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Julian Assange and the Conservative Press


Rembrandt van RIjn A Woman Standing with a Candle c.1631
To be honest, I didn’t think it would ever happen, even though it’s been so obvious for so long. But all of a sudden, the conservative voices questioning the Russia collusion narrative and all the investigations that followed from it, are finally figuring out that those behind that narrative and all that resulted from it, are the same people who have been chasing down Julian Assange for many years.

And that to get to the bottom of the hunt for Trump by the DNC, Clinton campaign, US intelligence and last but not least the media in their pockets, the NYT, WaPo, MSNBC, CNN et al, they will have to take a much closer look at what happened to Assange. If they don’t they will never understand. How do we know it’s starting to dawn on them? Look at this illustration at the Last Refuge site yesterday. More on them later.

Note: the mostly left wing Assange supporters would do good to consider the same thing: they in turn must look into the RussiaRussia Trump collusion stories, much as they may not like the president. Because those stories are why Assange has been chased down like so much roadkill. And because the right win of America is their best chance at getting him pardoned/released. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, to put it bluntly. Sometimes you need blunt.

As I’ve pointed out countless times, the Mueller investigation of the Trump campaign -and presidency- may have come up glaringly empty, but the report they issued maintained that “13 Russians” and Julian Assange were responsible for hacking DNC emails. There is no proof of this, but since none of the “accused” can speak out, the report make the claim, and did.

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

Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King

Julian Assange Is Today’s Martin Luther King

Caravaggio The seven works of mercy (Sette opere di Misericordia) 1607

“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop… And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, one day before he was murdered

What Martin Luther King King won through many hard-fought battles, and in the end through sacrificing his own life, has to be won all over again: freedom, truth, justice. And this time it’s Julian Assange who stands in the frontline. With Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden by his side. But I know you’re not very likely to agree with that assessment.

For one thing, I picked the kind of headline that will probably make many people not read an essay. But I’m not kidding, and I’m not saying this for effect. Julian Assange is like Martin Luther King in many ways, and he deserves for people to recognize that.

Assange and Dr. King were born in different times, the former 3 years after the latter was murdered. But when anyone wants to talk King’s legacy, then Assange very much IS that legacy. It would be nice if people like Dr. King’s youngest daughter Bernice, who is very vocal on her father’s legacy, would acknowledge this. Her father certainly would have.

What Julian Assange and Martin Luther King have in common is a superior intelligence, combined with unwavering courage and an unrelenting drive for justice and truth. Both men were born so brave they realized that they might have to give their lives for their causes. And then brought that realization into practice. Both in their own way gave their lives for our sins.

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

How to Drain the Deep Swamp


Pablo Picasso Girl Before A Mirror 1932 
Obviously, like hopefully many people, I’ve been following the WikiLeaks CIA revelations, and closely. It’s too early for too many conclusions, if only because WikiLeaks has announced much more will flow from that same pipeline. But one thing is already clear: the CIA is -still- a club that sees enemies behind every tree, and behind every TV set too. Which is not as obvious a world view as it may seem; it’s just something we’ve become used to.

Moreover, as we see time and again, organizations like the CIA and NATO have no qualms about ‘creating’ enemies if they are in short supply. The flavor du jour has now been, for years, Russia, but don’t be surprised if another one is cultivated alongside it. ISIS, China, North Korea, plenty of options, and plenty of media more than willing to aid the cultivation process. It’s a well-oiled machine geared towards making something out of nothing, a machine very adept at making you believe anything it wants you to.

In this way, our friends can become our enemies, and our enemies our friends. What gets lost in translation is that this way in reality we become our own worst enemies. While the upper and most secretive layers of society, filled with folk of questionable psychological constitution -sociopaths and psychopaths-, get to chase their dreams of wealth and power, those who try to live normal decent lives are, for that very purpose, increasingly subjected to poverty, misery and fear. As our economies decline further, this will only get worse.

