A sheet of talking points for employees of the National Security Agency and Central Security Services, was sent out ahead of Thanksgiving to help guide conversations with family and friends during the holiday season.

Firedoglake obtained a copy of a two-page document that was sent out on November 22. It was clearly put together for rebutting statements about the NSA from news stories on documents disclosed by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and it encouraged employees to “share the following points with family members and close friends.”

The “talking points” sheet suggests that employees make five key points: (1) NSA’s mission is of great value to the Nation”; (2) NSA performs its mission the right way—lawful, compliant and in a way that protects civil liberties and privacy; (3) NSA performs its mission exceptionally well. We strive to be the best that we can be, because that’s what America requires as part of its defense in a dangerous world; (4) The people who work for NSA are loyal Americans with expert skills who make sacrifices to help protect the freedoms we all cherish; (5) NSA is committed to increased transparency, public dialog and faithful implementation of any changes required by our overseers. (No emphasis added. Underlines appear in the document.)

Each key point includes sub-points that presumably an employee could additionally cite if a family member disputed their main point.

Full article

In the last four months, we’ve learned a lot about our government. We’ve learned that the U.S. intelligence community secretly built a system of pervasive surveillance. Today, no telephone in America makes a call without leaving a record with the NSA. Today, no Internet transaction enters or leaves America without passing through the NSA’s hands. Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They’re wrong.

Now, it’s time for the government to learn from us. On Saturday, the ACLU, EFF, and the rest of the StopWatching.Us coalition are going to D.C. Join us in sending the message: Stop Watching Us.

Edward Snowden in a public statement supporting Saturday’s National Day of Protest against NSA surveillance. 

A Rally against Mass Surveillance
Saturday, October 26 12 p.m.
In front of Union Station, Washington, D.C. 

"Who is Chelsea Manning?" art installation wins best project at DUMBO Arts Festival
Last weekend, at the DUMBO Arts Festival, artist Kyle Goen debuted his newest installation entitled “Who Is Chelsea Manning?” The larger-than-life portrait is comprised of 50 strands of mylar flags strung together to form the smiling face of Chelsea Manning. It took home the award for Best Project at the festival.
The 1600 red flags, a reference to the White House’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address in D.C., were wrapped up and labeled in manila envelopes before installation. They were cut to the appropriate length, raised up, and strung between two buildings on the day of the installation.
“I hadn’t even thought about it as being that grand,” Goen said, referring to a writer who called Chelsea Manning’s sentencing “the hugest story of the year.” “[It] becomes this huge piece [and] it has to be a lot of different parts from a lot of different angles.” That’s true both literally and figuratively, as the installation changes form as you walk around and under it — and only comes together as a clear portrait when you stand far enough away to take in the entire piece at once.
The sound was also a disarming — and unexpected — part of the piece. The two buildings formed a wind tunnel that blew the flags against each other, adding another dynamic to the experience. In addition, the wind blew the flags in such a way that only when the wind was completely still could you easily see Chelsea’s face.
Goen was pleased to see that his installation was generating conversations about transgender identity and rights. “That’s the space I was hoping to create […] those kinds of moments happen where you’re able to talk about those things. Everybody has their own level of how much they know, […] and it’s so confusing to people[…] It’s actually not that complicated. It’s just really about respect and understanding. So that was this really beautiful space that — so I’m hoping that more of those kinds of moments happen, once the piece is up and people see it and it kind of goes out there and starts living by itself.”
Source
I saw the installation last weekend, & it was really great. Manning’s court transcript was also posted next to the piece, which made it even more powerful.

"Who is Chelsea Manning?" art installation wins best project at DUMBO Arts Festival

Last weekend, at the DUMBO Arts Festival, artist Kyle Goen debuted his newest installation entitled “Who Is Chelsea Manning?” The larger-than-life portrait is comprised of 50 strands of mylar flags strung together to form the smiling face of Chelsea Manning. It took home the award for Best Project at the festival.

The 1600 red flags, a reference to the White House’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue address in D.C., were wrapped up and labeled in manila envelopes before installation. They were cut to the appropriate length, raised up, and strung between two buildings on the day of the installation.

“I hadn’t even thought about it as being that grand,” Goen said, referring to a writer who called Chelsea Manning’s sentencing “the hugest story of the year.” “[It] becomes this huge piece [and] it has to be a lot of different parts from a lot of different angles.” That’s true both literally and figuratively, as the installation changes form as you walk around and under it — and only comes together as a clear portrait when you stand far enough away to take in the entire piece at once.

The sound was also a disarming — and unexpected — part of the piece. The two buildings formed a wind tunnel that blew the flags against each other, adding another dynamic to the experience. In addition, the wind blew the flags in such a way that only when the wind was completely still could you easily see Chelsea’s face.

Goen was pleased to see that his installation was generating conversations about transgender identity and rights. “That’s the space I was hoping to create […] those kinds of moments happen where you’re able to talk about those things. Everybody has their own level of how much they know, […] and it’s so confusing to people[…] It’s actually not that complicated. It’s just really about respect and understanding. So that was this really beautiful space that — so I’m hoping that more of those kinds of moments happen, once the piece is up and people see it and it kind of goes out there and starts living by itself.”

Source

I saw the installation last weekend, & it was really great. Manning’s court transcript was also posted next to the piece, which made it even more powerful.

