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Obama signs executive order to allow shut down of all US communications

July 11, 2013

by Tellurian

Here are two stories we’ve heard NOTHNG about… Nothing published in the press or on mainstream media.. especially by the bg three giants of the industry- NBC-CBS-ABC… thank goodnes we have other options.. But for how long? AND WHY NOW is Obama making covert strategic moves in order to protect himself from the backlash once this information  saturates the blogasphere reaching even the lowest infomation voters and they realize they have been duped…

Let’s get started…with a communication I discovered last night that is still out for verification from our reliable sources…


U.S. Congressman Kenny Marchant On Impeachment:
Obama Investigations Underway In House, Senate And FBI

excerpt from the letter:

“Thank you for contacting me regarding your desire for articles of impeachment to be brought against the President. […]

There are currently investigations underway in the House, The Senate and at the FBI to gather as much information from the Administration as possible. I am involved with and support those investigations so that we can get all information about those that are responsible in order to hold them accountable. Namely, the President is under the most scrutiny and will have to face the truth of what we know to be fact in the many investigations.” […] – July 8, 2013


Read more:
Now Comes this announcement:

Obama signs executive order to allow shut down of all US communications

RT has reported that in a secretly unannounced move, President Barack Obama signed an executive order giving the Department of Homeland Security the ability to shut down all of the United States’ communications systems upon his request. Barack Obama laid out a statement he titled “Assignment of National Security Emergency Preparedness Communications Function”. No doubt a very confusing title. The reasoning behind his issuing of this executive order, is that he feels the government may one day need to access all of our telephones, computers, cable communications, etc., in the name of national security.

“The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive mission.”

The American public should be concerned about what this “mission” could be. In a presidential election, one candidate’s mission may not be the same as his opponents. RT quotes the president as saying:

“Such communications must be possible under all circumstances to ensure national security, effectively manage emergencies and improve national security..”

The fact that our nation needs so much “national security” is puzzling, given the fact that President Obama has declared himself leader of the front that has ended terrorism in the U.S. It seems like now, more than ever, our nation is in peril according to the State Department; but many U.S. citizens are asking themselves, “From what?”, or better yet, “From who?”

According to Obama, the items of confiscation, or shut down can include: wireline, wireless, satellite, cable, broadcasting, internet, and other key information systems. Never in United States’ history has a president given himself the authority to shut down the entire nation and immobilize the citizenry.

The public has been alerted recently that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been buying an excessive amount of weaponry and ammunitions; inclusive of hallow point bullets. DHS has also been given authority to “supervise” some protests throughout the nation. Tea Party groups have had several organized and peaceful protests circled by Department of Homeland Security officers, leading many to believe that DHS has been given the authority to intimidate as well.

If you combine bullets with nationwide immobilizing of all communications, the power given unto the government, is a power our founding fathers never foresaw, nor wished.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently announced that they had already used drones on Americans for surveillance. This is just one step closer to American’s journey towards a police state.


Is this IT?.. Is this Obama’s plan for the final takeover of our country’s Liberty and Freedom and the subjugation of all American citizens because the gig is up? HAVE  AMERICAN patriots  finally said to these grifters, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?

WE the People shall SEE….stay tuned…

For the SNOWDEN FILES.. read from the beginning here:

Updates on Snowden’s groundbreaking one man fight to SAVE America will be posted here as it happens.


  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 11, 2013 1:44 pm

    So, are Obama’s sudden hurried movements of all his chess pieces on the board pointing to strategic placements that would guarantee his saftey in the event the House and Senate have enough evidence to impose the Articles of Impeachment on President Obama?

    Will the verdict in the Zimmerman trial be the Trigger for Obama imposing a police state on America? Looks like this could be a Harmonic Convergance
    of the “Worst” Kind to the America we once knew and loved.

  2. July 11, 2013 2:57 pm

    Revealed: How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages


    Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

    The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

    The documents show that:

    • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new portal;

    • The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail;

    • The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

    • Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in that allows users to create email aliases;

    • Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio;

    • Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI andCIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

    The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration. All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their co-operation with the NSA to meet their customers’privacy concerns. Privately, tech executives are at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion.

    In a statement, Microsoft said: “When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands.” The company reiterated its argument that it provides customer data “only in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers”.

    In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have “direct access” through the Prism program to the systems of many majorinternet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

    Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSAoperative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time. Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans’ communicationswithout a warrant if the target is a foreign national located overseas.

    Since Prism’s existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

    Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: “Your privacy is our priority.”

    Similarly, Skype’s privacy policy states: “Skype is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.”

    But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing.

    The latest documents come from the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the “crown jewel” of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as Prism.

    The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft’s portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year.

    Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on chats

    A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: “MS [Microsoft], working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the issue. “These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012.”

    Two months later, in February this year, Microsoft officially launched the portal.

    Another newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email. “For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”

    Microsoft’s co-operation was not limited to An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked “for many months” with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive.

    The document describes how this access “means that analysts will no longer have to make a special request to SSO for this – a process step that many analysts may not have known about”.

    The NSA explained that “this new capability will result in a much more complete and timely collection response”. It continued: “This success is the result of the FBI working for many months with Microsoft to get this tasking and collection solution established.”

    A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. “The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes.”

    The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users.

    One document boasts that Prism monitoring of Skype video production has roughly tripled since a new capability was added on 14 July 2012. “The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete ‘picture’,” it says.

    Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prismprogram in February 2011.

    According to the NSA documents, work had begun on smoothly integrating Skype into Prism in November 2010, but it was not until 4 February 2011 that the company was served with a directive to comply signed by the attorney general.

    The NSA was able to start tasking Skype communications the following day, and collection began on 6 February. “Feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete,” the document stated, praising the co-operation between NSA teams and the FBI. “Collaborative teamwork was the key to the successful addition of another provider to the Prism system.”

    ACLU technology expert Chris Soghoian said the revelations would surprise many Skype users. “In the past, Skype made affirmative promises to users about their inability to perform wiretaps,” he said. “It’s hard to square Microsoft’s secret collaboration with the NSA with its high-profile efforts to compete on privacy with Google.”

    The information the NSA collects from Prism is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies.

    The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of Prism, using software that “enables our partners to see which selectors [search terms] the National Security Agency has tasked to Prism”.

    The document continues: “The FBI and CIA then can request a copy ofPrism collection of any selector…” As a result, the author notes: “these two activities underscore the point that Prism is a team sport!”

    In its statement to the Guardian, Microsoft said:

    We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues. First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes.

    Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate.

    Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.

    In a joint statement, Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of National Intelligence, and Judith Emmel, spokeswoman for the NSA, said:

    The articles describe court-ordered surveillance – and a US company’s efforts to comply with these legally mandated requirements. The US operates its programs under a strict oversight regime, with careful monitoring by the courts, Congress and the Director of National Intelligence. Not all countries have equivalent oversight requirements to protect civil liberties and privacy.

    They added: “In practice, US companies put energy, focus and commitment into consistently protecting the privacy of their customers around the world, while meeting their obligations under the laws of the US and other countries in which they operate.”

