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Edward Snowden’s testimony to the European Parliament is a must-read for EVERY concerned American

Edward Snowden
If Edward Snowden isn’t very careful, they’re going to crush his head!

The fate of Edward Snowden continues to be excruciatingly unresolved. The former NSA contractor who made international headlines in 2013 when he illegally disclosed details about the shocking scope of federal surveillance programs via The Guardian and other news outlets has been obliged to seek asylum from various non-U.S.-aligned governments, such as Russia, Ecuador, and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Nobody really disputes that Snowden has committed criminal acts—no matter how justified—and yet the intransigent stance of the U.S. to hold over Snowden’s head the most draconian penalties (short of the death penalty, praise Jeebus). Attorney General Eric Holder promised that Snowden would not be tortured if Russia, Snowden’s current home, were to turn him over to U.S. authorities, but in the wake of Bush/Cheney and Obama himself, such promises ring hollow. In the end, the behavior of the U.S. government and other western governments has, unfortunately, tended for the most part to substantiate Snowden’s more “paranoid” claims. The optimal outcome at this stage would be for the United States to offer a more “reasonable” prison term of 3-5 years—such a gesture would go a long way towards confirming to suspicious citizens that the U.S. intends to get its house in order.

Short of that, acceptance by U.S.-friendly western goverments of the European Union would likewise tend to send the message that U.S.security-related surveillance interests don’t trump every other value in the geopolitical system. One of the dispiritng lessons of the Snowden affair thus far has been the lack of counterbalancing perspective in the global system, in other words, the only apparent recourse Snowden has had to escape punishment from the United States has been various “bad guys” like Iran, North Korea, Russia and so on.  The strong impression has been left that countries like Germany, France, U.K., and so on, which once may have acted as sensible, fair brokers are all (a) unduly beholden to the U.S., and (b) compromised in their own right, as each country has its own semi-legal regime of espionage and surveillance. If all western states are but satellites in the U.S. sphere of influence, then Snowden’s revelations become all the more urgent.

For this reason, Snowden’s testimony (delivered in the form of a written statement) to the European Parliament on March 7 is a huge story—one that, sadly, has gone largely unnoticed by major U.S. media outlets. (At this point it’s a little difficult to distinguish sinister anti-Snowden propaganda from regular Snowden fatigue.) You can read Snowden’s entire testimony here.

In his testimony, Snowden related that he has requested asylum in from a number of EU countries, only to be told by European Parliamentarians that the United States would not permit its EU partners to make such an offer. “I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to the requests I sent to various EU member states. Parliamentarians in the national governments have told me that the US, and I quote, ‘will not allow’ EU partners to offer political asylum to me, which is why the previous resolution on asylum ran into such mysterious opposition. I would welcome any offer of safe passage or permanent asylum, but I recognize that would require an act of extraordinary political courage.”
 
The NSA
 
In Snowden’s view, the NSA and the security agencies of various EU states have created a “European bazaar” in which the perception of shared interests among the EU states trump the rights and expectations of western citizens to conduct their affairs in private. Wrote Snowden:

“The result is a European bazaar, where an EU member state like Denmark may give the NSA access to a tapping center on the (unenforceable) condition that NSA doesn’t search it for Danes, and Germany may give the NSA access to another on the condition that it doesn’t search for Germans. Yet the two tapping sites may be two points on the same cable, so the NSA simply captures the communications of the German citizens as they transit Denmark, and the Danish citizens as they transit Germany, all the while considering it entirely in accordance with their agreements. Ultimately, each EU national government’s spy services are independently hawking domestic accesses to the NSA, GCHQ [U.K. Government Communications Headquarters], FRA [Försvarets radioanstalt, the Swedish National Defense Radio Establishment], and the like without having any awareness of how their individual contribution is enabling the greater patchwork of mass surveillance against ordinary citizens as a whole.”

Snowden has gone out of his way to put up a non-threatening front to the EU, insisting that he left the Russian secret service frustrated in its attempts to procure from Snowden further classified information about the United States. To the question “Did the Russian secret service approach you?” Snowden replied:

“Of course. Even the secret service of Andorra would have approached me, if they had had the chance: that’s their job. But I didn’t take any documents with me from Hong Kong, and while I’m sure they were disappointed, it doesn’t take long for an intelligence service to realize when they’re out of luck. I was also accompanied at all times by an utterly fearless journalist with one of the biggest megaphones in the world, which is the equivalent of Kryptonite for spies. As a consequence, we spent the next 40 days trapped in an airport instead of sleeping on piles of money while waiting for the next parade. But we walked out with heads held high. I would also add, for the record, that the United States government has repeatedly acknowledged that there is no evidence at all of any relationship between myself and the Russian intelligence service.”

