New York Times reporter James Risen, via Twitter.
James Risen recently won the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Journalism Award for excellence in journalism.
The Pulitzer Prize winning national security reporter has long been hounded by the US Justice Department to disclose his confidential sources from his 2006 book State of War.
As the Washington Post wrote back in August, “Prosecutors want Mr. Risen’s testimony in their case against Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official who is accused of leaking details of a failed operation against Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Risen properly has refused to identify his source, at the risk of imprisonment. Such confidential sources are a pillar of how journalists obtain information. If Mr. Risen is forced to reveal the identity of a source, it will damage the ability of journalists to promise confidentiality to sources and to probe government behavior.”
While accepting the Lovejoy Award, Risen had this to say:
The conventional wisdom of our day is the belief that we have had to change the nature of our society to accommodate the global war on terror. Incrementally over the last thirteen years, Americans have easily accepted a transformation of their way of life because they have been told that it is necessary to keep them safe. Americans now slip off their shoes on command at airports, have accepted the secret targeted killings of other Americans without due process, have accepted the use of torture and the creation of secret offshore prisons, have accepted mass surveillance of their personal communications, and accepted the longest continual period of war in American history. Meanwhile, the government has eagerly prosecuted whistleblowers who try to bring any of the government’s actions to light.
Americans have accepted this new reality with hardly a murmur. Today, the basic prerequisite to being taken seriously in American politics is to accept the legitimacy of the new national security state that has been created since 9/11. The new basic American assumption is that there really is a need for a global war on terror. Anyone who doesn’t accept that basic assumption is considered dangerous and maybe even a traitor.
Today, the U.S. government treats whistleblowers as criminals, much like Elijah Lovejoy, because they want to reveal uncomfortable truths about the government’s actions. And the public and the mainstream press often accept and champion the government’s approach, viewing whistleblowers as dangerous fringe characters because they are not willing to follow orders and remain silent.
The crackdown on leaks by first the Bush administration and more aggressively by the Obama administration, targeting both whistleblowers and journalists, has been designed to suppress the truth about the war on terror. This government campaign of censorship has come with the veneer of the law. Instead of mobs throwing printing presses in the Mississippi River, instead of the creation of the kind of “enemies lists” that President Richard Nixon kept, the Bush and Obama administrations have used the Department of Justice to do their bidding. But the effect is the same — the attorney general of the United States has been turned into the nation’s chief censorship officer. Whenever the White House or the intelligence community get angry about a story in the press, they turn to the Justice Department and the FBI and get them to start a criminal leak investigation, to make sure everybody shuts up.
What the White House wants is to establish limits on accepted reporting on national security and on the war on terror. By launching criminal investigations of stories that are outside the mainstream coverage, they are trying to, in effect, build a pathway on which journalism can be conducted. Stay on the interstate highway of conventional wisdom with your journalism, and you will have no problems. Try to get off and challenge basic assumptions, and you will face punishment.
Journalists have no choice but to fight back, because if they don’t they will become irrelevant.
Bonus: The NSA and Me, James Bamford’s account of covering the agency over the last 30 years, via The Intercept.
Double Bonus: Elijah Parish Lovejoy was a minister in the first half of the 19th century who edited an abolitionist paper called the St. Louis Observer. He was murdered by a pro-slavery mob in 1837. More via Wikipedia.
Images: Selected tweets via James Risen.
This right here is why I’m off the Obama train.
And you are CRAZY if you vote for Hillary and think this bullshit will improve one single iota.
Full Text on Storify: How US Imperialism Created ISIS
Correction: ISIS was not a subsidiary of Al Qaeda, although there were links between the groups which contributed to its rise before Al Qaeda disavowed ISIS. “ISIS grew out of the former Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), a jihadist militant umbrella group that is believed to have helped create the al-Nusra Front in mid-2011” (x). al-Nusra is al Qaeda’s official arm in Syria.
- CIA funds radical Islamist Afghan mujahideen, a large number of whom eventually come to form the Taliban
- Afghanistan under the Taliban was a base for Al Qaeda, ISIS was linked to the proto-groups which eventually formed al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, although al Qaeda has since disavowed them for their brutality and sectarianism.
- Hamid Karzai comments on how the US directly contributed to radicalization of Islamist groups in Afghanistan and the region as a whole, “The more radical we looked and talked, the more we were called mujahedin. The consequence of that was a massive effort toward uprooting traditional Afghan values and culture and tolerance.”
