THE GOLDEN RIVER
SYSTEM ABUSE / SNOWDEN
Updates:  09/07/2017; 09/06/2017; 09/05/2017; 09/04/02017 page started by moving this section from another page EDWARD SNOWDEN Some Resources In this section:  Commentary     Links     Brief Links     Films     Books     Russians/Putin     Snowden as Weasel     ACLU COMMENTARY People see Snowden as a weasel or a hero Many people have to rely on others for technical information.  We are at the mercy of those with high tech knowledge and all the ways people can get at our privacy.  It is tempting to consider the only solution is to hang it up.  We could simply destroy the gadgets and stop using them until such time we have a better way of protecting ourselves as a whole.  The way things are now, there truly is not much that can be done no matter how much we try.  On the other hand, destruction of the gadgets we can control is one thing; it’s what is around or implanted in us that is significant, too. We have gotten ourselves in a real mess, frankly, and it is far more serious than many people realize.  It’s a nightmare.  I look around - maybe you do, too - and system/surveillance abuse is absolutely not being talked about by the vast majority of the population.  People are really not focused on this crisis at all.  They are talking and thinking about just about anything and everything else.  How do you get through something like that?  Any of you can go to the internet yourselves and pull up what I have here, but the real point is a declaration of awareness and independence.     It is to demonstrate  there are people who don’t like what is going on.  We do want another way of life and future for ourselves than having every last bit of our private lives potentially invaded from every direction.  This is a human rights issue because the ultimate conclusion of all this control is that we could be rounded up and killed like victims of the Holocaust.  We are dealing with massive thievery: thievery of money, ideas, peace of mind, safety....you name it.  Using the internet should be a tool for everyone, a safe high powered tool.  It has so many good things about it.  Instant access to so many topics and ideas.  It’s great.  It’s habit forming.  But it also a deadly weapon because it lets strangers in our livingrooms,  bedrooms, offices and most personal papers.  We have people out there robbing us of our dignity. But we just keep buying the gadgets that are our doom.  We keep burning fossil fuels which are also causing damage.  We self-sabotage ourselves into some kind of pit from which there will be no return.  The best we can do is find like-minded people who are in tune and awake - no matter their technical or surveillance/system knowledge - and pull resources.  The people who are doing these terrible things to us do not want us to focus on getting together to fight them.  In addition to surveillance, we can ask ourselves if they do things, like applyingtelepathy and psychotronic attacks,  to keep us distracted and lost.  They thrive on the ignorance of family members and friends.  They love it when someone cannot even imagine that the thoughts in their heads can be intercepted by a hidden outside third party, just like tapping into a computer.  It’s a terrible thing.  Few of us want to think that our own brains and thought processes are open turf like that.  The best way to thwart that kind of attack is to know your own tendencies and what your own energy feels like.  Then you can sense better when things are shifting and that you are not being yourself or that an alien energy has come in. FILMS Snowden (2016) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3774114/ Citizenfour (2014) Excerpt from Common Dreams:  Citizenfour,' the documentary film about global surveillance by filmmaker Laura Poitras, receives standing ovation at film fest and contains scene in which fellow journalist Glenn Greenwald tells Edward Snowden of new source.  https://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/10/12/snowden-documentary-confirms-existence-new-national-security- whistleblower Edward Snowden: The Interview (2014) BOOKS Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden By Mark Hertsgaard The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man (2014) by Luke Harding How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft (2017) by Edward Jay Epstein Excerpt from USA Today: While the government might be fairly tarred for its surveillance overreach by a few of the Snowden documents, there are yet millions more documents in the Snowden heist, according to the government, with secrets that are now in unknown hands. It’s the fate of those secrets that’s at the heart of Edward Jay Epstein’s new book, How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, The Man and the Theft, the first independent investigation of the Snowden affair… https://www usatoday com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2017/01/08/wolff-curious-case-edward-snowden-and-russian- hacks/96252322/ No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State  (2015) by Glenn Greenwald Everything You Know about the Constitution is Wrong (2013) by Edward James Snowden The Snowden Reader (2015) by David P. Fidler and Sumit Ganguly Edward Snowden: America's Whistleblower - Sinner or Saint? (2017) by Phil Coleman (Author) The Edward Snowden Affair: Exposing the Politics and Media Behind the NSA Scandal By Michael Gurnow The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster By Edward Lucas LINKS ACLU (see below