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Snowden Spills: Infamous Whistleblower Opines On Spycraft, AI, And Being Suicided

Snowden Spills: Infamous Whistleblower Opines On Spycraft, AI, And Being Suicided

Edward Snowden has finally laid it all out – documenting his memoires in a new 432-page book, Permanent Record, which will be published worldwide on Tuesday, September 17. 

Meeting with both The Guardian and Spiegel Online in Moscow as part of its promotion, the infamous whistleblower spent nearly five hours with the two media outlets – offering a taste of what’s in the book, details on his background, and his thoughts on artificial intelligence, facial recognition, and other intelligence gathering tools coming to a dystopia near you. 

While The Guardian interview is ‘okay,’ scroll down for the far more interesting Spiegel interview, where Snowden goes way deeper into his cloak-and-dagger life, including thoughts on getting suicided. 

Manufacturing Slump May Spill Over Into Services: Continuum Economics

First, The Guardian:

Snowden describes in detail for the first time his background, and what led him to leak details of the secret programmes being run by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s secret communication headquarters, GCHQ.

He describes the 18 years since the September 11 attacks as “a litany of American destruction by way of American self-destruction, with the promulgation of secret policies, secret laws, secret courts and secret wars”.

Snowden also said: “The greatest danger still lies ahead, with the refinement of artificial intelligence capabilities, such as facial and pattern recognition.

An AI-equipped surveillance camera would be not a mere recording device, but could be made into something closer to an automated police officer.”  –The Guardian

Other notables from the Guardian interview: 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Doubts at the NSA: Shelving a Mass Surveillance Program

Doubts at the NSA:  Shelving a Mass Surveillance Program

Earlier this year, Luke Murry, national security adviser for Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, revealed that the National Security Agency had been averse over the last six months to using the phone surveillance program that hoovers information from millions of US phone calls and text messages.  This was hardly a comforting point; the issue spoke as much to competence as it did to any broader issue of warrantless surveillance of the good people in Freedom’s land.  Vast, cumbersome, and generally self-defeating, the essence of such programs is paranoid inefficiency.  Put it down to “technical issues”, suggested Murry.

The Call Details Records (CDR) program, hostile to liberties in its warrantless nature, has been a fixture of the US security landscape since 2001, when that nasty piece of legislation known as the USA PATRIOT ACT found its way onto the statue books.  The program was given legal approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to Section 215 of that dastardly piece of penmanship.

The extent of its operation was unveiled in dramatic fashion by Edward Snowden to media outlets in 2013, the surveillance system specific to gathering the metadata of domestic phone calls, a mosaic of caller, recipient and time of contact, has been the subject of scrutiny. There are numerous others, but this one came in for special attention.

As Elliot Harmer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, “While these records don’t contain the actual contents of telephone calls, they do include phone numbers and call times and length – more than enough information to prove the NSA with a clear picture of our social relationships, interests and affiliations.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

The Price of Participating in Society is the Sacrifice of Privacy and Self

In what is arguably one of the most craven opportunistic moves by a business/media group to increase its circulation/profitability, on 10 April the New York Times (NYT) embarked on what it describes as its Privacy ProjectA day later on 11 April, no doubt with the NYT’s foreknowledge of what was to come thanks to an unofficial US government tip, Ecuador revoked Julian Assange’s (Wikileaks founder) asylum in its UK Embassy and fed him to the British Police dogs eagerly awaiting to arrest him and dump him in jail.

In May 2017 I wrote that Assange was doomed from the get-go to be arrested and handed over to the US Government and that it would only be a matter of time before Edward Snowden befell a similar fate.

Chelsea Manning’s leaked information made WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, a household name. It also made them permanent enemies of the US State. In 2010, Assange released a video that he called Collateral Murder. The video shows an airstrike in which Iraqi journalists are killed. Other releases based on Manning’s leak were known as the Afghan Diary and Iraq War Logs. The diplomatic cables exposed some of the silly machinations of the US State Department and the over classification of documents.

Meanwhile, mainstream media (MSM) outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post feasted on the leaks and gave them prominent coverage daily, even as they excoriated Assange and his merry band of leakers. The MSM believes that WikiLeaks is not “real” journalism even as they used the classified material Assange provided to bolster their subscription numbers. Aren’t they accessories to Assange’s crime? Apparently they are not.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Warning Mr. Trump

Warning Mr. Trump

Pablo Picasso Crucifixion 1930

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500.

