Tag: Edward Snowden

Nov 19

The Despicable Attack on Privacy Using the Paris Attack

Not surprising that after the failure of the intelligence to uncover the plot to kill and wound hundreds of people in Paris that the irrational finger pointing by blood thirsty, civil liberties hating neo-cons would begin. Of course, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is the prime target. The “Snowden Fault Game,” as Glenn Greenwald names it, …

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Jun 02

The Patriot Act Ain’t Dead Yet

While the Senate failed to pass the USA Freedom Act during Sunday’s emergency session, it did get past a cloture vote to continue debate and consider amendments that could either weaken or strengthen the already inadequate reform of the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act. So for the moment, the most egregious parts of the act which violate the Fourth Amendment have expired. So what next? There is no chance to renew the Patriot Act, as the Senate Republican leadership would prefer. Amending the US Freedom Act would necessitate the bill being returned to the House for another vote or hash out the details in a conference committee. None of this looks good for a resolution anytime soon, which is not entirely a bad thing.

McConnell introduced a handful of amendments Sunday evening on behalf of himself and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.). Paul and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has also attempted to bring up amendments of their own, but they were blocked.

Paul’s opposition will push votes on both those amendments and the final bill back to Tuesday at the earliest, and potentially Wednesday.

The House would then either need to vote on the new bill or hash out the details in a conference committee.

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) – an NSA critic – warned senators against adding amendments to the legislation that could potentially weaken the bill in the eyes of its supporters.

“On the House side, there’s not support for a more watered down version of the Freedom Act,” he said. “If they want to get something passed through the House, they need to make it better not worse.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald gave his reaction to the expiration of the act and the fear mongering that will ensue to Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman’

Transcript can be read here

The internecine GOP politics surrounding this are quite a maze since it involves not just Sen. Paul’s candidacy for president in 2016, but power fights between the House and Senate leaderships. Sen. McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are not exactly best of friends.

The game is now in the Senate and could mean the permanent end of Section 215. Let’s keep our fingers crossed they screw this up.  

May 31

The Untold Story of the Hunt for Snowden

During his interview with Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman in London’s Ecuadoran Embassy, Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange gives the inside story of the grounding of Ecuadoran President Evo Morales’ plane.

Transcript can be read here

May 28

Changing Minds on Edward Snowden

Former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in the Jimmy Carter administration Hodding Carter III has changed his mind about Edward Snowden whose leaks of NSA programs to the public has sparked the debate a the renewal of the Patriot Act. In an article in Salon, he explains  his change of heart and offered an apology to The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald.

Glenn Greenwald, I’m sorry: Why I changed my mind on Edward Snowden

What follows is based on sixty years of experience in public life and journalism. It arises from deepening concern about the people’s limited appreciation of the First Amendment and disgust with media waffling behind timidity’s breastworks. It also arises from urgent unease about government overreach in the name of “homeland security,” an overreach based on post-9/11 fear, political opportunism and an all but explicit assertion that a free people do not need to know and should not demand to know how they are being protected. There is no pretense here of carefully allocated balance, that briefly treasured convention of American journalism. Instead, this is an attempt to explain the evolution of today’s media-government confrontations and to suggest answers to the hard questions that currently face the press when national security clashes with the Bill of Rights.

Unless informed consent is to be treated as a dangerous relic of more tranquil times, these questions should be answered on behalf of the American people as often as they arise. That means applying general principles to specific cases. Knowing the evolution of press freedom can be useful. Having an accurate picture of the chaotic realities of the murky present is crucial. Hard cases are inevitable; hard-and-fast rules are rarely available and too often inapplicable to current conditions. In the end, as always, it is up to each journalist and news organization to be willing to stand alone, to ask, and to answer individually:

“Whose side are you on?”

Mr. Carter and Glenn Greenwald appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word” to discuss the surveillance and the firght over the renewal of the Patriot Act.

Whose side are you on?

May 12

TBC: Morning Musing 5.12.15

Good Morning! I have 3 articles for you on the NSA’s speech recognition program today.

First, an intro on the program:


Most people realize that emails and other digital communications they once considered private can now become part of their permanent record.

But even as they increasingly use apps that understand what they say, most people don’t realize that the words they speak are not so private anymore, either.

Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored.


