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Greenwald says that he spoke to Snowden on Saturday, for the first time since Snowden was in Hong Kong in June, and that Snowden is able to follow things online.

Glenn Greenwald: Snowden Encouraged by Global Outrage over NSA Spying, Support for His Plight

This is a big deal.  It's good that Greenwald is writing a column dedicated to this point.  This was just published (so new that there is still a typo in the subtitle of the article) so I've added this after publishing the diary here.  A number of people who have been on a smear campaign targeting Snowden and Greenwald have been making the claim that he gave his documents to China and Russia and therefore aided the enemy (capital offense) as if it was fact.  They will, of course, continue to do this since in some cases, it might be there job to do it, but at least now we have a definitive statement from Snowden denying it and so far, Snowden hasn't been proven wrong on anything that he has said or reveal, and that can't be said for the smear campaigners or the govt officials or the tech companies.  

I didn't realize that the NYT had said it too.  Wow.  If they are an organization with any integrity, they owe the public a full article about this.  Make a mental note of the journalists' names when things like this happen.  In this case the NYT article was written "by JANE PERLEZ and KEITH BRADSHER".  Except for the lead up to the Iraq war, I've never witnessed a better time to get a good sense of who is who in the media (and the blogosphere).

Greenwald also reports on a really interesting Quinnipiac poll.  

Snowden: I never gave any information to Chinese or Russian governments
As a new poll show widespread American approval for him, the NSA whistlelbower vehemently denies media claims

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in an interview on Saturday and then again Tuesday afternoon, vehemently denied media claims that he gave classified information to the governments of China or Russia. He also denied assertions that one or both governments had succeeded in "draining the contents of his laptops". "I never gave any information to either government, and they never took anything from my laptops", he said.

The extraordinary claim that China had drained the contents of Snowden's laptops first appeared in the New York Times in a June 24 article. The paper published the claim with no evidence and without any attribution to any identified sources.
[...]
Moreover, "the poll also showed that by 45 percent to 40 percent, respondents said the government goes too far in restricting civil liberties as part of the war on terrorism. That was a reversal from January 2010, when in a similar survey 63 percent said anti-terrorism activities didn't go far enough to protect the U.S. from attacks, compared with 25 percent who disagreed."

The polling firm's analyst, Peter Brown, provided some fascinating insight about these findings:

"The massive swing in public opinion about civil liberties and governmental anti-terrorism efforts, and the public view that Edward Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor, are the public reaction and apparent shock at the extent to which the government has gone in trying to prevent future terrorist incidents . . . .The verdict that Snowden is not a traitor goes against almost the unified view of the nation's political establishment "
Wikipedia has quite good entries on the FISA laws and the FISA court. I read them some time ago and I'm pretty sure that I wrote about Robertson, the single FISC judge to have resigned, so his name might be familiar to you.  Based on some statements he made, it was suspected that he resigned in protest but now we know that for sure. He resigned in 2005, and the program has only become worse since then after the FISA Amendments Act in 2008 and Obama's expansion of it.  Now that Snowden has released some FISA court documents, Robertson can, I assume, speak about some of the things he would not say in public before.  This could be incredibly valuable to the country.  You have to wonder about the kind of pressure he will be under though.  

Robertson talks about how a court must hear both sides of a case and that FISC does not. This is a point I've seen made here at dkos in comment sections and perhaps on Twitter, but I don't think I've seen it even once in MSM news.

US must fix secret Fisa courts, says top judge who granted surveillance orders
James Robertson breaks ranks and says he was shocked to hear of changes to allow broader authorisation of NSA programs

Speaking as a witness during the first public hearings into the Snowden revelations, Judge Robertson said that without an adversarial debate the courts should not be expected to create a secret body of law that authorised such broad surveillance programmes.

"A judge has to hear both sides of a case before deciding," he told members of a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) recently appointed by President Obama.

"What Fisa does is not adjudication, but approval. This works just fine when it deals with individual applications for warrants, but the 2008 amendment has turned the Fisa court into administrative agency making rules for others to follow."

"It is not the bailiwick of judges to make policy," he added.

The comments, during the morning session of a PCLOB public workshop held in a Washington hotel, are the most serious criticism yet from a recently serving Fisa judge.

