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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Snowden’

The Past Lives On: The Elite Strategy To Divide and Conquer – Edward Curtin

Posted by M. C. on December 1, 2020

Many Trump voters no doubt know that Trump was never going to save them. But he said the right things, and desperation and disgust will grasp onto the slightest will-o’-the-wisp when disbelief in the whole rotten system is widespread.

Let’s not bullshit: everyone knows the game is rigged.

Trump is a liar.

Biden is a liar.

Great Britain’s Boris Johnson is a liar.

Fill in the names of the political charlatans.

The system is built on lies to keep the illusions brightening the screen of the great picture show, what Neil Gabler has rightly called “life the movie.”

http://edwardcurtin.com/the-past-lives-on-the-elite-strategy-to-divide-and-conquer/

Edward Curtin

“They call my people the White Lower Middle Class these days. It is an ugly, ice-cold phrase, the result, I suppose, of the missionary zeal of those sociologists who still think you can place human beings on charts.  It most certainly does not sound like a description of people on the edge of open, sustained and possibly violent revolt,” wrote the marvelous New York journalist, Pete Hamill in “The Revolt of the White Lower Middle Class” in New York magazine.  He added:

The White Lower Middle Class? Say that magic phrase at a cocktail party on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and monstrous images arise from the American demonology. Here comes the murderous rabble: fat, well-fed, bigoted, ignorant, an army of beer-soaked Irishmen, violence-loving Italians, hate-filled Poles. Lithuanians and Hungarians….Sometimes these brutes are referred to as ‘the ethnics’ or ‘the blue-collar types.’ But the bureaucratic, sociological phrase is White Lower Middle Class. Nobody calls it the Working Class anymore.

He wrote that on April 14, 1969. Yesterday. Little changes.

Transferred from NYC to the middle of the country half a century later, these people are referred to as Trump’s “deplorables.” They comes in baskets, as Hillary Clinton said.  And even though they represent nearly half the voting public in the last two presidential elections – 70+ million Americans – their complaints are dismissed as the rantings of ignorant, conservative racists.

Name calling substitutes for understanding. This is not an accident.

Like Hamill, I am a NYC born and bred Irish-American – my working-class Bronx to Pete’s Brooklyn. We both attended the same Jesuit high school in different years. Unlike Hamill, known for his gritty street reporting, because I have been a college sociology professor, I could falsely be categorized as a northeastern liberal intellectual oozing with disdain for those who voted for Trump.  This is false, because, like Hamill, I see it as my intellectual duty to understand what motivates these voters, just as I do with those who voted for Biden.

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, nor did I vote for Joseph Biden, or Hillary Clinton in 2016.  I am not one of those sociologists Hamill refers to; I use the term Working Class and am acutely aware of the social class nature of life in the U.S.A., where the economic system of neo-liberal capitalism is constructed to try to convince working Americans that the system cares for them, and if they grow disgusted with its lies and inequities and rage against the machine by voting for anyone who seems to be with them (even a super-rich reality TV real estate magnate named Trump who is not with them), they are dumb-ass bigots whose concerns should be brushed off.

The truth is that both the Trump voters and the Biden voters have been taken for a ride.  It is a game, a show, a movie, a spectacle.  It hasn’t changed much since 1969; the rich have gotten richer and the poor, working, and middle classes have gotten poorer and more desperate.  Those who have profited have embraced the fraud.

The Institute for Policy Studies has just released a new analysis showing that since the start of the Covid-19 “pandemic” in mid-March and the subsequent transfer upwards of $5 trillion to the wealthy and largest corporations through the Cares Act, approved 96-0 in the U.S. Senate, 650 U.S. billionaires have gained over a trillion dollars in eight months as the American people have suffered an economic catastrophe.  This shift upward of massive wealth under Trump is similar to Obama’s massive 2009 bailout of the banks on the backs of American workers. Both were justified through feats of legerdemain by both political parties, accomplices in the fleecing of regular people, many of whom continue to support the politicians that screw them while telling them they care.

If the Democrats and the Republicans are at war as is often claimed, it is only over who gets the larger part of the spoils. Trump and Biden work for the same bosses, those I call the Umbrella People (those who own and run the country through their intelligence/military/media operatives), who produce and direct the movie that keeps so many Americans on the edge of their seats in the hope that their chosen good guy wins in the end.

I am well aware that most people disagree with my analysis.  It does seem as if I am wrong and that because the Democrats and their accomplices have spent years attempting to oust Trump through Russia-gate, impeachment, etc. that what seems true is true and Trump is simply a crazy aberration who somehow slipped through the net of establishment control to rule for four years.  To those 146 + million people who voted for Biden and Trump this seems self-evident.  But if that is so, why, despite their superficial differences – and Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s and George W. Bush’s for that matter – have the super-rich gotten richer and richer over the decades and the war on terror continued as the military budget has increased each year and the armament industries and the Wall Street crooks continued to rake in the money at the expense of everyone else?  These are a few facts that can’t be disputed. There are many more. So what’s changed under Trump?  We are talking about nuances, small changes.  A clown with a big mouth versus traditional, “dignified” con men.

If you were writing this script as part of long-term planning and average people were getting disgusted from decades of being screwed and were sick of politicians and their lying ways, wouldn’t you stop the reruns and create a new show?  Come on, this is Hollywood where creative showmen can dazzle our minds with plots so twisted that when you leave the theater you keep wondering what it was all about and arguing with your friends about the ending. So create a throwback film where the good guy versus the bad guy was seemingly very clear, and while the system ground on, people would be at each other’s throats over the obvious differences, even while they were fabricated.

Variety is necessary.  You wouldn’t want to repeat the film from 2008 when a well-spoken black man came into town out of nowhere to clean up the mess created by the poorly spoken white sheriff who loved war and then the black hero went on to wage war in seven countries while his fans sat contented in the audience loving the show and making believe they didn’t see what was happening on the screen even though their hero jailed whistle blowers and greatly expanded the surveillance state right in front of their eyes.

No, as the years passed, those two guys turned out to be buddies, and their wives hit it off, and a famous photograph appeared of the good guy’s wife hugging the bad guy, which was not a good thing for the script that has the Republicans warring against the Democrats.

A new story line was needed. How about an opéra bouffe, someone suggested, and the rest is history. Or pseudo-history. This is the real matrix. The most sophisticated mind control operation up to this point, with the coronavirus lockdown added to propel it to what the producers hope is a conclusion.

What more can I say?

Billy Joel said it:  “JFK blown away.”

The Towers pulverized. David Ray Griffin told us the truth repetitively.

Minds of this generation destroyed, as Allen Ginsberg said in Howl: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.”

It’s been many generations now.  There has been a form of social madness growing over the decades and it is everywhere now.  Look at people’s faces, if you can see them behind the masks; everywhere the strained and stressed looks, the scared rabbit eyes that you see on the wards of mental hospitals. The look that says: what the fuck has happened as they stare into a blank screen in a tumbling void, to paraphrase Don DeLillo from his new book Silence, where people speak gibberish once their digital world is mysteriously taken down and they wander in the dark.  We are in the dark now, even though the lights and screens are still shining for the time being.