    © Guardian News and Media 2013

  3. July 11, 2013 3:08 pm

    Colombia asks US for explanation after reports it was targeted by NSA spying

    Brazilian newspaper says documents leaked by Edward Snowden show US monitored its close ally’s internet traffic

    Reuters in Bogota
    Wednesday 10 July 2013

    Colombia has expressed concern and called for an explanation after revelations the US spied on the Andean nation, its closest military ally in Latin America.

    In a brief statement on Wednesday, Colombia’s foreign ministry said it “registered its concern” that there had been an “unauthorised data collection programme” and asked the US government to give an account of its actions through its embassy in Bogota.

    The Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported on Tuesday that the US National Security Agency targeted most Latin American countries with spying programmes that monitored internet traffic, especially in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico.

    Citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former US intelligence contractor, O Globo said the NSA programmes went beyond military affairs in the region to what it termed “commercial secrets”, including oil and energy.

    Colombia is considered a top US military and diplomatic ally in the region after a decade of joint operations against Marxist rebels and drug trafficking gangs.

    “In rejecting the acts of espionage that violate people’s rights and intimacy as well as the international conventions on telecommunication, Colombia requests the corresponding explanations from the United States government through its ambassador to Colombia,” the foreign ministry said.

    Regional leaders called for a tough response to the alleged espionage, which O Globo said included a satellite monitoring station based in Brazil’s capital.

    Snowden is thought to be negotiating his exit from a transit area in a Moscow airport. He has been offered asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

  4. July 11, 2013 10:00 pm

    Someone needs to check the WH Archives & EO List! The TRAITOR signed that EO LAST YEAR on JULY 6, 2012 “Assignment of National Security Emergency Preparedness Communications Function”. It was among MANY other bad trap EO’s against American Freedom.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    July 12, 2013 5:14 am

    I agree. However, the significance of that order was not as relevant then as it is now. Obama is desperate now to perform for the globalists after he guaranteed them success, if only they allowed him to be reelected. Remember the tears he shed on the campaign trail just weeks before the election? That was real unconstrained emotion. Emotion he has never shown before or since. Because Romey had gained in voter popularity and was about to overtake Obama that was until Christy stepped in breaking Romney’s momentum.

    Nope- these are covert signs all is not well in Obamaland. This kind of pressure forces people like him off the original blueprint into desperate action in order to succeed.

  6. July 13, 2013 7:09 pm

    OT…and good news..if you are up for it-

    My family and I put on a Benefit Fundraiser for a local charity today… The draw was donated high-end golf equiptment going up for bid in a Silent Auction. People came from all over the country even a contingent of golfing buddies flew in from London with their families in an effort to win a deal; dining on superb food, and having a grand time while on an impromptu Texas vacation.

    Now here is the good news… A black man by the name of Andre, originally from Paducah, KY, now living in Mesquite… said, ‘he was very disturbed by the ongoing threats of racial violence.’ I remarked, ‘I don’t remember it being like this (as recent as) five years ago.’ Hint… before Obama was elected.. Well, he took over the conversation from there. He lead with.. The 08′ and 12′ elections were about ‘skin’ color. Myself nodding in agreement. Then he said, unoquivocally, Obama was the wrong ‘man of color’ to put in the WH as the first black man holding high office. He said, “I’m sure there will be others (people of color) to come after..” as well as stating, “Obama isn’t running the country, his handlers are..” I said, I couldn’t agree more, thinking, this man is on a roll… keeping talking… now here’s the money quote that really took me by surprise.. He asked me if I liked Texas? Even before the words were fully out of his mouth, my answer was a gleefull “YES”… Next he said,
    “I WANT HILLARY CLINTON TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT!!” Believe me, I was shocked hearing those words, and on top of it coming from a black man. My mind, in an instant, was dreaming towards the future. Maybe it won’t be as hard this time.

    Yes, I said, wouldn’t it be great if she could put Texas in the BLUE column to help get her there? Would you be willing to help?… He said, ‘no doubt about it.’ My circle of friends know now she was the best choice from th beginning rather than this embarressment of a black man that is NOT qualified to run this country.


    …sigh… Andre made my day- and the silent auction did well for the local charity.
    The perfect ending to a wonderful day!


  7. July 15, 2013 2:04 am

    Your Calls and Emails Aren’t Just Being Tracked, They’re Being Sold

    Telephone companies, wireless providers, and search engines are not just sharing data about your internet usage and call records with the National Security Agency. Many of them are also selling it to advertisers.

    We’ve long known that Google sells data about our searches and Gmail activity to advertisers. This is why ads for Sam’s Club pop up on your browser if you run a search for Costco. Well, now big companies are selling data to advertisers as well.

    AT&T (which acquired Bell South) has announced plans to sell data it collects about subscribers’ habits to advertisers. That means if you call to order a takeout pizza, you might start seeing ads from pizzerias in your area cropping up on your browser. You might also start getting text messages and emails from Papa John’s and Dominos featuring their latest offers.

    Huge Potential for Abuse

    This isn’t just annoying; it’s also potentially a major violation of privacy. What’s to stop people other than advertisers, such as the FBI, private detectives, journalists, and credit bureaus, from buying that data to see who you’re calling and what you’re searching for?

    Or for that matter, a foreign intelligence agency could set up a dummy company and buy that data as part of an effort to spy on American citizens. We now know that the NSA has been spying on Brazilians. It’s a safe bet that foreign intelligence agencies are spying on U.S. citizens for a wide variety of reasons.

    Read: Documents Reveal NSA Reads Your Internet Chats: Here’s How to Avoid Being Spied On

    Do you really want your employer to know that you’ve been searching for another job or calling headhunters to see what they can do for you? Or for a potential employer to know that you checked out the cost of a gambling junket to Las Vegas or beer online?

    Somebody could even determine what your political beliefs are through this; say, if you made several visits to website for a particular political candidate.

    Here’s the good news: You can opt out of such searches. This article explains how AT&T customers can tell the company they don’t want their information shared with advertisers.

    Data Still Exists

    Now here’s the bad news. Even if you tell your phone company that you don’t want the information shared, it still exists. That data can still be hacked or turned over to intelligence agencies or the FBI with a search warrant as our friend Edward Snowden has demonstrated. It could also be sold to hackers and other criminals by corrupt phone company employees.

    It looks like there is as little privacy on our mobile devices as on the Internet. We’re going to have to make major changes to those technologies if we want to preserve our privacy.

    Read more:

  8. July 15, 2013 2:43 am

    About the Reuters article

    The latest effort to distract attention from the NSA revelations is more absurd than most…
    Glenn Greenwald
    July 13, 2013

    (updated below – Update II)

    When you give many interviews in different countries and say essentially the same thing over and over, as I do, media outlets often attempt to re-package what you’ve said to make their interview seem new and newsworthy, even when it isn’t. Such is the case with this Reuters article today, that purports to summarize an interview I gave to the daily newspaper La Nacion of Argentina.

    Like everything in the matter of these NSA leaks, this interview is being wildly distorted to attract attention away from the revelations themselves. It’s particularly being seized on to attack Edward Snowden and, secondarily, me, for supposedly “blackmailing” and “threatening” the US government. That is just absurd.

