Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doug Wead on Edward Snowden

From WorldNet Daily
So two questions remain: Isn’t the government taking a risk that by running Snowden into the ground they will only make him a hero?
It is clear that Snowden did not expect to be on the run. Did he really think he could escape from a government who has everyone’s emails and phone conversations stored away? Did he think that any corporation or ambassador or head of state or government in the world would stand before such a power? This treasure trove of data is the new atomic bomb, and America has it. No one else. We rule the world. Or perhaps, I should say that Barack Obama and his successor rule the world.
Poor Edward Snowden. Running to Hong Kong and then Moscow will only help the government paint him as a bad guy, a traitor to America. He imagined that people in American really believed in the Constitution or in a government of laws. He thought we would care about the fact that our government leaders lie to Congress and the media. He imagined that we still have a free press, who can write and say what they believe, without direction from corporate owners who, like druggies in the inner city, now depend totally on government subsidies and easy Fed loans to sustain their empires.
There is a simple answer to that one. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what any of us say. They have the new WMD. They don’t need to control everybody. There are plenty who will fall all over themselves to get in their good graces and say and do whatever they think the government wants, just to avoid the inconvenience of an IRS audit or a criminal investigation based on their emails and phone calls. So the government will risk Edward Snowden’s martyrdom.
Why? Because the government has even more secrets to hide. It fears another Snowden among its 4.2 million top-secret-cleared employees. They have to make his life so miserable that no one else will dare speak up.
And finally, one last thing remains to be known. If Edward Snowden is a spy, not a whistleblower, then for whom has he been spying? Russia? China? North Korea? Islamic fundamentalists?
No. He has been spying for us, the American people. He is our spy. He is the first American spy to be prosecuted by an American government. They will get him. And he will be locked away, and after the furor dies down, he may even be tortured by our government. He is like a Buddhist monk in Vietnam in the 1960s setting himself ablaze, signaling to the world that something is wrong here. He is a Paul Revere with an alarming message: “The government is coming, the government is coming.”

Read more at 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak on Edward Snowden

In The Guardian (UK):

The Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has backed NSA whistleblowerEdward Snowden and admitted he feels "a little bit guilty" that new technologies had introduced new ways for governments to monitor people.
"I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg, who changed my life, who taught me a lot," he said.
Speaking to Piers Morgan on CNN he said he was not the kind of person to "just take sides in the world – 'I'm always against anything government, any three letter agency,' or 'I'm for them'."
But he added: "Read the facts: it's government of, by and for the people. We own the government; we are the ones who pay for it and then we discover something that our money is being used for – that just can't be, that level of crime."
When Morgan suggested the government would not be able to keep such a close eye on citizens without the work of innovators like him, Wozniak acknowledged: "I actually feel a little guilty about that – but not totally. We created the computers to free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world; any thought you had, you could share freely. That it was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions.
"We didn't realise that in the digital world there were a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us, to make things possible that weren't. In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it; you had private communication. Now they say, because it's email, it cannot be private; anyone can listen."
Asked about US surveillance programmes in an earlier interview with a Spanish technology news site, FayerWayer, Wozniak said: "All these things about the constitution, that made us so good as people – they are kind of nothing.
"They are all dissolved with the Patriot Act. There are all these laws that just say 'we can secretly call anything terrorism and do anything we want, without the rights of courts to get in and say you are doing wrong things'. There's not even a free open court any more. Read the constitution. I don't know how this stuff happened. It's so clear what the constitution says."
He said he had been brought up to believe that "communist Russia was so bad because they followed their people, they snooped on them, they arrested them, they put them in secret prisons, they disappeared them – these kinds of things were part of Russia. We are getting more and more like that."

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Open Letter to WebGuard Customer Care

Dear Webguard:

I have just gotten off the phone with Lucas W. (he would not disclose his last name), T-Mobile ID # 1241773, floor manager for customer service, and cancelled my WebGuard service.

The reason is that both RefugeeResettlementWatch and FrontPageMag were blocked as inappropriate content by Webguard at all levels: Child, Teen, and Young Adult.

However, both sites are simply news and commentary sites critical of the Obama administration. They are not porn sites. There is no issue of child protection involved.

Lucas told me the process by which sites are chosen to be blocked is known only to WebGuard, and that I would have to ask you for the explanation. He said he could not forward a complaint from T-mobile to Webguard, even though T-Mobile had a contract with WebGuard. 

So please be advised that I found the categorizations and blockage as age inappropriate to be damaging, defamatory, false and fraudulent regarding the websites...and bad for business for T-Mobile--because on its face the blockage appears to be based on political correctness rather than child protection, and leads to the loss of customers. 

For example, I cancelled WebGuard because of this problem, and told T-Mobile they should look for another provider of web-filtering services.

Therefore, I respectfully ask that you tell me why these sites were blocked, provide me a list of criteria used by WebGuard to block sites, and explain the methodology for site evaluation, including steps taken by WebGuard to insure against political censorship.

Thank you.

Laurence A. Jarvik, Ph.D.

Sent from my iPad

UPDATE July 2nd 2013. This just in:

Hi Laurence Jarvik,, has nothing to do with T-Mobile. does vulnerability scans of websites
Please contact T-mobile directly.

