UN Rules Julian Assange is Being ‘Arbitrarily Held’ And Deserves Compensation

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks caused a media frenzy by publishing classified documents about Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo. By 2015, Wikileaks has published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses, and has been described by Assange himself as “a giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents” As a result, Assange was treated as a fugitive and subject to a prosecution by the Espionage Act of 1917. There’s also been a slur on Assange’s character which stems from allegations of a sexual assault against two women in Sweden. To properly hear the case, Assange has to leave his safe haven at the Ecuadorian embassy. Many argue this is simply the workings of a corrupt government trying to capture Assange by any means possible.

Today, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention made a landmark ruling and claimed Assange’s decision to reside in the Ecuadorian embassy was “arbitrary detention” and breached international law. Furthermore the UN suggested that Mr Assange’s detention “should be brought to an end, that his physical integrity and freedom of movement be respected”. Apparently, the Wikileaks founder was subject to “different forms of deprivation of liberty” and “… afforded the right to compensation”. It’s important to note that this isn’t a legally binding arrangement, and doesn’t alter Assange’s current plight. However, this should apply some pressure on the UK and USA governments to give Assange freedom of movement without any arrests occurring.

Mr. Assange reacted to the decision via a direct video link and said it was a “really significant victory that has brought a smile to my face”. However, the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond dismissed these recent comments and claimed he was a “fugitive from justice” Not only that, Hammond said Assange could “come out any time he chooses” but would still have to face a trial.

Do you think Julian Assange is a hero or villain?

Assange Denied ‘Safe Passage’ for Hospital Treatment by UK Government

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been denied safe passage to hospital to get vital scans, recommended by his doctor, for a “deep pain” he has been suffering with in his right shoulder since June. Assange, exiled in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past three years, will be arrested if he leaves the grounds of the embassy to get an MRI scan, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino revealed.

“The British government is not offering the terms to make this happen,” Patino said at a press conference yesterday. “It’s an additional fault in his protection, in the defense of a person’s human rights. This is a person who needs to have exams done to understand the situation given it is grave. We don’t know what he may have, and they don’t want to give an authorization that they can perfectly well give.”

Carey Shenkman, Assange’s American lawyer, claims the UK is making his client “choose between the human right to asylum and the human right to medical treatment”.

If Assange steps foot on UK ground – the embassy and its boundaries are considered Ecuadorian soil – he is fair game, according to the Metropolitan Police. “Should he leave the embassy, the [Met] will make every effort to arrest him. However, it is no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence,” a police spokesperson said.

Thank you SputnikNews and The Guardian for providing us with this information.

WikiLeaks Reveals ISPs to Disclose Copyright Infringer Details Under TPP

WikiLeaks has been revealing details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership since the deal was agreed (but not signed) by Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Brunei, and Chile last week after years of negotiation, and the latest documents show that internet service providers in participating countries will be forced to hand over the details of any user thought to be infringing upon copyrighted materials.

The leaked document (which can be found on the WikiLeaks website), while representing a draft with the final wording yet to be agreed, purports to be the “final” version of the intellectual property chapter.

“This is the highly sort-after [sic] secret ‘final’ agreed version of the TPP chapter on intellectual property rights,” the document released by WikiLeaks reads. “There is still a finishing ‘legal scrub’ of the document meant to occur, but there are to be no more negotiations between the parties … The document is dated October 5, the same day it was announced in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, that the 12 nations had managed to reach an accord after five and half years of negotiations.”

Under the agreement, ISPs will be subject to “legal incentives” to encourage them to block copyright infringing materials and assist the copyright owners in preventing the transmission of storage of such materials. ISPs are considered liable for its users; therefore, if one of its users is found infringing copyrighted material, the ISP is considered responsible, presumably to force it into shopping its users rather than take the rap for piracy. Copyright holders can submit a list of infringing IP addresses to ISPs and expect to receive details of the offending users in return.

TPP is still being ratified by its 12 member countries prior to signing. Organisations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation are still fighting against TPP, specifically the Intellectual Property Chapter.

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Alochonaa.

UK Police Launch Covert Operation Against Julian Assange

The UK Metropolitan Police Service has removed its 24/7 guard from outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the building that has been home to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange since he was granted asylum there in 2012, in favour of what it describes as a “covert plan”.

“Whilst the MPS remains committed to executing the arrest warrant and presenting Julian Assange before the court, it is only right that the policing operation to achieve this is continually reviewed against the diplomatic and legal efforts to resolve the situation,” the Metropolitan Police statement reads. “As a result of this continual review the MPS has today Monday, 12 October withdrawn the physical presence of officers from outside the Embassy.”

