The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Orlando's picture

    I Can't Effing Take it Any Longer. Snowden is not a Hero and Nothing is Black and White (Except that)

    For fuck's sake.

    The comments on some of these blogs are unbelievable. I'm specifically referring to a news item at TPM announcing that what's-his-face has made the move from China to Russia and will soon be traveling to Cuba with the intention of settling in Venezuela. Hero? America as a fascist dystopia? Obama as the worst dictator in the world? 

    Newsflash. If Obama is the worst dictator in the world, every single idiot claiming that to be true in yelling, hysterical, incredibly public fashion would not be here tomorrow. 

    Do you know what I think a person with pro-American, pro-democracy, ideologically pure motives would have done? I think that person would have released the information and then lawyered up. I think that person would have said "I respect my country and I respect the laws of my country. I know I broke them, but I broke them because this is a conversation that needs to happen and I'm willing to make that sacrifice because I believe it is my patriotic duty." 

    Fuck Edward Snowden. Now, the conversation that needs to happen is forever tarnished by narcissist who is either not-so-versed-in history or is going out of his way to be a jerk. China to Russia to Cuba to Venezuela? Could he have picked a more offensive world hop scotch route? 

    Before the comments start (admittedly, Dag comments are more measured and thoughtful than those I've been reading on other sites and I honestly respectfully consider the merits of each, even as I sometimes struggle with the details or my own disagreement), I want to mention that I like that we're having the conversation. I don't think it's as easy as transparency good, surveillance bad. On of the things our government does is protect us. This has never been a perfect science. Sometimes, it protects us to the extreme (and unnecessary) detriment of those that are not us. Sometimes, it protects only those among us who have the greatest number of resources. But it is charged with protecting us, nonetheless, and that includes carrying out surveillance. 

    So, the conversation is important. Was Snowden the only one available to start it? Maybe--since the media isn't all that concerned with news unless there's a narcissistic, sensationalistic aspect to the story. But the conversation is now tainted with the fact that Snowden is most certainly a traitor who is being hailed by many as a hero. Maybe he didn't start out as a traitor, but he told a foreign government that they were being spied on. Yes, news to no one, especially that government. But treason, all the same.

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    Comments

    When I saw a headline that Snowden was going to Cuba via Moscow, I had to read it just to see where in Cuba he was bound, Havana or Guantanamo. Putin can be rather unpredictable. He still might surprise Snowden and us.surprise But probably not.

    I so agree with what you have written, especially:

    Do you know what I think a person with pro-American, pro-democracy, ideologically pure motives would have done? I think that person would have released the information and then lawyered up. I think that person would have said "I respect my country and I respect the laws of my country. I know I broke them, but I broke them because this is a conversation that needs to happen and I'm willing to make that sacrifice because I believe it is my patriotic duty." 

     


    Hey when others at Dag were naively saying he could settle down and work for a large international corporation in Asia, that he could live as a happy expat, that the US would let it all slide, I said no, best chance is he might get a job with the Russian mob.

    Maybe he is being interviewed now?

    Totally agree with everything you say, Orlando. Thanks for some straight talk, it's long overdue here at Dag.

    The nations on his apparent itinerary of international hop scotch, will begin to give Snowden a first hand education on what freedom stands for, and what repression is when practiced by those well versed in it, and he will find why he will never again experience the freedoms he once had in the US.


    You're just mad because he's not stopping in Malaysia or whichever backwater you now find yourself in.

    It's odd that he skipped Malaysia, actually, since it has the second worst privacy rating in the world, right after China and just before Russia. He could have had a trifecta.

    In any case, I'm sure that Snowden will use his tour to publicly denounce surveillance in each of his various host countries.

    PS I hope he doesn't check his luggage.


    Malaysia would have packed Snowden off to the US on the next flight to LA.

    The Malaysian government has good cooperation with the US on security, anti-terrorism, and has many commercial ties. Privacy restrictions there are similar to Singapore, and similarly effective at prevention of terrorism and drug trafficking. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious majority Muslim nation.


    The USA as big brother, Snowden as Hero fairytale sticks in my craw exactly because I live in Malaysia. I'm not surprised to find it has a bad privacy rating. You might. be surprised to find that it does not have a free press or free elections. The ruling party was losing badly in many districts during the May election. Suddenly, there was a blackout for several hours. And voila--the ruling party was ahead. 

    There are rumors of people actually disappearing because they voice an anti-government opinion. Government employees, including teachers, are forbidden by law to talk about politics at work--not just in front of students but in private conversations in the lunchroom, etc.

    I get the slippery slope issue and I am concerned about oversight and privacy. It's the hyperbole that sends me mental. Those shouting the loudest about the USA as the big, bad wolf don't seem to have a broader understanding of the world and just how unique America is in terms of how much freedom its citizenry has enjoyed.


    Snowden revealed specific targeted IP addresses to Hong Kong and China, will he do the same in Russia, Cuba and elsewhere. Snowden is deciding what is and isn't appropriate to be released. He is no longer worthy of respect. 

    The question of how much intrusion the intelligence community Will Congress re-assert its role in oversight? Will the courts take up suits from the ACLU and the EFF? Snowden and Greenwald have become a sideshow.

     


    Somewhere, J. Edgar Hoover is smiling, that is if you believe that there was a lesson we should have learned. 

    The discoveries went well beyond Hoover, though, and well beyond the FBI. According to the Church Committee reports, every federal intelligence agency had engaged in widespread civil liberties abuses over the previous 30 years, beginning with mass surveillance of domestic political groups and moving on up through the assassination of foreign leaders.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2013/06/prism_j_...

     


    Hoover directly targeted MLK Jr. No court was involved  Holder went after reporters who revealed classified data. Snowden's behavior makes it very likely that the public will support Holder's action against reporters deciding what is and is not a secret. The focus has shifted from lapses in Congressional oversight and the the extent that we are willing to give up privacy.

    Nixon instructed his minions to use the IRS to target his political enemies. GwBush had the IRS target the NAACP because the organization criticized George II. The current IRS scandal was  isolated to the division responsible for handling the 501c 4 mess. Obama did not target people using the IRS. 

    Snowden was yelling about the administration sending people to kill him. He checked into a hotel using his own name despite a CIA office 15 minutes away from his Hong Kong hotel. He ran from a legal attempt to extradite him.Obama has to be a very inept killer if his goal was to kill Snowden.

    The public is not going to equate Holder with Hoover or Obama with Nixon as much as you might want that to be true.

     


    Orlando, Snowden has pretty much done what you described--released the information and lawyered up, with the only exception being that he's done it from a physical location outside the country rather than in it.

    In terms of legal advice, Assange's team may be an unfortunate choice of prom date, but  "Espionage High" is no 90210.  His options are limited. And in terms of "going out of his way to be a jerk," I don't see it. If he'd really had his wits about him, he'd have hired a publicist to manage his online reputation, but Selena Gomez' team, for example, is busy distancing her from Justin Bieber right now and was too busy to take it on......

