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Are Whistleblowers heroes or traitors?


By Marivel Guzman

Patriots and heroes fall in the same category; a patriot is a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors. And a hero is a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character.
Secrets that should not be hidden from the people. In this era of government’s secrecy, whistleblowers are patriots no less important than heroes that take the risk on their lives to expose the darkest secrets of governments. Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA technician is my favorite whistleblower and hero because his revelations have the most benefit for the people not just in the US but for the whole world.
Snowden’s Twitter’s status says in few words his motivations to expose
the NSA’s spying program.

He told the Guardian he worked for a major U.S. government contractor in Hawaii, earning a six-figure salary and enjoying the scenic state with his girlfriend. And he chose to leave everything behind to alert the public of the massive government surveillance program.
Snowden said that governments should be a transparent agency that work for the people and should be accountable and hiding secrets is not the best way to serve the people.
He is a hero in all the extension of the word and he should to be protected, defended, and supported for what they endeavor; in doing so, we will be defending ourselves, our privacy, security and most importantly defending our constitutional rights that, ultimately, are the only protection we have.
Some of Snowden’s leaks suggested the NSA had misled Congress about the scope of its domestic spying activities.

In a Senate hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied when asked if NSA collects information on Millions of Americans. We only know that NSA spy on all of us thanks to Snowden’s revelations.
Now we know better not to say things in the phone that can be heard by prying ears.
Julian Assange, editor of WikiLeaks, although not a whistleblower in my opinion is an extraordinary journalist who has tasked himself with serving as a vehicle for whistleblowers to leak governments’ secrets and publish them WikiLeaks.
Recently President Donald Trump said the government will prosecute those who leak government secrets, in my opinion Trump is trying to instill fear in journalists, not only on whistleblowers.
Remember it was the New York Times who revealed the Pentagon Papers and The Guardian that published Snowden’s revelations.

At one point Director of National Intelligence Mike Pompeo called for Snowden execution, “He should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think that the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence for having put friends of mine, friends of yours, in the military today, at enormous risk because of the information he stole and then released to foreign powers.”

I believe whistleblowers feel people deserve to know the truth, even as the government hides and denies the facts. Whistleblowers put their lives at risk for the sake of other people making more informed decision, which is an heroic act.

Snowden a year later-message to ACLU’s supporters


A Message From Edward Snowden, One Year Later

By Edward Snowden at 5:25pm

Below is an email ACLU supporters received from Edward Snowden this morning, one year to the day since The Guardian broke the first in a series of revelations exposing the breathtaking scope of U.S. government surveillance. Click here for a new video documenting the incredible events of the last year, along with a timeline and the ACLU’s guide to privacy reform. 

It’s been one year.

Technology has been a liberating force in our lives. It allows us to create and share the experiences that make us human, effortlessly. But in secret, our very own government — one bound by the Constitution and its Bill of Rights — has reverse-engineered something beautiful into a tool of mass surveillance and oppression. The government right now can easily monitor whom you call, whom you associate with, what you read, what you buy, and where you go online and offline, and they do it to all of us, all the time.

Today, our most intimate private records are being indiscriminately seized in secret, without regard for whether we are actually suspected of wrongdoing. When these capabilities fall into the wrong hands, they can destroy the very freedoms that technology should be nurturing, not extinguishing. Surveillance, without regard to the rule of law or our basic human dignity, creates societies that fear free expression and dissent, the very values that make America strong.

In the long, dark shadow cast by the security state, a free society cannot thrive.

That’s why one year ago I brought evidence of these irresponsible activities to the public — to spark the very discussion the U.S. government didn’t want the American people to have. With every revelation, more and more light coursed through a National Security Agency that had grown too comfortable operating in the dark and without public consent. Soon incredible things began occurring that would have been unimaginable years ago. A federal judge in open court called an NSA mass surveillance program likely unconstitutional and “almost Orwellian.” Congress and President Obama have called for an end to the dragnet collection of the intimate details of our lives. Today legislation to begin rolling back the surveillance state is moving in Congress after more than a decade of impasse.

I am humbled by our collective successes so far. When the Guardian and The Washington Post began reporting on the NSA’s project to make privacy a thing of the past, I worried the risks I took to get the public the information it deserved would be met with collective indifference.

