Archive for the ‘Edward Snowden’ Category

Target Finding for the Empire: The Pine Gap Joint Defense Facility, America’s Spy Hub in the Heart of Australia – Center for Research on Globalization

The tasking we get at Pine Gap is look for this particular signal coming out of this particular location. If you find it, report it, and if you find anything else of interest, report that as well. David Rosenberg, former NSA Team leader, weapons analysis at Pine Gap, Aug 20, 2017

At times, there is a lag between the anticipation and the revelation, the assumption that an image might be as gruesome, or perhaps enlightening, as was first assumed. Nothing in the latest Edward Snowden show suggests anything revelatory. They knew it, as did we: that the US military satellite base spat on a bit of Australian dust in a part of the earth that would not make Mars seem out of place, is highly engaged.

Radio Nationals Background Briefing made something of a splash on Sunday, with some assistance from the Edward Snowden National Security Agency trove.[1] The documents do much in terms of filling in assumptions on the geolocating role of the facility, much of which had already had some measure of plausibility through the work of Richard Tanter and the late Des Ball.

As Tanter puts it,

Those documents provide authoritative confirmation that Pine Gap is involved, for example, in the geolocation of cell phones used by people throughout the world, from the Pacific to the edge of Africa.[2]

NSA Intelligence Relationship with Australia, by way of example, discloses the NSA term for the Pine Gap facility, ironically termed RAINFALL. Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (RAINFALL) [is] a site which plays a significant role in supporting both intelligence activities and military operations.

Another document supplies some detail as to the role of the facility, confirming that it does beyond the mundane task of merely collecting signals. It also does the dirty work analysing them.

RAINFALL detects, collects, records, processes, analyses and reports on PROFORMA [data on surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft] signals collected from tasked target entities.

Pine Gap has always generated a gaping accountability gap of its own, and these Snowden treats affirm the point. Rather than being an entity accountable to the queries and concerns of the local indigenous population; rather than supplying the local members of parliament from the Senate and the lower house briefings about its activities, Pine Gap is hived off from usual channels, a reminder about how truly inconsequential democracy is in the Canberra-Washington alliance.

Pine Gap has always had its platoons of unflinching apologists, and a common theme, apart from the worn notion that the US security umbrella prevails with fortitude, is that the base is genuinely good. In a Central Intelligence Agencys National Intelligence Daily (Feb 13, 1987), the agency notes with approval the forthcoming Australian Defence white paper indicating strong support or US-Australian joint defence facilities.[3]

The publication would dispel any wobbliness on Australian military commitments, a point alluded to by the then minister for defence, Kim Beazley. A further point was to note the defensive nature of the facilities, opposition to those leftwing groups to the contrary.

So what if Australians in the Northern Territory are ignorant that the communications facility pinpoints targets for drone strikes? We can be assured that these are legitimate, vetted and, when struck, obliterated with fastidious care.

Much of this dressed up bunk is based on the notion, sacrosanct as it is, that drone strikes work. They certain do on a few levels in galvanising more recruits and liquidating more civilians. Like any military weapon, the hygienic notion of the engineered kill, the surgical operation on the battlefield, is fantasy. If the target so happens to be embedded in an urban setting, one filled with non-combatants, the moral calculus becomes less easy to measure.[4]

The other through-the-glass-darkly feature of the Pine Gap facility lies not only in its geolocation means, but its value as a target. Having such conspicuous yet inscrutable tenants places Australia in harms way, a loud invitation to assault.

The CIA was already cognisant of this point in 1987, identifying awareness on the part of Australian defence officials that the joint facilities would be attacked in a US-Soviet nuclear exchange but argues that removal of the US presence would increase the likelihood of superpower conflict.[5] The end of the Cold War does little to dispel the significance of Pine Gap as a target of considerable interest.

Where to, then? A firm insistence, for one, that Australia detach itself from the tit of empire, the bosom of Washingtons military industrial complex. This requires something virtually outlawed in Canberra: courage. It has fallen upon such delightfully committed if motley outfits as the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN), an organisation of calm determination committed to seeing Australia as something more than the grand real estate for empire.

With each disclosure, with each revelation about Australias all too willing complicity in facilitating strikes against foreign targets, many in countries Australians would barely know, the will to change may be piqued. They most certainly will once Australian officials face their first war crimes charges over the use of drones, aiding and abetting their US counterparts in the whole damn awful enterprise.[6]

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [emailprotected]

Notes

View post:

Target Finding for the Empire: The Pine Gap Joint Defense Facility, America’s Spy Hub in the Heart of Australia – Center for Research on Globalization

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Oliver Stone To Lead Jury At The Busan International Film Festival – Deadline

Oliver Stone has been announced as the head of the jury at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival. The Academy Award-winning director will lead four jurors for the New Currents, a competitive section in Asias largest film festival, thatintroduces the worksof up-and-coming Asian directors.

Joining Stone on the jury will be world-famous director Bahman Ghobadi (No One Knows About Persian Cats) from Iran, renowned French cinematographer Agns Godard (Bright Sunshine In), a multi-artist and an ideological father of the New Philippine CinemaLav Diaz (The Woman Who Left), and Jang Sun-woo (A Petal,Lies), a leader of New Wave in Korean films.

Stone has become an outspoken voice in Hollywood specifically when it comes to American culture, politics, and military. His most recent filmSnowdenfollowed the controversy and life surroundingAmerican whistleblower Edward Snowden and his 2008 filmW.was a satirical view on former U.S. President George W. Bush. American capitalism was the focus of the iconic 1987 filmWall Streetwhile his other films likeBorn on the Fourth of JulyandPlatoonexamined modern history with critical insight and significant cultural impact. He also is no stranger to South Korea, having participated inlocal anti-militarism protests in 2013.

The Busan International Film Festival has been having its fair share of trouble in the past year.In October 2016, BIFF came under fire when organizers were ordered by Busan government chiefs to cancel a screening ofThe Truth Shall Not Sink, a documentary which criticized the governments failed rescue measures at the 2014 Seoul ferry disaster. This resulted in local filmmakers boycotting the event. Former fest head Lee Yong-Kwan was a big supporter of screening the film at the fest, which then resulted in his ousting from the event. Soon after,BIFF founder Kim Dong-Ho and fest director Kang Soo-Youn announced that they would also be leaving after this years edition.

As a prominent and globally influential voice of historical events and political issues, BIFF hopes Stones attendance as chief juror will draw more attention to the winners of New Currents. The festival is set to run October 12-21.

View post:

Oliver Stone To Lead Jury At The Busan International Film Festival – Deadline

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Harsh response to whistle-blowers took root under Obama – The Boston Globe

While retired federal judge Nancy Gertner made some excellent points in her op-ed regarding the admittedly invaluable contributions of whistle-blowers (Leaker or whistle-blower? Aug. 10), she seems to suggest inaccurately that the current administration is solely responsible for stifling whistle-blowers. Gertner overlooks that the ironic imbalance between whistle-blower protection in the private vs. public sector actually began in earnest during the Obama administration.

There is no question that in corporate America, whistle-blower protection has skyrocketed during the last 10 years, fueled by new laws such as Dodd-Frank, enhanced and stepped-up regulatory initiatives at the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and court rulings expanding rights and remedies for whistle-blowers. Companies have responded, as evidenced by a recent survey by leading compliance solutions provider NAVEX Global that shows that average closure times for whistle-blower cases dropped nearly 10 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Advertisement

By contrast, those who blow the whistle in the public sector are branded as leakers (Edward Snowden) or, worse, thrown in jail (Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner). Indeed, during the Obama administration, the government criminally prosecuted nine people on charges related to whistle-blowing or leaks, compared with three such prosecutions in all the prior administrations combined.

While the current president may indeed be obsessed with leaks and intent on stifling would-be whistleblowers, the reality is that the seeds of such stifling took root before he took office.

Gregory Keating

Boston

The writer is an attorney and is co-author of Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

See more here:

Harsh response to whistle-blowers took root under Obama – The Boston Globe

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

New Snowden or Crook? The Man Who Drives Wedge Between EU and Vietnam – Sputnik International

Asia & Pacific

10:58 21.08.2017(updated 11:53 21.08.2017) Get short URL

The high-profile case of Trinh Xuan Thanh, a Vietnamese economic fugitive reportedly abducted by Vietnamese security agents from the streets of Berlin, has driven a wedge between the EU and Hanoi. Sputnik sheds light on the issue of the “Vietnamese Snowden”.

On August 2, German media reported that Trinh Xuan Thanh had been returned toVietnam forhis role inthe theft of $150 million duringhis tenure aschairman ofa subsidiary ofthe PetroVietnam energy company.

The incident caused an angry outcry inthe mainstream media and a mixed response inVietnam itself withLuat Khoa (Justice) magazine comparing Trinh Xuan Thanh withfugitive former NSA specialist Edward Snowden who now lives inRussia.

Snowden laid bare the global system ofsurveillance established bythe US and large-scale human rights violations byWashington. He did that ona pro bono basis withoutasking formoney, Kolotov said.

He added that unlikeSnowden, who was driven byidealistic intentions, Trinh Xuan Thanh is a big-time swindler who apparently acted aspart ofan organized group.

The Germans refused toextradite him because they hoped toextract some state secrets fromhim, compromise the corrupt officials and businessmen he worked withand, using the obtained information, toget lucrative contracts bypromising them safe asylum inGermany, Vladimir Kolotov continued.

After Trinh Xuan Thanh disappeared, the Germans blamed it onthe Vietnamese authorities and started blackmailing them. If the Vietnamese government backtracks it would encourage other corrupt officials tosteal and flee abroad, he added.