“The MPS will not discuss what form its continuing operation will take or the resourcing implications surrounding it,” it adds. “Whilst no tactics guarantee success in the event of Julian Assange leaving the embassy, the MPS will deploy a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him.”

It is worth noting that Assange is in exile not due to his activities in releasing state secrets, but rather to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning regarding an alleged sexual assault. While sexual assault is an abhorrent crime and should be taken seriously, such a large-scale police operation to take a man wanted for questioning (he was never charged) into custody seems excessive, and seems to confirm Assange’s suspicion that his extradition would result in him being sent to the US to face charges of espionage.

The permanent police garrison that has been positioned outside the Ecuadorian Embassy for past three years has cost the UK taxpayer £12 million, during which period the Conservative government has cut police funding by 20%, resulting in 35,000 officers being made redundant.

Image courtesy of ABC.

WikiLeaks Julian Assange Fears he will be “Assassinated”

Let’s for a minute contemplate the appearance of Julian Assange, he looks as if he is attempting to apply for this year’s role of Santa at a shopping centre. He might be slowly losing his marbles considering a few of his comments concerning his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy during an interview with The Times Magazine.

Can I source this link? Noooo, why? Behind a paywall, oh where else can I find a summary, I know, the many sources on the internet of course. Anyway, Julian Assange fears he will be assassinated if he steps onto either a balcony or out the door of the embassy. This is technically possible, although he might need to move further away from the building than that for it to look less obvious. Now for the weird, the following comments are his views on being “droned”

I’m a white guy,” Mr Assange said. “Unless I convert to Islam it’s not that likely that I’ll be droned, but we have seen things creeping towards that.”

I am just going to let that sink in for a sec, he also describes receiving bomb and death threats and he has also not been able to have any fresh air or sunlight for 3 years. His situation could be resolved in the next 2 years by which point his hotel stay at the embassy will be nearer five years.

Julian Assange is controversial yet has, through Wikileaks, been able to expose many a scandal which has included Surveillance and also disgraceful military practices. His situation depends on your viewpoint, many spectators have formed a conclusion that he does indeed have a target on his head, but it’s difficult to quantify his situation, after all, where will he be in 5 years.  Let’s hope he re-enters the world otherwise officials will start charging him per night for his room.

Thank you huffingtonpost for providing us with this information.

Hacking team and Boeing Built a Surveillance Drone

The hack of Hacking team was hilarious but serious at the same time, to contemplate a freelance company hell-bent on hacking any target for a variety of employers seemed, well not surprising, but certainly a disappointing period for the ideological view of democracy. But at least the Italian surveillance team only hacked computers, I mean it’s not like they were developing any weaponry… oh my god they planned a Drone!

According to the released emails which became public thanks to Wikileaks, the firm have been planning for just over a year to develop a drone by the name of ‘Snoopy” which was capable of intercepting data from users smartphones through spoofed wireless networks. The emails also reveal that both Boeing and Hacking Team want unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) with the aim to carry out attacks which inject spyware into target computers or mobile phones via Wi-Fi.

The plans also reveal that public Wi-Fi networks would also be used to intercept targets internet traffic before injecting malicious code into said machine, with the aim of installing spyware which was developed by Hacking team. This news is also accompanied by techniques which makes use of “man in the middle attacks” and exploits to fish for information.

Well, I am not sure I particularly want surveillance drones which have the ability to spy on computers belonging to anyone. This news also highlights the line which blurs the view of good and evil, if governments were contemplating this concept, how does this make them any better than criminals? Yes, it’s technically for a noble cause by catching alleged targets, but who are the targets? This also goes back to the same question of transparently, governments quite happily inform us that money is tight for essential facilities for example hospitals, yet could well have been planning to purchase eyes in the sky which intercepts data at taxpayers expense.

Thank You The Hacker News and Wkileaks for providing us with this fascinating information

Hacking Team Were Tracking Bitcoin Users

Leaked documents, published by WikiLeaks, have revealed that Italian spyware firm Hacking Team have the ability to track Bitcoin users, and have been selling the software with which to do it to third parties since January 2014. Hacking Team was recently subjected to a massive 400GB data theft, which included internal e-mails and private documents, which have now been made available, and searchable, in their entirety on the infamous whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Internal e-mails show that Hacking Team’s premier spyware bundle, the Remote Control System, was updated in January 2014 to allow it to track “cryptocurrencies, such as BitCoin, and all the related information.”

“The module is able to collect various information: list of contacts and local accounts, wallet (i.e., the money) and the history of transactions,” an e-mail from 12th January, 2014, reads. It continues: “Currently it is intended only for Desktops (Windows, OS X, Linux), while introduction in Mobiles is still under evaluation.”