ACLU) Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg dot com/view/articles/2016-09-08/snowden-is-turning-into-a-liability-for-putin Common Dreams:  Snowden Documentary Confirms Existence of New National Security Whistleblower. By Jon Queally (10/12/2014) Snowden Documentary Confirms Existence New National Security…. http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/10/12/snowden-documentary-confirms-existence-new-national-security- whistleblower The Guardian How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers. By Mark Hertsgaard (05/22/2016) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/22/how-pentagon-punished-nsa-whistleblowers Excerpt:  They were political conservatives, highly educated, respectful of evidence, careful with words. And they were saying, on the basis of personal experience, that the US government was being run by people who were willing to break the law and bend the state’s awesome powers to their own ends. They were saying that laws and technologies had secretly been put in place that threatened to overturn the democratic governance Americans took for granted and shrink their liberties to a vanishing point. And they were saying that something needed to be done about all this before it was too late.  This article is adapted from Mark Hertsgaard’s new book, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden (Hot Books/Skyhorse) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/22/how-pentagon-punished-nsa-whistleblowers Snowden calls for whistleblower shield after claims by new Pentagon source.  By Spencer Ackerman in Washington and Ewen MacAskill in London (05/22/2016) Accusations that Pentagon retaliated against a whistleblower undermine argument that there were options for Snowden other than leaking to the media https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/22/snowden-whistleblower-protections-john-crane Excerpt:  Edward Snowden has called for a complete overhaul of US whistleblower protections after a new source from deep inside the Pentagon came forward with a startling account of how the system became a “trap” for those seeking to expose wrongdoing.  The account of John Crane, a former senior Pentagon investigator, appears to undermine Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other major establishment figures who argue that there were established routes for Snowden other than leaking to the media. Crane, a longtime assistant inspector general at the Pentagon, has accused his old office of retaliating against a major surveillance whistleblower, Thomas Drake, in an episode that helps explain Snowden’s 2013 National Security Agency disclosures. Not only did Pentagon officials provide Drake’s name to criminal investigators, Crane told the Guardian, they destroyed documents relevant to his defence.  Snowden, responding to Crane’s revelations, said he had tried to raise his concerns with colleagues, supervisors and lawyers and been told by all of them: “You’re playing with fire.” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/22/snowden-whistleblower-protections-john-crane https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/10/edward-snowden-extradition-vladimi-putin-trump-russia The Independent: Edward Snowden says 'dark day' after Putin introduces draconian new surveillance laws. Katie Forster(07/08/2016) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/edward-snowden-vladimir-putin-russia-surveillance-laws-extremism-crackdown- dissent-a7127311.html LA Times:  Snowden's weasel ways. by Frank Snepp (01/31/2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/31/opinion/la-oe-snepp-snowden-nsa-20140131 Mashable:  The 10 Biggest Revelations From Edward Snowden's Leaks.  By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (06/05/2014) http://mashable.com/2014/06/05/edward-snowden-revelations/ This is a very good link which provides both a run-down on the top NSA revelations of Snowden and also a link to a more detailed list of what he revealed.  http://mashable.com/2014/06/05/edward-snowden-revelations/ Newsbud: https://www.newsbud.com/2014/01/31/the-entire-snowden-nsa-cache-exposed-once-and-for-all/ NBC:  Can Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Save the Real-Life Whistleblower?  by Adam Howard (09/14/2016) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/can-oliver-stone-s-snowden-save-real-life-whistleblower-n648166 New York Times:  Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower. By The Editorial Board (01/01/2014) http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/opinion/edward-snowden-whistle-blower.html?_r=0 Newsweek:   Spy or Whistleblower, Should Obama Settle.  By Ronald Goldfarb (09/05/2017) http://www.newsweek.com/spy-or-whistleblower-should-obama-settle-snowden-479813 Edward Snowden: Fight ‘fake news’ with truth, not censorship. BY Max Kutner (12/13/2016) http://www.newsweek.com/edward-snowden-jack-dorsey-twitter-periscope-531573 The New Yorker: Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden and the modern whistleblower. By Malcolm Gladwell (12/19/2016) http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/12/19/daniel-ellsberg-edward-snowden-and-the-modern-whistle-blower NPR: Organization.  Before Snowden: The whistleblowers who tried to lift the veil.  