Obama Quote Of The Week: Whistleblowing

“If you blow the whistle, you should be thanked. You should be protected for doing the right thing. You shouldn’t be ignored and you certainly shouldn’t be punished.” – Barack Obama, 2014/08/07

Note that Obama is not referring to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden here, but whistleblowers in the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal.

The “most transparent administration ever” (Obama) remains a myth.

If You Care About Privacy, You’ll Be Outraged By What President Obama Just Said.” Matt Connolly, Mic.com (2014/08/09).

NSA Created “Manhunt Timeline” To Get Julian Assange And WikiLeaks Supporters

The NSA created a “manhunt timeline” to get Julian Assange and destroy WikiLeaks and its supporters.

New revelations from The Intercept, the new publishing venture of Glenn Greenwald:

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Image: NSA, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Image: NSA, Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

The NSA apparently planned a covert action campaign together with the British GCHQ to destroy Assange and the network of supporters around WikiLeaks.

As part of the effort, the GCHQ tracked in real-time any visitors to wikileaks.org, monitoring what they were searching for on the website.

The NSA also considered to designate WikiLeaks and other websites such as thepiratebay.org as “malicious foreign actors,” which would lift restrictions on spying on institutions and individuals inside the U.S that work with them. This might include international press agencies working in the U.S.

Watch an interview with Assange’s legal council Michael Ratner on DemocracyNow! here (it is the correct video, despite the image of Assange in the first frame):

In Ratner’s view, the persecution of whistleblowers and journalists parallels the U.S. government’s COINTELPRO program targeting radicals and “subversives” (such as Martin Luther King) between the late 1950s and the 1970s.

And here is Assange, from the same broadcast on DemocracyNow!:

Glenn Greenwald Interview On BBC HARDtalk

Glenn Greenwald Interview on BBC HARDtalk

On November 28, 2013, journalist Glenn Greenwald, known for reporting on the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, gave an interview to BBC HARDtalk, a format known for tough questioning that does not accept standard talking points.

The interview takes place at a time when the UK government, partly under pressure from the U.S., tries to attack the Guardian newspaper, i.e. shoot the messenger, for exposing the NSA’s and GCHQ’s blanket mass surveillance of the world’s citizens.

Read more:

Britain targets Guardian newspaper over intelligence leaks related to Edward Snowden.” (Washington Post, 2013/11/29)

[Podcast] Dan Carlin Interviews NSA Whistleblower William Binney

[Podcast] Dan Carlin Interviews NSA Whistleblower William Binney

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. This article or image contains materials that originally came from a National Security Agency (NSA) website or publication. It is believed that this information is not classified, and is in the public domain. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg
Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. This article or image contains materials that originally came from a National Security Agency (NSA) website or publication. It is believed that this information is not classified, and is in the public domain. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland.jpg

You should definitely listen to this. Dan Carlin of the ‘Common Sense’ and ‘Hardcore History’ podcasts recently interviewed NSA whistleblower William Binney.

Before Edward Snowden, Binney and Thomas Drake were among the few former NSA officials to go public about the agency’s activities after 9/11.

Many of the allegations made by these earlier whistleblowers against the NSA’s antidemocratic, totalitarian mass surveillance efforts were confirmed in 2013 by the Snowden leaks.

Some of the interesting aspects touched on in in the interview are

  • Binney’s estimation that the NSA stores the content of our electronic communication
  • The disregard of the U.S. Constitution among the leadership of the NSA
  • How U.S. presidents, once they take office,  are “bamboozled” into believing the intelligence services’ narrative that they need to be allowed to break the Constitution in any way they wish in order to protect national security
  • The subversion of the judiciary process through creeping of NSA data into criminal cases that that do not have anything to do with terrorism and the subsequent cover-up through ‘parallel construction’ of legal cases

Listen more:

Old School Whistle-Blowing.” (Common Sense with Dan Carlin, episode 265, 2013/11/27)

DOJ Spied On Associated Press’s Telephone Records To Track Down Whistleblowers

DOJ Spied On Associated Press’s Telephone Records To Track Down Whistleblowers

Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department secretly obtained two months worth of telephone records of the Associated Press, reports the Associated Press.

The AP calls the DOJ’s action an “unprecedented intrusion.”

Here is what news agency Reuters reported.

According to the Guardian, the Obama administration wanted to find out the source of an “alleged Yemen terrorist plot story.”

Here is a report by Think Progress on the background of the DOJ’s action. According to them, the AP’s reporting on a foiled terrorist plot in Yemen “put AQAP [Al-Quida in the Arabic Peninsula] on notice that the CIA had a window into their activities.”

Here is the ACLU’s statement on the matter.

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project said the following:

Obtaining a broad range of telephone records in order to ferret out a government leaker is an unacceptable abuse of power. Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy, and that freedom often depends on confidential communications between reporters and their sources.

Read more:

The Law Behind the A.P. Phone-Record Scandal.” (Lynn Oberlander, New Yorker, 2013/05/14)

Outrage Grows Over Justice Department Seizure of Associated Press Phone Records.” (Greg Mitchell, The Nation via Alternet, 2013/05/14)

 

 

Bradley Manning’s Speech To The Military Court In Ft. Meade

The Freedom of the Press Foundation has published the audio recording of Private First Class Bradley Manning’s statement to the military court in Ft. Meade on his motivations for leaking documents to whistleblowing website Wikileaks.

Listen to the audio and read more here:

Finally: hear Bradley Manning in his own voice.” (Glenn Greenwald, Guardian, 2013/03/11)

Help Spread Bradley Manning’s Words Across the Internet.” (Micah Lee, Freedom of the Press Foundation, 2013/03/12)