The Trinh Xuan Thanh case is part ofthe Vietnamese Communist Partys ongoing crackdown oncorruption bysenior officials who put their personal wellbeing beforethe interests ofthe state, thus undermining the peoples trust inCommunity party and the government.

The very same thing happened inthe Soviet Union where corrupt government officials betrayed the countrys interests forpersonal gain.

Had it not been forthe $150 million, good connections and the knowledge ofstate secrets Trinh Xuan Thanh had, the Germans would have sent him back home injiffy, Kolotov concluded.

Meanwhile, Berlin has demanded that Trinh Xuan Thanh be allowed toreturn toGermany and declared the intelligence attach atthe Vietnamese embassy persona-non-grata.

In a commentary forSputnik, Anton Tsvetov, an expert atthe Center forStrategic Studies inMoscow, said that duringthe recent G20 summit inHamburg, the Vietnamese side requested the extradition ofTrinh Xuan Thanh who had applied forpolitical asylum inGermany.

It looks likethe Germans refused [to extradite Trinh Xuan Thanh] and the Vietnamese simply ran outof patience, especially now that their anti-corruption campaign is infull swing, Tsvetov said.

Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov

All this will obviously deal a serious blow toVietnams relations withGermany and the EU, which have previously criticized the Vietnamese authorities fortheir persecution ofindependent bloggers. Hanoi didnt likethat and it looks likeit is ready fora further escalation oftensions withEurope, Anton Tsvetov said.

Trinh Xuan Thanh disappeared afterbeing accused ofcausing 150 million dollars worth offinancial damage tothe company he worked for.

Since then Thanhs capture has been a high priority forthe Vietnamese government, which had been tracking his movements sincehe fled the country in2016.

In December 2016, Communist Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong said that his capture was ofthe highest priority.

View post:

New Snowden or Crook? The Man Who Drives Wedge Between EU and Vietnam – Sputnik International

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

‘It’s very much a 1984 world’: Oliver Stone on making the film Snowden – Bendigo Advertiser

4 Sep 2016, 12:15 a.m.

Director Oliver Stone found the stakes were high in making a movie about US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The core of the film centres around a tense six days inside a Hong Kong hotel room. Photo: Jurgen Olczyk

Few filmmakers have been as controversial as Oliver Stone. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden and Shailene Woodley his girlfriend Lindsay Mills. Photo: Gray Pictures

“Ed may go down in history as one of those guys who actually made a difference to his time,” says director Oliver Stone. Photo: Jurgen Olczyk

The film Snowden centres on a tense six days inside a Hong Kong hotel room with Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (pictured). Photo: Jurgen Olczyk

Oliver Stone has made a career of mapping out pivotal moments in American culture to bring us politicallycharged films such asPlatoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Nixon, The People vs. Larry Flynt and JFK. But when the 70-year-old Oscar-winning director became interested in making a movie about Edward Snowden the man responsible for what has been described as the most far-reaching security breach in USintelligence history he realised the stakes were much higher.

“Ed may go down in history as one of those guys who actually made a difference to his time,” Stone says solemnly, as we sit in a hotel in San Diego, California, overlooking costumed fans at an annual Comic Con event. As he glances out the window, he can’t help wondering if his movie will garner attention here from this community of geeks and outsiders.

“This is a huge issue, what this film raises,” he declares in his booming voice, “and this is the beginning of a new generation that won’t even know what they are losing. Ironically, a lot of them are here today, in the streets of San Diego, and I think many of them still take things for granted about their privacy.”

The film begins in 2013, when Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has quietly left his job as a contractor at the US National Security Agency and flown to Hong Kong to meet with two journalists from The Guardian newspaper and an award-winning filmmaker. The virtuoso programmer was a self-declared patriot and former soldier who had become angry and disillusioned after discovering a mountain of data assembled by tracking all kinds of digital communications from ordinary citizens.

During the meeting in Hong Kong, he handed over a vast tranche of top-secret files that revealed US government cyber-surveillance programs of epic proportions, instantly making him one of America’s most wanted men and anicon of popular culture at the same time.

Oliver Stone, no stranger to controversy, initially flew to Russia to meet with Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, about making a fiction movie loosely inspired by Snowden’s own story. But once he was introduced to the youthful-looking reluctant hero trapped outside the US after his passport was revoked and granted temporary asylum in Russia his focus shifted.

“It was only after we had met three times, each time over a different trip, that we mutually decided to go ahead with the realistic version of his life story,” Stone says.

“There was all this controversy, with some people saying he should be hanged and others wanting to give him a Nobel Prize, so we were looking for a story that reflected the reality of his present situation and decided the core of the 10-year journey in the film could be found in the tense six days inside that Hong Kong hotel room where they were all waiting to get the material out and had no idea who could come bursting into the room at any moment to arrest them all.”

After a screening of the film at Comic Con, attended by Stone and his actors, a bespectacled Snowden made a surprise appearance via satellite and confessed he was still conflicted about the decision to collaborate on a movie. “I don’t think anybody looks forward to having a movie made about themselves, particularly someone who is a privacy advocate,” the 33-year-old exile said.

Despite those hesitations, Snowden agreed to make a compelling cameo appearance in the film. He said: “It made me nervous but I think there’s a kind of magic to it and I think it works.”

Gordon-Levitt recently won acclaim portraying real-life French high-wire artist Philippe Petit in the drama The Walk, but the 35-year-old actor known for films such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises says this challenge was nothing like his previous roles.

“I’ve never been on the phone with a producer before a film to say, ‘Can you guarantee me I’m going to be 100 per cent safe?’ ” Gordon-Levitt says. “But I went to Russia and it turned out I was quite safe and I got to spend about four hours with Ed and his girlfriend Lindsay Mills [who recently relocated to Russia to be with Snowden] and really get a sense of who he was besides all of his politics, so that was important to me.”

Stone says Snowden’s girlfriend, a yoga and pole-dancing instructor, was the key to understanding the mystery man at the centre of the controversy in human terms, and he was excited when he received a letter from Shailene Woodley offering herself for the role. Already a star with her own franchise (Divergent), Woodley is also fiercely political, having spent a large part of the year on the campaign trail with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and has an earnest doe-eyed look about her when asked about her motivation.

“It wasn’t just wanting a job, although I did ask him for an audition,” the 24-year-old says, “but I wrote to thank him for having the courage to make a film like this because as a young woman knowing about privacy issues outside the fact my privacy is already limited by the Hollywood side I felt like growing up we always heard about ‘big brother’ watching and when Ed released what he released, it verified and validated all of those suspicions and fears and sent a chill up my spine.”

Few filmmakers have been as controversial as Stone, whose mantra seems to be “to hell with the consequences”. Even at Comic Con, he couldn’t help ruffle feathers by publicly describing the app sensation Pokemon Go as “totalitarian” and suggesting “they are data mining every single person in this room for information, so it’s a whole new level of invasion”.

Stone grew up in a deeply conservative familyin New York with a father who served as a colonel on General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff in Paris, post-World War II. After attending Yale University with classmates such as George W. Bush and John Kerry, the current US Secretary of State, he dropped out to teach English in Saigon, Vietnam, and later enlisted in the army. After two tours of duty in Vietnam, Stone returned home in 1968 with two Purple Heartmedals, a Bronze Star for Valor and a transformed outlook on the world as an anti-establishment rebel full of an almost radicalised hatred of the establishment that still bubbles to the surface when he’s talking politics.

“It’s very much a 1984 world,” Stone says, in a nod to George Orwell’s tyrannical tale. “We are all being told how to think and being manipulated and while I think it’s important the Democratic party gets to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, on the other hand you have Mrs Clinton, who is one of the greatest warmongers of our generation, and that makes me very concerned about her attitude and aggression towards foreign countries.”

In the hands of an expert filmmaker like Stone, the story of Edward Snowden has depth and emotion. Not surprisingly, the director has a unique relationship with many of his movie alter-egos after his own experiences in life.

“My growth of consciousness has sometimes cost me dearly but this is my journey and it’s important stuff,” he says. “The stories I told about the Vietnam War or JFK or Nixon, those were revelations to me at the time and this is what I am going through now with the Snowden revelations.

“In the end, I can really only go by my own sense of the truth. If it’s the truth, I want to put it in my movies.”

Snowden is out in cinemas on September 22.

Edward Snowden isn’t the first person whose conscience madehim risk everything. Here are some other memorable films about whistleblowers.

On the waterfront (1954) The classic film about a worker (Marlon Brando) who agrees to risk everything to give evidence about union corruption on the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey, after he unwittingly helps facilitate a union-authorised murder.

All the President’s Men (1976) Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who expose corruption in the Richard Nixon administration after receiving tips from a man who identifieshimself only as Deep Throat.

Silkwood (1983) The film, based on a true story, stars Meryl Streep as Karen Silkwood, an employee at a plutonium plant and a union activist. After being contaminated by radiation, she exposesthe plant’s cover-up before dying under mysterious circumstances.

The Insider (1999) Russell Crowe plays a former research biologist for a cigarette company who agrees to do a 60 Minutes interview to reveal that tobacco companies were not only aware that cigarettes were addictive and harmful, but worked to increase their addictiveness.

Erin Brockovich (2000) Julia Roberts won an Oscar portraying the working-class single mother who, as a law clerk, stumbled upon evidence that a big gas and electric company was knowingly poisoning people through contaminated water and helped to organise a major class-action lawsuit against them.