Let those who think I am wrong about Trump and Biden being players in the same show, consider this. If Trump is truly the opponent of the Deep State, the Swamp, the corrupt establishment, he will pardon Julian Assange, Chelsey Manning, and Edward Snowden who have been persecuted by these forces.  He has nothing left to lose as he exits stage right.

The journalist Julian Assange has done more than anyone to expose the sick underbelly of the gangster state, its intelligence and military secrets, its illegal and immoral killings. That is why he has been hounded and locked away for so long. It’s a bipartisan persecution of an innocent man whose only “crime” has been to tell the truth that is allegedly the essence of a democratic society.

Chelsey Manning has also suffered tremendously for exposing the savagery of U.S. military operations.

And Edward Snowden has been forced into Russian exile for telling us about the vast global surveillance systems run by the NSA and CIA to spy on the American people.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

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Edward Snowden On Big Tech Companies, Like Facebook, Censoring & Controlling Information – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on November 30, 2020

These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/11/29/edward-snowden-on-big-tech-censoring-information-joe-biden-press-freedom-dangers/

ByArjun WaliaCE Staff Writer

In Brief

  • The Facts:Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about Big Tech censorship of information, and the muzzling of journalists who go against the grain.
  • Reflect On:f your perception is built by mainstream media, do you truly know what is going on in the world if they are often working to hide or censor stories that would dramatically change your perception?

Glenn Greenwald is no stranger to censorship, he’s the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden (NSA mass surveillance whistleblower)  to put together his story and release it to the world while working for the Guardian. He eventually left the Guardian and co-founded his own media company, The Intercept, an organization that would be free from censorship and free to report on government corruption and wrong-doings of powerful people and corporations. He recently resigned from The Intercept as well due to the fact that they’ve now censored him, and is now completely independent. You can find his work here.

Anybody who reports on or sheds a bright light onto immoral and unethical actions taken by governments and the powerful corporations they work with has been subjected to extreme censorship. In the case of Edward Snowden, he’s been exiled, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is currently clinging to his life for exposing war crimes and other unethical actions by multiple governments and corporations. There are many other examples. What does it say about our civilization when we prosecute those who expose harm, corruption, immoral/unethical actions by governments and war crimes?

Greenwald recently interviewed Snowden about internet censorship and the role big tech companies and governments are playing. Greenwald explains that in one of his earliest meetings with Snowden, he (Snowden) explained that he was driven in large part by the vital role the early internet played in his life, “one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.

This is what he and Snowden go into in the interview posted below. Prior to that I provide a brief summary of Snowden’s key thoughts.

Snowden starts off by mentioning government surveillance programs and the companies they contracted to do this work and compares them to modern day Big Tech giants censoring information on a wide range of topics. We see this today with elections/politics, to medical information dealing with coronavirus and vaccines, for example.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden

So basically, these Big Tech companies have become slaves, if you will, to the governments will, or at least powerful people situated in high places within the government. Snowden brings up the fact that many of these companies are hiring people from the CIA, who come from the Pentagon, who come from the NSA, who have top secret clearances…The government is a customer of all the major cloud service providers. They are also a major regulator of these companies, which gives these companies the incentive to do whatever they want.

This is quite clear if you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees. There are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defense.

In no case is this more clear than Amazon – Snowden

Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama.

He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional….When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way. – Snowden

Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government, especially the Trump government, tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.

In Brief

  • The Facts:Glenn Greenwald interviews NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about Big Tech censorship of information, and the muzzling of journalists who go against the grain.
  • Reflect On:f your perception is built by mainstream media, do you truly know what is going on in the world if they are often working to hide or censor stories that would dramatically change your perception?

Glenn Greenwald is no stranger to censorship, he’s the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden (NSA mass surveillance whistleblower)  to put together his story and release it to the world while working for the Guardian. He eventually left the Guardian and co-founded his own media company, The Intercept, an organization that would be free from censorship and free to report on government corruption and wrong-doings of powerful people and corporations. He recently resigned from The Intercept as well due to the fact that they’ve now censored him, and is now completely independent. You can find his work here. advertisement – learn more

Anybody who reports on or sheds a bright light onto immoral and unethical actions taken by governments and the powerful corporations they work with has been subjected to extreme censorship. In the case of Edward Snowden, he’s been exiled, and Julian Assange of Wikileaks is currently clinging to his life for exposing war crimes and other unethical actions by multiple governments and corporations. There are many other examples. What does it say about our civilization when we prosecute those who expose harm, corruption, immoral/unethical actions by governments and war crimes?

–> Practice Is Everything: Want to become an effective changemaker? Join CETV and get access to exclusive conversations, courses, and original shows that empower you to embody the changemaker this world needs. Click here to learn more!

Greenwald recently interviewed Snowden about internet censorship and the role big tech companies and governments are playing. Greenwald explains that in one of his earliest meetings with Snowden, he (Snowden) explained that he was driven in large part by the vital role the early internet played in his life, “one that was free of corporate and state control, that permitted anonymity and exploration free of monitoring, and, most of all, fostered unrestrained communication and dissemination of information by and among citizens of the world without corporate and state overlords regulating and controlling what they were saying.

This is what he and Snowden go into in the interview posted below. Prior to that I provide a brief summary of Snowden’s key thoughts.

Snowden starts off by mentioning government surveillance programs and the companies they contracted to do this work and compares them to modern day Big Tech giants censoring information on a wide range of topics. We see this today with elections/politics, to medical information dealing with coronavirus and vaccines, for example.

“In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour… – Snowden advertisement – learn more

So basically, these Big Tech companies have become slaves, if you will, to the governments will, or at least powerful people situated in high places within the government. Snowden brings up the fact that many of these companies are hiring people from the CIA, who come from the Pentagon, who come from the NSA, who have top secret clearances…The government is a customer of all the major cloud service providers. They are also a major regulator of these companies, which gives these companies the incentive to do whatever they want.

This is quite clear if you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees. There are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defense.

In no case is this more clear than Amazon – Snowden

Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama.

He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional….When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way. – Snowden

Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government, especially the Trump government, tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,

If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?

I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.

What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority. Stay Aware Subscribe To Our Newsletter  

You can watch the full conversation between Greenwald and Snowden below, the conversation is about 40 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5qEuKCS-czU?start=0&modestbranding=1&showinfo=0&theme=light

Closing Comments: This kind of information almost begs the question, are we ready as a society to truly create and disseminate journalism that is honest, integral and bi-partisan? Why is it that these types of organizations fail or struggle? How do some media companies fail? Well, they no longer stay true to their mission. They fall to the pressure of politics and fall into ideology. How many other times did ideology change what media outlets reported? Yes, it’s almost impossible to have zero bias, but how close can we get to zero? How can we achieve this when media outlets who do not fit within the accepted framework and disseminate information that challenges the popular opinion are constantly being punished for simply putting out information?

