Snowden and Assange stuff

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Snowden and Assange stuff

#1  Postby arugula2 » Sep 11, 2020 6:58 am

On September 2, a panel of judges in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, as a kind of afterthought, that the US government's mass data collection program, which Snowden exposed, was illegal.
... the metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorization in 50 U.S.C. § 1861, which required the government to make a showing of relevance to a particular authorized investigation before collecting the records, and that the program therefore violated that section of FISA.

- uscourts.gov


Significant, but you wouldn't know it from the coverage.

The political maneuvering around mass surveillance since 2013, when Snowden exposed its dimensions, is also significant, and also under-reported. I wanted to mention some of its dirtier secrets currently playing out on Capitol Hill.

Peripheral to those maneuvers, and linked to them by the looming election, is Trump's nonsense about pardoning Snowden. I don't think he quite has the guts, but we'll see. I do think he wants to - that it's not a bluff, and that he's being talked down by the Pentagon, Barr, & Congressional Repubs. But I don't see any advantage in putting it off until after the election. That's part of the reason for this bookmark... another being the resumed (and now suspended again) extradition hearing for Assange.

Another is: Snowden will interview with Brian Williams in a few hours. Who knows.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#2  Postby arugula2 » Sep 12, 2020 6:32 am

A nothing-interview @NBC. The occasion was the pardon. No mention of Assange. He was asked a stupid question about combating foreign disinformation campaigns, and repurposed it against disinformation of all kinds.
...get your news from reliable sources, and think critically about everything that you hear. There is no way to hack logic.

Repeated the condition for his repatriation, namely a guarantee that he could testify in front of a public jury. Listed several imprisoned government whistleblowers. Called for Trump to do damage to the government's war on whistleblowers. The main reason I want Trump to stumble into it. If he does pardon Snowden, he probably wouldn't grasp the ramifications to society (because of narcissism), but he'd accidentally strengthen democracy on his way out.

Idk why Williams says the paperback edition of Permanent Record came out "just days ago" and Goodreads lists a paperback from a year ago. Amazon lists one from the 1st of this month. Apparently a "Young Reader's" edition comes out in Feb 2021, with a primer for understanding digital security basics. Of course, no edition should be purchased with money, since all proceeds still go to the US Department of Justice, which is currently (and often) an instrument of fascism.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#3  Postby Mike_L » Sep 12, 2020 7:05 am

I think it unlikely that Edward Snowden would return to the US, even if he were pardoned in absentia by Trump.
Snowden received death threats back in 2014, apparently from people in the US military and secret services...
'I would love to put a bullet in his head': NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden 'fears for his life after receiving anonymous death threats from Pentagon and NSA'

-- Daily Mail article


It would appear that Julian Assange is doomed. The ruling elites on both sides of the Atlantic have decided that he will serve as an example and warning to others who would dare expose high-level misdeeds.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#4  Postby arugula2 » Sep 12, 2020 7:22 am

If the option to remain in Russia indefinitely is even an option, a random person with means would likely stay put. But I do think he's on a mission to disrupt what he rightly perceives as latent & growing fascism in the most dangerous government in the world (and that's as a high-profile target living under maybe the 2nd-most dangerous government in the world). I don't know what form a trial-jury guarantee would take, that he'd accept - but I suppose he's smart enough & would hire lawyers smart enough to make it mean something. I think his default is to just keep speaking truth. Truth is the ultimate disruptor to concentrated power.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#5  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 12, 2020 7:30 am

What's odd about all this "speaking truth to power" is that it seems to be having an effect opposite to that intended. High-level misdeeds seem to be increasing in frequency, and the upshot is that a few vigorously anonymous folks get to feel their insignificant selves to be slightly more significant by hooting about all those misdeeds in obscure, anonymous internet forums. Wake me when Lukashenko is in exile --- then I'll be 'woke'.

Even locally, this seems to be happening. For every bad cop dismissed from the force for brutalizing somebody, two come to take his place. And it's almost always a 'him'. Save the planet. Nuke the males.

There is but one God, and He shall be called Antifa, and Chomsky is His prophet.

