No one is more conscious of the carnage being wreaked on First Amendment rights than Edward Snowden. From Adam Dick at ronpaulinstitute.org:
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has been silenced. Assange was prevented from communicating with the outside world in his final 13 months at the Ecuador embassy in London, where he had obtained sanctuary from extradition to the United States. The silencing has continued in a British prison where Assange has been detained pending extradition to the US since British police forcibly removed him from the embassy in April.
Similarly, communication by Chelsea Manning has been much curtailed after Manning reveled United States military secrets. First, Manning served seven years in United States military prison after being convicted for the leak. Released from prison in 2017, Manning has been condemned to jail for most of the time since March of this year for refusing to testify for a grand jury involved in the US government’s effort to prosecute Assange. Continue reading →
In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global.
The Deep State has embarked on a ruthless, take-no-prisoners, all-out assault on truth-tellers.
Activists, journalists and whistleblowers alike are being terrorized, traumatized, tortured and subjected to the fear-inducing, mind-altering, soul-destroying, smash-your-face-in tactics employed by the superpowers-that-be.
The differences between real whistleblowers and pseudo-whistleblowers, from Karen Kwiatkowski at lewrockwell.com:
Ed Snowden’s new book “Permanent Record” is out. A friend of mine sent me this non-review review by Paul Davis. As with so many things, the Washington Times is wrong about Ed Snowden too.
The Times is in a strange competition with its similarly flawed near-peer, the Post, to be the DC voice for more war, more government, more surveillance, and more prisons. These elite mouthpieces surely sense that most people don’t actually like war, government, surveillance and prisons. They also sense that those folks are not buying their papers, and thus the editors remain heavily focused on the elites crowded inside the beltway. This convergence allows us a great deal of insight into the minds of our would-be rulers, and I thank both papers for their contribution to our study.
Edward Snowden apparently supports Julian Assange in principle, but doesn’t approve of or like him personally. From Patrick Anderson at mintpressnews.com:
There is an unquestionable contradiction between Snowden’s opposition to Assange’s arrest and the rhetorical games he plays with Assange’s character in his memoir, Permanent Record.
SA whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks’ former editor Julian Assange have a complicated relationship. On the one hand, they share important similarities: both are perceived as dangerous enemies by the United States government, and both have been documentary subjects of filmmaker Laura Poitras. On the other hand, they clearly disagree when it comes to the means of achieving government transparency and accountability. After all, if Snowden had agreed with Assange about publishing practices, it is likely that he would have followed Chelsea Manning’s example and sent the NSA documents he collected and disclosed in 2013 to WikiLeaks.
The recent publication of Permanent Record, Snowden’s 336-page memoir, takes the Snowden-Assange dynamic to new—and problematic—heights. When Assange was forcibly dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy in early 2019, Snowden was among the leading voices condemning the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder, calling it a dangerous assault on journalism. But in his memoir, Snowden uses rhetorical tricks to present Assange and WikiLeaks as his deceitful and irresponsible foils in a blatant and seemingly self-serving effort to highlight his own trustworthiness and accountability. Indeed, reviewers at the Washington Post and New Yorkerhave alreadyseized upon Snowden’s anti-Assange rhetoric to serve their own anti-Assange agendas.
The truth is no more welcomed by the US government now than it was by the Soviet government after Chernobyl. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet seen the excellent HBO miniseries Chernobyl and might yet do so, you might want to wait to read this article until after you have seen the series, as it contains spoilers.
The five-part series documents the catastrophic nuclear explosion that took place at a nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, an event that threatened the lives and health of millions of people, not only in the Soviet Union but also in Europe. The series documents the heroic life-endangering efforts of thousands of people in an effort to resolve the crisis with the least amount of damage and loss of life.
The most powerful part of the series occurs in part 5.
Whenever power plant officials conducted tests on the system, everyone knew that there was a failsafe button in the event that everything went wrong with the test and an explosion became imminent. All that the power plant people had to do was push the failsafe button and the entire plant would come to a halt. The reason was that the button activated the introduction of control rods containing boron into the fissioning uranium, which would cause the entire system to be immediately shut down.
To save money, Soviet officials had used graphite in the rods. In the 1970s, a Soviet nuclear scientist wrote an article stating that the graphite would serve as an accelerator, not a suppressant, of an impending nuclear explosion. He wrote that it was imperative that all the control rods be replaced immediately.
Never before has some much information about individuals been collected by businesses and governments. It’s virtually everything of any significance anybody does, says, or communicates. From Andrea Germanys at commondreams.org:
Edward Snowden speaking via livestream on May 30, 2019 at Dalhousi University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Screengrab/Vimeo)
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said Thursday that people in systems of power have exploited the human desire to connect in order to create systems of mass surveillance.