Mr. President,

I write to you because I’m seeing something unfold that concerns you, and I have no way of knowing if you’re aware of it, nor have I seen anyone else mention it. That is, sir, you are being set up, a trap is being set for you, and unless you are aware of it, you may well walk into that trap eyes wide open.

It may not be in your briefing this morning, but the WikiLeaks organization has reported that high-ranking Ecuadorean state officials have told them Julian Assange will be expelled from their London embassy in a matter of “hours to days”. Now, I don’t know what your personal opinion is of Mr. Assange, maybe you think he deserves punishment for leaking secret files to the public.

Your personal opinion of Mr. Assange, however, is not the most important issue here, no offense. What’s most important to your own situation, as well as that of Mr. Assange, is that the people who are after him are the very same people who have been after you for 3 years, and who will double their efforts after suffering a huge loss due to Robert Mueller’s No Collusion report.

What the trap set for you consists of is that if you let these -largely anonymous- deep state actors get their hands on Mr. Assange, you will greatly empower them (even further). But, sir, his enemies inside US intelligence are the same as yours, and empowering one’s enemies is not the way to do battle.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Whistleblowers say NSA still spies on American phones in hidden program

Whistleblowers say NSA still spies on American phones in hidden program

Meanwhile, the bulk of the NSA’s surveillance and “offensive” information warfare capabilities remain completely unknown

On Monday 4th, the New York Times reported that the National Security Agency has “quietly” shut down a controversial phone records surveillance program revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

The claim was made by a senior Republican congressional aide who told the newspaper that the Trump administration had stopped using the program, which analyses the domestic call and text logs of American citizens, due to technical problems.

On Twitter Snowden hailed the news as a “victory”, while Intercept journalist Glen Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story to international acclaim, took the story at face value. Neither of them raised the obvious question — is the “shut down” of this program merely a smokescreen to continue spying on American phones under new or different secretive programs?

I used to take a victory lap every time one of these stories came out. It felt good to see history vindicate my decision to expose the government’s wrongdoing. Nowadays I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to speak up. If only I hadn’t been so afraid.https://www.politics/nsa-phone-records-program-shut-down.html 

Since then, further doubt was cast on the NYT report when NSA chief General Paul Nakasone refused to confirm or deny the story. But he did tell a major security conference on Wednesday that the agency was still “in a deliberative process” about whether to use a revamped version of the vast database of American phone records.

All of this, however, is an elaborate ruse. According to two former top NSA officials interviewed by INSURGE, there is no credible reason to believe that NSA phone surveillance has truly been shut down.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

NSA Abandons Part Of Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden

NSA Abandons Part Of Mass Surveillance Program Exposed By Snowden

The National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly abandoned part of their infamous surveillance apparatus exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden, and used for the mass collection of Americans’ communications records; including phone logs, metadata and text messages. 

The New York Times noted that House minority leader national security adviser Luke Murry told The Lawfare Podcast that the NSA “hasn’t actually been using it for the past six months,” and that he’s “not certain that the [Trump] administration will want to start that back up” (despite collecting 530 million US phone records in 2017)

Keep in mind, the NYT report isn’t claiming the NSA has abandoned other programs such as XKeyscore – which the agency uses to search and analyze global internet data. When asked by German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” Edward Snowden replied: 

You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.

… You can tag individuals … Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity. –Edward Snowden

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Technology: Distracting, Disturbing, Deceiving & Deluding Ourselves to Death

TECHNOLOGY: DISTRACTING, DISTURBING, DECEIVING & DELUDING OURSELVES TO DEATH

“What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. 

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture-death is a clear possibility.” ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Image result for huxley amusing ourselves to death

Something as mundane as using the restroom at work sometimes ends up triggering deeper thoughts about technology – its benefits, deficiencies and danger to our culture. I’ve been using the same restroom at work for the last twelve years. They remodeled the restroom a few years ago with the latest technology – automatic flushers, automatic soap dispensers, automatic spigots, and automatic towel dispenser. This technology is supposed to make things better, but from my perspective the technology just added complexity, glitches and unnecessary complications.

First off, these technological “improvements” did not eliminate any humans from the equation. The housekeepers responsible for the restrooms continued to be employed. Prior to the remodel they would fill a metal bin with individual paper towels and fill the soap dispenser with liquid soap. Now they have to insert a roll of paper towels in the electronic dispenser and a cartridge of soap in the electronic soap dispenser.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

How the FBI Silences Whistleblowers

Speaking truth to power has ruined Darin Jones, a former FBI contract specialist who reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties. He should be the last federal whistleblower victimized, writes John Kiriakou.


