Film on Edward Snowden wins Academy Award

Featured photo - The Intercept’s Laura Poitras Wins Academy Award for ‘Citizenfour’

Laura Poitras, a founding editor of The Intercept, won an Academy Award tonight for her documentary “Citizenfour,” an inside look at Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency whistleblower; with Glenn Greenwald, journalist who reported many of the Snowden exposés.

[The annual Academy Awards (“Oscars”) are selected by secret/anonymous votes of the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures (previous winners of Oscars).  So, on occasion, the awards are given to a film which rebukes unpopular government policies.  And that is definitely the case with the award of “Best Documentary” to Citizenfour, which described the path of the world’s most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowdon who, at great personal cost and risk, exposed the NSA and the most intrusive government betrayal of privacy rights in history.  Though vilified and threatened by the government and politicians, Snowdon has won popular praise and accolades to such an extent that even the filmmakers of Hollywood chose to reward Laura Poitras, director, and the film Citizenfour, with the highest honor.  We urge everyone to seek out and spread the word about this film.  —  Frontlines ed.]

“The disclosures that Edward Snowden revealed don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “Thank you to Edward Snowden for his courage and for the many other whistleblowers.” Snowden, in a statement released after the award was announced, said, “My hope is that this award will encourage more people to see the film and be inspired by its message that ordinary citizens, working together, can change the world.”

The film, which has been hailed as a real-life thriller, chronicles Snowden’s effort to securely contact Poitras and Glenn Greenwald in 2013 and meet them in Hong Kong, where Poitras filmed Snowden discussing the thousands of classified NSA documents he was leaking to them, and his motives for doing so. The film takes its title from the pseudonym Snowden used when he contacted Poitras in encrypted emails that were revealed in her documentary.

How complete, and what cracks, in US Hegemony in the World Cyber-Imperialist System?

[The following is a long and detailed report from the leading French media giant, examining the history and extent of US domination of the internet and cyber-surveillance throughout the world imperialist system — and the attempts of other countries and independent forces to break, or secure some level of autonomy, on that dominance.  It’s a long article, but worth reading.  While much of the current reporting on these issues focuses on personal secrecy issues vs. “national security” claims, additional issues are driven by  economic competition and contention, political manipulation, and military alliances, and related “intellectual property rights” and “scientific research/development” controls.  

Those involved in struggles for self-defense, self-determination, internationalist solidarity, investigative journalism, anti-capitalist research, and for socialist/proletarian revolutions must recognize which instruments are useful in pursuit of their strategic goals, and what other means must be found and utilized to be sure their enemies are not aware of their ways before their own comrades are, and before solid initiatives can take root among the masses..  —  Frontlines ed.]

US wants to control, and own, the world online

We’ve got our eye on you

Edward Snowden not only told the world about US state surveillance of national and personal secrets, he reminded us that almost all the companies surveying us for commercial gain are American.
 by Dan Schiller, Le Monde diplomatique, November 1, 2014
 

Revelations on US National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programmes based on Edward Snowden’s cache of its data files caused “fundamental, irreversible changes in many countries,” wrote journalist Glen Greenwald, who brokered many of the disclosures (1). In 2013 Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil took public stands against US privacy invasions — they had personally been victims — and the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to affirm online privacy as a human right. In June 2014, responding to the EU, the US Justice Department promised to send legislation to Congress that would grant European citizens many of the (inadequate) privacy protections accorded to US citizens.

But to grasp fully the importance of the Snowden affair, we must broaden our focus beyond the transgressions of an overbearing superstate and examine the impact of his revelations on the forces shaping the global political economy, structured around the US.

Continue reading

US’ NSA Gave Palestinian-American Family Ties to Israeli Military

NSA shared unedited data on Arab Americans’ calls with IDF intel unit

Ex-NSA contractor Snowden told author Bamford that data could enable Israel to target callers’ relatives in Israel and territories.

By Haaretz | Sep. 18, 2014

Snowden

Ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden told a U.S. author that the agency gave Israel unedited data about Arab Americans’ calls.

By Anshel Pfeffer | Sep. 15, 2014

The U.S. National Security Agency shared unredacted private communications from Americans – particularly Arab-Americans – with a key Israeli military-intelligence unit, an author and professor wrote.

In a New York Times op-ed piece, James Bamford said that he’d met this summer with Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked thousands of classified documents.

Snowden found that the data NSA was passing to Israel’s Unit 8200 included IDs for who was calling whom.

Snowden said that the callers’ relatives in Israel and the territories could become targets based on the data, Bamford wrote in the Tuesday op-ed. When NSA shares information with other countries, it normally removes that identifying data, Bamford wrote.

Unit 8200 is the largest unit in the Israel Defense Forces and one of the military’s most prestigious divisions. It focuses on signals intelligence, or communications eavesdropping.

A week ago 43 former members of Unit 8200, including some officers, wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top military officials, saying they would refuse to do reserve service because of Israel’s `political persecution’ of the Palestinians. Continue reading

Edward Snowden: “NSA Surveillance Is About Power, Not ‘Safety'”

By Edward Snowden

17 December, 2013
[Countercurrents.org published this note introducing Edward Snowden’s open letter to the people of Brazil. “This letter was published today in the Brazilian newspaper A Folha in Portuguese and this original text was provided via the Facebook page of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda.”]

Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government’s National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist’s camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say. I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those. Continue reading

US military blocks entire Guardian website for troops stationed abroad

General, Your Tank is a Powerful Vehicle
It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.
General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.
General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think
-- Bertolt Brecht

Troops deployed to Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and South Asia have ‘theater-wide block’ to Guardian

in New York

guardian.co.uk, Monday 1 July 2013
Edward Snowden supporters demonstrate outside the US consulate in Hong Kong[Edward Snowden supporters demonstrate outside the US consulate in Hong Kong. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters]

The US military has blocked access to the Guardian’s website for troops in the Middle East and south Asia, after disclosures about widespread US surveillance.

On Friday, the Pentagon and the US army told the Guardian that automated content filters installed on Department of Defense (DoD) networks to prevent the unauthorized dissemination of classified information had blocked access to selected aspects of the Guardian’s website.

But in for troops in Afghanistan, the Middle East and south Asia, the restriction applies to the entire website. Continue reading

Edward Snowden: “Obama guilty of deceit over extradition”

In the end, the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised – and it should be.”  —  Edward Snowden

US president pledged to avoid ‘wheeling and dealing’ while bullying countries that might grant asylum, says whistleblower

in Washington and in Quito

The Guardian, Monday 1 July 2013
File photo of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden during interview with The Guardian in Hong Kong
[In the statement released by WikiLeaks, Snowden claimed the US president had employed the ‘old, bad tools of political aggression’. Photograph: Reuters/The Guardian]

Edward Snowden has accused Barack Obama of deception for promising in public to avoid diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over his extradition, while privately pressuring countries to refuse his requests for asylum.

Snowden, the surveillance whistleblower who is thought to be trapped in the legal limbo of a transit zone at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, used his first public comments since fleeing Hong Kong to attack the US for revoking his passport. He also accused his country of bullying nations that might grant him asylum.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic ‘wheeling and dealing’ over my case,” Snowden said in a statement released by WikiLeaks.

“Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the president ordered his vice-president to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions. This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression.” Continue reading