The Remote Control System, when installed on the target’s computer, uses its keylogger to gain access to their Bitcoin wallet, allowing the surveillant to view transaction histories and balances.

“Here is some relevant context to position them in your pitch: Cryptocurrencies are a way to make untraceable transactions, and we all know that criminals love to easily launder, move, and invest black money,” the Hacking Team e-mail reads. “[Law enforcement agencies,] by using our Intelligence module combined with this new capability, can correlate the usage of cryptocurrencies, defeating the financial opacity they provide.”

Bitcoin’s popularity stems from its anonymity, security, and lack of centralised control. Not any more, it seems.

Thank you Epoch Times for providing us with this information.

Here’s How a Hack Took Down Other ‘Legitimate’ Hackers

Before we continue, you might be wondering how could there be ‘legitimate’ hackers. Well, companies such as the one that got hacked, by the name of Hacking Team, exist out there. They usually sell their hacks and services to governments or secret agencies, which make them a key ally and are allowed to continue their work. However, the latest hack proved that even they can be taken down.

Hacking Team is known for selling its services to agencies such as the FBI, DEA, Australian police, or even countries such as Bahrain, Ethiopia, and Sudan. However, the latter could not be proven since they could easily pin everything on their contractors and we all know how good governments and agencies are at denying allegations. Also, they had the ability to keep their code as well as other exploits they used in software products secure, so targeted individuals, companies or even other governments could not do anything about it.

But their operation came to and end, having their systems compromised by a hack that took over 400 GB of data, including their own source codes used for creating the spyware. This means that other developers can now use the data and patch or protect their systems in the future. Hacking Team is said to have been forced to close their company down until further notice, but it’s highly likely they will be operational again in the near future.

There is no official confirmation about who hacked the spyware company, but it is said that Wikileaks focused on latter companies in the past, so nobody can rule out their implications in this. However, sources say that the hack was performed by an independent freelance hacker, so this makes it even harder to pinpoint the attacker.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

Julian Assange Compares Surveillance State to a Malevolent God

In an exclusive interview with Byline, Julian Assange spoke about the evolution from the surveillance state to the surveillance society, in which communities are complicit in being observed and reported on, and how it has become so omnipresent and controls citizens through fear of their terror of its vengeful eye.

Seung-yoon Lee, CEO and Co-founder of Byline, conducted the interview with Assange from his place of exile, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange, of course, cannot leave the embassy under threat of being arrested and extradited to Sweden, where he faces accusations of sexual misconduct, but suspects that Swedish authorities will hand him over to the US, where he is wanted for espionage.

Assange compares our “surveillance society” to communist East Germany, where its people were so afraid of the state’s watchful eye that they would inform on their neighbours:

“We’ve increasingly become accepting of the surveillance that exists at all levels of society.”

“At the level of national security this is still fresh. Other national intelligence agencies engage in bulk Internet monitoring. But over time there will arise an acceptance that this is simply how society is – as has already arisen with other forms of surveillance. At that point, society develops a type of self-censorship, with the knowledge that surveillance exists – a self-censorship that is even expressed when people communicate with each other privately.”

That was the situation in East Germany, not because of mass electronics surveillance, but because up to 10 per cent of people were at some stage of their lives informants for the state. A double language evolved where no one was saying what they really meant. And conformity was produced because of this low-level fear.

He then draws comparison with the Abrahamic God, casting the surveillance state as a malevolent deity that is everywhere, always listening, and constantly judging:

“Now finally Western civilization has produced a god, the god of mass surveillance. How is it like a god? It’s a little bit Abrahamic. If you look at most definitions, a god is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. In particular, god knows when you are doing something that you shouldn’t be doing and whether you are playing according to god’s rules. The conception of national security agencies and mass surveillance is that the overwhelming majority of communications are surveilled upon. Even conversations happening in person may be recorded through an Android phone, or through other electronic gadgets that are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Maybe your friend, although you just talked to them in person, can gossip over electronic media about what you said.”

Is there hope of breaking free of mass surveillance? Assange certainly thinks so, pointing to the democratic movements in South America as the way forward:

“In the past 10 years there has been this Orwellian rise in power of national security agencies like GCHQ and others. But it is precisely this period that has also seen the growing independence and democratization of Latin America – which is a US backyard. At the same time that the landscape gets Orwellian, with total surveillance power, in Latin America you have increasing independence away from the US.”

