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Facebook, Apple, Microsoft Partner With Privacy Groups To Call For NSA Transparency


Posted on July 18, 2013 by Akashma Online News

By

First Published at The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is owned by AOL, which also signed the letter and has denied knowledge of the NSA surveillance program.

A coalition of major tech companies and civil liberties groups on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling for more transparency around a secret government program that collects private Internet and phone records.

In the letter, the companies argued that Americans “are entitled to have an informed public debate” about surveillance requests. The coalition urged the Obama administration to allow companies to report statistics about the number of national security requests they receive from government agencies for customer data.

The letter said the government should also issue its own regular “transparency report” disclosing that information.

“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations,” the letter reads. “We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities.”

“This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use,” the letter continues.

The companies addressed their petition to President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA Director Keith Alexander, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and several members of Congress. It was signed by more than 20 tech companies and more than 30 trade associations and privacy groups — including Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Silicon Valley and privacy groups do not always agree over privacy matters, making their partnership for the letter noteworthy. Tech companies have faced widespread criticism in recent weeks over reports that they cooperated with the government’s secret Internet spying program. Many tech giants have expressed frustration that they are prohibited by law from discussing the surveillance orders.

The nation’s largest phone companies, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless, were not part of the coalition that signed the letter and have remained quiet about their participation in the NSA surveillance program, as Time.com noted.

The letter comes amid growing calls for greater disclosure about the NSA’s collection of phone and Internet records and a push from members of Congress to scale back the surveillance program, which was disclosed last month in a series of stories in The Guardian and Washington Post.

Disclosure: The Huffington Post is owned by AOL, which also signed the letter and has denied knowledge of the NSA surveillance program.

 

Press Release: Members of the Organization of The American States


Posted on July 14, 2013 by Akashma Online News

by Marivel Guzman

(Adopted at the meeting held on July 9, 2013)

SOLIDARITY OF THE OAS MEMBER STATES WITH THE PRESIDENT,
EVO MORALES AYMA, AND PEOPLE OF THE PLURINATIONAL STATE OF BOLIVIA

THE PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES,

CONSIDERING:

That the Charter of the Organization of American States establishes that “international law is the standard of conduct of States in their reciprocal relations;” and that “international order consists essentially of respect for the personality, sovereignty, and independence of States, and the faithful fulfillment of the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law;”

That all states must strictly observe the rules and customs governing immunity of all Heads of State, as well as the rules and regulations of international law relating to the use of airspace for overflight and landing;

That the Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, through its Permanent Mission to the OAS, reported and publicly alleged that on July 2, 2013, the Presidential Airplane FAB-001 that was taking President Evo Morales Ayma from Moscow to La Paz was forced to make an emergency landing in Vienna, Austria, because of the cancellation, denial, or delaying of previously issued overflight and landing permits for airspaces of France, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, potentially compromising the safety of the Bolivian President and his entourage; and violating international law on the subject matter; and

That the Secretary General of the Organization in a timely manner, through a press release, has expressed deep concern at the decision by the authorities of several European countries that prevented the airplane carrying the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales, from Moscow to La Paz from using their airspace; and at the same time called on the countries involved to explain the reasons for taking this decision, particularly as it put the life of the leader of a member country of the OAS at risk,

RESOLVES:

1. To express the solidarity of the member states of the Organization of American States with the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma.

2. To condemn actions that violate the basic rules and principles of international law such as the inviolability of Heads of State.

3. To firmly call on the Governments of France, Portugal, Italy, and Spain to provide the necessary explanations of the events that took place with the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, as well as apologies as appropriate.

4. To call for a continuation of respectful and constructive dialogue involving the parties, in accordance with the rules of international law and the mechanisms for peaceful settlement of disputes.

5. To reaffirm the full validity of the principles, rules, and international customs governing diplomatic relations among states and guaranteeing peaceful coexistence among all countries comprising the international community.

