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Posts Tagged ‘Edward Snowden’

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?

Special Note To Our Readers: We are concerned that our Facebook Page will be deleted, so we are encouraging all those who want to continue to receive and be able to find our content to sign up for our email list.

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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Edward Snowden’s Tweet That Exposed What Our TV’s Are Doing To Us – Collective Evolution

Posted by M. C. on March 2, 2020

TVision was co-founded by Dan Schiffman and one of his classmates from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Through the installation of a Microsoft Kinect device, most often used for Xbox video games, on top of TVs, TVision tracks the movement of people’s eyes in relation to the TV. The device can then record even tiny shifts from everyone in the room, and then the company matches the movements to what they’re watching.

Samsung’s privacy policy in regards to the TV actually reads: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

If it is connected to the net it is ratting on you.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2020/02/29/edward-snowdens-tweet-that-exposed-what-our-tvs-are-doing-to-us/

In Brief

  • The Facts:TVision Insights was launched a few years ago, allowing companies to monitor TV watchers’ viewing habits. This means that they can watch you as you watch TV. The technology records where your eyes are looking, facial expressions and more.
  • Reflect On:What happened to privacy? How are these companies allowed to role out such technologies without the consent of the masses?

Years ago, Edward Snowden accomplished one of the most significant intelligence leaks in U.S. history, confirming to the world that the government really does spy on you. Two years later, Samsung casually warned the public that their Smart TVs could record their living room banter.

Now, even if you’re alone in a room, if that room contains a laptop, computer, or Smart TV, it’s possible that someone out there is listening to you, and even watching you. The worst part? You wouldn’t even know.

A technology called TVision Insights was launched a few years ago, allowing companies to monitor TV watchers’ viewing habits. This means that they can literally watch you as you watch TV, and the technology even records data on where your eyes are looking, when you’re distracted, and what emotions you’re conveying.

How TVision Insights Watches You Watch TV

I first came across the technology when Edward Snowden tweeted the following image on February 26, 2017.

17078151_1791722484176014_1670570206_n

As you can see, not only can the companies watch you watch TV, but the technology is intelligent enough to pick up on your facial expression, engagement level, and other significant data. This information has provided insight into not only what shows people watch the most or are the most engaged in, but what commercials they prefer to watch as well.

 

TVision was co-founded by Dan Schiffman and one of his classmates from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Through the installation of a Microsoft Kinect device, most often used for Xbox video games, on top of TVs, TVision tracks the movement of people’s eyes in relation to the TV. The device can then record even tiny shifts from everyone in the room, and then the company matches the movements to what they’re watching.

The device’s sensors can record minute shifts in all of the people in the room. The company then matches those viewing patterns to shows and commercials using technology that listens to what is being broadcast on the TV.

Since the technology is still very new, it’s currently being voluntarily tested on 7,500 people in the Boston, Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth areas (source).

Obviously there are privacy concerns here. The company states that they aren’t storing any images or video footage, and it’s only a voluntary installation, at least for now. But we’ve already seen companies and the U.S. government abuse similar software to spy on us.

How can we guarantee this information won’t be publicized or sold to corporations or the government, since that’s already happened in the past? Where do we draw the line between wanting the latest technical gadgets and wanting to secure our privacy? Is it even possible to have both anymore?

Your TV Could Be Watching You Already

This isn’t the first example of surveillance through TVs, and it probably won’t be the last. In early 2015, Samsung released a statement warning customers that their Smart TVs were capable of listening to and recording conversations.

These TVs have voice recognition software, but this fancy piece of technology comes at a price, and that price is a complete and utter violation of privacy. Samsung actually warned its customers not to have important conversations or disclose personal information in front of their Smart TVs because the audio can be recorded and then transmitted to unidentified third parties.

Samsung’s privacy policy in regards to the TV actually reads: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

You can read more about the Samsung controversy in our CE article here.

Vizio TVs were also found to record people, but the company had to pay $2.2 million to settle charges for collecting and selling footage from millions of TVs without the knowledge or consent of its viewers. This is a pretty fair settlement given the fact that they had sold 11 million of these smart TVs. One can only imagine how many people were directly affected by this.

The software, Smart Interactivity, was marketed as a feature that “enables program offers and suggestions” for users. However, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Vizio didn’t actually offer any of these programs or suggestions for more than two years after being sold. The FTC suit, which was filed alongside the Attorney General of New Jersey and the Director of the State’s Division of Consumer Affairs,  claimed that Vizio and its subsidiary, Inscape Services, sold data to third parties (source).