He also asserts the size and power of the large institutions that conduct mass surveillance can be to their detriment:

“They are so large they can’t react quickly. A concrete example is when we rescued Edward Snowden from Hong Kong. It was the largest intelligence manhunt the world has ever seen. We were going head to head with the National Security Agency. The Department of Justice, the White House, the CIA were all providing support for the NSA. I was in this embassy under intense surveillance myself. Through our knowledge of cryptography we managed to elude that surveillance. It is absurd to think that such a small international publisher – WikiLeaks – specialising in publishing things about war crimes, corruption, and intelligence agencies could go into a very clearly defined head to head contest against organisations with a combined budget of over a hundred billion dollars. But we did. I guess we have some brave and intelligent staff. But I think it is really that we are able to move much faster. We already understood the environment. We understood these organisations and how they behave. We have some ability to communicate in secret.”

The first part of the interview is available now on Byline.

Image courtesy of CoinDesk.

Julian Assange Wants to Dismantle Google

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks – the non-profit media organisation notorious for leaking sensitive and confidential information, becoming the scourge of the world’s governments – has outlined his fears regarding the powers of internet behemoth Google, and his desire to see the company broken up into its constituent parts, citing monopoly rules and even government collusion.

Assange, speaking to Serbian news magazine Nedeljnik, said:

One way of looking at Google is that it’s just business. But, for an American internet services monopoly to ensure global market dominance, it cannot simply keep doing what it is doing, and let politics take care of itself. What’s a megacorp to do? If it wants to straddle the world, it must become part of the original empire. Great part of Google’s image is that it is “more than just a company”, and it comes from the perception that it does not act like a big, bad corporation.

It is luring people into its trap with gigabytes of “free storage”, which gives perception that it is acting contrary to the corporate profit motive. Google is often perceived as an essentially philanthropic enterprise, pouring funding into “corporate responsibility” initiatives to produce “social change,” exemplified by Google Ideas. But as Google Ideas shows, the company’s “philanthropic” efforts bring it uncomfortably close to the imperial side of US influence.  Whether it is being just a company or “more than just a company,” Google’s geopolitical aspirations are firmly intertwined with the foreign-policy agenda of the world’s largest superpower.

Therefore, it would be imperative that we solve the situation with Google’s search and internet service monopoly, to break up its dominant position by regulators, and to do it before Hillary Clinton has an opportunity to become the President.

Is Assange right? Is Google too much of a global superpower, and a potential threat to commercial and governmental freedoms?

Thank you Nedeljnik for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CoinDesk.

WikiLeaks Starts Accepting Secret Documents Again

Nearly five years after closing its of its secret drop portal, WikiLeaks is again accepting secret document submissions. The organisation’s old platform was closed in 2010 after an internal dispute over security, resulting in staff deleting its encryption keys for fear of compromising the identities of its sources.

Though journalists and media outlets have been using Secure Drop and GlobaLeaks for secret disclosures in the meantime, WikiLeaks maintains that it does not consider the two platforms secure enough for its needs. Instead, it has launched its own proprietary platform, running through Tor. The system, opened to the public today, was thoroughly tested in the months leading up to release, though is still in beta.

In a blog post on the WikiLeaks website, founder Julian Assange, still in exile in London’s Ecuadorian embassy, said:

“Other submission technologies inspired by WikiLeaks, such as the European-based GlobaLeaks and the US-based Secure Drop, while both excellent in many ways, are not suited to WikiLeaks’ sourcing in its national security and large archive publishing specialities. The full-spectrum attack surface of WikiLeaks’ submission system is significantly lower than other systems and is optimised for our secure deployment and development environment. Our encrypted chat system is integrated into this process because sources often need custom solutions.

For example, one of the problems with public-facing submission systems is bootstrapping. The fact that a source is looking at instructions that are telling them how to submit material could be used as evidence against them if there is an SSL key break. To prevent this, we deploy the full bootstrap instructions and keys on millions of WikiLeaks pages across our full server network. When the “Submit” button is pressed, there is literally zero network traffic as a result, because all these details are downloaded everytime anyone looks at nearly any page on WikiLeaks. We cover the source bootstrap process with our millions of page views by readers.”

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WikiLeaks.

E-Mails Reveal Sony Chasing Rights to Super Smash Bros. Movie

E-mails from last year’s Sony Pictures hack have revealed that the studio has been actively pursuing the film rights to Nintendo’s mass beat ‘em up franchise, Super Smash Bros.. The discovery of these e-mails follows the entire contents of the hack being published on Wikileaks earlier this week.

Former Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal – who lost her job in the wake of the leak, after she was seen to criticise movies with black casts – received e-mails in February 2014 that named Super Smash Bros. as a potentially lucrative franchise, and linked producer Avi Arad – responsible for the vast majority of Sony’s Marvel Comics adaptations  – to a potential rights grab, with Arad “planning to meet with his Nintendo guy (who he has been courting for a couple of years) when he goes to Japan.”