6. To instruct the Secretary General to follow up on the contents of this resolution.

Video of the Metting

FOOTNOTES

1. Canada cannot join consensus on this resolution. Canada does respect the privileges and immunities granted to heads of State in customary international law. However, in this case, there are conflicting interpretations of the facts surrounding the event. Moreover, the alleged granting or cancellation of overflight authorization is a bilateral matter separate from the question of the privileges and immunities of heads of State. Before bringing the matter to this Organization, those states named in the resolution should seek a resolution through diplomatic channels.

2. The United States cannot join consensus on this resolution. The relevant facts regarding the incident at issue are unclear and subject to conflicting reports. It is therefore inappropriate for this organization to make statements regarding them at this time. In addition, the question of granting or canceling of overflight or landing permits is a bilateral matter between Bolivia and the countries concerned. It is unhelpful and inappropriate for the OAS to attempt to intervene at this moment.
Reference: S-012

Edward Snowden Statement 11 a:m, according to WikiLeaks Team


Update 11 a.m.: Here’s the transcript of Snowden’s remarks,

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.

Thank you.

This post has been updated with additional information as it became available.

Revealed: how Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages


Posted on July 11, 2013 by Akashma Online News

July 11, 2013 By Edward Snowden News

Hours after CNBC reported that ValueAct Capital Management threw nearly $2 billion into Microsoft Corporation, April 22, 2013

ValueAct Capital, LLC is a San Francisco based hedge fund. The firm offers its services to high net worth individuals and institutions while investing in the public equity and hedging markets of the United States.

• Files released show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism
• Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
• Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
• Company says it is legally compelled to comply

Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

Skype has been acquired by Microsoft for a whopping $8.5 billion. News.com

• Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration. All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their co-operation with the NSA to meet their customers’ privacy concerns. Privately, tech executives are at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion.

In a statement, Microsoft said: “When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands.” The company reiterated its argument that it provides customer data “only in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers”.

In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have “direct access” through the Prism program to the systems of many major internet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time. Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans’ communications without a warrant if the target is a foreign national located overseas.

Since Prism’s existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: “Your privacy is our priority.”

Similarly, Skype’s privacy policy states: “Skype is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.”

But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing.

The latest documents come from the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the “crown jewel” of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as Prism.

The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft’s Outlook.com portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year.

Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on Outlook.com chats

A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: “MS [Microsoft], working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the issue. “These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012.”

Two months later, in February this year, Microsoft officially launched the Outlook.com portal.

Another newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email. “For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”

Microsoft’s co-operation was not limited to Outlook.com. An entry dated 8 April 2013 describes how the company worked “for many months” with the FBI – which acts as the liaison between the intelligence agencies and Silicon Valley on Prism – to allow Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive.

The document describes how this access “means that analysts will no longer have to make a special request to SSO for this – a process step that many analysts may not have known about”.

The NSA explained that “this new capability will result in a much more complete and timely collection response”. It continued: “This success is the result of the FBI working for many months with Microsoft to get this tasking and collection solution established.”

A separate entry identified another area for collaboration. “The FBI Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) team is working with Microsoft to understand an additional feature in Outlook.com which allows users to create email aliases, which may affect our tasking processes.”

The NSA has devoted substantial efforts in the last two years to work with Microsoft to ensure increased access to Skype, which has an estimated 663 million global users.

One document boasts that Prism monitoring of Skype video production has roughly tripled since a new capability was added on 14 July 2012. “The audio portions of these sessions have been processed correctly all along, but without the accompanying video. Now, analysts will have the complete ‘picture’,” it says.

Eight months before being bought by Microsoft, Skype joined the Prism program in February 2011.

According to the NSA documents, work had begun on smoothly integrating Skype into Prism in November 2010, but it was not until 4 February 2011 that the company was served with a directive to comply signed by the attorney general.

The NSA was able to start tasking Skype communications the following day, and collection began on 6 February. “Feedback indicated that a collected Skype call was very clear and the metadata looked complete,” the document stated, praising the co-operation between NSA teams and the FBI. “Collaborative teamwork was the key to the successful addition of another provider to the Prism system.”