The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009) A documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, a US military analyst working for the RAND Corporation in 1971 when he accessed and leaked thousands of top-secret documents that became known as the Pentagon Papers, infuriating the Nixon administration.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks/The Fifth Estate (2013) The documentary looks at the rise to prominence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his war on secrecy while the movie, The Fifth Estate, is a fictional version of the story starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the famed hacker now living in exile.

The story ‘It’s very much a 1984 world’: Oliver Stone on making the film Snowden first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Go here to see the original:

‘It’s very much a 1984 world’: Oliver Stone on making the film Snowden – Bendigo Advertiser

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Pine Gap plays crucial role in America’s wars, leaked documents reveal – ABC Online

Updated August 20, 2017 13:09:45

Intelligence from Australia’s Pine Gap base is being used on US battlefields, leaked documents from the US National Security Agency have revealed for the first time.

The documents reveal that the base outside Alice Springs, officially titled Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, provides detailed geolocation intelligence to the US military that can be used to locate targets, including for special forces and drone strikes.

The use of lethal unmanned drones by the US military has been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths across countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

The documents, which Background Briefing is publishing for the first time, come from the massive archive of classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One document, titled “NSA Intelligence Relationship with Australia” is marked “top secret”, and demonstrates that the role of Pine Gap, referred to by its NSA codeword RAINFALL, has become more military-focused over time.

It says: “Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (RAINFALL) [is] a site which plays a significant role in supporting both intelligence activities and military operations.”

Another document reads: “One of RAINFALL’s primary mission areas is the detection and geolocation of Communications Intelligence, Electronic Intelligence and Foreign Instrumentation signals.”

Locating the source of signals is crucial for targeting military action, including the lethal unmanned drone strikes.

Richard Tanter, a professor at the University of Melbourne’s school of political and social studies and the co-author of a recent Nautilus Institute report on Pine Gap, says the documents confirm the facility’s military role.

“Those documents provide authoritative confirmation that Pine Gap is involved, for example, in the geolocation of cell phones used by people throughout the world, from the Pacific to the edge of Africa,” he said.

“It shows us that Pine Gap knows the geolocations, it derives the phone numbers, it often derives the content of any communications, it provides the ability for the American military to identify and place in real time the location of targets of interest.”

Another secret NSA document, a “site profile” of Pine Gap, explains that the facility’s role is not only to collect signals, but to analyse them.

“RAINFALL detects, collects, records, processes, analyses and reports on PROFORMA signals collected from tasked target entities,” the profile says.

These PROFORMA signals are the communications data of radar and weapon systems such as surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft vital tactical information that is provided in near real-time to US forces on the battlefield.

David Rosenberg, a 23-year veteran of the NSA who worked inside Pine Gap as team leader of weapon signals analysis for 18 years until 2008, confirms the base’s geolocation capability.

“We’re talking about the ability of satellites to geolocate particular electronic transmissions,” he says.

“The tasking we get at Pine Gap, is [to] look for this particular signal coming out of this particular location. If you find it, report it, and if you find anything else of interest, report that as well.

“That is the kind of tasking we are looking for. It would be up to the recipients who get this kind of intelligence to make these types of decisions to say, ‘Is that relevant? Is that what we are looking for? Are these the people we are targeting?'”

But Mr Rosenberg says preventing civilian casualties is a high priority.

“One thing I can certainly tell you the governments of Australia, and the United States would of course want to minimise all civilian casualties,” he says.

“Pine Gap does help to provide limitation of civilian casualties by providing accurate intelligence.”

Not everyone is sure things are that clear cut.

Emily Howie, the director of advocacy and research at the Human Rights Law Centre, believes Pine Gap’s potential role in drone strikes may leave Australians open to prosecution.

“The legal problem that’s created by drone strikes is that there may very well be violations of the laws of armed conflict, or war crimes as it’s called colloquially, and that Australia may be involved in those potential war crimes through the facility at Pine Gap,” she says.

“Australia, in so far as it is locating suspects that the US targets, is assisting the US. So it could be liable for any crimes committed by the US, in terms of aiding and assisting in that.

“The question then is: is the killing that’s done by the United States a war crime or not?”

Ms Howie argues there is an urgent need for greater public knowledge and debate about the Pine Gap base.

“What we have here are credible and really serious allegations made against the personnel at Pine Gap that they could be involved in assisting international crimes war crimes and we have absolutely zero transparency around what’s happened,” she says.

However, Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, an independent thinktank in Canberra funded largely by the Department of Defence, says Pine Gap’s role is a natural part of Australia’s alliance with the US.

“If you accept that the USA and Australia, we’re fighting in necessary conflicts in the Middle East, then it’s appropriate that our intelligence facilities support those conflicts,” he says.

“It reflects a reality that both Australia and the United States and a significant number of other countries besides, are engaged in military operations against a fairly entrenched enemy in the form of extremists or terrorists that are operating in a number of countries in the Middle East. So I think it’s perfectly reasonable that we should be using our intelligence resources to support our military operations in in those countries.”

According to Cian Westmoreland, who worked for four years as a US Air Force signals relay technician for lethal drones in Afghanistan, it’s difficult to say who is responsible for any one piece of targeting information.

“All of this information that’s getting sucked up is being used to basically develop targets and find out where the next strike is going to be,” he says.

“You have different countries doing different things all working together. You have stations in Great Britain and the Australians would be working with the Americans and the British.

“It’s collaborative, and it’s really hard to say ‘the Australians are responsible for this’ or ‘the British are responsible for that’.

“Everybody is working together and if the Australians were involved in one piece that happened to be used in a strike, they’re essentially complicit with whatever the end result is.”

This report was prepared in collaboration with The Intercept, a US investigative news website. The leaked NSA documents are available on the Background Briefing website.

Topics: defence-and-national-security, security-intelligence, defence-forces, wireless-communication, information-and-communication, treaties-and-alliances, unrest-conflict-and-war, alice-springs-0870, australia, united-states

First posted August 20, 2017 08:14:25

Follow this link:

Pine Gap plays crucial role in America’s wars, leaked documents reveal – ABC Online

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Food for thought: UAE ambassador’s hacked mails feed crucial policy debates – HuffPost

The hacked email account of Yousef al-Otaiba, the influential United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington, has provided unprecedented insight into the length to which the small Gulf state is willing to go in the pursuit of its regional ambitions.

Mr. Al-Otaiba is unlikely to acknowledge the contribution the insight has made to understanding the ten week-old Gulf crisis and diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar that was engineered by the UAE. The ambassador may, however, have greater appreciation for the contribution his private email exchanges have made to the theory and policy debate about the place of small states in an increasingly polarized international order.

Similarly, Mr. Al-Otaiba is unlikely to see merit in the fact that his email exchanges raise serious questions, including the role and purpose of offset arrangements that constitute part of agreements on arms sales by major defense companies as well as the relationship between influential, independent policy and academic institutions and their donors.

To be sure, Mr. Al-Otaiba is likely to be most concerned about the potential damage to the UAEs reputation and disclosure of the Gulf states secrets caused by the hack. No doubt, the selective and drip-feed leaking of the ambassadors mails by Global Leaks, a mysterious group that uses a Russian email address, is designed to embarrass the UAE and support Qatar in its dispute with an alliance of nations led by the Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Al-Otaiba as well as his interlocutors have not confirmed the authenticity of the mails. The UAE embassy did however tell The Hill that Hotmail address involved was that of the ambassador. Moreover, various of the leaks have been confirmed by multiple sources.

The UAE is hardly the only government that donates large sums to think tanks and academic institutions in a bid to enhance soft power; influence policy, particularly in Washington; and limit, independent and critical study and analysis. While Gulf states, with the UAE and Qatar in the lead, are among the largest financial contributors, donors also include European and Asian governments. Think tank executives have rejected allegations that the donations undermine their independence or persuade them to do their donors bidding.

The latest leaks, however, raise the debate about the funding of think tanks and academic institutions to a new level. Mails leaked to The Intercept, a muckraking online publication established by reporters who played a key role in publishing revelations by National Security Council whistle blower Edward Snowden, raise questions not only about funding of institutions, but also the nature and purpose of offset arrangements incorporated in arms deals. Those deals are intended to fuel economic development and job creation in purchasing countries and compensate them for using available funds for foreign arms acquisitions rather than the nurturing of an indigenous industry.

The mails disclosed by The Intercept as well as The Gulf Institute, a Washington-based dissident Saudi think tank, showed that a UAE donation of $20 million to the Washington-based Middle East Institute (MEI) involved funds funnelled through Tawazun, a Abu Dhabi-based investment company, and The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) that is headed by UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, that had been paid to the UAE in cash rather than projects by defense contractors as part of agreements to supply military equipment.

The US embassy in Abu Dhabi reported as far back as 2008 in a cable to the State Department published by Wikileaks that reports as well as anecdotal evidence suggested that that defense contractors can sometimes satisfy their offset obligations through an up-front, lump-sum payment directly to the UAE Offsets Group despite the fact that the UAEs offset program requires defense contractors that are awarded contracts valued at more than $10 million to establish commercially viable joint ventures with local business partners that yield profits equivalent to 60 percent of the contract value within a specified period (usually seven years).

The cash arrangement raises questions about the integrity of offset arrangements as well as their purpose and use. In the case of MEI, it puts defense contractors in a position of funding third party efforts to influence US policy. In an email to Mr. Al-Otaiba, MEI president Wendy Chamberlain said the funding would allow the institute to counter the more egregious misperceptions about the region, inform US government policy makers, and convene regional leaders for discreet dialogue on pressing issues.

