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From the Correo del Orinoco in Caracas, Venezuela (Google Translate).

Venezuela provides humanitarian asylum Edward Snowden
"To be independent but must be felt not only that but to exercise independence and sovereignty," said national president

The President of the Republic, Nicolas Maduro, said Friday he decided to offer humanitarian asylum to former CIA technician, Edwar Snowden, who revealed a few weeks ago that the Government of the United States (U.S.) spy society in the world.

"As Head of State and Government have decided to provide humanitarian asylum to American young Edward Snowden to the homeland of Bolívar and Chávez can live," the national president before the start of the civic-military parade in celebration of the 202 years of independence of Venezuela.

"To be independent you have to feel, but not only feel but to exercise independence and sovereignty," he said.

The Guardian published the extradition request this morning.
US request for extradition of Edward Snowden - full text
A copy of the request sent to Venezuela to extradite the NSA whistleblower to the US should he arrive in the South American country
Fighting across Egypt as Brotherhood supporters told to stay on streets
Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader tells followers to continue protesting until return of ousted president Mohamed Morsi

Fighting broke out shortly after the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie – reported to have been arrested on Thursday – appeared unexpectedly at a rally in east Cairo on Friday evening to tell his followers to remain on the streets until Morsi's return. The ousted president had once been a senior member of the Islamist party.

In Cairo, a crowd of close to 5,000 Morsi supporters crossed the Nile over the 6 October Bridge, near the hub of opposition dissent, Tahrir Square. Turning left towards Maspero, the state television centre, they were approached by anti-Morsi demonstrators and fighting broke out in the streets.

Similar scenes were also reported in Egypt's second city, Alexandria, and there were reports of skirmishes in Luxor in the south of the country. The Sinai peninsula was placed on a state of emergency after an attack by gunmen on a local airport. There were also clashes reported in Damanhour, in Egypt's north-east, and Beni Suef, in the south, as Islamists protested across the country at Morsi's removal – in what the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups had billed as a "day of rejection".
[...]
Tensions were already high after security forces guarding Morsi shot and killed at least three of his supporters protesting outside the Republican Guards building in Cairo in which he was being held – and injured 15 more.

What Led to Morsi's Fall—and What Comes Next?
That a popular revolt facilitated Morsi’s ouster is undeniable. But it has also solidified the military’s role as the final arbiter of power in Egypt.

Since the beginning of the revolution, Egyptians have repeatedly taken to the streets to demand change. With every mass mobilization, political elites have jockeyed for power, seeking to ride waves of popular anger in an effort to maneuver themselves into positions of authority. The result has been successive regimes—from Mubarak to the SCAF to the Brotherhood—whose leaders have engaged in power-sharing deals that preserve the status quo and leave the structure of the authoritarian state intact.
[...]
The Brotherhood faced serious obstacles to governing the country from the beginning. These included an intransigent state bureaucracy, a politicized judiciary and a media landscape full of former regime sympathizers who helped whip up anti-Morsi sentiment through shrill, and often erroneous, coverage.
[...]
The economy has been in a steady downward spiral, with inflation and unemployment on the rise. The Morsi government offered no clear plan for recovery other than a reliance on sporadic injections of cash from regional allies, Qatar chief among them. What’s more, the Brotherhood kept intact most institutions of the Mubarak regime, including the notorious security apparatus, which continued to torture and kill protesters with the same impunity it always enjoyed.
[...]
The army was warmly embraced by many anti-Morsi protesters who openly called for them to step in and resolve the crisis. Crowds cheered wildly as helicopters flew overhead. The military did plenty to woo the masses, dropping flags on protesters and releasing footage of the anti-Morsi demonstrations on June 30 to sympathetic television stations, which aired them repeatedly, accompanied by nationalist music. The mutual flirtation peaked the day after Morsi’s ouster with air force jets drawing a heart in the sky over Tahrir.