The data collected was able to show what programs and commercials people watched, and when. It could also measure the effectiveness of advertisements, as it would use the IP address attached to all of the internet-connected technological devices in your home to see if you recently searched for anything in regards to that commercial. For example, if you watched a McDonald’s commercial and then ordered McDonald’s on your phone, the software would pick up on that and confirm that the commercial was successful. The software can also do this in reverse, so if you see an ad online for a cool show and then you decide to watch it after, the software would pick up on that, too. The software could also target ads to people on their other devices, like phones or laptops, based on what they just watched on TV.

Although Vizio never publicly identified the companies they sold their data to, the FTC claimed that it included personal information like “sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education, homeownership and household value” (source).

How Do We Take Back Our Privacy?

If you own a Smart TV, don’t stress too much! There are ways to opt out of these features (although who knows if this is guaranteed, but it’s certainly worth a shot). Just do a quick Google search and you can find out how to opt out of Vizio and Samsung Smart TVs, if not more.

It’s well-known now that laptop cameras and microphones are easy targets for hackers, particularly if those hackers are U.S. government agencies, as they can be activated remotely (and you may not even know it because that little green light next to your camera won’t necessarily turn on).

The entire CE office tapes over their laptop cameras in order to prevent anyone from potentially spying on us. Even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tapes over his laptop camera and microphone as an easy defence against people spying on him. I encourage you to do the same!

The reality is that we live in a world where everything is recorded and privacy isn’t always a choice anymore. There are little things here and there that we can do to avoid being taped or listened to, but that seems to be getting more and more difficult. We live in a technologically driven world, so it’s crucial that we voice our opinions and fight for our privacy. Even if you feel like you don’t have anything to hide, you should still have the right to do so!

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Smart t.v.’s have secret cameras in them & are watching ...

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Snowden Warns Targeting of Greenwald and Assange Shows Governments ‘Ready to Stop the Presses—If They Can’ | Common Dreams News

Posted by M. C. on January 30, 2020

” Snowden wrote of Greenwald’s case that “as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous—and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere. The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors—that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal ‘conspiracy’ with the sources who provide those documents—is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of [Assange] in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/01/27/snowden-warns-targeting-greenwald-and-assange-shows-governments-ready-stop-presses

In an op-ed published Sunday night by the Washington Post, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden connected Brazilian federal prosecutors’ recent decision to file charges against American investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald to the U.S. government’s efforts to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

“The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence. These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”
—Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower

Snowden, board of directors president at Freedom of the Press Foundation, is among those who have spoken out since Greenwald was charged with cybercrime on Jan. 21. Reporters and human rights advocates have denounced the prosecution as “a straightforward attempt to intimidate and retaliate against Greenwald and The Intercept for their critical reporting” on officials in Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

Greenwald, who is also on Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board, is one of the journalists to whom Snowden leaked classified materials in 2013.

As Common Dreams reported last week, the NSA whistleblower, who has lived with asylum protection in Russia for the past several years, is also among the political observers who have pointed out that although even some of Greenwald’s critics have rallied behind him in recent days, Assange has not experienced such solidarity. Assange is being held in a London prison, under conditions that have raised global alarm, while he fights against extradition to the United States.

In his Post op-ed, “Trump Has Created a Global Playbook to Attack Those Revealing Uncomfortable Truths,” Snowden wrote of Greenwald’s case that “as ridiculous as these charges are, they are also dangerous—and not only to Greenwald: They are a threat to press freedom everywhere. The legal theory used by the Brazilian prosecutors—that journalists who publish leaked documents are engaged in a criminal ‘conspiracy’ with the sources who provide those documents—is virtually identical to the one advanced in the Trump administration’s indictment of [Assange] in a new application of the historically dubious Espionage Act.”

Snowden—who said in December that he believes that if he returned to the United States, he’d spend his life in prison for exposing global mass surveillance practices of the U.S. government—explained:

In each case, the charges came as an about-face from an earlier position. The federal police in Brazil stated as recently as December that they had formally considered whether Greenwald could be said to have participated in a crime, and unequivocally found that he had not. That rather extraordinary admission itself followed an order in August 2019 from a Brazilian Supreme Court judge—prompted by displays of public aggression against Greenwald by Bolsonaro and his allies—explicitly barring federal police from investigating Greenwald altogether. The Supreme Court judge declared that doing so would “constitute an unambiguous act of censorship.”

For Assange, the Espionage Act charges arrived years after the same theory had reportedly been considered—and rejected—by the former president Barack Obama’s Justice Department. Though the Obama administration was no fan of WikiLeaks, the former spokesman for Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder later explained. “The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists,” said the former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “And if you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

Although Obama’s administration was historically unfriendly to journalists and leakers of classified materials, President Donald Trump’s administration has taken things a step further with its indictment of Assange. “The Trump administration,” he wrote, “with its disdain for press freedom matched only by its ignorance of the law, has respected no such limitations on its ability to prosecute and persecute, and its unprecedented decision to indict a publisher under the Espionage Act has profoundly dangerous implications for national security journalists around the country.”