Chelsea Manning submits request for presidential pardonSeptember 5, 2013
WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison last month. Tuesday, in an appeal addressed to President Obama, the Army private’s lawyer asked that his client be pardoned or, at the very least, have her sentence reduced to time served.
Manning has already spent three years in a military prison for leaking documents that her lawyer, David E. Coombs, says were “either unclassified or contained information that the public had a right to know.” Slate discusses the request’s contents:

The earliest Manning could be considered for parole is in 7 years. In the letter, Manning’s lawyer writes, “the length of Private Manning’s sentence is one that we would expect for someone who disclosed information in order to harm the United States or who disclosed information for monetary gain. Private Manning did neither. Instead, he disclosed information that he believed could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on how we value human life.”
Referring to Manning as a “military whistleblower,” the letter says Manning “has already paid a heavy price for his conduct.”…Manning’s pardon request refers to Chelsea Manning by her former name, Bradley Manning.

The letter reminds Obama that the documents Manning revealed simply “embarrassed” the U.S. because they exposed the “misconduct” and “unethical practices” carried out by government officials. Coombs also emphasizes the importance of the role whistle-blowers play in our country: Regardless of any embarrassment they may cause, they are essential to ensuring government accountability. Punishments as drastic as those Manning has faced and continues to endure will only discourage patriots wishing to reveal injustices in the future.
Manning also writes in the request herself, according to The Guardian:

“I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

In other words, enough’s enough, Mr. President. Free Chelsea Manning and send the message that America stands behind whistle-blowers who try to improve our society by opening conversations that are crucial to a nation that calls itself a democracy.
SourceArt source

Chelsea Manning submits request for presidential pardon
September 5, 2013

WikiLeaks whistle-blower Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison last month. Tuesday, in an appeal addressed to President Obama, the Army private’s lawyer asked that his client be pardoned or, at the very least, have her sentence reduced to time served.

Manning has already spent three years in a military prison for leaking documents that her lawyer, David E. Coombs, says were “either unclassified or contained information that the public had a right to know.” Slate discusses the request’s contents:

The earliest Manning could be considered for parole is in 7 years. In the letter, Manning’s lawyer writes, “the length of Private Manning’s sentence is one that we would expect for someone who disclosed information in order to harm the United States or who disclosed information for monetary gain. Private Manning did neither. Instead, he disclosed information that he believed could spark a meaningful public debate on the costs of war, and specifically on how we value human life.”

Referring to Manning as a “military whistleblower,” the letter says Manning “has already paid a heavy price for his conduct.”…Manning’s pardon request refers to Chelsea Manning by her former name, Bradley Manning.

The letter reminds Obama that the documents Manning revealed simply “embarrassed” the U.S. because they exposed the “misconduct” and “unethical practices” carried out by government officials. Coombs also emphasizes the importance of the role whistle-blowers play in our country: Regardless of any embarrassment they may cause, they are essential to ensuring government accountability. Punishments as drastic as those Manning has faced and continues to endure will only discourage patriots wishing to reveal injustices in the future.

Manning also writes in the request herself, according to The Guardian:

“I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

In other words, enough’s enough, Mr. President. Free Chelsea Manning and send the message that America stands behind whistle-blowers who try to improve our society by opening conversations that are crucial to a nation that calls itself a democracy.

Source
Art source

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.
Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.
Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.
As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.
If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”
- Statement by Pfc. B. Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Coombs also said this was Manning’s reaction after the sentence was read: “Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this.”

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown our any logically based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy—the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps—to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.”

- Statement by Pfc. B. Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference after Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Coombs also said this was Manning’s reaction after the sentence was read: “Hey, it’s OK. It’s all right. I know you did everything you could for me. Don’t cry. Be happy. It’s fine. This is just a stage in my life. I am moving forward. I will recover from this.”

Email services close and destroy data rather than reveal information
August 12, 2013

Lavabit, a Texas-based service that was reportedly used by Edward J. Snowden, announced the suspension of its service Thursday afternoon to avoid being “complicit in crimes against the American people,” The New York Times reports.

Within hours, a fast-growing Maryland-based start-up called Silent Circle also closed its e-mail service and destroyed its e-mail servers.

In effect, both businesses destroyed their assets — in part or in full — to avoid turning over  data of powerful clients.

In an effort to address public concern about the government’s surveillance programs, President Obama on Friday announced the creation of a task force to advise the government about how to ‘balance security and privacy’. Many understand this to mean that they plan to reboot the programs under different names and maintain a climate of secrecy and lies while continuing to pursue whistle-blowers relentlessly. Obama also claimed he supported a proposal to change the procedures of the secret court that approves electronic spying under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Source

As Assange has been saying, any changes made as a direct result of Snowden’s leaks PROVE that Snowden is in fact a whistle-blower (perhaps the most influential in American history) and not an enemy of the United States or whatever the hell they’re calling him now. 