    Those of us who think the conversation needed to happen shouldn't get too exercised about Snowden himself. He's not running for office or marrying our daughters, so we should focus on the information he provided and not the supposed taint being produced by those who are talking about him.


    Amen, Orlando, Amen.  (Twice for good measure) The story is changing by the hour.  He's in Russia getting ready to leave for Cuba.  Russian officials say he has no passport or visa so he's not going anywhere.  Cuba will let him in, then extradite him.  He's traveling with a Wikileaks lawyer.  He's going to Ecuador.  Ecuador knows nothing about it.  He's going to Venezuela.  He's still a hero, no matter where he goes.  Well, there goes the hero status.

    So, yes, the original discussion about what to do about surveillance and transparency hasn't taken off yet.  It was the same discussion that was supposed to take place when Bradley Manning handed over hundreds of thousands of documents to Wikileaks.

    And speaking of comments, so many of the people who think the government is pure evil and out to get them if they don't watch out don't get it that the fact they're saying all that without fear of reprisal pretty much negates their whole argument.


    Snowden's argument was that Obama would kill him.So far, all we have is a failed attempt at extradition.

     


    And a dead passport.


    Ramona, you said that Snowden should have gone through the system. Here's ex-NSA Thomas Drake talking about his efforts work within the system - and having the system hush up anything he had to say and try to overprosecute him for his efforts. He kinda won in the end - plea-bargained to a misdemeanor, rather than 10 felonies - but the US populace (us) didn't respond to the news that we'd turned our Cold War external eavesdropping on internal targets. Ho-hum.

    All this outrage vis-a-vis Snowden is pretty sad - "Russia! China! Cuba!" wow, all our Cold War brainwashing has us little scarved pioneers chanting the way we were taught to. Forget Sting, Russians don't love their little children too - we know only too well the made-up story of Pavlik Morozov. Doesn't matter that Cuba hasn't been a threat to us in decades, that our embargo is pathetic superpower nostalgia or election grandstanding. Fidel = Satan.

    Our post-9/11 subversion is almost complete - we are too weak for freedom - we do need to be monitored and tracked.

    Though I do like Drake noting that the metadata we scoff at is actually the index pages for all the content. Content by itself is too tough, way too much. The metadata gives the NSA & every branch they want to share it with that much more manageable index into our lives. Should they want the content too? No problem - they've already announced that the extremely lax oversight of FISA doesn't apply to them. By the way, that index will also have all your financial data.


    Are you certain that Snowden doesn't have your financial data?


    The IRS already has access to most of tour financial data. An IRS Snowden could release people tax data our threaten to release damaging financial information. All they need is a Social Security number.


    So in the future, won't need an IRS Snowden - the financial information from 25,000 organizations on all Americans will be shared with the CIA, NSA, etc. on a regular basis.

    But hey, that should help us catch a lot of terrorists. Hmmm, I wonder if any of that data could be misused for coercion or insider trading?


    There is the potential for abuse in multiple agencies. The problem that we have to deal with is how much information should be available to the government.

    There will always be confrontation between the press and the government.The press wants to expose secrets while government wants to conceal secrets. Government will asset it's right to protect secrets. If it takes no action, then nothing could be considered classified.

    The fact that North Korea or a Middle Eastern terrorist cell has been infiltrated is big news. The relegation my also compromise intelligence operations. If a reporter or a leaker are exposed, the courts seem the only way to decide who is in the right.


    Ah yes, the technique keeps giving - pretend that the practice itself isn't abuse (just "potential"), divert away from the Constitutional issue into some rhetorical issue of balance ("just how much quartering of troops should Americans find burdensome?"), then divert into an unrelated foreign intelligence issue instead of the domestic spying/wholesale intrusion being discussed ("didja know Obama & Seal 6 killed OBL?"), and then defer to a fantasized court oversight that doesn't actually exist this side of Walt Disney movies ("ever see '12 Good Men'?").

    (BTW, did you know that all FISA judges are appointed by John Roberts alone? I'm sure he does his best to strike balance in concerns about individual rights.)


    Yawn. I repeatedly said that the issue needs to be dealt with in the courts. I also noted that the Supreme Court said that DNA testing of people who did only been charged with a crime was okay. It is toss- up where the court will come down on the issue.

    There is the separate issue of the actions of Snowden. That is the distraction.


    You should get more sleep. Maybe cutting back on caffeine would help.


    I'm not going to go down the back and forth banter. I stand by the points I made.


    So in the future, won't need an IRS Snowden - the financial information from 25,000 organizations on all Americans will be shared with the CIA, NSA, etc. on a regular basis.

    But hey, that should help us catch a lot of terrorists. Hmmm, I wonder if any of that data could be misused for coercion or insider trading?


    I agree with your point about Russia and Cuba and Cold-War-Era brainwashing, but their citizenry was treated to an equal measure of "USA bad" propaganda and the point remains that Snowden is choosing, or being advised, to take a path through countries that have historically been hostile to ours. The optics are bad and optics matter.

    We may be too weak for freedom but not because of the Cold War brainwashing. When 30% of the population votes, we've abdicated our responsibility. It happened a long time ago. We're just reaping the benefits.


    Sure, he could take a route through London and end up as Julian's bunkmate for the sake of "optics".

    I'm wondering when the US government will start being concerned about optics. Frankly, I would have thought a helicopter shooting up a bunch of civilians & 2 reporters would have produced a bit of sheepishness, and when James Clapper directly lied to Congress, I thought that looked pretty bad optically - once upon a time I thought lying to Congress was illegal, but now with John Brennan & others, it seems like standard M.O.

    BTW, 57.5% of voting age folks turned out to vote in 2008. 58.7% came out in 2012. Significantly more than 30%. And what do you do when the candidate you voted for turns around and does in secret the opposite of what he said he would do? By the time you find out, hey, you've voted for him again. We're reaping the benefits of our money-infested politics, where no matter how much the people speak, the monied interests come in and override with what they want anyway, including controlling the airwaves to lie to the people about what's happening.


    I think it's generally closer to 30% in non-presidential years. Congress is crazy. They don't care that Clapper lied, but they want to investigate where Obama was born and vote to repeal the health care law a hundred times. 

    Ollie North lied to Congress. I'm betting Bush and Cheney did, too, although they weren't under oath and the meeting was secret, if I'm remembering correctly, so we'll never know. I don't think that gives the current crop of liars a pass. But it's not a new problem.


    Events in the world must be much clearer from your perch on the shores of Gitche Gumee. It is a beautiful area, I visited often in my youth but being isolated from the realities of our world is not necessarily a question of location.

    While some people may see out Regime as "pure evil" I and many others believe it to be anything but "pure", it is violent, murderous and filthy evil.

    The real important questions about surveillance and are being discussed even as many attempt to divert the discussion, you should read more and you might be better informed.

    We have all been indoctrinated since birth to believe in Amerikan exceptionalism and it is extremely difficult for many to overcome this conditioning. If you can break free from this, false reality, you will face a much darker and dangerous world.

