Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bradley Manning convicted of "espionage" but not "aiding the enemy."

My take on Bradley Manning is that he is the poster man for courageous whistle-blower resistance and an American Hero. There aren't many real heroes anymore in the age of mindless distraction, media distortion, blind obedience, and Orwellian government surveillance.  When I told the government to stick it 45 years ago, when they wanted me to kill Vietnamese people ("kill, kill, kill" was drilled into our heads as soldiers) fighting for their own sense of self determination during the Vietnam war, it wasn't as if I didn't realize that they would come after me and imprison me in conditions much worse than the LA County jail--you know what they are going to do--and you hope that you can survive it, and that you will be home within a few years. But Bradley Manning didn't just tell them to stick it, he exposed and brought transparency to the whole imperial, dirty, insane, and criminal U.S. foreign policy enterprise. He did it with the release of videos like "Collateral Murder" showing the senseless American killing of Iraqi civilians, and with his release of thousands of State Department emails that revealed the duplicitous nature of our dealings with other countries. That took the kind of real courage that is sadly lacking in America today. My hat is off to the Bradley Mannings and Edward Snowdens who risk everything--their long-term liberty and potentially their actual lives--to inform the American people about what their government is doing to them and the people of the world.

So after three years of abuse in a military prison, confinement called cruel, inhuman and degrading by the UN, Bradley Manning has been convicted of the crime of telling the truth in yet another kangaroo military court dead set on setting an example to others who would have the courage to follow their ethical convictions and resist the developing American fascist state.

Here are several articles, statements, an audio, and video, about the conviction of Bradley Manning for reporting the truth to the world concerning the behavior of our military and foreign policy establishment.

By Norman Solomon
July 30, 2013 "Information Clearing House -  
The sun rose with a moral verdict on Bradley Manning well before the military judge could proclaim his guilt. The human verdict would necessarily clash with the proclamation from the judicial bench.
In lockstep with administrators of the nation’s war services, judgment day arrived on Tuesday to exact official retribution. After unforgiveable actions, the defendant’s culpability weighed heavy.
“Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house,” another defendant, Fr. Daniel Berrigan, wrote about another action that resulted in a federal trial, 45 years earlier, scarcely a dozen miles from the Fort Meade courtroom where Bradley Manning faced prosecution for his own fracture of good order.
“We could not, so help us God, do otherwise,” wrote Berrigan, one of the nine people who, one day in May 1968 while the Vietnam War raged on, removed several hundred files from a U.S. draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, and burned them with napalm in the parking lot. “For we are sick at heart…”
On the surface, many differences protrude between those nine draft-files-burning radical Catholics and Bradley Manning. But I wonder. Ten souls saw cruelties of war and could no longer just watch.
“I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy,” Manning wrote in an online chat. Minutes later he added: “I think I’ve been traumatized too much by reality, to care about consequences of shattering the fantasy.” And he also wrote: “I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
Those words came seven weeks after the world was able to watch the “Collateral Murder” video that Manning had provided to WikiLeaks. And those words came just days before military police arrived to arrest him on May 29, 2010.
Since then, huge numbers of people around the world have come to see Bradley Manning as personification of moral courage. During the last several months I’ve read thousands of moving comments online at ManningNobel.org, posted by signers of the petition urging that he receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The comments are often stunning with heartfelt intensity of wounded idealism, anger and hope.
No verdict handed down by the military judge can change the moral verdict that has emerged from people all over the world, reciprocating what Bradley Manning expressed online a few days before his arrest: “I can’t separate myself from others.” And: “I feel connected to everybody … like they were distant family.”
The problem for the U.S. government was not that Bradley Manning felt that way. The problem came when he acted that way. Caring was one thing. Acting on the caring, with empathy propelling solidarity, was another.
Days ago, in closing argument, the prosecutor at Fort Meade thundered: “He was not a whistleblower, he was a traitor.”
But a “traitor” to what? To the United States … only if the United States is to be a warfare state, where we “cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Only if we obey orders to separate ourselves from the humanity of others. Only if authoritative, numbing myths are to trump empathy and hide painful truth.
Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

Scott Horton Radio

7/30/13 Daniel Ellsberg
Exclusive: the first reaction of Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, to Bradley Manning’s acquittal on charges of “aiding the enemy,” but conviction under the espionage act, why journalism is still threatened, Manning’s motives, the positive consequences of his leaks — for instance ending America’s occupation of Iraq once [...]