According to Snowden, the NSA itself, which has well-nigh unregulated status within the U.S. federal government, has itself been pushing for EU states to take actions that do not benefit EU citizens:

“One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”

The Snowden “affair” is a highly sensitive “node” in the incredibly complex network of institutions that touch on so many important aspects of our lives—the federal government, telecom companies, Google and Facebook, credit card companies, the U.S. military, Russia, the UN, and so on. If the European Parliament denies Snowden’s requests, it will be another depressing sign that those interrelated interests do not have your or my well-being at heart.

In this video, Democracy Now! looks at the three most important of Snowden’s revelations:
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
UFO slides found in files leaked by Edward Snowden
03.04.2014
02:13 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Media

Tags:
UFOs
Edward Snowden

ufsno.jpg
 
A set of slides showing supposed UFOs have been found amongst the mass of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The three slides were included in a Powerpoint presentation prepared by the British spy agency GCHQ (aka Government Communications Headquarters) that contained 50 uncaptioned images.

The images have caused considerable speculation amongst conspiracy-theorists, UFOlogists, and followers of Mulder and Scully. 

Author of Haynes UFO Investigations Manual, Nigel Watson has said the photographs are old, well-known, and probably fakes.

“The presentation features three UFO pictures, on slides 35 to 37. The first is a black and white picture of a UFO over Redbud, Illinois, taken on 23 April 1950, the second a screenshot of a UFO video by Arturo Robles Gil filmed in Mexico and the third was taken on 01 August 2011 by a holidaymaker at Black Head, Trenarren near St. Austell, Cornwall.

“They have been explained respectively by sceptics as a hub cap thrown in the air, a deflated mylar balloon and an out-of-focus seagull taking a poo.”

 
222ufosnowden222.jpg
 
Watson believes the slides are not conclusive proof of alien visitations, rather they are possible evidence of government agencies using the “fear” of UFOs for “mind control” purposes.

“Government agencies are still aware of the power of the belief in UFOs, and that they are willing to use the Internet to exploit these beliefs.

“Such deception can be used as a means of covering-up more mundane terrestrial activities (like the testing of secret aircraft or military exercises) or to undermine the credibility of UFOlogists.

“The overall point of the presentation is to discuss how the Internet and modern media can be used to discredit people and to spread deception. Unfortunately, there is no explanatory text with the UFO pictures, so we can only speculate about what point they were being used to make.”

In other words, the slides are more likely to be part of some form of misdirection used by GCHQ to distract from more important issues. For example, shall we say a government agency attempting to discredit Edward Snowden as reliable source of information?

Nah!

Then again, it all could be part of some geeky fanboy’s pet project for UFO Con.
 
333ufosnowden333.jpg
 
On the whole, these are far more likely answers than some of the recent theories coming, for example, out of Iran’s “semi-official” Fars News agency, which according to the Washington Post claimed:

The United States government has been secretly run by a “shadow government” of space aliens since 1945. Yes, space aliens. The alien government is based out of Nevada and had previously run Nazi Germany. It adds, for timeliness, that the controversial NSA programs are actually a tool for the aliens to hide their presence on Earth and their secret agenda for global domination. This is all asserted as incontrovertible fact with no caveats.

 

 
For what little it’s worth, I believe all UFO can be explained as primarily human-made phenomena. I think it preposterous that alien intelligence would travel thousands of light years to anally probe some country bumpkin from Moosefart, Montana, whose IQ is lower than that of his livestock. I think most UFO phenomena is mere misdirection, aimed at keeping the public “Distracted from distraction by distraction.

However, if you do think “Spooky” Fox Mulder is right, well you may be intrigued by the following.
 

 
111ufosnowden111.jpg
 

Bonus: Edward Snowden German interview as repeated on BcFM Feb 7th, 2014 with Tony Gosling and Martin Summers.
 
Via Yahoo News

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Edward Snowden action figure


 
An Edward Snowden action for only $99.00 + shipping by That’s My Face.

I dunno, I still like the “My Talking Henry Rollins” doll better.

This package includes Edward Snowden’s custom action figure head mounted on a 12-inch action figure body with a several choices of outfit styles. By selecting Head only in the Outfit selection box above, you can also buy Edward Snowden’s head for $60 only and fit it onto your own 12-inch figurines.

Below, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden action figures just hangin’ out:

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Edward Snowden’s alternative Christmas message: ‘End mass surveillance’
12.25.2013
10:41 am

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Edward Snowden

nedwonsdespeech.jpg
 
Whistleblower Edward Snowden has given an “Alternative Christmas Message” on Britain’s Channel 4 television.

Snowden, who revealed the mass surveillance programs operated by US and other governments, spoke about the dangers of such operations, “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves—an unrecorded, un-analyzed thought.” 

The full transcript runs as follows:

Alternative Christmas Message 2013

Hi, and Merry Christmas. I’m honored to have the chance to speak with you and your family this year.

Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do.