    The PTB don't need to monitor every email or censor them, just the fact that they have them stored is enough to cause people to self censor,  read about the AP phone taps and the shutdown of information flow they have caused. You will be monitored and countered if you organize outside of  accepted narrow Veal Pen type groups.

     


    The PTB don't need to monitor every email or censor them, just the fact that they have them stored is enough to cause people to self censor,  read about the AP phone taps and the shutdown of information flow they have caused.

    Not saying I'm in 100% agreement with everything you posted. But I am in 100% agreement with this. Even Chuck Todd on NBC basically agreed, not just about the AP taps but also the Snowden revelations. He said today that he's finding sources reluctant to talk on the phone because of the collection of phone metadata.


    Peter, I might live in the boonies but I have access to every source of information you do.  If being better informed means I should believe as you do that my government is "violent, murderous and filthy evil"--no thanks. 

    There is much to dislike and even distrust about this government, but I don't think it's nearly as bad as you do.  It needs work, no doubt about it, but I've never been one to believe in demonizing the very thing you're trying to fix.


    Parts of our government, military, industrial complex is "violent, murderous and filthy evil". No, it's not Stalin, but yes, it has blood on its hands - including premeditated murder. There is probably no way to eliminate all this for a superpower engaged in the brutal realities of the world, but calling out our part in world atrocities and suffering is not "demonizing" - it's an important step in improving our performance, so liberties are better in the future than bunkering down in a McCarthy them-vs-us 1950's viewpoint, just with dark-skinned actors rather than slavic hordes.

    Sadly from the last weeks, I don't see us as having advanced at all - in fact, our moral framework may be more primitive, self-indulgent, self-justifying than it was 60 years ago.

    It's amazing we can rail against the lunacies of Republicans over the last 1 1/2 decades, but then when someone assesses their effect in US government during this period, it's "demonizing" to attribute too much bad to them. We wear that flag awful purty when called to.


    You've come to Peter's defense by saying that "parts" of our government are violent, murderous and filthy evil but that's now how Peter put it, and that's not how many people put it these days. The entire government apparatus is under attack by both the left and the right with such a vengeance you would think we're living in a police state all the time with dictators running the show.

    We should be vigilant and hold our government's feet to the fire, but there has to be some balance.  You talk about liberties, but when you work against the government in cahoots with the Tea Party, Wikileaks, etc., you pretty much undermine any effort to get some sanity back into the system.  There are no liberties in their agendas.  They want complete control.

    We'll see what our moral framework looks like when they get through with us.

     


    He he he... "Flew in from Lantau Beach B.O.A.C, didn't get to sleep last night. On the way the paper bag was on my knee, man I had a dreadful flight..." Obviously Snowden going to Cuba had to be true - they said it on the internetz.

    Meanwhile, China edged out Mexico in April to become our #2 trading partner - but Snowden must be a traitor for dealing with the Chinese.

    (actually the Hong Kong government - shame the US population isn't much up to date on how the HK system works and local level of support for dissidents, though Snowden certainly had some concerns, as HK, British & US governments conspired to send a Libyan guy to Gaddhafi to be tortured, for which the Brits paid 2.2m pounds to settle)

    When the US needed help with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, 2001, we went to our partner of choice - Vladimir Putin (nice downhome visit in Crawford). Within weeks, dollars were flowing freely - some taken in on camel & horseback - and the Northern Alliance was on the attack. You might say Snowden was flying to see an old friend of ours?

    Now what might be happening, for those that care, is that it's probably simpler for Snowden to get from Hong Kong to Moscow event free, and it's unlikely that the US would mess with a Russian plane flying to Cuba, which might proceed on to Venezuela, and then to Ecuador. Kinda beats sitting in a small room in the embassy for the next dozen years. I hope Ecuador has llamas - he can at least ride the llamas.

     


    The US receive imports of caviar during the Cold War. I think someone who turned over classified information to Russian would not have been viewed favorably. Government leaders can enter into agreements with foreign countries.If someone wants to ship jets to certain countries, permission has to be granted. There is no get home free card for releasing classified information.


    You're playing the same game with his travel patterns as you accuse others of playing with the issue of how and how much the NSA is collecting. He contacted a paper in China--yes Hong Kong has different laws, but it's still a part of China, and gave the Chinese public and government specific information that the USA was spying on the country. In my book, that's treason. It would be treason if he did the same with Germany or South Africa or Aruba. What's more, he signed an oath specifically saying he pledged not to do it. And it seems that he signed that oath knowing in advance that he was going to break it. How is he not a traitor? 


    There was this animal activist that went to work in a meat-processing plant, and he signed an oath to respect the privacy of that plant's procedures, and lo-and-behold, he published movies of the owners bashing the cows over the heads with shovels and poking them with pitchforks. I'm so mad at the guy for breaking his oath.

    Look, Obama took a fucking oath to uphold the Constitution, as does every military person. How come it's only when some low-level intelligence yob goes renegade to actually publicize how we're shredding the Constitution that this "oath" business suddenly becomes important, with allegiance to the org more important than the Constitution that's the focus of these oaths?

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.


    .....Wikileaks Freedom of Speech Haven.....Ecuador?

    Human Rights Watch, 9 days ago on press censorship in Ecuador:

    Ecuador: End the Assault on Free Speech.  

    - It prohibits so called “media lynching” which is defined as “the dissemination of concerted and reiterative information, either directly or by third parties, through media outlets, with the purpose of undermining the prestige” of a person or legal entity or “reducing [their] credibility.” The provision would allow the authorities to order the media outlet to issue a public apology and states that they are also subject to criminal and civil sanctions,


    Snowden has made it certain that the focus will be on simply plugging leaks rather than reform. He has not pointed to direct abuse harming specific people that could be used a a sledgehammer to prove his point. All we have now is a disgruntled employee spreading secret information to foreign countries.


    Yeah, that 200  large every year spells disgruntlement to me....WTF?  Does no one think that (taking at face value the history so far...) he has made some serious sacriifices, which, it seems to me, outhgt propertly to entitle him to the benefit of the doubt as to motivation?


    He has become a distraction. Congress is getting a pass on lax oversight. He fled the US. He released documents that told a foreign government specific sites that were targeted. He may telling Russia about targeted sites as a bargaining chip to get to Cuba. He can set up a Website and ask for monetary support to fight his legal battles. He could reap a lot more than $200k.

    when we have disagreements with government we can vote the idiots out or appeal to the courts.Snowden has taken any protest against his actions out of the loop. He gets to decide what gets released.


    Exactly.  Thank you, rmrd.


    Congress' fault? No, it's NSA's fault & the last 2 administrations' fault.

    Maybe Congress should have caught it, but the Executive Branch has been playing games with Congress' ability at oversight, because that would somehow be unpatriotic and limit our eternal fight against terruh.

    Sensenbrenner, who wrote and introduced the Patriot Act to Congress in 2001, says the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds by issuing the order to collect phone log records from millions of Americans.