 

Janus Friis-Niklas Zennstrom founders

ACLU technology expert Chris Soghoian said the revelations would surprise many Skype users. “In the past, Skype made affirmative promises to users about their inability to perform wiretaps,” he said. “It’s hard to square Microsoft’s secret collaboration with the NSA with its high-profile efforts to compete on privacy with Google.”

The information the NSA collects from Prism is routinely shared with both the FBI and CIA. A 3 August 2012 newsletter describes how the NSA has recently expanded sharing with the other two agencies.

The NSA, the entry reveals, has even automated the sharing of aspects of Prism, using software that “enables our partners to see which selectors [search terms] the National Security Agency has tasked to Prism”.

The document continues: “The FBI and CIA then can request a copy of Prism collection of any selector…” As a result, the author notes: “these two activities underscore the point that Prism is a team sport!”

In its statement to the Guardian, Microsoft said:

We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues. First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes.

Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate.

Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.

In a joint statement, Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of National Intelligence, and Judith Emmel, spokeswoman for the NSA, said:

The articles describe court-ordered surveillance – and a US company’s efforts to comply with these legally mandated requirements. The US operates its programs under a strict oversight regime, with careful monitoring by the courts, Congress and the Director of National Intelligence. Not all countries have equivalent oversight requirements to protect civil liberties and privacy.

They added: “In practice, US companies put energy, focus and commitment into consistently protecting the privacy of their customers around the world, while meeting their obligations under the laws of the US and other countries in which they operate.”

Edward Snowden Der Spiegel Interview


Posted on July 11, 2013 by Akashma Online News

Interview Translated from the original Der Spiegel Magazine interview  German Version by Anonymous

Just before Edward Snowden became a world famous whistleblower, he answered an extensive catalog of questions. These came from, amongst others, Jacob Appelbaum, 30, a developer of encryption and security software. Appelbaum educates international human rights groups and journalists on how to work with the Internet in safe and anonymous way.
He became more publicly know in 2010, when he represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaking at a hacker conference in New York. Along with Assange and other co-authors he has recently published the interview recording “Cypher Punks: Our Freedom and the future of the Internet.”
In the course of investigations into the WikiLeaks disclosures, Appelbaum came to the attention of American authorities, who demanded companies such as Twitter and Google to divulge his accounts. He himself describes his attitude to WikiLeaks as “ambivalent” – and describes below how it came about that he was able to ask Snowden these questions.

In mid-May I was contacted by the documentary-maker Laura Poitras. She told me, that at this time she was in contact with an anonymous NSA source, which had consented to be interviewed by her.
She put together questions and asked me to contribute questions. This was, among other reasons, to determine whether she was really dealing with a NSA whistleblower. We sent our questions via encrypted e-mails. I did not know that the interlocutor was Edward Snowden until he revealed himself as such in public in Hong Kong. He did not know who I was. I had expected that he was someone in their sixties.
The following is an excerpt from a extensive interview which dealt with further points, many of them technical in nature. Some of the questions now appear in a different order to understand the context.
The discussion focused almost exclusively on the activities of the National Security Agency. It is important to know that these questions were not asked as relating to the events of the past week or the last month. They were entirely asked without any unrest, since, at that point, Snowden was still in Hawaii.
At a later stage I was again in direct contact with Snowden, at which time I also revealed my own my identity. He told me then that he gave consent to publish his statements.

+++++
Question: What is the mission of the National Security Agency (NSA) – and how is their job in accordance with the law?
Snowden: It is the mission of the NSA, to be aware of anything of importance going on outside of the United States. This is a considerable task, and the people there are convinced that not knowing everything about everyone could lead to some existential crisis. So, at some point, you believe it’s all right is to bend the rules a little. Then, if people hate it that you can bend the rules, it suddenly becomes vital even to to break them.

Question: Are German authorities or politicians involved in the monitoring system ?
Snowden: Yes of course. They (the NSA people — ed.) are in cahoots with the Germans, as well as with the most other Western countries. We (in the U.S. intelligence apparatus — ed.) warn the others, when someone we want to catch, uses one of their airports – and they then deliver them to us. The information on this, we can for example pull off of the monitored mobile phone of a suspected hacker’s girlfriend — who used it in an entirely different country which has nothing to do with the case. The other authorities do not ask us where got the leads, and we do not ask them anything either. That way, they can protect their political staff from any backlash if it came out how massive the global violation of people’s privacy is.