I feel similar to a couple of people interviewed, one who said that the Egyptian in him was elated but the intellectual in him was aware of the complexities, and another who said that he did not trust the armed forces.  Some of the countries who seem to be happy about this makes it all the more worrisome in my view.  I just don't know what to think.  I'm glad that the Egyptians can successfully force their leadership to represent them, who refuse to have puppets for other powers heading theirs state, but just wonder if they will come up with candidiates for the new election, etc. who have a chance of getting to a point where their lives are improved.  I admire their persistence but hope they know who is behind the curtain and hope they know what they're doing and that they have organized some populist parties to represent them.
In New York's 'Little Egypt,' Egyptian-Americans cheer Mursi's ouster

Some people gathered on the sidewalks of the neighborhood in Astoria, Queens, but most congregated inside the public places and their homes, eyes glued to Arabic-language news programs and TV images of demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

"We gave him a chance for one year and he didn't do anything," said Abdilmoniem Mohamed, 55, a Bronx resident who was at the Arab Community Center in Astoria watching coverage of the events.
[...]
"I'm not happy. I'm not sad. I'm confused," said Ehab Mohamed, owner of Zaitoun, a small store a couple of doors from the community center, who added, "He came in the legal way. They should have made a new election."
[...]
Amr Khalifa said he also was deeply concerned about the safety of his family, most of whom live in Cairo and Alexandria. "Whether the Islamists strike tonight, tomorrow, next week, believe you me, it will happen," he said.

This story is a bit confusing. It sounds like some of the Euro countries wanted to use some of the time during these trade talks to discuss surveillance and coordinate, dicuss it together, confront the US, etc.  But it looks like the UK has derailed that to some extent and individual countries will be required to confront the US on their own.  
NSA leaks: UK blocks crucial espionage talks between US and Europe
First talks to soothe transatlantic tensions to be restricted to data privacy and Prism programme after Britain and Sweden's veto

Britain has blocked the first crucial talks on intelligence and espionage between European officials and their American counterparts since the NSA surveillance scandal erupted.

The talks, due to begin in Washington on Monday, will now be restricted to issues of data privacy and the NSA's Prism programme following a tense 24 hours of negotiations in Brussels between national EU ambassadors. Britain, supported only by Sweden, vetoed plans to launch two "working groups" on the espionage debacle with the Americans.

Instead, the talks will consist of one working group focused on the NSA's Prism programme, which has been capturing and storing vast amounts of internet and mobile phone metadata in Europe.
[...]
The talks on Prism and data privacy have been arranged to coincide with the trade talks in an attempt to defuse the transatlantic tension. EU diplomats and officials say the offer of talks by the Americans is designed to enable the leaders of Germany and France to save face following revelations about the scale of US espionage – particularly in Germany, but also of French and other European embassies and missions in the US.

‘We don’t need US Embassy in Bolivia’: Morales, UNASUR slam ‘imperial’ skyjack, demand apologies

An emergency UNASUR meeting has demanded the governments of France, Portugal, Italy and Spain apologize for forcibly halting President Morales’s plane in Austria due to suspicions Edward Snowden might have been aboard.

The Cochabamba Declaration issued at the summit also denounced "the flagrant violation of international treaties."

Tensions flared at the UNASUR summit in Bolivia, with the country’s president Evo Morales saying that his “hand would not shake” if and when he “closes the US Embassy,” following the forced stop of presidential plane in Austria.
[...]
"Apologies from a country that did not let us pass over its territory are not enough," Morales said before talks in the central city of Cochabamba. "Some governments apologized, saying it was an error, but this was not an error."

UN Accuses Israel of Torturing Palestinian Children

Shir Hever: Israeli forces proven to be using Palestinian children as human shields despite attempts to cover it up to protect image

Col. Morris Davis.
Thank You For Your Service: Remembering Michael Hastings

I first enlisted in the Army as a private first class in the summer of 1985. Since that time I have served in four combat deployments and been commissioned as an officer, and I presently serve in the Washington, D.C., area. Virtually every time I travel anywhere in this country, kind people always pull me aside and say, “Hey, thanks for your service!” Today I feel an obligation to return the favor and publicly tell a great American how much I appreciate his service. I only wish I’d have done so while he was still alive.
[...]
Within 10 minutes of meeting him my opinion had changed dramatically. I found him to be a very rational, honest, and respectful guy. He also showed real interest in and concern for the regular combat troop and was definitely not some “military hater.” Over the course of lunch that day I shared with him my frustration at what I believed to be a significant chasm between what some of our senior military leaders were saying in public and what I knew to be true behind the scenes. Michael told me that didn’t surprise him, because he’d seen it in his own experience over the years and had many soldiers tell him the same thing.

