NSA Whistleblower Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

I don’t know that I would go this far, even though I do think that Edward Snowden did the American people a favor by letting us know the extent to which our government was spying on us.

It is, however, an indicator of how at least some people in other countries feel about his actions that Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. If it does nothing else, the nomination — which probably has scant chance of ever being more than a nomination — demonstrates just what a rattrap our “representation” in Washington has become.

From USA Today:

STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Two Norwegian politicians have jointly nominated former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, saying his disclosures of secret U.S. documents have contributed to making the world more peaceful.

Anyone can be nominated for the prestigious award, so the submission Wednesday by Socialist lawmakers Baard Vegard Solhjell, a former environment minister, and Snorre Valen just means Snowden will be one of scores of names that the Nobel committee will consider.

“We do not necessarily condone or support all of his disclosures,” the two lawmakers said in their nomination letter. “We are, however, convinced that the public debate and changes in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

2013 Favs: He’s Got the Whole World

 

In his files

Obama

Candidate Barack Obama and President Barach Obama are two entirely different cats.

Of course, if you listen to the fine points of the statement in the second video below, you realize that he never really said what civil libertarians thought he said. He didn’t say he was going to stop surveilling the American people. However, he implied it throughout this speech, and that is what people heard.

We all have a tendency to fall for politicians’ carefully worded lying truths. We hear what we want to hear.

According to New Times articles the president is extending the electronic monitoring web to people overseas. Germany, for one, is not so sure they trust him as much as Americans evidently do.

Then, there’s the handy-dandy “computer facility” that the NSA is building in Utah. If you want to see why nobody will touch this, all you have to do is look at the “groundbreaking” photo. What you will see is power players, both Democrat and Republican, gathered together with their little shovels, around a sandbox.

As silly government photos go, this is one of the silliest I’ve seen in quite a while. But the game they are playing is a deadly earnest destruction of our liberties and freedoms.

What makes the photo explanatory rather than just silly is that these people with their shiny keepsake shovels represent the power of both political parties. Everybody is in the bag for this. The President has shrewdly made certain that both sides of any political argument are getting their fat juicy piece of the pie. By “informing” our duly elected representatives, he made everybody culpable.

If there was any sewing up that needed doing, he took care of that by building what Forbes calls “the NSA’s ridiculously expensive data center in Utah.”

Let’s think about this. Government finances are running so hot in the red zone, that our “duly elected representatives” (you know, the same folks who are in the bag for spying on the entire American populace) are saying that old folks should work until they drop because Social Security costs too much. These exact same duly elected representatives ponied up for this little deal out in the Utah desert.

Now who do you suppose is going to benefit from this?

Not the old folks, that’s for sure.

Not anybody who sends emails or talks on a phone. They’re all getting surveilled and their private thoughts are being stored away to be used against them whenever it works for the government to do so.

Not the tax payers. Tax payers don’t need a new bill to pay for storage for our emails and phone conversations.

Not those who want to be “safe.” Do you really think the government needs to store your conversations about last night’s sex or a complete record of all those porn sites you’ve visited in a vault to keep you safe? How does this keep you safe? And what if someone decides to use that stuff against you? What will keep you “safe” then?

If we’re not benefitting, who is?

If you want to know that, all you have to do is get a list of the contractors who are building this overpriced file cabinet and the contractors who will maintain it, etc, ad nauseum.

Now go to the boards and the interlocking boards of all the big media and you have the reason why they’re so in the bag for this deal.

The inside-the-curve corporations are holding a royal straight flush and they aren’t going to toss it away. All their puppet politicians they’ve invested a lot of scratch in getting elected are out there on this deal, and now, they’re getting a big payday on it in a direct fashion.

It’s called protect your political investment and cash in.

Who wins?

It isn’t us.

Who lied?

Watch the two videos below and judge for yourself.  Did he lie? Or did we just not listen closely enough?

 

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Judge Calls NSA Spying ‘Almost Orwellian’

A federal judge has ruled that the government’s latest sally into police statism is unconstitutional.

Calling the practice of sweeping every phone conversation of every American into a government database “almost Orwellian,” Judge Richard Leon ruled that it also violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Here, for those who’ve forgotten, is the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Reading that amendment, I can’t help but wonder if the founding fathers might not have agreed with Edward Snowden, the much-maligned, man-without-a-country whistleblower who made the American people aware of what was being done to them. Who, in the final analysis, is more dangerous to our freedoms? Is it Mr Snowden? Or, is it the people in our own government who are building a huge storage facility in Utah to house the data they’ve accumulated from turning every American citizen into a suspect?

Governments all over the world have complained about NSA spying on their citizens. But until Judge Leon stepped into the fray, the only one who was willing to take the risk of speaking up for the American people was one lone whistleblower.

