Edward Snowden, American Hero

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Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:18 am

Cause a life of iniquity for laziness' sake
Is a deal with the devil Rasta just can't make.

He deserves his own thread

you are the one we have been waiting for....THANK YOU


Edward Snowden, American Hero
One man stands up against the Panopticon

by Justin Raimondo, June 10, 2013

At the end of the eighteenth century, the laissez-faire-philosopher-turned-statist Jeremy Bentham devised a scheme for the design of a prison he called the Panopticon: a circular building at the center of which is a watchtower made of glass from which it is possible to observe the inmates at all times. If we look at America as one vast prison, with ourselves as the inmates, we can get some idea of what the national security bureaucracy was envisioning when they conceived PRISM, “Boundless Informant,” and the program that records the details (minus content) of every phone call made in the US (which, as far as I know, doesn’t have a name). Derived from documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper columnist Glenn Greenwald, these revelations throw back the curtain on a modern day, hi tech Panopticon, with the high priests of the National Security State sitting at the center of it, relentlessly observing us, the prisoners—who don’t even know we’re prisoners – 24/7.

PRISM allows the National Security Agency (NSA) “direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants,” according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian newspaper. The information scooped up by the NSA includes “search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats,” according to the Power Point presentation leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The document claims the US (and British) governments collect this information “directly from the servers” of internet service providers. While at first denying even knowing about any such government program, as well as the idea that they would allow direct access to their servers, the named ISPs later conceded the truth of these accusations by acknowledging that the information is indeed being provided in a “online room,” where massive amounts of information are stored and then transferred to government snoops.

In response to civil libertarians who worried about the extend of government surveillance, and whether it went beyond the bounds allowed by law, the NSA and the intelligence community routinely denied they were spying on Americans. It’s just those dastardly foreigners, they said: oh, but of course we inadvertently scooped up some information on American citizens, however that was an unavoidable accident – and, in answer to inquiries from Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, they claimed there was no way of knowing how much or to what extent surveillance of Americans had occurred. No sooner had that been run up the flagpole than the Guardian debunked this particular lie with yet another blockbuster story, this time exposing a program given the sinister name of “Boundless Informant”:

“The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analyzing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.

“The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA data-mining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.”

Accompanying the Guardian story is a “heat” map reprinted from the original documents showing where the snoops are spying most intensely, with high rates of interception in red and orange, and the rest in shades of green. America is colored orange. “Boundless Informant” has the ability to determine how many communications have been intercepted in a given country, what sort of communications they are, and other details. In a snapshot of what our spooks scooped up in March, 2013, we see Iran came in first, unsurprisingly, with more than 14 billion reports, with Pakistan and Jordan following close behind. Egypt and India also figure prominently. Israel looks bright red to me. The map affixes a number to the orange-colored United States: 2,892,343,346 – presumably the number of “reports” coming into the Panopticon for that month.

Combined with the massive phone call database being compiled – which can track your location as well as your calls – this triad of Orwellian devices constitutes a modern day Panopticon, one that defines us all as inmates in some vast penal institution. Which pretty much sums up the status of the individual in the year 2013, and, indeed, in the entire post-9/11 era. We are living in the era of the Surveillance State, in which the “enemy” is not just some nameless, faceless terrorist but, potentially, anyone and everyone.

In the midst of these shocking revelations, their author has bravely come forward: he is 29-year-old Edward Snowden, a former employee of the Booz-Allen defense contractor who worked for the NSA and has now apparently fled to Hong Kong. In an interview with the Guardian, Snowden states his motives forthrightly:

“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.”

This is what is going to save our republic, in the end: the existence of people like Edward Snowden, who, I’m not surprised to learn, contributed $250 to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. The whole tenor of his remarks to the Guardian bespeaks an explicitly libertarian critique of the “authoritarian mindset” – as he puts it – of the government spies who are tracking our every move. This video interview with Snowden, conducted by Glenn Greenwald, literally brought tears to my eyes: one could not possibly hope for a clearer, more eloquent indictment of the emerging American police state than Snowden’s withering analysis of what he calls “the architecture of oppression.” Here is someone who gave up a comfortable life in Hawaii as a highly-paid government contractor and now risks jail – “I do not expect to see home again” – and eternal exile. Why did he do it? To give the American people the information they need to decide whether they want to live in a society where government spying on citizens is ubiquitous. His greatest fear? It’s not imprisonment, but the fear that his act will change nothing.

It’s up to us to make sure his heroic act is not in vain. He appears to be a confirmed libertarian, and an informed and articulate one at that. Libertarians are in the vanguard of this fight, and have been from the beginning: it’s no accident that Sen. Rand Paul is introducing legislation – the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act – to shut down the Panopticon now. Thank the gods for the Glenn Greenwalds, the Daniel Ellsbergs, and the rest of the honest liberals who defend the long and distinguished civil libertarian tradition on the left – they are our invaluable allies

Snowden is bound to be pilloried as a “traitor” by the neocons, the Lindsey Grahams and John McCains, and their newfound best friends in the Obama administration: the latter will doubtless pursue Snowden just like they pursued Bradley Manning and are still pursuing Julian Assange. And I can’t wait to hear from the Obama cult on all this. Snowden is already being attacked by the Usual Suspects for his choice of sanctuaries, and he answers the question of why Hong Kong:

“I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”

Stronger, apparently, than our own – and that may indeed turn out to be true, at least in this particular case. Aside from the bitter irony of having to flee to Red China in order to escape the enemies of freedom – I told you we’re living in Bizarro World – this is actually quite a smart move, because it’s an open question as to whether the Chinese government will hand him over to the Americans. If they do, they will surely take their time about it. Hong Kong has autonomy in its internal affairs, while defense and foreign policy are Beijing’s domain. The relatively liberal politics of Hong Kong make a quick handover unlikely – and, as far as Beijing is concerned, especially unlikely in the wake of a Sino-American summit at which President Obama went out of his way to complain about alleged Chinese hacking of US computer systems. In response to that charge, Snowden had this to say:

“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.”

While some Chinese officials would no doubt like to be able to hand Snowden over to the Americans, the political dynamics of such a move are highly problematic. They don’t want to be seen as caving in to American pressure: the ultra-nationalist Chinese public has enough gripes about official corruption and growing economic inequality for the Politburo to throw this into the boiling pot. The leadership transition is still shaky, and the new leader, Xi Jinping, is going to be sorely tested as this becomes a major diplomatic bone of contention between Beijing and Washington.