By David Welna (07/22/2014) Other whistleblowers before Snowden http://www.npr.org/2014/07/22/333741495/before-snowden-the-whistleblowers-who-tried-to-lift-the-veil The Real News: http://therealnews com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=17244 Telegraph: Edward Snowden: the true story behind his NSA leaks. By Mick Brown (10/24/2014) Laura Poitras, the director of Citizenfour, tells the Telegraph how the whistle-blower entrusted her with revealing to the world his secrets about American government mass surveillance By Mick Brown (10/24/2014) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/11185627/Edward-Snowden-the-true-story-behind-his-NSA-leaks.html Excerpt: The information purloined by Edward Snowden about NSA activities is among the most significant leaks in American political history. It revealed that the NSA has maintained a number of mass-surveillance programmes over its own citizens, including accessing information stored by some of America’s biggest technology companies, often without individual warrants, and intercepting data from global telephone and internet networks to build up a store of information on millions of US citizens, regardless of whether or not they are ‘persons of interest’ to the agency. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/11185627/Edward-Snowden-the-true-story-behind-his-NSA-leaks.html USA Today:  Wolff: The curious case of Edward Snowden and Russian hacks.  By Michael Wolff (01/08/2017) https://www usatoday com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2017/01/08/wolff-curious-case-edward-snowden-and-russian- hacks/96252322/ Washington Post on blogs (2014) Copy of blog (DaStu 6/3/2014 7:49 PM MDT)  from Washington Post with an alternative view of Snowden as whistleblower) Excerpt:  There was a time when the United States did not torture. They do now. The consequence of these actions against those in Gitmo and what they did to Manning is a loss of credibility. The Snowden model may not have been how past whistle blowers have behaved but it is certainly a model future whistle blowers will follow. When a system of government allows the government to violate the Constitution without any consequence and the Supreme Court continues to believe a government can do whatever it likes, we will continue to have these whistle blowers.  The best way to prevent a whistle blower is to not break the law to begin with. It is not possible to keep criminal behavior a secret so stop trying. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-true-whistleblower-doesnt-behave-like-edward- snowden/2014/06/02/5e8484e0-e90c-11e3-afc6-a1dd9407abcf_story.html RUSSIANS/PUTIN - SNOWDEN Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-08/snowden-is-turning-into-a-liability-for-putin The Guardian:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/10/edward-snowden-extradition-vladimi-putin-trump-russia The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/edward-snowden-vladimir-putin-russia-surveillance-laws-extremism-crackdown-dissent- a7127311.html Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4SZ49_bS0Y https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD4eIM-8Vrc SNOWDEN AS WEASEL LA Times: Snowden's weasel ways. By Frank Snepp (01/31/2014) http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/31/opinion/la-oe-snepp-snowden-nsa-20140131 Excerpt:  He claims his only concern is for privacy. But many of his leaks, like those exposing National Security Agency operations against Chinese targets, and those involving critics and allies in Europe and Latin America, have nothing to do with 4th Amendment protections for American citizens and everything to do with ingratiating himself with potential benefactors, from Beijing to Moscow.  Had he read though his stolen documents, moreover, he would have realized that Russia and China are as aggressive as anyone on the planet in attacking our digital firewalls. If he were to cripple the NSA, which seems to be his real purpose, he would simply be sabotaging our defenses against governments that abhor our constitutional values, including privacy rights.  Equally troubling, Snowden has abdicated moral responsibility by handing off much of what he stole to Laura Poitras, a freelance journalist, and Glenn Greenwald, formerly of the Guardian, and allowing them to decide what should be published. Greenwald says encrypted copies also have been given to other parties and that, if something happens to Snowden, "all the information will be revealed and it could be [the government's] worst nightmare."  One problem with the reporting by Greenwald and Poitras has been that, in relying so heavily on the documents supplied by Snowden, it fails to provide context. From reading their stories, for example, you'd know little about official steps to minimize NSA privacy threats.  Yet as we have learned from other recent disclosures -- largely official counter-leaks -- the secret court created in 1968 to police NSA programs has been working diligently, if too secretly, to fulfill its mission. http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/31/opinion/la-oe-snepp-snowden-nsa-20140131 USA Today https://www usatoday com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2017/01/08/wolff-curious-case-edward-snowden-and-russian- hacks/96252322/ Excerpt:  Nobody, except the federal government — which arrived at the exact opposite conclusion from the media regarding Snowden’s actions and motives — has meticulously scrutinized the Snowden tale, and the federal government is seen not as the rightful protector of the nation’s secrets, but as the party exposed by them.  