Obama’s abuse of the Espionage Act is modern-day McCarthyism by John KiriakouAugust 9, 2013
The conviction of Pfc. B. Manning under the 1917 Espionage Act, and the US Justice Department’s decision to file espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden under the same act, are yet further examples of the Obama administration's policy of using an iron fist against human rights and civil liberties activists.
President Obama has been unprecedented in his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute those whose whistleblowing he wants to curtail. The purpose of an Espionage Act prosecution, however, is not to punish a person for spying for the enemy, selling secrets for personal gain, or trying to undermine our way of life. It is to ruin the whistleblower personally, professionally and financially. It is meant to send a message to anybody else considering speaking truth to power: challenge us and we will destroy you.
Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama. The effect of the charge on a person’s life – being viewed as a traitor, being shunned by family and friends, incurring massive legal bills – is all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of “the Obama Seven”.
In early 2012, I was arrested and charged with three counts of espionage and one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). (I was only the second person in US history to be charged with violating the IIPA, a law that was written to be used against rogues like Philip Agee.)
Two of my espionage charges were the result of a conversation I had with a New York Times reporter about torture. I gave him no classified information – only the business card of a former CIA colleague who had never been undercover. The other espionage charge was for giving the same unclassified business card to a reporter for ABC News. All three espionage charges were eventually dropped.
So, why charge me in the first place?
It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture.
At the CIA, employees are trained to believe that nearly every moral issue is a shade of grey. But this is simply not true. Some issues are black-and-white – and torture is one of them. Many of us believed that the torture policy was solely a Bush-era perversion. But many of these perversions, or at least efforts to cover them up or justify them, have continued under President Obama.
Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, declared a war on whistleblowers virtually as soon as they assumed office. Some of the investigations began during the Bush administration, as was the case with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, but Espionage Act cases have been prosecuted only under Obama. The president has chosen to ignore the legal definition of whistleblower – any person who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or illegality – and has prosecuted truthtellers.
This policy decision smacks of modern-day McCarthyism. Washington has always needed an “ism” to fight against, an idea against which it could rally its citizens like lemmings. First, it was anarchism, then socialism, then communism. Now, it’s terrorism. Any whistleblower who goes public in the name of protecting human rights or civil liberties is accused of helping the terrorists.
That the whistleblower has the support of groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the American Civil Liberties Union matters not a whit. The administration simply presses forward with wild accusations against the whistleblower: “He’s aiding the enemy!” “He put our soldiers lives in danger!” “He has blood on his hands!” Then, when it comes time for trial, the espionage charges invariably are either dropped or thrown out.
The administration and its national security sycophants in both parties in Congress argue that governmental actions exposed by the whistleblower are legal. The Justice Department approved the torture, after all, and the US supreme court said that the NSA’s eavesdropping program was constitutional. But this is the same Justice Department that harassed, surveilled, wiretapped and threatened Martin Luther King Jr, and that recently allowed weapons to be sold to Mexican drug gangs in the Fast and Furious scandal. Just because they’re in power doesn’t mean they’re right.
Yet another problem with the Espionage Act is that it has never been applied uniformly. Immediately after its passage in 1917, American socialist leader Eugene V Debs was arrested and imprisoned under the Espionage Act – simply for criticizing the US decision to enter the first world war. He ran for president from his prison cell.
Nearly a century later, when the deputy director for national intelligence revealed the amount of the highly-classified intelligence budget in an ill-conceived speech, she was not even sent a letter of reprimand – despite the fact the Russians, Chinese, and others had sought the figure for decades. When former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta boastfully revealed the identity of the Seal Team member who killed Osama bin Laden in a speech to an audience that included uncleared individuals, the Pentagon and the CIA simply called the disclosure “inadvertent”.
There was no espionage charge for Panetta. But there was a $3m book deal.
The Obama administration’s espionage prosecutions are political actions for political reasons, and are carried out by political appointees. The only way to end this or any administration’s abuse of the Espionage Act is to rewrite the law. It is so antiquated that it doesn’t even mention classified information; the classification system hadn’t yet been invented. The law was written a century ago to prosecute German saboteurs. Its only update came in 1950, at the height of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. The law is still so broad and vague that many legal scholars argue that it is unconstitutional.
The only hope of ending this travesty of justice is to scrap the Espionage Act and to enact new legislation that would protect whistleblowers while allowing the government to prosecute traitors and spies. This would require congressional leadership, however, and that is something that is very difficult to come by. Giants like the late Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Frank Church, and the late Representative Otis Pike, who boldly took on and reformed the intelligence community in the 1970s, are long-gone. Until someone on Capitol Hill begins to understand the concept of justice for national security whistleblowers, very little is likely to change.
The press also has a role to play, one that, so far, it has largely ignored. That role is to report on and investigate the whistleblower’s revelations of illegality, not on the kind of car he drives, the brand of eyeglasses he wears, where he went to college, or what his nextdoor neighbor has to say about their childhood.
The attacks on our civil liberties that the whistleblower reports are far too important to move off-message into trivialities. After all, the government is spying on all of us. That should be the story.
Source

Obama’s abuse of the Espionage Act is modern-day McCarthyism 
by John Kiriakou
August 9, 2013

The conviction of Pfc. B. Manning under the 1917 Espionage Act, and the US Justice Department’s decision to file espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden under the same act, are yet further examples of the Obama administration's policy of using an iron fist against human rights and civil liberties activists.

President Obama has been unprecedented in his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute those whose whistleblowing he wants to curtail. The purpose of an Espionage Act prosecution, however, is not to punish a person for spying for the enemy, selling secrets for personal gain, or trying to undermine our way of life. It is to ruin the whistleblower personally, professionally and financially. It is meant to send a message to anybody else considering speaking truth to power: challenge us and we will destroy you.

Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama. The effect of the charge on a person’s life – being viewed as a traitor, being shunned by family and friends, incurring massive legal bills – is all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of “the Obama Seven”.

In early 2012, I was arrested and charged with three counts of espionage and one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). (I was only the second person in US history to be charged with violating the IIPA, a law that was written to be used against rogues like Philip Agee.)

Two of my espionage charges were the result of a conversation I had with a New York Times reporter about torture. I gave him no classified information – only the business card of a former CIA colleague who had never been undercover. The other espionage charge was for giving the same unclassified business card to a reporter for ABC News. All three espionage charges were eventually dropped.