Within days of that meeting I returned to Afghanistan to complete my combat deployment, but our meeting had left an impression on me. Shortly after my return to the U.S. in October 2011, my concerns about the observed truth deficit began to grow to the point where I could no longer remain silent. In part I was motivated to take the risk of publishing my experiences because of the courage I saw in Michael Hastings. I spent virtually the entire month of December 2011 writing my story, which I shared with numerous members of Congress and then in the Armed Forces Journal. On February 5, 2012, the story broke in The New York Times; five days later Michael wrote a very supportive piece in Rolling Stone.

So-called free trade talks should be in the public, not corporate interest
Instead a negotiation process that is neither democratic and or transparent is likely to perpetuate a managed trade regime

If negotiators created a genuine free trade regime that put the public interest first, with the views of ordinary citizens given at least as much weight as those of corporate lobbyists, I might be optimistic that what would emerge would strengthen the economy and improve social well-being. The reality, however, is that we have a managed trade regime that puts corporate interests first, and a process of negotiations that is undemocratic and non-transparent.

The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans' interests is low. The outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker.

The Less-Than-Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

Just a few days before the bill’s passage, a coalition of immigrants rights and environmental advocacy groups made a big announcement in Tucson, Arizona, in opposition. Their reasons? The so-called comprehensive immigration bill is less comprehensive than it is punitive—doubling border agents to nearly 40,000, while adding more than 300 extra miles of fencing on the southern border, all in addition to billions of dollars for drones.
[...]
Vallet was correct when stating that the move for the tougher enforcement amendment did draw some Republican votes. But her plea to stand in real solidarity with immigrants has gone largely unnoticed from mainstream groups. With the notable exception of Presente.org, which told The New York Times it could not conscionably support a bill that’s “guaranteed to increase deaths,” most groups with a national reach have remained silent—if not in full support of the bill.
[...]
The idea that additional drones—maybe even armed drones—at the southern border, along with a doubling of border patrol agents, and hundreds of miles of fencing will mean citizenship anytime soon for 11 million members of society is false. The bill may mean a lot more spending and enforcement, in exchange for less than six million people, who won’t even have a chance at citizenship for quite a long time.

This is from Kevin Gosztola. I don't think this is the whole story and I think more will come out, even though our top officials are staying quiet.  But it does confirm that all of this originated with the U.S. govt, which was glaringly obvious, but of course the apologists were quick to point out that there was no proof that the administration was behind it and they've been discredited, yet again.
US Ambassador to Austria Reportedly Responsible for False Claim Snowden Was on Bolivian Leader’s Plane

The Austrian daily newspaper, Die Presse, has reported that the United States ambassador to Austria was responsible for making false claims that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane.

In a story published on July 3, the newspaper reported shortly after Morales’ plane landed the “Vienna foreign department received a phone call.” The caller was the US  ambassador to Austria, William Eacho.

In real time, as the Morales plane stop and frisk was happening, Marcy Wheeler became suspicious as it coincided with an announcement from the Ecuadorian embassy in London that they had found a bug in the ambassador's office.  I remember seeing that tweet at the time and wondering what she was thinking.

So when the stories came out that "they were sure" Snowden was on that plane, Marcy laid it out in a post at the emptywheel site and it is an intriguing speculation -- Ecuador found the bug weeks before, knew it was there and decided to leave it there to send disinformation to the US intel agencies, and when Morales left Russia, planted the information that Snowden was on his plane, which made our intel agencies think they had solid intel. I'll take that speculation a bit further and say that if this was true, presumably they would have timed it so that the US had very little time to react, and they, as expected, overreacted and forced his plane down in Austria.  Marcy thinks that maybe the whole thing was a diversion and that Snowden could have been on another plane headed for Latin America, say, Maduro's plane.  