I don't know if that really gathers in both Mike_L and arugula2, who come at the problem of ruling elites from opposite ends of the political spectrum, where they meet face to face united in their support of the Snowdens and Assanges. Their common cause is hiding in a basement and blogging instead of being out on the streets facing brutal cops and dangerous crowds, and I don't blame them one bit for that. Talk is cheap, though.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#6  Postby Mike_L » Sep 12, 2020 8:05 am

Yes, but the One True Post on the One Perfect Forum (however obscure) will tip the balance and save the whales. And the children. And the wailing children.
Only basement seepage can undermine my Great Crusade. :nono:
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#7  Postby arugula2 » Sep 12, 2020 8:18 am

Mike_L wrote:Yes, but the One True Post on the One Perfect Forum (however obscure) will tip the balance and save the whales. And the children. And the wailing children.
Only basement seepage can undermine my Great Crusade. :nono:

What a weird, unprompted soliloquy. :awesome: (No judgement.)
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#8  Postby Hermit » Sep 12, 2020 8:48 am

It's funny.

My disagreement with most of Mike_L's opinions does not prevent me from appreciating his sense of humour.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#9  Postby arugula2 » Sep 12, 2020 10:45 pm

It’s usually funny. My post was a subtle joke at the remarkably unprompted nature of that one. :tehe:
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#10  Postby laklak » Sep 13, 2020 12:05 am

Cito di Pense wrote: Nuke the males.


Can't we just be kept as sex slaves in an opulent Harem (Himem?), guarded by eunuched female bodybuilders and provided with everything our little hearts desire? When we get too old for the sex slave thing we can fix stuff.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#11  Postby Alan C » Sep 13, 2020 1:21 am

Death by snoo snoo?

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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#12  Postby arugula2 » Sep 13, 2020 2:37 am

(The only way to upload an image directly to the forum is to first attach it to a post, correct? Asking for a friend.)
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#13  Postby I'm With Stupid » Sep 13, 2020 4:48 am

Cito di Pense wrote:What's odd about all this "speaking truth to power" is that it seems to be having an effect opposite to that intended. High-level misdeeds seem to be increasing in frequency, and the upshot is that a few vigorously anonymous folks get to feel their insignificant selves to be slightly more significant by hooting about all those misdeeds in obscure, anonymous internet forums. Wake me when Lukashenko is in exile --- then I'll be 'woke'.

Even locally, this seems to be happening. For every bad cop dismissed from the force for brutalizing somebody, two come to take his place. And it's almost always a 'him'. Save the planet. Nuke the males.

There is but one God, and He shall be called Antifa, and Chomsky is His prophet.

I don't know if that really gathers in both Mike_L and arugula2, who come at the problem of ruling elites from opposite ends of the political spectrum, where they meet face to face united in their support of the Snowdens and Assanges. Their common cause is hiding in a basement and blogging instead of being out on the streets facing brutal cops and dangerous crowds, and I don't blame them one bit for that. Talk is cheap, though.

It seems to me that if you can sufficiently divide a nation, you can get to the stage where your own side will forgive you almost anything. Trump does multiple things a year that would have ended any other president's career, but because politics is so tribal now, his side will literally forgive him anything. And because Trump is so bad on that side of politics, it means that we can have lower expectations of his opponent too. So Biden just needs to be preferable to Trump. He can have allegations of sexual harassment hanging over him without any problem, because his opponent has allegations of rape and has admitted sexual assault on tape. Similarly in the UK, serially incompetent or scandal-hit politicians are tolerated on the grounds that they're pro-Brexit, while antisemitism in the Labour party is waved away because they're 'not as bad as the Tories.' You literally had people responding to allegations of antisemitism in Labour by pointing to Islamophobia in the Tory party. It's literally the politics of whataboutism.

As for the NSA spying scandal, their only mistake was that they used these apps and software to spy on American citizens. If they were just using it to spy on citizens of other countries, it never would have even been a story. Which is why I always laugh when the US government calls it a security risk that Chinese apps like TikTok might be collecting data about their citizens. I guess they would be the experts after all.

Obviously they won't pardon people like Snowden, because despite what they claim, they have no interest in bringing crimes out into the open. People who speak out against powerful organisations are frequently ostracized for life, even if they don't receive any criminal punishment. Look at Chelsea Manning even since she had her sentence commuted. You see it again and again. "We're all very glad that this information is out in the open, but you're going to have to go to prison for a long time for telling everyone."
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#14  Postby arugula2 » Sep 18, 2020 2:33 pm

JRE 1536, Sep 15. Whaddayaknow... not a nothing-interview. Shameful. :nono:



...people are like, 'Are you gonna ask Donald Trump for a pardon?' And the answer is no. But I will ask for a pardon... for Terry Albury... and Daniel Hale... and Reality Winner... and all the other American whistleblowers who have been treated unfairly by this system.


