Author Archive | Ed Snowden

Yes, Big Brother Is Watching You

William Binney, former NSA analyst, sits in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City during a 2012 discussion about the federal government and their access to citizens' private information. (Jacob Applebaum / Wikimedia Commons)

William Binney, former NSA analyst, sits in the offices of Democracy Now! in New York City during a 2012 discussion about the federal government and their access to citizens’ private information.
(Jacob Applebaum / Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been a frightening few weeks for journalists concerned with protecting their sources—and for Americans concerned with protecting their privacy. On May 13, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of reporters’ call logs. Citing the Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of classified information, the Justice Department had subpoenaed Verizon Wireless for the call logs of more than 20 AP phone lines. Within a week The Washington Post reported that in 2010 the DOJ had subpoenaed emails from Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent James Rosen’s personal Gmail, also with the motive of prosecuting leakers.

The revelations have caused a furor over whether national security interests should trump civil liberties.… Read the rest

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Former Congressman’s Federal Corruption Trial Begins

A leading watchdog group named Renzi, above, as one of the top 20 most corrupt congressmen for three straight years. (Photo: Wikipedia)

A leading watchdog group named Renzi, above, as one of the top 20 most corrupt congressmen for three straight years. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Opening arguments in the Tucson trial of former Arizona Representative Rick Renzi (R-AZ) began Wednesday with federal prosecution characterizing Renzi as having engaged in “lying and stealing … taking advantage of people” and having “sold out his office.” Meanwhile Renzi counsel Kelly Kramer contended that his client “didn’t extort anybody … solicit any bribes” or “defraud anyone.” Charged with 32 counts of conspiracy, fraud and extortion, if convicted the three-term former congressman from Arizona’s 1st District could face up to 400 years of prison.

Dennis Wagner writes at The Arizona Republic:

In 2005 Resolution Copper Mining wanted surface rights to an ore-laden national forest area near [the town of] Superior. Another investment group involving former Gov. Bruce Babbitt [(D)] was seeking to trade private conservation land for potential development properties owned by the government near Phoenix.

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Kim Dotcom Accuses Federal Prosecutors of Conspiracy

Kim Dotcom has faced illegal surveillance by the New Zealand government and now faces extradition to the United States. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Kim Dotcom has faced illegal surveillance by the New Zealand government and now faces extradition to the United States. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Eccentric German-Finnish billionaire Kim Dotcom and his attorneys fired back at federal prosecutors Wednesday by accusing them, alongside other domestic authorities, of conspiracy to “deprive defendants of their presumption of innocence.” Dotcom is currently fighting attempts to extradite him from his haven in New Zealand, where he has faced illegal surveillance from that government, in addition to the charges of mass copyright violation that motivated the surveillance. According to his indictment by the United States last year, Dotcom’s former media-sharing website Megaupload was at some points responsible for 4 percent of all Internet traffic.

Dotcom’s lawyers wrote Wednesday, “[T]he outside motivating factor in this case stems from Motion Picture Association of America’s (erroneous) view of Megaupload as “the very top of the piracy pyramid,” coupled with the current Administration’s desire to placate an association whose members, as a group, are some of the Democratic Party’s strongest political supporters and most generous campaign contributors.”

Read more at Opposing Views.… Read the rest

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Newly Declassified Recordings: Candidate Nixon Sabotaged Vietnam Peace to Get Elected

The BBC’s David Taylor published a great analysis Friday of newly released White House recordings of President Lyndon Johnson. The two biggest revelations: Before the 1968 election, Nixon sabotaged Vietnam peace talks to prolong the war and increase his own presidential prospects; anti-war protesters literally blocked Johnson from the Chicago Democratic National Convention, and consequently from running again.

This story runs off the rails only briefly, when claiming that no president since Nixon has bugged the Oval Office. Obama, for one, is doing it.

Although Johnson learned of Nixon’s treasonous sabotage of Paris peace talks, we know now, the president said nothing.

In late October 1968 there were major concessions from Hanoi which promised to allow meaningful talks to get underway in Paris – concessions that would justify Johnson calling for a complete bombing halt of North Vietnam. This was exactly what Nixon feared.

[Senior Nixon campaign adviser Anna] Chennault was despatched to the South Vietnamese embassy with a clear message: the South Vietnamese government should withdraw from the talks, refuse to deal with Johnson, and if Nixon was elected, they would get a much better deal.

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Yes, Chief Justice Roberts, the South is More Racist

Voting Rights Act Section 5's Covered Jurisdictions, which are More Racist

When Wednesday John Roberts and the solicitor general questioned whether any southern concentration of racism was a rationale for Voting Rights Act Section 5’s constitutionality, cynics responded as though the chief justice was blind to a vicious national legacy. One American Prospect article — leaning on a 2005 analysis that concluded the U.S. South was especially racist — was redistributed through Twitter at least 300 times over a day.