- US invasion of Iraq leads directly to many of the catastrophes we are seeing now
- The US invasion of Libya leads to a virtual “terror diaspora” across the region
- Libyan arms in Syria post-US invasion
- US arms & those of “US allies” in the region being funneled into Syria and into the hands of Islamist groups
- "How America Made ISIS: Their Videos and Ours, Their ‘Caliphate’ and Ours"
- More on how ISIS is the product of US imperialism and the “War on Terror”
A short (and incomplete given the scale of US-propagated violence across the globe) account of the myriad ways in which US imperialism directly led to creation of ISIS. US imperialism is never the answer and the US-led coalition now will only destabilize the situation further and lead to even more violence and long term problems in the entire region.
I mean, it still amazes me that this isn’t “duh” to most everyone.
We too are powerless. We have undergone a corporate coup d’état in slow motion. It is over. They have won. If we want to wrest power back, to make the consent of the governed more than an empty cliché, we will have to mobilize, to carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience to overthrow—let me repeat that word for the members of Homeland Security who may be visiting us this afternoon—overthrow the corporate state. And maybe, once we have freed ourselves, we can free the people of Gaza.
I know for a fact that Fox is probably the closest thing to real news that we could have. MSNBC is nothing short of a joke. All indicators point to that.
An actual comment on Facebook. I mean, this is a real person. With active brainwaves. Who votes.
"I know for a fact…"
My god, we’re so screwed.
A former top US general has called on Barack Obama to order the destruction the militant group responsible for murdering American journalist James Foley amid conflicting views in the administration on how to respond to the atrocity. Full story here
Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA
In which the following question is answered: “Who benefitted from Foley’s death?”
I don’t think it was ISIS… and I’m skeptical of the official account. But whatevs… same as it ever was.
On May 30th, 2013, Edward Snowden left behind his family, his country, and his lucrative job as a contractor for the National Security Agency to blow the whistle on the most far-reaching and invasive spying programs in human history. A year ago today journalist Glenn Greenwald, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and NSA contractor-turned whistleblower Edward Snowden were combing through the millions of documents Snowden brought with him to Hong Kong to reveal for the first time the inner workings of the most secretive government agency of the most powerful and monolithic government in history. The year that followed shed an unprecedented amount of light on some of the most egregious abuses of power ever committed against the citizens of a supposed free country. Below you will find the list I have compiled of more than one hundred news articles detailing the extent the NSA has gone to effectively eliminate privacy in the 21st century.
- On June 5th, 2013, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian broke the first story from leaked NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden, the bulk collection of Verizon phone records.
- Shortly after the initial revelation that the NSA was bulk collecting all Verizon customers’ phone data, the Guardian published the Prism story.
- A Washington Post article would corroborate that the Prism program allows the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ, to tap into the servers of 9 U.S. based internet companies
- Sunday June 9th, 2013 the Guardian releases the first interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
- These revelations prove that James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, lied under oath before Congress in months prior when asked about dragnet surveillance.
- Further revelations would go on to prove that President Obama blatantly lied to the American people when he told Charlie Rose of PBS that the NSA cannot and does not listen to the phone calls of American citizens.
- Greenwald details how the FISA court is nothing more than a rubber stamp on the NSA’s ability to monitor every form of communication.
- In 2012, the federal government submitted 1,856 requests for user data to the FISA court and 100% of those applications were approved.
- On June 21st, the federal government charged Edward Snowden under the World War I era Espionage Act.
- In an excellent interview with VICE, Greenwald explains how metadata can tell government snoops more about a person than if they were just listening or reading the content of our communications. (The whole interview is worth your time but the section on metadata begins around 09:45).
- Another document leaked by Snowden shows the level at which major tech companies cooperated with the U.S. government in handing over its customers’ private information.
- In Late July the Guardian posted the first story detailing the NSA program “XKeyscore” which allows the NSA to monitor “nearly everything a user does on the Internet.”
- David Gregory asks Glenn Greenwald why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for reporting on NSA leaks, Greenwald unloads.
- NSA loophole allows for the warrantless search of U.S. citizens emails and phone calls.
- On Sunday, August 18th, 2013, David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s partner, was detained for 14 hours by British authorities at Heathrow airport “under schedule 7 of the Terrorism act of 2000."
- NSA analysts channel broad powers to snoop on love interests.
- NSA analysts eavesdropped in on phone sex conversations between deployed troops in Iraq and their loved ones back home.
- Email service used by Edward Snowden, Lavabit, shuts down rather than comply with federal prosecutors and hand over encryption keys of over 400,000 customers.
- How NSA analysts spied on the UN and the EU.
- NSA used its powers to spy on media outlet Al Jazeera’s communications.
- US government spends $250,000,000 a year to work with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products.
- The NSA can tap directly into user data on iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.
- In September of 2013 it was revealed that the Obama administration won a ruling in the FISA court in 2011 to remove restrictions on NSA searching of American citizens’ data.
- Reports detail how NSA and GCHQ attempted on multiple occasions to crack Tor email encryption services, exploiting vulnerabilities in the Firefox browser giving them access to an individual’s entire computer.