    That Snowden has created some sort of “dead man’s switch” – whereby documents get released in the event that he is killed by the US government – was previously reported weeks ago, and Snowden himself has strongly implied much the same thing. That doesn’t mean he thinks the US government is attempting to kill him – he doesn’t – just that he’s taken precautions against all eventualities, including that one (just incidentally, the notion that a government that has spent the last decade invading, bombing, torturing, rendering, kidnapping, imprisoning without charges, droning, partnering with the worst dictators and murderers, and targeting its own citizens for assassination would be above such conduct is charmingly quaint).

    I made three points in this La Nacion interview, all of which are true and none of which has anything remotely to do with threats:

    1) The oft-repeated claim that Snowden’s intent is to harm the US is completely negated by the reality that he has all sorts of documents that could quickly and seriously harm the US if disclosed, yet he has published none of those. When he gave us the documents he provided, he repeatedly insisted that we exercise rigorous journalistic judgment in deciding which documents should be published in the public interest and which ones should be concealed on the ground that the harm of publication outweighs the public value. If his intent were to harm the US, he could have sold all the documents he had for a great deal of money, or indiscriminately published them, or passed them to a foreign adversary. He did none of that.

    He carefully vetted every document he gave us, and then on top of that, asked that we only publish those which ought to be disclosed and would not cause gratuitous harm: the same analytical judgment that all media outlets and whistleblowers make all the time. The overwhelming majority of his disclosures were to blow the whistle on US government deceit and radical, hidden domestic surveillance.

    My point in this interview was clear, one I’ve repeated over and over: had he wanted to harm the US government, he easily could have, but hasn’t, as evidenced by the fact that – as I said – he has all sorts of documents that could inflict serious harm to the US government’s programs. That demonstrates how irrational is the claim that his intent is to harm the US. His intent is to shine a light on these programs so they can be democratically debated. That’s why none of the disclosures we’ve published can be remotely described as harming US national security: all they’ve harmed are the reputation and credibility of US officials who did these things and then lied about them.

    2) The US government has acted with wild irrationality. The current criticism of Snowden is that he’s in Russia. But the reason he’s in Russia isn’t that he chose to be there. It’s because the US blocked him from leaving: first by revoking his passport (with no due process or trial), then by pressuring its allies to deny airspace rights to any plane they thought might be carrying him to asylum (even one carrying the democratically elected president of a sovereign state), then by bullying small countries out of letting him land for re-fueling.

    Given the extraordinary amount of documents he has and their sensitivity, I pointed out in the interview that it is incredibly foolish for the US government to force him to remain in Russia. From the perspective of the US government and the purported concerns about him being in Russia, that makes zero sense given the documents he has.

    3) I was asked whether I thought the US government would take physical action against him if he tried to go to Latin America or even force his plane down. That’s when I said that doing so would be completely counter-productive given that – as has been reported before – such an attack could easily result in far more disclosures than allowing us as journalists to vet and responsibly report them, as we’ve doing. As a result of the documents he has, I said in the interview, the US government should be praying for his safety, not threatening or harming it.

    That has nothing to do with me: I don’t have access to those “insurance” documents and have no role in whatever dead man switch he’s arranged. I’m reporting what documents he says he has and what precautions he says he has taken to protect himself from what he perceives to be the threat to his well-being. That’s not a threat. Those are facts. I’m sorry if some people find them to be unpleasant. But they’re still facts.

    Before Snowden’s identity was revealed as the whistleblower here, I wrote:

    “Ever since the Nixon administration broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychoanalyst’s office, the tactic of the US government has been to attack and demonize whistleblowers as a means of distracting attention from their own exposed wrongdoing and destroying the credibility of the messenger so that everyone tunes out the message. That attempt will undoubtedly be made here.”

    That’s what all of this is. And it’s all it is: an ongoing effort to distract attention away from the substance of the revelations. (This morning, MSNBC show host Melissa Harris-Parry blamed Snowden for the fact that there is so much media attention on him and so little on the NSA revelations: as though she doesn’t have a twice-weekly TV show where she’s free to focus as much as she wants on the NSA revelations she claims to find so important).

    Compare the attention paid to Snowden’s asylum drama and alleged personality traits to the attention paid to the disclosures about mass, indiscriminate NSA spying. Or compare the media calls that Snowden (and others who worked to expose mass NSA surveillance) be treated like a criminal to the virtually non-existent calls that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper be treated like a criminal for lying to Congress.

    This “threat” fiction is just today’s concoction to focus on anything but the revelations about US government lying to Congress and constitutionally and legally dubious NSA spying. Yesterday, it was something else, and tomorrow it will be something else again. As I said in an interview with Falguni Sheth published today by Salon, this only happens in the US: everywhere else, the media attention and political focus is on NSA surveillance, while US media figures are singularly obsessed with focusing on everything but that.

    There are all sorts of ways that Snowden could have chosen to make these documents be public. He chose the most responsible way possible: coming to media outlets and journalists he trusted and asking that they be reported on responsibly. The effort to depict him as some sort of malicious traitor is completely negated by the facts. That was the point of the interview. If you’re looking for people who have actually harmed the US with criminal behavior, look here and here and here – not to those who took risks to blow the whistle on all of that. As always, none of this will detain us even for a moment in continuing to report on the many NSA stories that remain.


    The original La Nacion interview which Reuters claimed to summarize is now online; the rough English translation is here. Here’s the context for my quote about what documents he possesses:

    “Q: Beyond the revelations about the spying system performance in general, what extra information has Snowden?

    “A: Snowden has enough information to cause more damage to the US government in a minute alone than anyone else has ever had in the history of the United States. But that’s not his goal. [His] objective is to expose software that people around the world use without knowing what they are exposing themselves without consciously agreeing to surrender their rights to privacy. [He] has a huge number of documents that would be very harmful to the US government if they were made public.”

    And exactly as I said, the answer about the dead man’s switch came in response to my being asked: “Are you afraid that someone will try to kill him?” That’s when I explained that I thought it was so unlikely because his claimed dead man’s switch meant that it would produce more harm than good from the perspective of the US government. The only people who would claim any of this was a “threat” or “blackmail” are people with serious problems of reading comprehension or honesty, or both.


    For those who say that they wish there was more attention paid to the substance of the NSA stories than Snowden: here is the list of the NSA revelations we’ve published over the last month. Feel free to focus on them any time.


    Cheers to you, GG and prayers Edward be safe……

  9. July 15, 2013 3:02 am

    Poll: More than half of voters say Snowden is whistle-blower, not traitor

    More than half of American voters say self-declared NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower not a traitor, according to a poll published Wednesday.

    The fugitive, believed to be holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, was supported by 55 percent of those surveyed by researchers at Quinnipiac University, Connecticut.

    About one-third (34 percent) of those polled said they believed Snowden had betrayed his country.

    Of those who backed his decision to leak the contents of classified documents in order to expose the extent of government-sanctioned surveillance, there was equal representation from almost every gender, social group and political persuasion.