 Democracy Now! Special Coverage on the Bradley Manning Verdict.

Glenn Greenwald OWNS Toobin (CNN) Over Snowden, Manning  



Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial
30 July 2013, 19:30 UTC

Today Bradley Manning, a whistleblower, was convicted by a military court at Fort Meade of 19 offences for supplying the press with information, including five counts of ’espionage’. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years.

The ’aiding the enemy’ charge has fallen away. It was only included, it seems, to make calling journalism ’espionage’ seem reasonable. It is not.

Bradley Manning’s alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions, and induced democratic reform. He is the quintessential whistleblower.

This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is ’espionage’.

President Obama has initiated more espionage proceedings against whistleblowers and publishers than all previous presidents combined.

In 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform that praised whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism. That platform has been comprehensively betrayed. His campaign document described whistleblowers as watchdogs when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the internet last week.

Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that - or even claim that - a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.

The only ’victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

The judge has allowed the prosecution to substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases, permitted the prosecution 141 witnesses and extensive secret testimony. The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to crack him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial.

The Obama administration has been chipping away democratic freedoms in the United States. With today’s verdict, Obama has hacked off much more. The administration is intent on deterring and silencing whistleblowers, intent on weakening freedom of the press.

The US first amendment states that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". What part of ’no’ does Barack Obama fail to comprehend?


Posted By Elias Groll
Click on title above for entire article. 

 Bradley Manning Cleared of 'Aiding the Enemy' but Guilty of Most Other Charges
• Manning convicted of multiple Espionage Act violations
• Acquitted of most serious 'aiding the enemy' charge
• Army private faces maximum jail sentence of 130 years

By Ed Pilkington at Fort Meade

July 30, 2013 "The Guardian" - Bradley Manning, the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 130 years in military jail after he was convicted of most charges on which he stood trial.

Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the court martial of the US soldier, delivered her verdict in curt and pointed language. "Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty," she repeated over and over, as the reality of a prolonged prison sentence for Manning – on top of the three years he has already spent in detention – dawned.

The one ray of light in an otherwise bleak outcome for Manning was that he was found not guilty of the single most serious charge against him – that he knowingly "aided the enemy", in practice al-Qaida, by disclosing information to the WikiLeaks website that in turn made it accessible to all users including enemy groups. ....See
"The Guardian"

Monday, July 29, 2013

Obama's "Liberal" Democrats Reveal Their Fascist Tendencies

In the article below, Glenn Greenwald documents how Obama Democrats, along with many Republicans, swim against the tide of public opposition to the government sponsored NSA Security State. While some Democrats, notably Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, as well as Tom Udall, Senator for New Mexico, have opposed the development of the new Total Information Awareness and the full-blown Fascism inherent in NSA activities, others, like Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein have rallied to defend NSA spying. Republican Congressman Greg Walden also voted last week to defeat a House bill that would have restricted the NSA's snooping.

Do follow the links in the article for a better understanding.

Major opinion shifts, in the US and Congress, on NSA surveillance and privacy
 If I had to pick the most astonishing aspect of this episode so far, it would be that everyone now knows that the Obama administration's top national security official, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, outright lied to the Senate about NSA programs. And yet - as I said on ABC yesterday morning - not only isn't he being prosecuted for that crime - as much of a crime as anything Edward Snowden is accused of doing - but he still has his job. That, of course, is because the "law" does not apply to high-level Washington officials and DC's National Security State is an accountability-free zone. But the law that makes Clapper's behavior a felony is clear and concise, and can be read here.