So, why charge me in the first place?

It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture.

At the CIA, employees are trained to believe that nearly every moral issue is a shade of grey. But this is simply not true. Some issues are black-and-white – and torture is one of them. Many of us believed that the torture policy was solely a Bush-era perversion. But many of these perversions, or at least efforts to cover them up or justify them, have continued under President Obama.

Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, declared a war on whistleblowers virtually as soon as they assumed office. Some of the investigations began during the Bush administration, as was the case with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, but Espionage Act cases have been prosecuted only under Obama. The president has chosen to ignore the legal definition of whistleblower – any person who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or illegality – and has prosecuted truthtellers.

This policy decision smacks of modern-day McCarthyism. Washington has always needed an “ism” to fight against, an idea against which it could rally its citizens like lemmings. First, it was anarchism, then socialism, then communism. Now, it’s terrorism. Any whistleblower who goes public in the name of protecting human rights or civil liberties is accused of helping the terrorists.

That the whistleblower has the support of groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the American Civil Liberties Union matters not a whit. The administration simply presses forward with wild accusations against the whistleblower: “He’s aiding the enemy!” “He put our soldiers lives in danger!” “He has blood on his hands!” Then, when it comes time for trial, the espionage charges invariably are either dropped or thrown out.

The administration and its national security sycophants in both parties in Congress argue that governmental actions exposed by the whistleblower are legal. The Justice Department approved the torture, after all, and the US supreme court said that the NSA’s eavesdropping program was constitutional. But this is the same Justice Department that harassed, surveilled, wiretapped and threatened Martin Luther King Jr, and that recently allowed weapons to be sold to Mexican drug gangs in the Fast and Furious scandal. Just because they’re in power doesn’t mean they’re right.

Yet another problem with the Espionage Act is that it has never been applied uniformly. Immediately after its passage in 1917, American socialist leader Eugene V Debs was arrested and imprisoned under the Espionage Act – simply for criticizing the US decision to enter the first world war. He ran for president from his prison cell.

Nearly a century later, when the deputy director for national intelligence revealed the amount of the highly-classified intelligence budget in an ill-conceived speech, she was not even sent a letter of reprimand – despite the fact the Russians, Chinese, and others had sought the figure for decades. When former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta boastfully revealed the identity of the Seal Team member who killed Osama bin Laden in a speech to an audience that included uncleared individuals, the Pentagon and the CIA simply called the disclosure “inadvertent”.

There was no espionage charge for Panetta. But there was a $3m book deal.

The Obama administration’s espionage prosecutions are political actions for political reasons, and are carried out by political appointees. The only way to end this or any administration’s abuse of the Espionage Act is to rewrite the law. It is so antiquated that it doesn’t even mention classified information; the classification system hadn’t yet been invented. The law was written a century ago to prosecute German saboteurs. Its only update came in 1950, at the height of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. The law is still so broad and vague that many legal scholars argue that it is unconstitutional.

The only hope of ending this travesty of justice is to scrap the Espionage Act and to enact new legislation that would protect whistleblowers while allowing the government to prosecute traitors and spies. This would require congressional leadership, however, and that is something that is very difficult to come by. Giants like the late Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Frank Church, and the late Representative Otis Pike, who boldly took on and reformed the intelligence community in the 1970s, are long-gone. Until someone on Capitol Hill begins to understand the concept of justice for national security whistleblowers, very little is likely to change.

The press also has a role to play, one that, so far, it has largely ignored. That role is to report on and investigate the whistleblower’s revelations of illegality, not on the kind of car he drives, the brand of eyeglasses he wears, where he went to college, or what his nextdoor neighbor has to say about their childhood.

The attacks on our civil liberties that the whistleblower reports are far too important to move off-message into trivialities. After all, the government is spying on all of us. That should be the story.

Source

Top Ten ways Pfc. B. Manning changed the worldAugust 1, 2013
Pfc. B. Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that their leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what they revealed and that the revelations changed the world are undeniable.
1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.
5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.
4. Manning revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.
7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.
8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.
9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”
10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.
Source
Along with this list, I would add: 
11. Iraq War Logs, which revealed widespread prisoner abuse, torture & sexual assault against the Iraqi Security Forces. These logs also revealed Frago 242, an order implemented not to investigate these human rights abuses & torture accusations.
12. The Guantanamo Files, which revealed that the United States holds prisoners without charge or trial for years at a time. The cables also showed that most prisoners have been cleared for release under the Bush & Obama administration but are still being held in the prison.
13. Both the Iraq & Afghanistan War logs contain an official count of civilian deaths, which the US military denied having. Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. government counted a total of 109,000 deaths in Iraq, with 66,081 classified as non-combatants.

Top Ten ways Pfc. B. Manning changed the world
August 1, 2013

Pfc. B. Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that their leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what they revealed and that the revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

5. His leaks show that then Senator John Kerry pressed Israel to be open to returning the Golan Heights to Syria as part of a peace negotiation. This item suggests that Kerry might be more of an honest broker in the current negotiations than some observers give him credit for.

4. Manning revealed that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered US diplomats to spy on their United Nations counterparts. The UN spy requests included cables that “demanded detailed intelligence on the UN leadership including forensic detail about their communications systems, including passwords and personal encryption keys,” foreshadowing later revelations of extensive US spying on even allies like Germany via the NSA.

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.

7. Manning revealed the degree of authoritarianism and corruption of the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak, which was subsequently swept away.