The impact of these stunning revelations is bound to reverberate throughout the world, with international as well as domestic political implications we have only just begun to contemplate, but one aspect of all this I find especially interesting, and that is how it is changing the ideological atmosphere in this country. The change was neatly summed up in a tweet by one Zaid Jilani, who I believe is a former blogger for one of the liberal think tanks:

“Don’t care what party you vote for, if you’re tea party or #OWS, the only political labels right now are authoritarian or not-authoritarian.”

Certain events define the battle lines and show us just where everyone stands, and the Snowden-Greenwald revelations are just such an occasion. Where you come out on this issue defines who and what you are: the “liberal” pundits defending this administration’s multi-pronged assaulted on civil liberties will go down in infamy as the Benedict Arnolds of the American left. In such times, when the stakes are this high, and the future of the republic is at issue, character determines who will stand up and who will bow their heads to the powerful. What is striking, to me, is the atmosphere of fear that this administration has managed to instill in potential whistleblowers: in his Sunday morning interview with George Stephanopoulos, Greenwald was asked if the FBI has paid him a visit “yet”: Glenn’s answer was classic. He said that if and when the FBI comes calling he’ll tell them, “There’s this thing called the Constitution, the First Amendment of which” guarantees his ability to report what the government is doing in the dark. He made it clear he isn’t intimidated, and when Stephanopoulos asked if we can be expecting more revelations, Glenn said, “You can.”

For the first time in many years, there is a massive fightback against the continuous assault on the Constitution and the rule of law we’ve been experiencing since September 11, 2001. God help us if we lose.

one man....COURAGE

Try and remember now just what has been done.
Enslavement, displacement of every nation.
And now to one nation, everyone hold their grudge.
Kind of makes me wonder about which side I'm on.
I don't defend white, and I don't defend black.
I defend truth and rights and all of that.
I work on situations where I'm at
Hold my position and never fall of track.

Nah give up my faith!
Though Babylon rage,
I and I will strive until
the end of my days.
go against society, Rasta courage.

I never give no good vibes
and I never give up no truth.
Never trade my sanity for living in Babylon crew.
Vanity will never drive this man insane.
This man will walk alongside Jah again.
We see all of the pressure to conform today,
And I may sometimes bend,
but only as not to break.
ïCause a life of iniquity for laziness' sake
Is a deal with the devil Rasta just can't make.

Looking back now upon all of the evidence
400 years and what those years have
really done, we talk of peace but at the
first sign of war. Bredren and bredren and
sistren ain't sistren no more. Without forgiveness
how will any war cease, while the heathen rage
Rastaman sitting at ease. No one will move a
muscle for some moral justice and with no justice they won't live.

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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby NeonLX » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:27 am

They sure were trashing him on the CBS morning "news" today.

"I mean, he ran off to China, that should tell you everything you need to know." That's what they said (my wording, but they repeated it like every fourth sentence).

Bonus: They interviewed Eric Kantor for about 10 minutes, just so he could sling all of his sh!t about Snowden.
America is a fucked society because there is no room for essential human dignity. Its all about what you have, not who you are.--Joe Hillshoist
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:33 am

NeonLX » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:27 am wrote:They sure were trashing him on the CBS morning "news" today.

"I mean, he ran off to China, that should tell you everything you need to know." That's what they said (my wording, but they repeated it like every fourth sentence).

Bonus: They interviewed Eric Kantor for about 10 minutes, just so he could sling all of his sh!t about Snowden.


Morning Joe is all about how EVIL Snowden is...I guess they still want to see Ellsberg and Martin Luther King in jail also....that retched thing called civil disobedience

please spy on us and tell us we are doing nothing wrong

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"If you see something, say something"

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:00 am

MONDAY, JUN 10, 2013 06:45 AM CDT
Who are the real criminals in NSA case?
Whistleblower Edward Snowden was simply doing what the government said: "If you see something, say something"

Permanent Washington’s reactions to the Guardian’s ongoing revelations about the Obama administration’s unprecedented mass surveillance system have been at once boringly predictable and incredibly revealing. They are so revealing, in fact, that we are left with a troubling question that a civilized society should have never even have to ask: Namely, who are the true criminals – those who violate the law, or those like 29-year-old Edward Snowden who blow the whistle on the violations?

Before getting to that monumental query, let’s first review officialdom’s reactions to the NSA story that are leading to it.

There was the claim by Obama officials that the NSA spying system has made us safer by thwarting the New York subway bombing plot. Such a talking point is designed to halt the conversation about civil liberties entirely by insisting that any action which makes us safer is laudable, even if it runs roughshod over the Fourth Amendment. In addition to the argument’s generally questionable logic, though, the problem for the White House was that the specific claims were thoroughly debunked by news organizations and Intelligence Committee member Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) within a few days.

There has also been the attempt to marginalize the messengers – and thus marginalize the message – via the cheap smear. We’ve seen this a lot lately – most grotesquely, as Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi points out, in the chumpbait that has defined the coverage of Bradley Manning. In the NSA spying case, it’s much the same thing.

For instance, there were the declarations by one of the most prominent Obama officials-turned-corporate-mouthpieces, Tommy Vietor. Using the same xenophobic tactic that famously saw John Kerry derided as French, the president’s former National Security spokesman derided the Guardian America as a “foreign” organization (which, by the way, it isn’t). There was also a horrifying report from The Atlantic’s Steve Clemons of intelligence officials reportedly discussing the idea of “disappearing” Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald and his source as retribution for the disclosures.

Meanwhile, the New York Times’ issued a damning-with-faint-praise profile of Greenwald. As Yves Smith notes, the Times loaded it up with vapid ad hominem rhetoric from Greenwald’s ideological opponents – and, as important, made sure to focus far more on scrutinizing the journalist than on either evaluating the implications of the news he broke, or even whether the NSA program ever should have been secret in the first place. No doubt, the Guardian’s source, Snowden, will be treated in much the same way.

Finally, and most illustrative of all, there was also the attempt to shift the focus of outrage away from the potentially major crimes against the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and to channel the outrage instead at the affront to the Obama administration’s political interests.

We’ve seen, for example, news from the New York Times that the NSA whistleblowing is ”expected to attract an investigation from the Justice Department.” Reuters followed that up with a report that “a U.S. intelligence agency formally requested a criminal probe (of) the leak.” Vietor chimed in by declaring his shock that “people aren’t more concerned about the systematic leaking of Top Secret U.S. national security information.” Government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, which employed Snowden, said the disclosure is “a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm.” And, of course, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued the obligatory tough-talking statement calling the revelations “reprehensible.”

Here is where the entire definition of crime starts becoming blurry.