The UAE has been a leader in rolling back achievements of the 2011 popular Arab revolts that toppled the leaders of four countries, promoting autocratic rule in the region, and opposing opposition forces, particularly the controversial Muslim Brotherhood.

The donations by countries like the UAE and Qatar to multiple think tanks as well as the source of the funding links to the even larger issue of strategies adopted by small states to defend their independence and ensure their survival in a world in which power is more defuse and long-standing alliances are called into question.

The leaked emails provide insight into the UAEs strategy that is based on being a power behind the throne. It is a strategy that may be uniquely Emirati and difficult to emulate by other small states, but that suggests that given resources small states have a significant ability to punch above their weight.

US intelligence officials concluded that the hacking of Qatari news websites to plant a false news report that sparked the Gulf crisis in early June had been engineered by the UAE. The UAE move was embedded in a far broader strategy of shaping the Middle East and North Africa in its mould by turning Saudi Arabia into its policy instrument.

Leaked email traffic between Mr. Al Otaiba and three former US officials, Martin Indyk, who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Stephen Hadley, former President George W. Bushs national security advisor, and Elliott Abrams who advised Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan, as well as with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius documents what some analysts long believed but could not categorically prove. It also provided insight into the less than idyllic relationship between the UAE and Saudi Arabia that potentially could become problematic.

In the emails, Mr. Al-Otaiba, who promoted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington as Saudi Arabias future since he came to office in 2015, was unequivocal about UAE backing of the likely future king as an agent of change who would adopt policies advocated by the UAE.

I think MBS is far more pragmatic than what we hear is Saudi public positions, Mr. Al-Otaiba said in one of the mails, referring to Prince Mohammed by his initials. I dont think well ever see a more pragmatic leader in that country. Which is why engaging with them is so important and will yield the most results we can ever get out of Saudi, the ambassador said. Change in attitude, change in style, change in approach, Mr. Al-Otaiba wrote to Mr. Ignatius.

In another email, Mr. Al-Otaiba noted that now was the time when the Emiratis could get the most results we can ever get out of Saudi.

In a subsequent email dump, published by Middle East Eye, an online news site allegedly funded by persons close to Qatar, if not Qatar itself, and also sent to this writer, Mr. Al-Otaiba, makes no bones about his disdain for Saudi Arabia and his perception of the history of Emirati-Saudi relations.

Writing to his wife, Abeer Shoukry, in 2008, Mr. Al-Otaiba describes the Saudi leadership as f***in coo coo! after the kingdoms religious police banned red roses on Valentines Day. The powers of the police have been significantly curtailed since the rise of Prince Mohammed, who has taken steps to loosen the countrys tight social and moral controls.

In one email, Mr. Al-Otaiba asserts that Abu Dhabi has battled Saudi Arabia over its adherence to Wahhabism, a literal, intolerant and supremacist interpretation of Islam, for the past 200 years. The ambassador asserted that the Emirates had a more bad history with Saudi Arabia than anyone else.

Taken together, the leaked emails involving multiple other issues, including the UAEs military relationship with North Korea as well as its competition with Qatar to host an office of the Afghan Taliban, serve not only as a source for understanding the dynamics of the Gulf crisis, but also as case studies for the development of more stringent guidelines for funding of policy and academic research; greater transparency of military sales and their offset arrangements; and the place of small states in the international order as well as the factors that determine their ability to maintain the independence and at times punch above their weight.

To be sure, that was not the primary purpose of the leaks. The leaks were designed to further Qatars cause and undermine the UAEs arguments as well as embarrass it. The jury is still out on the degree to which the leakers may have succeeded. Nonetheless, one unintended consequence of the leaks is that they raise issues that go to the core of a broad swath of issues, including accountability, transparency, economic and social development, and international relations.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wrzburgs Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and four forthcoming books, Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa as well as The Gulf Crisis: Small States Battle It Out, Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Ultra-conservatism and China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom.

The Morning Email

Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Read the original:

Food for thought: UAE ambassador’s hacked mails feed crucial policy debates – HuffPost

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump – Chicago Tribune

What about Antifa? What about free speech? What about the guy who shot Steve Scalise? What about the mosque in Minnesota that got bombed? What about North Korea? What about murders in Chicago? What about Ivanka at the G-20? What about Vince Foster? If white pride is bad, then what about gay pride? What about the stock market? What about those 33,000 deleted emails? What about Hitler? What about the Crusades? What about the asteroid that may one day kill us all? What about Benghazi?

What about what about what about.

We’ve gotten very good at what-abouting.

The president has led the way.

His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President DonaldTrump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic. Tuesday’s bonkers news conference in New York was Trump’s latest act of “whataboutism,” the practice of short-circuiting an argument by asserting moral equivalency between two things that aren’t necessarily comparable. In this case, the president wondered whether the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville where white supremacists clashed this weekend with counterprotesters would lead to the teardown of others.

Robert E. Lee? What about George Washington?

“George Washington was a slave owner,” Trump said to journalists in the lobby of his corporate headquarters. “Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson?”

Using the literal “what about” construction, Trump then went on to blame “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.

“What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’?” the president said. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

For a nanosecond, especially to an uncritical listener, this stab at logic might seem interesting, even thought-provoking, and that’s why it’s a useful political tool. Whataboutism appears to broaden context, to offer a counterpoint, when really it’s diverting blame, muddying the waters and confusing the hell out of rational listeners.

“Not only does it help to deflect your original argument but it also throws you off balance,” says Alexey Kovalev, an independent Russian journalist, on the phone from Moscow. “You’re expecting to be in a civilized argument that doesn’t use cheap tricks like that. You are playing chess and your opponent while making a lousy move he just punches you on the nose.”

Ashley Parker and David Nakamura

Vladimir Putin has made a national sport of what-abouting. In 2014, when a journalist challenged him on his annexation of Crimea, Putin brought up the U.S. annexation of Texas. The American invasion of Iraq is constantly what-abouted on state television, to excuse all kinds of Russian behavior.

In Edward Snowden, “Russia has found the ultimate whataboutism mascot,” the Atlantic’s Olga Khazan wrote in 2013. “By granting him asylum, Russia casts itself, even if momentarily, as a defender of human rights, and the U.S. as the oppressor.”

The term was first coined as “whataboutery” and “the whatabouts,” in stories about the Irish Republican Army in the 1970s, according to linguist Ben Zimmer. But the practice goes back to the chilly depths of the Cold War.

“An old joke 50 years ago was that if you went to a Stalinist and criticized the Soviet slave-labor camps, the Stalinist would say, ‘Well what about the lynchings in the American South?'” philosopher Noam Chomsky once said.

In 1970, as the Soviet Union made headlines for imprisoning dissidents, Ukrainian artist Viktor Koretsky created a propaganda lithograph titled “American Politics at home and abroad.” It depicted U.S. police beating a black man and a U.S. soldier standing over a dead body, presumably in Vietnam.

In May 1985 the State Department funded a conference at the Madison Hotel on the fallacy of “moral equivalence,” a philosophical cousin of whataboutism. The goal was to tamp down comparisons of the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada with the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, among other instances. The actions may be comparable, the State Department implied, but the intentions were not.

“If it is no longer possible to distinguish between freedom and despotism,” said Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, then “the erosion of the foundation of a distinctively Western, democratic civilization is already far advanced and the situation serious indeed.”

Flash forward 30 years. President Trump’s Twitter feed has been a whataboutism showcase, with Hillary Clinton as the usual target.

April 3: “Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!”

June 26: “The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling.”

July 22: “… What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia …”

Googling of “Whataboutism” began to climb sharply in November of last year; this week, with Charlottesville, it reached an all-time high. “You look at both sides,” Trump said Tuesday, after saying “what about” three times. “I think there is blame on both sides … and nobody wants to say that.”

Some people saw this as brave truth-telling, and as exposing double standards in the media.

“Trump-haters on both sides of the aisle simply cry ‘whataboutism,’ as if it were a magic spell to ward off rational thought,” wrote Joel B. Pollak on the right-wing site Breitbart, in an article headlined “The attack on ‘whataboutism’ is a defense of hypocrisy.”

Trump’s most flagrant what-about, though, was used not in defense of himself, but in defense of Russia.

“Putin’s a killer,” Bill O’Reilly said to Trump in a February interview.

“There are a lot of killers,” Trump whatabouted. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think our country’s so innocent?”

“That’s exactly the kind of argument that Russian propagandists have used for years to justify some of Putin’s most brutal policies,” wrote Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration.

View original post here:

Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump – Chicago Tribune

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Is Trump going to pardon Julian Assange? – The Week Magazine

Could President Trump be considering a pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? That is the latest rumor after California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) met with Assange earlier this week to discuss “what might be necessary to get him out” of asylum, The Daily Caller reports.

The rumors reignited Friday morning when an account that tracks who the Trump family follows shared that Donald Trump Jr. followed Assange:

Assange faces sexual assault charges in Sweden and if he returned there, he could be deported to the U.S. where he could face a potential death penalty for leaking documents with Edward Snowden. To avoid the charges, Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012.

In his interview, Rohrabacher suggested that Assange might be pardoned in exchange for information about the Democratic National Committee email leak last year. “[Assange] has information that will be of dramatic importance to the United States and the people of our country as well as to our government,” Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller. “Thus if he comes up with that, you know he’s going to expect something in return. He can’t even leave the embassy to get out to Washington to talk to anybody if he doesn’t have a pardon.”

Assange notably has argued that Russia was not involved in the DNC hack, contrary to reports by U.S. intelligence. Rohrabacher has been criticized for being too soft on Russia.

