Moscow's Voice of Truth

    From Edward Snowden's Manifesto for the Truth from his residence under the protection of Vladmir Putin and the decidedly not free and open Russia:

    ....Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance of high officials or the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders – this is what the currently available documents suggest – we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions.....

    The Manifesto was just published by Der Spiegel, also source of the paper selling hearsay that a black guy had a inside line on Merkel's cell phone conversations.

    A question arises whether Snowden is aware of the fact (deliberately try to hide) that if every spying operation was vetted before the public, it would also inform the 'bad guys' how to avoid detection.

    Since giving away control all his secret NSA files to persons unknown in Hong Kong, and then giving the self serving clearly erroneous assurance that neither the Russian nor the Chinese could ever get them (since he no longer had the files) Snowden is now calling for 'global solutions' to control 'the worst offenders' which coincidentally just happen to be those that employed him. I don't imagine Putin will be giving Snowden a reciprocal position with Russian intelligence, anyway the Russians have gone back to paper to avoid the very file stealing and downloading Snowden and Manning proved can be so easy to do.

    Whoever now has the files, from the  NYT 'No Morsel too Minicule', the Snowden quest for gaining truth and justice from the purloined files now includes secrets on how Afghan police were killed by poison yogurt, Jihadists plotted to kill a Swedish artist, FARC tried to ambush troops in Columbia, guilty Aussie government spies were hiding their nefarious activities in the outback, US Navy ships have picked up Chinese radio off China, the NSA has studied the air defenses of Iran, and Israel gets feeds from the NSA, secret tracking of Lebanese Hezbollah has been done, the capture of an al Qaeda leader in Africa was set in motion by NSA, which also monitored phone communication between  the Pakistani Haqqani network and terrorists who attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul.

    Snowden concludes the manifesto with his determination that the:

    ....the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation. Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.

    It seems clear that the 'benefits', for the US, of Snowden's actions may have been better achieved with a more tailored release of documents. He seems in fact to have released everything on which he could get access. His continued presence in the US to perhaps testify before Congress may have also aided the cause. A righteous and clear cause to set some limits on the NSA, best done by Congress. The fact remains that if anyone's privacy was threatened by the NSA snooping, US courts must determine if it is legal.

    It could also be said that his huge document dump has been a 'benefit' for anyone out there in the world bent on illegal or criminal activity. And until Snowden makes  any criticism of his selective protector of speech and truth, Mr. Putin, it could be assumed that everything we hear from Snowden has been vetted and approved, not for truth, but for any advantage it might convey to his host nation.



    Snowden's leaks came out in early June.  So far, the negative consequences have been imperceptible to me.  I'd judge my "safety" as a citizen to be exactly what it was in May.  Meanwhile, I have learned something about how the government acts at home and abroad.  I consider that knowledge a good thing and Snowden a benefactor for providing it.

    I have also learned a lot about the character of the people in our government.  James Clapper is a liar.  Nobody who James Clapper reports to will punish him for lying.  Diane Feinstein thinks that domestic surveillance is just dandy about if you tap Angela Merkel, then she cares.  No member of Congress who can safely be called a skeptic of the intelligence community has the clearance or the committee assignments necessary to represent other skeptics in the American public.  The NSA and related agencies seem unaffected by public opinion and are deeply resistant to change or accountability.

    Enough time has past now where I can say that Snowden is no villain, nor is he a naive do-gooder who has done wrong.  I think he's been vindicated and it's too bad that our powers that be will always resist the revelation that he should be a rallying point of reform, not a target of prosecution.

    With Thanksgiving (or Thanksgivvikah) less than a month away, the broughaha surrounding Snowden puts me in mind of a family gathering in which one person is driving everyone else nuts. Maybe it is alcoholism, maybe just control issues. They usually just put up with it but finally someone speaks up, and then storms out. The others spend the rest of the meal complaining that the one who spoke up ruined the family gathering.

    The dysfunctional family comparison certainly works for me as far as the Obama administration is concerned.

    Works well, I like AA's 'dysfunctional family' too.