Question: But now as details of this system are revealed, who will be put before a court over this?
Snowden: Before U.S. courts? You’re not serious, are you? When the last large wiretapping scandal was investigated – the interception without a court order, which concerned millions of communications – that should really have led to the longest prison sentences in world history. However, then our highest representatives simply stopped the investigation. The question, who is to be accused, is theoretical, if the laws themselves are not respected. Laws are meant for people like you or me – but not for them.

Question: Does the NSA cooperate with other states like Israel?
Snowden: Yes, all the time. The NSA has a large section for that, called the FAD – Foreign Affairs Directorate.

Question: Did the NSA help to write the Stuxnet program? (the malicious program used against the Iranian nuclear facilities — ed.)
Snowden: The NSA and Israel wrote Stuxnet together.

Question: What are the major monitoring programs active today, and how do international partners  help the NSA?
Snowden: The partners in the “Five Eyes” (behind which are hidden the secret services of the Americans, the British, the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians — ed.) sometimes go even further than the NSA people themselves. Take the Tempora program of the British intelligence GCHQ for instance. Tempora is the first “I save everything” approach (“Full take”) in the intelligence world. It sucks in all data, no matter what it is, and which rights are violated by it. This buffered storage allows for subsequent monitoring; not a single bit escapes. Right now, the system is capable of saving three days’ worth of traffic, but that will be optimized. Three days may perhaps not sound like a lot, but it’s not just about connection metadata. “Full take” means that the system saves everything. If you send a data packet and if makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it. And if the data about your sick daughter is processed through a London call center, then … Oh, I think you have understood.

Question: Can anyone escape?
Snowden: Well, if you had the choice, you should never send information over British lines or British servers. Send even the Queen’s selfies with her lifeguards would be recorded, if they existed.

Question: Do the NSA and its partners apply some kind of wide dragnet method to intercept phone calls, texts and data?
Snowden: Yes, but how much they can record, depends on the capabilities of the respective taps. Some data is held to be more worthwhile, and can therefore be recorded more frequently. But all this is rather a problem with foreign tapping nodes, less with those of the U.S. This makes the monitoring in their own territory so terrifying. The NSA’s options are practically limitless – in terms of computing power, space or cooling capacity for the computers.

Question: The NSA is building a new data center in Utah. What is it for?
Snowden: These are the new mass data storage facilities.

Question: For how long will the information there be stored?
Snowden: Right now it is still so, that the full text of collected material ages very quickly, within a few days, especially given its enormous amount. Unless an analyst marked a target or a particular communication. In that case the communication is saved for all eternity, one always get an authorization for that anyway. The metadata ages less quickly. The NSA at least wants all metadata to be stored forever. Often the metadata is more valuable than the contents of the communication, because in most cases, one can retrieve the content, if there is metadata. And if not, you mark all future communications that fits this metadata and is of interest, so that henceforth it will be recorded completely. The metadata tells you what you actually want from the broader stream.

Question: Do private companies help the NSA?
Snowden: Yes. But it’s hard to prove that. The names of the cooperating telecom companies are the crown jewels of the NSA… Generally you can say that multinationals with headquarters in the USA should not be trusted until they prove otherwise. This is unfortunate, because these companies have the ability to deliver the world’s best and most reliable services – if they wanted to. To facilitate this, civil rights movements should now use these revelations as a driving force. The Companies should write enforceable clauses into their terms, guaranteeing their clients that they are not being spied on. And they should include technical guarantees. If you could move even a single company to do such a thing, it would improve the security of global  communications. And when this appears to not be feasible, you should consider starting one such company yourself.

Q: Are there companies that refuse to to cooperate with the NSA?
Snowden: Yes, but I know nothing of a corresponding list that would meet this. However, there would surely be more companies of this type, if the companies working with the NSA would be punished by the customer. That should be the highest priority of all computer users who believe in the freedom of thoughts.