Notice that, according to the Times and Reuters, the Justice Department and the unnamed national security agency are pursuing an investigation into the whistleblowing but not into the potential crimes against the constitution. Same thing for Booz Allen Hamilton – the company declared that the “grave violation” of its “core values” is the disclosure of the potentially unconstitutional mass surveillance, not the mass surveillance itself. Same thing for Clapper – what’s “reprehensible” to him is the disclosure, not the NSA’s potential crimes. Notice, too, that neither Clapper nor Justice officials are calling for an investigation into Clapper committing one of recent history’s most explicit acts of perjury when answering congressional questions about surveillance (and yes, perjury before Congress is a criminal act).

In other words, the only acts being discussed in a criminal context are those that expose the Obama administration’s possible crimes – not the administration’s possible crimes themselves. In this distorted worldview, Edward Snowden’s decision to expose the NSA’s potentially unconstitutional behavior is somehow presented as a bigger crime than the NSA’s behavior itself.

In forwarding such a skewed criminal justice ideology, the Obama administration is, first and foremost, violating its pledge to voters. After all, in 2008, ran for president promising to respect whistleblowers. Back then, he declared that “often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out.” He added that “such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.”

But there’s more than just hypocrisy at work here. To construct such an Orwellian definition of crime – one in which crime-exposers are depicted as the most dangerous criminals – the administration and Permanent Washington are employing a marvelously deceptive double standard about information itself. Whether it is the Wikileaks cables, disclosures about unlawful torture or the recent NSA revelations, those who reveal facts that are inconvenient to the national security establishment are now portrayed as criminal “leakers” requiring prosecution. Yet, whether publicly promoting its cyber warfare operations, selectively disclosing skewed (and factually inaccurate) information about torture to sympathetic filmmakers, or providing top secret “kill list” information to help the New York Times publish election year hagiography, the same national security establishment is regularly disclosing classified information that serve its political and ideological interests.

For those of us who believe information should be as free as possible in a democratic society, the latter kind of disclosures aren’t necessarily objectionable unto themselves because even if they are politically skewed, they at least offer a bit more governmental transparency. What’s objectionable is the double standard whereby we hear calls to prosecute politically inconvenient whistleblowers like Manning, John Kiriakou and Snowden, but don’t hear the same kind of superheated rhetoric aimed at, say, those like Leon Panetta or any of the officials quoted in the Times “kill list” story. It is objectionable because it suggests that the Obama administration isn’t respecting the fundamental American notion of equal protection under the law – it is instead applying different standards to its political enemies and its political friends.

“The reality is the Obama administration has either authorized or acquiesced to the leak of information that is deemed politically beneficial, while relentlessly investigating and prosecuting those who reveal information that reflects poorly on his administration and the U.S. government,” says American University professor Jeff Bachman.

To see this double standard in action, go back to Vietor’s statements about the NSA snooping. Because that disclosure embarrasses his old boss, he derides “the systematic leaking of Top Secret U.S. national security information.” Yet, while he was the White House’s national security spokesman, he was part of the administration’s communications apparatus that orchestrated the systematic leaking of Top Secret U.S. national security information to the New York Times to help that paper publish its “kill list” encomium about Obama the War President. He was also in the government when the administration was leaking information to the director of Zero Dark Thirty.

Where’s Vietor’s worry about those latter leaks, you ask? It’s nowhere – because the new definition of crime and wrongdoing has less to do with a dispassionate analysis of the constitution than it does with an political vendetta against ideological opponents.

In his writeup of the Manning trial, Taibbi sums up what is really at stake in the reaction to all of these information disclosures.

“If you can be punished for making public a crime, then the government doing the punishing is itself criminal,” he writes. “Who’s the right kind of person to be let in the know about the fact that we systematically turned academics and other ‘suspects’ over to the Iraqi military to be tortured? We want people who will, what, sit on this stuff? Apparently the idea is to hire the kind of person who will cheerfully help us keep this sort of thing hidden from ourselves.”

The same can be asked about the NSA surveillance revelations. Do we really want to criminalize public officials who expose possible violations of the Fourth Amendment? Do we really want those public officials to witness such crimes and say nothing? Doesn’t that make them complicit in crimes that are far bigger than the alleged crime of blowing the whistle?

The answers are, of course, obvious – after all, our own government tells us that “if you see something, say something.” Doesn’t that principle apply to those like Snowden and others when they believe they’re witnessing crimes against the constitution?
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby barracuda » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:41 am

My first impression was the same as yours, seemslikeadream, great admiration. I will say, this fellow is without a doubt one of the most articulate individuals I have ever seen interviewed. Even granting the certainty of skillful editing of the video, I don't think he hesitates, or stutters, or misplaces a single word in the course of the entire twelve minutes. His first word is "uh", and from there on out his thoughts cascade, crisp and unbroken, clearly and carefully delineating his perspective and motives to perfection. It is a remarkable performance in what appears to be extempore. He makes Assange look like a marble mouth.

How does a high school dropout and military washout acquire such rare and complete self possession? Is he at this point running on such a dose of adrenalin, living with complete vividness in the high moment of the danger and rarity of his situation that it has permitted him the ability to so perfectly describe his perspective? Even if he's working from prepared remarks, or has rehearsed his responses, it's an awesome display that I wouldn't have considered a possible outcome of the American military and educational system. Certainly not your average civic-minded I.T. guy.

Genius or spook, you make the call.
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:46 am

Glenn Greenwald, genius or spook....you make the call...depends on what you think of Greenwald, I guess

what they wanted Booz Allen to look bad?

Daniel Ellsberg....you make the call
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby barracuda » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:51 am

I only bring it up that way to try and offset my first impression of the guy, which was damn near devotional. And he is CIA, so it's reasonable to look at him a bit sideways at this stage of the game, I think. I just want to put an asterisk here, for now.
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:54 am

barracuda » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:51 am wrote:I only bring it up that way to try and offset my first impression of the guy, which was damn near devotional. And he is CIA, so it's reasonable to look at him a bit sideways at this stage of the game, I think. I just want to put an asterisk here, for now.

sure.....there may be another war going on that we know nothing about...for damn sure
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:05 am

seems to be Faux News and WND take on the situation

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Custoditi!
Bourne Again Leak Story?
Our resident war gamer, who has a pretty good handle on how the national security apparatus works, offers some penetrating insights into the Prism leak which seems to have captured national attention over the weekend. Especially so since the self-proclaimed leaker is Edward Snowden.

Snowden (FAUX NEWS)casts himself as a "good guy" in stories like the one here, but as our war gamer notes, there may be more to this than meets the eye:

"But wait, there's a juicy 'Jason Bourne' element to this story.