    He says the "broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act. I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American."


    More relevant perhaps, the double standard on refugees and asylum standards, from June 20:

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/06/19/ecuador-fully-respect-refugee-rights

    Seems almost like the government there wants to flirt with the young globally popular whistleblowers for P.R. purposes (P.R. standing for "public relations" or "propaganda references," depending on your P.O.V.)


    So it would prevent media outlets from repeatedly publishing coordinated lies that are disproved such as Swift-boating John Kerry or declaring Hillary killed Vince Foster between hanging dildos on the White House X-mas tree, while her husband mysteriously offed 40 other acquaintances, and Obama was born in Kenya and Susan Rice never said terrorists seem to have hijacked the Benghazi protests? Horrible of them. It would even restrict the right of large multinational corporations to own all of the media outlets and dump unrestricted money into swaying elections, one of the basic principles our forefathers inserted in the Bill of Rights respecting corporations as more people-like than people, as noted in the Citizens' United case.

    If you want to read more about how terrible Carrera is, ramming through this law despite his party having won only 3/4 of Ecuador's Parliament, you can see it here:

    Much has been made in the media about supposed abuses of media freedom in Ecuador.

    However, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa explained Ecuador's media policy in a recent interview with Assange on Russia Today. What his government opposes are media corporations that, through their monopoly on information, have tried to “destabilise our government to avoid any change in our region and lose the power that they have always flaunted”.

    Since first being elected president in 2006, Correa — much like Assange — has faced a constant campaign of slander and misinformation, co-ordinated by the media corporations.

    Only months after Correa became president, 11 big Ecuadorian daily newspapers published the same front-page editorial attacking him. This was described in a US embassy cable published by WikiLeaks as “an unprecedented example of coordinated press rebuke to a sitting president”.

    In fact, while publicly criticising Correa for supposed attacks on media freedom, a US embassy cable from March 2009 acknowledged that there was truth to Correa's claim that “the Ecuadorian media play a political role, in this case the role of the opposition”.

    The reason was made clear in the cable: “Many media outlet owners come from the elite business class that feels threatened by Correa's reform agenda, and defend their own economic interests via their outlets.”

    Speaking to Assange, Correa noted that when he was first elected in 2006, five of the seven privately-owned TV channels were owned by bankers and the state owned none.

    - See more at: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/51416#sthash.3W9F1Xsc.dpuf

    Much has been made in the media about supposed abuses of media freedom in Ecuador.

    However, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa explained Ecuador's media policy in a recent interview with Assange on Russia Today. What his government opposes are media corporations that, through their monopoly on information, have tried to “destabilise our government to avoid any change in our region and lose the power that they have always flaunted”.

    Since first being elected president in 2006, Correa — much like Assange — has faced a constant campaign of slander and misinformation, co-ordinated by the media corporations.

    Only months after Correa became president, 11 big Ecuadorian daily newspapers published the same front-page editorial attacking him. This was described in a US embassy cable published by WikiLeaks as “an unprecedented example of coordinated press rebuke to a sitting president”.

    In fact, while publicly criticising Correa for supposed attacks on media freedom, a US embassy cable from March 2009 acknowledged that there was truth to Correa's claim that “the Ecuadorian media play a political role, in this case the role of the opposition”.

    The reason was made clear in the cable: “Many media outlet owners come from the elite business class that feels threatened by Correa's reform agenda, and defend their own economic interests via their outlets.”

    Speaking to Assange, Correa noted that when he was first elected in 2006, five of the seven privately-owned TV channels were owned by bankers and the state owned none.

    - See more at: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/51416#sthash.3W9F1Xsc.dpuf

    Much has been made in the media about supposed abuses of media freedom in Ecuador.

    However, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa explained Ecuador's media policy in a recent interview with Assange on Russia Today. What his government opposes are media corporations that, through their monopoly on information, have tried to “destabilise our government to avoid any change in our region and lose the power that they have always flaunted”.

    Since first being elected president in 2006, Correa — much like Assange — has faced a constant campaign of slander and misinformation, co-ordinated by the media corporations.

    Only months after Correa became president, 11 big Ecuadorian daily newspapers published the same front-page editorial attacking him. This was described in a US embassy cable published by WikiLeaks as “an unprecedented example of coordinated press rebuke to a sitting president”.

    In fact, while publicly criticising Correa for supposed attacks on media freedom, a US embassy cable from March 2009 acknowledged that there was truth to Correa's claim that “the Ecuadorian media play a political role, in this case the role of the opposition”.

    The reason was made clear in the cable: “Many media outlet owners come from the elite business class that feels threatened by Correa's reform agenda, and defend their own economic interests via their outlets.”

    Speaking to Assange, Correa noted that when he was first elected in 2006, five of the seven privately-owned TV channels were owned by bankers and the state owned none.

    If only they could be more like us.


    I guess I would trust HRW more than some of the offbeat sites you seem to frequent, like emptywheel or this one 'greenleft' which has a photo of Hugo Chavez on it's home page advertising 'Resistance Books'.

    And sure....the power to decide who is telling the truth in media should be the Party in government power...with the force of law and imprisonment, what could go wrong with that right? 

    And PP, Julian Assange vouching for the Presidente of Ecuador 'in an interview on' 'Russia Today'? Did you watch that one, on Russia Today? Hey, Assange says it's Ok if el Presidente Correa locks up journalists, so it must be OK?

    What is Assange going to say about Ecuador, in whose embassy he hides, but to sing Hosannas? If he gets to Ecuador, I'm sure Snowden will chant praises of the guy too. Give me a break dude.


    Shoot the messenger I'm sure. Was there something in what I said you disagreed with, or you just are on autopilot?

    I didn't like the turnout from Carrera's trial mainly because 1) there was a prison sentence for a civil suit - bizarre, and 2) the actual court case seemed to have been tainted. But that's not the law itself which splits up media ownership into 3 groups for balance. In this case, the power to decide should have been an impartial judge or jury, not the "Party in government power".

    Did I mention Assange vouching for the new law? Do I care? I just noted that we have a fucked up media system that allows lies to be replicated and permeated thanks to the relentless power of the $ and connections, but we're going to criticize a Latin American country used to foreign domination of its press?

    But we get a press that aids & abets a months-long verifiably false smear-job on Susan Rice, and by effect both Hillary & Obama, leading for more laugh-but-cryable congressional investigations, and that's the ideal for Ecuador to aspire to? We should all be James O'Keefe, bringing down ACORN by just *saying* we wore pimp hats. Until then, Carrera's just a tinhorn dictator, no matter how his trial turned out.

    But even better (worse), thanks to Obama's DoJ tapping phone calls of 100 AP reporters, seems that their normal government sources no longer want to talk. The NY Times is noticing its sources are drying up too. All that typical background info our papers thrive on is just going away. Except for the purposeful uninvestigated leaks from the administration itself - whether they're true or a lie or some misleading spin. Guess we'll have to get used to that.