8. Manning revealed that hard-nosed realist, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, was against striking Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities because it would only slow their program down slightly, but would inevitably cause Iranians to be angry and mobilized in the aftermath.

9. Manning revealed that the Israeli authorities had a secret plan to keep the Palestinian population of Gaza on the brink of food insecurity and poor health, in among the creepiest military operations in history: “Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”

10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.

Source

Along with this list, I would add: 

11. Iraq War Logs, which revealed widespread prisoner abuse, torture & sexual assault against the Iraqi Security Forces. These logs also revealed Frago 242, an order implemented not to investigate these human rights abuses & torture accusations.

12. The Guantanamo Files, which revealed that the United States holds prisoners without charge or trial for years at a time. The cables also showed that most prisoners have been cleared for release under the Bush & Obama administration but are still being held in the prison.

13. Both the Iraq & Afghanistan War logs contain an official count of civilian deaths, which the US military denied having. Between 2004 and 2009, the U.S. government counted a total of 109,000 deaths in Iraq, with 66,081 classified as non-combatants.

The verdict in the Pfc. B. Manning trial will be announced today at 1 p.m. EST. Manning faces life in prison without the possibility of parole for exposing US war crimes, including this Collateral Murder video:

TW: Extreme violence - On July 6, 2010, Private B. Manning, a 22 year old intelligence analyst with the United States Army in Baghdad, was charged with disclosing this video (after allegedly speaking to an unfaithful journalist). The whistleblower behind the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, has called Manning a ‘hero’. The Apache crew and those behind the cover up depicted in the video have yet to be charged. To assist Private Manning, please see bradleymanning.org.

5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

If Pfc. Manning is convicted, there is an automatic appeal to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Next would be Court of Appeals of Armed Forces. Manning’s attorney David Coombs believes the case could go to the Supreme Court, should Manning be convicted of “aiding the enemy”.

Spread this video & Manning’s story. After today, they were imprisoned without sentencing for 1160 days, during which Manning was held under “cruel & inhumane” conditions, according to Juan Mendez, a UN special rapporteur on torture. 

Ironically, a resolution has been introduced to make July 30 National Whistleblower Day. 

Judge refuses to drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge in Manning trialJuly 19, 2013
The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against them - that they knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets that were posted on the internet.
The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as judge and jury over the army private in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, means that Manning continues to face the possibility of life in military custody with no chance of parole. The “aiding the enemy” charge is one of the most severe offences available to military prosecutors, and has led to the accusation that the Obama administration is attempting to put a chill on whistleblowers that could have far-reaching consequences for investigative journalism.
Colonel Morris Davis, one of the key witnesses called by Manning’s defence team in an attempt to have the “aiding the enemy” charge dropped, said he was “extraordinarily disappointed” by the ruling. Davis was director of the US air force’s judicial system from 2007 to 2008 and said he was normally a defender of military justice.
But he said the fact that military prosecutors were pursuing Manning with such a heavy hand had forced him to think again. He pointed to the contrast between the full-blooded prosecution of the US soldier and the outcome of the court martial that flowed from the 2005 Haditha killings in Iraq.
In that incident, 24 unarmed Iraqis including women and children were killed by US marines. In the ensuing prosecutions, six of the marines involved had their cases dropped, a seventh was found not guilty and the only one to be convicted of a single count avoided any time in jail.
"When you think about these different responses, it suggests to me that the military justice system is not working," Davis said.
The defence team, led by a civilian lawyer, David Coombs, had moved for the “aiding the enemy” charge to be dismissed on grounds of lack of evidence. The motion argued that the US government had failed to produce any substantial evidence that Manning had “actual knowledge” that by passing documents to WikiLeaks they were giving information to an enemy of the US.
Coombs said that in the course of five weeks of prosecution evidence during the trial, the government had not proffered any evidence that the soldier was trained to be wary of WikiLeaks as a possible conduit to enemy groups. On the contrary, the court had heard from one of Manning’s superiors who had trained them as an intelligence analyst who testified that he had never even heard of WikiLeaks prior to the soldier’s arrest in this case.
To find Manning guilty of “aiding the enemy” would set an “extremely bad precedent” that would have an impact on all whistleblowers seeking to sound the alarm about government misconduct through established news outlets, Coombs later argued in court.
The prosecution countered that Manning had been thoroughly trained to recognise that posting any intelligence on the internet would make it accessible to enemy groups, particularly al-Qaida and its affiliated networks. “PFC Manning is distinct from an infantryman or a truck driver, because he had all the training. And this was his job. He knew exactly the consequences of his actions,” one of the prosecutors, Captain Angel Overgaard, told the court.
On more than one occasion, the US government made clear that it would have treated Manning with an equally stern hand had they chosen to leak the information to the New York Times rather than WikiLeaks. The issue was not purely legalistic – in the course of pre-trial hearings Manning indicated that their first attempt at linking to a news organisation was to the New York Times, Washington Post and Politico but had failed to make contact and as a result had turned instead to WikiLeaks.
Amnesty International said that Lind’s decision to keep “aiding the enemy” on the charge sheet was a travesty of justice. “It’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis and the charge should be withdrawn,” said the human rights group’s senior director for international law, Widney Brown.
Steven Aftergood, who heads a project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, called Lind’s ruling “sobering”. He added: “It’s disturbing though not altogether surprising.”
Aftergood said that Manning was suffering the consequences of what he called an “indiscriminate release of records. I can’t believe that if he had simply released the Apache helicopter video or some of the other specific documents he transmitted that he would be facing the same set of charges.”
Manning has admitted to 10 lesser included offences relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of US state secrets that included war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, detainee files from Guantánamo, a video of the Apache helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad and a huge trove of US diplomatic cables. The offences to which the soldier has pleaded guilty carry an upper sentence of 20 years, though the US government is seeking a more serious punishment that would see them languish in jail for up to 154 years in addition to the maximum life sentence for “aiding the enemy”.
The judge is expected to deliver her verdict on all 21 counts pursued by the government, as well as the 10 lesser offences admitted by Manning, possibly as early as next week.
Source

Judge refuses to drop ‘aiding the enemy’ charge in Manning trial
July 19, 2013

The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Pfc. B. Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against them - that they knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets that were posted on the internet.