Apr 12

A-C Meetup: The Pallid Bust of Snowden: Collaborative Art the Conceptual Way by Northsylvania

Marxist theory holds that there are no heroic individuals in the art world. Even the most solitary practitioner depends on the people who manufacture their supplies, the understanding of the people for whom the art is intended, and in the best cases, the critics who write about it. I suppose an artist could, in theory, draw on the beach with a sharp stick, let the tide erase it without anyone else seeing it, and be satisfied, but for the overwhelming majority of us, art is a form of collaboration. This piece is about the difficulty in negotiating that path in conceptual art, of trying to have a work carry a message that is understandable to its intended viewer without becoming either so simplistic that it becomes polemic, or so difficult that the audience refuses to engage with it. The works of this kind I find most interesting incorporate collaboration, either on purpose, or by fortunate accident. Recently a particular piece in Brooklyn, ironically starting out as a statement about a heroic individual, Edward Snowden, has ended up showing how collaboration provides layers of meaning, and so gives greater insight into both the original subject and to our own role as the viewer and ultimate collaborator.  

Apr 10

A Monument to a Hero

During the night of April 6, a giant bust of Edward Snowden was placed atop a pillar in Brooklyn’s Fort Green Park by an anonymous group. Fort Greene Park is home to the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, dedicated to colonial revolutionaries who died during the War of Independence on British prison ships docked on the Brooklyn waterfront.

While most people slept, a trio of artists and some helpers installed a bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Brooklyn on Monday morning. The group, which allowed ANIMAL to exclusively document the installation on the condition that we hide their identities, hauled the 100-pound sculpture into Fort Greene Park and up its hilly terrain just before dawn. They fused it to part of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, a memorial to Revolutionary War soldiers. [..]

The idea for the Snowden tribute was conceived about a year ago by two New York City-based artists with a history of pulling off notable public interventions. They linked up with a renowned sculptor on the West Coast who was sympathetic to their cause.

The bust was found by the NYC police and the parks department covered the bust with a tarp and removed it to an unknown location. That didn’t deter the Snowden supporters, the next night the bust was replaced with a hologram.

That first lightning strike by an anonymous group of artists was followed by a second, carried out before dawn on Tuesday, by a group calling itself the Illuminators.

“We recreated it digitally,” said Grayson Earle, 28, a member of the second group. “We used some projection mapping software so we could put the image exactly where we wanted.”

So for about 20 minutes on Tuesday morning, a hologram of the Snowden bust hovered in the park, at the same spot where the object had rested the day before.

“We wanted to further the discussion,” said Kyle Depew, 29, who came up with the idea for the hologram.

 photo snowden8n-5-web.jpg

Mar 17

TBC: Morning Musing 3.17.15

OK, I totally spaced on it being St Patty’s Day,s o I don’t have anything specifically themed for ya. But I do have 4 articles that are interesting…

First, this is as green as it gets today, but it is kind of round about green. Not sure how I feel about the idea, but it would make things interesting to say the least:

Al Gore should run for president

To many Democrats, the fight the party needs is clear: Hillary Clinton vs. Elizabeth Warren. But the differences between Warren and Clinton are less profound than they appear. Warren goes a bit further than Clinton does, both in rhetoric and policy, but her agenda is smaller and more traditional than she makes it sound: tightening financial regulation, redistributing a little more, tying up some loose ends in the social safety net. Given the near-certainty of a Republican House, there is little reason to believe there would be much difference between a Warren presidency and a Clinton one.

The most ambitious vision for the Democratic Party right now rests with a politician most have forgotten, and whom no one is mentioning for 2016: Al Gore.


Feb 23

“Citizenfour” Wins Documentary Feature Oscar

Tonight the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature to “Citizenfour” directed by Laura Poitras.

Congratulations to Ms. Poitras. Thanks to Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian who went to Hong Kong with her. But most of all, thank you to Edward Snowden for his sacrifice that we might know what our government is doing in our name.

"Citizen Four" Wins Oscar photo 1000_zps75519101.jpg

Left to right: Producer Dirk Wilutzky, Director Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills and Editor  Mathilde Bonnefoy.

The Intercept’s Laura Poitras Wins Academy Award for ‘Citizenfour’

By Peter Maas, The Intercept

Laura Poitras, a founding editor of The Intercept, won an Academy Award tonight for her documentary “Citizenfour,” an inside look at Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower.

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and for the many other whistleblowers.” Snowden, in a statement released after the award was announced, said, “My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

The film, which has been hailed as a real-life thriller, chronicles Snowden’s effort to securely contact Poitras and Glenn Greenwald in 2013 and meet them in Hong Kong, where Poitras filmed Snowden discussing the thousands of classified NSA documents he was leaking to them, and his motives for doing so. The film takes its title from the pseudonym Snowden used when he contacted Poitras in encrypted emails that were revealed in her documentary.

“Citizenfour” will air on HBO Monday, Feb 23, 9 PM EST. As soon as it’s available, it will be featured here and at our other site, The Stars Hollow Gazette.

Oct 20

TBC: Morning Musing 10.20.14

I have 3 things for you all this morning.