    BTW - did you know Al Gore is fat and said he invented the internet? I saw it on TV.


    The AP found out about the wire tap because the DOJ told them about it.

    Bloomberg reporters, on the other hand, could access financial information on government officials without notification.


    Yes, the DOJ told them about it - like a cheap Mafia message - "tonight he sleeps with the fishes". "We got the goods on 100 of your reporters - next time there's a leak it'll be 1000, and some of them are going downtown/to the morgue". "A few pictures of your daughter with some unsavory types, if you know what I mean... would be a shame if those photos got out".

    Nothing like a little harassment of the 4th Estate to keep them in line, shut down unauthorized sources. Of course these are professionals, they would never misuse information or be hiding their own malfeasance. (see Thomas Drake)


    I fear corporations. Many news divisions are part of a greater corporate structure. They can pry into your affairs as evidenced by Bloomberg. While we attack the invasion represented by PRISM, we should not ignore the corporations.


    Quite right. Good thing Booz Allen Hamilton isn't a for-profit corporation, majority owned by the Carlyle Group, traded on the New York exchange.


    America as a fascist dystopia? Obama as the worst dictator in the world?

    So you saw some idiots posting crazy shit on the internet. What's your point in bringing that up? Yes there are some brain dead morons on the far left that are as crazy as the brainless imbeciles on the far right.

    American is not a fascist dystopia, that's crazy nonsense.

    Obama is not the worst dictator in the world, its incredibly stupid to say that.

    And in case you're wondering, Obama did not use a weather control machine to cause hurricane Sandy to win the election as some morons on the far right claim.

    Thanks for bringing those comments from other sites here so we can all weigh in. Those are the kind of questions dagblog is here to discuss.


      Well, sure, give him a pass on the weather machine.  But don't try and tell me that he didn't slip a pod into Chris Christie's basement..


    My point is that the conversation is being dominated by the crazy.


    Some TV journalists are actually wasting time discussing this issue without attempting to answer the most important questions. Is Snowden a hero or a villain? Is Snowden Martin Luther King? Watch Chris Hayes and Bernie Sanders avoid these crucial questions.

    Its journalistic malpractice. Luckily we at dagblog can focus in on the important part of the story.


    Tell me at the end of next week if the amount of data being collected is the focus of the news coverage. I'm betting that the focus will be on Snowden's motive for his route of travel..


    I'm betting that will be the focus here too.


    I haven't had time to read all the comments above, so forgive me if someone else pointed out the obvious failure in your logic underpinning your outrage:

    "Do you know what I think a person with pro-American, pro-democracy, ideologically pure motives would have done? I think that person would have released the information and then lawyered up."

    It was said that Bradley Manning had "pro-American, pro-democracy, ideologically pure motives" in committing his alleged crimes. But it was a couple years before he "lawyered up," not because he was avoiding detention but rather because he was being detained sans habeus corpus and a whole passel of other rights guaranteed him by our Constitution.

    That's no small detail, ESPECIALLY when confronting a secretive and immensely powerful "security" apparatus that is being (quite plausibly!) accused of wholesale violation of said rights. (We won't mention War Crimes here, just to keep things simple and domestic where these things seem to count - violations against 'muricans.)

    It's laughable to hear the NSA renegades squealing about the Rule of Law. At the very least, they surrendered that argument most fully in their extra-judicial handling of Manning and other whistle-blowers.

    Nah, I don't share your outrage, leastwise as it is directed at Snowden. I fear renegades in uniform working in secret with an unlimited budget and other powers of state far more than I fear Snowden or others shining sunlight on their abuses. That's really a pretty simple construct, but it's extremely apt when considering the "damage" Snowden's alleged document dump has created.

    Snowden is smart to avoid being thrown into the maw of this lawless surveillance state. They have shown that they can be trusted no more than any of the abusive police states of Cold War East Germany or Hungary or Russia - which I remember being taught were the antithesis of a free and democratic society.


    My two cents worth. Too many folks are quick to condemn Snowden for exposing Tyranny. Of course the Obama administration and it's lackeys consider. Snowden a risk because; Snowdens revelations has awakened many to ask;  "How do the people protect themselves from the small incremental steps, that lead to TYRANNY?  When THE EVIDENCE ; considered in it's entirety (IRS scandal, the assault on gun rights or the attack on the press) Proof, that the present government, allowed to rule by the consent of the governed, has sought to usurp more power than what was granted. .. Has the National Security been threatened, if the interest and machinations of the tyrant, are exposed? Our Bill of rights are not bargaining chips, just as our safety net is not. Something to consider; the Tea Party will gain more power, as new revelations come forward; proving intent. The administration says it needs the tools; to which many are saying "the war on terror:  was the tool, needed to pry away our RIGHTS........Rights inserted in the Constitution, to be used as tools against Tyranny.


    There may be a generational difference regarding data-mining a metadata. Social media led to a situation where relatively intimate details are published on a frequent basis. We get pictures of friends, families and locations along with opinions on news stories of the day. Younger people entering the work force are aware that some companies review Facebook pages prior to employment.

    News organizations are not trusted. The NYT cheered on a war. Polling organizations botched some election results. People feel that the data that they are being fed is biased. Chris Hayes is obviously upset about PRISM. His interviews with Glenn Greenwald are seen as softballs. David Gregory asks the stupid question of whether Glenn Greenwald thinks that he (Greenwald) should be prosecuted.  The end result is that when the public hears about DOJ attacks on the AP or Rosen, there is no outrage. The public is disconnected from the press.

    Given  the free release of personal information on social media and a distrust of the press, PRISM is not going to be a major source of outrage until an average citizen can be shown to have been directly impacted by the program. Erica20 has a post noting the response of Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson to the PRISM story. They cite the obvious potential for abuse. They also note the absence of victims.

    Until there is a victim, the protest of PRISM will be muted.


    Forgot to include the link to erica20


    I don't think you have to confuse Obama with a dictator to believe that Snowden did us all a favor and that the world is better off is he escapes prosecution.  I know that some people are critical of him for leaving in the first place, as if there's some value in him taking his lumps in front of a U.S. court.  I think that, given what happened to Bradly Manning, that would be an inadvisable course. Manning's jailers used every procedural trick in the book to harass and torture him during his confinement.  Why should Snowden allow himself to be subjected to that, or worse?

    Orlando, I think using the word "traitor" is as bad as using the word hero.  I don't feel betrayed in the least, nor do I imagine that I am less safe now than I was a month ago.  I think I'm better off knowing what my government is doing.  Telling the rest of the world what it already knows, that we are hacking their computers.

    As for his travel itinerary.  There are a lot of reasons why China should be considered an enemy of the U.S., but we traded those away for cheap manufactured goods a long time ago.  China is a massive trading partner, not an enemy.  Russia is a major trading partner.  Venezuela... people throughout the U.S. fuel up their cars and buy home heating oil from its state owned energy company.  Cuba?  Cuba is only an enemy of the U.S. because the U.S. has chosen to continue its unilateral sanctions to please a sorry bunch of Florida voters who long for the bygone days of Bautista's dictatorship.