If you need a great scan on your website, try our free scan.

WebGuard support

Angelo Codevilla on Edward Snowden

From Barack Obama to Karl Rove, the ruling class is in unison: The NSA’s collection of data on virtually all Americans is essential to preventing you from “being blown to smithereens on your morning commute” – as the Wall Street Journal editorial put it.  In the words of General Keith Alexander, director of NSA, this surveillance has “helped to prevent” “dozens of terrorist events.” Later, the tally rose to “over fifty.”  Project Constant Informant, which tracks essentially all American phone calls, allows matching the account holder’s identity with each call’s precise location in time and place. Another, PRISM, gives access to all records of email, chat, photos, videos and file transfers from the servers of leading US internet companies. These programs stand between Americans and terrorists. Worries that they will be misused are misplaced or downright kooky.
This chorus’ authority depends on ignorance. Here are the facts.
Since our Intelligence agencies have an unbroken history of crowing about even tiny successes, using finely parsed assertions with zero evidence to impute multiple triumphs to programs publicized by a leak is prima facie evidence of insincerity. When (rarely) independent persons look behind such claims, they almost invariably find the Wizard of Oz.  More important, anyone who has followed telecommunication technology and intelligence during the past three decades can only scoff at the claim that universal collection of telephone externals and access to internet traffic can thwart serious criminals or terrorists.
In fact, the expansion of the US government’s capacity to intrude on innocent communications happened just as technology enabled competent persons who intend to hide their communications to do so without fail. This means that the US government’s vast apparatus is almost completely useless against serious terrorists or criminals, and useful primarily to do whatever the government might choose to innocent persons.
In sum: Ever since the 1970s, the art of code-making has surpassed the art of code-breaking – period. Hence, on the high end, anyone can purchase voice and internet communications software that are beyond the capacity of anyone to access without an electronic key. On the low end, anyone with a few hundred dollars can buy dozens of pre paid cell phones, each to be used to make or receive a single call and then be thrown away. NSA’s million square-foot facility in Utah, and all the antennas and computers in the world, are useless against that.
So, why has the US government invested hundreds of billions of high technology in these ventures? Inertia is the least of reasons. Despite the last sixty years’ vast changes in technology, the US government never departed from the World War II model of electronic intelligence: Collect everything you can and sort the wheat from the chaff. But, as noted, unfocused collection now yields only chaff. Forensic analysis is a partial exception. For example, an analyst in possession of telephone externals data from people who have taken no countermeasures and who have made calls while committing an act known to the analyst can reconstruct their movements and even identify them.
The fundamental reason however is the US government’s reluctance to make and stand behind judgments about who, specifically, may be legitimate targets of investigation. If collection is universal, the collectors don’t have to explain to others (or even to themselves) why they are targeting this person or group and not another. Possessing the data in secret, they can then decide in secret who they are really interested in. That flight from responsibility is also why, in 1978, the intelligence agencies pressed Congress to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), under which the agencies submit their requests for detailed targeting, in secret, to a court that decidesex parte and in secret.
In sum: the aftermath of 9/11, technology, inertia, and allergy to accountability gave the US government the capacity to capture and examine at will well nigh the whole electronic realm. It would very much like to do the protective job that President Obama and Karl Rove claim and may even believe it is doing. But there is no evidence that anyone has figured out how to sidestep the realities that prevent that.
It is not speculation to expect that these powers will be used for what they are indeed useful. To recapitulate: “Constant Informant” can find patterns of communication between people who are not trying to mask them, while PRISM makes everyone’s cyber activity accessible. This allows the US government to pick and choose and build cases for any reason against any person on whom it has such data. From Obama to Rove, our ruling class denies any intention of doing that. They cite the fact that focusing all that data onto on individuals is subject to approval by the FISA court.
But that court acts not just in secret, but ex parte – hearing only one side. FISA was intended to be a rubber stamp, and has been one. To anyone’s knowledge, it has never turned down any of the government’s thousands of applications.  It will continue to be a rubber stamp because there are no judicial criteria for what is and is not a legitimate national security concern.
The relevant question about the uses of the NSA programs, then, is simply “against whom, in the broad American public, is the US government likely to turn its animus? Alas, the ruling class has shown itself all too able to treat domestic opponents as public enemies. But that is another story.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Barry Rubin on Edward Snowden

Q: What do the National Security Agency surveillance leaks --- Edward Snowden on the run – look like to you, from afar? 

A: As I’ve written, the main angle I have tried to show is that this is not the way to handle a counterterrorist policy. It really looks as if terrorism is an excuse for gathering information on U.S. citizens. This NSA approach is like the TSA approach to airport security: pretend that everyone needs surveillance rather than using profiles to focus on the likely threats. '

Wikileaks Press Release on Edward Snowden

Sunday June 23, 17:50 BST

Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.
Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives in Ecuador his request will be formally processed.
Former Spanish Judge Mr Baltasar Garzon, legal director of Wikileaks and lawyer for Julian Assange has made the following statement:
"The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange - for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest - is an assault against the people".

Peter Van Buren on Edward Snowden

We Meant Well on Edward Snowden:

The Washington Post published “Five ways to stop the NSA from spying on you,” a set of how-to tips for the average public to use Tor, remove the battery from your smart phone to prevent tracking and some software for private phone calls. It is not comprehensive, but it would serve as a guide to learning more.

