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News & Opinion


Op Ed by Daniel Ellsberg.

Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S.

Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

After the New York Times had been enjoined from publishing the Pentagon Papers — on June 15, 1971, the first prior restraint on a newspaper in U.S. history — and I had given another copy to The Post (which would also be enjoined), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for 13 days. My purpose (quite like Snowden’s in flying to Hong Kong) was to elude surveillance while I was arranging — with the crucial help of a number of others, still unknown to the FBI — to distribute the Pentagon Papers sequentially to 17 other newspapers, in the face of two more injunctions. The last three days of that period was in defiance of an arrest order: I was, like Snowden now, a “fugitive from justice.”

Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn’t have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind.

This is a must read.  Obviously I'm not a fan of al Shabab (understatement).  The defense contractors role and activities here are things we all should read about, and the fine line, blurry line really, that is drawn between journalism and terrorism support.  This is a long article, four pages, but a fast read.  Also, what is a "domestic emergency" and is it still in effect right now and does that allow our military to operate psyops on US web sites and social media right now? My understanding is that we are still technically in a national state of emergency.
Somali American caught up in a shadowy Pentagon counterpropaganda campaign

The popularity of the site, Somalimidnimo.com, or United Somalia, also attracted the attention of the Defense Department. A military contractor, working for U.S. Special Operations forces to “counter nefarious influences” in Africa, began monitoring the Web site and compiled a confidential research dossier about its founder and its content.
[...]
In its written analysis of his Web site, Navanti Group identified “opportunities” to conduct “Military Information Support Operations,” more commonly known as psychological operations, or “psy-ops,” that would target Somali audiences worldwide. The report did not go into details, but it recommended that the U.S. military consider a “messaging campaign” by repeating comments posted on the United Somalia Web site by readers opposed to al-Shabab.

Military propaganda and the spread of disinformation are as old as war itself, but commanders usually confined the tactics to war zones.
[...]
In the past, psychological operations usually meant dropping leaflets or broadcasting propaganda on the battlefield. Today, the military is more focused on manipulating news and commentary on the Internet, especially social media, by posting material and images without necessarily claiming ownership.
[...]
The Pentagon is legally prohibited from conducting psychological operations at home or targeting U.S. audiences with propaganda, except during “domestic emergencies.” Defense Department rules also forbid the military from using psychological operations to “target U.S. citizens at any time, in any location globally, or under any circumstances.”

Last year, however, two USA Today journalists were targeted in an online propaganda campaign after they revealed that the Pentagon’s top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan owed millions of dollars in back taxes. A co-owner of the firm later admitted that he established fake Web sites and used social media to attack the journalists anonymously.
[...]
“Their research was partial, unprofessional and with malicious intent,” he said of Navanti. “I took it as a personal threat and betrayal of freedom of speech.”
[...]
Around the same time, FBI agents visited Warsame’s apartment and later phoned him, asking to meet. “I said, ‘I don’t want to talk to you without a lawyer,’ ” he recalled saying. He consulted a federal public defender and a private lawyer.

New story in the Guardian.
NSA and GCHQ spy programmes face legal challenge
Privacy campaigners file claim saying laws used to justify data trawling by Prism and Tempora programmes are being abused

Papers filed on Monday call for an immediate suspension of Britain's use of material from the Prism programme, which is run by America's National Security Agency.

They also demand a temporary injunction to the Tempora programme, which allows Britain's spy centre GCHQ to harvest millions of emails, phone calls and Skype conversations from the undersea cables that carry internet traffic in and out of the country.

Lawyers acting for the UK charity Privacy International say the programme is not necessary or proportionate. They say the laws being used to justify mass data trawling are being abused by intelligence officials and ministers, and need to be urgently reviewed.

Privacy Group to Ask Supreme Court to Stop N.S.A.’s Phone Spying Program

WASHINGTON — A privacy rights group plans to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Monday asking it to stop the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.

The group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says it is taking the extraordinary legal step of going directly to the Supreme Court because the sweeping collection of the phone records of American citizens has created “exceptional circumstances” that only the nation’s highest court can address.