The decision by Colonel Denise Lind, who is sitting as judge and jury over the army private in a courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland, means that Manning continues to face the possibility of life in military custody with no chance of parole. The “aiding the enemy” charge is one of the most severe offences available to military prosecutors, and has led to the accusation that the Obama administration is attempting to put a chill on whistleblowers that could have far-reaching consequences for investigative journalism.

Colonel Morris Davis, one of the key witnesses called by Manning’s defence team in an attempt to have the “aiding the enemy” charge dropped, said he was “extraordinarily disappointed” by the ruling. Davis was director of the US air force’s judicial system from 2007 to 2008 and said he was normally a defender of military justice.

But he said the fact that military prosecutors were pursuing Manning with such a heavy hand had forced him to think again. He pointed to the contrast between the full-blooded prosecution of the US soldier and the outcome of the court martial that flowed from the 2005 Haditha killings in Iraq.

In that incident, 24 unarmed Iraqis including women and children were killed by US marines. In the ensuing prosecutions, six of the marines involved had their cases dropped, a seventh was found not guilty and the only one to be convicted of a single count avoided any time in jail.

"When you think about these different responses, it suggests to me that the military justice system is not working," Davis said.

The defence team, led by a civilian lawyer, David Coombs, had moved for the “aiding the enemy” charge to be dismissed on grounds of lack of evidence. The motion argued that the US government had failed to produce any substantial evidence that Manning had “actual knowledge” that by passing documents to WikiLeaks they were giving information to an enemy of the US.

Coombs said that in the course of five weeks of prosecution evidence during the trial, the government had not proffered any evidence that the soldier was trained to be wary of WikiLeaks as a possible conduit to enemy groups. On the contrary, the court had heard from one of Manning’s superiors who had trained them as an intelligence analyst who testified that he had never even heard of WikiLeaks prior to the soldier’s arrest in this case.

To find Manning guilty of “aiding the enemy” would set an “extremely bad precedent” that would have an impact on all whistleblowers seeking to sound the alarm about government misconduct through established news outlets, Coombs later argued in court.

The prosecution countered that Manning had been thoroughly trained to recognise that posting any intelligence on the internet would make it accessible to enemy groups, particularly al-Qaida and its affiliated networks. “PFC Manning is distinct from an infantryman or a truck driver, because he had all the training. And this was his job. He knew exactly the consequences of his actions,” one of the prosecutors, Captain Angel Overgaard, told the court.

On more than one occasion, the US government made clear that it would have treated Manning with an equally stern hand had they chosen to leak the information to the New York Times rather than WikiLeaks. The issue was not purely legalistic – in the course of pre-trial hearings Manning indicated that their first attempt at linking to a news organisation was to the New York Times, Washington Post and Politico but had failed to make contact and as a result had turned instead to WikiLeaks.

Amnesty International said that Lind’s decision to keep “aiding the enemy” on the charge sheet was a travesty of justice. “It’s abundantly clear that the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’ has no basis and the charge should be withdrawn,” said the human rights group’s senior director for international law, Widney Brown.

Steven Aftergood, who heads a project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, called Lind’s ruling “sobering”. He added: “It’s disturbing though not altogether surprising.”

Aftergood said that Manning was suffering the consequences of what he called an “indiscriminate release of records. I can’t believe that if he had simply released the Apache helicopter video or some of the other specific documents he transmitted that he would be facing the same set of charges.”

Manning has admitted to 10 lesser included offences relating to the leaking of hundreds of thousands of US state secrets that included war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, detainee files from Guantánamo, a video of the Apache helicopter attack on civilians in Baghdad and a huge trove of US diplomatic cables. The offences to which the soldier has pleaded guilty carry an upper sentence of 20 years, though the US government is seeking a more serious punishment that would see them languish in jail for up to 154 years in addition to the maximum life sentence for “aiding the enemy”.

The judge is expected to deliver her verdict on all 21 counts pursued by the government, as well as the 10 lesser offences admitted by Manning, possibly as early as next week.