Leaving aside the question of whether any of these methods work, has it come to this? A major newspaper publishing tips on how you can make it harder for your own government to spy on you?

The Fourth Amendment clearly states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Read it again: no exceptions, no free pass for terrorism, no provision for secret courts.

Read it again: No allowances for blanket vacuuming up of all internet media for all persons. The Fourth unambiguously requires that a warrant be issued that includes the name of the person and things to be seized.

The National Security Agency acknowledged that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls. Meanwhile, a constitutional law professor who is not Barack Obama schools you on why the NSA surveillance is unconstitutional. As Snowden left for Russia, the U.S. had the nerve to lecture Hong Kong about following the rule of law.

Here’s what happened one time ago when the government went looking into someone with nothing to hide.

We have fallen and can’t get up.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Barry Rubin on Insane American Foreign Policy

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Eliyho Matz on the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Peter Bergson's 1943 Washington Campaign


                                                                        Great Barrington, MA
                                                                        April 2013

                        In every serious philosophical question uncertainty extends to
                        the very roots of the problem.
                        We must always be prepared to learn something totally new.
                                                                                                Ludwig Wittgenstein
                                                                                                Remarks on Color

            My mother, Zahava, just passed away in Israel.  She was 100-years-old.  Even though her last fifteen years were rough and miserable as a result of illness, she had at least fifty good years in Israel; fifty years of trying to become an Israeli.  She did not exactly become one, but I, her son Eliyho, did become one, although I now live in America.  During WWII, she and my dad, Moshe, managed to run away from their home in Eastern Europe to the far east of the Soviet Union.  There, she worked in a military hospital, while my dad joined the Russian military where he eventually became the commander of a platoon of sharpshooters.  In 1945, his military unit was at the gates of Berlin.  Part of his Russian military march to Berlin was done by foot.  (As a result of it, his son Eliyho has flat feet!)  From Berlin, he returned to the far eastern region of Russia to reunite with Zahava.  From there, my parents made their way to Israel.  They settled in Rishonlezion, where I grew up.

            What does this story about my parents have to do with Washington, DC?  Now, I have to explain.  Ever since my childhood, I used to get into trouble, and my mother, Zahava, often had to protect me from getting into all sorts of dangerous situations.  Both my parents had to deal with this restless, difficult child.  At the age of sixteen I finally left home and went to a kibbutz in the far north of Israel, and I returned home only after completing my crazy military service a few years later.  Next, I went to work for a year in the Sinai Desert, where I almost got killed near the Suez Canal.  The only reflection I have of this experience at the Suez Canal is summed up in a story I heard from Abram Sorramello, the Israeli horse-and-buggy owner who became a famous folklorist:

            Two Egyptian soldiers were caught by their commander spying for
            Israel.  The Egyptian commander instructed his sergeant to hang them
            on a eucalyptus tree hanging over the Suez Canal.  The sergeant, who
            had just eaten lunch with them and was their friend, loosened the rope.
             As a result, when he hanged the first soldier the rope slipped, allowing
             the soldier to fall into the water and swim to freedom on the Israeli
            side.  When the second soldier saw what happened, he begged the
             sergeant not to do the same thing to him, because he did not know
            how to swim!

I happened to meet the first soldier….

            Finally, in October 1972, I entered the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  My stay at the University was short-lived; before the end of 1973 I rejoined my military unit to participate in the Yom Kippur War.  Our mission was to observe the Israeli activities on the Suez Canal.  When I finally returned to the University in April, 1974, I had by then lost interest in continuing my studies in Jerusalem.  So I left for America.  Once established, I met Hillel Kook – that was where my real troubles began, and actually never ended, and I am only sixty-five years old by now!

            Most Israelis do not know, or simply have forgotten, many issues relating to the creation of the Israeli nation.  This story is evolving, and will be developing in the years to come.  In the meantime, I will try to explain, as best as I know or remember, some of the more complex aspects of the history of the birth of Israel.   

            We have all heard about the Holocaust and the extermination of European Jews by the Nazis during WWII.  This topic engulfs Israeli society today, and its repercussions inflict enormous damage on the Israeli people.  The fact is, during the Holocaust years, the Palestinian Jewish leadership, though concerned about Jewish lives, did very to save or help the victims.  I hope this does not surprise anybody, or confuse the subject matter.  Ben Gurion, who, contrary to what most people think, was probably among the worst Jewish leaders in modern times, along with his confidants, almost ignored the plight of European Jews.  However, after the Holocaust, he and the Israeli leadership jumped on the Holocaust wagon and started all kinds of memorials and other theatrical exercises to memorialize the Holocaust and its “Heroism.”  As part of this effort, state institutions created educational tools, and thus the whole Israeli nation became involved in the memory business, or rather what one might call the “Holocaust business.”  Israeli ideas on this subject have penetrated into every nation in the world and every television station, and supposedly the world now knows more than it needs to know about the Holocaust event.  But the Israeli perspective and interpretation of the Holocaust are misleading, and historically inaccurate.  Perhaps the reader has already grasped Eliyho Matz’s conflicts and problems resulting from the above interpretation.

            Well, as an Israeli kid, I accepted the official Israeli explanation of the Holocaust, but I did meditate on these events since I was a child, a child of parents who lost most of their family in that event.  But then, I came to America in 1974, and I soon encountered Hillel Kook, better known in the US as Peter Bergson.  I will never forget my first meeting with him in Manhattan.  This individual was so angry with me, he actually came very close to asking me to leave his office.  His anger came from his deep frustration; he said that basically all he ever met were ignorant Israelis, and he figured I was just another one of them.  Perhaps at the time I was.  It took him awhile to cool off from his anger.  When I offered him some documents he had never seen before on American Jewish leadership and the Holocaust that I had found in my research, he finally realized that I had done some research and was attempting to understand the subject matter.  I had given him some new hope that finally someone was making an honest attempt to tackle the subject matter.  Kook was mentally worn down by his frustrations.  I stayed on working with him for at least ten years.  During those years, I tried to understand the reaction of Jewish leadership to the Holocaust.  It was not a pleasant story.  The Israelis have diverted the focus of Holocaust understanding by teaching the heroic events of the Warsaw Ghetto: that is, focusing on the heroism of a few of the victims -- most of this story is a historical fraud, and sadly a story that cannot teach anything about Jewish survival.  But this is the Israeli story.

            As opposed to the Israeli story, my story is an attempt to explain what happened to Hillel Kook during the year 1943 in Washington, DC.  It is not such a pleasant story to hear, and not one without complexity.  But again I am not heeding the warnings of my mom that often replay in my head, my mom who died a few weeks ago and who had always warned me and tried to protect me from unseen danger.  Rather, I am telling the facts as I can best reconstruct them, for the benefit of future generations.

            Hillel Kook, a.k.a. Peter Bergson, came from Europe in 1940 via Warsaw, via Jerusalem, to New York.  In his early twenties, he was already a senior commander in the Palestinian Jewish underground and one of the leading individuals in the Irgun Zvai Leumi.  His arrival in American created a storm among some of his friends and supporters of the Irgun in America.  He arrived poor, not connected, and unable to speak English well.  While in America he overcame those three obstacles.  How he did so is worth a movie or two.  The focus of my story will be his activities between November, 1942, when he first heard in Washington, DC, the official announcement confirming the news of the extermination of European Jews, and his raising of the Israeli flag in Washington in early 1944 (four years before the establishment of an Israeli nation).   

By November 1942, Hillel Kook was very familiar with many of the Representatives and Senators in the US Congress, as well as with many officials in the State Department, the War Department and the Interior Department, and scores of other government officials working in Washington.  The news of the Holocaust arrived in Washington in the middle of July, 1942, and was confirmed by the US government in November 1942.  The period between November, 1942, and May, 1944, represented Hillel Kook’s finest hours.  One must recognize that he was the leader who responded to the Nazi atrocities in the US capital.  His activities began in New York City, where, with the help of playwright Ben Hecht, he managed to organize a pageant called, “We Will Never Die,” which was performed later in other cities around America.  The purpose of this pageant was to bring to the public eye the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jews.  Later on, in July, 1943, he organized a conference in New York City that was attended by many important Americans and dealt with options of how to save European Jews.  By mid-1943, it became clear to Kook that in order to save European Jews, he needed the support of the American government, so his next move was to try to convince Congress.  Congressman Will Rogers, Jr., a Democrat from California, along with several other Congressman and Senators, became interested in backing a resolution that would call for the US Government to enter into the business of rescue.  As part of this effort,  Will Rogers, Jr., a descendant of Cherokee Indians, flew to London in late 1943 to explore possibilities with the British on how to save Jews.  But he came back disappointed.  It was clear to Kook from early November 1942, that unless the US government became actively involved in saving Jews, there would be little chance for any rescue.  Backed by allies in Congress as well as friends in the Treasury, State and War Departments, Kook worked ceaselessly to place pressure on the FDR Administration to act on behalf of European Jews.  In retrospective analysis of his activities, one must recognize Kook’s enormous energy and determination to do the right thing to save Jews.  With great difficulties Kook convinced Orthodox Jewish rabbis to come and protest in Washington on the eve of Yom Kippur in 1943.  In that case, he had to invoke his uncle’s name (Rabbi A. Kook) and put all sorts of pressure on those Orthodox rabbis.  Today, Orthodox Jewish leaders praise that event, but as Hillel told me, it was one heck of an effort to convince them.   

Despite enormous efforts, FDR was not yet convinced.  At the time of the War, his closest advisors were American Jews.  The Zionists in America were receiving their cues from Ben Gurion: not only were they not taking much action themselves toward rescue, but they were also creating Congressional obstacles behind Kook’s efforts to exact pressure for government action to save Jews.  Sol Bloom, a Zionist Jewish Congressman from NY, along with distinguished Reform Rabbi Stephan Wise, both pressured to kill the resolution in Congress.  I hope that, with the distance of seventy years, American Jews take note of this today.   

As a member of the Jewish Palestinian underground, Kook also had to deal with a number of issues happening in Palestine.  Towards the middle of 1943, he sent Irgun member Arie Ben Eliezer to Palestine to reorganize the collapsing Irgun.  During this year of terrible tragedy for European Jews, Kook also thought about the future of a Hebrew Republic in Palestine, later called the Israeli nation, and today being attempted to be called the Jewish nation.  Kook purchased a building in Washington, and in May, 1944, he boldly raised the flag of the future Israeli nation on the front porch.  One would think that smart Israelis, or sophisticated American Jews, would pay attention to their past history and might reach some constructive conclusion surrounding these past events.  Regrettably, that has not yet been the case.  Monuments of Hillel Kook are no where to be found; his name does not appear in the history books; his activities are unknown to the majority of Israelis and American Jews.

            My mom, who raised me, always warned me against getting into trouble.  I guess I did not listen to her.  I have not been able to stop telling this story of the revolt in Washington.  Mom, I hope you forgive me.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Don't Find Snowden Guilty Before Trial...

I really must comment on the unholy number of pundits and politicians calling Edward Snowden a "traitor" before he has had his chance for a day in court.
The only honest answer is: It is too soon to tell.
The American people need to know what is going on before we can decide who to blame. Perhaps President Obama is at fault, and Snowden a hero of civil disobedience?
In my opinion, it is manifestly un-American to prejudge such a case before the defendant has had his day in court.
From what we know so far, Snowden was not motivated by a desire to help enemies of the United States, rather to call the attention of the American public to what he believed was unconstitutional (and therefore illegal, even if sanctioned by law) behavior by the NSA in violation of at least the First and Fourth Amendments in the Bill of Rights. He may have been naive, he may have been misguided, he may have broken his signed pledge of employment--or he may have been right. But nothing presented so far in any way suggests he is guilty of espionage--especially since his target audience was the American People.
The public right to know is a bedrock of democracy.
Without it, a representative democracy such as ours cannot function. Checks and balances become meaningless. Which is why the press had been seen as a "Fourth Estate" designed to keep the other three branches in check and balanced when they overreached.
To see Dick Cheney poke his cowardly head out from his undisclosed location--after he presided over 9/11, the worst attack on the US since Pearl Harbor, and then failed to defeat either Bin Laden or Al Qaeda despite eight years of warfare and trillions of dollars spent on his cronies (including appointing his daughter as head of US Public Relations in the State Department, at a time when the job required a professional with unimpeachable credibility)--is beyond irony. (BTW, Cheney also lost the Vietnam War.)
If anyone should be tried for treason, it might be Bush, Cheney, and the entire GOP establishment who literally let Al Qaeda get away with murder--and smeared the name of American democracy around the world by institutionalizing torture and concentration camps to no measurable effect. Every time I'm patted down or scanned at an airport, I think: "This is another small victory for Al Qaeda." Of course, Booz Allen has made a lot of money for its partners (and lost the Global War on Terror in the meantime). But I guess Booz is too big to is Dick Cheney--and Barack Obama.
Unfortunately, instead of changing course, the Obama administration transformed the Bush Doctrine of Islamist appeasement into an Obama Doctrine of Islamist collaboration.
Rather than Osama Bin Laden as capo di tutti cappi for worldwide Islamist fundamentalism, Obama seemed to take pride in that role, bumping off his minor rival...then giving a green light to Islamist takeovers across the Arab world. How anyone with a conscience could justify this policy in the name of human rights or democracy has been difficult to understand, but perhaps no one in the Obama administration has a conscience.
At this point, Vladimir Putin looks more humane than any American leader. A sad commentary.
Luckily, Edward Snowden does seem to have a conscience. Perhaps because he did not graduate from college and so was spared the Kool-aid of moral relativism and sophistry that has come to be called "higher education" in the United States since the arrival of Political Correctness. Snowden says he acted out of conscience, let us test that sentiment.
Perhaps he was wrong, perhaps he was right, but he deserves at the very least the decency of a trial and a defense before sentence is pronounced.
The rabid foaming of the mouth of the mad-dog Republican leadership of Boehner, McConnell and Cheney serves only to provide political cover for a corrupt and suspect administration that should be thoroughly investigated. Like Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden could bring down an administration through his courageous actions to call public attention to the historical record. If the GOP were a normal party, it would bring down the Obama administration over NSA spying on ordinary Americans and its support for Islamist terrorists--in Boston, in Syria, in Libya, in Chechnya and around the world.
Ironically, American dissidents like Snowden are now fleeing to China for freedom of speech, so degraded have our media, courts, and politics become by Bush and Obama administration policies.
Given the pathetic reaction in America to Snowden's stand, at this point, it seems that unless Rand Paul somehow becomes President in 2016, the USA may no longer remain either the land of the free, nor the home of the brave.

Peter Van Buren on US State Department Sleaze

We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People by Peter Van Buren
The reasons to care about this are many, and all the Hillary-love and attempts to just call it (just) a Republican witch hunt are a smokescreen. The obvious reason to care is that these people represent America abroad, and we need to ask what image they are projecting. In addition, such crimes and personal traits as alleged below make them vulnerable to blackmail, either by other members of the USG (promote me, give me a better assignment, or else…) or foreign intelligence (turn over the secrets or the photos go to the press). The fact that the organization apparently cannot police itself internally raises questions about competence (and the former SecState saying she was wholly ignorant of all this sludge is not a defense that actually makes her look presidential), and about what if anything it is accomplishing on America’s behalf. Here’s a roundup to date: – As a special shout-out to We Meant Well regulars, USA Today claims it has a memo detailing how Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, allegedly interceded in an investigation by Diplomatic Security into an affair between failed-Iraq ambassador-designate Brett McGurk and Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon. – Cheryl Mills again: Mills, a longtime confidante of Hillary, reportedly played a key role in the State Department’s damage-control efforts on the Benghazi attack last year and was also named in accusations that department higher-ups quashed investigations into diplomats’ potential criminal activity. Cheryl Mills, who served in a dual capacity in recent years as general counsel and chief of staff to Clinton, was accused of attempting to stifle congressional access to a diplomat who held a senior post in Libya at the time of the attack. – U.S. ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman accused of soliciting “sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children.” The ambassador “routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to documents obtained by NBC News. State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered an end to the investigation. “The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team [Note: A State Department team that conducts counterespionage surveillance, watching State Department officials to see if they are being watched by foreign spies] . . . were well aware of the behavior.” The ambassador explained that sometimes he fights with his wife, needs air and he goes for a walk in the park because he likes it. The Atlantic reported that the park Gutman trolled, Parc Royal Warandepark, was well-known as a place to pick up adult homosexual and adolescent boy prostitutes. A Belgian newspaper described the park: “I see young children go to adult waiting. Later, another adult waits, often to extort money from the victim after. I’ve been awakened by cries and my terrace, I saw someone being beaten. I had my legs were shaking. Time to call the police, I saw the victim painfully get up and go.” – A State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” with foreign nationals hired as embassy guards. State’s former regional security officer in Beirut, Chuck Lisenbee, allegedly sexually assaulted guards and was accused of similar assaults in Baghdad, Khartoum and Monrovia. Justine Sincavage, then-director of Diplomatic Security Service, called the allegations a “witch hunt” and gave agents “only three days” to investigate, and no charges were brought, according to USA Today. – Members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries,” a problem the report says was “endemic.” Three members of Clinton’s security detail admitted to hiring prostitutes while on foreign trips and were given suspensions of one day. An investigator for Diplomatic Security launched an investigation into similar allegations against four other members of Clinton’s security detail but was ordered by Kimber Davidson, chief of the special investigations division, and Rob Kelty, his deputy, to shut down the investigation. – The State Department has hired an “alarming number of law-enforcement agents with criminal or checkered backgrounds” because of a flawed hiring process, a stunning memo obtained by The New York Post reveals. “Too many people entering the [Diplomatic Security and Information Management] communities end up as subjects of [Special Investigation Division] investigations and HR adjudications, become Giglio-impaired and can play only limited roles thereafter,” according to the memo. “Giglio” refers to a US Supreme Court case dealing with jury notification that witnesses have made deals with the government to induce testimony. Some Diplomatic Security field offices “have major problems just waiting to be discovered,” the memo adds. – In one case, aggressive interrogation techniques by Diplomatic Service agents “drove an employee to attempt suicide” when accused of raping his maid in Bangkok, Thailand, a memo suggests. “After “being told he would end up in a Thai prison, his wife would lose her job and his children would be pulled out of school, [the man] attempted suicide by jumping out of the 16th-story window at a hotel in Bangkok.” The guy lived, and was flown back to Washington for in-patient psychiatric care, where the agents continued to harass him. The rape charges were ultimately dropped. – The same Diplomatic Security memo cites eight cases involving Diplomatic Security agents who resorted to “false, misleading or incomplete statements in reports,” “privacy-act violations” or “lack of objectivity” in investigations. – Diplomatic security agents learned that James Combs, a senior diplomatic security agent in Baghdad and formerly of the DS Office of Professional Standards, was having an extramarital affair with a subordinate and had numerous affairs with men over a 30-year span without the knowledge of his wife. This presented “counterintelligence concerns,” but the investigation never reached a conclusion. – A security contractor in Baghdad died of an overdose of methadone, which he was taking to counteract an addiction to the painkiller oxycodone. An underground drug ring may have been supplying the drugs, but State’s regional security officer did not allow a special investigations agent to pursue that possibility. – In Miami, agents investigating a car accident by diplomatic security agent Evelyn Kittinger learned that she had been claiming full pay for several years “but had actually only worked very few hours.” State Department supervisors told the investigator to advise her to resign to avoid facing criminal charges and a major fine. – Another report states that a top State Department official stymied investigators trying to get to the bottom of four killings in Honduras involving DEA agents and local police. The incident ended in the deaths of two pregnant women and two men last year, after Honduran national police opened fire from a State Department-owned helicopter on a small boat. Honduran police said drugs were involved, but locals said the boat was full of fishermen. - See more at:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dana Rohbacher's Letter To The Editor...

One can only assume based on the June 4 editorial “Our ‘friends’ in Moscow?,” that The Post’s editorial board doesn’t believe radical Islam is at our throats or at the throats of the Russian people. History suggests, and the future will confirm, that The Post is wrong.

Radical Islamic terrorists continue to commit acts of mayhem and murder against the people of the Western world, including the people of Russia. But The Post nonetheless portrayed my call for closer cooperation with Russia as accepting Russia’s human rights abuses. That is not the case. I suggest that magnifying Russian government transgressions distorts the greater picture of what is happening in that part of the world.