Highlighting another similarity between the cases of Greenwald and Assange—that “their relentless crusades have rendered them polarizing figures (including, it may be noted, to each other)”—Snowden suggested that perhaps “authorities in both countries believed the public’s fractured opinions of their perceived ideologies would distract the public from the broader danger these prosecutions pose to a free press.” However, he noted, civil liberties groups and publishers have recognized both cases as “efforts to deter the most aggressive investigations by the most fearless journalists, and to open the door to a precedent that could soon still the pens of even the less cantankerous.”

“The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence,” Snowden concluded. “These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”

Journalists and press freedom advocates have shared Snowden’s op-ed on social media since Sunday night.

Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, tweeted Monday morning that Snowden’s piece “should be read in tandem” with an op-ed published Sunday in the New York Times by James Risen, a former reporter for the newspaper who is now at The Intercept. Risen also argued that “the case against Mr. Greenwald is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s case against Mr. Assange.”

And, according to Risen, Greenwald concurred:

In an interview with me on Thursday, Mr. Greenwald agreed that there are parallels between his case and Mr. Assange’s, and added that he doesn’t believe that Mr. Bolsonaro would have taken action against an American journalist if he had thought President Trump would oppose it.

“Bolsonaro worships Trump, and the Bolsonaro government is taking the signal from Trump that this kind of behavior is acceptable,” he said.

Notably, Risen added, “the State Department has not issued any statement of concern about Brazil’s case against Mr. Greenwald, which in past administrations would have been common practice.”

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Snowden and Greenwald

American whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Hong Kong hotel room with journalist Glenn Greenwald in a scene from Laura Poitras’ documentary film Citizenfour. (Photo: Citizenfour/screenshot)

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We Were Warned About the Deep State, but Refused to Listen by Larry C Johnson – Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2020

What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/12/we-were-warned-about-the-deep-state-but-refused-to-listen-by-larry-c-johnson.html

by Larry C Johnson

Larry Johnson-5x7

Many of the critical tools employed in the coup to paint Donald Trump as a tool of the Russians and to manufacture a pretext for removing him from office, were created more than twenty years ago. I am talking about the surveillance state that the American electorate has ignorantly accepted as necessary in order to keep us safe from terrorists. Despite previous warning from whistleblowers like Russ Tice, Bill Binney, Ed Loomis and Kird Wiebe, no action to rein in the surveillance monster was taken until Edward Snowden absconded with the documents exposing the vast amount spying that the U.S. Government is doing to its own citizens. But even those weak efforts to supposedly rein in the NSA proved to be nothing more than mere window dressing.

The spying got worse. Just ask Donald Trump and the members of his campaign that were targeted first by the CIA and NSA and then by the FBI. Fundamental civil rights were trampled.

The real irony in all of this is that Barack Obama, as President, took credit for helping revise the laws in order to prevent the spying exposed by Edward Snowden. But under the Obama Administration, spying on political opponents–both real and perceived–escalated. We know for a fact that journalists, such as James Rosen and Sheryl Atkinson, were targets and their communications and computers attacked by the U.S. Government.

We know, thanks to a memo released by Judge Rosemary Collyer, that “FBI consultants” were making illegal searches of NSA material using the names of Donald Trump, his family and members of his campaign staff.

Some of this NSA material came courtesy of the Brits and their collection on U.S. targets. Some of this material came from the NSA’s own collection and storage of all electronic communications and was obtained using a nifty NSA tool called XKEYSCORE. Listen to Ed Snowden’s description. Also, take time to appreciate the irony that CNN and other journalists were actually trying to report real news. Now they are full blown apologists for the abuse of the intelligence collection tools. 

Six years ago, former NSA Technical Director for Military and Geopolitical Issues, Bill Binney, and Russ Tice, a former NSA analyst, appeared on the PBS News Hour. Once again, they make very clear the enormous nature to the threat to our civil liberties.

Too bad Donald Trump did not listen to their warning.

Given the robust, wide ranging ability of the NSA to probe all communications by any person in the United States, it is remarkable that no real dirt on Donald Trump was ever uncovered. Had such information existed, it would be in the NSA’s storage vaults in Utah and crooked CIA analysts under Brennan’s direction would have found it and used it. But that did not happed. The best the intel folks could fabricate were the salacious claims attributed to reports ostensibly created by former British spy, Christopher Steele. Turns out that the titillating account that Trump hired hookers to perform coprophilia (could of been worse, coprophagia) was nothing more than idle bar talk.

What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.

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