Fox News had retired whistleblower Lt Col Tony Shaffer on the Sunday 7:00PM news commenting about the leaker, Snowden. Snowden is a former contract employee of the NSA and CIA. Saffer noted the guy left Hawaii and flew to Hong Kong, essentially defecting.

If he were a whistle blower, he would've pursued other viable, protected methods to shed light on what he felt was unconstitutional activity.

You and others might propose that Mr. Snowden would have either disappeared or been swimming with the fishes had he 'done the right thing.' The way events have transpired, we'll never know. But more is certain to break on this, and soon.

Judge Napolitano, a Fox contributor, earlier stated the NSA intelligence activity was entirely 'legal,' authorized by the Patriot act and vetted by other congressional procedural instruments. However, the issue is also one of "was it a violation of the Fourth Amendment?" If so, the legally authorized data collection process was inherently unconstitutional. But that does not mean Snowden isn't neck high in serious door doo. Going to China and leaking the info to the UK Guardian was the wrong way to handle the alleged dilemma.

More significantly, as Lt Col Shaffer noted, a former CIA and NSA computer network employee with very high clearances is a bonafide security threat with what he has in his head regarding national security computer ops.

Now he is far, far more than a whistleblower. He is a potential traitor.

China, arguably our biggest cyber foe, just found a once in a generation intel jewel of a prize landing right smack into their laps. And the plot is sure to thicken. "

Well, actually, it already has: The US Air Force is (WND) telling airmen not to read news coverage via military internet connectivity calling it a "classified message incident." Say, isn't the horse outta that barn already?

And, as we discuss in this morning's Coping Section, part of that "thicker plot" may involve the serious question of whether America now has two governments. More on that in a sec.

But you gotta love my colleague Kit Webster's catch of the recent ZeroHedge tweet:

"If the NSA disapproves of one's iTunes playlist, does that mean an automatic IRS audit?"

Joseph Heller, Catch-22, 1961
Death of Snowden:

Chapter 41

…Snowden was lying on his back on the floor with his legs stretched out, still burdened cumbersomely by his flak suit, his flak helmet, his parachute harness and his Mae West. Not far away on the floor lay the small tail gunner in a dead faint. The wound Yossarian saw was in the outside of Snowden’s thigh, as large as a football, it seemed. It was impossible to tell where the shreds of his saturated coverall ended and the ragged flesh began.

There was no morphine in the first-aid kit, no protection for Snowden against pain but the numbing shock of the gaping wound itself. The twelve syrettes of morphine had been stolen from their case and replaced by a cleanly lettered note that said: "What’s good for M & M Enterprises is good for the country. Milo Minderbinder." Yosarian swore at Milo and held two aspirins out to ashen lips unable to receive them. But first he hastily drew a tourniquet around Snowden’s thigh because he could not think what else to do in those first tumultuous moments when his senses were in turmoil, when he knew he must act competently at once and feared he might go to pieces completely. Snowden watched him steadily, saying nothing. No artery was spurting, but Yossarian pretended to absorb himself entirely into the fashioning of a tourniquet, because applying a tourniquet was something he did know how to do. He worked with simulated skill and composure, feeling Snowden’s lackluster gaze resting upon him. He recovered possession of himself before the tourniquet was finished and loosened it immediately to lessen the danger of gangrene. His mind was clear now, and he knew how to proceed. He rummaged through the first-aid kit for scissors.

"I’m cold," Snowden said softly, "I’m cold."

"You’re going to be all right, kid," Yossarian reassured him with a grin. "You’re going to be all right."

"I’m cold," Snowden said again in a frail, childlike voice. "I’m cold."

"There, there," Yossarian said, because he did not know what else to say. "There, there."

"I’m cold," Snowden whimpered. "I’m cold."

"There, there. There, there."

Yossarian was frightened and moved more swiftly. He found a pair of scissors at last and began cutting carefully through Snowden’s coveralls high up above the wound, just below the groin. He cut through the heavy gabardine cloth all the way around the thigh in a straight line. The tiny tail gunner woke up while Yossarian was cutting with the scissors, saw him, and fainted again. Snowden rolled his head to the other side of his neck in order to stare at Yossarian more directly. A dim, sunken light glowed in his weak and listless eyes. Yossarian, puzzled, tried not to look at him. He began cutting downward through the coveralls along the inside seam. The yawning wound — was that a tube of slimy bone he saw running deep inside the gory scarlet flowed behind the twitching, startling fibers of weird muscle? Was dripping blood in several trickles, like snow melting on eaves, but viscous and red, already thickening as it dropped. Yossarian kept cutting through the coveralls to the bottom and peeled open the severed leg of the garment. It fell to the floor with a plop, exposing the hem of khaki undershorts that were soaking up blotches of blood on one side as though in thirst. Yossarian was stunned at how waxen and ghastly Snowden’s bare leg looked, how loathsome, how lifeless and esoteric the downy, fine curled blond hairs on his odd, white shin and calf. The wound, he saw now, was not nearly as large as a football, but as long and wide as his hand, and too raw and deep to see into clearly. The raw muscles inside twitched like live hamburger meat. A long sigh of relief escaped slowly through Yossarian’s mouth when he saw that Snowden was not in danger of dying. The blood was already coagulating inside the wound, and it was simply a matter of bandaging him up and keeping him calm until the plane landed. He removed some packets of sulfanilamide from the first-aid kit. Snowden quivered when Yossarian pressed against him gently to turn him up slightly on his side.

"Did I hurt you?"

"I’m cold," Snowden whimpered. "I’m cold."

"There, there," Yossarian said. "There, there."

"I’m cold. I’m cold."

"There, there. There, there."

"It’s starting to hurt me," Snowden cried out with a plaintive, urgent wince.

Yossarian scrambled through the first-aid kit in search of morphine again and found only Milo’s note and a bottle of aspirin, He cursed Milo and held two aspirin tablets out to Snowden. He had no water to offer. Snowden rejected the aspirin with an almost imperceptible shake of his head. His face was pale and pasty. Yossarian removed Snowden’s flak helmet and lowered his head to the floor.

"I’m cold," Snowden moaned with half-closed eyes. "I’m cold."