From the Guardian:

A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the publication of the first surveillance disclosures by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was “almost Orwellian” in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be “aghast” at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans’ communications data.

The ruling, by the US district court for the District of Columbia, is a blow to the Obama administration, and sets up a legal battle that will drag on for months, almost certainly destined to end up in the supreme court. It was welcomed by campaigners pressing to rein in the NSA, and by Snowden, who issued a rare public statement saying it had vindicated his disclosures. It is also likely to influence other legal challenges to the NSA, currently working their way through federal courts.

The case was brought by Larry Klayman, a conservative lawyer, and Charles Strange, father of a cryptologist killed in Afghanistan when his helicopter was shot down in 2011. His son worked for the NSA and carried out support work for Navy Seal Team Six, the elite force that killed Osama bin Laden.

In Monday’s ruling, the judge concluded that the pair’s constitutional challenge was likely to be successful. In what was the only comfort to the NSA in a stinging judgment, Leon put the ruling on hold, pending an appeal by the government.

Leon expressed doubt about the central rationale for the program cited by the NSA: that it is necessary for preventing terrorist attacks. “The government does not cite a single case in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent terrorist attack,” he wrote.

How Does Spying on Pope Francis Keep Americans Safe?

 

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According to the Telegraph, the United States government spied on Pope Francis during the conclave preceding his election as pope.

I can think of only one reason to do something like this and that reason is schoolboy voyeurism. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again right now: We have elected people who do not belong in office.

Things have gotten so bad that the United Nations put out a story saying that the United States has pledged not to spy on them and the NSA is now saying that President Obama didn’t know they were spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Uh-huh. And Bill Clinton didn’t have sex with that woman, and Richard Nixon had no idea what was on that 18 minutes of blank tape.

Even some members of Congress are upset about all this spying on our allies.

Interestingly, even as the government skitters around, trying to cover its garbage, the spin machine is already beginning to churn out explanations as to why we are going to keep on doing it to “keep Americans safe.”

Boy in papal chair

Of course none of this explains why these dead-from-the-neck-ups need to spy on Pope Francis. Babies aren’t even afraid of Pope Francis. Little kids steal his chair and intellectually challenged people take over his popemobile.

Pope boy popemobile

There is no reason to be spying on Pope Francis, except, perhaps, his predilection for standing up for peace and the rights of poor people all over the world. That Jesus stuff can be, in fact always has been, revolutionary.

But, as the Communists learned when they bugged Cardinal Wojtyla in Poland, spying doesn’t intimidate the Holy Spirit.

I imagine these idiots have thoroughly embarrassed themselves by spying on the Pope. I also imagine that they will keep it up.

I don’t think they are going to stop until the people who pay the bills and write the laws stop them. That, in case you don’t know, would be Congress.

What’s missing in this whole thing is the representation that we the people deserve from those we have elected.  Nobody is speaking out for the American people. Why aren’t the people we sent to Washington to represent us in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives speaking up for our rights to privacy?

Why is it ok for our government to build a huge … spy thing … in Utah to house the information it has gleaned from listening in on our cell phones and reading our emails?

How long are we the people going to stand for this?

From The Telegraph:

The National Security Agency spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI, it was claimed on Wednesday.

The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.

The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.

The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.

 

At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.

To read another perspective, check out Frank Beckwith and Kathy Schiffer.

Update: NSA denies spying on Pope Francis.

Who Will Call Obama for Us?

Obamaphone

Would you like to call President Obama and demand that he stop tapping your phone?

Some people have done just that.

According to a New York Times article, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dialed up the president and angrily demanded assurance that he was not tapping her cell phone. French President Francois Hollande summoned the American Ambassador and expressed “extreme approbation” over NSA spying on French citizens.

It’s too bad we the people don’t have someone to make a similar call to the president for us.

Oh wait.

We do have someone.

We have our elected representatives in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. The only trouble is that they’re in the bag on the plans to spy on us, right along with the Orwellian press.

So … does that mean we don’t have anyone to speak out for us?

Yes. It does.

From the New York Times:

BERLIN — The diplomatic fallout from the documents harvested by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden intensified on Wednesday, with one of the United States’ closest allies, Germany, announcing that its leader had angrily called President Obama seeking reassurance that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap.
Washington hastily pledged that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, leader of Europe’s most powerful economy, was not the target of current surveillance and would not be in the future, while conspicuously saying nothing about the past. After a similar furor with France, the call was the second time in 48 hours that the president found himself on the phone with a close European ally to argue that the unceasing revelations of invasive American intelligence gathering should not undermine decades of hard-won trans-Atlantic trust.
Both episodes illustrated the diplomatic challenge to the United States posed by the cache of documents that Mr. Snowden handed to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. Last week, Mr. Greenwald concluded a deal with the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to build a new media platform that aims in part to publicize other revelations from the data Mr. Greenwald now possesses.The damage to core American relationships continues to mount.
Last month, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil postponed a state visit to the United States after Brazilian news media reports — fed by material from Mr. Greenwald — that the N.S.A. had intercepted messages from Ms. Rousseff, her aides and the state oil company, Petrobras. Recently, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which has said it has a stack of Snowden documents, suggested that United States intelligence had gained access to communications to and from President Felipe Calderón of Mexico when he was still in office.