Source

Barrett Brown, political prisoner of the information revolutionJuly 13, 2013
When I first noticed Barrett Brown in early 2011, I never thought that two years later I’d be directing Free Barrett Brown. Intrigued by his irreverence, I became familiar with his work, admiring him for his skill as a writer. I spoke to him briefly on IRC (internet relay chat) and occasionally dropped into the same channels he frequented; later I met him in person at a conference in New York City. But it’s the US government’s behavior in this and other cases – see also, Manning, Hammond, Swartz, Assange, etc – that have made running his legal defense fund a labor of love for me.
The distributed research project Brown founded, Project PM, is important and necessary. Since 9/11, the intelligence and cyber-security contracting industries have exploded in size. I believe, as Barrett does, that the public/private partnership on surveillance constitutes a threat to civil transparency and the health of democratic institutions. Large and very profitable companies like Booz Allen Hamilton obtain most of their revenues from the federal government; yet, the majority of their work is performed in secrecy.
Barrett had the insight to realize early on that the troves of emails that were hacked by Anonymous out of HBGary Federal and Stratfor and subsequently made public had the potential to provide a rare window into the activities of the cyber-intelligence industry. I believe it was this journalistic work of digging into areas that powerful people would rather keep in the dark that made him a target.
Contrary to claims, Brown is not a hacker (he is unabashedly lacking in technical skills). Nor was he a spokesperson for Anonymous (the very idea is ridiculous). He is an iconoclastic writer with a penchant for satire and hyperbole. He became an activist by observing the media’s failure to cover the issues or stories that he deemed important. Some of his proudest work was the assistance rendered by Anonymous to citizens in North Africa during the first months of the Arab Spring.
As an information activist who understands how information can be distributed and have an impact, Brown was extremely skilled and media-savvy. With Anonymous, he fulfilled a function that was necessary, and which few others were willing to do: put a public face to a movement for transparency. He was highly effective – and that’s why he’s being punished so severely.
The fact that he’s now facing a possible maximum of 105 years in prison is distressing, but it’s indicative of the larger pattern: an out-of-touch government at war with the press, prosecuting whistleblowers and activists, trying to silence dissent. Brown’s work has been interrupted, but many of the things he warned about – mass surveillance of journalists, the threat to privacy presented by intelligence contractors, have turned out to be correct. He has been hugely vindicated – and public support for him is growing.
Overzealous and excessive prosecutions like Brown’s use flawed tactics, without focusing on the facts or the merits, and are in reality persecutions. They have invented crimes out of thin air, piling charge on charge; and they have extracted a guilty plea from a family member. In April, they went on a fishing expedition against the Project PM website, with a subpoena intended to identify other activists. They also tried, but failed, to seize $20,000 that my organization had raised for Barrett’s legal defense.
Brown was arrested during a heavily-armed FBI raid for, allegedly, making threats in YouTube videos and via tweets. The fact that the same FBI agent who is an alleged “victim” in the case continues to be the one doing the investigative casework and serving subpoenas is a clear conflict of interest.
The government also argues that because Brown copied a hyperlink to data from the Stratfor dump from one chatroom to another, he’s guilty on numerous counts of identity theft and fraud. This is not just totally absurd, it threatens the rights of internet users worldwide, not to mention reporters who link to primary source documents.
The potential criminalization of linking – a basic function of hypertext, the foundation of the worldwide web – is an affront to us all and must be resisted. With the obstruction charges, prosecutors want to set a precedent whereby a journalist is not allowed to protect his work and his sources from government agents – the essence of reporter’s privilege.
Those things that Barrett helped uncover and shed light on while he was a free man are notable in themselves: the capability termed persona management, which “entails the use of software by which to facilitate the use of multiple fake online personas, or ‘sockpuppets’, generally for the use of propaganda, disinformation, or as a surveillance method by which to discover details of a human target via social interactions”; an initiative called Team Themis proposing to infiltrate, attack and discredit WikiLeaks, its supporters, and established journalists such as Glenn Greenwald; and Romas/COIN, a massive program of disinformation and surveillance aimed at Arab countries.
We are at a crossroads, and the US government seeks to deter and make examples out of those who work for a better world and reveal uncomfortable truths. But it’s too late: information and the internet will be free, and so will its heroes. Barrett Brown is a political prisoner of the information revolution, and he deserves our support.
Source

Barrett Brown, political prisoner of the information revolution
July 13, 2013

When I first noticed Barrett Brown in early 2011, I never thought that two years later I’d be directing Free Barrett Brown. Intrigued by his irreverence, I became familiar with his work, admiring him for his skill as a writer. I spoke to him briefly on IRC (internet relay chat) and occasionally dropped into the same channels he frequented; later I met him in person at a conference in New York City. But it’s the US government’s behavior in this and other cases – see also, Manning, Hammond, Swartz, Assange, etc – that have made running his legal defense fund a labor of love for me.

The distributed research project Brown founded, Project PM, is important and necessary. Since 9/11, the intelligence and cyber-security contracting industries have exploded in size. I believe, as Barrett does, that the public/private partnership on surveillance constitutes a threat to civil transparency and the health of democratic institutions. Large and very profitable companies like Booz Allen Hamilton obtain most of their revenues from the federal government; yet, the majority of their work is performed in secrecy.

Barrett had the insight to realize early on that the troves of emails that were hacked by Anonymous out of HBGary Federal and Stratfor and subsequently made public had the potential to provide a rare window into the activities of the cyber-intelligence industry. I believe it was this journalistic work of digging into areas that powerful people would rather keep in the dark that made him a target.

Contrary to claims, Brown is not a hacker (he is unabashedly lacking in technical skills). Nor was he a spokesperson for Anonymous (the very idea is ridiculous). He is an iconoclastic writer with a penchant for satire and hyperbole. He became an activist by observing the media’s failure to cover the issues or stories that he deemed important. Some of his proudest work was the assistance rendered by Anonymous to citizens in North Africa during the first months of the Arab Spring.

As an information activist who understands how information can be distributed and have an impact, Brown was extremely skilled and media-savvy. With Anonymous, he fulfilled a function that was necessary, and which few others were willing to do: put a public face to a movement for transparency. He was highly effective – and that’s why he’s being punished so severely.