Great Britain’s George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book—microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us—are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.

Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves—an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.

The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. Together, we can find a better balance. End mass surveillance. And remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.

For everyone out there listening, thank you, and Merry Christmas.

 

 
H/T Channel 4 and Slash Gear

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Is Berlin going to name a street after Edward Snowden?
11.17.2013
10:32 am

Topics:
Politics

Tags:
Berlin
Edward Snowden

Snowden Strasse
 
In early July, a citizen of Berlin named Jörg Janzer went to the trouble to “rename” Schwedter Strasse and Kastanienallee, respectively, “Snowden Street” and “Snowden Alley.” He did this simply by pasting his own printed versions of the street names over the street signs at that intersection. His intention was to protest the mistreatment of Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee who in May of this year was obliged to leave the United States after having instigated several leaks about the full extent of the NSA’s PRISM program of Internet data acquisition. In the United States, Snowden is officially a wanted criminal; many people around the world (as well as a good many people in the U.S.) don’t see it the same way.

The crazy thing is, Janzer’s action may result in an actual Berlin street getting its name changed to “Snowden Strasse.” If Berlin ends up doing this, one suspects it won’t be the last city to do this.

Janzer was identified in the Berliner Kurier as a “Spaß-Guerilla,” which translates to something like “Prank-Guerrilla”—like Abbie Hoffman or Banksy. The police removed the sign before even a day had passed.
 
Snowden Street
 
The gesture by Janzer has sparked a legislative initiative to give Berlin’s Behrenstrasse between Wilhelmstrasse and Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse, which corresponds exactly to the block where the United States Embassy is, the name Edward Snowden Strasse. Given the vagaries of high-stakes geopolitics, it’s difficult to imagine any municipality in Germany snubbing the United States to that extent, so I wouldn’t hold my breath. However, just as New York or Los Angeles isn’t under the personal control of Barack Obama, it’s possible that Berlin can do what it wants. We’ll have to wait and see.
 
Behrenstrasse
The purple line is the section of street that would be renamed “Snowden Street” if the measure passes. On the map, the U.S. Embassy is the area above it.
 
Here’s a video Janzer shot of his nighttime provocation. At the end of the video he says a few words—what he’s saying is: “This is most likely the first ‘Snowden Street’ and ‘Snowden Alley’ in the world. This should serve as an inspiration to do this anywhere in the world as an expression of protest against the fact that we are bugged so mercilessly and that Snowden is being punished because he revealed it to us.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘They’ll Be Laughing in Moscow and Beijing’ over Scotland Yard’s idiotic Snowden blunder


 
British Labour MP Tom Watson wrote a scathing must-read essay for nsfwcorp.com on L’affaire Miranda and the news that some boneheads from Scotland Yard thought getting all heavy at The Guardian offices was, like, a good idea:

We still don’t know the full circumstances surrounding David Miranda’s detention at Heathrow airport but I think we probably know enough to conclude that: a) he is not a terrorist and b) it is not a coincidence that he is Glenn Greenwald’s partner.

I think that we can also usefully assume that the spooks did not find enough to detain David Miranda under any UK law and that Greenwald and The Guardian are not dumb enough to forget to make copies of the files that prove illegal state surveillance.

The spooks are not going to get the NSA files back; that genie is well and truly out of the bottle. So why do it? The conclusion must be, as Greenwald speculates, that we were just roughing up his boyfriend in order to psyche him out. I am no Carrie Mathieson but I think the wrong case officer is in charge of this investigation if they think this will shut Greenwald up. He thrives on this stuff. The UK intelligence services have created a global audience for the spectacle of him beating them with a big stick of indignant rebuke.

And they have horrified people across Westminster who know the “inside.” As a former defence minister I have authorised special forces to conduct hostage rescues, covert military entry to foil terrorist plots, as well as approved nuclear submarines to travel to places you do not want to know. So I think I can assess an ill-conceived plan when I see one. And this was a howler.

LOL! Real Tom Watson’s full editorial at nsfwcorp.com
 

 
Thank you Michael Backes of Los Angeles, California!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Who is Edward Snowden: Whistle-blower hero, enemy of the state or covert ops shapeshifter?
07.08.2013
01:10 pm

Topics:
Current Events

Tags:
Edward Snowden
NSA
Jon Rappoport


 
This is a guest post from Jon Rappoport
 
If you absolutely must have a hero, watch Superman movies.

If your need for a hero is so great, so cloying, so heavy, so juicy that it swamps your curiosity, don’t read this. 

If you can’t separate Edward Snowden’s minor revelations from the question of who he is, if you can’t entertain the notion that covert ops and intelligence-agency games are reeking with cover stories, false trails, and limited hangouts, you need more fun in your life.

NSA?  CIA?  These guys live for high-level bullshit.  They get down on their knees and worship it.  They fall into a suicidal funk if they aren’t lying on at least three or four levels at once.