As Snowden mentioned above, these Big Tech companies in collusion with governments are literally attempting to not only censor information, but change the behaviour of people as well, especially journalists. When you take away one’s business or livelihood as a result of non-compliance, you are in a way forcing them to comply and do/say things you they way you want them done/said. We’ve experienced massive amounts of censorship and demonetization here at Collective Evolution, but we haven’t changed as a results of it. We simply created CETV, a platform that helps support our work as a result of censorship.

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THE REVELATIONS OF WIKILEAKS: No. 9—Opening the CIA’s Vault – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on October 28, 2020

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/10/26/the-revelations-of-wikileaks-no-9-opening-the-cias-vault/

By Patrick LawrenceSpecial to Consortium News

On Feb. 6, 2017, WikiLeaks released documents detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s espionage program in the months leading up to and following France’s presidential election in 2012. 

The agency used spies and cyberweapons to infiltrate and hack into the major political parties with competing candidates — the Socialists, the National Front and the Union for a Popular Movement. Their candidates — respectively François Hollande, Marine Le Pen and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy — were also spied upon individually, as were many other prominent political figures.

The objectives of the program included ascertaining the contending parties’ political strategies and platforms, their views of the U.S., and their relations with the European Union, with other European nations (Germany, Britain) as well as Israel, Palestine, Libya, Syria, and others. The CIA’s French operation lasted 10 months, beginning in November 2011 and enduring until September 2012, several months after Hollande won the election and formed a Socialist government.

WikiLeaks’ disclosure of the agency’s project bears a special irony: It was just as WikiLeaks published this material in 2017 that the CIA helped propagate unsubstantiated (and later discounted) “intelligence” that Russian hackers and propagandists were interfering with France’s presidential election that year. Similar allegations (similarly lacking in evidence) were floated as the European Union held parliamentary elections in May 2019.

As WikiLeaks reported at the time of the releases on the CIA’s covert activities in France, those revelations were to serve “as context for its forthcoming CIA Vault 7 series.” WikiLeaks’ apparent intent was to display a CIA’s hacking operation in action.

Vault 7, the subject of this latest report on the history of WikiLeaks disclosures, stands as the most extensive publication on record of classified and confidential CIA documents. Never before and not since have the agency’s innumerable programs and capabilities been so thoroughly exposed to public scrutiny.

Biggest Since Snowden

Rally in Germany in support of Edward Snowden, Aug. 30, 2014. (Markus Winkler, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder and publisher, described the Vault 7 publications as the most significant since Edward Snowden, the former CIA data analyst, released an unprecedented trove of National Security Agency documents in the summer of 2013. 

The Vault 7 series concerns the extraordinarily sophisticated inventory of cyber weapons the CIA has developed to spy on or hack into the communications of any person or entity it targets. Apart from the espionage function, certain of the programs in Vault 7 — this designation is WikiLeaks’, not the CIA’s — can also plant documents and data without being detected as the source — when, for example, the agency wishes to compromise an adversary via a false-flag operation.

The program wherein this capability was developed, called Marble, may have been crucial to creating the orthodox “narrative” that Russia was responsible for the theft of Democratic Party email in 2016 — the cornerstone allegation in the construct we now call Russiagate.

The Vault 7 releases expose the CIA’s hacking activities from 2013 to 2016. The series began on March 7, 2017, with the publication of “Year Zero,” an introductory survey and analysis of the agency’s globally deployed hacking programs. The Vault 7 series ran for six months, concluding on Sept. 7, 2017.

Complete as of that date, the series is comprised of 23 publications, each of which focuses on an individual hacking or cyber-espionage program. Marble is one of these. 

The CIA’s development of its hacking capabilities began as a joint effort with the National Security Agency. But the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, begun in 2001 and 2003 respectively, proved a turning point for the agency. It was during this time that the CIA, as WikiLeaks puts it in its introduction to the Vault 7 series, “gained political and budgetary preeminence over the NSA.”

According to former U.S. intelligence sources, the CIA has invested some $175 billion in its vast variety of cyber programs in the post–2001 years. “The agency’s hacking division, WikiLeaks notes, “freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA’s hacking capacities.”

A Near Deal to Free Assange

Assange in 2014, while in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. (Cancillería del Ecuador, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

WikiLeaks launched the Vault 7 series at a delicate moment for Assange, who was at the time taking asylum at the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

Shortly after Donald Trump took office in January 2017, Assange’s attorneys approached a lawyer named Adam Waldman, who was noted for his Washington connections.

Assange’s team proposed negotiations that would commit the U.S. to granting Assange limited immunity and safe passage from the Ecuadoran embassy in exchange for his agreement to limit publication of classified CIA documents. The agency knew by this time that WikiLeaks had an extensive inventory of CIA documents it was prepared to publish. These included what WikiLeaks soon named Vault 7.

Crucially, Assange signaled that he was also willing to reveal technical evidence that would shed light on who was not responsible for the theft of email from the Democratic National Committee in mid–2016. This was key: By this time the “narrative” that Russia had hacked the DNC’s computer servers was well-established; the Democratic Party, the intelligence agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the media were heavily invested in it. Assange, while observing the WikiLeaks principle of not revealing sources, had by this time asserted that Russia had nothing to do with the intrusion.  

The Justice Department and Assange’s attorneys drafted an immunity deal in the course of the negotiations that both sides agreed to pursue. The attorneys’ initial contact, through Waldman, was a DoJ official named Bruce Ohr. The lead DoJ negotiator was named David Laufman. When WikiLeaks released “Year Zero” on March 7, 2017, these negotiations were still in progress; the release had no apparent impact on the talks.

But at this point the contacts between Assange and the U.S. government took a fateful turn. The only full account of the events summarized below was written by John Solomon, who has followed the Russiagate phenomenon from the first, and was published in The Hill on June 25, 2018.

Shortly after negotiations began, Waldman, the go-between, contacted Mark Warner, the Democratic senator from Virginia, to see if the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which Warner was vice-chairman, wished to contact Assange on its own in connection to matters related to Russia. This proved a miscalculation.

Sen. Mark Warner giving keynote address during 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver. (Qqqqqq, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Warner, who had vigorously pressed the Russiagate narrative from the first, soon contacted James Comey, then the FBI director. Comey was also an aggressive Russiagate advocate and had a direct interest in sustaining the official account of events: It was while he ran the FBI that the bureau worked with CrowdStrike, the infamous cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC, to build what is now demonstrated to be an entirely false case to support the Democrats’ assertions of Russian responsibility for the mail intrusion.

Any proof that Russia had no role in the DNC mail theft would have discredited the FBI and Comey and very likely destroyed the career of Comey and numerous others. 

Comey, working through Sen. Warner, immediately ordered Waldman to cut off the Assange–DoJ talks. Although negotiations continued a brief while longer, Comey had effectively dealt them a soon-to-be-fatal blow. By this time WikiLeaks had released two other Vault 7 document collections, including what it called the Marble Framework.

