Tuesday, June 11, 2013
A month ago if someone say it in the street it was a conspiracy theorist and the people use to make fun of us, but now they see it wasn't a joke or crazy idea!!!
Would you be willing to give up what Edward Snowden has given up? He has given up his high paying job, his home, his girlfriend, his family, his future and his freedom just to expose the monolithic spy machinery that the U.S. government has been secretly building to the world. He says that he does not want to live in a world where there isn't any privacy.
He says that he does not want to live in a world where everything that he says and does is recorded. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that the U.S. government has been spying on us to a degree that most people would have never even dared to imagine. Up until now, the general public has known very little about the U.S. government spy grid that knows almost everything about us. But making this information public is going to cost Edward Snowden everything. Essentially, his previous life is now totally over.
And if the U.S. government gets their hands on him, he will be very fortunate if he only has to spend the next several decades rotting in some horrible prison somewhere. There is a reason why government whistleblowers are so rare. And most Americans are so apathetic that they wouldn't even give up watching their favorite television show for a single evening to do something good for society. Most Americans never even try to make a difference because they do not believe that it will benefit them personally.
Meanwhile, our society continues to fall apart all around us. Hopefully the great sacrifice that Edward Snowden has made will not be in vain. Hopefully people will carefully consider what he has tried to share with the world. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about U.S. government spying that should send a chill up your spine...
#1 "The majority of people in developed countries spend at least some time interacting with the Internet, and Governments are abusing that necessity in secret to extend their powers beyond what is necessary and appropriate."
#2 "...I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."
#3 "The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to."
#4 "...I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
#5 "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything."
#6 "With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your e-mails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your e-mails, passwords, phone records, credit cards."
#7 "Any analyst at any time can target anyone. Any selector, anywhere... I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President..."
#8 "To do that, the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system and it filters them and it analyzes them and it measures them and it stores them for periods of time simply because that's the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends. So while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government, or someone that they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting YOUR communications to do so."
#9 "I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinized most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."
#10 "...they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."
#11 "Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded. ...it's getting to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong, you simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you've ever made, every friend you've ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis, to sort of derive suspicion from an innocent life."
#12 "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
#13 "Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten — and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."
#14 "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."
#15 "I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
#16 "I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong."
#17 "I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act."
#18 "There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich."
#19 "The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change. [People] won't be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things... And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse. [The NSA will] say that... because of the crisis, the dangers that we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power, and there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny."
#20 "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."
#21 "You can't come up against the world's most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk."
#22 "I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me."
#23 "We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be."
#24 "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."
#25 "There’s no saving me."
#26 "The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won't be able to help any more. That's what keeps me up at night."
#27 "I do not expect to see home again."
Would you make the same choice that Edward Snowden made? Most Americans would not. One CNN reporter says that he really admires Snowden because he has tried to get insiders to come forward with details about government spying for years, but none of them were ever willing to...
As a digital technology writer, I have had more than one former student and colleague tell me about digital switchers they have serviced through which calls and data are diverted to government servers or the big data algorithms they've written to be used on our e-mails by intelligence agencies. I always begged them to write about it or to let me do so while protecting their identities. They refused to come forward and believed my efforts to shield them would be futile. "I don't want to lose my security clearance. Or my freedom," one told me.
And if the U.S. government has anything to say about it, Snowden is most definitely going to pay for what he has done. In fact, according to the Daily Beast, a directorate known as "the Q Group" is already hunting Snowden down...
The people who began chasing Snowden work for the Associate Directorate for Security and Counterintelligence, according to former U.S. intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity. The directorate, sometimes known as “the Q Group,” is continuing to track Snowden now that he’s outed himself as The Guardian’s source, according to the intelligence officers.
If Snowden is not already under the protection of some foreign government (such as China), it will just be a matter of time before U.S. government agents get him.
And how will they treat him once they find him? Well, one reporter overheard a group of U.S. intelligence officials talking about how Edward Snowden should be "disappeared". The following is from a Daily Mail article that was posted on Monday...