Question: What are the sites you should beware, if you do not want to become targeted by the NSA?
Snowden: Normally one is marked as a target because of a Facebook profile or because of your emails. The only place which I personally know where you can become a target without this specific labeling, are jihadist forums.

Question: What happens if the NSA has a user in its sights?
Snowden: The target person is completely monitored. An analyst will get a daily report about what has changed in the computer system of the targeted person. There will also be… packages with certain data which the automatic analysis systems have not understood, and so on. The analyst can then decide what he wants to do – the computer of the target person does not belong to them anymore, it then more or less belongs to the U.S. government.

Snowden is not fugitive, given assylum in Ecuador


Published on June 23, 2013 on Akashma online News

 

 

Edward Snowden Whistle blower Proud citizenEdward Snowden is seeking asylum in Ecuador, the Quito government said on Sunday, after Hong Kong let him leave for Russia despite Washington’s efforts to extradite him on espionage charges.

In a major embarrassment for the Obama administration, an aircraft thought to have been carrying Snowden landed in Moscow, and the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, visiting Vietnam, tweeted: “The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. #Snowden.”
“Apparently he left Hong Kong with no difficulty,” Ratner says, confirming that he is now in Moscow.

 

<blockquote><p>The Government of Ecuador has received an asylum request from Edward J. <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Snowden&amp;src=hash”>#Snowden</a></p>&mdash; Ricardo Patiño Aroca (@RicardoPatinoEC) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RicardoPatinoEC/statuses/348841761684197378″>June 23, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

“Hong Kong government said that the warrant for his arrest issued by the United States was not valid. That he was free to leave.” Michael Ratner, lawyer for Julian Assange

The United States warned countries in the Western Hemisphere that Snowden might travel through or take refuge in not to let the former spy agency contractor go anywhere but home, a State Department official said on Sunday.

“The U.S. is advising these governments that Snowden is wanted on felony charges, and as such should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel, other than is necessary to return him to the United States,” the official said in a written statement.

The State Department did not identify any of the countries.

Ecuador has been sheltering WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange at its London embassy for the past year, and Ecuador’s ambassador to Russia said he expected to meet Snowden in Moscow on Sunday.

Snowden, who worked for the U.S. National Security Agency in Hawaii, had been hiding in the former British colony, which returned to China in 1997, Kong since leaking details about U.S. surveillance activities at home and abroad to news media.

On Friday, U.S. authorities charged Snowden with theft of U.S. government property, unauthorised communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence to an unauthorised person, with the latter two charges falling under the U.S. Espionage Act.

Earlier on Sunday, a source at the Russian airline Aeroflot said Snowden would fly on from Moscow within 24 hours to Cuba, although that source said he planned to go on to Venezuela. The chief of Cuba’s International Press Center, Gustavo Machin, said he had no such information though pro-government bloggers heaped praise on Snowden and condemned U.S. spying activity.

Venezuela, Cuba and Ecuador are all members of the ALBA bloc, an alliance of leftist governments in Latin America that pride themselves on their “anti-imperialist” credentials.

Ecuadorean Ambassador Patricio Alberto Chavez Zavala told reporters at a Moscow airport hotel that he would hold talks with Snowden and Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks representative.

In their statement announcing Snowden’s departure, the Hong Kong authorities said they were seeking clarification from Washington about reports of U.S. spying on government computers in the territory.

At a summit earlier this month, Obama called on his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to acknowledge the threat posed by “cyber-enabled espionage” against the United States and to investigate the problem. Obama also met Putin in Northern Ireland last week.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said it had allowed the departure of Snowden – considered a whistleblower by his critics and a criminal or even a traitor by his critics – as the U.S. request for his arrest did not comply with the law.

In Washington, a Justice Department official said it would seek cooperation with countries Snowden may try to go to and sources familiar with the issue said Washington had revoked Snowden’s U.S. passport. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said revoking the passport of someone under a felony arrest warrant was routine. “Such a revocation does not affect citizenship status,” she said.