 By Glenn Greenwald

July 29, 2013 "The Guardian" -  Numerous polls taken since our reporting on previously secret NSA activities first began have strongly suggested major public opinion shifts in how NSA surveillance and privacy are viewed. But a new comprehensive poll released over the weekend weekend by Pew Research provides the most compelling evidence yet of how stark the shift is.
Among other things, Pew finds that "a majority of Americans – 56% – say that federal courts fail to provide adequate limits on the telephone and internet data the government is collecting as part of its anti-terrorism efforts." And "an even larger percentage (70%) believes that the government uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism." Moreover, "63% think the government is also gathering information about the content of communications." That demonstrates a decisive rejection of the US government's three primary defenses of its secret programs: there is adequate oversight; we're not listening to the content of communication; and the spying is only used to Keep You Safe™.

But the most striking finding is this one:

"Overall, 47% say their greater concern about government anti-terrorism policies is that they have gone too far in restricting the average person's civil liberties, while 35% say they are more concerned that policies have not gone far enough to protect the country. This is the first time in Pew Research polling that more have expressed concern over civil liberties than protection from terrorism since the question was first asked in 2004."

For anyone who spent the post-9/11 years defending core liberties against assaults relentlessly perpetrated in the name of terrorism, polling data like that is nothing short of shocking. This Pew visual underscores what a radical shift has occurred from these recent NSA disclosures:
pew NSA
Perhaps more amazingly still, this shift has infected the US Congress. Following up on last week's momentous House vote - in which 55% of Democrats and 45% of Republicans defied the White House and their own leadership to vote for the Amash/Conyers amendment to ban the NSA's bulk phone records collection program - the New York Times has an article this morning which it summarizes on its front page this way:
nyt nsa The article describes how opposition to the NSA, which the paper says was recently confined to the Congressional "fringes", has now "built a momentum that even critics say may be unstoppable, drawing support from Republican and Democratic leaders, attracting moderates in both parties and pulling in some of the most respected voices on national security in the House."

It describes how GOP Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner - a prime author of the Patriot Act back in 2001 and a long-time defender of even the most extremist War on Terror policies - has now become a leading critic of NSA overreach. He will have "a bill ready when Congress returned from its August recess that would restrict phone surveillance to only those named as targets of a federal terrorism investigation, make significant changes to the secret court that oversees such programs and give businesses like Microsoft and Google permission to reveal their dealings before that court."

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren is quoted this way: "There is a growing sense that things have really gone a-kilter here". Yesterday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Democratic Sen Dick Durbin, one of Obama's closest Senate allies, said that the recently revealed NSA bulk record collection program "goes way too far".

The strategy for the NSA and its Washington defenders for managing these changes is now clear: advocate their own largely meaningless reform to placate this growing sentiment while doing nothing to actually rein in the NSA's power. "Backers of sweeping surveillance powers now say they recognize that changes are likely, and they are taking steps to make sure they maintain control over the extent of any revisions," says the NYT.

The primary problem enabling out-of-control NSA spying has long been the Intelligence Committees in both houses of Congress. That's an ironic twist given that those were the committees created in the wake of the mid-1970s Church Committee to provide rigorous oversight, as a response to the recognition that Executive Branch's surveillance powers were being radically abused - and would inevitably be abused in the future - without robust transparency and accountability.

But with a few rare and noble exceptions, the Intelligence Committees in both houses of Congress are filled with precisely those members who are most slavishly beholden to, completely captured by, the intelligence community over which they supposedly serve as watchdogs. Many receive large sums of money from the defense and intelligence industries.

There is a clear and powerful correlation between NSA support and amounts of money received by these members from those industries, as Wired's Dave Kravets adeptly documented about last week's NSA vote and has been documented before with similar NSA-protecting actions from the Intelligence Committee. In particular, the two chairs of those committees - Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the Senate and Republican Mike Rogers in the House - are such absolute loyalists to the NSA and the National Security State generally that it is usually impossible to distinguish their behavior, mindset and comments from those of NSA officials.

In sum, the Senate and House Intelligence Committees are the pure embodiment of the worst of Washington: the corrupting influence of money from the very industries they are designed to oversee and the complete capture by the agencies they are supposed to adversarially check. Anything that comes out of the leadership of those two Committees that is labeled "NSA reform" is almost certain to be designed to achieve the opposite effect: to stave off real changes in lieu of illusory tinkering whose real purpose will be to placate rising anger.