But that’s the rub. While the government might be fairly tarred for its surveillance overreach by a few of the Snowden documents, there are yet millions more documents in the Snowden heist, according to the government, with secrets that are now in unknown hands. It’s the fate of those secrets that’s at the heart of Edward Jay Epstein’s new book, How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, The Man and the Theft, the first independent investigation of the Snowden affair…Epstein in his new book retraces Snowden’s route around the world, deconstructing each of the key, and widely accepted, givens in his account: 1) that he acted alone in his extraordinary theft of NSA documents; 2) that his flight to Hong Kong was happenstance; 3) that his escape to Russia and sanctuary there were more happenstance; 4) that he somehow dispatched his millions of documents before his flight to Moscow and that the Russians were gentlemen enough to allow him to arrive empty handed. https://www usatoday com/story/money/columnist/wolff/2017/01/08/wolff-curious-case-edward-snowden-and-russian- hacks/96252322/ Books regarding Snowden as Weasel - also listed in books section The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster By Edward Lucas How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft (2017) by Edward Jay Epstein ACLU (from above) Emails from/on Edward Snowden sent to members of ACLU See also:  Edward Snowden video interview by ACLU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIhS9aB-qgU https://www.aclu.org/video/snowden-and-aclu-sxsw Letter From Edward Snowden - enclosed in letter sent by Anthony Romero of ACLU (see below): May 2014 Dear Friend (From Edward Snowden), I blew the whistle on our government’s massive, unconstitutional surveillance program.  Maybe you agree with my decision to do so.  Maybe you don’t.  But I hope you will agree with me that our Constitution’s 4th Amendment still matters, that it prohibits the indiscriminate search or seizure of our private records, and that there is no organization in America more fundamental to protecting American liberty than the ACLU.  Americans should be able to call, buy a book, or write to a friend without worrying about government agents “collecting it all,” and we shouldn’t have to fear how those innocent communications might be misinterpreted or abused by the NSA’s and FBI’s domestic surveillance programs.  And we do know they’ll be misused: after all, they already have been.  The NSA’s own secret “compliance” report - finally in public hands after being hidden behind closed doors - admits that the agency violated US laws and regulations at least 2,776 times in a single year.  It’s time to put a stop to this out-of-control abuse.  But to convince Congress to rein in the NSA for the first time in almost 40 years, we’re going to need the ACLU.  And they’ve done it before.  The ACLU was born in opposition to what notoriously became known as the “Palmer Raids.”  Attorney General Mitchell Palmer had been monitoring, rounding up, and deporting so-called radicals.  Thousands of people were arrested without warrants and without regard to constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure.  It led to brutal treatment in horrible conditions.  A small group of brave idealists stood in opposition to this utter betrayal of American principles.  And, for over 90 years, that’s what we’ve counted on the ACLU to do - take a strong stand to protect our civil liberties, especially when fear outweighs rational debate.  In turn, the ACLU has always counted on dedicated individuals willing to step forward and support the organization’s unflinching commitment to defending our fundamental freedoms.  Supporting the ACLU is about protecting freedom, demanding justice, and standing up for what you believe in.  From the Palmer raids, to Japanese internment, to protecting the free speech of political protestors, to fighting for reproductive rights, to ending Bush-era torture, to leading the fight today against the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance, the ACLU and its staunch supporters have been there to stand up for our rights.  When I struggled with the decision to risk my life, my freedom and my family to come forward with the truth about the government’s dragnet surveillance programs, I worried whether the facts alone would be enough to bring these abuses to an end.  With its skill, determination, and passion, the ACLU has helped put those worries to rest.  They have been leading the fight to expose and end out-of-control government surveillance for over a decade - and I know they’ll never stop fighting until they win.  But to keep waging that fight and so many other critical battles, they need people like you.  Recently, I met with ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero to discuss our shared commitment to ending mass surveillance.  When Anthony shared this quote from Roger Baldwin, one of the ACLU’s founders, it struck a chord with me:  “So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we’ll be called a democracy.”  I’ve chosen my way to fight.  I hope you will choose yours.  And I hope you will put lending your passion, energy, and financial support to the ACLU at the center of that decision.  Thank you for standing up for freedom. Yours in service, Edward Snowden Letter From Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director: I asked Edward Snowden to write a letter to encourage more people to become involved in the ACLU’s work.  After reading it, I decided to forward it to you as well, becaused I wanted you to see his words about our organization.  