Edward Snowden, Michael Hastings’ Too-Convenient Death and British Tyranny — What is Happening Here?

It began with a young man who decided that the American people had the right to know that their government had them under surveillance.

Not, mind you, that the government had possible criminals under court-ordered surveillance by virtue of having produced evidence of probable cause. Our government has been sweeping all of our emails and cell phone convos into a big database and sifting through it looking for crimes, potential crimes, or anything it deems “suspicious.”

In the brave new world of Fourth-Amendment?-What-Fourth-Amendment?-Patriot-Act-land, we’re all potential criminals and we’re all under government surveillance.

The amount of data that our government has swept into its intelligence gathering maw has become so vast (remember these are electronic 1 and 0s, not piles of space-consuming paper) that the NSA is building a gi-normous file cabinet in the Utah desert to warehouse it all.

The minute that this young man stepped up and made this information available to the general public, the government smear machine and its trusty operatives in the press (perhaps I should say, it’s trusty operative, the press) swung into action, claiming and proclaiming that this young man, Edward Snowden is his name, was the worst American traitor since Benedict Arnold.

There were, of course, outliers in the press who didn’t buy it. MichaelHastings was one of this hardy band of actual journalists who didn’t write his stories straight from White House press releases.

Shortly after giving this interview:

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Michael Hastings died in this car crash:

 

Michael Hastings Photo Crash Dead e1371661642849

The public was interested in Mr Hastings’ too convenient death until the same press that pushes the government line on us distracted the public with a trial about a shooting in Florida. This trial so transfixed the public that it completely forgot that Uncle Sam was watching its every move.

Unfortunately for the government, Mr Snowden decided to run rather than take his chances in a kangaroo court.

The president of the United States brought out all his big bully artillery and fired it off at every nation that might give Mr Snowden sanctuary. He huffed and he puffed and one by one the various nations put up the No Vacancy sign in front of Mr Snowden.

Russia finally took the wandering whistle-blower in, and President Obama promptly cancelled a scheduled G4 Summit talk with President Putin. I don’t know if President Putin cried himself to sleep that night or not. But I do know that the world is balanced on a razor’s edge. It might be nice if these two guys talked things over, even if President Putin is sheltering that dreadnought Snowden.

But then, that would presume that somebody involved in the government end of this mess actually cared about this country. It seems safe to say that they only care about covering their own backsides.

Meanwhile, our ally, the United Kingdom, decided to get into the act. Rather than huff and puff, they picked up their guns and clubs and went a-huntin’ and a-smashin’ in the offices of the British publication, The Guardian.

The Guardian had actually had the temerity to behave like a — I know this is hard to believe — member of the free press, and report Mr Snowden’s revelations about the work our governments were doing to put all of us on both sides of the Atlantic in the surveillance crosshairs.

The Brits, who are not troubled by niceties like First and Fourth Amendments, evidently took advantage of their government’s relative freedom to oppress its citizens and barged into The Guardian’s offices like Elliott Ness raiding a gin mill. They smashed computers and generally, as we say in these parts, tore up jack.

Of course, these tyrannical nitwits forgot (as tyrannical nitwits often do) the very essence of what they were dealing with. Evidently, nobody told them about backups.

I doubt that The Guardian lost a lot of data in this raid. But the British people lost a tremendous amount of freedom.

The question on this side of the Atlantic, not to even try to put it nicely, is did members of our government use the computer in Michael Hastings car to murder him because he was a danger to their careers?

It’s not even a question on the other side of the Atlantic. The answer is yes, the UK is in the bag for Obama and his spying on the populace of this country and probably theirs, as well. They don’t need a whistle blower to come forward and release evidence that their government has become a danger to the freedom of its citizens.

They went over to The Guardian’s offices and demonstrated that fact for all the world to see.

What is happening here?

Are we going to sit around and watch trashy televised trials and allow ourselves to be flim-flammed out of all our freedoms? Does anybody see how outrageous it is that the government has the entire American populace under surveillance?

I’ve run posts showing just how dishonest President Obama has been with the American people. Why, exactly, are they believing him now?

He’s got the whole world in his files.

That means you.

What happened in Britain isn’t a fluke. It’s a harbinger.

Shotguns, Flying Robots and the NSA

 

This well-produced video gives a funny twist to some serious problems.

I think my favorite is Vice President Biden.

Which one do you like best?

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