  10. July 15, 2013 3:20 am

    Swedish professor nominates Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize

    A sociology professor in Sweden has recommended NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize.

    In a letter addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee and published in Swedish newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren, Professor Stefan Svallfors nominated Snowden for his ‘heroic effort at great personal cost’ shedding light on the expansive cyber-spying conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.

    Because of his bravery, Snowden ‘helped to make the world a little bit better and safer,’ Svallfors wrote

    A nomination for Snowden would be symbolic because it shows ‘that individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms.’

    History: The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to 124 times since 1901

    Svallfors compares Snowden’s act to the rulings in the Nuremberg trials of 1945 because ‘I was just following orders’ was not held as a viable excuse for the Nazis who carried out human rights atrocities.

    Svallfors also believes this will help the Peace Prize regain some of respect it lost after prematurely awarding Barack Obama the award in 2009.

    ‘It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense [could] be viewed with disfavor by the world’s dominant military power.’

    But it may be too late for Snowden to receive the award this year.

    Nominations for laureates must be postmarked no later than February 1 for consideration in the following December’s prizes.

    Between the months of March and August the advisers review the short list of candidates.

    However, Svallfors’ nomination should be taken seriously by the committee for next year’s prize.

    As a sociology professor at Umeå University, he counts as one of the ‘qualified’ people who can send their nominations to the committee.

    These qualified people include: members of national assemblies and governments of states; members of international courts; university rectors; professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and theology; directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes; recipients of the prize; board members of organizations that have been awarded the prize; active members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee; former advisers of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

    The Nobel Peace Prize was started in 1901 and has been awarded to 100 individuals and 24 organizations.

    [Way] Too soon: Many criticized the premature awarding of the peace prize to President Barack Obama in 2009… maybe it can be recinded?

    It was the last prize described in Alfred Nobel’s will, which left most of his fortune to the creation of the prizes. Other Nobel Prizes are awarded in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine and literature.

    The peace prize is awarded each year to ‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.’

    If Snowden is awarded the prize in 2014, he would be the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate in the history of the prize.

    Read more:

  11. July 15, 2013 3:27 am


    Best committee members!

    I suggest that the 2013 Peace Prize awarded to the American citizen Edward Snowden.

    Edward Snowden has – in a heroic effort at great personal cost – revealed the existence and extent of the surveillance, the U.S. government devotes electronic communications worldwide. By putting light on this monitoring program – conducted in contravention of national laws and international agreements – Edward Snowden has helped to make the world a little bit better and safer.

    Through his personal efforts, he has also shown that individuals can stand up for fundamental rights and freedoms. This example is important because since the Nuremberg trials in 1945 has been clear that the slogan “I was just following orders” is never claimed as an excuse for acts contrary to human rights and freedoms. Despite this, it is very rare that individual citizens having the insight of their personal responsibility and courage Edward Snowden shown in his revelation of the American surveillance program. For this reason, he is a highly affordable candidate.

    The decision to award the 2013 prize to Edward Snowden would – in addition to being well justified in itself – also help to save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama 2009 award. It would show its willingness to stand up in defense of civil liberties and human rights, even when such a defense be viewed with disfavour by the world’s dominant military power.


    Stefan Svallfors
    Professor of Sociology at Umeå University

  12. July 16, 2013 3:09 am


    Russia’s Putin wants Snowden to go, but asylum not ruled out


    (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he wanted Edward Snowden to leave after three weeks holed up at a Moscow airport, but also signaled that the former U.S. spy agency contractor was moving towards meeting Russia’s asylum conditions.

    Snowden flew to Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Hong Kong on June 23 in the hope of travelling on to a country that would offer him protection from the United States after he divulged details of U.S. government intelligence programs.

    Putin said Washington had trapped Snowden by preventing him from reaching other countries that might shelter him but, wary of upsetting Moscow’s former Cold War enemy, has said Russia will grant him political asylum only if he stops actions that could be harmful to the United States.

    “As soon as there is an opportunity for him to move elsewhere, I hope he will do that,” Putin said during a visit to Gogland Island in the Gulf of Finland.

    “The conditions for (Russia) granting him political asylum are known to him. And judging by his latest actions, he is shifting his position. But the situation has not been clarified yet.”

    Snowden, 30, told human rights campaigners on Friday at a meeting in Sheremetyevo’s transit area that he was seeking temporary asylum in Russia until he can travel safely to Latin America, where three countries have said they might take him in.

    He has been unable to reach any of those countries – Nicaragua, Venezuela or Bolivia – because there are no direct flights from Moscow and he would risk having his passage barred by the United States and its allies.

    The case is an increasingly awkward problem for Putin as Moscow and Washington try to improve relations and he prepares for a summit with President Barack Obama in Moscow in early September, just before a summit of G20 leaders in Russia.

    “We have certain relations with the United States and we don’t want you to damage our ties with your activity,” Putin said, referring to Snowden.

    Asked to comment on what comes next for Snowden, Putin, a former KGB spy, said: “How do I know? It’s his life, his fate.”


    He went on to distance Russia from Snowden and his political activities and, as on previous occasions when he has spoken about the case in public, avoided taking the opportunity to gloat at the United States’ failure to catch him.

    “He came to our territory without invitation, we did not invite him. And we weren’t his final destination. He was flying in transit to other states. But the moment he was in the air … our American partners, in fact, blocked his further flight,” Putin said.

    “They have spooked all the other countries, nobody wants to take him and in that way, in fact, they have themselves blocked him on our territory,” he said. ..…the best place in the world for Ed for the time being…Putin will not entertain any number of creative blackmail schemes concocted by Obama… to get Snowden…

    Washington has revoked Snowden’s passport and wants him extradited to the United States to face espionage charges.

    Russia often accuses the United States of failing to practice at home what it preaches on human rights abroad, and many pro-Kremlin politicians have cast Snowden as a defender of civil rights. Putin has also accused the United States of backing protesters who have demanded an end to his long rule. the same MO Obama uses on GZ..

    But the Kremlin has avoided parading Snowden before cameras and has repeatedly avoided embarrassing the United States over the young American’s flight from U.S. justice.

    Tatyana Lokshina of the American-based campaign group Human Rights Watch said after meeting Snowden on Friday that he saw no problem with Putin’s asylum conditions because he believed he had done no harm to the United States. Putin did not say what prompted him to believe Snowden’s stance was shifting.

    Russia has made clear it regards the transit area between the airport runway and passport control as neutral territory and signaled it does not want to upset the United States further by allowing Snowden to step onto what it considers Russian soil.

  13. July 16, 2013 3:22 am

  14. July 16, 2013 3:29 am

  15. July 18, 2013 2:05 am

    Snowden’s lawyer to RT: ‘He fears torture, execution; never witnessed such persecution by the US’

    July 17, 2013 01:56

    Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden's attorney

    Following the official asylum petition by Edward Snowden to the Russian authorities, RT interviewed Lawyer Anatoly Kucherena who consults Snowden. He has explained to RT the intricacies of the Russian asylum process.

    Kucherena elaborated on the personal motivation of Edward Snowden’s petition and highlighted the legality of such a request. He stressed that the Russian decision to review the asylum request was based on the “human rights” aspect of the issue.

