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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

26 Reasons Why You Need to Start Paying Attention to Edward Snowden

Posted by Martin C. Fox on March 22, 2018

http://theantimedia.org/start-paying-attention-edward-snowden/

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(ANTIMEDIA) — In June of 2013, Edward Snowden was the most wanted man in the world as the U.S. government and others frantically attempted to arrest him for leaking documents that exposed the breadth of surveillance imposed upon the public. The Portuguese government even forced a plane carrying Bolivia’s president to be grounded because of rumors that Snowden might be on board.

Snowden has since been living in exile in Russia as U.S. government officials have relentlessly tried to bring him home to prosecute him over alleged violations of the Espionage Act. Former CIA director-turned-secretary of state Mike Pompeo and others have shamed him, calling him a traitor. Pompeo has even called for his execution.

But as the political climate in the U.S. continues to devolve, especially in light of President Trump’s decision to appoint CIA director Mike Pompeo as secretary of state and replace Pompeo with a known proponent of torture, Snowden has been on a Twitter rampage. And he’s not just discussing the CIA and torture.

Here’s a collection of 26 tweets and retweets from the past week that show not only how committed Snowden is to actually making a difference but also the dire need for more people to speak out:

On CIA abuses and the political appointments Trump has made:

Listen, you can defend torture, or you can defend the Constitution. Not both. The 8th Amendment explicitly forbids torture with all forms of cruel and unusual punishment. To defend torture is to attack the Constitution.

NARRATOR: Actually, the US Senate’s reviewed 6,300,000 classified CIA torture files, finding “the CIA’s brutal interrogations of terrorism suspects produced no useful intelligence.” Torture stopped no attacks, and saved no lives. https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-torture-report-20141210-story.html  https://twitter.com/Liz_Cheney/status/973673412785827840 

Senate report says CIA torture methods yielded no useful intelligence

latimes.com

Interesting: The new CIA Director Haspel, who “tortured some folks,” probably can’t travel to the EU to meet other spy chiefs without facing arrest due to an @ECCHRBerlin complaint to Germany’s federal prosecutor. Details: https://www.ecchr.eu/en/our_work/international-crimes-and-accountability/u-s-accountability/germany.html 

Are these really the values the US should be promoting? The CIA might as well start issuing uniforms decorated with skulls and lightning bolts. https://twitter.com/johannabarr/status/973542436000628736 

The new CIA director was a key part of the torture program and its illegal cover-up. Her name was on the Top Secret order demanding the destruction of tapes to prevent them being seen by Congress. Incredible. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/02/us/politics/cia-deputy-director-gina-haspel-torture-thailand.html  https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/973540316656623616 

Gina Haspel in October 2017.

Gina Haspel, C.I.A. Deputy Director, Had Role in Torture

Ms. Haspel was deeply involved in the torture of detainees and later took part in destroying videotapes of the interrogations.

nytimes.com

He also challenged the popular talking point that torture saves lives:

That’s an easily demonstrable lie. The @CIA‘s own Inspector General admitted Gul Rahman was tortured and starved until he froze to death, which the CIA then lied about to conceal this fact. You can read the CIA’s own report, thanks to the @ACLU: (https://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights/cia-releases-new-and-gruesome-details-its-torture-program ). (1/3) https://twitter.com/Liz_Cheney/status/973673412785827840 

CIA Releases New and Gruesome Details on Its Torture Program

The CIA released 50 new documents yesterday relating to its post-9/11 torture and rendition program. Despite the many disclosures that have come in the course of our decade-long fight to reveal the…

aclu.org

That’s an easily demonstrable lie. The @CIA‘s own Inspector General admitted Gul Rahman was tortured and starved until he froze to death, which the CIA then lied about to conceal this fact. You can read the CIA’s own report, thanks to the @ACLU: (https://www.aclu.org/blog/human-rights/cia-releases-new-and-gruesome-details-its-torture-program ). (1/3) https://twitter.com/Liz_Cheney/status/973673412785827840 

Even the US Senate, who famously defended unconstitutional intelligence abuses, conceded after a full review of the torture program’s classified records that no useful intelligence was gained via torture, no lives were saved, and no attacks were stopped. https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-torture-report-20141210-story.html 

Senate report says CIA torture methods yielded no useful intelligence

latimes.com

On Tuesday, he highlighted ties between Cambridge Analytica and the federal government:

🤔 https://www.axios.com/cambridge-analytica-may-still-have-an-open-contract-with-th-1521494535-64a045dd-bfe3-4a7a-8439-a54f1ae13860.html 

Cambridge Analytica creator has State Department contract

It’s possible the group’s data harvesting methods will be as unpopular abroad as they have been in the U.S.

axios.com

Over the past week, he also roundly indicted  social media companies for their anti-privacy practices, criticizing the apparent notion that Facebook has been a victim:

Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as “surveillance companies.” Their rebranding as “social media” is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.

