Friday, June 21, 2013

"home of the free...."

U.S. surveillance leaker Edward Snowden has been charged with espionage in the 'land of the free and the home of the brave.'
Authorities are also understood to have begun the process of getting him back to the US to stand trial, with American media reporting that the US government has asked Hong Kong to detain Snowden if he is still there....
The 30-year-old technician fled Hawaii on May 20 and flew to Hong Kong, an autonomous Chinese territory, from where he proceeded to leak details of secret US intelligence programs to international media outlets.
In related news, Yahoo has given some details of the federal demands for its users' records.
[Yahoo] said it had received between 12,000 and 13,000 US government requests for user data in the past year and a half....
Yahoo voiced frustration that it was unable to reveal the number of requests that had concerned national security....
"Like all companies, Yahoo cannot lawfully break out Fisa [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] request numbers at this time because those numbers are classified," it said in a blog post by chief executive Marissa Mayer and general counsel Ron Bell....
          So far disclosures have revealed:
  • Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from federal, state and local authorities between December 2012 and May 2013
  • Facebook received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests between July and December 2012
  • Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000 requests between July and December 2012
It is hard not to suspect that the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests are classified not because of the source but because the number, in comparison to other requests, might be startlingly few ... and thus make clear that a generalized snooping had relatively little to do with whatever "terrorism" might be defined as these days.

And then there's Pfc. Bradley Manning, whose trial for a leak similar to Snowden's is still on-going, though it's not easy to find it in the news.  A two-day old story says that prosecutors have dragged Julian Assange and his Wikileaks efforts into Manning's trial. The fact that you have to seek out Manning's story gives some hint as to the likely and hoped-for fate of the whistleblowers ... just forget about 'em ... they're gonna get locked up anyway... no one cares and the government will no longer be asked unfortunate questions that it can only answer by saying, "that's classified."

It all seems to give new depth to the word "drone" .... "home of the free and the land of the brave" ... droooonnnnnnnne!

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