    RT: Can you walk us through the steps of obtaining asylum in Russia for Mr Snowden.

    Anatoly Kucherena: Yesterday Mr Edward Snowden invited me for a meeting, so I can explain to him the Russian laws. We spent a lot of time in discussion yesterday where he asked questions and I explained everything to him regarding Russia’s refugee laws, in regards to receiving political asylum, and in regards to receiving a temporary asylum. In terms of his legal status, receiving political asylum or temporary asylum would not change status. In terms of receiving political asylum status, the procedure is quite long – 6 months. Receiving a temporary asylum will only take up to 3 months. He chose this option.

    It is understandable that he is morally tired, being kept in the transit zone of Sheremetevo airport. I understand that being kept there is difficult. That is why he made this decision. If the Federal Migration Service (FMS) rules in favor of his asylum request, that was handed over in my presence and officially accepted and registered by FMS, then he will receive asylum status for one year. This status he could renew further for a year and then another year, as he sees fit. But in this case, we’re talking about his will, because in this situation, he had to fill out the application. I was there just to consult on the legal matters in this field.

    RT: Do I understand it correctly, that until a decision on the petition is made he cannot leave the confinement of Sheremetevo airport?

    AK: He could leave the neutral zone of Sheremetevo airport only when he receives proper paperwork, meaning that he does not have to wait for a final decision on his petition. He will be given appropriate paperwork. Afterwards, if FMS rules in favor of his petition, he will be issued a refugee ID allowing him to remain in the Russian Federation for a year with full rights and privileges of a Russian citizen.

    Edward looking leaner-

    RT: Once Mr. Snowden is allowed to leave the airport, will he get accommodation or will he need to resolve this on his own?

    AK: He will most likely be handling this on his own, but we agreed that he would consult with me. He asked me to be his lawyer, so I would not leave him. I would of course help him. In terms of his future fate, it is difficult to say in regards to his settling in and accommodation. Those are the questions he will need to resolve, once a decision on his legal status in Russia is made.

    RT: You have stated today that Mr Snowden has promised to stop damaging the US’s reputation. Does that mean that he will halt his whistleblowing activities?

    AK: We had also discussed this issue and he has assured me that President Putin’s request to stop his activity against the US is “attainable.” And it is an important question, because I believe that Mr Putin first of all understands that there’re state interests and there’re human rights. If all of this is weighed and measured, then of course human rights take the upper hand. They have to be more important.

    And Russia’s humane approach in resolving this issue, without a doubt bears witness to the fact that no matter who or which country the individual comes from, in times of such difficult personal troubles, we have to act humanely toward that individual. Therefore, Mr Putin’s request in respect to the US and the overall Russian attitude signifies that we all have a good attitude towards the United States.

    Of course there’re politicians that want to use certain issues for their personal advantage, but overall it is this request by Mr Putin that testifies that our good relations cannot be ruined by some nuances in domestic or foreign policy approaches.

    I consider this question of vital importance and we need to understand it correctly, that today this issue had to be resolved. The issue was not being resolved only because Edward did not know how to act. Nobody could advise him, because being in the presence of airport employees, of course he understood that there had to be an expert, a lawyer who would advise him on how to correctly fill out the forms, which had plenty of questions, such as the place of birth, parent’s name, personal motivation statement.

    And there, when asked a question by the FMS agent why he chose to file a petition in Russia and why he came here, he replied that he fears for his life and wellbeing, that he is also afraid of torture, and that he could get executed. And what he says sounds quite convincing, because the US still administers capital punishment and torture.

    Therefore, I believe that under such circumstances and his written petition, it is necessary for him to be granted temporary asylum. I think it will be a humane step, and since Russia is acting humanly the US government cannot view it as a hostile step or hostile behavior toward the US. Because they have to understand that an individual faced with harsh life circumstances also needs refuge and protection from the state where it happens to be.

    RT: Are the guarantees issued by Snowden temporary? Could he resume his activities after asylum is granted?

    AK: You know, after talking to him for a while during our three meetings, I believe that he will be true to his word. Obviously, based on his moral stance he is a human rights activist, because yesterday and today we covered a number of questions that arise from everyday life both in Russia and US and in Europe. From his replies, I can understand that he is an adamant human rights activist and when he says that his past employment duties blatantly violated universal human rights, he says it sincerely. Because he, unlike someone else, understands that he used certain methods to spy on people, to read their communication.

    To tell you the truth, the first time we met, when he met the human rights activists, he started his speech with “dear ladies and gentlemen, in front of you, you see an individual who until recently listened to your phone conversation and read your communications.” Therefore, I personally think that he is an ideologically driven person that thinks that it is unacceptable to violate universal human rights on such a large scale.

    RT: Why do you think Mr Snowden has not yet decided whether or not he will travel to Latin America?

    A demonstrator dressed up as a surveillance camera attenda a demonstration in support of U.S intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who leaked the US National Security Agenca (NSA) surveillance program, under the motto ‘Stop Prism now!’ in front of the US consulate in Hamburg, Germany (AFP Photo / DPA / Angelika Warmuth / Germany out)

    A demonstrator dressed up as a surveillance camera attenda a demonstration in support of U.S intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who leaked the US National Security Agenca (NSA) surveillance program, under the motto ‘Stop Prism now!’ in front of the US consulate in Hamburg, Germany (AFP Photo / DPA / Angelika Warmuth / Germany out)

    AK: I think now, his moral and psychological state requires him to understand how his fate will play out in the time to come. Because he, answering FMS’s questions, replied that he has never witnessed such persecution conducted by the US government in regards to other people.

    This is disproportionate pressure. These are disproportionate requirements on behalf of the US government for us, Russia in regards to his deportation. There is no law in place that would require Russia to extradite him. I’ve addressed this question to our American colleagues asking them to name a legislative norm that would allow you to extradite Edward. There is no such law. There is no such clause in international law or our national law.

    RT: Did you volunteer to help Edward Snowden?

    AK: I volunteered for this but he took the initiative, he invited me and of course as a professional lawyer I could not leave a person in need and because I understood that to solve this stalemate, one needs to understand jurisprudence. I had to explain, first of all to him, the way our laws work, what it means to be granted this legal status, his rights, etc. The only reason he has been stuck there for so long is because he could not understand the process behind it. Authorities have no communication with him. He only talks to airport staff.

    RT: Do you think Mr Snowden could stay in Russia?

    I’m not eliminating this possibility because he told me that he would like to stay in Russia. He will become a citizen with all rights and privileges.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    July 18, 2013 9:51 am

    Best post from a commentator:

    “A Bear caves in to an Eagle.

  17. July 19, 2013 4:37 am

    Really, now- I’m not allowed to post on my own blog?

    Three notices saying “you are not allowed to post here.”

  18. July 19, 2013 4:39 am

    Edward Snowden new revelations to feature in book about US whistleblower

    Journalist Glenn Greenwald will include new insights into NSA surveillance programme in unnamed book due in US in March

    Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald is to publish a book about Edward Snowden’s exposure of mass public surveillance by the US government.