The American Journal of Political Science analysis, aforementioned, “Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South [PDF],” concluded “the regional gap in racial conservatism has not closed since [the end of the Civil Rights era.]”

The exchange between the justice and administration lawyer was in the context of a Supreme Court challenge to the decades-old Voting Rights Act, by Alabama’s Shelby County — a challenge on whether mostly southern states, due to Section 5’s “preclearance requirements,” should have to run voting-law changes by authorities in Washington.… Read the rest

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Treason and Tyranny: Defense Attorney David Coombs Rallies Public Support at All Souls Unitarian Church

David Coombs, Army Reservist, America Hater Photo: Tyler Bass, Washington Correspondent, The Internet Chronicle

On December 3rd,, 2012, David Coombs–Bradley Manning’s Attorney and an Army Reservist–spoke to a congregation near Mt. Pleasant, District of Columbia. He spoke for almost 90 minutes, part of which included a question period in which he answered questions from the press fed to him by members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, a group that has collected legal fees for the private suspected of leaking thousands of pages of data documenting war crimes, innocuous activity, the overclassification of information. Some call the Army Private a traitor; others, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, have called him a whistleblower.

“He told me that his dream would be to go to college to get a degree. And as a young man at that time he was 23. That makes sense. We all know that college degrees are pretty much the ticket to a productive future.” The Unitarian Church is notable for being one of the most educated denominations in the country, and certainly this line resonated well with attendees.… Read the rest

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“Weev” Auernheimer on Free Speech versus Exploitation

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Via The Internet Chronicle

Andrew Auernheimer, an American gray hat hacker better known as “weev,” tells The Internet Chronicle that his indictment in a New Jersey district court over a June 2010 AT&T data breach is at its root an important free speech issue. Speaking to Chronicle.su’s Gray Phone, Mr. Auernheimer, a 27-year-old associate of Goatse Security, claims he made certain AT&T was aware of the breach in time to patch it, he never sought financial gain from what was in effect the the extraction of 114,000 iPad users’ email addresses, and that he never personally possessed more customer data than enough to communicate that the breach was bona fide. While prosecutors imply Mr. Auernheimer’s actions and statements may constitute computer fraud and foreknowledge of possible insider trading, he and his fellow Goatse Security associates saw themselves as merely tarnishing a company’s reputation due to its own reckless mishandling of customer data.

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Vote Looming, National Geographic to Exhibit Dubious, Politicized bin Laden Raid Narrative

The trailer for an upcoming film on the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden inaccurately represents tactics and techniques, thereby overstating pre-operational uncertainty regarding the terrorist leader's hideout presence. While producing "Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden," which National Geographic plans to air in the 48 hours before Election Day, Kathryn Bigelow consulted with senior White House, Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency officials.
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Bradley Manning’s Leaks Irrelevant to “Aiding Enemy” Charge, States Military Commission

scap

Since 1996 the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel has voted to declassify at least part of 65 percent of documents it regulated.

Via the Internet Chronicle:

Thursday morning at Fort Meade, Maryland, government attorneys continued day three of pretrial hearings that began April 24 in the case of Army Private Bradley Manning, awaiting court-martial after having been accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of secret-clearance documents. The government submitted reconsideration motions with two classified attachments, and key, a sole judge asserted that the effects of Private Manning’s leaks do not bear on his receiving an “aiding the enemy” charge.

Members of the public who had seen earlier parts of the trial described a video presentation by the prosecution and recounted the contents of the video, which one woman described as the speech of a man in “traditional Middle Eastern” garments, praising “Allah” for WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of files from the State and Defense Departments.  This video fit into the prosecution’s insistence on an—relative to the former Army intelligence specialist’s other charges—egregious “aiding the enemy” charge, which a ruling yesterday evening revealed would stick.… Read the rest

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Inside the Expanding Panopticon: Covert Legal Interpretation and Mass Surveillance

Presidio Modelo

Cuba's Presidio Modelo. Photo: Friman (CC)

Via the Internet Chronicle:

Government secrecy faced major public scrutiny this month, as a former National Security Agency mathematician’s claims to all-encompassing government surveillance did not line up with the NSA director’s public statements; and the American Civil Liberties Union found itself embroiled in controversies associated with what it contends are abuses of power by the executive branch, as well as local law enforcement.

Last month the American Civil Liberties Union asked for clarification of the meaning of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. DailyKos Blogger Joan McCarter writes: “The provision in question, [Section] 215, allows the government to gain access to records of citizens’ activities being held by a third party. It gives the FBI the power to force doctors, libraries, bookstores, universities and internet service providers, for example, to turn over records on their clients or customers.”

In a March letter to the American Civil Liberties Union, FBI’s special counsel Paul Colborn said, “We have searched the [Office of Legal Counsel's] files and found two documents that are responsive to your request.… Read the rest

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