    So, I won't worship him as a hero but I won't condemn him as a traitor either.  As for the current situation -- I'm pulling for the underdog and I hope that he escapes prosecution forever and reveals more of what he knows.


    I don't think he's a traitor for releasing information on domestic spying--although I don't like the way he did it. But he told a foreign government about secret actions of our government. I don't think it matters whether everybody already supposed it was happening or not. That's pretty clear cut. 

    I also didn't refer to those countries as our enemies--a word I've never liked much. But it's undeniable that our relationship with each is at least highly complicated and Snowden is possibly doing real damage to those relationships in order to save his own ass. 


    The assumption here is that, with the foreign stuff, he can't possibly be acting out of a moral sense, that he's just horse trading secrets in exchange for his own freedom.  But, if you're against domestic surveillance of individuals without cause, then it's a short step from being against global surveillance of non-U.S. citizens without cause.  the argument that "we only do it to non-Americans" has been sufficient for a lot of Americans.  But it's never sat well with me.


    I'd add: we have since learned that even when the U.S. has demurred to collection more than metadata on its own citizens that it has been fine with having, say, British intelligence violate American communications without cause and then making use of that information gathered by our friends who are not so squeamish about dealing with people who hold American passports.  So any citizen who takes comfort in the, "we only do this to non-American" arguments needs to realize that the NSA has many non-American friends who can do what it chooses not to.


    I don't take comfort in it but I also don't take the position that transparency for its own sake is always preferable to secrecy. Further, in my judgment (which is as fallible as anyone else's, ultimately), Snowden chose to tell a country with a complicated relationship with the USA where he thought it would aid him in not getting extradited. We're likely spying on everybody. Why did he chose to go public with China if not to help himself stay in China? 

     


    I guess at this point we don't even know that he has stayed in China.  But, it could have been a kiss in exchange for being allowed to leave.  Certainly that's what Hong Kong's response to the U.S. request to detain him implies.  But, let's be practical about this.  He knows what his jailers will do to him because he knows what was done to Manning and how no force in the world was able to stop that from happening.  He will be harassed and abused by his jailers.  He will undergo sleep deprivation.  Solitary confinement.  24 hour surveillance.  His own lawyers will be denied security clearances necessary to mount an effective defense.  Why should he subject himself to this?


    Eggzackly! Once Obama and the NSA chose to ignore the Rule of Law, they have no right to any claim that others must abide same.


    The reporting in this new NYT article about what happened in Hong Kong makes it sound like mainland China didn't care that much about him and were willing to just let Hong Kong do its thing for a while. And that he didn't like the potential looks of what going through Hong Kong's procedures were starting to look like (love the part about him not wanting to have to live in isolation even for a while without his computer,) so he left before it could start. And Hong Kong was probably happy they could still let him go. The story suggests to me that  mainland China didn't need/want access to his stuff, that they felt they already knew everything he might have to offer, but were quite pleased with his propaganda effect as far as their own people were concerned (i.e., looksee Chinese people, everyone monitors their citiizens' communications, others maybe more than us.)

    I don't feel as strongly about separating the Snowden story from the bigger issues as others say we should be doing for these reasons. What is still most disturbing to me is not that we have some kind of massive government surveillance. As many continually point out, we have massive corporate surveillance, and massive surveillance by citizens with cell phone cameras, etc., it is the future, like it or not

    Rather it is that we don't seem to have a properly regulated system to do it. That we have people as immature and scattered as Edward Snowden with access to it, someone who doesn't even have the werewithal to understand and plan for the ramifactions of what he was going to do. And that our plan on dealing with that problem is to scare the shit out of others like him still working on our data is by prosecuting, prosecuting, prosecuting. Instead of setting up a better checks and balances system.

    An example: I read somewhere else that NSA is now setting up a two-person permissions system, where two have to agree before accessing. How ridiculous is it that this was not done from the getgo? How incompetent are these NSA people? What other kind of scattershot and harebrained not-thought-throught stuff are they doing? This is supposed to make Americans feel secure? That prosecution of people doing the dumb stuff will make for smart analysts of information?

    The same exact thing bothers me about Bradley Manning; why did he have the clearance level he had? Why wasn't anyone monitoring his emotional state? And checking whether he was mature enough to handle what he was handling? The plan is to have Bradley Manning types do these jobs and to scare them into wisdom? This Onion article is starting to lose any humorous aspect: Nation Mostly Alarmed That Government’s Top Programs Handled By 29-Year-Olds. I am starting to envision another 9/11 Commssion Report not too far in our future, i.e., how it happened that we didn't we see "it" coming. Is there any intelligence working in our intelligence agencies? If not, I'd rather not have any; Intelligence without intelligence is not just not a good value, it's dangerous.


    Way, way back on June 12th, when the world was very different, I quoted a Gawker article, The Smart Kids Are Going to Keep Leaking Forever, which makes it seem like a generational divide:

    … our comic book-sized spy apparatus doesn’t just need good soldiers anymore. It needs smart employees who aren’t old. Spy monoliths like the NSA crave analysts, technicians, and officers who grew up making and breaking the same systems they’ll be tapping around the world. The NSA actively seeks out hackers—the bandits! These kids—the Snowdens—are different than the staid spooks who preceded them.

    They probably grew up stealing music. They at least know what Reddit and 4chan are—there’s a decent chance Snowden used the latter. …

    That’s a world where overreaching copyright, corporations, and DRM are the devils, where massive data repositories aren’t scary because they exist, but because they’re not open source. Information Wants To Be Free, the bumper stickers and Reddit sloganeering goes—the freedom of a Ron Paul message board, of Bitcoin speculation, dystopian videogames, TOR encryption, and information dumps, not the freedom that goes along with the home of the brave. Snowden’s motivations—the liberation of data as a global political end, not a means—don’t make his self-immolation outing in the press any less daring. But don’t be shocked to see the humblest of geeks shifting the planet and tormenting governments anymore—there are only more waiting to get their security clearances.

    What I was getting at, was that Assange had predicted that the more secret a government becomes, the less effective it would have to become, because it couldn't trust its own people. I don't know if that makes Assange into Hari Seldon, but he seems to be correct.


    Libertarianism geek style, all fun and games until someone gets an eye shot out. cheeky

    Why am I reminded of Adam Lanza? He sure took those libertarian video-game-learned values and ran with 'em.


    Speaking of fun, games, values, and shooting; here is a relevant article.

    http://asiansecurityblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/oliver-north-hawks-the...


    And as to Assange's argument, it's a big fail for me when the information liberators feel that the answer to mean people trying to come after you is for individuals to play footsy with friendly dictators. Everyone out for himself/herself, just use the world's free data yourself, your knowledge of your particular situation will protect you. Not a winner of survival of the fittest brain competition? Too bad for you, better find yourself a protector.