First, this should be a great interview, and it will be live streamed. See the link for more info:

Lawrence Lessig interviews Edward Snowden

Institutional corruption and the NSA: Edward Snowden will be interviewed (via videoconference) by Lawrence Lessig about the NSA in a time of war, and whether and how the agency has lost its way.


Aug 05

US Government Manipulating the Press

We all know that the government manipulates the news with its propaganda that became obvious with the exposure of New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s complicity in spreading the lies that led to the illegal invasion of Iraq. Since then the government has been caught requesting the press withhold stories, or like today, leaking a scoop to another media outlet, a new low.

Spy Agency Stole Scoop From Media Outlet And Handed It To The AP

By Ryan Grim, The Huffington Post

The Associated Press dropped a significant scoop on Tuesday afternoon, reporting that in the last several years the U.S. government’s terrorism watch list has doubled.

A few minutes after the AP story consisting of three paragraphs was posted at 12:32 p.m., The Intercept published a much more comprehensive article. [..]

The government, it turned out, had “spoiled the scoop,” an informally forbidden practice in the world of journalism. To spoil a scoop, the subject of a story, when asked for comment, tips off a different, typically friendlier outlet in the hopes of diminishing the attention the first outlet would have received. Tuesday’s AP story was much friendlier to the government’s position, explaining the surge of individuals added to the watch list as an ongoing response to a foiled terror plot.

The practice of spoiling a scoop is frowned upon because it destroys trust between the journalist and the subject. In the future, the journalist is much less willing to share the contents of his or her reporting with that subject, which means the subject is given less time, or no time at all, to respond with concerns about the reporting.

According to Mr. Grim, The Intercept editor, John Cook, called the National Counterterrorism Center, the subject of the story by The Intercept article by Ryan Devereaux and Jeremy Scahill. Mr. Cook informed the official he spoke with that in the future the agency would only be given a 30 minute time frame to respond to questions about articles before they are published.

I don’t know if Associated Press reporter, Eileen Sullivan, was aware of The Intercept article, or if she was given access to the classified documents (pdf) on which the articles are based. I suspect she was spoon fed the information for the government friendly piece she wrote since she has no links to the documents. The link to the classified file was tweeted by Glenn Greenwald this afternoon.

Now the government is telling CNN that they believe there is a new “leaker”. Nice try, “folks,” but this isn’t about who leaked what but exposing just how much the government us intruding into the lives of its citizens and totally disregarding guaranteed constitutional rights and the law.

Don’t forget to read the article, Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers by Jeremy and Ryan at The Intercept, it is quite an eye opener.

May 30

Wheeler, WaPo, Snowden Demolish Feeble Attempt By Gov’t and NYT to Discredit His NBC Interview

If you want to be a firsthand witness to a truly brilliant, textbook example of how to cut U.S. government propaganda off at its knees before it even begins to take its first breath in the MSM (somewhat surprisingly, by New York Times’ government stenographer David Sanger, no less), look no further than Edward Snowden’s powerful response in tonight’s Washington Post, and Marcy Wheeler’s double-dose of commentary and analysis over at her Emptywheel blog for some serious and beautifully executed lessons! (John Podesta, are you taking copious notes?)

As many will realize after reading these incredibly disparate NYT and WaPo reports, even open-minded Snowden-haters (I know, that’s an oxymoron) would have to admit their home team was completely schooled in tonight’s news cycle.

First, the government’s stenography courtesy of the NYT

N.S.A. Releases Email That It Says Undercuts Snowden’s Whistle-Blower Claim



MAY 29, 2014

WASHINGTON – The National Security Agency on Thursday released what it said was the sole internal email from Edward J. Snowden before he fled with a trove of agency secrets, and officials asserted that the message undercut his argument that he protested the legality of surveillance programs before he released any of the documents he stole to journalists.

The email to the N.S.A. general counsel’s office, dated April 8, 2013, makes no reference to the government’s bulk collection of telephone data or other surveillance or cyberprograms. Nor does it raise concerns about violations of privacy.

Instead, Mr. Snowden was seeking clarification about the hierarchy of laws governing the N.S.A., based on what he had learned in an agency training course about privacy protection rules for handling intercepted information.

By the time the email was sent, Mr. Snowden, who was a private contractor and not an agency employee, had already implanted software in the N.S.A. system that was copying its files automatically. Two months later, the first of those files were made public by journalists who had received them from Mr. Snowden.

The N.S.A. released the email in response to Mr. Snowden’s assertion in an interview with Brian Williams of NBC News that was broadcast on Wednesday night. In the interview, Mr. Snowden said he had raised complaints both in Hawaii and at the N.S.A. headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., about “real problems with the way the N.S.A. was interpreting its legal authorities…”

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