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Profile Information

Name: Catherina
Gender: Female
Member since: Mon Mar 3, 2008, 02:08 PM
Number of posts: 35,568

About Me

There are times that one wishes one was smarter than one is so that when one looks out at the world and sees the problems one wishes one knew the answers and I don\'t know the answers. I think sometimes one wishes one was dumber than one is so one doesn\'t have to look out into the world and see the pain that\'s out there and the horrible situations that are out there, and not know what to do - Bernie Sanders http://www.democraticunderground.com/128040277

Journal Archives

(not from wiki or validated) Edward Snowden Praises Ecuador For Considering Political Asylum Request

This just out:

Edward Snowden Praises Ecuador For Considering Political Asylum Request

The Huffington Post UK/PA | Posted: 01/07/2013 22:25 BST | Updated: 01/07/2013 22:27 BST

Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has written to the president of Ecuador praising his country's "bravery" in considering his request for political asylum, it has been revealed.


He is still believed to be in Russia but has not been seen in public.

His disclosures over the surveillance activities of the UK's GCHQ and its American counterpart, the National Security Agency, have caused huge controversy.

His letter to president Rafael Correa, written in Spanish, was leaked to the Press Association by sources in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.


The letter reads:

There are few world leaders who would risk standing for the human rights of an individual against the most powerful government on earth, and the bravery of Ecuador and its people is an example to the world.

I must express my deep respect for your principles and sincere thanks for your government's action in considering my request for political asylum.

The government of the United States of America has built the world's largest system of surveillance. This global system affects every human life touched by technology; recording, analysing, and passing secret judgment over each member of the international public.

It is a grave violation of our universal human rights when a political system perpetuates automatic, pervasive and unwarranted spying against innocent people.

In accordance with this belief, I revealed this programme to my country and the world. While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression.

As I face this persecution, there has been silence from governments afraid of the United States government and their threats. Ecuador however, rose to stand and defend the human right to seek asylum.

The decisive action of your consul in London, Fidel Narvaez, guaranteed my rights would be protected upon departing Hong Kong - I could never have risked travel without that. Now, as a result, and through the continued support of your government, I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest.

No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realise a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank.

Please accept my gratitude on behalf of your government and the people of the Republic of Ecuador, as well as my great personal admiration of your commitment to doing what is right rather than what is rewarding.

Edward Joseph Snowden.


Hmmmmm. When did Snowden start spelling "program" with the preferred British spelling "programme?"

Wikileaks has released a statement from Edward Snowden

WikiLeaks ‏@wikileaks 12m

Standby for a statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow. #snowden #prism #nsa #wikileaks

Also, earlier today, President Evo Morales publicly stated on RT live that Bolivia would give Snowden asylum if he requested it. UNASUR has been in meetings about Snowden's case.

President Morales and President Maduro are in Russia for a 2-day Oil summit right now.

I don't know about Morales but Maduro flew in on his Presidential jet, an Airbus A319CJ Presidential jet which has an air range of 6300 nautical miles, unless they modified it to have more. The air distance from Caracas to Moscow is 5367 nautical miles.

Speculation about Maduro flying Snowden back on the jet began a few days ago...

I don't think the statement is in any way related to that but I thought I'd throw that in.

19 hours ago, Wikileaks had already told its twitter followers

WikiLeaks ‏@wikileaks 19h

MONDAY: We will issue several important announcements during the day.

Here is the validated statement:

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.

For decades the United States of America have 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 irony is staggering

"That kind of action is not only detrimental to the U.S.-China relationship but it sets a bad precedent that could unravel the intricate international agreements about how countries respect the laws – and particularly the extradition treaties,"

"outrageous behavior" is the term the rest of the world is using for our conduct.

Dear Hillary, If George W. Bush is defending these secret surveillance programs, it's over.

Bush also defended the surveillance program, which began during his administration after Sept. 11, saying the programs guarantee civil liberties are protected.