But that trick seems unlikely to work here. What has made these disclosures different from past NSA scandals - including ones showing serious abuse of their surveillance powers - are the large numbers of the NSA's own documents that are now and will continue to be available for the public to see, as well the sustained, multi-step nature of these disclosures, which makes this far more difficult for NSA defenders to predict, manage and dismiss away. At least as much as they are shining long-overdue light on these specific NSA domestic programs, the NSA disclosures are changing how Americans (and people around the world) think about the mammoth National Security State and whether it can and should be trusted with unchecked powers exercised in the dark. Those public opinion shifts aren't going to disappear as the result of some blatantly empty gestures from Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers masquerading as "reform".

Despite the substantial public opinion shifts, Pew found that Americans are largely split on whether the NSA data-collection program should continue. The reason for this is remarkable and repugnant though, at this point, utterly unsurprising:

Nationwide, there is more support for the government's data-collection program among Democrats (57% approve) than among Republicans (44%), but both parties face significant internal divisions: 36% of Democrats disapprove of the program as do 50% of Republicans.

Just as Democrats went from vehement critics of Bush's due-process-free War on Terror policies to vocal cheerleaders of Obama's drone kills and even Guantanamo imprisonments, the leading defenders of the NSA specifically and America's Surveillance State generally are now found among self-identified Democrats. That was embodied by how one of the most vocal Democratic NSA critics during the Bush years - Nancy Pelosi - in almost single-handedly saved the NSA from last week's House vote. If someone had said back in 2007 that the greatest support for NSA surveillance would be found among Democrats, many would find the very idea ludicrous. But such is life in the Age of Obama: one of his most enduring legacies is transforming his party from pretend-opponents of the permanent National Security State into its most enthusiastic supporters.

But despite that hackish partisan opportunism, the positive opinion changes toward NSA surveillance and civil liberties can be seen across virtually all partisan and ideological lines:
pew NSA The largest changes toward demanding civil liberties protections have occurred among liberal Democrats, Tea Party Republicans, independents and liberal/moderate Republicans. Only self-identified "moderate/conservative Democrats" - the Obama base - remains steadfast and steady in defense of NSA surveillance. The least divided, most-pro-NSA caucus in the House for last week's vote was the corporatist Blue Dog Democrat caucus, which overwhelmingly voted to protect the NSA's bulk spying on Americans.

As I've repeatedly said, the only ones defending the NSA at this point are the party loyalists and institutional authoritarians in both parties. That's enough for the moment to control Washington outcomes - as epitomized by the unholy trinity that saved the NSA in the House last week: Pelosi, John Bohener and the Obama White House - but it is clearly not enough to stem the rapidly changing tide of public opinion.

Other related matters

(1) I was on ABC's This Week with Stephanopoulos discussing our newest NSA revelation coming this week about the actual surveillance powers of low-level NSA analysts. That interview be seen here.

(2) On Wednesday morning, I'll be testifying, by remote video, before an ad hoc committee in the House of Representatives about NSA disclosures. It begins at 9:30 am ET and will, I believe, be broadcast on C-SPAN. Following my testimony will be an excellent panel featuring representatives of the ACLU and the Cato Institute on the dangers and excesses of the NSA.

(3) At an event in Geneva over the week, Noam Chomsky was asked about Edward Snowden and these NSA stories. The transcript of his response is here, and the video can be seen here (it begins at roughly 1:21:00). It's definitely worth reading or watching what he has to say.

(4) If I had to pick the most astonishing aspect of this episode so far, it would be that everyone now knows that the Obama administration's top national security official, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, outright lied to the Senate about NSA programs. And yet - as I said on ABC yesterday morning - not only isn't he being prosecuted for that crime - as much of a crime as anything Edward Snowden is accused of doing - but he still has his job. That, of course, is because the "law" does not apply to high-level Washington officials and DC's National Security State is an accountability-free zone. But the law that makes Clapper's behavior a felony is clear and concise, and can be read here.
 Chomsky--USA, Iran, Israel and the Arab World--Where Are We

Watch live streaming video from genevapressclub at livestream.com

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.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Video About a Life Worth Living--Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill on Edward Snowden