    The book, which is due to be published in March, will contain new revelations about the NSA surveillance programs, according to publisher Metropolitan Books.

    It was bought by editor Sara Bershtel, who has a track record of publishing outspoken non-fiction writers with special insights into Washington’s corridors of power. So far, no deal has been announced for UK publication.

    Metropolitan Books described the book as containing “new revelations exposing the extraordinary co-operation of private industry and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s program, both domestically and abroad”.

    Bershtel has previously edited the likes of Noam Chomsky, including his 2007 title Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, and in January published Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, former analysts in the Bush and Clinton administrations.

    Greenwald, a regular columnist for the Guardian who worked as a constitutional and civil rights lawyer before going into journalism, has written four books focusing on the conduct and influence of the US state.

    His With Liberty and Justice for Some, published in the UK in 2012, charted abuses of power since Watergate, continuing through the 2008 financial crisis and ending with criticism of the Obama administration. In his 2008 book, A Tragic Legacy: How a Good Vs Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency, he reveals what he sees as the faulty ideals upon which George W Bush built his policies.

  19. July 19, 2013 4:50 am

    NSA warned to rein in surveillance as agency reveals even greater scope

    NSA officials testify to angry House panel that agency can perform ‘three-hop queries’ through Americans’ data and records

    The National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.

    John C Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform “a second or third hop query” through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.

    “Hops” refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with.


    How about this- Snowden has proof from Obama’s own e-mails, he is not and never was a Natural Born US Citizen and has it on hard copy e-mails to prove it!

    wanna- bet? Liking Edward more and more everyday- stay safe dear friend..
    You are a National Treasure!

  20. July 22, 2013 11:49 pm

    This week in press freedoms and privacy rights

    The travesty calling itself “the Bradley Manning court-martial”, the kangaroo tribunal calling itself “the FISA court”, and the emptiness of what the Obama DOJ calls “your constitutional rights”

    (1) In the utter travesty known as “the Bradley Manning court-martial proceeding”, the military judge presiding over the proceeding yet again showed her virtually unbreakable loyalty to the US government’s case by refusing to dismiss the most serious charge against the 25-year-old Army Private, one that carries a term of life in prison: “aiding and abetting the enemy”. The government’s theory is that because the documents Manning leaked were interesting to Osama bin Laden, he aided the enemy by disclosing them. Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler explained in the New Republic in March why this theory poses such a profound threat to basic press freedoms as it essentially converts all leaks, no matter the intent, into a form of treason.

    At this point, that seems to be the feature, not a bug. Anyone looking for much more serious leaks than the one that Manning produced which ended up attracting the interest of bin Laden should be looking here. The Obama White House yesterday told Russia that it must not persecute “individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption” – as Bradley Manning faces life in prison for alerting the world to the war abuses and other profound acts of wrongdoing he discovered and as the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers rolls on. That lecture to Russia came in the context of White House threats to cancel a long-planned meeting over the Russian government’s refusal to hand over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to the US to face espionage charges.

    (2) The kangaroo tribunal calling itself “the FISA court” yesterday approved another government request (please excuse the redundancy of that phrase: “the FISA court approved the government’s request”). Specifically, the “court” approved the Obama administration’s request for renewal of the order compelling Verizon to turn over to the NSA all phone records of all Americans, the disclosure of which on June 6 in this space began the series of NSA revelations. This ruling was proudly announced by the office of the Director of National Intelligence, which declassified parts of that program only after we published the court ruling. In response, the ACLU’s privacy expert Chris Soghoian sarcastically observed: “good thing the totally not a rubberstamp FISA court is on the job, or we might turn into a surveillance state”; the Wall Street Journal’s Tom Gara noted: “Reminder: The style guide for mentioning the FISA court is that it’s written ‘court’ with scare quotes.”

    (3) In response to our NSA reporting, several groups, including the ACLU and EFF, filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the US government’s spying programs. A federal court yesterday heard arguments in the suit brought by the ACLU, and the Obama DOJ asked the court to dismiss it on several grounds, including that it “cannot be challenged in a court of law”.

    (4) Speaking of the Obama DOJ attempting to block judicial adjudication of the legality of its actions: a different federal judge heard a lawsuit yesterday challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s extra-judicial killings by drones of three American citizens, including the 16-year-old American-born Abdulrahaman Awlaki, whose grandfather wrote this powerful Op-Ed in the New York Times this week under the headline “The Drone That Killed My Grandson”. The judge repeatedly expressed incredulity at the DOJ’s argument that courts had no role to play in reviewing the legality of these killings, which then led to this exchange:

    “‘Are you saying that a US citizen targeted by the United States in a foreign country has no constitutional rights?’ she asked Brian Hauck, a deputy assistant attorney general. ‘How broadly are you asserting the right of the United States to target an American citizen? Where is the limit to this?’

    “She provided her own answer: ‘The limit is the courthouse door’ . . . .

    “‘Mr. Hauck acknowledged that Americans targeted overseas do have rights, but he said they could not be enforced in court either before or after the Americans were killed.'”

    Re-read that last line, as it’s the Obama administration in a nutshell: of course you have those pretty rights, dear citizens. It’s just that nobody can enforce them or do anything to us when we violate them. But you do have them, and they’re really, really important, and we do value them so very highly, and President Obama will deliver another really majestic speech soon in front of the Constitution about how cherished and valued they are.

    (5) The Obama DOJ obtained what it considers an important victory: an appellate court in Virginia rejected the argument from New York Times reporter Jim Risen that, as a journalist, he cannot be compelled to testify about the identity of his sources. I wrote last year about the reasons the Obama DOJ’s pursuit of Risen is so pernicious and threatening to press freedom and gave the background to the case: here. As he set forth in his affidavit, Risen believes, with good reason, that the DOJ’s pursuit of him is in retaliation for his prior reporting, including his having exposed the NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping program in 2005.

    (6) In 2003, two dozen or so CIA agents kidnapped an Egyptian citizen from a street in Milan where he was living after Italy granted him asylum from persecution by the US-allied Mubarak regime. The CIA then rendered their kidnapped victim back to Egypt where he was interrogated and tortured. Italian authorities criminally charged the CIA agents with kidnapping, and after the US refused to turn them over for trial, they were convicted in abstentia. One of them, Milan CIA station chief Robert Lady, was sentenced to several years in prison. I wrote about that case, and US behavior in it, several months ago: here.

    Lady ended up in Panama, and when the Italians learned of this, they requested his extradition to Italy. The US government intervened and applied significant pressure to Panamanian officials, who, yesterday, predictably released Lady and put him on a plane back to the US. The next time the US lectures the world about the rule of law and need for accountability, I’m sure this incident will be on many people’s minds. It should be.

    Also: for those in official Washington – including its press corps – who have been demanding that Edward Snowden come and “face the music” of the charges against him, will you be demanding the same of CIA official Robert Lady, who – unlike Snowden – has committed serious crimes (kidnapping) and has been convicted of those crimes?