    Snowden is, in fact, like Clapper and like many unflagging hard working Americans. What they do they believe is critical and important, they are convinced they know what is best or necessary for the company, the nation and/or the world, and they have solutions that go far beyond their expertise, the truth or the restraints of reality. Often the exceptional few, can take the risk to push those restraints beyond whatever anyone imagined, which can be paradigm changing for the good or bad.

    They know how they feel, what they think is personally of paramount importance, and may not often consider the consequences of stuff they do or support to other people or the world at large.

    Perhaps if Snowden was more Clapper-like, beguiled by the fantastic possibilities of PRISM, TRACFIN or DREADNOUGHT who knows.  Maybe he would even lie to Congress to achieve his goal of total truth.  His comment on the files being beyond the reach of the Russians or the Chinese implies a definite tendency on his part to stretch the truth. And his pontificating about truth and justice under the protection of Putin does not frankly resonate with his expressed mission.

    And Snowden displays a characteristic of almost all American consumers, some bureaucrats, cycling champs, home run hitters, or _____ (fill in the blank), when they do something, they tend to overdo it, do it big.

    Government eavesdroppers?

    I found it interesting, but haven't figured out what it means, that Greenwald is angrily on Tweeting along the lines of

    The US media fabricated this "Snowden is pleading for clemency" fairy tale - where did this happen? Where did he "plead for clemency"

    All weekend, mindless TV news personalities asked: "Snowden is pleading for clemency - what's your reaction?" This never happened.

    Parrots in the US media & political class boldly reject Snowden's completely nonexistent "plea for clemency"

    His point is taken up for him by Greg Mitchell at The Nation, which Greenwald retweeted.

    Why is it so important to make clear that Snowden hasn't asked for clemency? Very strange.

    It's important because they use the press to create various threads of deceit and spin the story where they want. Probably the angle with clemency is "see he's coming back with his tail between his legs knowing he's done wrong, but we won't oblige". Earlier there was Greenwald's supposed threat to start leaking really damaging info, which seems to be mistranslation combined with concocted bullshit. There was the "Snowden leaked to Hong Kong press" to make it seem he was sucking up and using secrets for lodging - NCD's still hanging on to this thread, noting that if Snowden gave info to anyone well it could be on Mars or Jupiter already. Seems the tactic works - sow enough doubt in some percentage of the population and let them perpetuate the myths.

    Well, if that's the case, for this humble message interpreter, this modus operandi backfires. I read it then as "fuck you U.S.A., I don't need or want no stinkin' clemency from you...."

    If he didn't say it, why should it backfire? I don't know what his plans or strategy or sentiments are - why put words and thoughts in his mouth? But in any case, we're still getting benefits from the review resulting from his actions - I don't even know if "clemency" even applies. "Forgive me for defending the Constitution"?

    I said if Snowden gave the files away he no longer controls them, or access to them.

    Sending them to Jupiter might have aided his case for clemency.

    Why is it so important to make clear that Snowden hasn't asked for clemency? Very strange.

    It doesn't seem strange at all to me.

     I do not know Snowden's mind on this for sure but I have a guess. It could well be that he understands that asking for clemency would be a fundamental change in his stance as to why his actions were correct and therefore defensible even though they broke arbitrary laws. Asking for clemency would be seen by many as him having reconsidered his actions and come to realize that what he did was wrong and so is now asking for forgiveness and to be pardoned.
     His release of classified information was against the law but there are cases in which breaking an arbitrary law is more than simply justified but is actually called for by duty to over-riding law or principle. Snowden asking for clemency would be an admission that in his case Snowden himself believes that breaking the law was not, in fact, justified and so he wants forgiveness.
     Snowden's defense, both in a court of law for his actions and of his character in the court of public opinion, is that what he did was right and necessary. Snowden maintains his ethical stance by asking people to look at the facts and then understand why his actions were honorable, but that is very different than asking them to look at the facts and then forgive him. If he thinks that the word is going around that he wants forgiveness then I can see why he would very much like to squelch that idea.