In this post, she also talks about the emergency UNASUR meeting of Latin American leaders held on July 4, noting that we really still don't know if Snowden was on Morales' plane, and if he was, any of those leaders who came to Bolivia for the meeting could have secretly taken Snowden back to one of their countries, so he could be in any one of a number of countries, or even Austria.  What I find to be confusing is, if they did use the embassy bug to plant disinformation, why did they then disclose that they knew about the bug? Why not keep it in place to use it further?  Disclosing it at that point would only serve one purpose, or possibly two: 1) to poke the US in the eye and let them know they had planted disinformation after they already caused an international diplomacy problem, 2) to further demonize the US and give UNASUR something else to rant about at their meeting.

Europe again stuck saying, “They told us they were sure” - See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/#sthash.0xrfuYIS.dpuf

In point of fact, it’s not yet clear Snowden wasn’t on the plane. While Austrian authorities checked the passports of the known passengers on the plane, they apparently did not conduct a thorough search. And 3 Spaniards who showed up to conduct a search were denied entry (though Morales did stop in the Canary Islands, which would have provided another opportunity to conduct a search on Spanish territory, but by that point Morales was already making a literal international incident about his treatment).
[...]
So Snowden could foreseeably be in Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Russia, Suriname, Uruguay, or Venezuela. And there’s no reason to believe we’d know one way or another.

Meanwhile Ecuador chose yesterday, in the wake of the Morales slight, to complain about a bug placed in its Embassy in London. A bug they claim to have found last month.
[...]
This entire stink is supposed to be about America’s omnipotent SIGINT dragnet (the power of which is presumably one of the reasons the NATO members are being so compliant with US demands). But somehow that SIGINT hasn’t pinpointed Snowden yet, and may have gotten badly embarrassed by listening into one of its own bugs.

Some background, article from The Hindu, July 4.
Maduro, Morales leave Russia sans Snowden

There was a lot of speculation in the media that Mr. Snowden may leave Moscow on Tuesday evening with either Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro or Bolivian President Evo Morales, who were in Moscow to attend a summit of gas exporting countries. Both leaders said they would consider Mr. Snowden’s request of asylum when they get it.

On the way back from Moscow, Mr. Morales’ plane was forced to land in Austria and was searched by police on suspicion that Mr. Snowden could be onboard. Mr. Maduro flew from Moscow to Minsk, Belarus, as part of his European tour.

Again, for background, NYT article from July 2. It's clear that both Morales and Maduro were toying with us.  And therefore it is possible that the Ecuadorian ambassador could have been too.
New Rumor of Snowden Flight Raises Tensions

Government planes carrying foreign officials to diplomatic meetings in Moscow typically arrive and depart from Vnukovo Airport, which is also the main airfield used by the Russian government, rather than from Sheremetyevo, where Mr. Snowden arrived from Hong Kong on June 23 hours after American officials had sought his extradition there.

The speculation that Mr. Snowden would hitch a ride on a government jet was discounted by the fact that the plane would have to first make a quick flight from one Moscow airport to the other.

In an interview with the television station Russia Today, Mr. Maduro said he would consider any request by Mr. Snowden. Then, ending the interview with a dash of humor, he said, “It’s time for me to go; Snowden is waiting for me.”

Take this one (a new post from a blog I'm not familiar with, and it doesn't give a link for the claim) with a grain of salt.
Venezuelan President Maduro Claimed CIA Behind Morales Plane Incident

Media reports quoted Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros as saying that the recent decision by a number of EU countries to close their airspace to Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales Ayma’s plane was due to a demand from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Venezuelan national news agency AVN quoted Maduro as saying, “A very important minister told us that the CIA contacted the authorities of Portugal, Italy, and France to close their airspace to President Morales”. Bolivia accused France, Italy, Spain and Portugal of violating international law after a plane carrying Morales was diverted Tuesday and searched Wednesday over suspicions that it might have fugitive American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on board.



Action



Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.

Massive Spying Program Exposed
Demand Answers Now (EFF petition)


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