    (7) For a glimpse into the mind of the National Security State when it comes to transparency and press freedoms, do read this unhinged screed published by CNN from Bush-era CIA and NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden about the NSA stories in which, among other things, he says that I am “far more deserving of the Justice Department’s characterization of a co-conspirator than Fox’s James Rosen ever was”. What makes that so ironic is that I’ve been arguing for many years now that Hayden and the other Bush officials who implemented the illegal warrantless eavesdropping program aimed at American citizens should be criminally prosecuted. Speaking of glimpses into the minds of the US National Security State, do read this remarkable exchange between AP’s excellent reporter Matt Lee and a State Department spokesman over Russia and Snowden.

    (8) I’m going to write more about this next week, but Rep. Rush Holt is running for the New Jersey Senate seat that became vacant when Democrat Frank Lautenberg died. The special election is on August 13. Holt has long been one of the best members of Congress: a genuine stalwart on civil liberties and privacy and vehement opponent of the crony capitalism that governs DC. A physicist by profession, he’s incredibly smart, independent, and unique. Here was Holt on the House floor in 2008 expressing his vehement opposition to the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, the bill enacted with a bipartisan majority (including the support of President Obama) that legalized much of the massive surveillance state that now plagues us:

    The favorite in the race is a typical Democratic establishment candidate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who will be a loyal party member and is drowning in Wall Street cash. Having Rush Holt in the Senate would be a substantial boost to all sorts of issues that I write about here most.

    Here he is in 2007 warning again of the dangers of the surveillance state:

    Those interested can (and I hope will) read about, support and donate to his candidacy here.

  21. July 23, 2013 12:38 am

    Slew of court challenges threaten NSA’s relationship with tech firms

    Unlikely coalition takes NSA – and the telecoms firms who own much of the web’s infrastructure – to court over bulk surveillance


    An avalanche of legal challenges to the National Security Agency threaten to upend one of the most delicate balances the surveillance agency labors to strike: its critical relationship with telecommunications and internet companies.

    An unlikely coalition of advocacy groups are taking theNSA to court, claiming the bulk surveillance it conducts on Americans phone records and their online habits is unconstitutional. One of them is aiming beyond the NSA itself, and at the companies the NSA partners with for much of that data.

    The NSA’s relationship with those companies is critical, since much of the telecommunications infrastructure of the United States is owned and operated by private firms. While the lawsuits face significant obstacles, they stand a chance of splitting the financial and legal interests of the telecoms firms and and Internet Service Providers from those of the NSA – something that could restrict the surveillance efforts more than any legislation Congress is likely to pass.

    “Without the companies’ participation,” said former NSA codebreaker William Binney, “it would reduce the collection capability of the NSA significantly.”

    The lawsuits, which take several different paths to blocking the bulk surveillance, are proliferating quickly.

    One filed on Tuesday in a California federal court united a coalition of 19 gun owners, human-rights groups, Muslim organizations, environmentalists and marijuana legalization advocates seeking a “preliminary and permanent injunction” against NSA surveillance. Their claims about the surveillance violating their speech and privacy rights echoed another suit filed last month in a New York federal court by the ACLU challenging the programs’ constitutionality.

    Similarly, a suit first filed in California five years ago was resurrected last week after a judge ruled that revelations about bulk surveillance published by the Guardian and the Washington Post and confirmed by the government prevent the Justice Department from quashing the suit as a state secret. The Electronic Privacy Information Center petitioned the supreme court last week to “vacate an unlawful order” by the secretive Fisa court for mass phone records from Americans.

    Those cases still face the considerable challenges of fighting and defeating what are sure to be vigorous Justice Department challenges to their viability. Thus far, the courts have most often ruled for the government in NSA surveillance suits. Unlike in the past, however, the NSA documents published by the Guardian and the Post revealed for the first time that telecoms and Internet Service Providers were directly providing NSA with bulk customer information, allowing those customers – including the ACLU, a Verizon customer – standing to sue.

    But even if all those cases fail, there’s another legal avenue to contest the surveillance, albeit a difficult one: lawsuits against the companies themselves.

    That’s what the conservative group Judicial Watch is attempting. The organization filed a class-action suit last month against the internet companies named as participating in the NSA’s Prism program, including Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, Google and Apple. Cases like that have long frightened the NSA.

    The NSA and its allies in Congress have gone to great lengths to legally shield the private-sector telephone and internet companies it works with. A 2008 law that broadened the scope of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as the Fisa Amendments Act, retroactively immunized any participating telecom firm from legal liability. According to an internal NSA history of the program, several firms specifically requested NSA compel them to comply through Fisa court orders, fearing an eventual court case.

    Underscoring how delicately the NSA treats the sanctity of its private-sector partners, the NSA would only refer to them even in a classified internal document as “Company A” and similar pseudonyms.

    That sensitivity exists because the telecommunications firms largely own and operate the infrastructure used to make phone calls, send emails and conduct web searches, unlike in authoritarian countries like China, North Korea and the former East Germany. Without the companies’ participation, the NSA could still perform so-called “upstream” collection, such as accessing data as it transmits, for instance, across fiberoptic cables before the companies process them. “But they can’t get a complete copy of everything without going to the companies,” Binney said.

    Lawsuits against the companies place tensions, both legal and financial, on their partnership with NSA. Even the threat of spending money in court to quash customer lawsuits carries the potential for the companies to reassess the scope of their longstanding relationships with the surveillance agency.

    The lawsuits are a more direct challenge to the NSA than the convoluted and uncertain legislative or political processes. While several senators and members of Congress are talking about revising the Patriot Act to restrict bulk telephone records collection, support in Congress for the NSA runs deep, and it is difficult to forecast what reforms, if any, might pass. Similarly, the secret Fisa Court bristles at accusations that it’s a rubber stamp, but it approves almost all surveillance requests.

    That leaves citizens upset with the surveillance to pursue their rights as customers of the companies participating with the NSA.

    “If you want to raise costs to the companies participating with NSA, you raise the time and effort they spend defending themselves from allegations that their participation in NSA surveillance programs is unlawful,” said Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “But the downfall of suing the companies are the companies’ inevitable filings that they were just complying with the law.”

    Yet the obstacles to suing the companies are significant. The 2008 law explicitly says: “No cause of action shall lie in any court against any electronic communication service provider for providing any information, facilities, or assistance.”

    Alex Abdo, a lawyer with the ACLU working on the civil liberties group’s challenge to the NSA, said the immunization provisions are not necessarily insurmountable for suing the companies.

    “You could still sue Verizon and ask them to stop, even if you’re not asking for damages,” Abdo said. “I don’t think the immunity provision applies to that.”

    Even as the scope of the companies’ liability is set to be litigated, some of the NSA’s partners are attempting to limit their customers’ discontent. On Tuesday, Microsoft publicly asked Attorney General Eric Holder to lift the veil of secrecy over its cooperation with NSA so it can “publish the volume of national security requests we have received.” That followed a Monday ruling by the Fisa court for the Justice Department to release information showing Yahoo at times resisted cooperation even when compelled by the court.

  22. July 24, 2013 2:29 am

    Leaker Snowden hopes to be able to leave airport by Wednesday: lawyer

    (Reuters) – Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden hopes to be granted papers by Wednesday allowing him to end his month-long stay in the transit area of a Moscow airport and move to the city center, his Russian lawyer said on Monday.