A group of intelligence officials were overheard yesterday discussing how the National Security Agency worker who leaked sensitive documents to a reporter last week should be 'disappeared.'Foreign policy analyst and editor at large of The Atlantic, Steve Clemons, tweeted about the 'disturbing' conversation after listening in to four men who were sitting near him as he waited for a flight at Washington's Dulles airport.'In Dulles UAL lounge listening to 4 US intel officials saying loudly leaker & reporter on #NSA stuff should be disappeared recorded a bit,' he tweeted at 8:42 a.m. on Saturday.According to Clemons, the men had been attending an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.
As an American, I am deeply disturbed that the U.S. government is embarrassing itself in front of the rest of the world like this.
The fact that we are collecting trillions of pieces of information on people all over the planet is a massive embarrassment and the fact that our politicians are defending this practice now that it has been exposed is a massive embarrassment.
If the U.S. government continues to act like a Big Brother police state, then the rest of the world will eventually conclude that is exactly what we are. At that point we become the "bad guy" and we lose all credibility with the rest of the planet.
Moscow sets up Russian Golan brigade, warns Israel Sunnis plus al Qaeda are bigger threat than Assad
Moscow is not ready to give up on getting Russian troops posted on the divided Golan as part of the UN force policing the Israeli-Syrian separation sector, even after rejections by the UN and Israel. Monday, June 10, the Russian lawmaker Aleksey Pushkov, an influential foreign relations policy adviser to the Kremlin, said: “The issue has not been yet solved, it is being considered. We must take some real action because we cannot exclude that the Syrian-Israeli topic would be involved in large-scale military action.”
Shortly before he spoke, the military announced in Moscow that the Russian Airborne Troops had formed a separate brigade especially designed to serve as peacekeepers “under the aegis of the United Nations or as part of the force set up by the Russian-led CSTO (Russian-Asian) security bloc for combating terrorism. Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan contribute special units.
Vladimir Shamanov, commander of Russian Airborne troops, said the new brigade had been awarded the status of “a peacekeeping unit” on June 1. He did not say by whom. DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose the Moscow proposes to give the “peacekeeping” brigade from the Russian Airborne Troops “teeth” in the form of of MI-24 combat helicopters.
The idea of placing Russian peacekeepers on the Golan was first voiced by President Vladimir Putin on June 7, after Austria decided to withdraw its 377-strong contingent from the area over an outbreak of fighting there between Syrian troops and rebels.
The idea was quickly shot down by the United Nations and Israel on the grounds that the Israeli-Syrian 1974 ceasefire accord barred veto-wielding UN Security Council members from participation in the peacekeeping force.
On June 8, DEBKAfile reported exclusively that Putin was determined to override Israeli and UN objections and get Russian troops deployed on the Syrian Golan by hook or by crook.
On June 9, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly rejected the Putin offer, saying Israel could not afford to place its security in the hands of international forces.
Speaking at a Moscow press conference on Monday, MP Pushkov went on to say that it was too early to say that Vladimir Putin’s suggestion of placing Russian peacekeepers on the Golan Heights lacked perspectives or could not be implemented.
As though on cue, the Hizballah-controlled Lebanese Al Akhbar Monday quoted President Bashar Assad as warning that, for him, opening a front on the Golan against Israel was “a serious matter” and would not just consist of firing a few improvised rockets from time to time.
This gave Pushkov the opening for his warning to Israel: That Israeli authorities would oppose this step (Putin’s offer) was not surprising, he said, but he warned about possible consequences: “Assad could be replaced by radical Islamists in comparison with whom Assad would seem an angel from heaven,” said the Russian lawmaker.
“The people who are now offering friendship to Israel would not necessarily see Israel as their partner when they come to power, rather they would see it as an enemy,” the Russian MP said, hinting at the references made by Hizballah and Syrian government spokesmen to the relations Israel had purportedly formed with certain Syrian rebel groups. Hizballah broadcasts even depicted outdated Israeli tanks and other equipment, booty captured in its 2006 war with Israel, to prove its point.