- President Obama insists NSA surveillance is essential, NSA oversight however is not.
- How the NSA deploys malware, revelations reveal how the NSA infects computers to take control
- Patriot Act author says James Clapper should be fired, prosecuted.
- Revealed: NSA spied directly on German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s personal cell phone, President Obama having approved of it himself.
- "The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican gov’t for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policy making and the political system.”
- NSA monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts.
- President Obama approved Angela Merkel’s phone tapping three years before it was revealed to the public by Snowden leaks.
- Spain summons US ambassador over claim that NSA tracks 60 millions Spanish calls per month.
- Greenwald to Christiane Amanpour: NSA has nothing to do with terrorism.
- NSA stores data to target any citizen at any time.
- NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers. (Reminder: Yahoo bought Tumblr just over a year ago, just weeks before the NSA revelations came to light).
- Experts warn NSA revelations may cause breakup of the Internet as Brazil, Germany and India move to establish separate networks to block U.S. spying.
- UK government accuses Guardian editor of risking national security for reporting on NSA, GCHQ surveillance programs.
- The edge of the abyss: Exposing the NSA’s all-seeing machine.
- C.I.A. collecting global data on money transfers under same law that permits NSA data collection.
- U.S. House of Representatives approves NSA funding bill with $75 million to prevent future Snowdens.
- NSA infected 50,000 computers with malware designed to steal sensitive information.
- NRA teams up with ACLU on NSA lawsuit claiming NSA beginning gun registry.
- NSA spied on porn habits in effort to discredit radicalizers.
- How spy agencies and corporations worked together to spy on activists and non-profits.
- Heading into the holiday season of 2013, NSA sent home talking points for employees to talk to their families.
- DROPOUTJEEP: The NSA program that grants total access to the Apple iPhone.
- Jeremy Scahill: There is a war on journalism.
- NSA morale down following Snowden leaks (boo hoo).
- The NSA is handing over your phone data to the DEA and the DEA is covering it up. Still think this is about terrorism?
- Lawmakers overseeing NSA receive millions from intelligence contractors.
- New Zealand backpacker stripped of all electronics at airport following attendance at a conference on leaked Snowden material.
- Senior White House official: We may never know true extent of Snowden NSA leaks.
- Obama appointed NSA review panel: End bulk collection of phone records.
- Obama administration rejected only substantive NSA reforms proposed by own review group.
- Mid-December 2013, federal judge Richard Leon found that NSA bulk data collection likely violates 4th amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Snowden says this vindicates his actions.
- How the NSA puts U.S. elections at risk.
- The NSA ‘probably’ collects data on Congress’ phone calls.
- The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program.
- Larry Klayman, the lawyer who won ruling against NSA claims U.S. government harassing him.
- Klayman: The NSA is a totalitarian attack on our human rights.
- Merkel compares NSA to the Stasi, the official state security force of totalitarian East Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, in heated exchange with President Obama.
- Greenwald to European Union: NSA’s goal is total elimination of privacy.
- White House NSA Panel Member: Snowden leaks are treasonous.
- President Obama can’t point to a single terrorist attack thwarted by NSA.
- NSA intercepting laptops purchased online to install spyware.
- Different federal judge rules NSA mass collection is legal and dismisses lawsuit brought by ACLU.
- NSA hackers can hijack your Wi-Fi from 8 miles away.
- The NSA ‘can literally watch every keystroke you make.’
- Apple insists it did not assist NSA in backdoor access to iPhone, denies awareness of DROPOUTJEEP.
- NSA seeks to build quantum computer capable of cracking nearly all forms of encryption.
- Senator Bernie Sanders presses NSA to reveal if it spies on members of Congress.
- NSA responds: Congress afforded ‘same privacy protections as all US persons.’
- Senator Rand Paul plans to file class action lawsuit against NSA.
- Senator Dianne Feinstein admits her NSA reform bill designed to protect existing surveillance programs.
- Pentagon reports Snowden downloaded 1.7 million intelligence files.
- 500 years of history shows how mass surveillance is always aimed at silencing dissenting opinion.
- Analysis of 225 terrorist attacks since 9/11 shows NSA surveillance ‘has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.’
- President Obama’s NSA reform goal: no more Edward Snowdens.
- NSA devises radio pathway into computers.
- NSA collects millions of text messages daily in ‘untargeted global sweep.’
- Obama speech on NSA reforms affirms belief that mass spying has a future.
- Tech firms say Obama proposals fall short of expectations.
- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange slams Obama speech as full of lies.
- Electronic Freedom Foundation scores Obama’s NSA reform speech:3.5 out of 12.
- US surveillance imperils freedom of expression around the globe.
- Civil Liberties Oversight Group: NSA metadata collection is ‘screamingly’ illegal.