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:doh: I always hear it as "Winter" in my mind, since the beginning, and my fingers always type it that way. Thanks Rachel. :thumbup:
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#15  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Sep 18, 2020 3:41 pm

Her name is actually Reality Winner.
what a terrible image
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#16  Postby arugula2 » Sep 18, 2020 3:54 pm

(emphasis his)
Look at the current cases that don't even require an exercise of the pardon authority. Julian Assange, right now, today, is in court fighting an extradition trial to the United States. For those who don't remember, this is the guy who's the head of WikiLeaks. And he really fell out of favor in 2016 because he published the... Podesta emails... but he's not being charged for that. The extradition trial has nothing to do with that. Actually, the US government, under William Barr, current attorney general, is trying to extradite this guy and put him in prison for the rest of his life for the best work that WikiLeaks ever did, that has won awards in every country, basically, around the planet - including the United States. Which is the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs... detainee records in Guantanamo Bay... things that are about explicit war crimes and abuses of power, torture, and people who were killed who shouldn't have been killed, violations of use of force protocols. And this could all be made to go away, if William Barr, the attorney general, simply dropped the charges. And he should. Why isn't he?

(WikiLeaks)
Afghan War Diary
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#17  Postby arugula2 » Sep 18, 2020 4:21 pm

Well, I think a lot of this comes down to the fact that they see Julian Assange - by this "they" I mean a lot of the mainstream media, the broadcast outlets - as a partisan figure. And it's really sad because the most dangerous thing about the charges against Julian Assange is: if they extradite Julian Assange, if Julian Assange is convicted, he's charged under the Espionage Act, the same act that I'm charged under, the same act that all these whistleblowers are charged under. But he is not a source.

The way, as abusive as these Espionage Act charges, have run in the last 50 years is the government had sort of this quiet agreement: they never charged the press outlets. [...] They don't charge the journalists. They charge their sources. They charge the Chelsea Mannings, right? They charge the Edward Snowdens. They charge the Thomas Drakes, the Daniel Ellsbergs. But the press... they're left alone. They are breaking that agreement with the Julian Assange case. Assange is not the source. He is merely a publisher. He runs a press organization.

People are like "Ah, Julian Assange is not a journalist, he's not" whatever - there is no way you can make that argument in court, in a way that will be defensible, particularly given what we've talked about, with the government, and how careful they are to avoid prior court precedent, and work around it, and create obscure legal theories that are legal fictions. Everyone knows they're a lie. Everyone knows these theories are false. [...] You cannot convict Julian Assange, the chief editor and publisher of WikiLeaks, under the Espionage Act without exposing The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, Fox, whoever, to the same kind of charges, under this president, and every coming president.

And I think people don't think about that.


Espionage Act (Wikipedia)
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#18  Postby arugula2 » Sep 20, 2020 8:59 pm


Yeah, so it's ironic because the media has made a very flamboyant showing, ever since Trump got elected, of announcing that they would be these very vigilant soldiers safeguarding the sanctity of a free press. The Washington Post famously adopted a motto designed to signal that, "Democracy Dies In Darkness". Jim Acosta made a lot of money selling a book that depicted himself as this endangered, imperilled warrior, because he stood up to a fascist regime, even though the worst thing that ever happened to him was that he had a few mean tweets written about him. So there really haven't been very many actual assaults on a free press unique to the Trump administration. There've been continuations of assaults that originated with the Obama administration, like prosecuting sources like Reality Winner and others, but there haven't really been any new ones, except for one.

And that one is the attempt to criminalize Julian Assange for the work that he did with his source, based on an extremely pernicious theory that if you try and help your source evade detection and getting caught - which is what they claim he did when he tried to help her crack a password so that she could do what she was doing anonymously - that you become part of the criminal conspiracy. If this succeeds, this will be by far the greatest frontal assault on a free press, not just in the last 4 years, but within the last couple of decades.

And yet the same media outlets that've made such a flamboyant showing of claiming that they're gonna safeguard, at all costs, freedom of the press, have barely paid any attention to this ongoing attempt to extradite and then prosecute and imprison Julian Assange in the United States for the crime of publishing top secret information in 2010 that revealed serious war crimes and other deceit and criminality on the part of the US government, because they don't really look at Julian Assange as being one of them. They don't really care - that's part of it.