I know that Snowden is something of a lightning rod, igniting the passions of people who care deeply about this country.  But, here’s what I would tell you.  Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations about massive government surveillance efforts blew the lid off of what may be the most extensive surveillance program any democracy has ever directed at its own citizens.  And they revealed that, for the better part of a decade, our government has been actively misleading us about the extent of NSA spying on ordinary Americans.  Because of Edward Snowden’s willingness to step forward, at great personal risk, we now have the best chance we’ve ever had to bring an end to out-of-control government surveillance of American citizens.  I’m writing to you because I’m counting on your immediate financial support to make the most of this long-sought opportunity.  With your immediate financial support, the ACLU can continue to move decisively on multiple fronts to bring illegal and unconstitutional government spying to an end and to advance all of our critical work.  No one knows the importance of the information revealed through the classified materials that Snowden provided to journalists more than our team of lawyers, researchers and advocates.  Ever since the events of September 11, 2001, they have been leading the fight to curtail government surveillance conducted in the name of national security.  Many of them have devoted the majority of their professional lives to this effort.  But, as diligently as we have pursued our goal, we’ve been stymied at every turn - until now.  We filed our first lawsuit to stop unconstitutional NSA spying within weeks of the December 2005 revelations that President Bush had repeatedly authorized the NSA to monitor phone calls of people inside the U.S. without a warrant.  We won that case in district court, but lost it on appeal.  Then, despite intense ACLU opposition, Congress passed - and President Bush signed into law - the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, ratifying and expanding the warrantless surveillance program.  Less than an hour after the Act was signed, the ACLU filed our Amnesty v. Clapper lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality.  That case went all the way to the Supreme Court, but we ultimately lost it on a classic Catch-22.  The ACLU’s clients couldn’t challenge the secret spying program because they couldn’t demonstrate that they had been secretly spied on.  The program’s very secrecy became its strongest shield.  The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in that case came down last February.  Quite honestly, even the relentless lawyers of the ACLU were convinced we had come to a standstill with little hope of ending a spying program that we suspected was spinning dangerously out of control.  Less than four months later, The Guardian released a document provided by Snowden, the first in a series of disclosures detailing the NSA’s spying activities.  Talk about a game-changer.  Ever since that first revelation, things have moved at a fast and furious pace.  Six days after that first article in The Guardian, armed with proof the NSA is tracking our phone calls, we filed ACLU v. CLapper arguing that the NSA’s phone- records program is both illegal and unconstitutional.  We have been pressing President Obama, who has been forced to repeatedly address blatant abuses of power by our intelligence agencies.  We are actively pressing for passage of the USA Freedom Act, genuine reform legislation sponsored by one of the original authors of The Patriot Act.  And we are providing legal counsel to Snowden, as he is being pursued by the most powerful government in the world.  A few months ago, I traveled to Moscow and met with Ed Snowden.  I couldn’t help but think that I was talking to a young man who could be facing a life of exile or imprisonment.  He’s physically isolated from his family, friends and lawyers.  He’s in the middle of an international maelstrom, having provoked the ire of U.S. government officials.  But, he moves and speaks with a calmness and equanimity that I’ve come to recognize.  I’ve seen it in other ACLU clients who have stepped forward to defend freedom at great personal cost.  It’s the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have chosen to stand up for what you believe in.  And that’s exactly what I’m asking you to do today - the same way you have at so many other critical moments in our work together.  In the weeks and months ahead, we have the opportunity to do something big and important.  We can bring an end to an NSA surveillance program that breaks the law, defies the Constitution, and threatens to erode the right to privacy that is fundamental to our democracy.  We can take on one of the most outrageous civil liberties abuses of our lifetime - and we can win.  It won’t be easy.  Prevailing in the face of challenges as deep and profound as this is never a simple task.  But, I have no doubt we can carry the day and, in the process, win a truly significant civil liberties victory.  As always, we are counting on your involvement and financial support to reach our goal - on this front and across all of our work.  With events moving quickly and the stakes extraordinarily high, I urge you to send as generous a donation as you can possibly afford.   Thank you so much for all that you do to support and sustain our most critical efforts. Sincerely, Anthony D. Romero ACLU Executive Director
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