Spitzer is back?  Also, remember that there are still questions about the take down of Spitzer and how the govt got some of the information that was used to investigate him.  Was the massive dragnet used?
Spitzer Rejoins Politics, Asking for Forgiveness

Eliot Spitzer, who resigned as governor of New York five years ago amid a prostitution scandal, is re-entering political life, with a run for the citywide office of comptroller and a wager that voters are ready to look past his previous misconduct.
[...]
His decision startled the city’s political establishment, which is already unsettled by the rapid rise of Mr. Weiner, who also plunged into a campaign without party elders’ blessing.

Brotherhood Says U.S. Diplomats Urged It to Accept Ouster of Morsi

CAIRO — As the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies vowed to broaden their protests against the president’s ouster and their opponents held enormous counterdemonstrations, American diplomats sought to persuade the Islamist group to accept his overthrow, its officials said.

Continuing a push for accommodation that began before the removal of President Mohamed Morsi last week, the American diplomats contacted Brotherhood leaders to try to persuade them to re-enter the political process, an Islamist briefed on one of the conversations said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

“They are asking us to legitimize the coup,” the Islamist said, arguing that accepting the removal of an elected president would be the death of Egyptian democracy. The United States Embassy in Cairo declined to comment.

Deadly Derailment in Quebec Underlines Oil Debate

The derailment and explosions, which took place around 1:15 a.m. on Saturday, underscored a debate in the effort to transport North America’s oil across long distances: is it safer and less environmentally destructive to move huge quantities of crude oil by train or by pipeline?

Visiting the town on Sunday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper compared it to a “war zone.”
[...]
Both the Canadian National Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway have extensive rail networks into the United States and have been promoting what the industry often calls a “pipeline on rails” to serve the oil sands. Mark Hallman, a spokesman for Canadian National, said the railway moved 5,000 carloads of crude oil to the United States from Canada in 2011, increased that amount to 30,000 carloads in 2012 and “believes it has the scope to double this business in 2013.”

Okay this is what we need more of, specific cases, to drive this home for the public who are a bit befuddled about all of it at the moment.
NYC CASES SHOW CROOKED COPS' ABUSE OF FBI DATABASE

NEW YORK (AP) — It's billed by the FBI as "the lifeline of law enforcement" — a federal database used to catch criminals, recover stolen property and even identify terrorism suspects.

But authorities say Edwin Vargas logged onto the restricted system and ran names for reasons that had nothing to do with his duties as a New York Police Department detective. Instead, he was accused in May of looking up personal information on two fellow officers without their knowledge.

The allegation against Vargas is one of a batch of corruption cases in recent years against NYPD officers accused of abusing the FBI-operated National Crime Information Center database to cyber snoop on co-workers, tip off drug dealers, stage robberies and — most notoriously — scheme to abduct and eat women.

We had this information months ago here in What's Happenin'. The information came out of a leaked DoD inspector general report that was later modified and released.  It was in the same report about CIA collaboration with Mark Boals for Zero Dark Thirty and how Leon Panetta wanted Robert DeNiro to play him in the movie. At the end of that report was this bit about McRaven moving pictures and info about the bin Laden raid to avoid FOIA requests.  Marcy Wheeler wrote about it too, several times. MSM is catching up now.
SECRET MOVE KEEPS BIN LADEN RECORDS IN THE SHADOWS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's top special operations commander ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.

The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon's inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the Freedom of Information Act.

An acknowledgement by Adm. William McRaven of his actions was quietly removed from the final version of an inspector general's report published weeks ago. A spokesman for the admiral declined to comment. The CIA, noting that the bin Laden mission was overseen by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta before he became defense secretary, said that the SEALs were effectively assigned to work temporarily for the CIA, which has presidential authority to conduct covert operations.

Man catches plane crash on camera
Fred Hayes filmed the Asiana Airlines plane crash at San Francisco International Airport.

Déraillement de train à Lac-Megantic


Action



Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.

Massive Spying Program Exposed
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