Pardon Snowden, He Blew Whistle on NSA Crimes

pardon-snowden

Ed Snowden has been demonised by some on the right as a traitor. Those on the right don’t as a rule put their trust in governments and Snowden is a patriotic, freedom loving libertarian, not a Russian or Chinese dupe, as some conservatives seem to believe. (He even donated $250 to Ron Paul’s election campaign.) His motivation was ideological and principled – it has cost him his personal freedom and his career. People who Guido would normally expect to side with the cause of liberty have focused on the medium not the message – because it was Alan Rusbridger’s Guardian that broke the story they have got their backs up. Whatever right-minded people think of the Guardian, it was disgraceful to hear Rusbridger’s patriotism questioned by a Select Committee over him publishing the Snowden story.

Ed Snowden was as the New York Times argued yesterday clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on the blanket intelligence-gathering was to “expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work“, revealing what his bosses covered-up and lied to Congress about. Beyond the mass collection of phone and internet data Snowden revealed:

  • The NSA (aided and abetted by GCHQ) broke the law, and exceeded their authority, thousands of times per year.
  • The NSA (aided and abetted by GCHQ) broke into the communications links of Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other internet giants, allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts. Many of those companies are now, thankfully, scrambling to install systems that the NSA cannot yet penetrate.
  • The NSA systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust. Ironically this opened back doors that could also be used by hostile intelligence agencies.
  • His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March.
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court rebuked the N.S.A. for repeatedly providing misleading information about its surveillance practices, according to a ruling made public because of the Snowden documents. One of the practices violated the Constitution, according to the chief judge of the court.
  • A federal judge ruled earlier this month that the phone-records-collection programme probably violates the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. He called the programme “almost Orwellian” and said there was no evidence that it stopped any imminent act of terror.

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. Rick Ledgett, who leads the NSA’s task force on the Snowden leaks, told CBS News that he would consider amnesty if Snowden halted any additional leaks. President Obama should do just that, bring Snowden home. He is a hero.

Hat-tip: New York Times

Bashir Resigns After S**t in Her Mouth Palin Rant

martin bashir

“After making an on-air apology, I asked for permission to take some additional time out around the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments. 

I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers – who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast.”

Bashir’s rant:

WATCH: Rob Ford: The Movie

Via teh internetz.

WATCH: Another Day, Another Rob Ford Apology

Fire up the autotune.

Bill and Ed’s Excellent Adventure

Move over Red Sox, Ed has a new red American hero:

Guido hears that this is not the first contact the two camps have had, with the NYC Mayor elect reaching out on energy policy and various other back channel chat.

Poor Hollande. Whatever happened to that guy…

GOP #Winning

Well that went well then.

Via Twitter

Westminster Council Ticket Hillary Clinton’s Motorcade

Proof that a Westminster parking warden will try and ticket literally anyone. Even Hillary Clinton. 

Cllr Daniel Astaire, Westminster City Council cabinet member for business, told the Mail:

‘Despite our traffic marshal being questioned by the secret service for just doing his job, he was in the right. The former US Secretary of State was parked for nearly 45 minutes without paying. I’m sure she will understand that we have to be fair to everyone, regardless of their status on the world stage.”

Presumably it will go on the pile along with the £7.2m the US Embassy owes for parking fines and missed congestion charge payments.

WATCH: Ted Cruz Reads Green Eggs and Ham on Senate Floor

Great filibsuters of our time…

PM: 9 Journalists Stopped By Police at Tory Away Day

According to Tory MPs in the room, the Prime Minister just told them that nine journalists have been “stopped” by the police for trying to infiltrate their away day conference. The PM said:

“I don’t know if they were tasered”

[…]

iPoker Face

If you are one of the most senior US politicians attending a crucial hearing on potential military intervention in Syria, being snapped playing poker on your phone doesn’t look great. Well that’s what happened to John McCain last night:

[…]

Meanwhile, Stateside…

You’re welcome…[…]

Fox News Plays Dude Looks Like a Lady During Manning Report

Superb trolling.[…]



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Lord Ashcroft’s focus group is asked where each party leader would be most likely to go on holiday:

David Cameron: “Monaco”

Nigel Farage: “Blighty”

Nick Clegg: “Caribbean”

Ed Miliband: “The Moon, his own little world”

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