Okay.  Let’s look at Snowden’s brief history as reported by The Guardian.  Are there any holes?

Is the Pope Catholic?

In 2003, at age 19, without a high school diploma, Snowden enlists in the Army.  He begins a training program to join the Special Forces.  At what point after enlistment can a new soldier start this elite training program? 

Snowden breaks both legs in an exercise.  He’s discharged from the Army.  Is that automatic?  How about healing and then resuming service? 

If he was accepted in the Special Forces training program because he had special computer skills, then why discharge him simply because he broke both legs?

“Sorry, Ed, but with two broken legs we just don’t think you can hack into terrorist data anymore.  You were good, but not now.  Try Walmart.  They always have openings.”

Circa 2003, Snowden gets a job as a security guard for an NSA facility at the University of Maryland. He specifically wanted to work for NSA?  It was just a generic job opening he found out about?

Snowden shifts jobs.  Boom.  He’s now in the CIA, in IT.  He has no high school diploma.  He’s a young computer genius.

In 2007, Snowden is sent to Geneva.  He’s only 23 years old.  The CIA gives him diplomatic cover there.  He’s put in charge of maintaining computer-network security.  Major job.  Obviously, he has access to a wide range of classified documents.  Sound a little odd?  He’s just a kid.  Maybe he has his GED.  Otherwise, he still doesn’t have a high school diploma.

Snowden says that during this period, in Geneva, one of the incidents that really sours him on the CIA is the “turning of a Swiss banker.”  One night, CIA guys get a banker drunk, encourage him to drive home, the banker gets busted, the CIA guys help him out, then with that bond formed, they eventually get the banker to reveal deep secrets to the Agency.

This sours Snowden?  He’s that naïve?  He doesn’t know by now that the CIA does this sort of thing all the time?  He’s shocked?  He “didn’t sign up for this?”  Come on.

In 2009, Snowden leaves the CIA.  Why?  Presumably because he’s disillusioned.  It should be noted here that Snowden claimed he could do very heavy damage to the entire US intelligence community in 2008, but decided to wait because he thought Obama, just coming into the presidency, might keep his “transparency” promise.

After two years with the CIA in Geneva, Snowden really had the capability to take down the whole US inter-agency intelligence network, or a major chunk of it? 

If you buy that without further inquiry, I have condos for sale on the dark side of the moon.

In 2009, Snowden leaves the CIA and goes to work in the private sector.  Dell, Booze Allen Hamilton.  In this latter job, Snowden is assigned to work at the NSA.

He’s an outsider, but, again, he claims to have so much access to so much sensitive NSA data that he can take down the whole US intelligence network in a single day.  The.  Whole.  US.  Intelligence.  Network. 

This is Ed Snowden’s sketchy legend.  It’s all red flags, alarm bells, sirens, flashing lights. 

Then we have the crowning piece: they solved the riddle: Ed Snowden was able to steal thousands of highly protected NSA documents because… he had a thumb drive.

It’s the weapon that breached the inner sanctum of the most sophisticated information agency in the world. 

It’s the weapon to which the NSA, with all its resources, remains utterly vulnerable.  Can’t defeat it. 

Not only did Snowden stroll into NSA with a thumb drive, he knew how to navigate all the security layers put in place to stop people from stealing classified documents.

“Let’s see.  We have a new guy coming to work for us here at NSA today?  Oh, whiz kid.  Ed Snowden.  Outside contractor.  Booz Allen.  He’s not really a full-time employee of the NSA.  Twenty-nine years old.  No high school diploma.  Has a GED.  He worked for the CIA and quit.  Hmm.  Why did he quit?  Oh, never mind, who cares?  No problem.

“Tell you what.  Let’s give this kid access to our most sensitive data.  Sure.  Why not?  Everything.  That stuff we keep behind 986 walls?  Where you have to pledge the life of your first-born against the possibility you’ll go rogue?  Let Snowden see it all.  Sure.  What the hell.  I’m feeling charitable.  He seems like a nice kid.”

NSA is the most awesome spying agency ever devised in this world.  If you cross the street in Podunk, Anywhere, USA, to buy an ice cream soda, on a Tuesday afternoon in July, they know.

They know whether you sit at the counter and drink that soda or take it and move to the only table in the store.  They know whether you lick the foam from the top of the glass with your tongue or pick the foam with your straw and then lick it.

They know if you keep the receipt for the soda or leave it on the counter.

They know whether you’re wearing shoes or sneakers.  They know the brand of your underwear.  They know your shaving cream, and precisely which container it came out of.

But this agency, with all its vast power and its dollars…

Can’t track one of its own, a man who came to work every day, a man who made up a story about needing treatment in Hong Kong for epilepsy and then skipped the country.

Just can’t find him.

More after the jump…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment