Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Russian literature is a serious business. The books are heavy, the beards are long and the descriptions of women’s upper lip hair are detailed.

» Nobel Snubs Russian Literature Yet Again
15/10/13 20:00 from The St. Petersburg Times
Russian literature is a serious business. The books are heavy, the beards are long and the descriptions of women’s upper lip hair are detailed. Russian authors from the 18th century onwards are read in classrooms from Tokyo to Buenos Air...

Mike Nova comments: He does look very girlish here, though; more than earlier. I still suspect that he did have his sex change operation and wears on his old appearance just for the purpose of disguise... | Four former U.S. officials met with fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Oct. 9 | Edward Snowden Receives Sam Adams Award, Speaks On Camera For The First Time In Months


Published: October 16, 2013 (Issue # 1782)

MOSCOW — Four former U.S. officials who met with fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Oct. 9 said he had no regrets about releasing classified information.
The group, comprised of people who formerly worked for the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and NSA, announced the meeting with Snowden on Oct. 10. They said they’d met with the fugitive at a secret location a day earlier to present him with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, The Associated Press reported.
“He spoke about going out and about and getting to understand Russia, its culture and the people,” said Thomas Drake, a former NSA executive who provided a newspaper with inside information about an electronic espionage program.
The four were the first to meet with Snowden since he was granted asylum in Russia in August, and they refused to say where they met with him or where he is living.
“For his own safety it’s best that no one else knows where he actually lives,” Drake said, The Associated Press reported.
Drake and the other former officials — Raymond McGovern, Jesselyn Radack and Coleen Rowley — said they saw no reason to believe that Snowden was under the control of Russia’s security services, as many have speculated.
The group’s visit came a day before Snowden’s father arrived in Moscow for a long-awaited meeting with his son.
The plane carrying Lon Snowden arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport at 7:50 a.m on Oct. 10, television channel Rossia 24 reported.
Upon his arrival at the airport, Lon Snowden said he believed Russia was the safest place for his son, echoing earlier comments in which he thanked President Vladimir Putin for taking the fugitive in.
“I think that my son will stay in Russia, although I haven’t spoken to him yet,” he told Rossia 24, adding that he planned to visit Russia again in the future and would be satisfied if his son decided to live in the country permanently.
He did not immediately reply to messages sent to his two personal e-mail accounts on Oct. 10.
In an e-mail to The St. Petersburg Times on Sept. 27, Lon Snowden said he had called off a planned visit due to security concerns.
Edward Snowden’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, who met Lon Snowden at the airport, said on Oct. 10 that five vehicles had been following Lon Snowden’s car after he arrived in Moscow, Interfax reported.
“The only thing he could be thinking about right now, and those of us who are with him, is security. While we were driving here, about five cars were following us. What do you do in a situation like that?” Kucherena said.
“I understand there is a lot of interest, but I would ask that attention be paid to Edward’s safety,” Kucherena said.
Edward and Lon Snowden have been in touch only once since Edward Snowden fled the U.S. in fear of prosecution in May, speaking by encrypted video chat on Aug. 15 against the advice of their lawyers, Kucherena told Russian news agencies.
The father’s visit has been in the making since Aug. 11, when Lon Snowden announced he had been granted a Russian visa during an appearance on ABC News.
The former NSA intelligence contractor is wanted in the U.S. on charges of espionage and theft of government property for disclosing the existence of classified mass surveillance programs run by the NSA.


Ray McGovern & Tom Drake Describe Their Meeting With Edward Snowden In Russia

October 11, 2013 by 
Filed under Americas


Mike Nova comments: Methinks, he looks more and more like the Soviet nominal "President" of Stalin times, Mikhail Kalinin

Maybe they should make him an honorary Russian President, or even better, a partner in a Presidential couple, since they already feel so comfortable with each other in the Jacuzzi and, apparently, in bed (at least figuratively). 


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s homoerotic tendency...

Undated photograph showing Putin and Snowden’s relationship growing beyond that of ‘political statement’.
Moscow, Russia (Pravda.ru) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s homoerotic tendency has long attracted female and male suitors alike... 

Edward Snowden Receives Sam Adams Award, Speaks On Camera For The First Time In Months

Edward Snowden Receives Sam Adams Award, Speaks On Camera For The First Time In Months
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor that leaked details of the agency’s surveillance programs to newspapers around the world, is still hiding out somewhere in Russia. That didn’t stop the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence from delivering their most prestigious award to him though.
Now, the award is pretty big news, but what’s even bigger is that Snowden actually spoke on camera. It’s been months since he last gave any kind of spoken statement, but here we are with three short clips of his talk from WikiLeaks.
The first is a short bit where Snowden speaks on the unsurprising revelation that Intelligence Director James Clapper lied to Congress about the NSA’s capabilities. He points out the absurdity of a Justice Department that refuses to prosecute Clapper, but will do everything its power to go after whistleblowers like himself and others.
Another clip touches upon the government’s constant assurance that everything the NSA does is done with the consent of Americans. He doesn’t say that’s a lie, but rather points out that the secrecy in which the NSA’s activities are conducted make it impossible for the American people to understand, let alone consent to, what’s going on.
The third clip shows Snowden talking about the NSA’s mass surveillance programs and how they make us less safe. He argues that these programs not only do little to stop terrorist activities, but that the existence of the programs themselves threaten Americans’ freedoms and way of life.
There’s obviously more here than what WikiLeaks has posted, but the whole talk has not been put online yet. We’ll let you know if, and when, the whole thing is posted. Regardless of how you feel about Snowden, he’s an intelligent man with some very interesting things to say.

Edward Snowden News Review


Edward Snowden Witch-hunted by UK Government, MI5 and Media

Mike Nova comments: Good! The more he is hunted the better it is for everyone!

Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition and Britain’s intelligence chiefs have launched a counter-offensive against whistleblower Edward Snowden in an effort to legitimise and continue their spying on the UK population and much of the world.Last week, Britain’s new head of MI5, Sir Andrew Parker, used his first public address to make a veiled attack on the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Snowden and to insinuate that the Guardian was assisting terrorism in making public his revelations.
While not mentioning either by name, Parker asserted that “It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of GCHQ techniques.” “Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists”, he continued. “It is the gift they need to evade us and strike at will.”

Such claims are a fraud. Snowden made public documents from the US NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) showing programmes designed to spy on virtually every man, woman and child with Internet access or a telephone.

Parker made a feeble attempt to deny this. “In some quarters there seems to be a vague notion that we monitor everyone and all their communications, browsing at will through peoples’ private lives for anything that looks interesting,” he said. “That is, of course, utter nonsense.”

Parker’s speech was the signal for a concerted attack on Snowden from the highest echelons of the state, including Prime Minister David Cameron, along with barely concealed threats against the Guardian.

Sir David Omand, a former director of GCHQ and intelligence and security coordinator for the prime minister, stated, “The assumption the experts are working on is that all that information, or almost all of it, will now be in the hands of Moscow and Beijing. It’s the most catastrophic loss to British intelligence ever, much worse than [Guy] Burgess and [Donald] MacLean in the Fifties”.

Nigel Inkster, former deputy chief of MI6, told BBC Radio 4 that the Snowden leaks were “comparable” to those by the Cambridge spies, “only worse”.

Burgess and MacLean were intelligence operatives for the Soviet Union, part of a spy ring at Cambridge University.

Cameron said, “When you get newspapers who get hold of vast amounts of data and information that is effectively stolen information and they think it is they think it’s OK to reveal this, I think they have to think about their responsibilities and are they helping to keep our country safe.”

The prime minister boasted of his personal responsibility for the unprecedented attack on press freedom of July 20, when computers owned by the Guardian containing files originating from Snowden were destroyed. “I sent the cabinet secretary and the national security adviser to go and see them to tell them about how dangerous it was for them to hold this information,” he said, and “they agreed to have a whole lot of it destroyed”.

Deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said, “I’ve got no doubt that there were some parts of what were published, which would have passed most Guardian readers completely by because they were very technical, but would have been immensely interesting for people who want to do us harm.”

Fellow Liberal Democrat and Business Secretary Vince Cable made a pose of defending the Guardian’s right to publish material, but then asserted that “a very substantial amount of really quite important highly sensitive intelligence seems to have got to people who shouldn’t have got it, i.e. in Russia and China and elsewhere.”

There is not a shred of evidence that Snowden’s revelations, or the Guardian’s reportage, have “aided terrorism”. They have exposed criminality on a mass scale being conducted by the US and British governments, as well as other imperialist powers.

The moves against the Guardian reached a crescendo with the calls by Tory backbencher Julian Smith to have its actions in “sending detailed family and personal information about security agents across borders…illegal, it’s threatening our agents and their families. Can we have a statement from the Home Secretary to clarify that the law will be upheld whether or not the organisation involved is hiding behind the fig leaf of journalism?” Sun newspaper columnist Rod Liddle wrote a piece accusing the Guardian of “treason”.