Who needs your -conscious- vote or voice if these can be easily manipulated? Or do you not think you’re being manipulated? How many of you, American or European, think Russia is an actual threat to you?

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

This is How the U.S. Government Destroys the Lives of Patriotic Whistleblowers

This is How the U.S. Government Destroys the Lives of Patriotic Whistleblowers

We live in a time and within a culture where the best amongst us are thrown in jail, demonized or destroyed, while the worst are celebrated, promoted and enriched. Nothing more clearly crystalizes this sad state of affairs than the U.S. government’s ruthless war on whistleblowers who expose severe constitutional violations by those in power. This war knows no political affiliation, and has been waged with equal vigor by the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.

Earlier this morning, I read one of the most enlightening articles on the subject to-date. It was published back in May, and should be read by every single American citizen. We need to admit to ourselves what we have become before we can make changes.

What follows are excerpts from the Guardian piece, How the Pentagon Punished NSA Whistleblowers, but you should really take the time to read the entire thing.

If you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you have to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed.

Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance program were largely ignored.

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

Friday Five: Obama, Snowden and PDC?

Frida-Five-Geoff-Lawton

FRIDAY FIVE: OBAMA, SNOWDEN AND PDC?

Let’s jump right in:

World-changing: Are President Obama, Edward Snowden, Steph Curry, Taylor Swift, and Donald Trump all coming to our next Permaculture Design Course?

Worldwide water shortage? That certainly seems to be the dominant narrative. But permaculture suggests otherwise, that there is only a shortage of design understanding of how many times we can repurpose water: The longest path, the longest time, the most beneficial life connections and mechanical action, all extend the potential of water.

Worth checking out: For a A DIY chicken tractor, a “ChickShaw,” or anything else related to chickens, you have to love what one of my students, Justin Rhodes, is doing on his farm in North Carolina. Brilliant, funny, down-to-earth, and a daily video from someone who is living the permaculture dream.

Absolutely beautiful. Brett Pritchard, a permaculturist since 1991, put together something that really caught my eye: A 21 card set of the original permaculture ethics and principles. Many of the illustrations were painted by one of Bill Mollison’s daughters, Frances, and the entire set is free to download.

California, Saudi Arabia, and dairy? Again, water and “California’s crisis” are the connection between this strange trio. But perhaps we’ve defined the California water crisis in a fundamentally incorrect way

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

Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS

Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual Culprits Who Empowered ISIS

Whistleblowers are always accused of helping America’s enemies (top Nixon aides accused Daniel Ellsberg of being a Soviet spy and causing the deaths of Americans with his leak); it’s just the tactical playbook that’s automatically used. So it’s of course unsurprising that ever since Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing enabled newspapers around the world to report on secretly implemented programs of mass surveillance, he has been accused by “officials” and their various media allies of Helping The Terrorists™.

Still, I was a bit surprised just by how quickly and blatantly — how shamelessly — some of them jumped to exploit the emotions prompted by the carnage in France to blame Snowden: doing so literally as the bodies still lay on the streets of Paris. At first, the tawdry exploiters were the likes of crazed ex-intelligence officials (former CIA chief James Woolsey, who once said Snowden “should be hanged by his neck until he is dead” and now has deep ties to private NSA contractors, along with Iranobsessed Robert Baer); former Bush/Cheney apparatchiks (ex-White House spokesperson and current Fox personality Dana Perino); right-wing polemicists fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarism; and obscure Fox News comedians (Perino’s co-host). So it was worth ignoring save for the occasional Twitter retort.

But now we’ve entered the inevitable “U.S. Officials Say” stage of the “reporting” on the Paris attack — i.e., journalists mindlessly and uncritically repeat whatever U.S. officials whisper in their ear about what happened. So now credible news sites are regurgitating the claim that the Paris Terrorists were enabled by Snowden leaks — based on no evidence or specific proof of any kind, needless to say, but just the unverified, obviously self-serving assertions of government officials. But much of the U.S. media loves to repeat rather than scrutinize what government officials tell them to say. So now this accusation has become widespread and is thus worth examining with just some of the actual evidence.