Snowden appeared at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia via livestream from Moscow to give a keynote address for the Canadian university’s Open Dialogue Series.
Right now, he said, humanity is in a sort of “atomic moment” in the field of computer science.
“We’re in the midst of the greatest redistribution of power since the Industrial Revolution, and this is happening because technology has provided a new capability,” Snowden said.
“It’s related to influence that reaches everyone in every place,” he said. “It has no regard for borders. Its reach is unlimited, if you will, but its safeguards are not.”
Without such defenses, technology is able to affect human behavior.
The freedom of the press in the colonies, now under assault in the Julian Assange case, predates the establishment of the United States. From Dave Lindorff at counterpunch.org:
The trial, as imagined by an illustrator in the book Wall Street in History – Public Domain
Here in this ultra-modern city on the coast of southern China, I read in the morning paper that 11 consulates representing most of the nations of Europe, have lodged protests with the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor over a controversial new extradition bill that if passed would allow Hong Kong to extradite suspects to nations with which Hong Kong does not have an extradition deal. That would include China (a country of which Hong Kong is an integral part while still retaining local control over such things as its legal system which remains based upon British Common Law, not Chinese law).
I was not surprised to see that the US Consulate here in Hong Kong did not join in the protest against the new bill.
After all, the US is itself clearly flouting the extradition treaty it signed in 2003 with the UK, which states that neither nation will extradite to the other anyone who faces politically motivated prosecution. Yet just this past week, the US filed 17 charges of violation of the hoary US Espionage Act, a measure enacted by Congress in 1917 during the First World War that has rarely been used since then and that is widely viewed as designed to target political opponents of the government.
If the Trump administration prosecutes Assange and Snowden, Gabbard will pick up some Trump voters. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:
In midst of an interesting and wide-ranging discussion on the Joe Rogan Experience, Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard said that if elected president she would drop all charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
“What would you do about Julian Assange? What would you do about Edward Snowden?” Rogan asked in the latter part of the episode.
“As far as dropping the charges?” Gabbard asked.
“If you’re president of the world right now, what do you do?”
“Yeah, dropping the charges,” Gabbard replied.
Rogan noted that Sweden’s preliminary investigation of rape allegations has just been re-opened, saying the US government can’t stop that, and Gabbard said as president she’d drop the US charges leveled against Assange by the Trump administration.
The west is now persecuting people who disclose secrets not vital to national security but embarrassing to governments, and people who make politically incorrect arguments. From Allum Bokhari at breitbart.com:
We’re used to Russian dissidents, Chinese dissidents, Iranian dissidents, and Saudi Arabian dissidents. But those who rightly believe the west is superior to authoritarian regimes must now contend with a troubling trend — the rise of the western dissident.
Chief among them is Julian Assange, who for a half-decade has been forced to live in the tiny Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has claimed political asylum since 2011. Assange claimed that he would be extradited to the U.S. to face charges over his work at WikiLeaks if he left the embassy, and was routinely mocked as paranoid for doing so.
This week, we learned that Assange was right and his critics were wrong. Thanks to a clerical error by the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Virginia, reporters were able to confirm the existence of sealed criminal charges against the WikiLeaks founder.
Because the charges are sealed and the evidence is unknown, it’s impossible to say if the case has merit. But it likely relates to WikiLeaks’ release of unredacted diplomatic cables in 2011, which forced the U.S. to relocate several of its foreign sources.
Edward Snowden has been in Russia for five years now. He and Julian Assange are giants in an age of Lilliputians. From Seraphim Hanisch at theduran.com:
TASS reported that August 1 was the five year anniversary of Edward Snowden’s being granted temporary asylum in the Russian Federation. This happened after his release of an enormous trove of information showing clandestine and illegal practices being carried out by the US intelligence agencies to gather information on just about anyone in the world, for any – or no – reason at all.
Edward Snowden, 35, is a computer security expert. In 2005-2008, he worked at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA) and at the global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. In 2007, Snowden was stationed with diplomatic cover at the US mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2009, he resigned from the CIA to join the Dell company that sent him to Hawaii to work for the NSA’s information-sharing office. He was particularly employed with the Booz Allen Hamilton consulting firm.
In June 2013, Snowden leaked classified information to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, which revealed global surveillance programs run by US and British intelligence agencies. He explained the move by saying that he wanted to tell the world the truth because he believed such large-scale surveillance on innocent citizens was unacceptable and the public needed to know about it.
The Guardian and The Washington Post published the first documents concerning the US intelligence agencies’ spying on Internet users on June 6, 2013. According to the documents, major phone companies, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint Nextel, handed records of their customers’ phone conversations over to the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who also had direct access to the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, Paltalk, AOL and Apple. In addition, Snowden’s revelations showed that a secret program named PRISM was aimed at collecting audio and video recordings, photos, emails and information about users’ connections to various websites.
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