The DoJ finally broke off the negotiations on April 7, when WikiLeaks released a fourth set of documents, this one called Grasshopper. Six days later Mike Pompeo, then CIA director, gave a notably aggressive speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Washington think tank, in which he called WikiLeaks “a nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.” https://www.youtube.com/embed/pe3ApagvwNM?enablejsapi=1&autoplay=0&cc_load_policy=0&iv_load_policy=1&loop=0&modestbranding=1&fs=1&playsinline=0&controls=1&color=red&rel=0&autohide=2&theme=dark&

With the CSIS speech, Pompeo effectively opened the Trump administration’s rigorously pressed campaign to have Assange extradited from Britain. The WikiLeaks founder appears never to have had another chance to negotiate an agreement providing for his freedom.

Run Amok

The Vault 7 releases continued at a steady pace, roughly four a month, for the next five months. The documents WikiLeaks made public, along with descriptions of the programs WikiLeaks deemed significant, can be found via its “Vault 7: Projects” report. Taken together they describe an expensively funded U.S. government organization that has run frighteningly amok, operates with no regard for U.S. or international law, and stands entirely beyond civilian control. Many of the projects exposed in the Vault 7 releases, and very likely most or all, violate Fourth Amendment rights to privacy and the CIA’s charter, which bars the agency from activity on U.S. soil.

Former CIA Director Allen Dulles. (CIA)

The history of the CIA, reaching back to Allen Dulles’ tenure as director (1953 to 1961), indicates that from its earliest days it entertained a diabolic desire to accumulate the power to operate with no reference to constraints of any kind, including those imposed by ordinary standards of decency. In this way it was effectively the id of America’s exceptionalist consciousness. What we see in the Vault 7 series is the perversely logical outcome of this culture of limitless impunity and immunity.

By the end of 2016, the hacking division of the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence had more than 1,000 hacking, malware, virus-implanting, remote-control and Trojan-horse programs in its inventory. These comprised more than 700 million lines of computer code.

Former CIA and NSA officials told Consortium News that a line of code costs roughly $25 to produce, putting the cost of the agency’s hacking tools over the years these programs were developed at $175 billion. “The CIA had created its ‘own NSA,’” WikiLeaks noted when it began releasing the Vault 7 publications, “with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.”

What follows are accounts and summaries of the most significant of the 23 Vault 7 releases. We present these chronologically, the earliest first, to give readers a clear idea of how WikiLeaks organized and presented the Vault 7 project. 

Year Zero

March 7, 2017

With the publication of “Year Zero,” it was immediately clear that WikiLeaks had penetrated into or very near the core of the CIA’s cyberoperations. This first Vault 7 release is comprised of 8,761 documents and files obtained from what WikiLeaks describes as “an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia, the agency’s headquarters.

Aerial view of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. (Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons)

As WikiLeaks notes, the agency had “lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal” shortly before it published “Year Zero.” There had been a massive leak, to put this point in simple terms. “The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner,” WikiLeaks reported, “one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.” This occurred at some point in 2016.

“Year Zero” serves as an overview of “the scope and direction of the CIA’s global hacking program” and an introduction to material included in the Vault 7 releases to follow. The agency’s inventory of tools was the purview — and we can assume continues to be so — of the Engineering Development Group (EDG), a technology department under the authority of the Center for Cyber Intelligence.

The EDG also tests and operates its products once they are perfected and added to the agency’s arsenal. The engineering group, Wikileaks reported, has developed some 500 projects, each with its own malware and hacking tools. The EDG’s focus is on penetration, implanting, control and exfiltration. “Year Zero” analyzes the most important of these. 

High among the objectives of Vault 7 programs was to achieve the capability of penetrating the manufacturers of cellular telephones and other electronic devices for a variety of operations. Among the products targeted for this purpose were Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Google’s Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and Samsung televisions.

Programs included in the Vault 7 collection were designed to hack these and other commonly used devices and systems remotely so they can corrupt the targets and also send the CIA the owner’s geographic location and all audio and text communications. Other programs were capable of turning on a device’s microphone and camera without the owner’s knowledge. Other attack-and-control programs targeted MAC OS X, Solaris and Linux operating systems.

A number of the CIA’s programs revealed in the Vault 7 releases focus exclusively on one or another of these companies, most commonly Microsoft.

Building 92 at Microsoft Corporation headquarters in Redmond, Washington. (Coolcaesar, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

“Grasshopper” (April 7, 2017) is a platform for the development of malware designed for attacks on Windows operating systems. “AfterMidnight” (May 12, 2017) and “Brutal Kangaroo” (June 22, 2017) also target the Microsoft Windows platform, while “Weeping Angels” (April 21, 2017) infiltrated Samsung televisions. “Outlaw Country” (June 30, 2017) is designed for attack on computers that use the Linux OS. 

“Year Zero” also details the CIA’s use of what the agency calls “zero days.” These are commonly occurring software code imperfections and vulnerabilities in electronic devices that the CIA knows and makes use of but does not disclose to manufacturers or the public.

In some respects, zero days are treated as commodities. While the CIA discovered some zero days on its own, it obtained others from the NSA, GCHQ (the NSA’s British counterpart), or the FBI. It also purchased zero days from private cyber-weapons manufacturers much as the Pentagon would buy a weapons system from a defense contractor.

The CIA’s stockpile of zero days enables it to bypass encryption systems installed in such communications applications as WhatsApp, the widely used long-distance telephone and text service. This makes zero days, which can be used either locally or remotely, especially significant in extending the reach of the agency’s hacking operations. The CIA’s practice of keeping zero days secret — effectively hoarding them, as WikiLeaks notes — is especially cynical and dangerous.

As WikiLeaks explains:

“If the CIA can hack these phones then so can everyone else who has obtained or discovered the vulnerability. As long as the CIA keeps these vulnerabilities concealed from Apple and Google (who make the phones) they will not be fixed, and the phones will remain hackable. The same vulnerabilities exist for the population at large, including the U.S. Cabinet, Congress, top CEOs, system administrators, security officers and engineers. By hiding these security flaws from manufacturers like Apple and Google, the CIA ensures that it can hack everyone– at the expense of leaving everyone hackable.”

Most malware developed by the EDG and related units in the CIA’s organizational structure is designed to remain in implanted devices for considerable lengths of time — in some cases years — after it is installed. So long as it is present it communicates regularly and in two-way fashion with the CIA’s Command and Control systems.

While many programs are implanted remotely, some require a physical presence. This typically means an agent infests a targeted device on site. But in some cases, the CIA covertly intervened into supply chains and delivery services, including postal services, by opening, infecting, and on-sending products without the knowledge of either the manufacturer or the purchaser.

As it began its Vault 7 series with “Year Zero,” WikiLeaks took the occasion to note “an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons,’” as Assange put it at the time. He drew a comparison between these weapons and the global arms trade, noting “the inability to contain them, combined with their high market value.”

The source of the Vault 7 trove, who was among the former government hackers and contractors circulating the Vault programs among themselves, shared these and other concerns:

“In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation, and democratic control of cyber-weapons.”

This is Consortium News’s intent in publishing its report on Vault 7.

Mindful of the risks attached to proliferation, and perhaps of past (and unfounded) charges that its publications compromised U.S. national security and American personnel, WikiLeaks notes that it was careful to avoid distributing what it termed “‘armed’ cyber-weapons” as it published the Vault 7 series.