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

Every Position On The Spectrum Supports The Government’s Propaganda — Paul Craig Roberts

Every Position On The Spectrum Supports The Government’s Propaganda — Paul Craig Roberts

This excellent article by Glenn Greenwald — http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43438.htm — reminded me that I have meant to write about how every sort of interest attaches to the government’s propaganda in order to make its point.

Greenwald shows how the Snowden haters in the US media seized on the Paris attack in order to blame Snowden. The American, indeed Western, media consists of the scum of the earth, and they all together are no match for Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald shows that they are so dimwitted that they cannot remember their previous stories long enough to save them from making laughing stocks of themselves when they gang up on Snowden.

The presstitutes that constitute the Western media had a great incentive to buy in to the false story of the Paris attack, because they saw an opportunity to blame the attack on Snowden, who showed them up for what they are — whores who lie for the government for money.

Likewise, anti-immigration web sites and political parties have a great stake in the false story of the Paris attack, because they can use it to emphasize the perils of allowing into a country people who don’t belong there.

The leftwing buys into the government’s lies, because it proves their point that Western imperialism and neo-colonialism brings blowback. The oppressed colonies rise up and send death and destruction to the imperialist’s homelands. This is emotionally satisfying to the left even though it hands over to the government control over the population.

As for the fearful, if the blacks are not going to murder them in their beds, surely the terrorists will. Only the government can make them safe by repealing all civil liberties.

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

Snowden leaks reveal harmfulness of US monopoly on internet – Russian minister

Snowden leaks reveal harmfulness of US monopoly on internet – Russian minister 

The NSA’s mass surveillance would not be possible if the internet wasn’t controlled by just a few major US companies, Nikolay Nikiforov, Russia’s communications minister, told RT after the first BRICS ministerial meeting on the de-monopolization of IT.

“Snowden’s disclosures showed exactly the harmfulness of the monopoly because it would not be possible if the world IT sector should be structured in a more balanced way,” Nikiforov said, adding that, as things stand, US security agencies have the power to just “come to several companies and to force them… to actually provide absolutely illegal access to hundreds of millions records of private data of users globally.” 

In 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents revealing the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, proving that Google, Facebook and other US tech giants have been passing information to the spy agency.

Russia’s Communications and Mass Media minister stressed that, in purely economic terms, the monopoly is also harmful for BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the international community as a whole.

“The monopolist could dictate you the certain price level… each country in the world is actually sending out billions of dollars outside its national economies as the license fees… for key technologies,” he explained.

Nikiforov said that BRICS nations are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs, where a particular state or company controls up to 90-95 percent of certain IT market niches, such as the assigning of domain names performed by the American ICANN company under contract with the US government.

During the maiden meeting in Moscow, the BRICS communications ministers agreed that their countries want fair competition and “want it to be balanced, not to depend on one country or several companies,” he said.

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

New Snowden Leak Exposes AT&T’s “Extreme Willingness To Help” NSA Spy On Americans

New Snowden Leak Exposes AT&T’s “Extreme Willingness To Help” NSA Spy On Americans

Newly disclosed NSA files expose the spy agency’s relationship through the years with American telecoms companies. As NYTimes reports, The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. The documents, provided by the former agency contractor Edward Snowden, described the NSA-AT&T relationship as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. As The NY Times reports,

AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013.

AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T.

The documents, provided by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, as RT adds, explain that the telecom giant was able to deliver under various legal loopholes international and foreign-to-foreign internet communications even if they passed through networks located in the US.

To show the extent of AT&T’s involvement, the files revealed that the company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its major US internet hubs, thought to be a lot more than Verizon installed. AT&T’s engineers were also the first ones to get their hands on this new surveillance technologies created by the NSA, the newspaper reported.

Further proving a unique relationship is the NSA’s top-secret budget from 2013, which doubled the funding of any other cooperation of similar size, according to the documents.