The edges of his mouth were turning blue. Yossarian was petrified. He wondered whether to pull the rip cord of Snowden’s parachute and cover him with the nylon folds. It was very warm in the plane. Glancing up unexpectedly, Snowden gave him a wan, cooperative smile and shifted the position of his hips a bit so that Yossarian could begin salting the wound with sulfanilamide. Yossarian worked with renewed confidence and optimism. The plane bounced hard inside an airpocket, and he remembered with a start that he had left his own parachute up front in the nose. There was nothing to be done about that. He poured envelope after envelope of the white crystalline powder in the bloody oval wound until nothing red could be seen and then drew a deep, apprehensive breath, steeling himself with gritted teeth as he touched his bare hands to the dangling shreds of drying flesh to tuck them up inside the wound. Quickly he covered the whole wound with a large compress and jerked his hand away. He smiled nervously when his brief ordeal had ended. The actual contact with dead flesh had not been nearly as repulsive as he had anticipated, and he found excuse to caress the wound with his fingers again and again to convince himself of his own courage.

… "I’m cold," Snowden moaned. "I’m cold."

"You’re going to be all right, kid," Yossarian assured him, patting his arm comfortingly. "Everything’s under control."

Snowden shook his head feebly. "I’m cold," he repeated, with eyes as dull and blind as stone. "I’m cold."

"There, there," Yossarian, with growing doubt and trepidation. "There, there. In a little while we’ll be back on the ground and Doc Daneeka will take care of you."

But Snowden kept shaking his head and pointed at last, with just the barest movement of his chin, down to his armpit. Yossarian bent forward to peer and saw a strangely colored stain seeping through the coverall just above the armhole of Snowden’s flak suit. Yossarian felt his heart stop, then pound so violently he found it difficult to breathe. Snowden was wounded inside his flak suit. Yossarian ripped open the snaps of Snowden’s flak suit and heard himself scream wildly as Snowden’s insides slithered down to the floor in a soggy pile and just kept dripping out. A chunk of flak more than three inches big had shot into his other side just underneath the arm and blasted all the way through, drawing whole mottled quarts of Snowden along with it through the gigantic hole in his ribs it made as it blasted out. Yossarian screamed a second time and squeezed both hands over his eyes. His teeth were chattering in horror. He forced himself to look again. Here was God’s plenty, all right, he thought bitterly as he stared — liver, lungs, kidneys, ribs, stomach and bits of the stewed tomatoes Snowden had eaten that day for lunch. Yossarian hated stewed tomatoes and turned away dizzily and began to vomit, clutching his burning throat. The tail gunner woke up while Yossarian was vomiting, saw him, and fainted again.

Yossarian was limp with exhaustion, pain and despair when he finished. He turned back weakly to Snowden, whose breath had grown softer and more rapid, and whose face had grown paler. He wondered how in the world to begin to save him.

"I’m cold." Snowden whimpered, "I’m cold."

"There, there. Yossarian mumbled mechanically in a voice too low to be heard. "There, there."

Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollable. He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled all over the messy floor. It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall. Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.

"I’m cold," Snowden said. "I’m cold."

"There, there," said Yossarian. "There, there," He pulled the rip cord of Snowden’s parachute and covered his body with the white nylon sheets.

"I’m cold."

"There, there."
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:12 pm

Another Truth-Teller Steps Forward
June 10, 2013
Exclusive: Edward Snowden, the person who disclosed top-secret documents on the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs, is reportedly in Hong Kong and seeking asylum from countries that value openness and freedom, conditions seen as slipping away at home, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

By Ray McGovern

Before the U.S. government and the mainstream media engage in the customary character assassination of truth-teller Edward Snowden – a fate endured by Pfc. Bradley Manning and others – let’s get on the record the motives he gave for releasing the trove of information on intrusive eavesdropping by the National Security Agency.

Why would someone like Snowden, a 29-year-old employee of national-security contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, jeopardize what he calls “a very comfortable life” in order to blow the whistle on the U.S. government’s abuse of power?

Edward Snowden, who revealed himself as the leaker of top-secret documents related to the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance. (Photo credit: the UK Guardian)
If what he did sounds weird, this is only because there are so precious few like him who will stand on principle and risk everything. Snowden explained that if the public does not know about these intrusive programs, there is no room for citizen input regarding how they square with our constitutional rights.

Snowden, who was living in Hawaii with a promising career and a salary said to be about $200,000 a year, told the London Guardian: “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom, and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re now building.”

He added that he wanted to reveal the “federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers that rule the world I love. … What they’re doing poses an existential threat to democracy.”

Snowden enlisted in the Army in 2003 and began training to join the Special Forces. He told the Guardian: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.” He quickly found, though, that, in his words, “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone.” Snowden broke both legs in a training accident and was discharged.

In several key respects, the experiences of Snowden resemble those of Bradley Manning. Both took the enlisted person’s oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As a condition of employment, both signed a promise not to disclose classified information; and both witnessed at close hand flagrant abuses that their consciences told them they needed to expose.

All this required them to go back on their secrecy promise, in order to achieve a greater good. What they were able to understand, and act on, is what ethicists call a “supervening value.” [See Daniel C. Maguire’s The Manning Trial’s Real Defendant” regarding the moral balancing act between democracy’s need for information and government insistence on secrecy.]

It didn’t require a law degree for Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to understand how the Bush and Obama administrations were playing fast and loose with key provisions of the Constitution of the United States.

‘Safety’ Before Constitution

As for the current President, he seems to have been editing the oath he took to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Few caught it when he preached on national security on May 23, but Greg Sargent noted in the Washington Post that Obama defined his commander-in-chief role as requiring him to tilt toward national security and away from civil liberties – clearly prioritizing the latter out of a warped zero-sum mindset.

Obama said “constitutional issues” must be “weighed” against “my responsibility to protect the American people.” Got that? He was even more explicit last Friday about how he sees these choices. “You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society. … There are trade-offs involved.”

Regarding his priorities, he said: “When I came into this office I made two commitments … Number one, to keep the American people safe; and Number two, to uphold the Constitution. And that includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy and an observance of civil liberties.”

Thanks for tacking on that last sentence, Mr. President, but your defense of the incredibly wide and intrusive programs – alien to Fourth Amendment protections – strain credulity well beyond the breaking point. You lost me when you described the recently revealed eavesdropping programs that suck up data on billions of our communications daily as “very narrowly circumscribed” and “very focused.”

In July 2008, when Congress passed and President Bush signed a law making government eavesdropping easier and granting immunity to telecommunications companies, which had already violated, together with the Bush administration, our Fourth Amendment rights, this seemed to me a watershed. What possible incentive would the telecoms now have for abiding by the Constitution, I asked myself.

When I heard that then-Sen. Barack Obama had flip-flopped on this vote – as he was burnishing his national security “cred” for his White House run – I wrote him an open letter. He had said he would vote against the bill, before he decided to vote for this major revision of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.