In contrast to my modest desire not to demonize and isolate Russian leaders, U.S. leaders wine and dine the tyrannical Chinese Communist Party bosses and pay homage to terrorist-supporting elites in countries like Saudi Arabia.

I’ll let the American people, who have been victimized at the hands of radical Islamists, decide whether it is naive of me not to hammer the enemy of my enemy. This doesn’t excuse human rights abuses in Russia, but rather recognizes the need for a working alliance if tragedies like the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the attack at the Boston Marathon are to be prevented.

Dana Rohrabacher, Washington

The writer, a Republican, represents California’s 46th District in the House.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mark Steyn on the NSA Scandal
John Yoo writes below about prosecuting NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and observes en passant: If he is a spy — it is amazing that someone with such little education and background was given such extensive security clearance — he may well continue running abroad. John knows government from the inside as well as anyone, so I don’t know why it would be “amazing” at all. Over 4 million people hold US security clearances: That’s the equivalent of giving security clearances to the entire population of New Zealand. According to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, a total of 642,831 people were approved for Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret clearances in FY 2010 alone (scroll down to page five). You know the way the bureaucracy works, John: How seriously do you think those two-thirds-of-a-million people were looked at? The report seems to suggest a turnover of about 600,000 in a typical year, which means that the actual number of Americans with some kind of security clearance from the last half-decade alone could be closer to seven million. Even more amazing are the words immediately preceding that: The number of clearances approved could not be obtained for FY 2009 . . . So the same government that presumes the right to know my phone calls, my emails and my MasterCard purchases doesn’t know how many security clearances it issued in a given year. The rationale given by defenders of this system over the last few days — oh, relax; there are over 300 million of us; the government doesn’t have time to comb through all the stuff it’s got on you — would seem to apply here: When 4 million people have security clearances, and another 1,800 people are getting new security clearances every day, the government doesn’t even have time to comb through them before it lets them comb through you. Over at Powerline, Scott Johnson writes of Mr Snowden: Read the Guardian profile and the Post articles and you will see that Snowden professes no loyalty to the United States. He conceives of himself as a citizen of the world, or of the realm of Digitalia. He does not sound like anyone to be trusted with an assessment on our behalf the costs and benefits of the course of action he has undertaken. Just so. One reason for the citizenry not to entrust its personal information to the government is that the big, bloated, blundering government is stupid enough to entrust it to Edward Snowden, as it was previously stupid enough to entrust it to Bradley Manning (the Wikileaks leaker). It’s only a matter of time before the halfwit leviathan entrusts it to a Major Hasan or a Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Robert Spencer on the NSA Scandal
The surveillance scandal is a direct result of our national denial about jihad This surveillance scandal arises out of our national bipartisan unwillingness to face the reality of Islamic jihad. Because we all agree that Islam is a religion of peace, we can't possibly address where the threat is really coming from, and monitor mosques or subject Muslims with Islamic supremacist ties to greater surveillance. Instead, we have to pretend that anyone and everyone is a potential terrorist, and surveil everyone. Our freedoms and privacy are now at risk because of our refusal to admit the truth about Islam. People who leak classified information need to be punished, but Snowden is more of a whistleblower, akin to a Soviet dissident working against an all-encompassing government. It is good that it came out that they're watching our every move, reading all our emails, etc. It needed to come out because it needs to stop if we are going to have any chance of surviving as a free people and not becoming a totalitarian state in which every slave of the authoritarian rulers is under constant surveillance. "White House disputes comparisons to Bush amid leak scandal," by Dave Boyer for The Washington Times, June 10: Embarrassed by national-security leaks of historic proportions, the White House rebutted accusations Monday by the disillusioned former government contractor who leaked the surveillance secrets that President Obama is no different than President George W. Bush in his anti-terrorism tactics. Obviously Obama is far worse, but actually the two are on a continuum. As a debate raged over whether the leaker, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is a hero or a criminal, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there was no reason for Mr. Snowden to have been disappointed in Mr. Obama. “The president’s record on making the kinds of changes that he promised he would make to the ways that we pursue our fight against al Qaeda and our fight against terrorists and extremists, he has lived up to,” Mr. Carney said.... How? By pretending that everyone in the country is a member of al-Qaeda?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Peter van Buren on NSA Scandal
I’m not doing anything wrong, so why should I care? If you’re doing nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide! See above. The definition of “wrong” can change very quickly. I trust Obama on this. All of your personal data is in the hands of the same people that run the TSA, the IRS and likely the DMV. Do you trust all of them all the time to never make mistakes or act on personal grudges or political biases? Do you believe none of them would ever sell your data for personal profit ever? In fact, the NSA is already sharing your data with, at minimum, British intelligence. That’s a foreign government that your American government is informing on you to, FYI. Also, the alleged leaker, Edward Snowden, worked for a private contracting company and had access to your data. I really trust Obama on this. OK, let’s stipulate that Obama will never do anything bad with the data. But once collected, your personal data exists forever, and is available to whomever in the future can access it, using whatever technologies come to exist. Trusting anyone with such power is foolish.

