Yesterday, American hero and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden presented a Christmas message for Britain’s Channel 4. If you missed Snowden’s message amidst the holiday festivities, I highly recommend watching it above. He has some important things to say about privacy and why it matters, and The Freedom Bulletin couldn’t agree more with his sentiments.
December 26, 2013
December 24, 2013
In an in-depth interview with the Washington Post, heroic NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden explained and defended his decision to share details of the agency’s surveillance programs with the world. He also expressed his sense of victory now that the NSA’s programs have become public and therefore a source of debate and controversy:
“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself… All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed. That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”
In response to those who accuse him of breaking the oath of secrecy that he took when he became an NSA contractor, he replied:
“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy. That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not… I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”
And to the critics who would ask what gave him the right to unilaterally decide that the NSA’s programs should no longer be secret, he said:
“Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions… Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden… The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility… It wasn’t that they put it on me as an individual — that I’m uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens — as that they put it on someone, somewhere. You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don’t do it. So somebody has to be the first.”
June 23, 2013
Image credit: We Stand With Edward Snowden
Today’s events in the saga of Edward Snowden have truly shown who believes in privacy and individual rights, and who doesn’t.
The government of Hong Kong, where Snowden had been staying since he leaked details of the NSA’s spying program, bravely stood up to the U.S. government, defying their demands to arrest Snowden and instead allowing him to fly to Russia. They issued the following statement, saying that the government’s request didn’t meet their legal requirements…and also taking the opportunity to express concerns about the privacy of their own citizens:
April 8, 2013
Today the world lost a brave, strong leader and a true feminist. Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, died today at age 87.
Lionel Shriver described in a piece for Slate how, unlike so many people today who call themselves feminists, Thatcher was the real thing:
Thatcher consistently defied gender stereotypes. A woman’s prerogative may be to change her mind, but Thatcher was decisive; her defense of British territorial interests when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982 was unequivocal, and helped to restore waning British self-regard. The Iron Lady was anything but sentimental, as evidenced by her refusal to be moved by the miners’ strike of 1984-85 (the breaking of which the British left has never forgiven her for). Though women ostensibly seek harmony, she never shied from conflict, which is why a string of powerful ministers in her Cabinets were driven to resign. From her first assumption of the leadership of the Conservative Party, no one ever had the nerve to call her weak.
As she confounded the expectation that a female political leader would err on the side of softness, accommodation, and dithering, Thatcher also upended the traditional power structure of marriage. Modest and retiring, Dennis Thatcher sat cheerfully in the backseat while his wife drove the car—and the country. Yet Maggie and Dennis were by all accounts happy together, and therefore writ large a new domestic model: If one of you has to be the boss, it can just easily be the wife.
RIP Margaret Thatcher.
Leave a message in her honor here.
March 30, 2013
For almost two years I have been a defender and supporter of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Anne Sinclair. I have written quite a few blog posts praising their relationship and taking their side in the various legal trials and tribulations that they have faced. So with the news of their recent divorce, I think it fitting that I share my thoughts on their relationship and its tragic end.
February 3, 2013
In case you missed it, WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange recently spoke via video link at Oxford University. He was invited by the Oxford Union Society, and his address was part of the ceremony for the Sam Adams Award, an honor celebrating whistleblowers. This year’s recipient was Dr. Tom Fingar, the lead author of the US National Intelligence Estimate, which provided evidence that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Assange won the award in 2010. In this year’s ceremony he spoke out against censorship and of the importance of freedom of information. Also speaking at the ceremony were several other whistleblowers, including former FBI and CIA agents and diplomats.
January 30, 2013
Yesterday lawyers for Megaupload and its founder, Kim Dotcom, filed a brief in a U.S. federal court in Virginia, asking for a dismissal of the criminal copyright infringement case against them. The brief argues that the government violated Megaupload’s rights by seizing the company’s servers and freezing its assets without notice, depriving the defendants of the evidence and funds needed to effectively defend themselves, as well as depriving users of their files:
“More than a year has now passed since Megaupload was branded a criminal, with no opportunity to date to clear its name or to challenge the charges against it. More than a year has passed since every penny of the company’s assets was frozen, yet there has been no pre- or post-seizure hearing for Megaupload to contest the propriety of that action. Megaupload’s servers—which house the universe of relevant evidence against which the Government’s allegations against Megaupload might potentially be fully and fairly assessed one day—have been taken offline for lack of funding (while the Government sits on all the assets it has seized from Megaupload), gathering dust and in danger of deteriorating. And Megaupload’s innocent consumers have been forced to go more than a year without any access to their property.
The ability of a criminal defendant to mount, not only in theory but also in practice, a fair defense should be beyond question. The Government’s conduct of this case is to the contrary, raising grave questions about whether the Government is intent on being judge, jury, executioner, and asset collector without benefit of the adversarial process and protections, including those of Rule 4, to which this corporation is entitled.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a memorandum in support of Megaupload’s position (PDF).