It also said it redacted “tens of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United States.” In a note in an FAQ section appended to “Year Zero,” WikiLeaks states, “Names, email addresses, and external IP addresses have been redacted in the released pages (70,875 redactions in total) until further analysis is complete.”

Dark Matter
March 23, 2017

Projects developed in the “Dark Matter” program were designed to penetrate Apple Macs and iPhones with what is called firmware — that is, malware that continues to infect the units attacked even if the OS is reinstalled. “Sonic Screwdriver,” a sub-project in this group, allowed attackers to install and activate computer code while users booted up these Apple devices.

See the rest here

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for theInternational Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.

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Julian Assange’s Trial Has Begun: Judge Warns Him Not To Speak Again & Remain Silent – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on September 10, 2020

Most of the world knows why they hunted him, and why he’s been treated the way he’s been treated and tortured in prison. The same goes for people like Edward Snowden, it’s because they expose lies, corruption, deceit, immoral and unethical actions that their own governments, as well as governments around the world have participated in.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/09/08/julian-assanges-trial-has-begun-judge-warns-him-not-to-speak-again-remain-silent/

In Brief

  • The Facts:Julian Assange has been warned by the judge in his extradition case that he could be removed from court with the case continuing in his absence after he interjected while a lawyer for the US sparred with a high-profile witness in favour of assange.
  • Reflect On:Why do people like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden face such a harsh backlash from Governments? If governments and elite corporations aren’t doing anything wrong, what do they have to hide? Why are the censoring so much information?

What Happened: Julian Assange’s legal battle to avoid US extradition to the United States for leaking classified information has begun. The latest news is that “English judge Vanessa Baraitser warns the most famous publisher/journalist in the world – Julian Assange, tortured by UK authorities according to the UN – not to speak again or be removed entirely from the court and be tried for his life in his absence,” according to Afshin Rattansi, a British broadcaster, journalist and author.

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Over the years Assange has faced a number of smear campaigns and character assassinations that have been debunked, when in reality there are so many ‘high profile’ people around the word that support him and see quite clearly what is going on.

According to The Guardian,Julian Assange has been warned by the judge in his extradition case that he could be removed from court with the case continuing in his absence after he interjected while a lawyer for the US authorities sparred with a high-profile witness giving evidence in support of the WikiLeaks founder.”

I suggest you visit The Wikileaks Instagram Page for more the most recent and accurate updates.

Why This Is Important: Most of the world knows why they hunted him, and why he’s been treated the way he’s been treated and tortured in prison. The same goes for people like Edward Snowden, it’s because they expose lies, corruption, deceit, immoral and unethical actions that their own governments, as well as governments around the world have participated in. He exposed these characteristics that seem to represents the backbone of the Western military alliance and the American empire. He exposed, in the words of John F. Hylan, former Mayor of New York City, the “real menace of the Republic”, the “invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation.” He exposed the ones “who virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes.” (source)(source)

“National Security” has become an umbrella tool to protect a number of unethical and immoral actions by governments, big corporations as well as those that take place in the world of finance.

How far have we sunk if telling the truth becomes a crime? How far have we sunk if we prosecute people that expose war crimes for exposing war crimes? How far have we sunk when we no longer prosecute our own war criminals? Because we identify more with them, than we identify with the people that actually expose these crimes. What does that tell about us and about our governments? In a democracy, the power does not belong to the government, but to the people. But the people have to claim it. Secrecy disempowers the people because it prevents them from exercising democratic control, which is precisely why governments want secrecy. – Nils Melzer, Human Rights Chair of the Geneva Academy of Int Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, Prof of Int Law at the University of Glasgow, UN Rapporteur on Torture and Other Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Wilikleaks has never had to retract a single story.

Politics has become a cesspool of corruption, and it’s now corporations and big banks that seem to dictate political policy. What we are presented with on our TV when it comes to geopolitical issues and war is far different from what’s happening in reality, and this is what Julian Assange made evident. Whether it’s the funding, arming and creation of  terrorist organizations like ISIS or Al-Qaeda by our governments, creating problems so they can propose the solutions, or documents showing the influence Big Pharma has on global health policy, obtaining this information and using it to inform the public is not a “threat” to the people, it’s a threat to to the people in power. These people in power are using “national “security as they always due to justify the locking Assange up for the rest of his life.

The Takeaway: Do we really live on a planet right now where those who expose truth, expose corporate corruption, and those who want what’s best for the world and want to change the world, are locked away, murdered, silenced, censored, and thrown in jail? Furthermore, what time of ‘machine’ is required to justify his jailing in the minds of the masses? What kind of propaganda tools are used and how powerful are they if they have the ability to completely control human consciousness and perception in a way that best fits their interests?

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NSA Ruling Reminds Us That Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security Is a Bipartisan Impulse – Reason.com

Posted by M. C. on September 5, 2020

James Clapper, the Air Force general whom Obama appointed as director of national intelligence, epitomized the administration’s dishonesty by blatantly lying to a Senate committee about the NSA’s data collection practices three months before the phone record database was revealed, then repeatedly lying about lying.

Nowadays, Gorsuch noted, people routinely store sensitive information—including “private documents” that, “in other eras, we would have locked safely in a desk drawer or destroyed”—on third-party servers. According to the reasoning of Miller and Smith, he said, “police can review all of this material, on the theory that no one reasonably expects any of it will be kept private. But no one believes that, if they ever did.”

https://reason.com/2020/09/03/nsa-ruling-reminds-us-that-sacrificing-civil-liberties-in-the-name-of-national-security-is-a-bipartisan-impulse/

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit yesterday ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records was illegal and probably unconstitutional. For Democrats who see Donald Trump as an unprecedented threat because of his disregard for the Constitution, the decision is a useful reminder that sacrificing civil liberties on the altar of national security is a bipartisan rite.

The NSA program, which was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, indiscriminately collected telephone “metadata”—indicating who was calling whom and how long they talked—about millions of Americans for years. The program, which the USA FREEDOM Act ended in 2015, began under George W. Bush but continued during Barack Obama’s administration, which concealed its existence, then speciously defended its legality and usefulness.

“The administration has now lost all credibility,” The New York Times editorialized after Snowden’s revelations. “Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”

James Clapper, the Air Force general whom Obama appointed as director of national intelligence, epitomized the administration’s dishonesty by blatantly lying to a Senate committee about the NSA’s data collection practices three months before the phone record database was revealed, then repeatedly lying about lying. In his latest incarnation, Clapper is a vociferous Trump critic who blames Russia for the election of a president he despises as a man “whose first instincts are to twist and distort truth to his advantage.”

Further scrambling the conventional understanding of which major party is more concerned about civil liberties, Obama tried to prosecute Snowden, while Trump, who in 2013 called Snowden “a traitor” who “should be executed,” last month suggested he might pardon the NSA whistleblower. Another interesting point Democrats might prefer to overlook: While questioning the constitutionality of the NSA’s metadata dragnet, the 9th Circuit cites Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump nominee who is a more reliable defender of the Fourth Amendment than the judge Obama wanted to appoint.