I gave my open letter the title “It’s a Deal Breaker for This Intelligence Officer.” Here’s the main part:

“July 3, 2008

“Dear Senator Obama,

“I speak from 30 years of experience in intelligence work. I don’t know who actually briefed you on the eavesdropping legislation, but the bill is unnecessary for intelligence collection and POISON for our civil liberties — not even to mention the unconscionable retroactive immunity provision.

“You have made a big mistake, Senator, in indicating you intend to vote for it. There is still time to change your mind. That’s what big people do. Your ‘explanation’ was unworthy of one who has sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States (including the Fourth Amendment).”

‘Turnkey Tyranny’

The consequences of this law are what Snowden ended up warning us against in the video arranged by the Guardian, after he reviewed some of what he had seen from his vantage point. His window into the National Security Agency and its management no doubt provided unflattering insight into the behavior of its leaders and their nodding, dismissive acquaintance with any limitations in existing law.

Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden who saluted smartly when ordered by President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to discard what had been known as NSA’s “First Commandment – Thou shalt not eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant.” The rubric-justification was: “After 9/11, everything changed” – including any need to pay much attention to the law. Like the telecom corporations, Hayden was not only held harmless and forgiven but lauded for his patriotism

And if you think his successor, Army General Keith Alexander, feels constrained by his own oath of office, think again. It is a felony to lie to Congress. He did. In olden days it would have been an embarrassing, career-ending story. Not for Alexander. The “mainstream media” has lionized him rather than holding him accountable. And he now sports four stars and not only directs NSA but also is Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.

It’s a long but instructive story: In December 2005, top New York Times executives belatedly decided to let the rest of us in on the fact that the George W. Bush administration had been eavesdropping on American citizens without the court warrants required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.

The Times had learned of this several months before the presidential election of 2004 but acquiesced to White House entreaties to suppress the damaging information. However, in late fall 2005, Times correspondent James Risen prepared to publish a book, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,” revealing the warrantless eavesdropping anyway. Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., recognized that he could procrastinate no longer.

It would simply be too embarrassing to have Risen’s book on the street with Sulzberger and his associates pretending that this explosive eavesdropping story did not fit Adolph Ochs’s trademark criterion: All The News That’s Fit To Print. (The Times’ own ombudsman, Public Editor Byron Calame, later branded the newspaper’s explanation for the long delay in publishing this story “woefully inadequate.”)

When Sulzberger told his friends in the White House that he could no longer hold off on publishing in the newspaper, he was summoned to the Oval Office for a counseling session with President Bush on Dec. 5, 2005. Bush tried in vain to talk him out of putting the story in the Times. The truth would out; part of it, at least – in 11 days.

Gen. Alexander Out of the Loop

Unfortunately for National Security Agency Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the White House neglected to tell him that the cat would soon be out of the bag. So on Dec. 6, Alexander spoke from the old dishonest talking points in assuring visiting House Intelligence Committee member Rush Holt, D-New Jersey, that the NSA did not eavesdrop on Americans without a court order.

Still possessed of the quaint notion that generals and other senior officials are not supposed to lie brazenly to congressional oversight committees, Holt wrote a blistering letter to Gen. Alexander after the Times, on Dec. 16, front-paged a feature by Risen and Eric Lichtblau, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”

But House Intelligence Committee chair Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, apparently found Holt’s scruples benighted; Hoekstra did nothing to hold Alexander accountable for misleading Holt, his most experienced committee member, who had served as an intelligence analyst at the State Department.

What followed struck me as bizarre. The day after the Dec. 16 Times feature article, the President of the United States publicly admitted to a demonstrably impeachable offense. Authorizing illegal electronic surveillance was a key provision of the second article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. On July 27, 1974, this and two other articles of impeachment were approved by bipartisan votes in the House Judiciary Committee and likely would have passed the House if Nixon had not chosen to resign on Aug. 9, 1974.

Yet, far from expressing remorse or regret about his warrantless wiretaps, President Bush bragged about having authorized the surveillance “more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks,” and said he would continue to do so. The President also said: “Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it.”

On Dec. 19, 2005, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and then-NSA Director Michael Hayden held a press conference to answer questions about the surveillance program. Gonzales was asked why the White House decided to flout FISA rather than attempt to amend it, choosing instead a “backdoor approach.” He answered:

“We have had discussions with Congress … as to whether or not FISA could be amended to allow us to adequately deal with this kind of threat, and we were advised that that would be difficult, if not impossible.” Impossible? Regarding that time, James Risen quipped: “In October 2001, you could have set up guillotines on the public streets of America.”

It was not difficult to infer that the surveillance program, soon to be given the respectable label of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” was of such scope and intrusiveness that, even amid highly stoked fear, it would have elicited public outrage.

Almost All the News Fit to Print

Like the giant telecoms, the New York Times never had to issue a mea culpa for hiding the crass violations of our Fourth Amendment rights until after the 2004 election and another year for good measure.

The issue arose again in a curious way on Sept. 13, 2010, at a large event at the New York Times hosted by then-Managing Editor Jill Abramson in honor of Daniel Ellsberg for his release of the Pentagon Papers, which the Times and others published in June 1971. (Dan invited me to come along; better late than never, we thought.)

Abramson alluded in a matter-of-fact way to a particularly egregious episode in which the Times did not cover itself in glory. But one would not have gleaned the latter from Abramson’s casual mention of how the Times had published “the story about the NSA’s eavesdropping program.”

Abramson: The issue [of government pressure] became salient once again after 9/11, when the Times and other publications were the recipients of requests from the Bush White House to occasionally withhold publication of stories that involved secrets and national security issues. Probably the most famous one involved our publication of the story about the NSA’s eavesdropping program.

Ellsberg: By the way, as the only non-Times person up here, I shouldn’t refrain from saying, I’ve been very publicly very critical of the Times’ decision to withhold the NSA wiretap story — not only, for a whole year, but very critically, past the election of 2004. I think it’s quite possible that the revelation that the president had, for three years, been blatantly violating the law …

Abramson (interrupting): Although in truth, it wasn’t known in real time at the election, the gravity of the legal issue was not.

Ellsberg: The legal issue, perhaps. …

Abramson: So —

Ellsberg: The — a whole year. I think that did make a difference.

Abramson: The thing is when the government says — you know, by publishing a story you’re harming the national security, you’re helping the terrorists. I mean there are still people today who argue that the NSA program was the crown jewel, the most valuable anti-terrorism program that the Bush administration had going, and that it was terribly wrong of the Times to —

Ellsberg: And the Times went ahead.