    Anatoly Kucherena, who helped the American file his bid for temporary asylum in Russia on July 16, said Snowden believed it would be unsafe to try to travel to Latin America soon because of U.S. efforts to return him to the United States to face espionage charges.

    “He should get this certificate (allowing him to leave the airport) shortly,” he said.

    Snowden’s bid for temporary asylum in Russia may take up to three months to process, but he can pass through customs based on the initial response to his request, Kucherena added.

    Snowden, whose presence at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since June 23 has strained U.S.-Russian relations, has not ruled out seeking Russian citizenship, Kucherena said. Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua have all said they would grant him political asylum, but none is reachable by direct commercial flight from Moscow.


    Sorry Jen, we now have arrived at that point. What are you going to do about it?
    Please keep us posted…

  23. July 24, 2013 2:35 am

    Snowden Gets Whistleblower Award in Germany


    23 July 2013
    RIA Novosti

    Moscow Times

    Fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has become the winner of this year’s Whistleblower Award established by German human rights organizations, the German branch of Transparency International said in a statement.

    “This year’s winner of the Whistleblower Award is Edward Snowden,” the statement posted on TI’s Germany website Monday said.

    The award, established in 1999, is sponsored by the Association of German Scientists (VDW) and the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA).

    A VDW spokesperson told RIA Novosti on Monday that the award money, amounting to 3,000 euros, would be passed to Snowden through his representatives — either a lawyer or a “friendly” organization.

    Snowden, who faces prosecution in the United States for leaking highly sensitive classified data about the US National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia last week, having been holed up in the transit zone of a Moscow airport since arriving from Hong Kong on June 23.

    He is still waiting for a decision by the Russian migration authorities.

    Washington has repeatedly called on Moscow to reject Snowden’s request for asylum and send him back to the United States to stand trial on charges of espionage and theft.

  24. July 24, 2013 12:43 pm

    Lawyer: Snowden to stay in Moscow airport for now


    MOSCOW (AP) – A lawyer advising National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says his asylum status has not been resolved and that he is going to stay at the Moscow airport for now.

    Anatoly Kucherena, who was visiting the American at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Wednesday, said that migration officials are still looking at this asylum request and that this process had been drawn out.

    Kucherena said that Snowden is staying in the transit zone “for now” and “intends to stay in Russia, study Russian culture.”

    The lawyer did not immediately comment on a Russian news report that said Snowden had received a document earlier Wednesday allowing him to enter Russia from the airport.


    This Sunday, June 9, 2013 file provided by The Guardian Newspaper in London shows Edward Snowden, in Hong Kong. Russian state news agency said Wednesday, July 24, 2013 that US leaker Edward Snowden has been granted a document that allows him to leave the transit zone of a Moscow airport and enter Russia. Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Rusia last week after his attempts to leave the airport were thwarted. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage. (AP /The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, File)

    (AP) In this image provided by Human Rights Watch, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, center, attends a…

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

    National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was given a document on Wednesday that allows him to leave the transit zone of a Moscow airport and enter Russia, a state news agency said.

    The American applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week after his attempts to leave the airport and fly out of Russia were thwarted. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.

    Snowden, who revealed details of the NSA’s wide-ranging spying activities targeting data and phone communication, is believed to have been staying at the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong.

    Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unidentified security official as saying that Snowden was given the document Wednesday, allowing him to formally enter Russia.


    (AP) This handout file taken on Friday, July 12, 2013, and made available by Human Rights…

    This handout file taken on Friday, July 12, 2013, and made available by Human Rights Watch shows NSA leaker Edward Snowden during his meeting with Russian activists and officials at Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, Russia . Russian state news agency says Snowden has been granted a document that allows him to leave the transit zone of a Moscow airport and enter Russia. Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Rusia last week after his attempts to leave the airport were thwarted. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.(AP /Tatyana Lokshina, Human Rights Watch , file)

    Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer advising Snowden, arrived at the airport Wednesday to meet the NSA leaker, but refused to comment before the meeting.

    However, he told Russia’s Rossiya-24 television that he has brought several books for Snowden to read, including one by Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “Crime and Punishment.”

    The novel is about the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of a poor ex-student who kills a pawnbroker for her cash, and Kucherena said Snowden might find it interesting. But the lawyer added: “I’m not implying he’s going through a similar mental anguish.”

    President Vladimir Putin has said that Snowden can be granted asylum in Russia only if he stops leaking NSA secrets.

    A spokeswoman for Russia’s Federal Migration Service told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it had no information about the status of Snowden’s application for asylum.

    Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by Washington’s criticism of Russia’s pressure on opposition groups, Moscow’s suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans in Europe, and Russia’s resistance to proposed sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.


    This story may pave the road for Snowden in giving Russia a formative move helping him gain asylum in Russia. As Russia continues a delicate dance . À la seconde, meaning a movement done by the feet to the side such as a ‘tendu’, ‘glisse’ or ‘grand battement. (making a lateral move) In preparation for the technically challenging type of turn, the pirouette à la seconde, where the dancer spins with the working leg in second position in à la hauteur. (watching the dancer spin not knowing where s/he is going to end up!)

    Dutch court blocks extradition of terror suspect

    Jul 23, 9:48 AM (ET)


    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Dutch judges blocked the extradition Tuesday of a terror suspect to the United States, saying he was tortured in Pakistan after his 2010 arrest and it is unclear whether American authorities had any involvement.

    The Hague Court of Appeal ruling was a significant victory for the man identified only as Sabir K. in his attempts to avoid being sent for trial in America, but Dutch authorities can still launch a final appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

    “He is very satisfied that the role of the Americans is finally being looked at in a critical light,” his lawyer Andre Seebregts said. “He has said from the very beginning that the Americans were involved.”

    Sabir K., who has Dutch and Pakistani nationality, was arrested in Pakistan in 2010 and expelled to the Netherlands in 2011. U.S. authorities accuse him of working with al-Qaida from 2004 to 2010, and of plotting a suicide attack on an American military base in Afghanistan. (Isn’t Obama openly subsidizing arming al-Qaida rebels for the removal of Assad?)

    In a statement, the Hague appellate court said that U.S. authorities had issued an arrest warrant for K. three days after his detention in Pakistan.

    But it went on to say that circumstances of K.’s arrest and detention “raised questions” among the judges, who cited international human rights groups as saying terror suspects are “almost without exception tortured” if detained in Pakistan.

    “If the U.S. asked Pakistan to arrest K., knowing he would be tortured by the secret service, this would be a reason to block the extradition,” the court said. BINGO!

    Judges had asked the Dutch government to seek clarification from U.S. authorities about their role in the detention, but Dutch justice and security ministry officials refused, saying they did not see the necessity of the request.

    The government’s refusal meant “uncertainty remained about the involvement of the U.S. in the torture of K.,” the court said as it blocked his extradition.

    Dutch Security and Justice Ministry spokeswoman Sentina van der Meer said officials were studying the ruling and had no further comment.

    Sabir K. was released from Dutch detention earlier this year.

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