A later February e-mail between Arad and Pascal referred to the “five year chase” of trying to acquire the rights to every character featured in the game series, from Mario to Zelda to Donkey Kong. Arad referred to his Japan trip again, saying, I am going to try and bring back a little plumber […] I guess we can all use our pipes cleaned.” He then pitched the idea of a Pokemon movie to Pascal, saying that it was “the other property I am working on with Nintendo.”

Despite output of variable quality, Hollywood seems determined to mine video games as established properties for adaptation, with a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie in the works and Netflix producing a Legend of Zelda TV show. Which untapped video game gem would you like to see make the transition to the silver screen?

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Nintendo.

Entire Contents of Sony Hack Now Available On Wikileaks

The contents of last year’s infamous Sony Pictures hack have been published on Wikileaks in their entirety, with the whistleblowing website setting up a searchable archive of over 30,000 documents and 170,000 internal company e-mails.

The hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment was launched on 24th November, 2014 by an activist group calling itself “Guardians of Peace” in protest at the imminent release of Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview, which centred around an assassination attempt on North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un by two journalists. The US government maintains that the attack was perpetrated by the North Korean government, despite flimsy evidence.

In the aftermath, Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal lost her job after the release of e-mails in which she mocked films with black casts, and Kevin Hart specifically, though her e-mail partner, Scott Rudin, escaped with just an apology, despite also being found to call Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” in an internal memo.

The Guardians of Peace threatened to attack any US cinema that screened The Interview, scaring Sony into pulling the film from its slated Christmas release, though a U-turn followed, with a limited release over the festive period, proving the GoP threats to be empty. Now that the dust has settled, the GoP has fallen silent, and Sony execs have been embarrassed, Wikileaks feels it appropriate to make this information public domain.

Though the political value of the documents appears negligible, Julian Assange, founder and editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, claims that a number of internal e-mails demonstrate collusion between Hollywood and the US government.

Assange said, “This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geopolitical conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.”

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

Google Released WikiLeaks E-Mails to US Government

Three years after formal requests, Google has admitted that it released e-mails and other digital data own by WikiLeaks staff to the US government, after being served with a secret warrant from a federal judge.

Google revealed details of the warrant to WikiLeaks on Christmas Eve. Now, WikiLeaks , through its New York-based lawyer Michael Ratner of the Center For Constitutional Rights, has written to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to voice its displeasure. WikiLeaks says it is “astonished and disturbed” that Google took so long to notify them, and violating its “privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches”.

The federal warrant that granted the US government access to this batch of data was related to the ongoing criminal investigation into WikiLeaks launched by the US Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Department of State, back in 2010. The data included embassy cables, Afghanistan and Iraq war logs, and video footage of an Apache helicopter killing civilians in Baghdad.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called the warrants a “serious, and seriously wrong attempt to build an alleged ‘conspiracy’ case against me and my staff,” and that people should be more concerned with “Google rolling over yet again to help the US government violate the constitution – by taking over journalists’ private emails in response to give-us-everything warrants”.

Source: The Guardian

Julian Assange is Hosting a Reddit AMA Right Now!

We don’t normally share up this kind of thing, but this could be one of the most important things you read all day. The founder of WikiLeaks is currently answering peoples questions over on Reddit via an AMA (Ask Me Anything).

AMAs on Reddit are no stranger to awesome guests, with everything from rock starts to President Obama having spent some time there to share their insights and answer questions of regular folk such as myself. However, a public conversation with someone in such a unique position as Mr Assange is a rare opportunity and one that I suspect will make for a good read, even if you don’t have anything to ask him.

Having been in the news countless times in the last few years for leaking massive amounts of government information such as info on the Iraq war, spying and a heck of a lot more that would take forever to list here, you’ve got a lot of great reasons to read this thread and you may even learn a few things while you’re there.

Head on over to the AMA now while it is still going, but don’t worry if you miss your chance for a question because there will certainly been some great replies to read (and there already is).

View the full AMA right here.

 

Ever Visited WikiLeaks? Well You’ve Been Logged And Your Visit Recorded

New revelations reveal that the NSA and GCHQ have been heavily monitoring WikiLeaks. Some of the revelations include that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been placed on a U.S wanted list alongside suspected members of the Al-Qaeda and the fact that the NSA had tried to designate WikiLeaks as a “malicious foreign actor” in order to open up a wider range of surveillance avenues and techniques that otherwise wouldn’t be allowed if WikiLeaks were classified as a domestic dissidence group.

However, more shockingly (for UK citizens at least) the GCHQ, Britain’s spying agency, tapped into fibre-optic cables and logged the IP addresses of every single visitor to a certain WikiLeaks site. Not only that but they were also able to collect the search terms visitors used to reach the site from search engines AND they can do all this in real time.

WikiLeaks issued a statement on the new revelations stating that:

“WikiLeaks strongly condemns the reckless and unlawful behavior of the National Security Agency. We call on the Obama administration to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate the extent of the NSA’s criminal activity against the media including WikiLeaks and its extended network…The NSA and its UK accomplices show no respect for the rule of law. But there is a cost to conducting illicit actions against a media organization. We have already filed criminal cases against the FBI and US military in multiple European jurisdictions. The FBI’s paid informant, who attempted to sell information about me and my staff to the FBI, was imprisoned earlier this year.”

Image courtesy of WikiLeaks

Source: WikiLeaks and The Intercept

White House Trying To Prevent Ruling On NSA

The White House has acknowledged for the first time that the NSA’s bulk data collection of internet and phone activity was authorized by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. With the administration of current President Barack Obama, filing papers with the Northern Districts of California to try and prevent a federal judge from issuing a ruling to see whether the government’s surveillance programs are constitutional.

James R. Clapper Jr. the director of national intelligence wrote;

“President Bush issued authorizations approximately every 30 to 60 days. Although the precise terms changed over time, each presidential authorization required the minimization of information collected concerning American citizens to the extent consistent with the effective accomplishment of the mission of detection and prevention of acts of terrorism within the United States. The NSA also applied additional internal constraints on the providentially authorized activities.”

These filings made by the White House come directly after another federal judge earlier this week said that the NSA’a data collection activities were likely unconventional. The Obama administration has argued that even with the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, further more revelations about the NSA’s surveillance and data collection programs could put the governments security at risk if they were to be divulged in court. With this being said the US District Court has ordered the government to evaluate how and if Snowden’s leaks had affected the Invocation of the State Secrets Privilege, with this being the main defense that the Obama administration is relying on to stop the ruling and prevent information being used in court. We’ll keep you updated on this story as more develops.

Thank you CNET for the information provided.

Image courtesy of Lifestyle Lounge.

Verizon To Disclose Government Requests For Customer Data

Verizon is getting ready to release a detailed report twice a year in regards to the number of law enforcement requests they get for their customers data in the US and aboard. The first of these reports which will cover the whole of 2013 will be made available in early 2014, from then on Verizon will release a report twice a year about the number of requests it receives from the various branches of government agencies and law enforcement agencies.

Randdal S. Milch went on to shed more light on this mater;

“All companies are required to provide information to government agencies in certain circumstances. This new report is intended to provide more transparency about law enforcement requests. Although we have a legal obligation to provide customer information to law enforcement in response to lawful demands, we take seriously our duty to provide such information only when it is authorized by law. Verizon has been offering this information to the public for the last two years, however by releasing these reports yearly will we make this information more consistently and easily available”.

Verizon isn’t the only company to come out and state that they will make available all requests to the public, with tech companies Google, Twitter, Facebook and many others stating that they will release the total number of requests they get from government agencies about their end users.  In these reports will be the number of subpoenas, court orders and warranted requests the companies have received. All of this change started to happen after it was leaked that in June that the NSA had been saving records of millions of phone calls made in the US. All this change and information started when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden started leaking documents from the NSA and making their practices public.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of rt.

Snowden: Dear Brazil, The NSA Is Watching You.

In a letter to the people of Brazil, Snowden offers to help uncover NSA probing in exchange for asylum

More news on Edward Snowden has surfaced, with Snowden writing an extensive open letter to the people of Brazil to discuss his findings and to ultimately seek asylum. IN this broad letter published Tuesday by Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Snowden asks Brazil for the second time to grant him asylum. To push his case, the former NSA contractor said that his “act of conscience” promoted the US to make him “stateless. The price for my speech was my passport, but i would pay it again. I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort, I would rather be without a state than without a voice”.

Snowden has received asylum offers from several South American countries including Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela. Snowden has petitioned Brazil to grant him asylum previously, but has so far been unable to obtain it. Snowden’s latest overture seems to center on a singular idea: attempt to show the ways the NSA is allegedly spying on Brazil’s citizens. In his open letter Snowden wrote;

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people all around the world. When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for 5 years or more. They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.”

So far Brazil has not had anything to say on the matter, will Snowden’s letter help him achieve asylum? Only time will tell, but for now click here to view Snowden’s letter in it’s entirety.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CNET.

NSA Divided Over Possible Amnesty Deal For Snowden

Officials at the National Security Agency are divided over whether to offer amnesty to to espionage suspect Edward Snowden, who is said to have cost the National Security Agency tens of millions of dollars to ensure his presence was removed from their networks. Snowden a former NSA contractor, who has been granted asylum in Russia is said to have stolen 1.7 million classified files and documents from government computers before fleeing the US in June. However law enforcement officials have conceded they may never know the size of his haul.