🤔 https://www.axios.com/cambridge-analytica-may-still-have-an-open-contract-with-th-1521494535-64a045dd-bfe3-4a7a-8439-a54f1ae13860.html 

Cambridge Analytica creator has State Department contract

It’s possible the group’s data harvesting methods will be as unpopular abroad as they have been in the U.S.

axios.com

Facebook makes their money by exploiting and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions, far beyond the scant details you voluntarily post. They are not victims. They are accomplices. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/us/politics/cambridge-analytica-trump-campaign.html 

Christopher Wylie, who helped found the data firm Cambridge Analytica and worked there until 2014, has described the company as an “arsenal of weapons” in a culture war.

How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions

Cambridge Analytica harvested personal information from a huge swath of the electorate to develop techniques that were later used in the Trump campaign.

nytimes.com

Also on the subject of violative policies, he shared news from his own leaked documents that the NSA was monitoring Bitcoin users back in 2013:

The @NSAgov worked urgently to target Bitcoin users around the world, according to classified documents provided by @Snowden. https://interc.pt/2FL8AjQ 

He also called out former intelligence chief James Clapper for evading charges for lying under oath when he claimed the government was not collecting data on citizens:

Congratulations to former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has officially escaped felony charges for lying under oath. You really set the bar for accountability. “What the General practices, the soldiers learn.” https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/james-clapper-avoids-charges-for-clearly-erroneous-surveillance-testimony/article/2651233 

031118 Nelson JamesClapper-pic

James Clapper avoids charges for ‘clearly erroneous’ surveillance testimony

Former intelligence chief James Clapper is poised to avoid charges for allegedly lying to Congress after five years of apparent inaction by the Justice Department.

washingtonexaminer.com

In a particularly impressive move, Snowden vowed to keep criticizing the Russian government despite fears from some that it is dangerous to do so:

The ballot stuffing seen today in Moscow and elsewhere in the Russian election is an effort to steal the influence of 140+ million people. Demand justice; demand laws and courts that matter. Take your future back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UFIQamKbjg 

Ed, don’t you have enough problems without pissing off the Russians? No one thought for a minute these elections would be fair or honest. Take care of yourself.

My friends tell me it is dangerous to criticize the Russian government the same as I criticize my own. But each of us are given a limited number of days to make a difference. Life is a choice to live for something, or to die for nothing.

Snowden touched on police corruption, waxing sarcastic:

Do you really expect us to believe that? That the government would go into court and just lie? https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/nyregion/testilying-police-perjury-new-york.html 

Kimberly Thomas was arrested on gun charges in the Bronx that were later dropped. “For 396 days I have been fighting for my life, my freedom and my sanity,” she said.

‘Testilying’ — a Stubborn Police Problem

Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.

nytimes.com

He has also been promoting solutions that include open source technology, digital security, and his Freedom of the Press Foundation:

Because I’ve used @Tails_live for years. The journalists who broke the mass surveillance revelations of 2013 all relied on it. Free, libre, and open source software projects quietly save the world every day, even when you can’t see it, and their success depends on your support. https://twitter.com/aigirlfriend/status/975820797208965120 

By contributing to @FreedomofPress through @DuckDuckGo’s Privacy Challenge, your gift could be multiplied many times over, expanding our ability to fight for journalists and whistleblowers. https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/freedom-of-the-press-foundation1 

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Freedom of the Press Foundation protects and defends public-interest journalism in the 21st century. We use digital security, internet advocacy and crowdfunding to support brave journalists and…

crowdrise.com

Help keep @FreedomOfPress strong: multiply your donation through the $500k @DuckDuckGo Privacy Challenge. Our technology powers the world’s newsrooms, empowering and protecting journalists through projects like @GetHavenApp and @SecureDrop. https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/freedom-of-the-press-foundation1 

Other retweets have focused on promoting whistleblowers, and reminding the public that President Obama helped contribute to the use of torture:

Now would be a really good time for somebody with access to leak the full, unredacted SSCI CIA torture program investigative report—or at least put a hold on Haspel’s nomination until the report is released.

Compare the media’s warm treatment of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie to their treatment of government whistleblowers @Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

All whistleblowers should be heard, regardless of whether or not their information fits a narrative.

A rolemodel for future generation: I spoke with -whistleblower @DanielEllsberg about @Snowden, Trump and the danger of a nuclear war. More on Friday @szmagazin.

Another mind-boggling paragraph from this Dexter Filkins post from last year on the new CIA director. If Obama had allowed prosecutions over CIA torture, “people like Haspel, quite plausibly, could have gone to prison.” Instead, she’s going to run the CIA. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-new-c-i-a-deputy-chiefs-black-site-past 

He also shared a recent interview where he was asked about releasing unpublished documents from his cache. “There is still work to be done, for sure, and I hope that the archive will continue to be useful to journalists,” he said in the article, though he acknowledged “there are parts of the archive that were never intended for publication” and may not serve the public interest.

As he continues to highlight and expose injustice around the world, his pinned tweet from last year is perhaps the most telling:

Follow him here: @Snowden.

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