“I put the program in place to protect the country and one of the certainties is civil liberties were guaranteed,” Bush said.


Asked whether there is any “compromise” between security and privacy, Bush said, “I think there needs to be a balance, and I think as the president explained, there’s a proper balance.”


Germany is killing me!

U.S. informant Edward Snowden received a mention in an unlike place: a German lingerie ad.

The execution, above, is a pretty juvenile play on the word "uncover." If you're looking for clever commentary on PRISM or the NSA, you'll have to look elsewhere. (Blush Lingerie's Facebook Page goes a bit further, adding: "Dear Edward, take good care! We are with you!")


French parties call for Snowden political asylum

Source: France 24

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should be given political asylum in France, party leaders from across the political spectrum have said in the wake of the latest US spying allegations.

By Josh Vardey (video)
FRANCE 24 (text)

French party leaders from across the political spectrum have called on France to grant US whistleblower Edward Snowden political asylum, amid demands for ongoing free trade talks between the EU and Washington to be put on hold.

Jean-Luc Mélanchon, leader of France’s Left Party (Parti de Gauche) told BFMTV on Sunday that the extent of alleged US spying on European communications was “arrogant” and “breathtaking”.

“The Americans are spying on EU institutions, so they are already fully aware of the mandate for negotiations that the EU has begun with the US for a free trade agreement,” he said. “We should put these negotiations on hold until the Americans have given some clarity.”

He said France should grant Edward Snowden – currently in transit limbo in a Russian airport without valid travel documents and without any country yet saying it would welcome him – immediate political asylum.

“Edward Snowden... has done us a good service,” he said. “It’s thanks to him that we know we have been spied on. It is not acceptable that we allow a situation whereby he wanders uncertainly around the planet. He is a defender of all our freedoms.”

Read more: http://www.france24.com/en/20130701-snowden-nsa-france-asylum-melanchon-greens-le-pen-hollande

The cyber-intelligence complex and its useful idiots

The cyber-intelligence complex and its useful idiots

Those who tell us to trust the US's secret, privatised surveillance schemes should recall the criminality of J Edgar Hoover's FBI

Barrett Brown
guardian.co.uk, Monday 1 July 2013 16.21 BST

J Edgar Hoover (right, with President Richard Nixon) ran the FBI's illegal Cointelpro domestic political surveillance scheme. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

It's a fine thing to see mainstream American media outlets finally sparing some of their attention toward the cyber-industrial complex – that unprecedented conglomeration of state, military and corporate interests that together exercise growing power over the flow of information. It would be even more heartening if so many of the nation's most influential voices, from senator to pundits, were not clearly intent on killing off even this belated scrutiny into the invisible empire that so thoroughly scrutinizes us – at our own expense and to unknown ends.


Besides, the government to which we're ceding these broad new powers is a democracy, overseen by real, live Americans. And it's hard to imagine American government officials abusing their powers – or at least, it would be, had such officials not already abused similar but more limited powers through repeated campaigns of disinformation, intimidation and airtight crimes directed at the American public over the last five decades. Cointelpro, Operation Mockingbird, Ultra and Chaos are among the now-acknowledged CIA, FBI and NSA programs by which those agencies managed to subvert American democracy with impunity. Supporters of mass surveillance conducted under the very same agencies have yet to address how such abuses can be insured against in the context of powers far greater than anything J Edgar Hoover could command.

Many have never heard of these programs; the sort of people who trust states with secret authority tend not to know what such things have led to in the recent past. Those who do know of such things may perhaps contend that these practices would never be repeated today. But it was just two years ago that the late Michael Hastings revealed that US army officials in Afghanistan were conducting psy-ops against visiting US senators in order to sway them towards continued funding for that unsuccessful war. If military and intelligence officials have so little respect for the civilian leadership, one can guess how they feel about mere civilians.


