Monday, July 8, 2013

Snowden Interview, part 2, Egypt links

The Guardian - New Interview with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong--Part 2


GLENN GREENWALD: I think this is really the critical point that has to be understood. The reason that Edward Snowden came forward, the reason that we’re reporting on this so aggressively, is because—and this is not hyperbole in any way; it’s a purely accurate description—the NSA is in the process, in total secrecy, with no accountability, of constructing a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its goal the elimination of privacy worldwide, so that there can be no electronic communications—by telephone, Internet, email, chat—that is beyond the reach of the United States government. They are attempting to collect and store and monitor all of it, and that they can invade it at any time they want, no matter who you are or where you are on the planet. This has very profound implications for the kind of world in which we live, for the kind of relationship the United States has to the rest of the world, the way in which individuals feel free to communicate with one another, use the Internet. And that, I think, is why the story is resonating as much as it is.

AMY GOODMANTimes reporting, "In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say." Your response to that revelation this weekend in The New York Times?
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, it shows what a complete joke the argument has been from NSA defenders in the Democratic Party that there is robust oversight on this surveillance. What you actually have is a completely warped and undemocratic institution, this court that meets in complete secrecy, where only the government is allowed to attend. And unlike previously, when it really was confined to just issuing individual warrants about particular targets of terrorism, it is now issuing sweeping, broad opinions defining the contours of our constitutional liberties, of the Fourth Amendment, of the government’s power to spy on us—and it’s all being done in secret. What kind of a country has a court that defines the Constitution in total secrecy and forces us to live under truly secret law in which the government can do all sorts of things to us that we’re not even aware of, that it’s claiming the right to do and being given the power to do it? So I think the New York Times article highlighted what has long been known about the joke called the FISA court, but it’s good to seeThe New York Times doing some reporting on these stories and hopefully bringing some more attention to this. 

Glenn Greenwald: Edward Snowden "Satisfied" by Global Outrage over U.S. Surveillance Operations

AMY GOODMAN: Did he talk about his preference for where he wants to go?
GLENN GREENWALD: He didn’t. I didn’t really speak very much with him about his quest for asylum. I think that he has always been fairly consistent about the fact—and there’s a fantastic article, an op-ed by Daniel Ellsberg in The Washington Post today making the same point—that the crucial objective that Snowden has, just like Ellsberg had, was to make sure that he’s able to participate in the ongoing debate that he triggered. And that means staying out of the custody of the United States government, which will not only put him in prison, but render him incommunicado. And so I think wherever he ends up, as long as it’s somewhere that he can be heard and his voice can be heard, I think he’ll be happy and fine.
AMY GOODMAN: What, Glenn, is Edward Snowden most encouraged by as he follows the debates and the continued revelations online?
GLENN GREENWALD: The very first conversation I ever had with him, Amy, online, he said that his only fear—he only had one fear, and that was that he would sacrifice his life and take these enormous personal risks in order to make these disclosures possible, and then have the world react with indifference and apathy, a kind of fear that they would just simply say, "OK, well, I assumed this was happening, and I don’t really mind." None of that has happened. There’s been an incredibly intense debate inside the United States over these disclosures, all kinds of movements of reform, movements against the United States government, and in many, many other countries around the world, as we previously discussed. So he feels like what he set out to do is exactly what has happened. He said he didn’t set out to destroy these systems—that’s not his place; he set out to make people around the world realize what the United States’s government is doing to them, to enable them to decide whether that’s the kind of thing they are willing to tolerate. And he sees those debates happening, and he’s extremely enthused and satisfied that his objective has been fulfilled. . . . .
AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Glenn, it’s not only the revelations that you have put out in The Guardian and that have come out other places, but they’re sparking even others, I think, to go down this track. The latest NSA spying issue, another headline today, U.S. Postal Service now under scrutiny for a surveillance program of its own, The New York Times revealing the postal service has been carrying out a Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program [link update 7/9/13), which photographs every piece of mail in its system—around 160 billion envelopes, packages, postcards documented last year. The contents never read without a warrant, but they allow investigators to learn key information including names, addresses, return addresses, postmark locations. The information reportedly used to nab the suspect recently accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to Obama and New York Mayor Bloomberg. Leslie James Pickering, the former activist with the Earth Liberation Front who now owns a small bookstore in Buffalo, recently learned his mail was being monitored after a surveillance order was accidentally delivered to his door. Can you respond to this?
GLENN GREENWALD: There’s a fantastic article by the journalism professor at NYU, Jay Rosen, who has written a article entitled "The Snowden Effect." And what he argues is that the revelations about the surveillance state go far beyond the specific revelations enabled by the documents that he disclosed to us, that we’re now disclosing to the world in our reporting, that instead he completely refocused—Snowden did—worldwide global attention on the abuses of the surveillance state. And so, not just that article about the postal service monitoring, but the one you mentioned earlier about theFISA court—there’s articles in Le Monde last week about how the French are mass surveilling their own citizens’ electronic communications. All sorts of revelations coming forward, one in The Washington Post today about how the Pentagon is engaged in domestic propaganda, monitoring websites for what they consider to be extremist political activity—this tidal wave of revelations that clearly have come from the sea change that has resulted in how we think about surveillance as a result of Mr. Snowden’s whistleblowing and the reporting of ours that it enabled then. And I think that that’s really ultimately going to be the most profound effect. People are thinking differently about how their government spies on them, the nature of government secrecy, whether they want to trust their government, why journalism has failed to uncover these sorts of things, why we needed someone like Mr. Snowden to risk his life and throw away his liberty in order to come forward and bring it to our attention. I think this is all going to have very profound repercussions for a long time to come. 

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me. [i.e., other whistle blowers]

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.
Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013

The Original Fascist Defines Fascism

"Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism as it is a merger of state and corporate power": Benito Mussolini


Links on Developing Egyptian Civil War


Tue, Jul 2 2013

By Yasmine Saleh and Tom Perry

CAIRO (Reuters) - Army concern about the way President Mohamed Mursi was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources said.At the June 15 rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word "infidels" to denounce both the Shi'ites fighting to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mursi at home.Mursi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt's borders."The armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conference at a time the state was going through a major political crisis," said one officer, whose comments reflected remarks made privately by other army staff. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to talk to the media.The controversy surrounding the Syria conference pointed to a crippling flaw in the Mursi presidency: though the constitution names Mursi as supreme commander of the armed forces, the military remains master of its own destiny and a rival source of authority to the country's first freely elected head of state.The army's dramatic ultimatum demanding Mursi and other politicians settle their differences by Wednesday afternoon caught the presidency completely off guard. Triggered by mass protests against Mursi's rule, it amounted to a soft coup by a military that has been a major recipient of U.S. aid since the 1970s, when Egypt made peace with neighboring Israel.

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