I am not for a moment suggesting that Trump’s new respect for Snowden, which is probably driven by his pique at “deep state” foes like Clapper, or his choice of Gorsuch, which was based on what he thought conservatives wanted, reflects civil libertarian principles (or any principles at all). But as this case shows, Trump’s polarizing personality tends to obscure the deeper problem of powers that tempt presidents to violate our rights, regardless of their personal traits, avowed principles, or party affiliation.

The prosecution that led to the 2nd Circuit’s decision involved four Somali immigrants who were convicted in 2013 of sending money to the terrorist group al-Shabab. While the ruling does not affect those convictions, it addresses the legality of the NSA’s phone record database, which supposedly played a crucial role in the case.

I say “supposedly” because that is what federal officials claimed while defending the NSA’s program. Then-FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, for example, told a congressional committee the database generated a tip that allowed the bureau to reopen its investigation of the suspected al-Shabab supporters. The 2nd Circuit rightly discounts such statements, which were part of a fact-deficient attempt to portray the program as an essential weapon against terrorism.

“The metadata collection, even if unconstitutional, did not taint the evidence introduced by the government at trial,” the appeals court says. “To the extent the public statements of government officials created a contrary impression, that impression is inconsistent with the contents of the classified record.” That’s a polite way of saying that Obama administration officials misled the public about the program’s value.

What about its legality? As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit did in 2015, the 9th Circuit makes short work of the government’s argument that the program was authorized by Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which allowed secret court orders “requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation…to protect against international terrorism.” Such orders were supposed to be based on “a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation.”

Using the same needle-in-a-haystack argument that was deployed by the Obama administration, the government’s lawyers maintained that everyone’s phone records are “relevant to an authorized investigation” because searching them might reveal useful clues. “Although admittedly a substantial portion of the telephony metadata that is collected would not relate to [terrorism suspects],” they said, “the intelligence tool that the Government hopes to use to find [investigation-related] communications—metadata analysis—requires collecting and storing large volumes of the metadata to enable later analysis.” According to the government, “all of the metadata collected is thus relevant, because the success of this investigative tool depends on bulk collection.”

The 2nd Circuit said “such an expansive concept of ‘relevance’ is unprecedented and unwarranted,” and the 9th Circuit concurs. The government’s interpretation “essentially reads the ‘authorized investigation’ language out of the statute,” it says. “We hold that the telephony metadata collection program exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorization.”

As for the program’s constitutionality, the government argued that it was covered by the third-party doctrine, which says people do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding information they voluntarily divulge to others (in this case, the phone companies from which the NSA collected its metadata). The Supreme Court invented that doctrine in United States v. Miller, a 1976 case involving bank records. Three years later, the Court invoked the doctrine in Smith v. Maryland, which involved a warrantless “pen register” that police used to record the numbers dialed by a robbery suspect over the course of a few days. Although that situation is rather different from the collection of personal information about millions of people for years, the government argued that Smith shows the NSA’s program was consistent with the Fourth Amendment.

“There are strong reasons to doubt that Smith applies here,” the 9th Circuit says. “The distinctions between Smith and this case are legion and most probably constitutionally significant….Society may not have recognized as reasonable Smith’s expectation of privacy in a few days’ worth of dialed numbers but is much more likely to perceive as private several years’ worth of telephony metadata collected on an ongoing, daily basis—as demonstrated by the public outcry following the revelation of the metadata collection program.”

The Supreme Court in Smith drew a distinction between the “contents” of a phone call and information about numbers dialed, deeming the latter much less sensitive. But “in recent years the distinction between content and metadata ‘has become increasingly untenable,'” the appeals court notes. “The amount of metadata created and collected has increased exponentially, along with the government’s ability to analyze it.”

The 9th Circuit emphasizes how revealing this information can be, quoting former NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker. “Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life,” Baker said. “If you have enough metadata you don’t really need content.”

The appeals court illustrates that point with a couple of examples: “A woman calls her sister at 2:00 a.m. and talks for an hour. The record of that call reveals some of the woman’s personal information, but more is revealed by access to the sister’s call records, which show that the sister called the woman’s husband immediately afterward. Or, a police officer calls his college roommate for the first time in years. Afterward, the roommate calls a suicide hotline.”

And that’s just for a start. “Metadata can be combined and analyzed to reveal far more sophisticated information than one or two individuals’ phone records convey,” the 9th Circuit notes before quoting a brief filed by the Brennan Center for Justice: “It is relatively simple to superimpose our metadata trails onto the trails of everyone within our social group and those of everyone within our contacts’ social groups and quickly paint a picture that can be startlingly detailed.”

The 9th Circuit notes that the Supreme Court expressed similar concerns in Carpenter v. United States, the 2018 case in which the justices said the third-party doctrine does not apply to cellphone location data. Furthermore, the appeals court says, “numerous commentators and two Supreme Court Justices have questioned the continuing viability of the third-party doctrine under current societal realities.”

Here is where Gorsuch comes in. He dissented in Carpenter, not because he thought cops should be allowed to collect cellphone location data without a warrant but because he thought the third-party doctrine should be scrapped entirely, along with the malleable “reasonable expectation” test. Nowadays, Gorsuch noted, people routinely store sensitive information—including “private documents” that, “in other eras, we would have locked safely in a desk drawer or destroyed”—on third-party servers. According to the reasoning of Miller and Smith, he said, “police can review all of this material, on the theory that no one reasonably expects any of it will be kept private. But no one believes that, if they ever did.”

The 9th Circuit did not reach a firm conclusion about the constitutionality of the NSA’s program, because it was not necessary to decide whether the convictions should stand. But its observations show how readily the government invades our privacy on the flimsiest pretext, blithely dismissing constitutional concerns when they prove inconvenient. That alarming tendency cannot be corrected by switching out one politician for another.

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‘The Day Has Arrived’ Snowden Hails Appeals Court Ruling Slamming NSA Metadata Harvesting as Illegal – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on September 4, 2020

I wouldn’t be in a big hurry to take the tape off your cell and computer cameras.

https://sputniknews.com/us/202009031080353545-the-day-has-arrived-snowden-hails-appeals-court-ruling-slamming-nsa-metadata-harvesting-as-illegal/

by

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on 2 September lauded the ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the mass surveillance programme conducted by the National Security Agency, including bulk collection of phone records, was illegal. The ACLU called described it as a “victory for our privacy rights”.

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee turned whistleblower Edward Snowden responded on Wednesday to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programme, including the bulk collection of citizens’ phone records, was illegal.

​The programme, believed to have been discontinued in 2015 when Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, had extended beyond the scope of what Congress allowed under a foundational surveillance law, ruled a panel of judges, acknowledging that it was possibly a violation of the US Constitution.

The former NSA contractor tweeted that he had been “charged as a criminal for speaking the truth”.

Snowden was referring to the trove of classified intelligence data detailing the sweeping American domestic surveillance programme that he had leaked in 2013 and for which he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and treason.

Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA's Security & Human Rights Program, holds up a photo of Edward Snowden during a news conference to call upon President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in New York. Human and civil rights organizations, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, launched a public campaign to persuade Obama to pardon the former National Security Agency contractor, who leaked classified details in 2013 of the U.S. government's warrantless surveillance program before fleeing to Russia.
© AP Photo / Mary Altaffer
Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program, holds up a photo of Edward Snowden during a news conference to call upon President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden before he leaves office, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, in New York. Human and civil rights organizations, including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, launched a public campaign to persuade Obama to pardon the former National Security Agency contractor, who leaked classified details in 2013 of the U.S. government’s warrantless surveillance program before fleeing to Russia.

Snowden tweeted that he was now being “credited” for his actions to “expose the illegal spying practices” conducted by US intelligence agencies.

NSA Phone-spying Unlawful

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had made its ruling, written by Judge Marsha Berzon, on Wednesday, to acknowledge that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act didn’t permit the bulk collection of phone users’ call records.

“The metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorisation,” the judge is cited by Business Insider as saying.

The court also upheld convictions of four members of the Somali diaspora. for sending, or conspiring to send, $10,900 to Somalia to support a foreign terrorist organisation, concluding that the NSA’s phone record collection was not relevant to their convictions.

The federal appeals court additionally concluded there was no evidence the sweeping surveillance programme resulted in the arrests of any suspected terrorists.

After the NSA’s programme to harvest phone records was first leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 and triggered public outrage, US intelligence officials publicly defended it by insisting it had helped thwart terror attacks.

“To the extent the public statements of government officials created a contrary impression, that impression is inconsistent with the contents of the classified record,” says the ruling.

There has been no official comment from the NSA.

After the US Court of Appeals made its ruling, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted that the move was a “victory for privacy rights”.

Mass Snooping Exposed

In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked classified material to The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers pertaining to a domestic mass surveillance programme that collected telephone, email and internet browsing data, despite this being prohibited by US law without a court order.

After the revelations and subsequent public outrage, the US Congress passed the Freedom Act in 2015 to significantly restrain the legality of mass data collection.

Since June 2013, Edward Snowden has been wanted in the United States on two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.

Having initially fled to Hong Kong, the threat of extradition to his home country forced him to seek refuge in Russia. In 2014 the whistleblower was granted a three-year residence permit which was prolonged in 2017.

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History is on Edward Snowden’s side: Now it’s time to give him a full pardon | TheHill

Posted by M. C. on August 20, 2020

Discussing recent events in an April 2020 interview with journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, Snowden warned, “Now, the only thing we have left — our rights, our ideals, our values as people — that’s what they’re coming for now, that’s what they’re asking us to give up, that’s what they’re wanting to change.

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/512587-history-is-on-edward-snowdens-side-now-its-time-to-give-him-a

By Cliff Maloney, Opinion Contributor

It’s been seven years since Edward Snowden rocked the world, and in America the ground is shaking once again.

In a promising turn of events, headlines have seen an unprecedented outpouring of support for Snowden from high-ranking American officials. In a press conference Saturday, President Trump stated that he is “going to take a look at [Snowden’s case] very strongly.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and two sitting members of Congress, Reps. Justin Amash (L-Mich.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), have also taken to Twitter to support the whistleblower. Equally encouraging is how swiftly all of this has drawn the ire of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.); in my own experience, when you’ve angered someone with the surname Cheney, you’ve probably done something right.

It is an addictive tendency in politics to feel a sense of history about what it is one is fighting for. Everyone wants to believe that their heroes from ages past are smiling down on them while simultaneously rolling in their graves at the sight of whatever the opposition is doing. But the fact of the matter is that the vast network of scandal-ridden government agencies, clandestine secret courts, and diabolically unconstitutional statutes trying to destroy Snowden hails from a particularly dark, shameful chapter of America’s past.

Snowden stands accused of violating the Espionage Act of 1917, championed by then-President Woodrow Wilson. Passed just two months after America’s entrance into World War I, the law sought to silence criticism of the war effort and crush dissent within the ranks of the armed forces. In his State of the Union address just two years earlier, Wilson begged Congress to pass it, declaring, “Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out… they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once.”

Now the law has withstood over a century of criticism and legal challenges from civil liberties advocates, and the misery it has inflicted on countless Americans has proven painfully obvious. In 1918, antiwar activist Charles Schenck was arrested for distributing flyers encouraging men to resist the draft. That same year, socialist Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison, deprived of his citizenship, and disenfranchised for life over nothing more than a speech he made criticizing the war. In January 1919, however, the Supreme Court dealt a devastating blow to freedom of speech by concluding that neither’s arrest constituted a violation of the First Amendment.

And these are far from the only people to have been victimized by the very law being used to terrorize Snowden today. A search for just a few of the more well-known cases will yield the stories of journalist Victor L. Berger, activists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, former U.S. Army soldier Chelsea Manning, and former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) employee Henry Kyle Frese.

Discussing recent events in an April 2020 interview with journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald, Snowden warned, “Now, the only thing we have left — our rights, our ideals, our values as people — that’s what they’re coming for now, that’s what they’re asking us to give up, that’s what they’re wanting to change. And remember that, from the perspective of a free society, a virus is a serious problem… but the destruction of our rights is fatal — that’s permanent.” With so much confusion and uncertainty about the future of liberty in America, there has hardly been a more fitting moment for our leaders to stand with freedom by denouncing the ever-expanding reach of the surveillance state.

As the curtains of tyranny close tighter, giving Edward Snowden the full pardon he deserves would provide this much-needed glimmer of hope for privacy in America.

Cliff Maloney is the president of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL).

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Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret

Posted by M. C. on June 9, 2020

Over the course of Israel’s remarkable territorial acquisition and
military victory, it allegedly committed a war crime by slaughtering Egyptian prisoners of war in the city of El Arish in the northern Sinai.
Bamford argued in his 2001 book, “Body of Secrets,” that the USS
Liberty’s proximity to the Sinai, and its ability to intercept Israel’s
motives and activities during the Six-Day War, might have prompted
Israel’s attack on the vessel.

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/

On June 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at the height of the Six-Day War when it came under direct Israeli aerial and naval assault.

Reverberations from the torpedo blast sent crewman Ernie Gallo flying across the radio research room where he was stationed. Gallo, a communications technician aboard the Liberty, found himself and his fellow shipmates in the midst of an attack that would leave 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assault on the USS Liberty, and though it was among the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy. The question of if and when Israeli forces became aware they were killing Americans has proved a point of particular contention in the on-again, off-again public debate that has simmered over the last half a century. The Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings following the incident were held in closed sessions, and the survivors who had been on board received gag orders forbidding them to ever talk about what they endured that day.

Now, half a century later, The Intercept is publishing two classified documents provided in the cache of files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden related to the attack and its aftermath. They reveal previously unknown involvement by Government Communications Headquarters, the U.K. signals intelligence agency; internal NSA communications that seem to bolster a signals intelligence analyst’s account of the incident, which framed it as an accident; as well as a Hebrew transliteration system unique to the NSA that was in use at least as recently as 2006.