In a comment, “The paper that helps Britain’s enemies”, the Daily Mail stated, “We believe the Guardian, with lethal irresponsibility, has crossed that line by printing tens of thousands of words describing the secret techniques used to monitor terrorists.”

Former Labour Party home secretary Jack Straw supported the government, accusing the Guardian of “extraordinary naivety and arrogance”.

It was the BBC that launched this counter-offensive by the state on its flagship Newsnight programme. Presenter Kirsty Wark conducted an interview with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald on October 4, four days before Parker’s speech. Throughout, she parroted the government and intelligence agencies’ claims, asserting without substantiation that 58,000 unsecured documents were seized by UK border officials from Greenwald’s partner David Miranda in August when he was illegally detained.

Greenwald said Walk’s claim “was a lie,” before telling her, “As a journalist you should be aware that simply because a government makes a claim, especially when they are making that claim in the middle of a lawsuit, while they are being sued for violating the law, one should not go around assuming that claim to be factually true.”

Wark was wholly indifferent to such basic journalistic standards, asking Greenwald at one point, “Do you actually think it’s a shock that spies do spy and that for a majority of the population perhaps, it might be quite reassuring. They might actually feel quite safe?”

The latest moves by the UK government and spy agencies are a pre-emptive strike in an attempt to silence any further reportage, based on material passed on by Snowden to journalists. They are a blatant attempt to criminalise any media coverage, even slightly critical of the spy agencies, as a part of overall plans to clamp down on press freedoms.

The move to restrict coverage of the Snowden revelations takes place against a background of the ongoing attempts to introduce press regulation in the UK. Last week, the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour parties agreed on the terms of a final draft of a Royal Charter, which could become law by the end of this month.

Playing soft cop for the government, Cable has called for “proper political oversight” of the security and intelligence agencies. But this is a hollow pose. The spy agencies do not need regulating, but must be opposed, exposed and disbanded.

Former cabinet member Chris Huhne has stated publicly that cabinet ministers and even members of the National Security Council were kept in “utter ignorance” regarding the Prism and Tempora spy programmes.

“The cabinet was told nothing about GCHQ’s Tempora or its US counterpart, the NSA’s Prism, nor about their extraordinary capability to hoover up and store personal emails, voice contact, social networking activity and even internet searches,” he said.

“I was also on the national security council, attended by ministers and the heads of the Secret [Intelligence Service, MI6] and Security Service [MI5], GCHQ and the military. If anyone should have been briefed on Prism and Tempora, it should have been the NSC.

“I do not know whether the prime minister or the foreign secretary (who has oversight of GCHQ) were briefed, but the NSC was not.”

After making these extraordinary statements, Huhne too merely urged, “the supervisory arrangements for our intelligence services” need “updating”.

For years, GCHQ, MI5, MI6 and their US counterparts operated outside the law—and apparently without even a shred of parliamentary oversight. Now, Cable and Huhne respond by urging that the people directly implicated in this criminal behaviour, such as Cameron, be entrusted once more with the task of regulating the activities of the secret state.

Obama, NSA dissed by report as Edward Snowden reappears

NSA surveillance and Obama administration policies are putting a damper on freedom of the press, says a report. Meanwhile, Prism leaker Edward Snowden accepts an award in Moscow.