Rohrabacher added, “I can’t remember if I have spoken to anybody in the White House about this,” but “there has already been some indication that the president will be very anxious to hear what I have to say if that is the determination that I make.” Read the full interview at The Daily Caller. Jeva Lange

Go here to read the rest:

Is Trump going to pardon Julian Assange? – The Week Magazine

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Target Finding for the Empire: The Pine Gap Joint Defense Facility, America’s Spy Hub in the Heart of Australia – Center for Research on Globalization

The tasking we get at Pine Gap is look for this particular signal coming out of this particular location. If you find it, report it, and if you find anything else of interest, report that as well. David Rosenberg, former NSA Team leader, weapons analysis at Pine Gap, Aug 20, 2017 At times, there is a lag between the anticipation and the revelation, the assumption that an image might be as gruesome, or perhaps enlightening, as was first assumed. Nothing in the latest Edward Snowden show suggests anything revelatory. They knew it, as did we: that the US military satellite base spat on a bit of Australian dust in a part of the earth that would not make Mars seem out of place, is highly engaged. Radio Nationals Background Briefing made something of a splash on Sunday, with some assistance from the Edward Snowden National Security Agency trove.[1] The documents do much in terms of filling in assumptions on the geolocating role of the facility, much of which had already had some measure of plausibility through the work of Richard Tanter and the late Des Ball. As Tanter puts it, Those documents provide authoritative confirmation that Pine Gap is involved, for example, in the geolocation of cell phones used by people throughout the world, from the Pacific to the edge of Africa.[2] NSA Intelligence Relationship with Australia, by way of example, discloses the NSA term for the Pine Gap facility, ironically termed RAINFALL. Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (RAINFALL) [is] a site which plays a significant role in supporting both intelligence activities and military operations. Another document supplies some detail as to the role of the facility, confirming that it does beyond the mundane task of merely collecting signals. It also does the dirty work analysing them. RAINFALL detects, collects, records, processes, analyses and reports on PROFORMA [data on surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft] signals collected from tasked target entities. Pine Gap has always generated a gaping accountability gap of its own, and these Snowden treats affirm the point. Rather than being an entity accountable to the queries and concerns of the local indigenous population; rather than supplying the local members of parliament from the Senate and the lower house briefings about its activities, Pine Gap is hived off from usual channels, a reminder about how truly inconsequential democracy is in the Canberra-Washington alliance. Pine Gap has always had its platoons of unflinching apologists, and a common theme, apart from the worn notion that the US security umbrella prevails with fortitude, is that the base is genuinely good. In a Central Intelligence Agencys National Intelligence Daily (Feb 13, 1987), the agency notes with approval the forthcoming Australian Defence white paper indicating strong support or US-Australian joint defence facilities.[3] The publication would dispel any wobbliness on Australian military commitments, a point alluded to by the then minister for defence, Kim Beazley. A further point was to note the defensive nature of the facilities, opposition to those leftwing groups to the contrary. So what if Australians in the Northern Territory are ignorant that the communications facility pinpoints targets for drone strikes? We can be assured that these are legitimate, vetted and, when struck, obliterated with fastidious care. Much of this dressed up bunk is based on the notion, sacrosanct as it is, that drone strikes work. They certain do on a few levels in galvanising more recruits and liquidating more civilians. Like any military weapon, the hygienic notion of the engineered kill, the surgical operation on the battlefield, is fantasy. If the target so happens to be embedded in an urban setting, one filled with non-combatants, the moral calculus becomes less easy to measure.[4] The other through-the-glass-darkly feature of the Pine Gap facility lies not only in its geolocation means, but its value as a target. Having such conspicuous yet inscrutable tenants places Australia in harms way, a loud invitation to assault. The CIA was already cognisant of this point in 1987, identifying awareness on the part of Australian defence officials that the joint facilities would be attacked in a US-Soviet nuclear exchange but argues that removal of the US presence would increase the likelihood of superpower conflict.[5] The end of the Cold War does little to dispel the significance of Pine Gap as a target of considerable interest. Where to, then? A firm insistence, for one, that Australia detach itself from the tit of empire, the bosom of Washingtons military industrial complex. This requires something virtually outlawed in Canberra: courage. It has fallen upon such delightfully committed if motley outfits as the Independent and Peaceful Australian Network (IPAN), an organisation of calm determination committed to seeing Australia as something more than the grand real estate for empire. With each disclosure, with each revelation about Australias all too willing complicity in facilitating strikes against foreign targets, many in countries Australians would barely know, the will to change may be piqued. They most certainly will once Australian officials face their first war crimes charges over the use of drones, aiding and abetting their US counterparts in the whole damn awful enterprise.[6] Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [emailprotected] Notes

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Oliver Stone To Lead Jury At The Busan International Film Festival – Deadline

Oliver Stone has been announced as the head of the jury at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival. The Academy Award-winning director will lead four jurors for the New Currents, a competitive section in Asias largest film festival, thatintroduces the worksof up-and-coming Asian directors. Joining Stone on the jury will be world-famous director Bahman Ghobadi (No One Knows About Persian Cats) from Iran, renowned French cinematographer Agns Godard (Bright Sunshine In), a multi-artist and an ideological father of the New Philippine CinemaLav Diaz (The Woman Who Left), and Jang Sun-woo (A Petal,Lies), a leader of New Wave in Korean films. Stone has become an outspoken voice in Hollywood specifically when it comes to American culture, politics, and military. His most recent filmSnowdenfollowed the controversy and life surroundingAmerican whistleblower Edward Snowden and his 2008 filmW.was a satirical view on former U.S. President George W. Bush. American capitalism was the focus of the iconic 1987 filmWall Streetwhile his other films likeBorn on the Fourth of JulyandPlatoonexamined modern history with critical insight and significant cultural impact. He also is no stranger to South Korea, having participated inlocal anti-militarism protests in 2013. The Busan International Film Festival has been having its fair share of trouble in the past year.In October 2016, BIFF came under fire when organizers were ordered by Busan government chiefs to cancel a screening ofThe Truth Shall Not Sink, a documentary which criticized the governments failed rescue measures at the 2014 Seoul ferry disaster. This resulted in local filmmakers boycotting the event. Former fest head Lee Yong-Kwan was a big supporter of screening the film at the fest, which then resulted in his ousting from the event. Soon after,BIFF founder Kim Dong-Ho and fest director Kang Soo-Youn announced that they would also be leaving after this years edition. As a prominent and globally influential voice of historical events and political issues, BIFF hopes Stones attendance as chief juror will draw more attention to the winners of New Currents. The festival is set to run October 12-21.

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Harsh response to whistle-blowers took root under Obama – The Boston Globe

While retired federal judge Nancy Gertner made some excellent points in her op-ed regarding the admittedly invaluable contributions of whistle-blowers (Leaker or whistle-blower? Aug. 10), she seems to suggest inaccurately that the current administration is solely responsible for stifling whistle-blowers. Gertner overlooks that the ironic imbalance between whistle-blower protection in the private vs. public sector actually began in earnest during the Obama administration. There is no question that in corporate America, whistle-blower protection has skyrocketed during the last 10 years, fueled by new laws such as Dodd-Frank, enhanced and stepped-up regulatory initiatives at the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and court rulings expanding rights and remedies for whistle-blowers. Companies have responded, as evidenced by a recent survey by leading compliance solutions provider NAVEX Global that shows that average closure times for whistle-blower cases dropped nearly 10 percent from 2015 to 2016. Advertisement By contrast, those who blow the whistle in the public sector are branded as leakers (Edward Snowden) or, worse, thrown in jail (Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner). Indeed, during the Obama administration, the government criminally prosecuted nine people on charges related to whistle-blowing or leaks, compared with three such prosecutions in all the prior administrations combined. While the current president may indeed be obsessed with leaks and intent on stifling would-be whistleblowers, the reality is that the seeds of such stifling took root before he took office. Gregory Keating Boston The writer is an attorney and is co-author of Whistleblowing & Retaliation.

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

New Snowden or Crook? The Man Who Drives Wedge Between EU and Vietnam – Sputnik International

