conscientious Objector

US members of Congress ought to be seeking the earliest opportunity to learn what this brave whistleblower is saying

Edward Snowden is a very modern spy – neither gun-blazingly dashing nor cat-strokingly sinister. He is young, tech-savvy, quietly articulate and intensely interested in human rights. His work did not involve high-speed car chases or elaborate gadgets – just a desk and a computer. Using these simple tools he could spy on anyone, anywhere.
President Obama made much this week of the constitutional oversights of the intelligence infrastructure from both Congress and the courts – even if the secret proceedings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts offer limited comfort to the general public. If this oversight is to be at all meaningful members of Congress ought to be seeking the earliest opportunity to learn what Snowden has to say – by video link, if necessary. Snowden is self-evidently not a common thief. He is more like a conscientious objector. It is not enough for Congress to outsource his interrogation to the FBI. It is vital, above all, that elected representatives test the truth of what he is saying – and not simply the ones who, it seems all too possible, have been asleep while minding the shop.

U.S. Successful With Cyber Defense Protection Racket

The New York Times reports on a scam with which the Unites States will milk billions of dollars out of the coffers of Persian Gulf monarchies:

The Obama administration has begun helping Middle Eastern allies build up their defenses against Iran’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons, and will be doing the same in Asia to contain computer-network attacks from North Korea, according to senior American officials.
The report is solely based on unnamed "senior U.S. officials" who assert, as uncritically stenographed by  Thom Shanker and David Sanger, various fantastic Iranian or North Korean capacities in cyberattacks.
Pat Lang
"Give us what we want or we won't..." What?

Well,  well, if the US does not act to weaken the Syrian government enough to make it agree to surrender power to the rebels, then the rebels will not attend the conference in Geneva.

Good.  pl


Crowd-Fund a Court Stenographer for Bradley Manning's Trial

The trial of Bradley Manning will have an enormous impact on press freedom and the rights of future whistleblowers. Help us crowd-fund enough donations so we can hire a court stenographer to take transcripts of the trial. The government refuses to make its transcripts available to the public.

Your donation to this project will be tax-deductible. You can also donate by check.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

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