In Paris this past July, demonstrators hold up posters of US President Barack Obama and NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
(Credit: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)
The National Security Agency's electronic surveillance programs are already having a chilling effect on free speech, at least according to a report by the former executive editor of The Washington Post.
"The Obama Administration and the Press," penned by Leonard Downie Jr., whose career at the storied newspaper included time spent as an editor during the Watergate era, says sources for stories involving national security are far less likely to talk to reporters now that mass spying by the NSA has come to light.
Downie -- also an executive with the Committee to Protect Journalists, the press-freedom nonprofit that published the report Thursday -- examined the Obama administration's aggressive policies toward leakers such as Edward Snowden and spoke with 30 experienced Washington journalists about the administration's dealings with the press. The journalists included reporters from ABC, the Associated Press, CBS (parent of CNET), CNN, The New York Times, and the Post.
Downie says there's no evidence the Obama administration is tapping NSA tools like Prism in its efforts to track and prosecute leakers but that the tools are nevertheless a threat to the press' role as a watchdog over government:
 At this writing, no connection has been established between the NSA surveillance programs and the many leak investigations being conducted by the Obama administration -- but the surveillance has added to the fearful atmosphere surrounding American journalists and government sources.
"There is greater concern that their communications are being monitored -- office phones, e-mail systems," Post reporter [Rajiv] Chandrasekaran said. "I have to resort to personal e-mail or face to face, even for things I would consider routine."
Downie also quotes the Post's Dana Priest, whose 2011 book "Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State" looked at the huge and secretive national security apparatus assembled after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Potential insider sources "think [the government is] looking at reporters' records," Priest said. "I'm writing fewer things in e-mail. I'm even afraid to tell officials what I want to talk about because it's all going into one giant computer."
It's not just the NSA. Downie's report explores the Obama administration's attitude toward the control of information and the censuring of leakers -- "the most aggressive I've seen since the Nixon administration," he says.
In regard to leakers/whistle-blowers, The New York Times' Scott Shane is quoted as saying:
I think we have a real problem. Most people are deterred by those leaks prosecutions. They're scared to death. There's a gray zone between classified and unclassified information, and most sources were in that gray zone. Sources are now afraid to enter that gray zone. It's having a deterrent effect. If we consider aggressive press coverage of government activities being at the core of American democracy, this tips the balance heavily in favor of government.
And Downie taps Harvard Law professor and former Bush administration lawyer Jack Goldsmith for some perspective. There's no "perfect solution to this problem," Goldsmith says. "Too much secrecy and too much leaking are both bad. A leaker has to be prepared to subject himself to the penalties of law, but leaks can serve a really important role in helping correct government malfeasance, to encourage government to be careful about what it does in secret, and to preserve democratic processes."
The report also discusses the Obama administration's unprecedented use of social media and the Web. What some might characterize as an effort toward transparency and direct contact with the public is called into question as something more akin to propaganda and, as former CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno puts it, an attempt "to end run the news media completely."
Downie says that in its defense, the administration points, in part, to "presidential directives to put more government data online, to speed up processing of Freedom of Information Act requests, and to limit the amount of government information classified as secret." The administration also cites the "declassification and public release of information about NSA communications surveillance programs in the wake of Snowden's leak," Downie notes.
You can read the report in its entirety -- including the various responses from the Obama administration -- here.
Snowden feted in Russia
Meanwhile, Prism leaker Edward Snowden was visited in Russia by four US whistle-blowing advocates, who gave him an award for his efforts and said he looked "great" and was "remarkably centered."
Snowden had pretty much vanished since being granted temporary asylum by Russian President Valdimir Putin this summer.
Except, that is, for the occasional run to the grocery store for a shopping cart full of secrets. (Note: The Christian Science Monitor reports that Snowden's lawyer says, yes, that is indeed Snowden on a supermarket run, though probably not in Moscow.)
Those honoring Snowden were members of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of former national security officials, says The Washington Post.
They included Thomas Drake, a former NSA employee who leaked documents about spending and mismanagement issues at the NSA to a Baltimore Sun reporter, and was subjected to a prosecution that a federal judge later called "four years of hell." (Drake figures in the above mentioned report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.)

Edward Snowden receives the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Award in Moscow. From left to right: FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley, NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake, Justice Department whistle-blower Jesselyn Raddack, Snowden, UK WikiLeaks activist Sarah Harrison, and former CIA official turned activist Ray McGovern.
(Credit: WikiLeaks' Sunshine Press/Getty Images)

Mike Nova comments: I cannot see clearly what is that he got: either a candle or a dick. Well, whatever it is, I am sure it will come handy: he can either hold a candle to a big wild orgy of Russi enjoyment or fuck himself in the ass with this big dick, using Urals oil as the lubricant; he will be perfectly contented and happy with either or both. He does look very girlish here, though; more than earlier. I still suspect that he did have his sex change operation and wears on his old appearance just for the purpose of disguise (I almost wrote disgust). 

Another of the group, former CIA officer turned activist Ray McGovern, said, according to The Wall Street Journal, that Snowden has "made his peace with what he did. He's convinced that what he did was right. He has no regrets and he is ready to face whatever the future holds for him."
Snowden's father also landed in Russia on Thursday and will presumably be secreted away to a visit with his son.
"I have no idea what [my son's] intentions are, but ever since he has been in Russia, my understanding is that he has simply been trying to remain healthy and safe and he has nothing to do with future stories," Lon Snowden was quoted as saying in The Christian Monitor.
"I am not sure my son will be returning to the US again. That's his decision, he is an adult, he is a person who is responsible for his own agency. I am his father, I love my son, and I certainly hope I will have an opportunity to see my son," the elder Snowden said.