Asia & Pacific 10:58 21.08.2017(updated 11:53 21.08.2017) Get short URL The high-profile case of Trinh Xuan Thanh, a Vietnamese economic fugitive reportedly abducted by Vietnamese security agents from the streets of Berlin, has driven a wedge between the EU and Hanoi. Sputnik sheds light on the issue of the “Vietnamese Snowden”. On August 2, German media reported that Trinh Xuan Thanh had been returned toVietnam forhis role inthe theft of $150 million duringhis tenure aschairman ofa subsidiary ofthe PetroVietnam energy company. The incident caused an angry outcry inthe mainstream media and a mixed response inVietnam itself withLuat Khoa (Justice) magazine comparing Trinh Xuan Thanh withfugitive former NSA specialist Edward Snowden who now lives inRussia. Snowden laid bare the global system ofsurveillance established bythe US and large-scale human rights violations byWashington. He did that ona pro bono basis withoutasking formoney, Kolotov said. He added that unlikeSnowden, who was driven byidealistic intentions, Trinh Xuan Thanh is a big-time swindler who apparently acted aspart ofan organized group. The Germans refused toextradite him because they hoped toextract some state secrets fromhim, compromise the corrupt officials and businessmen he worked withand, using the obtained information, toget lucrative contracts bypromising them safe asylum inGermany, Vladimir Kolotov continued. After Trinh Xuan Thanh disappeared, the Germans blamed it onthe Vietnamese authorities and started blackmailing them. If the Vietnamese government backtracks it would encourage other corrupt officials tosteal and flee abroad, he added. The Trinh Xuan Thanh case is part ofthe Vietnamese Communist Partys ongoing crackdown oncorruption bysenior officials who put their personal wellbeing beforethe interests ofthe state, thus undermining the peoples trust inCommunity party and the government. The very same thing happened inthe Soviet Union where corrupt government officials betrayed the countrys interests forpersonal gain. Had it not been forthe $150 million, good connections and the knowledge ofstate secrets Trinh Xuan Thanh had, the Germans would have sent him back home injiffy, Kolotov concluded. Meanwhile, Berlin has demanded that Trinh Xuan Thanh be allowed toreturn toGermany and declared the intelligence attach atthe Vietnamese embassy persona-non-grata. In a commentary forSputnik, Anton Tsvetov, an expert atthe Center forStrategic Studies inMoscow, said that duringthe recent G20 summit inHamburg, the Vietnamese side requested the extradition ofTrinh Xuan Thanh who had applied forpolitical asylum inGermany. It looks likethe Germans refused [to extradite Trinh Xuan Thanh] and the Vietnamese simply ran outof patience, especially now that their anti-corruption campaign is infull swing, Tsvetov said. Sputnik/ Maksim Blinov All this will obviously deal a serious blow toVietnams relations withGermany and the EU, which have previously criticized the Vietnamese authorities fortheir persecution ofindependent bloggers. Hanoi didnt likethat and it looks likeit is ready fora further escalation oftensions withEurope, Anton Tsvetov said. Trinh Xuan Thanh disappeared afterbeing accused ofcausing 150 million dollars worth offinancial damage tothe company he worked for. Since then Thanhs capture has been a high priority forthe Vietnamese government, which had been tracking his movements sincehe fled the country in2016. In December 2016, Communist Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong said that his capture was ofthe highest priority.

Fair Usage Law

August 21, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

‘It’s very much a 1984 world’: Oliver Stone on making the film Snowden – Bendigo Advertiser

4 Sep 2016, 12:15 a.m. Director Oliver Stone found the stakes were high in making a movie about US whistleblower Edward Snowden. The core of the film centres around a tense six days inside a Hong Kong hotel room. Photo: Jurgen Olczyk Few filmmakers have been as controversial as Oliver Stone. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Edward Snowden and Shailene Woodley his girlfriend Lindsay Mills. Photo: Gray Pictures “Ed may go down in history as one of those guys who actually made a difference to his time,” says director Oliver Stone. Photo: Jurgen Olczyk The film Snowden centres on a tense six days inside a Hong Kong hotel room with Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (pictured). Photo: Jurgen Olczyk Oliver Stone has made a career of mapping out pivotal moments in American culture to bring us politicallycharged films such asPlatoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Nixon, The People vs. Larry Flynt and JFK. But when the 70-year-old Oscar-winning director became interested in making a movie about Edward Snowden the man responsible for what has been described as the most far-reaching security breach in USintelligence history he realised the stakes were much higher. “Ed may go down in history as one of those guys who actually made a difference to his time,” Stone says solemnly, as we sit in a hotel in San Diego, California, overlooking costumed fans at an annual Comic Con event. As he glances out the window, he can’t help wondering if his movie will garner attention here from this community of geeks and outsiders. “This is a huge issue, what this film raises,” he declares in his booming voice, “and this is the beginning of a new generation that won’t even know what they are losing. Ironically, a lot of them are here today, in the streets of San Diego, and I think many of them still take things for granted about their privacy.” The film begins in 2013, when Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, has quietly left his job as a contractor at the US National Security Agency and flown to Hong Kong to meet with two journalists from The Guardian newspaper and an award-winning filmmaker. The virtuoso programmer was a self-declared patriot and former soldier who had become angry and disillusioned after discovering a mountain of data assembled by tracking all kinds of digital communications from ordinary citizens. During the meeting in Hong Kong, he handed over a vast tranche of top-secret files that revealed US government cyber-surveillance programs of epic proportions, instantly making him one of America’s most wanted men and anicon of popular culture at the same time. Oliver Stone, no stranger to controversy, initially flew to Russia to meet with Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, about making a fiction movie loosely inspired by Snowden’s own story. But once he was introduced to the youthful-looking reluctant hero trapped outside the US after his passport was revoked and granted temporary asylum in Russia his focus shifted. “It was only after we had met three times, each time over a different trip, that we mutually decided to go ahead with the realistic version of his life story,” Stone says. “There was all this controversy, with some people saying he should be hanged and others wanting to give him a Nobel Prize, so we were looking for a story that reflected the reality of his present situation and decided the core of the 10-year journey in the film could be found in the tense six days inside that Hong Kong hotel room where they were all waiting to get the material out and had no idea who could come bursting into the room at any moment to arrest them all.” After a screening of the film at Comic Con, attended by Stone and his actors, a bespectacled Snowden made a surprise appearance via satellite and confessed he was still conflicted about the decision to collaborate on a movie. “I don’t think anybody looks forward to having a movie made about themselves, particularly someone who is a privacy advocate,” the 33-year-old exile said. Despite those hesitations, Snowden agreed to make a compelling cameo appearance in the film. He said: “It made me nervous but I think there’s a kind of magic to it and I think it works.” Gordon-Levitt recently won acclaim portraying real-life French high-wire artist Philippe Petit in the drama The Walk, but the 35-year-old actor known for films such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises says this challenge was nothing like his previous roles. “I’ve never been on the phone with a producer before a film to say, ‘Can you guarantee me I’m going to be 100 per cent safe?’ ” Gordon-Levitt says. “But I went to Russia and it turned out I was quite safe and I got to spend about four hours with Ed and his girlfriend Lindsay Mills [who recently relocated to Russia to be with Snowden] and really get a sense of who he was besides all of his politics, so that was important to me.” Stone says Snowden’s girlfriend, a yoga and pole-dancing instructor, was the key to understanding the mystery man at the centre of the controversy in human terms, and he was excited when he received a letter from Shailene Woodley offering herself for the role. Already a star with her own franchise (Divergent), Woodley is also fiercely political, having spent a large part of the year on the campaign trail with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and has an earnest doe-eyed look about her when asked about her motivation. “It wasn’t just wanting a job, although I did ask him for an audition,” the 24-year-old says, “but I wrote to thank him for having the courage to make a film like this because as a young woman knowing about privacy issues outside the fact my privacy is already limited by the Hollywood side I felt like growing up we always heard about ‘big brother’ watching and when Ed released what he released, it verified and validated all of those suspicions and fears and sent a chill up my spine.” Few filmmakers have been as controversial as Stone, whose mantra seems to be “to hell with the consequences”. Even at Comic Con, he couldn’t help ruffle feathers by publicly describing the app sensation Pokemon Go as “totalitarian” and suggesting “they are data mining every single person in this room for information, so it’s a whole new level of invasion”. Stone grew up in a deeply conservative familyin New York with a father who served as a colonel on General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff in Paris, post-World War II. After attending Yale University with classmates such as George W. Bush and John Kerry, the current US Secretary of State, he dropped out to teach English in Saigon, Vietnam, and later enlisted in the army. After two tours of duty in Vietnam, Stone returned home in 1968 with two Purple Heartmedals, a Bronze Star for Valor and a transformed outlook on the world as an anti-establishment rebel full of an almost radicalised hatred of the establishment that still bubbles to the surface when he’s talking politics. “It’s very much a 1984 world,” Stone says, in a nod to George Orwell’s tyrannical tale. “We are all being told how to think and being manipulated and while I think it’s important the Democratic party gets to appoint the next Supreme Court justice, on the other hand you have Mrs Clinton, who is one of the greatest warmongers of our generation, and that makes me very concerned about her attitude and aggression towards foreign countries.” In the hands of an expert filmmaker like Stone, the story of Edward Snowden has depth and emotion. Not surprisingly, the director has a unique relationship with many of his movie alter-egos after his own experiences in life. “My growth of consciousness has sometimes cost me dearly but this is my journey and it’s important stuff,” he says. “The stories I told about the Vietnam War or JFK or Nixon, those were revelations to me at the time and this is what I am going through now with the Snowden revelations. “In the end, I can really only go by my own sense of the truth. If it’s the truth, I want to put it in my movies.” Snowden is out in cinemas on September 22. Edward Snowden isn’t the first person whose conscience madehim risk everything. Here are some other memorable films about whistleblowers. On the waterfront (1954) The classic film about a worker (Marlon Brando) who agrees to risk everything to give evidence about union corruption on the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey, after he unwittingly helps facilitate a union-authorised murder. All the President’s Men (1976) Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star as Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who expose corruption in the Richard Nixon administration after receiving tips from a man who identifieshimself only as Deep Throat. Silkwood (1983) The film, based on a true story, stars Meryl Streep as Karen Silkwood, an employee at a plutonium plant and a union activist. After being contaminated by radiation, she exposesthe plant’s cover-up before dying under mysterious circumstances. The Insider (1999) Russell Crowe plays a former research biologist for a cigarette company who agrees to do a 60 Minutes interview to reveal that tobacco companies were not only aware that cigarettes were addictive and harmful, but worked to increase their addictiveness. Erin Brockovich (2000) Julia Roberts won an Oscar portraying the working-class single mother who, as a law clerk, stumbled upon evidence that a big gas and electric company was knowingly poisoning people through contaminated water and helped to organise a major class-action lawsuit against them. The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2009) A documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, a US military analyst working for the RAND Corporation in 1971 when he accessed and leaked thousands of top-secret documents that became known as the Pentagon Papers, infuriating the Nixon administration. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks/The Fifth Estate (2013) The documentary looks at the rise to prominence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his war on secrecy while the movie, The Fifth Estate, is a fictional version of the story starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the famed hacker now living in exile. The story ‘It’s very much a 1984 world’: Oliver Stone on making the film Snowden first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Pine Gap plays crucial role in America’s wars, leaked documents reveal – ABC Online

