So Melissa Harris Perry lost all credibility as a journalist when she devoted an entire segment to discussing how Snowden leaving the US was the real problem here – apparently this is a cowardly act which distracts people from the issue.

She clearly didn’t get that she forms part of the media that chooses to focus on Snowden’s abscondal rather than the actual issues. Because god forbid Journalists do  their jobs.

Anyway, Daniel Ellsberg, the man she held up as a stirling example of whistleblower who “got out of the way,” thinks Snowden made the right move:

Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don’t agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago…He would almost certainly be confined in total isolation, even longer than the more than eight months Manning suffered during his three years of imprisonment before his trial began recently.

Some good readings:

  • Oh first off, shout at the TV everytime they say Snowden is “stateless.” He is still a citizen, he just doesn’t have a passport.
  • Months before the PRISM papers were released, Wired ran a brilliant piece about the surveillance center the US is building in Utah. Great read back then, even more so now. Seriously, read it.
  • On the flight back from the US, I read a piece about the General who oversees the NSA, Keith Alexander. He is called “The Emperor,” because whatever he wants in terms of resources and power, he gets. Eerie, eerie stuff — read it here.
  • And then yesterday we found out that Australia and New Zealand are helping too, though that doesn’t surprise too much.
  • But the surveillance isn’t limited to the US. German magazine Der Spiegel ran an extensive series on how the NSA spies on supposed US allies in Europe, providing documents that detail  “a system whose dimensions go beyond the imaginable.

Spiegel found that “The Americans are collecting metadata from up to half a billion communications a month in Germany — making the country one of the biggest sources of streams of information flowing into the agency’s gigantic sea of data.” Funnily enough, France and Italy are subjected to far less scrutiny. The German government has been helping the NSA in maintaining the surveillance network, but has also been victimized itself.

The US has gathered vast troves of metadata, though the NSA has been more brazen: the article also details how the phone lines of the European Council were accessed by an NSA team stationed in Brussels.

Then they go and straight up violate diplomatic protection:

The EU’s diplomatic delegation to the United States is located in an elegant office building on Washington’s K Street. But the EU’s diplomatic protection apparently doesn’t apply in this case. As parts of one NSA document seen by SPIEGEL indicate, the NSA not only bugged the building, but also infiltrated its internal computer network. The same goes for the EU mission at the United Nations in New York.

It’s not just the governments helping out, but corporations:

A further document clearly demonstrates the compliance of a number of different companies. There are “alliances with over 80 major global corporations supporting both missions,” according to a paper that is marked top secret. In NSA jargon, “both missions” refers to defending networks in the US, on the one hand, and monitoring networks abroad, on the other. The companies involved include telecommunications firms, producers of network infrastructure, software companies and security firms.



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