Abramson: — publish.

Ellsberg: In the end, that’s what I’m saying.

Abramson: In the end, we did go ahead. But I’m saying these are not cavalier decisions.

Anyone want to guess why Ed Snowden chose the Guardian of London (and also the Washington Post) over the “paper of record” for his disclosures?

The Need for Truth-Tellers

In September 2004 Daniel Ellsberg and I drafted an appeal to those who might have been thinking of what Bradley Manning and now Ed Snowden have had the courage to do. It is included below as a reminder that blowing the whistle on war crimes and on gross violations of the U.S. Constitution is a laudable form of patriotism. The last time I checked the professional help promised in 2004 was reaffirmed.

September 9, 2004

APPEAL TO: Current Government Officials

FROM: The Truth-Telling Coalition

It is time for unauthorized truth telling.

Citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts—for example, the facts that have been wrongly concealed about the ongoing war in Iraq: the real reasons behind it, the prospective costs in blood and treasure, and the setback it has dealt to efforts to stem terrorism. Administration deception and cover-up on these vital matters has so far been all too successful in misleading the public.

Many Americans are too young to remember Vietnam. Then, as now, senior government officials did not tell the American people the truth. Now, as then, insiders who know better have kept their silence, as the country was misled into the most serious foreign policy disaster since Vietnam.

Some of you have documentation of wrongly concealed facts and analyses that—if brought to light—would impact heavily on public debate regarding crucial matters of national security, both foreign and domestic. We urge you to provide that information now, both to Congress and, through the media, to the public. …

There is a growing network of support for whistleblowers. In particular, for anyone who wishes to know the legal implications of disclosures they may be contemplating, the ACLU stands ready to provide pro bono legal counsel, with lawyer-client privilege. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) will offer advice on whistle blowing, dissemination and relations with the media.

Needless to say, any unauthorized disclosure that exposes your superiors to embarrassment entails personal risk. Should you be identified as the source, the price could be considerable, including loss of career and possibly even prosecution. Some of us know from experience how difficult it is to countenance such costs. But continued silence brings an even more terrible cost, as our leaders persist in a disastrous course and young Americans come home in coffins or with missing limbs. …

We know how misplaced loyalty to bosses, agencies, and careers can obscure the higher allegiance all government officials owe the Constitution, the sovereign public, and the young men and women put in harm’s way. We urge you to act on those higher loyalties. … Truth telling is a patriotic and effective way to serve the nation. The time for speaking out is now.


Appeal from the Truth-Telling Coalition

Edward Costello, Former Special Agent (Counterintelligence), Federal Bureau of Investigation

Sibel Edmonds, Former Language Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Daniel Ellsberg, Former official, U.S. Departments of Defense and State

John D. Heinberg, Former Economist, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

Larry C. Johnson, Former Deputy Director for Anti-Terrorism Assistance, Transportation Security, and Special Operations, Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism

Lt. Col Karen Kwiatowski, USAF (ret.), who served in the Pentagon’s Office of Near East Planning

John Brady Kiesling, Former Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy, Athens, Department of State

David MacMichael, Former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council, Central Intelligence Agency

Ray McGovern, Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency

Philip G. Vargas, Ph.D., J.D., Dir. Privacy & Confidentiality Study, Commission on Federal Paperwork (Author/Director: “The Vargas Report on Government Secrecy” — CENSORED)

Ann Wright, Retired U.S. Army Reserve Colonel and U.S. Foreign Service Officer

Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America
Snowden's whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an 'executive coup' against the US constitution

Daniel Ellsberg
guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 June 2013 06.30 EDT
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Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things'
In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an "executive coup" against the US constitution.

Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: "It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp."

For the president then to say that there is judicial oversight is nonsense – as is the alleged oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. Not for the first time – as with issues of torture, kidnapping, detention, assassination by drones and death squads –they have shown themselves to be thoroughly co-opted by the agencies they supposedly monitor. They are also black holes for information that the public needs to know.

The fact that congressional leaders were "briefed" on this and went along with it, without any open debate, hearings, staff analysis, or any real chance for effective dissent, only shows how broken the system of checks and balances is in this country.

Obviously, the United States is not now a police state. But given the extent of this invasion of people's privacy, we do have the full electronic and legislative infrastructure of such a state. If, for instance, there was now a war that led to a large-scale anti-war movement – like the one we had against the war in Vietnam – or, more likely, if we suffered one more attack on the scale of 9/11, I fear for our democracy. These powers are extremely dangerous.

There are legitimate reasons for secrecy, and specifically for secrecy about communications intelligence. That's why Bradley Mannning and I – both of whom had access to such intelligence with clearances higher than top-secret – chose not to disclose any information with that classification. And it is why Edward Snowden has committed himself to withhold publication of most of what he might have revealed.

But what is not legitimate is to use a secrecy system to hide programs that are blatantly unconstitutional in their breadth and potential abuse. Neither the president nor Congress as a whole may by themselves revoke the fourth amendment – and that's why what Snowden has revealed so far was secret from the American people.

In 1975, Senator Frank Church spoke of the National Security Agency in these terms:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

The dangerous prospect of which he warned was that America's intelligence gathering capability – which is today beyond any comparison with what existed in his pre-digital era – "at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left."

That has now happened. That is what Snowden has exposed, with official, secret documents. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers over our own citizens that the Stasi – the secret police in the former "democratic republic" of East Germany – could scarcely have dreamed of. Snowden reveals that the so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.

So we have fallen into Senator Church's abyss. The questions now are whether he was right or wrong that there is no return from it, and whether that means that effective democracy will become impossible. A week ago, I would have found it hard to argue with pessimistic answers to those conclusions.

But with Edward Snowden having put his life on the line to get this information out, quite possibly inspiring others with similar knowledge, conscience and patriotism to show comparable civil courage – in the public, in Congress, in the executive branch itself – I see the unexpected possibility of a way up and out of the abyss.

Pressure by an informed public on Congress to form a select committee to investigate the revelations by Snowden and, I hope, others to come might lead us to bring NSA and the rest of the intelligence community under real supervision and restraint and restore the protections of the bill of rights.

Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA's surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans' and foreign citizens' privacy does not contribute to our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we're trying to protect.

• Editor's note: this article was revised and updated at the author's behest, at 7.45am ET on 10 June
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‘Q Group’

Postby MinM » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:00 pm

The top-secret ‘Q Group’ has been chasing Edward Snowden since he disappeared in May
Even before last week’s revelations by The Guardian newspaper that the National Security Agency (NSA) was collecting call records from telecommunications companies and had the ability to mine user data from major U.S. internet companies, the NSA was already on the trail of the leaker, according to two former U.S. intelligence officers with close ties to the agency.