A senior administration offical with the NSA told The New York Times;

“They’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man-hours trying to reconstruct everything he (Snowden) has gotten and they still don’t know what he took, I know that seems crazy but everything with this is crazy”

Whether the return of that cache is worth a deal with Snowden is a contentious subject within the NSA, however Rick Ledgett how runs the the NSA task force on assessing the damage from the Snowden leaks says that a amnesty deal is “Worth having a conversation about and that he would need assurances that the remanding data could be secured and that he’s bar for those assurances would be very high”. Ledgett concedes that the opinion is “Not Unanimous” within the agency, with NSA Chief General Keith Alexander comparing amnesty suggestions to a hostage-taker asking for amnesty after killing 10 of  50 hostages. Alexander also goes on to say that ‘People should be held accountable of their actions. Alexander has served as the director of the NSA since 2005 and is expected to stand down next year, said he offered his resignation as a result of the leak, however upon offering his resignation Alexander was told “We don’t see a reason that you should resign, we haven’t found anybody there doing anything wrong”.

During the Task force’s damage assessment the NSA discovered Snowden had some unusual habits, especially when working at home. Apparently Snowden would work on his computer with a hood that covered the computer screen and covered his head and shoulders, so that he could work and his girlfriend could not see what he was doing. One of the task force’s worst fears was that Snowden might have left a bug or virus behind on the NSA’s network, so the agency had to remove all the computers he had access to. This included access to the classified and unclassified networks — including the cables connected to them — at a cost estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

While the NSA has come under attack and scrutiny in the wake of Snowden’s leaks, Alexander said that the NSA’s surveillance activities are necessary to the nations defense. In addition to tracking terrorist activities the NSA has a team monitoring the threat of cyber-attack on the nation’s critical infrastructure, including the financial sector. While a amnesty deal seems unlikely it seems some in the NSA will do anything to get the leaked files and information back, but at what cost.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

WikiLeaks Says Snowden Asylum Is A Battle Won But The War Continues

 

With Edward Snowden being formally granted temporary asylum by Russia, WikiLeaks are hailing victory of a major battle. WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Krafnsson told RT that:

“This is a war against secrecy that we’ve seen escalating over the recent years, it’s a war for transparency, it’s a war for government accountability. And indeed we won of course with more information getting out to general public”

However, WikiLeaks admit it is only a partial victory since Edward Snowden is only a free man in Russia and in most other countries he would still be detained and extradited. That said Snowden has already expressed his intentions to stay on Russian territory for the forseeable future to rebuild his life.Russia’s social networking site “Vkontakte” have already offered Edward Snowden a job on their all-star security team and Snowden is formally allowed to work in Russia.

WikiLeaks is likely to continue working with Edward Snowden’s journalist partner, Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian, in an effort to keep exposing leaked information as Edward Snowden has agreed not to reveal any more in Russia as part of his asylum terms. While WikiLeaks are also still tied into the Bradley Manning case and will be until there are no legal avenues left to pursue. Julian Assange is also still held up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London so while Snowden’s asylum is a large victory, WikiLeaks still have much to do. Not to mention the information that Snowden leaked is still yet to make a major legal impact in the USA yet.

Image courtesy of WikiLeaks

Whistleblower Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty Of Aiding The Enemy

Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower behind the biggest military leak in American history, has been acquitted of the charge “aiding the enemy”. This was the most serious offence he had been charged with and had he been found guilty he would of been jailed for life without any chance of parole. That said, Bradley Manning still finds himself in a tough situation after being found guilty of five counts of theft, five counts of violating the espionage act, computer fraud charges and a variety of military infractions under the uniform code of military justice.

Bradley Manning had requested a judge not a jury to determine his fate. Prior to the trial Bradley Manning had spent nearly 3 years in custody since being arrested for the huge leak of information he made to WikiLeaks that allowed them to publicly release information about thousands of U.S war crimes and other “hushed up” incidents. Bradley Manning is expected to be sentenced later on today, July 31st. Given all his other charges he could still be sentenced in a way that sees him spend the rest of his life in jail.

Hero or a criminal? What are your thoughts on Bradley Manning?

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

Venezuela Ratifies Asylum Decision For Snowden

Venezuela has already confirmed that it has received Edward Snowden’s asylum request and now it has reportedly ratified the asylum request.

El Nuevo Empresario reports that the Venezuelan foreign affairs minister announced the decision to grant Snowden asylum has been fully ratified by the Venezuelan government and relevant authorities in Venezuela. He also clarified that Snowden wrote in his asylum request that he believed he would be persecuted and politically imprisoned or killed if he ever returned to the USA, his homeland.