The idea of “whistleblowing” has been in the news a great deal.

Is the anonymous author of a recent New York Times op-ed eviscerating the president a whistleblower?

Is the victim of an alleged sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a whistleblower?

I’m fortunate to have access to the media to talk about torture after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s program. I think Ed Snowden, Tom Drake and others would say the same thing about the aftermath of their own whistleblowing.

Cost of Doing the Right Thing

The problem is that we are the exception to the rule. Most whistleblowers either suffer in anonymity or are personally, professionally, socially and financially ruined for speaking truth to power. Darin Jones is one of those people. He’s one of the people silenced in Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers. And he continues to suffer under Donald Trump.

Jones was an FBI supervisory contract specialist who in 2012 reported evidence of serious procurement improprieties to his superior. Jones maintained that Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) had been awarded a $40 million contract improperly because a former FBI official with responsibility for granting the contract then was hired as a consultant at CSC. Jones said, rightly, that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act. He made seven other disclosures alleging financial improprieties in the FBI, and he was promptly fired for his troubles.

Remember, the United States has a Whistleblower Protection Act.  Any federal employee who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety is protected under federal statute.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Being Julian Assange

Being Julian Assange

As Julian Assange’s fate may soon be resolved, here’s an in-depth look at the history of WikiLeaks, the infiltration of activist communities and the strength & vulnerability of the world-changing publisher whose freedom is at stake, by Suzie Dawson.


Certain journalists would consult an almanac for Washington DC on the night of the 2016 election, and begin this article with a few picturesque, scene-setting words about the chill winds whipping the capital as it lay poised, awaiting the results with bated breath.

But I have more respect for my readers than that.

So I’ll cut to the chase.

That Election

In 2016 an accused serial sexual predator ran for the US presidency against the notoriously corrupt wife of a previously impeached President – who is also an accused serial sexual predator.

That these facts alone were insufficient to invalidate the entire race is testament to the audacity with which corrupt power operates in the West, and how conditioned the public is to consuming the warped byproducts of its naked machinations.

Arguably the most contentious election in recent history, the accused serial sexual predator won.

During the race, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange aptly described the two candidates as “cholera vs gonorrhoea.” Edward Snowden ran a Twitter poll asking his followers whether they would rather vote for a “calculating villain”, an “unthinking monster” or “literally anyone else”. 67% chose the latter. Yet those who didn’t want to be forced into a false choice between Clinton or Trump became the forgotten voices, the silent majority; largely excluded from the endless, vapid mainstream media debates about the outcome.

Julian and Edward’s descriptors were flawless metaphors for the Presidential contestants; cartoon-like characters that when paired together and portrayed as a legitimate democratic choice, made a mockery of the entire concept of political representation.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Edward Snowden: 5 years in Russia and still relevant as ever

Edward Snowden: 5 years in Russia and still relevant as ever

Edward Snowden changed the practices of both the internal and external focused US and global intelligence agencies.

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.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Living in a World Bereft of Privacy

Living in a World Bereft of Privacy

As Edward Snowden confirmed beyond doubt, we live in a world where our most intimate moments can be seen by would-be extortioners and, more alarmingly, by our governments, says Annie Machon.


A few days ago I first received a menacing email from someone calling herself Susana Peritz. She told me “she” had hacked my email, planted malware on my computer, and had then filmed me getting my jollies while watching “interesting” porn online. Her email had caught my attention because it mentioned in the subject line a very old password, attached to a very old email address I had not used for over a decade. The malware must have been planted on a defunct computer.

Putting aside the fact that I am far more concerned about GCHQ or the NSA hacking my computer (as should we all be), this did rather amuse me.

Apparently, I must pay this “Susana” $1000 via Bitcoin or, shock, have my alleged pleasures shared with my acquaintances. And just last night I received another courteous request for cash from someone calling themselves Jillie Abdulrazak, but the price has now been inflated to $3000.

Why am I not concerned? Well, I can safely say – hand on heart – that I have never watched online porn. But this got me thinking about how or why I could have been singled out for this mark of a blackmailer’s esteem, and that brings me on to some rather dark thoughts.