Therefore, Pushkov advised Israeli leaders to pay more attention to the possible future scenarios in Syria and take into account that Russia could play a positive and stabilizing role in the region.
DEBKAfile notes that this was the first time any Russian official had mentioned the unmentionable: a possible future turn in the wheel of the Syrian conflict that would oust Assad and bring his foes, the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda, to power in Damascus.
AFP - Iran is working round the clock to enlarge its nuclear infrastructure with the eventual aim of developing an industry capable of building up to 30 bombs a year, an Israeli minister charged on Monday.
Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tehran was "very close" to crossing the red line laid out by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year.
But he said it was biding its time and building uranium-enrichment facilities before making the final push for weapons-grade material.
"The Iranians are getting very close now to the red line... They have close to 200 kilos -- 190 kilos (418 pounds) -- of 20 percent enriched uranium," Steinitz said.
"Once they have 250 kilos, this is enough to make the final rush to 90 percent," the level of enrichment required for a nuclear warhead, he said in a presentation to the Foreign Press Association.
"It is a matter of weeks or maybe two months to jump from 20 percent to 90 percent with so many centrifuges," he said.
"What they are doing now -- instead of crossing the red line, they are widening and enlarging their capacity by putting in more centrifuges, faster centrifuges."
Iran's aim, he charged, was to build a nuclear arsenal, not just a single bomb.
"Many people are saying it's a question of the Iranian bomb - whether they will have it or not. No. We are speaking about an Iranian arsenal."
Tehran's big fear was that a Western military strike could wipe out their nuclear facilities "within a few hours," he said.
"The Iranians feel very vulnerable, especially from American air operations. This is their main concern -- that if the West, if NATO, if America decide to attack them, a few hours of accurate air raids might destroy their nuclear facilities."
Israel and many Western governments suspect Iran is using its civilian nuclear programme as cover for developing a weapons capability, a charge denied by Tehran.
But the Jewish state, the Middle East's sole, if undeclared, nuclear power, has refused to rule out a pre-emptive military strike to prevent it.
Steinitz also ruled out any change in policy that might result from the Iranian presidential elections which are to take place on Friday, saying the result was already known.
"Nothing is going to change. There will be, unfortunately, no significant changes because of these so-called elections because (supreme leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei has already won," he said.
"He is the leader and he makes the decisions and he already made his decision to spend many billions of dollars on building this nuclear industry with only one aim," he charged.
"The decision was already made to get nuclear weapons -- you don't spent so much money and you don't suffer $70 billion of losses (due to international sanctions) in one year only to show that you can spin some centrifuges," he concluded.
Russia's northernmost active volcano is churning out ash to a height of up to 9,000 meters (29,500 feet) in the country's Far East, local scientists said Monday.
The 3,283-meter (10,771-foot) Shiveluch volcano increased activity in May 2009 and has been periodically spewing ash from three to ten kilometers.
"Video monitoring of the volcano was complicated due to poor weather conditions, but seismological stations registered over the past 24 hours almost 150 local seismic activities with the most continued one accompanied by a spew of ash up to a height of 6.9 kilometers, give or take 2.2 kilometers," a local department of the Geophysical Service with the Russian Academy of Sciences said in a statement.
Although the current eruption poses no immediate threat to nearby settlements, the ensuing ash fallouts could be hazardous to health and the environment.
The clouds of volcanic ash could also pose threat to air traffic because the tiny particles cause problems with aircraft engine turbines.
There are more than 150 volcanoes on Kamchatka and up to 30 of them active.
Read more: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/kamchatka-volcano-blasting-ash-up-to-9km/481379.html#ixzz2VufvSwRQ
The Moscow Times
Russia’s parliament will debate a controversial law on Tuesday that could see people arrested for behaviour that is deemed to promote homosexuality.
The bill provides for Russian citizens engaged in the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation” to be fined, while foreigners could be arrested and immediately deported.
If the Duma passes the law in its key second reading, it could come into force by the end of the month.