- Democratic Establishment Unmasked: Prime Defenders of NSA Bulk Spying
- Spy agencies exploit ‘leaky apps’ like Angry Birds to learn gender, income, age and more.
- A glossary of terms pertaining to NSA/GCHQ spy scandal.
- Tech companies’ ‘NSA Transparency Reports’ are largely PR stunts.
- While the NSA strives to learn every detail about us, it works to conceal its own actions from others.
- Footage released of Guardian editors destroying hard drives provided by Snowden under watchful eyes of GCHQ technicians.
- President Obama stands by James Clapper despite untruthful Senate testimony.
- NYT editor slams Obama administration, saying treatment of Snowden has scared sources resulting in a “real freeze” on reporting.
- David Miranda’s detention: a chilling attack on journalism
- How the NSA tracks people’s physical location.
- Watchdog group: NSA actions pose direct threat to journalists.
- Press freedom under attack - the risks journalists face by reporting.
- Snowden documents reveal covert surveillance and pressure tactics on Wikileaks and its supporters.
- How covert agents infiltrate the Internet to manipulate, deceive and destroy reputations.
- Optic Nerve: How UK spy agency collected millions of webcam images from Yahoo users.
- Snowden: I raised concerns internally 10 times before going rogue.
- Julian Assange: NSA has grown into a rogue agency.
- The NSA masqueraded as Facebook to infect millions of computers with malware.
- NSA contractors anonymously fantasize about killing Snowden.
- Quantum: The NSA’s Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool
- Mystic: 100% voice collection of phone calls for 30 day period
- Greenwald: President Obama’s proposed NSA reforms 'cosmetic, basically a PR gesture.'
- NSA “chilling effect” feared by writers.
- DOJ still ducking scrutiny after misleading the Supreme Court on surveillance. “Misleading” is putting it nicely. The DOJ lied to the Supreme Court in order to get them to dismiss a case brought by the ACLU.
- Compare NSA’s Facebook malware denial to its own classified documents.
- NSA put Merkel on list of 122 targeted world leaders.
- Greenwald on 'limitless' NSA ambitions.
- USA Freedom Act gutted, privacy advocates withdrawal support.
- The Guardian and New York Times win Pulitzer Prize for Greenwald’s NSA reporting.
- The NSA is recording every cell phone call in the Bahamas.
- Judge Andrew Napolitano’s review of Glenn Greenwald’s book ‘No Place to Hide’
- Full interview between Edward Snowden and Brian Williams.
- Glenn Greenwald to release names of Americans spied on by NSA.
- Unaired comments from Snowden’s interview with Brian Williams details how the U.S. government had the information to detect the 9/11 attacks.
Some takeaways: You can’t trust a single thing the government says. While it is spending tremendous amounts of resources attempting to eradicate privacy, it is working just as hard to shroud its own actions in secrecy. The surveillance state is not being erected around us for our own safety. It is a tool to crush dissent. The NSA’s mantra has been to “collect it all.” The programs are capable of seeing your very thought processes. Every keystroke you make, every link you click, every article you read, where you were and more. They have the capacity to know more about you than your therapist or your significant other. They know not only whom you associate with, but also who your associates associate with. It could be said they can know more about you than you know about you.
And the end result of this is that when people feel that they can be watched at any moment, they begin to police their own actions. It’s Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon transposed to the 21st century. When the government can know everything about a person, when privacy is effectively eliminated, it creates a subservient class. The telescreens of George Orwell’s “1984” exist today in the form of personal computers and smartphones. Big Brother is always present in our lives, capable of knowing the most intimate details of our lives. And the government treats the exposing of this fact to the general public as treason.
Such broad powers cannot be trusted with anyone. The NSA’s surveillance powers elevate the executive branch to a level unimaginable by the Founders. The president can and likely does track the communications of members of the legislature and judiciary. The checks and balances of the Constitution are rendered hollow and irrelevant by the size and scope of the NSA’s powers. It poses a threat to the liberties and freedoms of everyone in the world.
Since education is the whole point of Edward Snowden’s leaks I want you all to reblog this post and to tweet it on Twitter and share it on Facebook. Spread this list far and wide. The more people know the more likely they are to engage on the issues and actually bring about substantive reform.
Photo credit to the great amphigoryglory.
I wish our law enforcement was able to take threats from the mentally ill (or concerns from those around them) even half as serious as they take NSA and Homeland Security concerns related to my bottle of sunscreen over 4oz and the inherent danger of my souvenir snow globe.
(Photo courtesy Everett Collection / Paramount)
U.N. officials, scientists and activists have gathered this week to debate a not-so-distant tomorrow filled with autonomous robot warriors — but machines that can kill without human guidance are already here.
In fact, they are already being tested by militaries across the world.
We’re so screwed.