One year later, I realize that my fears were unwarranted.

Americans, like you, still believe the Constitution is the highest law of the land, which cannot be violated in secret in the name of a false security. Some say I’m a man without a country, but that’s not true. America has always been an ideal, and though I’m far away, I’ve never felt as connected to it as I do now, watching the necessary debate unfold as I hoped it would. America, after all, is always at our fingertips; that is the power of the Internet.

But now it’s time to keep the momentum for serious reform going so the conversation does not die prematurely.

Only then will we get the legislative reform that truly reins in the NSA and puts the government back in its constitutional place. Only then will we get the secure technologies we need to communicate without fear that silently in the background, our very own government is collecting, collating, and crunching the data that allows unelected bureaucrats to intrude into our most private spaces, analyzing our hopes and fears. Until then, every American who jealously guards their rights must do their best to engage in digital self-defense and proactively protect their electronic devices and communications. Every step we can take to secure ourselves from a government that no longer respects our privacy is a patriotic act.

We’ve come a long way, but there’s more to be done.
— Edward J. Snowden, American

Watch the Video

Whistleblower Edward Snowden granted Asylum in Russia


Published on August 1, 2013 by Akashma Online News

UPDATED

by Marivel Guzman

published in RT

Good News for Freedom, Edward Snowden the American whistleblower  leaves the transit area of Russia.

The words that shook the US on June 9, 2013 when Edward Snowden from a hotel in Hong Kong gave a video interview to Laura Poitras, who made the video public in the interest of society. She published it under the Fair Use Notice Act.

“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.”
This was the beginning of NSA nightmare for the US officials.
Now the waters are receding for everyone involved, but not for Edward Snowden, he still face very serious criminals charges if he ever is brought to the US.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and is allowed to enter the country’s territory.

This move would allow him to maneuver and apply for citizenship in another country, so he can hold a passport to take a plane to fly finally to the country that offered him permanent asylum.
Good News for Snowden he is allowed to leave the transit area of the airport and finally breath some freedom, at least for now.

He is not completely free, as long as the US consider him fugitive, Snowden it is in risk of being targeted for assassination, and who knows if Israel’s Mossad will lend a hand to their financial supporters in exchange to stir the mood in the EU after they boycotted Israel economic aid against the illegal settlements. But
Knowing the shady political relations of US/Russia we are in the dark as the secret deals these two countries make in behalf of their banking masters.

For now all the eyes are in Snowden and that gives him a cloud of security. The US could not attempt a drone strike in Russian territory, it is not in its best interest, this could open up an ego wound on the pride of Russia. One thing is to have diplomatic relations on the light of the camera, but another thing is to allow US to openly brake the sovereign of Russia flying in its skies.

The whistleblower has been granted temporary political asylum in Russia, Snowden’s legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said, with his words later confirmed by Russia’s Federal Migration service.

“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone,” he added.

Kucherena showed a photocopy of the document to the press. According to it, Snowden is free to stay in Russia until at least July 31, 2014. His asylum status may be extended annually upon request.

With his newly-awarded legal status in Russia, Snowden cannot be handed over to the US authorities, even if Washington files an official request. He can now be transported to the United States only if he agrees to go voluntarily.

Snowden departed at around 15.30 Moscow time (11.30 GMT), airport sources said. His departure came some 30 minutes before his new refugee status was officially announced.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights States:

  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

His present location has not been made public nor will it be disclosed, Kucherena said.

“He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority,” the attorney explained. “He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer.”

Snowden eventually intends to talk to the press in Russia, but needs at least one day of privacy, Kucherena said.

The whistleblower was unaccompanied when he left the airport in a regular taxi, Kucherena added.

However, WikiLeaks contradicted the lawyer, saying the organization’s activist Sarah Harrison accompanied Snowden.

FLASH: We can now confirm that Edward Snowden’s welfare has been continuously monitored by WikiLeaks staff since his presence in Hong Kong.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013

Russia is confident that the latest development in the Snowden case will not affect US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Moscow, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.

“We are aware of the atmosphere being created in the US over Snowden, but we didn’t get any signals [indicating a possible cancellation of the visit] from American authorities,” he told RIA Novosti.

Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, came to international prominence after leaking several classified documents detailing massive electronic surveillance by the US government and foreign allies who collaborated with them.

Snowden was hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel when he first went public in May. Amidst mounting US pressure on both Beijing and local authorities in the former-British colony to hand the whistleblower over for prosecution, Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23.

Moscow was initially intended as a temporary stopover on his journey, as Snowden was believed to be headed to Ecuador via Cuba. However, he ended up getting stranded at Sheremetyevo Airport after the US government revoked his passport. Snowden could neither leave Russia nor enter it, forcing him to remain in the airport’s transit zone.

In July, Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, a status that would allow him to live and work in the country for one year. Kucherena earlier said the fugitive whistleblower is considering securing permanent residency in Russia, where he will attempt to build a life.

President Nicolas Maduro said asylum would be “seriously” considered if sought. Snowden deserves a “humanitarian medal,” he added.

“If this young man is punished, nobody in the world will ever dare to tell the truth,” he stressed.

He’s a man of his word. It’s official. Maduro granted Snowden asylum. He did so on Venezuela’s Day of Independence.  Global Research

Related News to Edward Snowden

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.

 

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.

Edward Snowden Has Accepted Russian Asylum Offer


Published on July 13, 2013 by Akashma Online News

Snowden will have to agree not to continue releasing documents harmful to the US.

Photo Credit: Tanya Lokshina / Human Rights Watch

This article was originally published by This Can’t Be Happening.

Edward Snowden, the bete noir of the US national security state, who has leaked information that the National Security Agency is spying on all electronic communications of Americans, and on hundreds of millions of others around the globe, as well as on the leaders and the embassies of even many US allies, is accepting an offer of political asylum that has been extended by Russia, where he has been spending weeks in limbo in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, unable to fly to asylum elsewhere because of heavy-handed US pressure.

According to an RT-TV report [1], Snowden, in accepting the Russian offer, will have to abide by a condition set by Russian President Vladimir Putin that he not continue releasing documents harmful to the US.

This deal leaves a lot of questions unanswered:

First of all, Snowden has already turned over a huge trove of information to reporters at the Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper in the UK, as well as lesser amounts of documents to Der Spiegel magazine in Germany and to other publications in other countries. It would appear that he can no longer control, at this point, whether or not those news organizations continue to publish articles based on the documents in their possession, It is also unclear what the Russian government response would be concerning Snowden’s protected status should any of those organizations, as is likely, continue to publish embarrassing or damaging disclosures about the NSA. Asked by reporters at an airport press conference whether he would continue to release details about the NSA himself while in Russia, Snowden’s answer was simple: “My job is done.” That “job,” though, was providing the leaked information to reporters. Snowden himself has not publicly disclosed the information.

Snowden also correctly pointed out the distinction between “damaging America,” and exposing the NSA. “No actions I take or plan are meant to harm the US… I want the US to succeed,” he said in answer to a question. Would Putin consider further leaks about the US government’s spying on its own citizens “damaging” to America? Open question.

Liveleak.com video of Friday’s Snowden press conference for Right Group Activists in Moscow airport

In any event, Putin has made clear that Russia would never extradite Snowden. As he put it, “Russia has never extradited anyone and is not going to do so. Same as no one has ever been extradited to Russia.” Besides, the cat’s already out of the bag, in terms of the big revelations Snowden made public.

The RT-TV report also suggests that Snowden and Russia may be looking at the asylum situation there as less than a lifetime arrangement. It appears to be a way for Russia to get him out of the airport, into Russia, to further tweak the US, and to put Snowden in an official status where he could be provided with travel documents as a matter of course, as would an asylum grantee in the US

This could enable him to quietly leave Russia later for another location after some time has passed. The RT story significantly quotes Tatyana Lokshina of Human Rights Watch as saying Snowden is seeking to stay in Russia because he “can’t fly to Latin America yet.”

Three Latin American countries so far–Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua– have offered Snowden asylum without conditions, but he has been unable to safely travel to any of them, given the already demonstrated US threat to force his plane to land. (American authorities exerted pressure on French, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish governments to refuse their airspace, in violation of international law, to a presidential plane carrying Bolivia’s leader, Evo Morales, to fly home from a state visit to Russia, forcing it to land in Austria, where the government was pressed to illegally inspect the plane, which the US incorrectly suspected was transporting Snowden to asylum in Bolivia.) At the airport conference, Snowden said he had accepted all three of those offers of asylum, as well as Russia’s. “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,” Snowden said, after meeting with human rights lawyers earlier.