It is perfectly possible that a rare, unguarded moment of long-distance online love might have been captured (but by whom?). That would probably be over a decade ago and would certainly have been using the old email account which was attached to the particular password at the time.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lunatic Politics (Part 1) – Russiagate is a Religion

Lunatic Politics (Part 1) – Russiagate is a Religion

As the Snowden documents and David Sanger’s great new book and other books make plain, and as U.S. officials are wont to brag, the U.S. intelligence services break into computers and computer networks abroad at an astounding rate, certainly on a greater scale than any other intelligence service in the world.  Every one of these intrusions in another country violates that country’s criminal laws prohibiting unauthorized computer access and damage, no less than the Russian violations of U.S. laws outlined in Mueller’s indictment…

It is no response to say that the United States doesn’t meddle in foreign elections, because it has in the past—at least as recently as Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Russian presidential election of 1996 and possibly as recently as the Hillary Clinton State Department’s alleged intervention in Russia’s 2011 legislative elections. And during the Cold War the United States intervened in numerous foreign elections, more than twice as often as the Soviet Union. Intelligence history expert Loch Johnson told Scott Shane that the 2016 Russia electoral interference is “the cyber-age version of standard United States practice for decades, whenever American officials were worried about a foreign vote.”  The CIA’s former chief of Russia operations, Steven L. Hall, told Shane: “If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all.” Hall added that “the United States ‘absolutely’ has carried out such election influence operations historically, and I hope we keep doing it.”

LawfareUncomfortable Questions in the Wake of Russia Indictment 2.0 and Trump’s Press Conference With Putin

Nothing gets the phony “Resistance,” corporate media and neocons more hysterical than when Trump isn’t belligerent enough while meeting with foreign leaders abroad. While the pearl clutching was intense during the North Korea summit, the reoccurring, systematic outrage spectacle was taken to entirely new levels of stupidity and hyperbole during yesterday’s meeting with Putin in Finland.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Edward Snowden: ‘The people are still powerless, but now they’re aware’

Five years after historic NSA leaks, whistleblower tells the Guardian he has no regrets

Edward Snowden remains in exile in Russia.
Edward Snowden remains in exile in Russia. Photograph: Lindsay Mills

Edward Snowden has no regrets five years on from leaking the biggest cache of top-secret documents in history. He is wanted by the US. He is in exile in Russia. But he is satisfied with the way his revelations of mass surveillance have rocked governments, intelligence agencies and major internet companies.

In a phone interview to mark the anniversary of the day the Guardian broke the story, he recalled the day his world – and that of many others around the globe – changed for good. He went to sleep in his Hong Kong hotel room and when he woke, the news that the National Security Agency had been vacuuming up the phone data of millions of Americans had been live for several hours.

Snowden knew at that moment his old life was over. “It was scary but it was liberating,” he said. “There was a sense of finality. There was no going back.”

What has happened in the five years since? He is one of the most famous fugitives in the world, the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary, a Hollywood movie, and at least a dozen books. The US and UK governments, on the basis of his revelations, have faced court challenges to surveillance laws. New legislation has been passed in both countries. The internet companies, responding to a public backlash over privacy, have made encryption commonplace.

Snowden, weighing up the changes, said some privacy campaigners had expressed disappointment with how things have developed, but he did not share it. “People say nothing has changed: that there is still mass surveillance. That is not how you measure change. Look back before 2013 and look at what has happened since. Everything changed.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Edward Snowden on Privacy in the Age of Trump and Facebook

NAHAL OZ, ISRAEL - APRIL 13: (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli soldiers take positions as Palestinian gathered for a protest on the Israel-Gaza border on April 13, 2018 in Netivot, Israel. Thousands of Gaza residents assembled on Friday at the border with Israel to stage another protest as part of their "March of Return" for a third consecutive week.  (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Photo: Kayana Szymczak/The New York Times/Redux

EDWARD SNOWDEN ON PRIVACY IN THE AGE OF TRUMP AND FACEBOOK

EXACTLY FIVE YEARS ago this week, Edward Snowden absconded to Hong Kong with a trove of documents detailing the extent of the U.S. government’s global and domestic surveillance programs. He soon found himself in exile in Russia and dubbed “the most wanted man in the world.” The Snowden leaks started a new conversation about digital privacy and online security, and even led to changes in the law. But more recently we’ve discovered it isn’t just Big Government that poses a massive threat to our privacy, but also Big Tech. Facebook, for example, exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy employed by the Trump campaign. The issues of surveillance and privacy and mass data collection, not just by the government but by Big Tech firms like Facebook, are still as live and and as contentious as ever. On this week’s episode of Deconstructed, Edward Snowden joins Mehdi Hasan from Moscow to discuss surveillance, tools that can help protect people’s privacy, and the likelihood of a Trump-Putin deal to extradite him.

Transcript coming soon.

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