And the other part of it is that there're a lot of liberals... which now includes the media, and also sort of Democratic Party operatives and the like, who really do have this authoritarian strain. They believe that their political adversaries ought to be punished and imprisoned. That anyone who helped Donald Trump is basically a criminal. And since they see Julian Assange as somebody who helped Donald Trump, it's not just that they're indifferent to his imprisonment. They actually want it. They want him to end up in prison. Even though the indictment has nothing to do with anything he did during the 2016 election. It's based exclusively on the 2010 leaks of the Reuters reporters being murdered by US helicopters, and all the leaks from Chelsea Manning.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#19  Postby arugula2 » Sep 20, 2020 9:11 pm

Greenwald: And so when somebody offers me an opportunity to end an injustice, and to make the world more just, I'm gonna do that. And it's not even a close debate for me. I care a lot more about outcomes, about actually having my beliefs manifest as change in the world than I care about preening and posturing for the approval of LARPing online liberals.

:lol:
So yeah, I could've said no to going on Tucker, and said to Snowden 'Go fuck yourself, sorry, you're just gonna have to spend, you know, the rest of your life in Russia. I have the opportunity to try and help convince the person who can pardon you, but I'm gonna deny that opportunity because I don't want to get my hands dirty or I don't want, like, liberals who've never accomplished anything in their lives to criticize me on Twitter.'

Uhm, but obviously the ability to achieve outcomes - which is supposed to be the purpose of journalism and politics - not to, like, create a self-image of yourself or to posture and gesture at something that you pretend to be online... or to cosplay or to virtue-signal, but to actually have an effect on the world, which sometimes means being pragmatic and strategic in doing things that you might otherwise not want to do - to me that's a much more important priority than, you know, impressing a bunch of Twitter warriors.

I was thrilled for the opportunity to have 3 minutes to talk directly to the president to make the case about why he should pardon both Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.


Katie: Also, I mean, I tweeted about this jokingly - some people didn't get it, but, you know... You refused the countless offers from CNN and MSNBC, right? To go on their shows and talk about it.


Greenwald: Yeah, I mean, obviously if Rachel Maddow or Chris Hayes gave the slightest shit about Julian Assange or Edward Snowden - which they don't because their Democratic partisans only want to hear about Trump being an orange Nazi, and so they don't cover things that their audience doesn't want to hear because that's how they keep their multi-million-dollar contracts - but in a world where Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow actually cared about press freedom and covered Edward Snowden's pardon or Julian Assange's extradition and asked me to come on to talk about it, of course I would go on their inconsequential shows and do that. Just like I would go on Wolf Blitzer's or Anderson Cooper or Don Lemon's inconsequential show and talk about it there too. But they don't ask me on, because they don't allow dissent on those networks.


[Reveal] Spoiler: Re: the hypocrisy of condemning Joe Rogan's platform...
Yeah, I mean, it gets back to, like, there being no principles among liberals, right? So. It was amazing to watch that Bernie was, I mean really attacked. And not just by Biden operatives or DNC operatives or Neera Tanden, but apparently, reportedly - incredibly - from what I hear, like even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others, who are incredibly angry that he touted the endorsement of Joe Rogan. Like, when you're running for president, the last thing you want is somebody who's supporting you who's speaking to 15 million ordinary Americans, like, that's apparently a terrible thing.

But then. Michael Bloomberg comes out and endorses Joe Biden. Or fucking Rick Snyder, who oversaw the poisoning of water in Flint. Or Bill Kristol and David Frum, and Democrats cheer and celebrate these endorsements even though Michael Bloomberg and Rick Snyder and David Frum and Bill Kristol have done infinitely more evil in the world than Joe Rogan could do in 10,000 lifetimes.

So that, I think, goes back to [the] point, which is: it's always 'culture first' and 'politics last'. Right? So, Rick Snyder was elected governor, he kinda speaks like a governor. Bill Kristol and David Frum are, like, pseudo-intellectuals who speak that language. But Joe Rogan's, like, a bald guy who tells politically incorrect jokes and goes hunting, and he's, like, a douchebag on youtube... so he's not "one of us" and therefore has no right to occupy that role.
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Re: Snowden and Assange stuff

#20  Postby Alan C » Sep 21, 2020 12:24 am

I have my doubts about Greenwald these days, sometimes he comes off as a Russia apologist.
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