NSA’s USS Liberty Incident Classification Guide10 pages

The first document, a formerly unreleased NSA classification guide, details which elements of the incident the agency still regarded as secret as of 2006. The second lists a series of unauthorized signals intelligence disclosures that “have had a detrimental effect on our ability to produce intelligence against terrorist targets and other targets of national concern.” Remarkably, information relevant to the attack on the Liberty falls within this highly secret category.

Though neither document reveals conclusive information about the causes of the assault, both highlight that at the time of their publication — approximately four decades after the incident — the NSA was determined to keep even seemingly minor details about the attack classified. The agency declined to comment for this article.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Edward Snowden Says Governments Are Using COVID-19 To “Monitor Us Like Never Before”

Posted by M. C. on April 17, 2020

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/04/15/edward-snowden-says-governments-are-using-covid-19-to-monitor-us-like-never-before/

In Brief

  • The Facts:In the second episode of The Intercept’s new weekly show, host Glenn Greenwald explores the under-discussed consequences of the coronavirus pandemic with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and how it’s being used to take away more human rights.
  • Reflect On:Should the government use force on their citizenry to comply, or should they simply recommend safety measures and explain why they do?

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9/11 was a major event in human history, and although it was very traumatic and devastating, it served the collective in multiple ways. For example, the event raised questions and made people distrust their government. It also highlighted the massive amounts of corruption that exists within governments. Since 9/11, the masses have become aware of ‘false flag terrorism,’ which refers to the ‘powers that be’ creating, funding and even staging terrorist events in order to heighten the national security state and justify the invasion and infiltration of other countries  under the guise of good will and restoring democracy. In reality, this type of infiltration is usually used for ulterior motives like resource extraction, mass surveillance and installing a puppet government that is willing to work with governments and intelligence agencies who have a tremendous amount of power.

After 9/11 we saw various leaks from whistleblowers, organizations like Wikileaks, and numerous other proofs that governments were actually funding Terrorist organizations, and again, in some cases contributing to the ‘staging’ of terrorist attacks. The chemical weapons attacks in Syria a few years ago were a great example, and it eventually got to the point where congresspeople were introducing bills to stop their own government (The United States) from funding terrorist organizations like ISIS. Just like Tulsi Gabbard did with the “Stop Arming Terrorists Act.”

Terrorism is and always has been a classic case of powerful people creating the problem, so the exact same people can  propose the solution. Are we seeing the same thing with the coronavirus?

Whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and William Binney (one of the highest placed intelligence officials to ever blow the whistle), among others, have been exposing the National Security Agency (NSA) and the US Government with regards to the extent of their surveillance programs for quite a while. They’ve both leaked documents and ‘blown the whistle’ on just how far these agencies go to monitor not only their own citizens, but the citizes in other countries as well. They’ve also been quite outspoken that these programs are not put in place for our own protection, and that the ‘problems’ are simply a cover that are used to justify the implementation of these programs. According to Binney, these surveillance measures are not for our protection, but for “total population control.” (source)

What Snowden Has To Say About The Coronavirus

According to Edward Snowden, “Governments around the world are are exploiting the pandemic to monitor us like never before.” He and many others have been pointing out how society is moving fast towards an authoritarian type of existence, and how it’s already here. The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom has been here for quite a while, and it’s done in a very clever way. Many of us are concerned about having a good job, a house, a family and many of us believe we have freedom without being aware that in many ways, we really don’t. And all of the measures that take away our freedom are done so by manufacturing our consent to these measures, or by governments simply implementing these measures without the knowledge or approval of the people.  As Snowden mentions in his interview below, fear, panic and hysteria are usually the tools used to implement and justify these measures and manufacture our consent.

As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world. Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? -Edward Snowden (source)

Snowden points out that just like 9/11, the coronavirus will be used to heighten even more surveillance and security measures that won’t go away. I am sure many measures that are being put in place, just as they were put into place after 9/11, will remain classified and completely hidden from the citizenry. That’s why people like Edward Snowden are so important.

We are also seeing an authoritarian type of dictator policing the internet as well. Dr. Ron Paul had a piece that was recently flagged as ‘false news’ for simply sharing his opinion. He shares the same thoughts as Snowden to an extent:

Governments love crises because when the people are fearful they are more willing to give up freedoms for promises that the government will take care of them. After 9/11, for example, Americans accepted the near-total destruction of their civil liberties in the PATRIOT Act’s hollow promises of security.

People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus “pandemic” could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit – financially or politically – from the ensuing panic.

That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the “threat” is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back. – Paul (source)

Below is a very interesting interview that Snowden recently gave with Glenn Greenwald, where they explore the “under-discussed consequences of the coronavirus pandemic” and “the risk of acquiescing to more surveillance during times of peril.” In it he goes into greater detail.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Like Freedom? Then You Won’t Like the FREEDOM Act

Posted by M. C. on March 24, 2020

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/march/23/like-freedom-then-you-won-t-like-the-freedom-act/

Written by Ron Paul

Last Monday, a bipartisan group of Senators and a coalition including libertarian and progressive activists thwarted a scheme to ram through the Senate legislation renewing three provisions of the USA FREEDOM Act (previously known as the USA PATRIOT Act). The bill had already been rushed through the House of Representatives, and most expected it to sail through the Senate. But, instead, Senate leadership had to settle for a 77-day extension.

Senate leadership was also forced to allow consideration of several amendments at a later date. Included is Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment that would forbid the FISA court from issuing warrants targeting American citizens.

Deep state supporters claim the expiring business records provision (which authorizes the collection of our communications and was at the center of Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations), lone wolf provision (which allows government to subject an individual with no known ties to terrorists to warrantless surveillance), and roving wiretaps provision (which allows government to monitor communications on any device that may be used by a targeted individual) are necessary to keep Americans safe. But, since Congress first passed the PATRIOT Act almost 20 years ago, mass surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, and bulk data collection have not stopped a single terrorist attack.

The legislation does have “reforms” aimed at protecting civil liberties, but these new protections contain loopholes that render the protections meaningless. For example, the bill requires those targeted for surveillance to be notified that the government spied on them. However, this requirement can be waived if the government simply claims — not proves but just clams — that notifying the target would harm “national security.”

The notice provision also only applies to the target of an investigations. So, if you were caught up in a federal investigation because a coworker is being targeted and you shared an office computer, or if a store clerk reported to the government you and others bought pressure cookers, the government could collect your phone records, texts, and social media posts without giving you the chance to challenge the government’s actions.

The bill also makes some reforms to the special FISA court, which serves as a rubber stamp for the intelligence community. These reforms are mainly aimed at protecting political campaigns and candidates. They would not stop the FISA court from rubber-stamping surveillance on organizations that oppose the welfare-warfare-surveillance-fiat money status quo.

Anything limiting warrantless wiretapping and mass surveillance should be supported. However, nothing short of repeal of the USA FREEDOM Act will restore respect for our right to live our lives free of the fear that Big Brother is watching. The path to liberty, peace, and prosperity starts with eliminating all unconstitutional laws and returning to a system of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, sound money, and a foreign policy that seeks peaceful commerce and friendship with all instead of seeking new monsters to destroy.


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