    I think of what Anonymous did with the Steubenville rape case. Most of us loved it because the perps were clearly assholes being protected by a corrupt tribe. But just imagine if all there was for protection of women was vigilantism of that sort.


    That's essentially what I wrote about Anonymous/Steubenville. Unfortunately, our governments, local and national, are doing what they can to make vigilantism look good by comparison.

     


    I am becoming thoroughly disgusted with seeing continuous evidence of the incompetence of Obama's security administration. This from someone whose last political campaign was supposedly state-of-the-art data mining with state-of-the-art security. Despite all the reporting and blogging I have read decrying his evil leaker-attacking ways, I don't even see much competence in dealing with leakers either. It is incompetence all around. Collecting data and making a mess with it, and attacking leakers and making big messes with that, too.  Every day he is looking more and more like someone who cannot play chess at all, much less 3-dimensional.

    I am wondering now whether Putin is really gonna do a special number on this all....


    That's why I'm wondering whether it is indeed ordained that massive conspiracies are self-limiting. Obama is a bright guy, but most of his staff picks have been old school. He can't interview every Abby and Tim that run the computers, and therefore the empire.


    Here is the thing about the clueless NSA finally instituting the "two-man rule" from NYT's N.S.A. Leak Puts Focus on System Administrators, June 23:

    [.....] As the N.S.A., some companies and the city of San Francisco have learned, information technology administrators, who are vital to keeping the system running and often have access to everything, are in the perfect position if they want to leak sensitive information or blackmail higher-level officials.

    “The difficulty comes in an environment where computer networks need to work all the time,” said Christopher P. Simkins, a former Justice Department lawyer whose firm advises companies, including military contractors, on insider threats.

    The director of the N.S.A., Gen. Keith B. Alexander, acknowledged the problem in a television interview on Sunday and said his agency would institute “a two-man rule” that would limit the ability of each of its 1,000 system administrators to gain unfettered access to the entire system. The rule, which would require a second check on each attempt to access sensitive information, is already in place in some intelligence agencies. It is a concept borrowed from the field of cryptography, where, in effect, two sets of keys are required to unlock a safe.

    From government agencies to corporate America, there is a renewed emphasis on thwarting the rogue I.T. employee. Such in-house breaches are relatively rare, but the N.S.A. leaks have prompted assessments of the best precautions businesses and government can take, from added checks and balances to increased scrutiny during hiring.

    “The scariest threat is the systems administrator," said Eric Chiu, president of Hytrust, a computer security company [.....]

    And I would add the Time piece that Michael W posted on the news thread, about clearance procedures:

    http://dagblog.com/link/big-brother-fails-monitor-own-staff-16866


    Many here act like prisoners who may be innocent, may be mentally retarded, diabetics allowed to die without medication in jail or just routine nonlethal abuse of inmates isn't almost routine in US jails.

    The selective outrage and lamentations for idiots like Manning who released willy-nilly half a million secret documents or Snowden, whose greatest fear in Hong Kong was he might have his computer taken away, frankly fails to budge my sympathy meter for these guys.

    Did Bradley Manning stop the Iraq War? No. Big Bad Oppressive Dictator turn us into North Korea Obama ended the war.

    Did Snowden reveal that Obama was using the NSA to manufacture intelligence to start another war? No. Obama is using it to try to prevent an attack on US soil.

    Sorry if I don't shed tears over 'what the jailers did' to Manning, he seems to be doing fine frankly.....or what they may do to Snowden.  Both will be better off than many, many, nameless prisoners in state or federal custody whose pictures are not all over the front pages, and who don't have celebrity status with celebrity obsessed Americans, and teams of lawyers working to minimize their punishment for their miscreant activities.


    George Bush ended the Iraq War. Obama just carried out the pre-negotiated roadmap.

    I'm sure Comrade Obama is keeping us safe at nights and is a great example for our children in our Great Leap Forward. I hope I do not engage in thought that deviates from the true map that he has laid out for us, and I'm glad that his appointees can trace my everyday mistakes and missteps to correct me where needed.

    And glad those jailers made Manning sleep & stand naked for 23 hours a day with sleep deprivation - only fitting the little peckerwood for all the danger he put our troops in, keeping them from engaging in freefire zones and telling all about despotic Muslim governments. It will take us years to recover from the Arab Spring. It will be hard to get back the esprit de corps we had at Abu Ghraib. These people hate us for our freedoms.


      Is Peracles sympathetic to Manning? He said earlier that it should be a crime to release classified information.


    Perhaps you mistook one of my deeply cynical tongue-in-cheek impersonations of a security freak as my hidden Zen? Sure, it should be a crime to release classified information, and just like running a red light to save a dying child, that crime might be forgiven for extenuating circumstances. Not every whistleblower is sane, just like not every soldier or intelligence officer is sane. So actually I'm not against Manning facing charges and dealing with the effects - to be a whistleblower might not be entirely without repercussions, but shouldn't result in piling up 20 life sentence charges to cover up government incompetence and maliciousness. Maybe he walks, maybe he does a little time - should depend on the jury, though out of fear of the vindictive military clique & their code reds, he chose a judge. There, I think I've covered my duty well enough before A-man comes and kicks my ass.

    But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum - the Manning leaks helped the situation around the Middle East if only our own government was open enough to take advantage of it. We did vent some needed foul air on our own practices. It's hard to see where Manning's leaks did a lot of harm, where it's quite easy to see good it did. Yeah, even that long delayed government ban on removable media - they might even implement it now over the next 2 years. Jesus, for a handsomely paid intelligence outfit, we certainly don't get our money's worth. And each time we try to make Manning look bad, we look doubly stupid and vindictive. You'd think this strategy wasn't paying off, but folks keep doubling down. And the poor guy just sits there in jail, and there's nothing much he can say except to let people rage on about him. If only they prosecuted Clapper & Brennan for lying to Congress, I'd like to see them all locked up in the same brig for a few nights before he's released & have those conversations recorded.


    So I guess the consensus is that Snowden is a hero, after all?  Let's hear it for the ballsy punk who stole our stuff, saving us all from snoops and spooks and things that go bump in the night. 

    Never mind that he slipped out of the country spreading our stuff all over the place, accompanied by equally heroic members of our new Guiding Light, WikiLeaks.  Serves us right!  We NEED to be embarrassed.  We're such idiots, anyway, and we can hardly go down the tubes any more than we have. 

    Hey, kids!  Lookin' for a new line of work?  How about helping us take down a big ol' rogue government?  Involves Grand Theft Secrets, but they shouldn't be secrets, anyway.  Could be dangerous, but the rewards are enormous.  Fame and fortune await--but only if you don't get caught.  So be careful out there, tripping around that moral high ground.  And remember--the walls have ears.

     

     


    So I guess the consensus is that Snowden is a hero, after all?  Let's hear it for the ballsy punk who stole our stuff, saving us all from snoops and spooks and things that go bump in the night.