On Sunday, the Guardian revealed its source —a 29-year-old former U.S. Army officer and CIA employee named Edward Snowden. Snowden—who worked as a contract employee at an NSA station in Hawaii—said he agreed to have his identity revealed because he feared that the NSA would put pressure on his family and his friends for information about his whereabouts. From a hotel in Hong Kong, he told The Guardian he expected he would never be allowed to return home and that he could end up imprisoned or murdered because of his decision to leak.

The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as “the Q Group,” is continuing to track Snowden now that he’s outed himself as The Guardian’s source, according to the intelligence officers. Swowden began final preparations for his departure three weeks ago, The Guardian reports, copying the final documents he intended to share, telling his supervisor that he would need time off for medical treatment, and his girlfriend simply that he would be away. "That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world," he told the paper in his interview from Hong Kong.

The security and counterintelligence directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers for behavior that could pose an intelligence risk. It has the authority to interview an NSA contractor or employee’s known associates, and even to activate a digital dragnet capable of finding out where a target travels, what the target has purchased and the target’s online activity.

“We have seen the latest report from The Guardian that identifies an individual claiming to have disclosed information about highly classified intelligence programs in recent days,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence Spokesperson Shawn Turner said in a statement issued Sunday. “The Intelligence Community is currently reviewing the damage that has been done by these recent disclosures. Any person who has a security clearance knows that he or she has an obligation to protect classified information and abide by the law.”...
The directorate serves as the NSA’s internal police force, in effect watching the agency’s watchers...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... owden.html
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby Project Willow » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:22 pm

barracuda » 10 Jun 2013 06:41 wrote:
How does a high school dropout and military washout acquire such rare and complete self possession? Is he at this point running on such a dose of adrenalin, living with complete vividness in the high moment of the danger and rarity of his situation that it has permitted him the ability to so perfectly describe his perspective? Even if he's working from prepared remarks, or has rehearsed his responses, it's an awesome display that I wouldn't have considered a possible outcome of the American military and educational system. Certainly not your average civic-minded I.T. guy.

Genius or spook, you make the call.

I had similar thoughts, though not so much about self possession. I've seen socially awkward kids transformed into (hyper?) confident, self-possessed, calm individuals after basic training. Being unable to conform to the structured environment of the educational system isn't necessarily a comment on intelligence, in many cases it's the opposite, so that doesn't surprise me. Someone, somewhere had information on his native intelligence and facility with computers, but I wonder, at what point were the assessments made and by whom? Family connections may have helped him along in his career path. I'd assume that any recruiting agency would have subjected him to personalty tests, part of which would attempt to measure a propensity to break with authority, and whether this was a factor in his school performance as opposed to boredom or something else.

Perhaps the need for personnel pushed through a borderline case. There are lots of "perhaps" at this point, as usual, including that my own speculative questioning is woefully uninformed.
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby slimmouse » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:29 pm

If I was allowed to optimistically speculate at this point, I'd say that what Snowden and Manning saw they were party to, and their moral fortitude as human beings clashed violentlly.

I also think that we're going to see a lot, lot more of this.

Judging by ongoing secured legislation, it appears that the Conrol system thinks the same way.
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby 82_28 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:34 pm

I know I've said all the same shit before, but as a bird warns it's fellow flock of danger, WE ARE BEING FUCKED WITH in an insurmountable way given our current "software". Goddamn you guys, this is pure double bind! Hold on to who you are in your heart because another soccer ball is about to be thrown on the field. This is the act of it.

They are trying to reinvent ethics and morals in a way that appeases who they see as a threat insofar as souls finally uncloaking them. They can't have this happen. Why?

They would have to answer the age old question of "why do we lie"? And why are we only business of perpetuating it. Edward Snowden is the "Good Old Shoe".

However, it is also known that we know the irony of it all. So they apply more irony in order to cancel the previous iteration of irony out.
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Re: Edward Snowden, American Hero

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:40 pm


NSA leak prompts calls for U.S. to reduce reliance on contractors

By Deborah Charles
WASHINGTON, June 10 | Mon Jun 10, 2013 4:04pm EDT
(Reuters) - The U.S. government may have to reconsider how much it relies on outside defense contractors who are given top security clearances, after an NSA contractor exposed top-secret phone and internet surveillance programs.

Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old systems technician at Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp, admitted on Sunday that he divulged details of the National Security Agency's programs to the Guardian and Washington Post.

Booz shares fell 3.3 percent Monday, and peers such as SAIC and General Dynamics fell as much as 3 percent.

"We do need to take another, closer look at how we control information and how good we are at identifying what people are doing with that information," said Stewart Baker, former general counsel at the NSA and former assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

Baker said Snowden's leaks show the need for the government to tighten up what can be seen by contractors, as well as government employees.

"Are we challenging him, are we auditing him? Are we taking measures to be sure he doesn't have wide-ranging access to stuff that is not relevant to him?" Baker said of a theoretical contractor with wide-ranging access.

Companies like Booz became a cornerstone of the U.S. government's national security efforts after the 9/11 attacks. With a massive ramp-up in security operations came the need for organizations that could move quickly to implement new rules, regulations and screening protocols.

But that expansion did not always go smoothly. A notorious example is the company formerly known as Blackwater, which agreed last summer to pay fines for trying to operate in Sudan despite sanctions. The company had previously been a source of strained U.S.-Iraqi relations over shootings there.

The risk to a company like Booz is clear - according to its last quarterly report, 99 percent of its revenue comes from contracts with U.S. government agencies or other federal contractors. Lose the government's trust and nothing is left.

Booz said Snowden worked for the company in Hawaii for less than three months.

"News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm," Booz said in a statement on Sunday. "We will work closely with our clients and authorities in their investigation of this matter."

As of March 31, Booz employed 24,500 people, of whom 76 percent held government security clearances and more than a quarter held top security clearances, according to a company filing.

Security experts say the risks of a Snowden-type case grow as the number of clearances proliferates.

"Are contractors a unique risk? No - Bradley Manning wasn't a contractor," said Paul Rosenzweig, a former deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Homeland Security.

Manning, the U.S. Army private first class charged with the biggest leak of classified files in the nation's history, is in the second week of his court-martial at Fort Meade, Maryland.

"It's the people, it's not what their job title is," said Rosenzweig. "What does change the dynamic is the greater number of people overall - whether they're contractors or inside."
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