The Socialism 2013 Conference in Chicago (June 27-30, 2013) featured a talk by Glenn Greenwald (via Skype) on Edward Snowden and his recent NSA revelations. The 54 minute video is somewhat surprisingly full of humor and includes Greenwald's report on who Snowden is, and why he ultimately decided to release the information about massive NSA spying and the growing American surveillance state.  (While I whole-heartedly agree with the sentiments of Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill, I do not necessarily agree with other speakers at the conference. In particular, I disagree with many of the conclusions of Ian Angus, who does not believe "that 'overpopulation' is a major cause of environmental destruction." Only a fool or the intelligently ignorant could reach such a conclusion. Unfortunately (for the biosphere), there are too many people on the left, seemingly alienated from biology, mathematics, and the natural world, who share his views.)

If the video below does not play, simply click on the title and it will take you to YouTube. You'll probably want to speed through the initial introduction by a very pumped-up, overly enthusiastic and loud introduction by one Sherry Wolf.

Glenn Greenwald Speaks Out


See Also:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Note on Snowden and Independence Day from Harvard Professor Steven Walt

I'm feeling pretty thoughtless, or at least without a lot of time, on this Independence Day.  I read so many posts by people of great intellect, that I sometimes wonder why I bother at all. But lacking that, and time and motivation, I am left to re-post the thoughts of Harvard Professor Steven M. Walt on Edward Snowden, who now sits without sanctuary, on this "Independence Day."

Below, Walt reminds us of the Declatation of Independence, one small part of which states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Can I be bugged, monitored or arrested by the NSA, Homeland Security or the FBI for quoting that?

I might also mention that Tom Feeley, who runs Information Clearing House, a daily newsletter of "news you won't find in the corporate media," the most important news source I subscribe to, has had a medical incident that landed him in the hospital. His readers are hoping for a quick recovery and a way for him to pay the medical bills in a country that has no government single payer health plan for its people, as most of the western industrialized nations have.

Independence Day Greetings to Edward Snowden
Steven M Walt--Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Every year on the Fourth of July I sit down and read the Declaration of Independence. It's a habit I got into some years ago, but I take a peculiar pleasure in reading through the founding principles of the American Revolution, archaic language and all. In these days of creeping executive power, supine journalism, and reflexive threat-inflation, it's a valuable reminder that governments exist to serve the people -- and not the other way around. 
On this Independence Day, I am wondering what the Founding Fathers would have made of Edward Snowden. The question is obviously a bit absurd, as they could hardly have imagined something like the Internet, or even the telephone, back in 1776. But they would have understood the ability of a government to seize the mail and to investigate and harass those suspected of disloyalty. And they surely would have understood the concept of risking one's future for the sake of one's ideals. 
It is of course possible that they would have seen Snowden as some members of Congress do, as a man who betrayed his country by releasing classified information. But isn't it also possible that they would have seen in him a kindred spirit -- someone who took an irrevocable step on a matter of principle? In particular, they might have seen in him a man who recognized the natural tendency of governments to extend their control over citizens, usually in the name of national security. 
Let us not forget that the Founding Fathers repeatedly warned about the dangers of standing armies, which they rightly understood to be a perennial threat to liberty. Or that James Madison famously warned that no nation can remain free in a state of perpetual warfare, a sentiment that Barack Obama recently quoted but does not seem to have fully taken to heart. The Founders also gave Americans the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because they understood that defending individual privacy against the grasp of government authority is an essential human right as well as an important safeguard of freedom.
The United States can no longer protect the country's security with a citizen militia, of course, and a permanent defense establishment has become a necessary evil in the competitive world of contemporary international politics. But the Snowden affair reminds us that large and well-funded government bureaucracies have a powerful tendency to expand, to hide their activities behind walls of secrecy, and to depend on a cowed and co-opted populace to look the other way.
Snowden may have broken the law, but so did the Founding Fathers when they issued that famous declaration 237 years ago. They did so in defiance of a powerful empire, just as Snowden did. The world is better off that they chose to defy the laws of their time, and Snowden's idealistic act may leave us better off too. I suspect Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the rest of those revolutionaries might have understood.