 

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

Incongruities in the News

Incongruities in the News

Jonathan Pollard, a paid spy for Israel described by Michael D. Shear as “one of the country’s most notorious spies,” has been pardoned from his life sentence. It strikes me as hypocritical for the US government to sentence anyone to prison for spying when the government itself spies on everyone everywhere. All Americans including members of the House and Senate, congressional staff, military officers, foreign governments including the leaders of Washington’s closest allies, and foreign businesses are spied upon. No one is exempt from Washington’s spying.

Washington claims that its worldwide spying does no harm. So how did the very limited spying of one person—Pollard—a civilian employee of Naval intelligence do so much harm as to warrant a life sentence? What some of us would like to see is a life sentence for NSA.

What disturbs me about the case is that it is Pollard, who spied for a foreign country, who is released. In contrast, Manning and Snowden who spied for the American people are locked away, Manning in a federal prison and Snowden in his Russian exile. Julian Assange, who merely did his job as a journalist and made available to newspapers documents leaked to him, is confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

It seems to me that if Pollard who spied for Israel can be set free, so ought to be Manning, Snowden, and Assange who spied for the American people and reported the illegal activities of the US government and the dangerous impact of Washington’s illegal activities on the liberty of Americans. Pollard is a hero to Israel, not to America, and it is Pollard who is released. Manning, Snowden, and Assange are heroes to America, and they continue to be confined.

 

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

UK Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists

UK Police Confirm Ongoing Criminal Probe of Snowden Leak Journalists

A secretive British police investigation focusing on journalists working with Edward Snowden’s leaked documents remains ongoing two years after it was quietly launched, The Intercept can reveal.

London’s Metropolitan Police Service has admitted it is still carrying out the probe, which is being led by its counterterrorism department, after previously refusing to confirm or deny its existence on the grounds that doing so could be “detrimental to national security.”

The disclosure was made by police in a letter sent to this reporter Tuesday, concluding a seven-month freedom of information battle that saw the London force repeatedly attempt to withhold basic details about the status of the case. It reversed its position this week only after an intervention from the Information Commissioner’s Office, the public body that enforces the U.K.’s freedom of information laws.

Following Snowden’s disclosures from the National Security Agency in 2013, the Metropolitan Police and a lawyer for the British government separatelystated that a criminal investigation had been opened into the leaks. One of the London force’s most senior officers acknowledged during a parliamentary hearing that the investigation was looking at whether reporters at The Guardian had committed criminal offenses for their role in revealing secret surveillance operations exposed in the Snowden documents.

In January, The Intercept sought details about the status of the investigation through requests made under the Freedom of Information Act. But the Metropolitan Police, the largest and most powerful of the 45 regional police forces across the United Kingdom, stonewalled the requests. It cited fears about “increased threat of terrorist activity” and claimed that it could not reveal details about the investigation because they could “assist any group or persons who wish to cause harm to the people of the nation.”

 

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

Hayden Mocks Extent of Post-Snowden Reform: “And this is it after two years? Cool!”

Hayden Mocks Extent of Post-Snowden Reform: “And this is it after two years? Cool!”

Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden on Monday marveled at the puny nature of the surveillance reforms put in place two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a vast expansion of intrusive U.S. government surveillance at home and abroad.

Hayden mocked the loss of the one program that was reined in — the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata information about domestic phone calls — calling it “that little 215 program.”

And he said if someone had told him two years ago that the only effect of the Snowden revelations would be losing it, his reaction would have been: “Cool!”

Here is the video and the full text of his remarks:

If somebody would come up to me and say “Look, Hayden, here’s the thing: This Snowden thing is going to be a nightmare for you guys for about two years. And when we get all done with it, what you’re going to be required to do is that little 215 program about American telephony metadata — and by the way, you can still have access to it, but you got to go to the court and get access to it from the companies, rather than keep it to yourself” — I go: “And this is it after two years? Cool!”

 

Hayden was speaking at the annual meeting of the Wall Street Journal CFO Network, an event hosted “by the Journal’s senior editors” for “an invitation-only group of more than 100 chief financial officers of the world’s largest companies.”