Now about that public hearing and the PCLOB board. Remember what we found out about them a week or so ago?  They have no staff. They have a placeholder office on K street that a security guard in the building says is never used.  The staff that supports this board resides in James Clapper's office and the board is supposed to be overseeing him.
Egypt: interim presidency appoints PM and vice-president
Army says it is determined to tackle challenges facing country, while warning against political 'manoeuvring'

Egypt's military-backed interim presidency moved to implement a speedy transition to civilian rule yesterday, appointing the economist Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister and the internationally known opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, as vice-president.

In a tense atmosphere after the killing of 55 supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, and threats of fresh mass protests by his supporters, the army also warned against political "manoeuvring" at a time of instability and anxiety – apparently to forestall more squabbling about other cabinet posts.

Moon of Alabama, yesterday
Egypt: Today's Developments

Saudi Arabia and the UAE promised $8 billion, partly as gift, partly as loan, for the Egyptian state and economy. The lasted offer from Qatar before the coup against Morsi was $5 billion. Egypt should reject all such offers.

Twenty-two AlJazeerah staff have resigned over the channels partisan pro-Muslim Brotherhood reporting on Egypt.
[...]
Over night the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces put out a new constitutional declaration and the path to a rewritten constitution and new elections. [...] It is not good on rights and vague on essentials. The winner here are the judges, the military and the Salafis. There were some rather candid comments about this process and the "liberal" organizers of the protests that brought the coup called it "dictatorial".

I've read (or perhaps it was in a comment) that the last straw for Morsi was when he called for Egypt intervention to overthrow Assad in Syria.  This is Harper at Col. Pat Lang's site, talking about Turkey.
HARPER: ERDOGAN'S FOLLY

When Erdogan took the lead in demanding the ouster of Syrian President Assad, everything changed.  Rather than continuing with the successful foreign and economic policy of non-aggression and non-interference, Turkey jumped out ahead of everyone in pressing for rapid regime change next door in Damascus.  It may be fairly said that Erdogan adopted this aggressive posture, throwing his entire foreign policy success out the window, at the behest of Washington and Riyad.  Obama, who counts Erdogan among his few close friends among foreign leaders, pressed for the Turkish leader to lead the way to Assad's rapid ouster.  There was a strong implication that Washington had his back covered.  Big mistake!

Col. Pat Lang says that the recent NYT reporting about how Obama might pull completely out of Afghanistan because he and Karzai are not getting along, a "farce".  I had a similar suspicion and believe this is more about securing immunity for our troops post 2014 and about pressuring Karzai to do what we want him to do.
The "Zero Option" is the only realistic option

The truth is that Karzai (or any other Afghan likely to be in power) will seek to exploit the resources of the United States as long as possible while denying cooperation with ever greater frequency as the end of US presence approaches.

In the end the Afghans hold the "trump card" in this game in that they can simply refuse to grant legal extra-territoriality to US forces after 2014.  

Obama should end this farce,  pl

Anonymous Exposes U.S.’s Biggest Private Prison Company As a Bad Financial Investment

The oldest and largest for-prison company is not what it would have you believe, at least according to Anonymous. A faction of the hacktivist group released a report this morning concluding that the publicly traded prison operator Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is not an efficient, profitable free-market solution -- but a bad investment for shareholders.

Companies like CCA currently profit from America's addiction to incarceration – converting a bloody trail of prison riots, deaths, and general human misery into black balance sheets. The conventional financial wisdom is that CCA will be reliably profitable in the future because of its strong history of growth over the past thirty years. But this growth has been fueled by an historical anomaly. Between 1970 and 2005, the U.S. prison population grew by 700 percent, far outpacing both population growth and crime. As a result, our country now has 5% of the world's population but 25% of the world's prisoners.



Action



PETITION WRITTEN BY DANIEL ELLSBERG, THE WHISTLEBLOWER BEHIND THE PENTAGON PAPERS

We need a new Church Committee that is fully empowered to investigate the abuses of the NSA and make public its findings, and that is charged with recommending new laws to ensure the U.S. government does not violate our constitutional rights.

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
Demand Answers Now (EFF petition)


Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


The Evening Blues

Go have a look at this Tumblr site with pictures of Ramadan celebration by Occupy Gezi.

Snowden's numbers are holding in the polls, despite the reporting in the media and widespread smear campaigns.

Looks like Greenwald and Serwer have patched it up.  It would be good if Serwer's father would not complicate things for him, or if he does, if Serwer would not jump in and defend the pot shots.  Just my opinion. That whole thing was really embarrassing.  Twitter never ceases to amaze, or rather the way that high profile people "blurt" things out that they later regret.  Publicists hate Twitter.



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Better Together- Jack Johnson

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