    You're so full of hate and anger that you can't even hear what the other people are posting. Look at yourself, you're actually blinded by anger. I don't think there's a single person here that has called him a hero. Even those defending him have conflicted views and problems with some of his actions. Did I miss someone? Who exactly called him a hero? Where is this consensus you seem to see?


    Snowden admits that he took the job with Booz specifically to gather information on the NSA programs and to release that information to multiple countries. He is the sole person determining what is released. I will now use the word traitor.


    In the midst of all this the US has been trying to thaw relations between Ecuador, Venzuela, and even Cuba. Snowden has the potential to strain thes efforts. He is doing nothing to raise the question about data-mining. The public will view this as a grave betrayal of his position at Booz. Intelligence officials will decry the harm Snowden has done and the public will back the NSA.


    Whose fault is it traditionally if there is a traitor found working in a country's security administration, or military for that matter, basically a "mole"?

    Just making sure you realize that many of the arguments you are making are not flattering to this administration.


    The system let in a person with a goal to release secret information. That is all Obama's fault. PRISM is doing data-mining and searching metadata. That is Obama's fault. The Obama administration has gone after leaks which may have compromised operations in North Korea and the Middle East. It is Obama's fault for trying to seal those leaks.

    Congress has no role in reigning in the NSA.Obama is not going to be caught ratcheting down intelligence efforts because if anything happens, the folks who are faulting him for being too aggressive now will say that he failed to use the tools at hand to protect us. It's all Obama's fault so we will have to rely on the courts for resolution.

    You are correct. It's all Obama's fault. BTW,Snowden is still a traitor and we are still diverted from where the court cases to resolve the privacy issue are going and what financial aid they may need. Thanks for playing.


    Snowden is being called a traitor, by a government and their lackeys, because he exposed the subtle advances. that eventually lead to tyranny.   Our Bill of Rights, trumps this Governments power grab....... If America's leaders, really don't want enemies; quit making them. Quit meddling and mind our own business and take care of our own flock. 


    I think the door for the US to be safe by minding its own business closed at Pearl Harbor.


    Might want to brush up on your history. Pearl Harbor was attacked as a pre-emptive measure because we'd told the Japanese we'd go to war if they invaded SE Asia. Japan responded by doing both in a daring long-distance secret operation.

    The US was hardly "minding its own business".


    My history is fine. Non-interventionalism kept the US on the sidelines. When it became clear that the political philosophy of  the Axis was incompatible with the US did things change. 


    Here is some relevant history of secret programs and government lies, reported by someone who was once widely respected around here for his truth-telling. Lately he has had some criticism of Obama so I suppose he is now completely irrelevant, but 'history' marches on.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJldun440Sk&feature=player_embedded#at=121


    What part of the courts are going to have be the decider here are you not getting? No President is going to back down.Congress is impotent.The courts are the last resort. Now the Supreme Court has four Whit Conservatives and once Black guy fixated on Slavery who just gave the green light to voter suppression so who knows what they will do on the privacy issue.

    If you see another solution other than the courts, let me know. PRISM and the NSA will have to be arbitrated in the courts, do you disagree?

    BTW Snowden is still a traitor.


    Shorter version. There was debate between those supporting intervention and those opposed to intervention. Once Pearl Harbor occurred, non- intervention literally disappeared. You can argue about why it should have worked. you can argue that it was the fault of the interventionists, but post Pearl Harbor, it disappeared as an ideal for most Americans.


    Yes, before Pearl Harbor America was so non interventionalist. Why Wilson even campaigned that he kept us out of WWI. Wait, that was before he non interventionalistly entered the war and then pushed for the non interventionalist League of Nations which he didn't want to be a part of because he was a non interventionalist and didn't want his League of Nations to intervene in international affairs. Ah, the good old days before Pearl Harbor when America was non interventionalist.


    There is a section on non-interventionism prior to WWII in the link.It is discussed in many history classes.



    According to Putin, Snowden's goal is to spread information. As Snowden sits in a Russian airport it is very likely that supplied data via a thumb drive to Chinese Land Russian intelligence. He has accomplished his goal of harming the US.


    See the OpEd at Berenson, NYT, on the Snowden odyssey.

    ....In reality he’s found the world’s most dangerous place to be a dissident, where power is a knife blade and a sprinkle of polonium. For now he’s safe. He’s of use to his new Russian friends. But if they change their minds ...

    I would imagine he has all the secret data, which he apparently foolishly took with him, heavily encrypted, so it might take some good old fashion 'convincing' to speed up the process of decoding it.


    How has Snowden harmed the United Stated, precisely? Serious question.


    Fear and loathing in the Homeland, the hysteria mounts. Do you really believe that China and Russia didn't know most everything about these programs, they have some of the best hackers in the business.

    Snowden's leaks are not aimed at the governments of the world but at the citizens of those countries and ours. The governments were not ignorant of these facts but the citizens surely were especially here in the USA. This information has pissed off many governments because they view domestic spying as their sole right.

    The US needs to be damaged and possibly destroyed at least our ability to rain down hellfire and mayhem on the Other must be stopped along with economic imperialism.

    You seem to be grasping onto the false belief that there is something noble and good that needs protecting from these leaking traitors.

    I don't know what will come from these revelations but everyone has seen the lying and hypocrisy on display from our ruling class and the minions that enable them.


    Under your rules, I choose Obama or I choose Snowden. Obama's use of PRISM can be challenged in court. Snowden is nowhere to be found, I cannot protest his action. Snowden cannot be the sole decision maker. If PRISM is Unconstitutional, Snowden's actions are Unconstitutional.


    I don't make the rules and it is not a choice between personalities but a choice between freedom and tyranny.

    I appreciate the fear and uncertainty these events are bringing out in some of the public, they challenge the notion of the Good America and the Good American. You and others are still clinging to a myth that is in tatters and no amount of empty rhetoric about using our corrupt courts will repair that myth.

    Denial of the reality of our corrupt and rotten system does not alter the facts it only exposes the denier to more abuse and can even lead to the denier  supporting the abuse.


    Michael Maiello made an important point earlier in this thread. The NSA, and through it the U.S. government, assures the public, "We don't eavesdrop on American citizens -- just foreigners -- so don't worry." But it's been known for more than a decade that English-speaking allies (Canada, Britain, Australia) freely share their intercepts with the U.S. They issue exactly the same assurances ("We don't spy on Canadians/Brits/Aussies.") Obviously, those claims are meaningless, if everyone is sharing with everyone else. The program used to be called Echelon, and PRISM looks like an updated version. I haven't seen anything Snowden revealed that hasn't been known for years. There were NSA flaps in 2005, 2007 (if I recall correctly) -- including use of intercepts for private commercial advantage -- but the government pooh-poohed concerns, the public outrage died, and the media went back to sleep. That's probably what will happen this time. Look up NSA, look up Booz Allen, look up Verint. You won't find real budgetary info (classified, I guess) but look at the size of their operating centres -- tens of thousands of employees at multiple points across the country. Looking for "patterns." Nothing to worry about -- they're all just "keeping you safe."


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