A TV station yesterday stated that Snowden had already chosen Venezuela as his asylum nation of choice but WikiLeaks denied that stating it was untrue and that Snowden still has other options on the table to contemplate.

Even if Snowden accepts requests in one of his three options so far (Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua) he still has to get safely to those nations without traversing airspace where a valid international U.S issued arrest warrant could force his flight to land, resulting in his arrest and then extradition to the USA.

Venezuela have stated they are still awaiting Edward Snowden’s final decision on whether he will accept the offer.

Image courtesy of Abc.net.au

Ecuador Says It Has Been “Infiltrated From All Sides” By Surveillance

Ecuador’s heavy involvement with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as well as their relatively tentative involvement with the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, has reportedly left them being “infiltrated from all sides” according to their Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. He stated that they found a bugged microphone at their embassy in London where Julian Assange is currently residing. Ricardo Patino refused to state which nation the bugged microphone belonged to but he did mention that Ecuador would contact the appropriate nation to ask for an explanation.

Ricardo Patino went on to further state that he believed the bugged embassy in London showed a:

“loss of ethics at an international level in the relations that we have with other governments”

This loss of ethics towards Ecuador is probably in part due to their decision to offer Julian Assange a rite of safe passage and give him a safe place to stay in the Ecuador’s London embassy. Apparently the bug had been found 3 weeks ago but was kept quiet to avoid causing a stir as the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister visited the UK to discuss Julian Assange. This discovery comes in the wake of the EU calling for a search of all diplomatic ministeries and buildings to remove American surveillance bugs.

Image courtesy of KomoNews.com

Snowden Releases List Of Countries Contacted For Political Asylum Requests

While it is now relatively common knowledge that the famous internet surveillance NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, it hasn’t been well documented where he was seeking political asylum up until now. We’ve known he has been in talks with Ecuador, but with that starting to unfold who else has he been trying to seek political asylum with? Well surprisingly his options aren’t as limited as you might think. According to an official statement made by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in the following nation-states:

  • Austria
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • The Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Russia (where he is situated now)
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Venezuela

Surprisingly, Ecuador is now off the list after President Correa seems to be bowing to American pressure. He has gone from pledging his support to Snowden at all costs to saying that he now offered Snowden help “by mistake”. It is also worth noting that Russia have also refused to offer Edward Snowden political asylum unless he stops releasing documents that are harming the USA.

Edward Snowden is currently seeking asylum on the grounds of persecution risk if he is forced to return back to the USA.

We will be sure to keep you updated with how this goes for Edward Snowden. He is easily becoming one of the most important figures of our generation.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

NSA Boss Says He Knows Nothing About WikiLeaks

With the actions of the NSA exposed by now world-famous whistleblower Edward Snowden the NSA have been trying to calm the storm with a lot of public statements. The latest rather laughable statement is from the NSA director general Keith Alexander who has stated that he and his organisation do not know who WikiLeaks are. During an interview he was asked for his opinion on WikiLeaks and he stated that “I really don’t know who WikiLeaks are, other than this Assange person”.

If you consider how much of an offensive the U.S government has launched against WikiLeaks since they revealed several top secret documents about the American government and military it comes as quite a surprise that the NSA’s Director General would deny knowing anything about them. Several U.S government agencies are currently investigating WikiLeaks for illegal actions and the NSA is almost certainly one of them.  I wonder how long it will be before the NSA are forced to become more transparent instead of being able to continuously lie and withhold information from the public domain.

Image courtesy of Keith Alexander

Latest News: Edward Snowden Heading To Ecuador

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who is now one of the world’s most famous whistleblowers, is reportedly off to Ecuador today. Snowden recently travelled from Hong Kong to Moscow in an attempt to outrun American extradition warrants. Hong Kong allowed him to leave despite his passport being revoked and they rejected the USA’s warrant for extradition as invalid because it was politically motivated and didn’t correspond to Hong Kong’s legal framework for an extradition. Snowden is currently at Moscow airport awaiting a flight to Cuba with his WikiLeaks assistant.

Snowden was due to board the flight SU150 to Havana but apparently there is no sign of the NSA whistleblower on this flight which has now already left. Apparently he will now have to catch a later flight to Cuba. Edward Snowden spent the night at Moscow’s Terminal F at Sheremetyevo airport due to the fact he does not possess a valid Russian visa and has had his U.S passport revoked. It is believed that if he does board a flight to Cuba it will have to travel through U.S airspace where the flight could legally be grounded and he could be arrested. However, according to Russia Today the pilot is within his rights to change the course of the flight to avoid U.S airspace. Once in Cuba Edward Snowden is expected to catch a flight to Ecuador, his final destination, where he will seek political asylum from the USA.

We will be sure to keep you up to date on this story.

Image courtesy of the Guardian