The fact that he’s now facing a possible maximum of 105 years in prison is distressing, but it’s indicative of the larger pattern: an out-of-touch government at war with the press, prosecuting whistleblowers and activists, trying to silence dissent. Brown’s work has been interrupted, but many of the things he warned about – mass surveillance of journalists, the threat to privacy presented by intelligence contractors, have turned out to be correct. He has been hugely vindicated – and public support for him is growing.

Overzealous and excessive prosecutions like Brown’s use flawed tactics, without focusing on the facts or the merits, and are in reality persecutions. They have invented crimes out of thin air, piling charge on charge; and they have extracted a guilty plea from a family member. In April, they went on a fishing expedition against the Project PM website, with a subpoena intended to identify other activists. They also tried, but failed, to seize $20,000 that my organization had raised for Barrett’s legal defense.

Brown was arrested during a heavily-armed FBI raid for, allegedly, making threats in YouTube videos and via tweets. The fact that the same FBI agent who is an alleged “victim” in the case continues to be the one doing the investigative casework and serving subpoenas is a clear conflict of interest.

The government also argues that because Brown copied a hyperlink to data from the Stratfor dump from one chatroom to another, he’s guilty on numerous counts of identity theft and fraud. This is not just totally absurd, it threatens the rights of internet users worldwide, not to mention reporters who link to primary source documents.

The potential criminalization of linking – a basic function of hypertext, the foundation of the worldwide web – is an affront to us all and must be resisted. With the obstruction charges, prosecutors want to set a precedent whereby a journalist is not allowed to protect his work and his sources from government agents – the essence of reporter’s privilege.

Those things that Barrett helped uncover and shed light on while he was a free man are notable in themselves: the capability termed persona management, which “entails the use of software by which to facilitate the use of multiple fake online personas, or ‘sockpuppets’, generally for the use of propaganda, disinformation, or as a surveillance method by which to discover details of a human target via social interactions”; an initiative called Team Themis proposing to infiltrate, attack and discredit WikiLeaks, its supporters, and established journalists such as Glenn Greenwald; and Romas/COIN, a massive program of disinformation and surveillance aimed at Arab countries.

We are at a crossroads, and the US government seeks to deter and make examples out of those who work for a better world and reveal uncomfortable truths. But it’s too late: information and the internet will be free, and so will its heroes. Barrett Brown is a political prisoner of the information revolution, and he deserves our support.

Source

DO NOT under any circumstances, cooperate with the FBI. FBI agents will lie, trick, and deceive you. They will twist your words and play on your patriotism to entrap you. They will pretend to be people they are not – supporters, well-wishers, and friends – all the while wearing wires to record your out-of-context statements to use against you. The FBI is the enemy; it’s part of the problem, not the solution.
Former CIA officer John Kiriakou in an open letter to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Kiriakou is currently in prison for disclosing classified information about President George W. Bush’s waterboarding torture program.
thinkmexican
thinkmexican:

Snowden Releases New Documents Revealing US Spying on Mexico
The United States has been using PRISM and other surveillance programs to monitor emails, voice calls and online chats in Mexico, Brazil and other counties in the region, reports Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The paper’s report is based on documents released to it by former CIA and NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
According to O Globo, the US’ primary interest in Mexico is intelligence gathering on narco-tracking and “energy,” although its not clear if this refers to Pemex’s proposed energy reform.
The report also mentions Mexico as one four countries in the region where the NSA operates a spy center, information previously reported by Proceso.
WikiLeaks files published in La Jornada in 2011 revealed former president Calderón gave almost complete free range of Mexico’s national intelligence to the FBI, DEA, ATF and other US agencies operating in Mexican territory while he was in office.
Enrique Peña Nieto reportedly ended many of his predecessor’s close ties with US intelligence agencies soon after taking office in December. The Washington Post reported in April that EPN closed a major DEA intelligence center operating in Monterrery, Nuevo León, that had been running since at least the Calderón administration.
Stay Connected: Twitter | Facebook

`

thinkmexican:

Snowden Releases New Documents Revealing US Spying on Mexico

The United States has been using PRISM and other surveillance programs to monitor emails, voice calls and online chats in Mexico, Brazil and other counties in the region, reports Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The paper’s report is based on documents released to it by former CIA and NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

According to O Globo, the US’ primary interest in Mexico is intelligence gathering on narco-tracking and “energy,” although its not clear if this refers to Pemex’s proposed energy reform.

The report also mentions Mexico as one four countries in the region where the NSA operates a spy center, information previously reported by Proceso.

WikiLeaks files published in La Jornada in 2011 revealed former president Calderón gave almost complete free range of Mexico’s national intelligence to the FBI, DEA, ATF and other US agencies operating in Mexican territory while he was in office.

Enrique Peña Nieto reportedly ended many of his predecessor’s close ties with US intelligence agencies soon after taking office in December. The Washington Post reported in April that EPN closed a major DEA intelligence center operating in Monterrery, Nuevo León, that had been running since at least the Calderón administration.

Stay Connected: Twitter | Facebook

`

I want to tell … the Europeans and Americans that last night I was thinking that as a fair protest, I want to say that now in fact we are going to give asylum to that American who is being persecuted by his fellow Americans.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is one of three Latin American leftist leaders who have offered NSA leaker Edward Snowden political asylum.  Morales had said earlier this week that he would consider granting asylum to the whistleblower. But he took a harder line on Saturday, angered that some European countries banned his plane from their airspace this week on suspicion it carried Snowden.

Nicaragua & Venezuela have also offered Snowden asylum.