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Whatever you're doing today, make the time (it's about an hour) to watch this as soon as you can.  You won't regret it.  I can't remember the last time I've seen such a set of inspiring speeches.  Seriously, this is not just another speech.  I'm going to try to find the time to transcribe it today and do a separate post, if no one else has done so.

Glenn Greenwald Speaks Out (With Intro by Jeremy Scahill)

Published on Jun 28, 2013

Glenn Greenwald speaks via Skype to the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago regarding Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA's mass surveillance program. Introductions by Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and the filmmaker behind Dirty Wars, and Sherry Wolf, author of Sexuality and Socialism. #Socialism2013 #Snowden #NSA

Check out more audio and video recordings from the Socialism 2013 conference at

Guardian has a copy of the letter from 26 Senators in their document web app so you can see an image of the letter and an also access the plain text version of it for cut/paste excerpting.  As I've said before, I think Clapper was selected as the sacrificial lamb for all of this long ago, but he's still useful for putting more (dishonest?) information out to the public so that others don't have to do it and they are not finished with him yet.  That's just my guess.  I think others will end up retiring to spend more time with their families too, but Clapper might take the fall here and actually be prosecuted or something, for lying. Then again, maybe anything more than a retirement in disgrace (the powers that be think that is a severe enough punishment for egregious crimes while they throw the little guy in prison for much much less) is too much to expect from the American Stasi and the Obama aristocracy.
Senators' letter to US director of national intelligence James Clapper
Bipartisan group of 26 US senators complain that the Obama administration is relying on a 'body of secret law' to collect massive amounts of data on US citizens

The Honorable James R. Clapper
Director of National Intelligence
Washington, D.C. 2051 1

Dear Director Clapper:

Earlier this month, the executive branch acknowledged for the first time that the "business records" provision of the USA PATRIOT Act has been secretly reinterpreted to allow the government to collect the private records of large numbers of ordinary Americans. We agree that it is regrettable that this fact was first revealed through an unauthorized disclosure rather than an official acknowledgment by the administration, but we appreciate the comments that the President has made welcoming debate on this topic.

In our view, the bulk collection and aggregation of Americans' phone records has a significant impact on Americans' privacy that exceeds the issues considered by the Supreme Court in Smith v. Maryland. That decision was based on the technology of the rotary--dial era and did not address the type of ongoing, broad surveillance of phone records that the government is now conducting. These records can reveal personal relationships, family medical issues, political and religious affiliations, and a variety ofother private personal information. This is particularly true if these records are collected in a manner that includes cell phone locational data, effectively tuming Americans' cell phones into tracking devices. We are concemed that officials have told the press that the collection of this location data is currently authorized.


Chris Hayes kinda lets loose.
Unequal responses to leaked information
Chris Hayes points to the unequal and uneven response to leaked information that advances the Pentagon's agenda and leaked information that doesn't.

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Shane Harris and Noah Shachtman at Foreign Policy give us quite a bit of insight here.  Maybe it's just my ignorance or the fact that I am constantly trying to figure out who the good and trustworthy (not bought or cowed) journalists out there are, but Shane Harris was not on my radar before his recent story about the Snowden files.  He'll be on it from now on.  I was already familiar with Shachtman because of his ties with Spencer Ackerman, but I exercised caution with both of them until recently when Ackerman went to the Guardian.  This NSA Files project is making it very easy to separate the wheat from the chaff in the media world, social media and the blogging world.  Anyway, I was amazed to see them hint that this might be a set up on Cartwright, and to bring up the issue of John Brennan leaking about the other major deal that Obama wanted investigated (undiebomber 2.0 double/triple agent craziness) and then trying to blame it on the AP.  Is somebody who is still in an important position really responsible for this and trying to push it off on a retired Marine general who tended to clash with his peers in his attempt to keep us from escalating wars and getting into new ones?  If you read the last two paragraphs, you'll see that some members of the IC (acronym for intel community) thought it was a really good leak because it makes Iran think that we can f with them at any time.  But it really pissed off the president, and/or it really pissed of Israel, and somebody's head has to roll?  Curious, and really disgusting, if that is what is happening here.  If this is the case, I hope that Cartwright is able to shine a light on it.

I'm not fan of the Pentagon at large, but there have been times when officers of the military proper (not JSOC) have been far saner on war policy than the White House and the intel agencies that seem to drive it.  Sec. Gates was against the overthrow of the Libyan government disguised as a humanitarian intervention.  The Pentagon is fighting John Kerry and the Syrian war hawks right now, trying to keep us from marching into another disastrous war.   Several military brass stepped up during Netanyahu's last big push to bomb Iran, some months before the 2012 election.  I'm not sure who intervened back in the ~2007 when Cheney was on the Iran war path, and Sy Hersh wrote a blockbuster article about it.

A General Gets Knifed
The Obama administration's infighting suddenly goes public.

Cartwright has taken contrarian and politically risky positions on major policy decisions, most notably when he broke with many of his fellow generals and opposed a troop surge in Afghanistan. This brought him closer to the commander in chief (Cartwright had been called Obama's favorite general), but it alienated him from his own cohort, including David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal.
Cartwright is also vulnerable because -- conveniently -- he's no longer in government. The list of plausible leakers of Stuxnet includes senior White House officials and intelligence agency leaders. (Already, the mere possibility that national security advisor Tom Donilon might have been the Stuxnet leaker helped spoil any hope he had of becoming secretary of state.) No doubt the FBI investigators are professionals, not political creatures. But even professionals take into account Washington's architecture of power. Targeting a sitting official has to be done with care, since it would be politically devastating to an administration that already is on the defensive about other officials who might have disclosed sensitive information.

Take the current CIA director, John Brennan, for instance. He may have tipped TV pundits to the existence of a CIA mole in Yemen. Yet it's the Associated Press's reporting team that's coming under scrutiny for reporting on a CIA operation that foiled a bombing attempt -- even though the story in question was held at the agency's request.

This isn't the first time the knives have been out for Cartwright. He was the subject of a smear campaign around allegations of sexual indiscretion, which were later found not credible. He tweaked fellow officers by pushing a plan to refurbish ballistic missiles rather than build new bombers. He joined in the effort to stop the F-22 Raptor program and other sacred cows of Pentagon procurement. The break over Afghanistan didn't exactly help him win backers in his bid to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs. As much as Obama liked Cartwright, he knew that he had made too many enemies among the Pentagon brass to be an effective leader.

Looks like it may have been my Senator Menendez who pissed off Ecuador the most.

KBO's Belgian expat friend sent this to us.  Don't miss! (1.5 minutes)  This is a few months old but OMG, it's amazing.  I can't picture this happening here in the U.S. without risking Homeland Security and the riot police rushing in.

Onze helden zijn terug!


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.

Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest

The Evening Blues
Leak: Justice Department Memo Justifying Metadata Collection
US Army blocks access to Guardian UK, leak-related articles

More Tunes

Dixie Chicks - Everybody Knows

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