    Because the truth is important, art. That's why Greenwald is making a big issue of whether or not Snowden pleaded for clemency. Saying he did is a lie. The New York Times and AP are both lying.

    Here's AP: "Snowden made the plea in a letter given to a German politician and released Friday. In his one-page typed letter, he asks for clemency for charges over allegedly leaking classified information about the NSA to the news media. 'Speaking the truth is not a crime,' Snowden wrote." That's a declaration of innocence, not a request for pardon.

    And here's the New York Times:

    There's a link in NCD's post to the actual text of Snowden's short, succinct Der Spiegel letter/op-ed. The words "pardon" or "clemency" do not appear.

    There is a petition for a Snowden pardon that has garnered 140,000 signatures on the website. I suppose that's what U.S. politicians are rejecting. If so, they should make that clear.

    I think this also parallels why the US government created the clemency claim in the first place. It's easy for me to understand why Greenwald/Snowden find it important to set the record straight. It's harder for me to understand why our government would make such a claim that could easily be revealed as inaccurate, at best. That difficulty isn't stemming from a naïvety of faith in our government, unless it's a naïve faith that our government isn't run by complete idiots.

    I think the debate between those who are "shocked" that the US is spying on foreign countries electronically and those who are not. Brazil canceled a netting with Obama in protest of spying. We now learn that Brazil spies on the US.

    ZDNet did a review of the tech items that Obama uses. The President continues to use his Blackberry despite some techies pointing out that the device could get hacked. I doubt few would be "shocked" if their aren't ongoing attempts to hack the device (even by allies)


    Those who are "shocked" by these revelations either haven't been paying attention or are seeking attention, Rmrd, to it's best to ignore them. Anyone who is just " learning" that other countries try to spy on us is either  been in a lifelong coma or is lying.  This is a huge scandal and these latest revelations are but a small part of that scandal and should be viewed as such. Trying to minimize the bigger story by pecking at the smaller stories is not gaining much traction because it is a pitiful attempt at diversion. The " they do it too" meme is pathetic and  weak when you try to compare the NSA's surveillance capabilities with those of any other country.

    Great Britain has 1.85 million CCTV surveillance cameras, one for every 32 people in the UK. That is 'pathetic' compared to the NSA?

    Would you feel more 'free' and less 'under surveillance' in Great Britain, Russia, China, Singapore, Saudi Arabia or say North or even South Korea than in the US?

    The NSA undoubtedly has the largest digital cache of useless metadata in the world. I am also convinced they are wasting their time, billions of dollars, damaging the nation's reputation and actually reducing their capability to separate out the important information/data in recording all this clappertrap.

    While also, ironically, scaring, among others, Facebookers (who personally record their lives online for every corporation on earth to exploit).

    I have maintained that the NSA scandal is going to havre to be attacked through the courts. I also maintain that the countries complains about being surveilled are doing the same to the US. Pakistan was aiding the drone program. France and Germany shared data with NSA.Brazil spies on US citizens. Those facts are not small issues but part of the big picture.  Syria has hacked the NYT. Russia gave gifts to foreign leaders that were bugged.

    I want everyone to leave me alone on the Internet unless I agree to communicate with them. That's everybody including the Syrians who have probably had access to my NYT account.

    The NSA has to solve the problem of keeping the wires that carry the data in their big open secret storage facility in Utah, then they have to figure how how the big snipe hunt they will go on as they sift through mega data will actually prevent something.

    By, the way, Hoover used good old shoe leather and unauthorized listening devices to be able to suggest that MLK Jr should commit suicide .Low tech can present a much more direct threat. The laws restricting the NSA have to be broad. The encryption technology needed to secure internet communications has to take foreign threats as well as domestic.

    The courts continually say they don't have jurisdiction - how can this be handled through the courts?

    The initial lawsuit on phone surveillance was dismissed because organizations filing the suit could not prove that they had been directly injured.Once the data regarding Verizon was made public, suits could be filed by groups that used Verizon, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is leading some of the suits.

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