So, how trustworthy is this privatized segment of the invisible empire? We would know almost nothing of their operations were it not for a chance turn of events that prompted Anonymous-affiliated hackers to seize 70,000 emails from one typical firm back in early 2011. From this more-or-less random sampling of contractor activity, we find a consortium of these firms plotting to intimidate, attack and discredit WikiLeaks and those identified as its key supporters, including the (then Salon, now Guardian) journalist Glenn Greenwald – a potentially illegal conspiracy concocted on behalf of corporate giant Bank of America, which feared exposure by WikiLeaks, and organized under the auspices of the Department of Justice itself.


We find several of the same firms – which collectively referred to themselves as Team Themis – involved in another scheme to deploy sophisticated software-based fake people across social networks in order to infiltrate and mislead. For instance, Themis proposes sending two of these "personas" to pose online as members of an organization opposed to the US Chamber of Commerce, another prospective Themis client, in order to discredit the group from within. Yet another revelation involves a massive cross-platform military program of disinformation and surveillance directed at the Arab world; still another relates how one NSA-inked firm can monitor and attack online infrastructure throughout the world, including western Europe, and will rent these capabilities out to those with a few million dollars to spend on such things.


Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/01/cyber-intelligence-complex-useful-idiots

Barrett Brown is a Dallas-based journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Vanity Fair and Huffington Post. He faces over 100 years in prison for charges related to his research on government intelligence contractors.

Putin: Snowden can stay in Russia if he stops damaging US

Source: RT

President Vladimir Putin says NSA leaker Edward Snowden may stay in Russia, if he wants to, but only if he stops activities aimed against the United States.

“There is one condition if he wants to remain here: he must stop his work aimed at damaging our American partners. As odd as it may sound from me,” Putin told a media conference in Moscow.

However, Russia is not going to extradite Snowden, the president underlined.

“Russia has never extradited anyone and is not going to do so. Same as no one has ever been extradited to Russia,” Putin stated.

Snowden "is not a Russian agent", the president said, repeating that Russian intelligence services were not working with the fugitive American.

He said Snowden should choose his final destination and go there.


Read more: http://rt.com/news/putin-snowden-asylum-extradite-489/

Burns has been in Moscow for a full week now trying to work out a *deal*.

RT ‏@RT_com 25m

MORE: US has held 'high level' discussions with Russia on #Snowden extradition - Obama


Putin's latest NYET was in answer to this

Published on Jul 1, 2013

US president Barack Obama implies that European countries could be spying on the US, saying there are plenty of European leaders who want to know what he is thinking, during a press conference in Tanzania.

"of unspeakable hostility" "How can u negotiate when ur negotiating position has been intercepted?"

Germany's federal prosecutor's office has also opened inquiries into the NSA debacle, with a view to establishing whether German laws have been breached.

"The prosecutor's office is carefully assessing the media reports with reference to its legal mandate," a spokeswoman said. It would examine the available information on the Prism, Tempora, and Boundless Informant programmes and seek to establish whether the NSA's interception of telephone and internet communication was violating German laws, she added.


Elmar Brok, the veteran MEP who chairs the European parliament's foreign affairs committee and is from Merkel's Christian Democratic party, said the opening of the trade talks next week had been jeopardised. "How can you negotiate when you have got to fear that your own negotiating position has been intercepted in advance?" he asked.


Austria's Hannes Swoboda, head of the social democrats in the European parliament, said: "We demand full disclosure on the alleged bugging and wire-tapping of EU representatives by the US authorities, including the potential involvement of EU member states' intelligence services. The EU and US have to see eye to eye in this world and share relevant information. Spying is certainly not the right way to reinforce co-operation.


France's justice minister, Christiane Taubira, said, if confirmed, the US behaviour was of unspeakable hostility.


Bradley Manning supporters made up "the largest non-corporate contingent" at #SFPride this weekend

Bradley Manning Gay Pride: Supporters Show Love For WikiLeaks Whistleblower

Urvi Nagrani
4 hours ago

Bradley Manning Gay Pride: Supporters Show Love For WikiLeaks Whistleblower

As much as San Francisco Pride's Board would've probably liked to have Bradley Manning and his supporters absent from any Pride 2013 recap, it is noteworthy to say, after two months of controversy, they were the largest non-corporate contingent — with over 2000 folks — and they even danced to Michael Jackson in a flash mob that delighted the crowds.


The Bradley Manning contingent was prominently attended by 82 year-old Daniel Ellsberg, who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Ellsberg celebrated with his wife riding in a truck labeled "Bradley Manning Grand Marshal." Within the Manning contingent there was also a flash mob dance, ACT up Representatives, and many Veterans against the war.

Also in attendance was Pride's legal counsel, Brooke Oliver, who resigned after 15 years because of the Pride Board's handling of the Manning debacle. At the SF Pride Media Party on Thursday, unnamed guests fell on both sides with past board members saying, "this issue just needs to die" and others who blamed Lisa Williams for taking a stance that wasn't reflective of all of SF Pride's members.

In a quiet but significant shift from previous years, for the first time, SF Pride allowed a military recruitment booth as an exhibitor at the Parade. When asked to confirm that prior to the event, Lisa Williams replied with a noncommittal, "yes I think that's true." Approximately 100 protesters proceeded from marching in the parade to the booth, effectively shutting it down. While the military has become much more gay and lesbian friendly with the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, as well as with the repeal of section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, they are not yet Trans-Inclusive and the epidemic of sexual assaults make Pride's support of their recruiting presence questionable.



Turnkey Tyranny, Surveillance and the Terror State

Turnkey Tyranny, Surveillance and the Terror State
June 25, 2013

Trevor Paglen

We’re not moving toward a surveillance state; we live in the heart of one.

By exposing NSA programs like PRISM and Boundless Informant, Edward Snowden has revealed that we are not moving toward a surveillance state: we live in the heart of one. The 30-year-old whistleblower told The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald that the NSA’s data collection created the possibility of a “turnkey tyranny,” whereby a malevolent future government could create an authoritarian state with the flick of a switch. The truth is actually worse. Within the context of current economic, political and environmental trends, the existence of a surveillance state doesn’t just create a theoretical possibility of tyranny with the turn of a key—it virtually guarantees it.

For more than a decade, we’ve seen the rise of what we might call a “Terror State,” of which the NSA’s surveillance capabilities represent just one part. Its rise occurs at a historical moment when state agencies and programs designed to enable social mobility, provide economic security and enhance civic life have been targeted for significant cuts. The last three decades, in fact, have seen serious and consistent attacks on social security, food assistance programs, unemployment benefits and education and health programs. As the social safety net has shrunk, the prison system has grown. The United States now imprisons its own citizens at a higher rate than any other country in the world.


The next few decades will be decades of crisis.

Politicians claim that the Terror State is necessary to defend democratic institutions from the threat of terrorism. But there is a deep irony to this rhetoric. Terrorism does not pose, has never posed and never will pose an existential threat to the United States. Terrorists will never have the capacity to “take away our freedom.” Terrorist outfits have no armies with which to invade, and no means to impose martial law. They do not have their hands on supra-national power levers like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They cannot force nations into brutal austerity programs and other forms of economic subjugation. But while terrorism cannot pose an existential threat to the United States, the institutions of a Terror State absolutely can. Indeed, their continued expansion poses a serious threat to principles of democracy and equality.


A few statistics are telling: between 1992 and 2007, the income of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States rose by 392 percent. Their tax rate fell by 37 percent. Since 1979, productivity has risen by more than 80 percent, but the median worker’s wage has only gone up by 10 percent. This is not an accident. The evisceration of the American middle and working class has everything to do with an all-out assault on unions; the rewriting of the laws governing bankruptcy, student loans, credit card debt, predatory lending and financial trading; and the transfer of public wealth to private hands through deregulation, privatization and reduced taxes on the wealthy. The Great Divergence is, to put it bluntly, the effect of a class war waged by the rich against the rest of society, and there are no signs of it letting up.


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