“It’s a shocker,” Simon Young, a law professor with Hong Kong University said of the case. “I thought he was going to stay and fight it out. The U.S. government will be irate.”

The issue has been a major distraction for Obama, who has found his domestic and international policy agenda sidelined as he has scrambled to deflect accusations that U.S. surveillance practices violate privacy protections and civil rights. The president has maintained that the measures have been necessary to thwart attacks on the United States.

The White House had no immediate comment on Sunday’s developments.

WikiLeaks said Snowden was accompanied by diplomats and that Harrison, a British legal researcher working for WikiLeaks, was “accompanying Mr Snowden in his passage to safety.”

“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person,” former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for Assange, said in a statement.

“What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people.”

WIKILEAKS CASE

Assange, an Australian, said last week he would not leave the sanctuary of Ecuador’s London embassy even if Sweden stopped pursuing sexual assault claims against him because he feared arrest on the orders of the United States.

The latest drama coincides with the court martial of Bradley Manning, a U.S. soldier accused of providing reams of classified documents to WikiLeaks, which Assange began releasing on the Internet in 2010, and, according to some critics, put its national security and people’s lives at risk.

A spokesman for Wikileaks refused to make any comment about possible routes to Ecuador. Asked why Ecuador, he replied “That is something that Mr. Snowden needs to reply to. … It was a decision taken by him. … Various governments were approached.”

Iceland refused on Friday to say whether it would grant asylum to Snowden. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said this month that Russia would consider granting asylum if Snowden were to ask for it and pro-Kremlin lawmakers supported the idea, but there has been no indication he has done so.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper earlier quoted Snowden offering new details about U.S. surveillance activities, including accusations of U.S. hacking of Chinese mobile phone firms and targeting of China’s Tsinghua University.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Snowden needed to be caught and brought back for trial as secrets he was carrying could do a lot of damage to U.S. interests.

“I think we need to know exactly what he has,” she told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “He could have a lot, lot more that may really put people in jeopardy.”

Documents previously leaked by Snowden revealed that the NSA has access to vast amounts of internet data such as emails, chat rooms and video from large companies, including Facebook and Google, under a government program known as Prism.

The head of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, said he did not know why it failed to prevent Snowden leaving Hawaii for Hong Kong with the secrets.

“It’s clearly an individual who’s betrayed the trust and confidence we had in him,” he told the ABC News “This Week” program.

He said procedures had since been tightened.

“We are now putting in place actions that would give us the ability to track our system administrators, what they’re doing, what they’re taking, a two-man rule. We’ve changed the passwords. But at the end of the day, we have to trust that our people are going to do the right thing.”

Information from The Associated Press, Reuters and AFP were used in this report.

NSA snooping has the world in shock-Demand the US to stop


Posted on June 14, 2013 by Akashma Online News

By Marivel Guzman

?????Europe Union is taking seriously PRISM spying program, they know well that this could very well be use to spy on EU officials.
Now nobody is sure of the extent of this intrusion, and more important, they should be concerned with the Anonymous collective and the other hackivists that could get their keyboards in these mass of information.
Could be Government secrets, private emails, satellite images, memos just name it, all the governments are in shock, not because they did not know, but because they were exposed as well. This is not US only surveillance program, this is a global enterprise spying program. They might call it with different code names, but they all have their own spying on their citizens programs. They could all be coordinating with US and Israel, knowing to be The spying entity number One in the world.

Thomas Drake is one of the few people who understands from personal experience what the future may hold for Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA contractor who exposed the U.S. government’s top secret phone and Internet surveillance.
In an video interview with Tomas Drake ex-NSA official, Andrea Elsal-Esa defense correspondent for Reutter, she asked the hard questions to Mr. Drake.
Drake, a 56-year-old former intelligence official at the National Security Agency, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act in 2010 for allegedly revealing classified information about the agency’s sweeping warrantless wire-tapping program. The government later dropped all but a misdemeanor charge.
He said that Snowden is a whistle-blower and not a traitor. There is no room in a democracy for these types of secrets, he said.
Saying  that the government data can be used for purposes that have nothing to do with terrorism. It’s being used to silenced persons like dissidents,  activists,and those who become enemies of the state, he said.