Barry Rubin on the NSA Scandal
Vast amounts of money and resources, though, are being spent in preparing for an exact replay of September 11. And remember that the number of terrorists caught by the TSA hovers around the zero level. The shoe, underpants, and Times Square bombers weren’t even caught by security at all and many other such cases can be listed. In addition to this, the U.S.-Mexico border is practically open. The ultimate problem is that the number of terrorists is very low and the fact is that for anyone who isn’t insane their characteristics are pretty clear, that is they are about 99 percent revolutionary and violent Islamists. Obama has now admitted three very important things. First, the war on terrorism has not been won. Second, the war on al-Qaida has not really been won, since its continued campaigning is undeniable and it has even grown in Syria, partly thanks to U.S. policy. Third, the biggest threat on the American homeland is autonomous terrorists who have been inspired by al-Qaida but are not technically part of the nomination. (That allows Obama to claim to be winning the war on al-Qaida). What he has not yet admitted is that the Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist groups or sponsors are controlling Egypt, Tunisia, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Turkey, Sudan, Syria, and Iran, while terrorists run free in the Palestinian Authority, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, is not conducive to the protection of America against terrorism. The fact that his policy promotes some of these problems makes things even worse.    Yet the new, expensive, expansive, and time-consuming technological methods are relatively ineffective against the current priorities of anti-American terrorist groups. Incidentally, Obama policy has been disastrous against a four factor, radical Islamists—though not al-Qaida taking over places. Compared to the time Obama came to office, the Islamists who support violence against America now rule Egypt, Tunisia, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, and perhaps soon Syria. Offenses have been stepped up in Somalia, Yemen; are being maintained in Iraq; and of course still rule over Syria and Iran. In Turkey, an Islamist terror-supporting regime has been embraced by Obama. This represents a massive retreat even if it is a largely unnoticed one. So the problem of growing government spying is three-fold. --First, it is against the American system and reduces liberty. --Second, it is a misapplication of resources, in other words money is being spent and liberty sacrificed for no real gain. --Third, since government decisionmaking and policy about international terrorism is very bad the threat is increasing. If you don’t get value for money or enhanced security while freedom is being reduced and the enemy is getting stronger it certainly isn’t a bargain.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

RubinReports on Obama's Middle East

In the Middle East, to paraphrase President Barack Obama's mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the dodo birds are coming home to roost. At this moment, the administration's policy team consists of CIA director John Brennan, father of the ""moderate" Islamism-and-the-Muslim Brotherhood-are-good school; the Secretary of State John Kerry who thinks he is going to make Israel-Palestinian peace in one month;  the know-nothing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; the chilling ideologue Samantha Powers as UN ambassador; and the dupe of the Benghazi scandal Susan Rice rewarded by being made national security adviser. Can things get any  more Alice in Wonderland? But what's really happening in the region?

Thursday, June 06, 2013

US Government Reportedly Protected Terror Groups
Patrick S. Poole writes: "Why has the U.S. government called certain Islamic groups supporters of terror in federal court, and then turned around and called these same organizations “moderates” and embraced them as outreach partners? In a number of cases from the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, the leaders of these organizations (some of whom are now in federal prison) were under active investigation at the same time they were meeting with senior U.S. leaders at the White House and the Capitol and helping develop U.S. policy. Now these same Islamic organizations and leaders have openly encouraged a purge of counterterrorism training that have effectively blinded law enforcement, homeland security, and intelligence agencies to active terror threats as seen in the inaction of the FBI concerning the Boston bombing suspects and other terror cases. This study poses serious questions as to the efficacy and even security concerns about U.S. government outreach to Islamic groups, which often turn out to be Islamist militants, enemies of Islamic moderation, and even supporters of terrorism."

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Heck of a Job, Freedom House...

This is what you get when you turn US foreign policy over to NGOs...
(Reuters) - An Egyptian court convicted 43 Americans, Europeans, Egyptians and other Arabs on Tuesday in a case against democracy promotion groups that plunged U.S.-Egyptian ties into their worst crisis in decades. Judge Makram Awad gave five-year sentences to 27 defendants tried in absentia including 15 U.S. citizens. Another American who stayed for trial was given a two-year sentence but left Egypt on Tuesday on the advice of his lawyers.
It was entirely predictable:

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Chilean President Piñera Goes To Washington

I had a chance to see Pres. Sebastian Piñera speak at CSIS yesterday before his meeting with Pres. Obama. He gave a good talk about Chilean economic development...and received deserved applause for the rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners. When I googled him, he turned out to be the richest man in Chile, a cross between Bloomberg, Berlusconi & Richard Branson (he owned a big chunk of LAN Chile airlines as well as a TV network). He's also a descendant of two former presidents and an Incan emperor. But the most remarkable thing about him was this quote, which resonated in the context of Senate hearings on alleged sexual harassment in the US military, per Wikipedia: 

"In December 2011 during a state visit to Mexico a joke made by Piñera where he compared women with politicians caused uproar in Chile sparking even criticism from his own minister Carolina Schmidt who said of the joke that it was "hurting to many women".

"In the joke Piñera said that"when a lady says "no" it means maybe, when she says maybe it means yes and when she says yes she is not a lady."

"The Chilean Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence called the joke "misogynic" and "a shame for the whole country..."