 

Second Part of the Original Video made public by The Guardian

Glenn Greenwald: “Snowden has information for more damage”


Published on July 13, 2013 by Akashma Online News

The journalist who received the leaks from the CIA Mole said there are more documents

By Alberto Armendariz | LA NACION

RIO DE JANEIRO. – Smoke and Mirrors. With his striped bathing suit, his white sandals, his jean jacket and a backpack, Glenn Greenwald seems like a tourist walking along the promenade of Sao Conrado, Rio de Janeiro. But it is the journalist, blogger and columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian who surprised the world with revelations about the extensive network of U.S. cyber espionage that was leaked by Edward Snowden, former intelligence analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA ).

“Snowden has enough information to cause more damage to the U.S. government in a minute alone than anyone else has ever had in the history of the United States,” Greenwald, 46, told LA NACION, and since living in these latitudes writes regularly on international security issues which has made him famous, winner of several distinguished awards.

Today, the New Yorker, a former lawyer, is in the eye of the storm. Lawmakers in Washington want to put him on trial, spies of various countries seek Snowden’s secret information shared with him last month in Hong Kong and which he still sends from Moscow through an encrypted email system. He knows he’s being watched and that their conversations are monitored. They even steal the laptop from her boyfriend Rio, from their own home.

Three men wait in the lobby of the hotel Royal Tulip with credentials of a congress of osteoporosis about which the manager has no idea. Are they really doctors or are following Greenwald? Appearances are deceptive.

– Does Snowden’s decision to stay in Russia help him come to Latin America?

– Yes, the most important thing is not to end in U.S. custody, which proved extremely vindictive government to punish those who reveal uncomfortable truths, and in whose judicial system can not be trusted when it comes to people accused of endangering the national security. The judges do everything they can to secure convictions in these cases. He would be immediately put in prison to cover the debate that he helped generate, and end the rest of his days behind bars.

– Does Russia give him security guarantees?

– Not many countries in the world that have the ability and willingness to defy U.S. demands. But Russia is one of those countries and it has been good so far.

– Beyond the revelations about the spying system’s performance in general, what other information does Snowden have?

– Snowden has enough information to cause more damage to the U.S. government in a minute alone than anyone else has ever had in the history of the United States. But that’s not his goal. His objective is to expose software that people around the world use without knowing that they are exposing themselves without consciously agreeing to surrender their privacy rights. He has a huge number of documents that would be very harmful to the U.S. government if they were made public.

– Are you afraid that someone will try to kill him?

– It’s a possibility, although it would not bring many benefits to anyone at this point. Thousands of documents are already distributed and to make sure that several people around the world have the entire file. If something were to happen, those documents would be made public. This is an insurance policy. The U.S. government should be on its knees every day praying that nothing happens to Snowden, because if something happens, all the information will be revealed and that would be their worst nightmare.

– Can Latin America be a good shelter for Snowden?

– Only a few countries, including several in Latin America, China and Russia, have challenged the U.S., and have realized that America is no longer in a position of strength as it did before with the rest of the world, and that the rest of the countries do not have to obey its demands as if it were an imperial order. In Latin America there is a feeling of natural sympathy for the United States, yet there is a great resentment for specific historical policies of Washington toward the region. What happened to the plane of Evo Morales in Europe caused a strong reaction, was treated as if Bolivia was a colony and not a sovereign state.

– From documents Snowden shared with you, is there much more information related to Latin America?

– Yes. For each country that has an advanced communications system, such as from Mexico to Argentina, there are documents that detail how the United States collects traffic information, the programs that are used to capture the transmissions, the number of interceptions that are performed per day, and more. One way to intercept communications is through a telephone corporation in the United States that has contracts with telecommunications companies in most Latin American countries. The important thing will be to see the reaction of the various governments. I do not think that the governments of Mexico and Colombia will do much about it. But maybe those of Argentina and Venezuela will be willing to take action.

Glenn Greenwald / Columnist, The Guardian
Profession: Journalist
Age: 46 years
Origin: United States


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