AVAAZ.org, EFF, and other online petitions sites had started a massive campaign of support for Edward Snowden, and at the same time to demand to the US government to stop its  NSA’s PRISM spying program. Organizations, social groups, and head of states are demanding answers to the Obama administration.
Snowden leak had awaken the people and now are demanding answers, asking the government to terminate this intrusive program.

There has not been so much outrage from the people against the US government since  2004 when CBS News and the New Yorker published photos and stories that introduced the world to devastating scenes of torture and suffering inside the decrepit prison in Iraq.
Not since the  Abu Grabi scandal  people had not shown its outrage and depiction of the US practices and policies.
AVAAZ.org had collected close to a million signatures in its online petition website, that since 2007 had collected more signatures than any other online petition site, surpassing Electronic Frontier Foundation.

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

UN Declaration on Human Rights

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberg has also requested Holder for information about the legal foundation of the Prism program.

Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to raise Germany’s concerns about U.S government surveillance with President Barack Obama when he visits Berlin next week. Her government also sent a list of questions to the U.S. government as well as Internet companies following reports of wide-scale American spying, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said yesterday.

Unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society.
Tim Berners Lee Wired

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Benjamin Franklin

The National Security Agency’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.
Senator Frank Church, 1975

Show your support

Sign the petition to save Edward Snowden go to

AVAAZ.ORG and demand justice

Now all the congressmen, the president, his cabinet, lobbyist and others know that the snooping is global, and this means that everyone is in this mass of information collected. Just anybody with access of this data can chose and pick and create an scenery that can be used to charge somebody with what ever they want to, to remove somebody from their job, even to remove a President. Every body that is everybody has something hidden in their closet, and the others  the less important are used to create diversion, or simply to send messages of fear to others.

Comes to mind former former CIA Director David Petraeus (peh-TRAY’-uhs) over an extramarital affair, and defending the agency’s performance over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
How do we know that they did not build the case of Petraeus out of thin air to take him out of the CIA, after all Benghazi fiasco still floating with answering questions. Obviously he was being spied on also.

Carefully watch the videos I m posting here, assimilate every word you hear, tied the lose ends and see how outrageous this program is, and it needs to go. The citizens of the world, we all need to work diligently in every one of our countries to make sure this programs and others disguise spying programs go, they are unnecessary surveillance programs that need to be scraped from the government agenda. This PRISM spying program makes all vulnerable in little or big scale.

Nothing New is going on, Whistleblowers come and go, some get indicted some don’t. Some are rotten in Jail, some are walking free making conferences in Universities and other public forums, others are hiding and making public conferences and others just underground.

I had been thinking lately really thinking about whistleblowers.
We know that every government, not just the US, but every government that exist in the world had thugs, mercenaries, private eyes, private contractors, private guards,secret service, Able to do ANYTHING..

I mean a real army of snoopers and mercenaries working to protect the interest of the corporations that use the government officials to draw laws and policies that allows them to keep pillaging the nations. ABLE TO DO ANYTHING they want.
Harassed, scare, employ, terminate, indict, incarcerated, set you free, impeach , coup,sit presidents, crown kings. I mean E V E R Y T H I N G

Saying that, I wonder if, ….just if…..the same government OR the people behind the curtain “unleash” once and while these whistleblowers to “expose” the secret of the governments, juts to show the governments WHO IS THE BOSS and the “smart’ ones are walking free and the real heroes are rotten in jail.????????
Whats going on? Are the governments OR THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE CURTAIN ARE testing the will of the people?, or they spreading false information to divert the attentio, or to confuse the already confused people.
I do not know if write in first or third person because I m confused as well. Just like the rest…It is hard being journalist where you are obliged to write what other said, never talk in first person because the article lose “credibility”, I was told by my journalist teacher that being a blogger was not being journalist, because our “sources” are not credible.
So, what you think.
Be the opinion makers, where the truth is the news and you are the Opinion Makers.

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