A number of regions have already adopted a similar law, and now MPs from President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party want to implement a nationwide ban on “gay propaganda”.
The law defines the rather nebulous concept as “spreading information aimed at forming non- traditional sexual behaviour among children, suggesting this behaviour is attractive, and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships”.
Fines for breaking the law will be up to £100 for individuals, £1,000 for officials, and £20,000 for organisations. Already there have been doubts about how to define propaganda, with a group of Communists in southern Russia complaining that Elton John’s stage outfits should be considered “homosexual propaganda”.
Gay rights activists have sharply criticised the law, which they say worsens an already difficult situation in Russia, where many people still believe homosexuality should be “treated”. In recent weeks there have been two killings in which homophobia appears to have played at least a part, and the loose language of the law suggests that even services such as counselling for gay teenagers, or safe-sex advice, could theoretically be deemed illegal.
Gay-rights activists and anti-gay activists plan separate demonstrations as MPs debate the law. The first reading of the bill was passed in January by 390 votes to one.
(CNSNews.com) – The IRS, currently in the midst of scandals involving the targeting of conservative groups and lavish taxpayer-funded conferences, is ordering surveillance equipment that includes hidden cameras in coffee trays, plants and clock radios.
The IRS wants to secure the surveillance equipment quickly – it posted a solicitation on June 6 and is looking to close the deal by Monday, June 10. The agency already has a company lined up for the order but is not commenting on the details.
“The Internal Revenue Service intends to award a Purchase Order to an undisclosed Corporation,” reads the solicitation.
“The following descriptions are vague due to the use and nature of the items,” it says.
“If you feel that you can provide the following equipment, please respond to this email no later than 4 days after the solicitation date,” the IRS said.
Among the items the agency will purchase are four “Covert Coffee tray(s) with Camera concealment,” and four “Remote surveillance system(s)” with “Built-in DVD Burner and 2 Internal HDDs, cameras.”
The IRS also is buying four cameras to hide in plants: “(QTY 4) Plant Concealment Color 700 Lines Color IP Camera Concealment with Single Channel Network Server, supports dual video stream, Poe [Power over Ethernet], software included, case included, router included.”
Finishing out the order are four “Color IP Camera Concealment with single channel network server, supports dual video stream, poe, webviewer and cms software included, audio,” and two “Concealed clock radio.”
“Responses to this notice must be received by this office within 3 business days of the date of this synopsis by 2:00 P.M. EST, June 10, 2013,” the IRS said. Interested vendors are to contact Ricardo Carter, a Contract Specialist at the IRS.
“If no compelling responses are received, award will be made to the original solicited corporation,” the IRS said.
The original solicitation was only available to private companies for bids for 19 business hours.
The notice was posted at 11:07 a.m. on June 6 and had a deadline of 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Taking a normal 9-to-5 work week, the solicitation was open for bids for six hours on Thursday, eight hours on Friday, and five hours on Monday, for a total of 19 hours.
The response date was changed on Monday, pushed back to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.
The location listed for the solicitation is the IRS’s National Office of Procurement, in Oxon Hill, Md.
"The Procurement Office acquires the products and services required to support the IRS mission,” according to its website.
In recent weeks the IRS has been at the center of multiple scandals, admitting to targeting Tea Party groups and subjecting them to greater scrutiny when applying for non-profit status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that groups with names like “patriot” in their titles were singled out, required to complete lengthy personal questionnaires (often multiple times) and having their nonprofit status delayed, sometimes for more than three years.
Last week a second Inspector General report detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, in which employees stayed at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, paid a keynote speaker $17,000 to paint a picture of U2 singer Bono, and spent $50,000 on parody videos of “Star Trek.”
Requests for comment from the IRS and Mr. Carter were not returned before this story was posted.
CNSNews.com asked IRS spokesmen Dean Patterson and Anthony Burke to explain the reasoning behind the solicitation, where the surveillance equipment will be used, why the request was so urgent, and whether the request has anything to do with the recent scandals at the IRS.