Updated August 20, 2017 13:09:45 Intelligence from Australia’s Pine Gap base is being used on US battlefields, leaked documents from the US National Security Agency have revealed for the first time. The documents reveal that the base outside Alice Springs, officially titled Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, provides detailed geolocation intelligence to the US military that can be used to locate targets, including for special forces and drone strikes. The use of lethal unmanned drones by the US military has been blamed for hundreds of civilian deaths across countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The documents, which Background Briefing is publishing for the first time, come from the massive archive of classified documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. One document, titled “NSA Intelligence Relationship with Australia” is marked “top secret”, and demonstrates that the role of Pine Gap, referred to by its NSA codeword RAINFALL, has become more military-focused over time. It says: “Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap (RAINFALL) [is] a site which plays a significant role in supporting both intelligence activities and military operations.” Another document reads: “One of RAINFALL’s primary mission areas is the detection and geolocation of Communications Intelligence, Electronic Intelligence and Foreign Instrumentation signals.” Locating the source of signals is crucial for targeting military action, including the lethal unmanned drone strikes. Richard Tanter, a professor at the University of Melbourne’s school of political and social studies and the co-author of a recent Nautilus Institute report on Pine Gap, says the documents confirm the facility’s military role. “Those documents provide authoritative confirmation that Pine Gap is involved, for example, in the geolocation of cell phones used by people throughout the world, from the Pacific to the edge of Africa,” he said. “It shows us that Pine Gap knows the geolocations, it derives the phone numbers, it often derives the content of any communications, it provides the ability for the American military to identify and place in real time the location of targets of interest.” Another secret NSA document, a “site profile” of Pine Gap, explains that the facility’s role is not only to collect signals, but to analyse them. “RAINFALL detects, collects, records, processes, analyses and reports on PROFORMA signals collected from tasked target entities,” the profile says. These PROFORMA signals are the communications data of radar and weapon systems such as surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and fighter aircraft vital tactical information that is provided in near real-time to US forces on the battlefield. David Rosenberg, a 23-year veteran of the NSA who worked inside Pine Gap as team leader of weapon signals analysis for 18 years until 2008, confirms the base’s geolocation capability. “We’re talking about the ability of satellites to geolocate particular electronic transmissions,” he says. “The tasking we get at Pine Gap, is [to] look for this particular signal coming out of this particular location. If you find it, report it, and if you find anything else of interest, report that as well. “That is the kind of tasking we are looking for. It would be up to the recipients who get this kind of intelligence to make these types of decisions to say, ‘Is that relevant? Is that what we are looking for? Are these the people we are targeting?'” But Mr Rosenberg says preventing civilian casualties is a high priority. “One thing I can certainly tell you the governments of Australia, and the United States would of course want to minimise all civilian casualties,” he says. “Pine Gap does help to provide limitation of civilian casualties by providing accurate intelligence.” Not everyone is sure things are that clear cut. Emily Howie, the director of advocacy and research at the Human Rights Law Centre, believes Pine Gap’s potential role in drone strikes may leave Australians open to prosecution. “The legal problem that’s created by drone strikes is that there may very well be violations of the laws of armed conflict, or war crimes as it’s called colloquially, and that Australia may be involved in those potential war crimes through the facility at Pine Gap,” she says. “Australia, in so far as it is locating suspects that the US targets, is assisting the US. So it could be liable for any crimes committed by the US, in terms of aiding and assisting in that. “The question then is: is the killing that’s done by the United States a war crime or not?” Ms Howie argues there is an urgent need for greater public knowledge and debate about the Pine Gap base. “What we have here are credible and really serious allegations made against the personnel at Pine Gap that they could be involved in assisting international crimes war crimes and we have absolutely zero transparency around what’s happened,” she says. However, Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, an independent thinktank in Canberra funded largely by the Department of Defence, says Pine Gap’s role is a natural part of Australia’s alliance with the US. “If you accept that the USA and Australia, we’re fighting in necessary conflicts in the Middle East, then it’s appropriate that our intelligence facilities support those conflicts,” he says. “It reflects a reality that both Australia and the United States and a significant number of other countries besides, are engaged in military operations against a fairly entrenched enemy in the form of extremists or terrorists that are operating in a number of countries in the Middle East. So I think it’s perfectly reasonable that we should be using our intelligence resources to support our military operations in in those countries.” According to Cian Westmoreland, who worked for four years as a US Air Force signals relay technician for lethal drones in Afghanistan, it’s difficult to say who is responsible for any one piece of targeting information. “All of this information that’s getting sucked up is being used to basically develop targets and find out where the next strike is going to be,” he says. “You have different countries doing different things all working together. You have stations in Great Britain and the Australians would be working with the Americans and the British. “It’s collaborative, and it’s really hard to say ‘the Australians are responsible for this’ or ‘the British are responsible for that’. “Everybody is working together and if the Australians were involved in one piece that happened to be used in a strike, they’re essentially complicit with whatever the end result is.” This report was prepared in collaboration with The Intercept, a US investigative news website. The leaked NSA documents are available on the Background Briefing website. Topics: defence-and-national-security, security-intelligence, defence-forces, wireless-communication, information-and-communication, treaties-and-alliances, unrest-conflict-and-war, alice-springs-0870, australia, united-states First posted August 20, 2017 08:14:25

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Food for thought: UAE ambassador’s hacked mails feed crucial policy debates – HuffPost

The hacked email account of Yousef al-Otaiba, the influential United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington, has provided unprecedented insight into the length to which the small Gulf state is willing to go in the pursuit of its regional ambitions. Mr. Al-Otaiba is unlikely to acknowledge the contribution the insight has made to understanding the ten week-old Gulf crisis and diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar that was engineered by the UAE. The ambassador may, however, have greater appreciation for the contribution his private email exchanges have made to the theory and policy debate about the place of small states in an increasingly polarized international order. Similarly, Mr. Al-Otaiba is unlikely to see merit in the fact that his email exchanges raise serious questions, including the role and purpose of offset arrangements that constitute part of agreements on arms sales by major defense companies as well as the relationship between influential, independent policy and academic institutions and their donors. To be sure, Mr. Al-Otaiba is likely to be most concerned about the potential damage to the UAEs reputation and disclosure of the Gulf states secrets caused by the hack. No doubt, the selective and drip-feed leaking of the ambassadors mails by Global Leaks, a mysterious group that uses a Russian email address, is designed to embarrass the UAE and support Qatar in its dispute with an alliance of nations led by the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Mr. Al-Otaiba as well as his interlocutors have not confirmed the authenticity of the mails. The UAE embassy did however tell The Hill that Hotmail address involved was that of the ambassador. Moreover, various of the leaks have been confirmed by multiple sources. The UAE is hardly the only government that donates large sums to think tanks and academic institutions in a bid to enhance soft power; influence policy, particularly in Washington; and limit, independent and critical study and analysis. While Gulf states, with the UAE and Qatar in the lead, are among the largest financial contributors, donors also include European and Asian governments. Think tank executives have rejected allegations that the donations undermine their independence or persuade them to do their donors bidding. The latest leaks, however, raise the debate about the funding of think tanks and academic institutions to a new level. Mails leaked to The Intercept, a muckraking online publication established by reporters who played a key role in publishing revelations by National Security Council whistle blower Edward Snowden, raise questions not only about funding of institutions, but also the nature and purpose of offset arrangements incorporated in arms deals. Those deals are intended to fuel economic development and job creation in purchasing countries and compensate them for using available funds for foreign arms acquisitions rather than the nurturing of an indigenous industry. The mails disclosed by The Intercept as well as The Gulf Institute, a Washington-based dissident Saudi think tank, showed that a UAE donation of $20 million to the Washington-based Middle East Institute (MEI) involved funds funnelled through Tawazun, a Abu Dhabi-based investment company, and The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) that is headed by UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, that had been paid to the UAE in cash rather than projects by defense contractors as part of agreements to supply military equipment. The US embassy in Abu Dhabi reported as far back as 2008 in a cable to the State Department published by Wikileaks that reports as well as anecdotal evidence suggested that that defense contractors can sometimes satisfy their offset obligations through an up-front, lump-sum payment directly to the UAE Offsets Group despite the fact that the UAEs offset program requires defense contractors that are awarded contracts valued at more than $10 million to establish commercially viable joint ventures with local business partners that yield profits equivalent to 60 percent of the contract value within a specified period (usually seven years). The cash arrangement raises questions about the integrity of offset arrangements as well as their purpose and use. In the case of MEI, it puts defense contractors in a position of funding third party efforts to influence US policy. In an email to Mr. Al-Otaiba, MEI president Wendy Chamberlain said the funding would allow the institute to counter the more egregious misperceptions about the region, inform US government policy makers, and convene regional leaders for discreet dialogue on pressing issues. The UAE has been a leader in rolling back achievements of the 2011 popular Arab revolts that toppled the leaders of four countries, promoting autocratic rule in the region, and opposing opposition forces, particularly the controversial Muslim Brotherhood. The donations by countries like the UAE and Qatar to multiple think tanks as well as the source of the funding links to the even larger issue of strategies adopted by small states to defend their independence and ensure their survival in a world in which power is more defuse and long-standing alliances are called into question. The leaked emails provide insight into the UAEs strategy that is based on being a power behind the throne. It is a strategy that may be uniquely Emirati and difficult to emulate by other small states, but that suggests that given resources small states have a significant ability to punch above their weight. US intelligence officials concluded that the hacking of Qatari news websites to plant a false news report that sparked the Gulf crisis in early June had been engineered by the UAE. The UAE move was embedded in a far broader strategy of shaping the Middle East and North Africa in its mould by turning Saudi Arabia into its policy instrument. Leaked email traffic between Mr. Al Otaiba and three former US officials, Martin Indyk, who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Stephen Hadley, former President George W. Bushs national security advisor, and Elliott Abrams who advised Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan, as well as with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius documents what some analysts long believed but could not categorically prove. It also provided insight into the less than idyllic relationship between the UAE and Saudi Arabia that potentially could become problematic. In the emails, Mr. Al-Otaiba, who promoted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington as Saudi Arabias future since he came to office in 2015, was unequivocal about UAE backing of the likely future king as an agent of change who would adopt policies advocated by the UAE. I think MBS is far more pragmatic than what we hear is Saudi public positions, Mr. Al-Otaiba said in one of the mails, referring to Prince Mohammed by his initials. I dont think well ever see a more pragmatic leader in that country. Which is why engaging with them is so important and will yield the most results we can ever get out of Saudi, the ambassador said. Change in attitude, change in style, change in approach, Mr. Al-Otaiba wrote to Mr. Ignatius. In another email, Mr. Al-Otaiba noted that now was the time when the Emiratis could get the most results we can ever get out of Saudi. In a subsequent email dump, published by Middle East Eye, an online news site allegedly funded by persons close to Qatar, if not Qatar itself, and also sent to this writer, Mr. Al-Otaiba, makes no bones about his disdain for Saudi Arabia and his perception of the history of Emirati-Saudi relations. Writing to his wife, Abeer Shoukry, in 2008, Mr. Al-Otaiba describes the Saudi leadership as f***in coo coo! after the kingdoms religious police banned red roses on Valentines Day. The powers of the police have been significantly curtailed since the rise of Prince Mohammed, who has taken steps to loosen the countrys tight social and moral controls. In one email, Mr. Al-Otaiba asserts that Abu Dhabi has battled Saudi Arabia over its adherence to Wahhabism, a literal, intolerant and supremacist interpretation of Islam, for the past 200 years. The ambassador asserted that the Emirates had a more bad history with Saudi Arabia than anyone else. Taken together, the leaked emails involving multiple other issues, including the UAEs military relationship with North Korea as well as its competition with Qatar to host an office of the Afghan Taliban, serve not only as a source for understanding the dynamics of the Gulf crisis, but also as case studies for the development of more stringent guidelines for funding of policy and academic research; greater transparency of military sales and their offset arrangements; and the place of small states in the international order as well as the factors that determine their ability to maintain the independence and at times punch above their weight. To be sure, that was not the primary purpose of the leaks. The leaks were designed to further Qatars cause and undermine the UAEs arguments as well as embarrass it. The jury is still out on the degree to which the leakers may have succeeded. Nonetheless, one unintended consequence of the leaks is that they raise issues that go to the core of a broad swath of issues, including accountability, transparency, economic and social development, and international relations. Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wrzburgs Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, co-authored with Dr. Teresita Cruz-Del Rosario and four forthcoming books, Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa as well as The Gulf Crisis: Small States Battle It Out, Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Ultra-conservatism and China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom. The Morning Email Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Whataboutism: The Cold War tactic, thawed by Putin, is brandished by Donald Trump – Chicago Tribune