Asked if he thought Snowden was a foreign agent, Hayden said: “I’ve got my suspicions,” although he acknowledged, “I’ve got no evidence.”

 

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

The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at Its Worst–and Filled With Falsehoods

The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at Its Worst–and Filled With Falsehoods

Western journalists claim that the big lesson they learned from their key role in selling the Iraq War to the public is that it’s hideous, corrupt and often dangerous journalism to give anonymity to government officials to let them propagandize the public, then uncritically accept those anonymously voiced claims as Truth. But they’ve learned no such lesson. That tacticcontinues to be the staple of how major US and British media outlets “report,” especially in the national security area. And journalists who read such reports continue to treat self-serving decrees by unnamed, unseen officials – laundered through their media – as gospel, no matter how dubious are the claims or factually false is the reporting.

We now have one of the purest examples of this dynamic. Last night, the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times published their lead front-page Sunday article, headlined “British Spies Betrayed to Russians and Chinese.” Just as the conventional media narrative was shifting to pro-Snowden sentiment in the wake of a key court ruling and a new surveillance law, the article (behind a paywall: full text here) claims in the first paragraph that these two adversaries “have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.” It continues:

Western intelligence agencies say they have been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files held by the former American security contractor, who fled to seek protection from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, after mounting one of the largest leaks in US history.

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

Snowden, Putin, Greece: It’s All The Same Story

Snowden, Putin, Greece: It’s All The Same Story

Through the last decades, as we have been getting ever more occupied trying to be what society tells us is defined as successful, we all missed out on a lot of changes in our world. Or perhaps we should be gentle to ourselves and say we’re simply slow to catch up.

Which is somewhat curious since we’ve also been getting bombarded with fast increasing amounts of what we’re told is information, so you’d think it might have become easier to keep up. It was not.

While we were busy being busy we for instance were largely oblivious to the fact the US is no longer a beneficial force in the world, and that it doesn’t spread democracy or freedom. Now you may argue to what extent that has ever been true, and you should, but the perception was arguably much closer to the truth 70 years ago, at the end of WWII, then it is today.

Another change we really can’t get our heads around is how the media have turned from a source of information to a source of – pre-fabricated – narratives. We’ll all say to some extent or another that we know our press feeds us propaganda, but, again arguably, few of us are capable of pinpointing to what extent that is true. Perhaps no big surprise given the overdose of what passes for information, but duly noted.

So far so good, you’re not as smart as you think. Bummer. But still an easy one to deny in the private space of your own head. If you get undressed and stand in front of the mirror, though, maybe not as easy.

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

 

 

The Computers Are Listening: NSA Won’t Say if it Automatically Transcribes American Phone Calls in Bulk

The Computers Are Listening: NSA Won’t Say if it Automatically Transcribes American Phone Calls in Bulk

Third in a series. Part 1 here; Part 2 here.

When it comes to the National Security Agency’s recently disclosed use of automated speech recognition technology to search, index and transcribe voice communications, people in the United States may well be asking: But are they transcribing my phone calls?

The answer is maybe.

A clear-cut answer is elusive because documents in the Snowden archive describe the capability to turn speech into text, but not the extent of its use — and the U.S. intelligence community refuses to answer even the most basic questions on the topic.

Asked about the application of speech-to-text to conversations including Americans, Robert Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said at a Capitol Hill event in May that the NSA has “all sorts of technical capabilities” and that they are all used in a lawful manner.

“I’m not specifically acknowledging or denying the existence of any particular capability,” he said. “I’m only saying that the focus needs to be on what are the authorities the NSA is using, and what are the protections around the execution of those authorities?”

So what are those authorities? And what are the protections around their execution?

Litt wouldn’t say. But thanks to previous explorations of the Snowden archive and some documents released by the Obama administration, we know there are four major methods the NSA uses to get access to phone calls involving Americans — and only one of them technically precludes the use of speech recognition.

 

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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