What about Antifa? What about free speech? What about the guy who shot Steve Scalise? What about the mosque in Minnesota that got bombed? What about North Korea? What about murders in Chicago? What about Ivanka at the G-20? What about Vince Foster? If white pride is bad, then what about gay pride? What about the stock market? What about those 33,000 deleted emails? What about Hitler? What about the Crusades? What about the asteroid that may one day kill us all? What about Benghazi? What about what about what about. We’ve gotten very good at what-abouting. The president has led the way. His campaign may or may not have conspired with Moscow, but President DonaldTrump has routinely employed a durable old Soviet propaganda tactic. Tuesday’s bonkers news conference in New York was Trump’s latest act of “whataboutism,” the practice of short-circuiting an argument by asserting moral equivalency between two things that aren’t necessarily comparable. In this case, the president wondered whether the removal of a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville where white supremacists clashed this weekend with counterprotesters would lead to the teardown of others. Robert E. Lee? What about George Washington? “George Washington was a slave owner,” Trump said to journalists in the lobby of his corporate headquarters. “Are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson?” Using the literal “what about” construction, Trump then went on to blame “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville. “What about the ‘alt-left’ that came charging at the, as you say, the ‘alt-right’?” the president said. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?” For a nanosecond, especially to an uncritical listener, this stab at logic might seem interesting, even thought-provoking, and that’s why it’s a useful political tool. Whataboutism appears to broaden context, to offer a counterpoint, when really it’s diverting blame, muddying the waters and confusing the hell out of rational listeners. “Not only does it help to deflect your original argument but it also throws you off balance,” says Alexey Kovalev, an independent Russian journalist, on the phone from Moscow. “You’re expecting to be in a civilized argument that doesn’t use cheap tricks like that. You are playing chess and your opponent while making a lousy move he just punches you on the nose.” Ashley Parker and David Nakamura Vladimir Putin has made a national sport of what-abouting. In 2014, when a journalist challenged him on his annexation of Crimea, Putin brought up the U.S. annexation of Texas. The American invasion of Iraq is constantly what-abouted on state television, to excuse all kinds of Russian behavior. In Edward Snowden, “Russia has found the ultimate whataboutism mascot,” the Atlantic’s Olga Khazan wrote in 2013. “By granting him asylum, Russia casts itself, even if momentarily, as a defender of human rights, and the U.S. as the oppressor.” The term was first coined as “whataboutery” and “the whatabouts,” in stories about the Irish Republican Army in the 1970s, according to linguist Ben Zimmer. But the practice goes back to the chilly depths of the Cold War. “An old joke 50 years ago was that if you went to a Stalinist and criticized the Soviet slave-labor camps, the Stalinist would say, ‘Well what about the lynchings in the American South?'” philosopher Noam Chomsky once said. In 1970, as the Soviet Union made headlines for imprisoning dissidents, Ukrainian artist Viktor Koretsky created a propaganda lithograph titled “American Politics at home and abroad.” It depicted U.S. police beating a black man and a U.S. soldier standing over a dead body, presumably in Vietnam. In May 1985 the State Department funded a conference at the Madison Hotel on the fallacy of “moral equivalence,” a philosophical cousin of whataboutism. The goal was to tamp down comparisons of the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada with the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, among other instances. The actions may be comparable, the State Department implied, but the intentions were not. “If it is no longer possible to distinguish between freedom and despotism,” said Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations, then “the erosion of the foundation of a distinctively Western, democratic civilization is already far advanced and the situation serious indeed.” Flash forward 30 years. President Trump’s Twitter feed has been a whataboutism showcase, with Hillary Clinton as the usual target. April 3: “Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate? Just asking!” June 26: “The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling.” July 22: “… What about all of the Clinton ties to Russia …” Googling of “Whataboutism” began to climb sharply in November of last year; this week, with Charlottesville, it reached an all-time high. “You look at both sides,” Trump said Tuesday, after saying “what about” three times. “I think there is blame on both sides … and nobody wants to say that.” Some people saw this as brave truth-telling, and as exposing double standards in the media. “Trump-haters on both sides of the aisle simply cry ‘whataboutism,’ as if it were a magic spell to ward off rational thought,” wrote Joel B. Pollak on the right-wing site Breitbart, in an article headlined “The attack on ‘whataboutism’ is a defense of hypocrisy.” Trump’s most flagrant what-about, though, was used not in defense of himself, but in defense of Russia. “Putin’s a killer,” Bill O’Reilly said to Trump in a February interview. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump whatabouted. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think our country’s so innocent?” “That’s exactly the kind of argument that Russian propagandists have used for years to justify some of Putin’s most brutal policies,” wrote Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration.

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed

Is Trump going to pardon Julian Assange? – The Week Magazine

Could President Trump be considering a pardon for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? That is the latest rumor after California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) met with Assange earlier this week to discuss “what might be necessary to get him out” of asylum, The Daily Caller reports. The rumors reignited Friday morning when an account that tracks who the Trump family follows shared that Donald Trump Jr. followed Assange: Assange faces sexual assault charges in Sweden and if he returned there, he could be deported to the U.S. where he could face a potential death penalty for leaking documents with Edward Snowden. To avoid the charges, Assange has lived in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012. In his interview, Rohrabacher suggested that Assange might be pardoned in exchange for information about the Democratic National Committee email leak last year. “[Assange] has information that will be of dramatic importance to the United States and the people of our country as well as to our government,” Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller. “Thus if he comes up with that, you know he’s going to expect something in return. He can’t even leave the embassy to get out to Washington to talk to anybody if he doesn’t have a pardon.” Assange notably has argued that Russia was not involved in the DNC hack, contrary to reports by U.S. intelligence. Rohrabacher has been criticized for being too soft on Russia. Rohrabacher added, “I can’t remember if I have spoken to anybody in the White House about this,” but “there has already been some indication that the president will be very anxious to hear what I have to say if that is the determination that I make.” Read the full interview at The Daily Caller. Jeva Lange

Fair Usage Law

August 20, 2017   Posted in: Edward Snowden  Comments Closed


Fair Use Disclaimer

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."