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Posts Tagged ‘Spying’

I think it is important that we continue to draw attention to Wikileaks and the fact that U.S. and Icelandic governments have been spying on their activities.

Why should we continue to draw attention to them? Because Wikileaks, a non-profit organization, provides the world with documents, videos, and other releases of information that demonstrate and show us the corrupt activities occurring around the world everyday by the very officials we are supposed to trust.

These same officials have incited violence and created terrorism where those things did not exist before. They intimidate and terrorize the poor to pilfer their resources, and hire mercenary armies to kill and maim the innocent. They use weapons of mass destruction. These “officials” are the true scum of the earth and they serve in the military, hold political office, and work in commercial businesses.

I will continue to support Wikileaks and I hope that you will too. The information that their group makes available to the world is important and helps in the crusade against injustice, at the very least.

So as Vice-Presiden Biden would say, “This is a big fucking deal” so jump off the apathy wagon and listen up. It’s time to spread the word about Wikileaks and let the world know that there are a couple of countries who are acting like big fat godfathers by sending their fucking “hit men” out to harass and threaten them.

EDITORIAL:U.S. must stop spying on WikiLeaks

Fri Mar 26 08:44:46 UTC 2010

Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In the West this has ranged from the overt, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, threatening to prosecute us unless we removed a report on CIA activity in Kosovo, to the covert, to an ambush by a “James Bond” character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere “we think it would be in your interest to…”.

Developing world violence aside, we’ve become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest.

But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive. Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the U.S. National Press Club on April 5.

The spying includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland on Monday night.

I, and others were in Iceland to advise Icelandic parliamentarians on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a new package of laws designed to protect investigative journalists and internet services from spying and censorship. As such, the spying has an extra poignancy.

The possible triggers:

  • our ongoing work on a classified film revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S, general, David Petraeus.
  • our release of a classified 32 page US intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks (expose our sources, destroy our reputation for integrity, hack us).
  • our release of a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the U.K. over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.
  • pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic “oligarchs”.

We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr. What does that mean? We don’t know. But as you will see, other events are clear.

U.S. sources told Icelandic state media’s deputy head of news, that the State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. I was seen at a private U.S Embassy party at the Ambassador’s residence, late last year and it is known I had contact with Embassy staff, after.

On Thursday March 18, 2010, I took the 2.15 PM flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen–on the way to speak at the SKUP investigative journalism conference in Norway. After receiving a tip, we obtained airline records for the flight concerned. Two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials checked in for my flight at 12:03 and 12:06 under the name of “US State Department”. The two are not recorded as having any luggage.

Iceland doesn’t have a separate security service. It folds its intelligence function into its police forces, leading to an uneasy overlap of policing and intelligence functions and values.

On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer, a minor, was detained by Icelandic police on a wholly insignificant matter. Police then took the opportunity to hold the youth over night, without charge–a highly unusual act in Iceland. The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant “Icelandic Fish & Chips”, where a WikiLeaks production meeting took place on Wednesday March 17–the day before individuals operating under the name of the U.S. State Department boarded my flight to Copenhagen.

Our production meeting used a discreet, closed, backroom, because we were working on the analysis of a classified U.S. military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots. During the interrogation, a specific reference was made by police to the video—which could not have been understood from that day’s exterior surveillance alone. Another specific reference was made to “important”, but unnamed Icelandic figures. References were also made to the names of two senior journalists at the production meeting.

Who are the Icelandic security services loyal to in their values? The new government of April 2009, the old pro-Iraq war government of the Independence party, or perhaps to their personal relationships with peers from another country who have them on a permanent intelligence information drip?

Only a few years ago, Icelandic airspace was used for CIA rendition flights. Why did the CIA think that this was acceptable? In a classified U.S. profile on the former Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, obtained by WikiLeaks, the Ambassador is praised for helping to quell publicity of the CIA’s activities.

Often when a bold new government arises, bureaucratic institutions remain loyal to the old regime and it can take time to change the guard. Former regime loyalists must be discovered, dissuaded and removed. But for the security services, that first vital step, discovery, is awry. Congenitally scared of the light, such services hide their activities; if it is not known what security services are doing, then it is surely impossible to know who they are doing it for.

Our plans to release the video on April 5 proceed.

We have asked relevant authorities in the Unites States and Iceland to explain. If these countries are to be treated as legitimate states, they need to start obeying the rule of law. Now.

—Julian Assange (editor@wikileaks.org)

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The House passed the bill today just before leaving on a two-week vacation. Unfortunately, the bill will probably be vetoed since it does not protect telecommunications companies from lawsuits. It’s the Don Bush bullshit game…

G.W. Bush has been ‘demanding’ legal immunity to telecommunications companies who have illegally provided information to government paid spies and agents who in turn are spying on innocent U.S. citizens in the name of the trumped up “War on Terror” and the “there are terrorists all over who hate and despise us and want to kill us” story. Under this guise Bush has consistently and persistently destroyed the U.S. Constitution, literally and figuratively; the reputation of the United States and it’s citizens worldwide; perpetuated war in countries over issues that never existed and in which we had no business to interfere in the first place; sent our men and women to do battle in these same countries to return either dead or maimed and many of those that did not die, unfortunately, have committed suicide; has intentions and set his sights on attacking another country (Iran) on more baseless, unfounded information and for no solid reasons; labels and brands countries as “terrorists” because they refuse to do the Bush tango and become part of the American empire; etc.; etc.; adnauseam.

History has stated that Hitler was a criminal but yet Bush remains in the office of President of the U.S. and flagrantly flaunts his ability to perform criminal acts while in that office and remain above the law. Bush, and his 2nd in command, should have been impeached a long time ago.

The 21st century is certainly demonstrating that corruptness and criminal activity is considered acceptable, all the way up to the highest offices of the land. To me, this is sad and unacceptable and it must change. We cannot allow lawlessness to rule.

At any rate, I can barely talk about Bush. He makes me sick to my stomach but I still try to remember to say a prayer for him now and again. Maybe when I say a prayer it messes up his day somehow.

BTW Jane Harman (mentioned in the article below), Democratic Representative from California, is the one sponsoring H.R. 1955, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. If you oppose it here’s a petition link. If you do not know much about it please learn about it here or search the web, there is plenty of information about it.
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From Yahoo News

House approves new eavesdropping rules

By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer

The House on Friday approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government’s eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States. The bill, approved as lawmakers departed for a two-week break, faces a veto threat from President Bush. The margin of House approval was 213-197, largely along party lines.

Because of the promised veto, “this vote has no impact at all,” said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.

The president’s main objection is that the bill does not protect from lawsuits the telecommunications companies that allowed the government to eavesdrop on their customers without a court’s permission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. White House spokesman Tony Fratto called the measure a “political ploy” designed to give Democrats cover for their failure to grant full retroactive immunity to the telecom companies.

The vote sent the bill to the Senate, which has passed its own version that includes the legal immunity for telecom companies that Bush is demanding.

Without that provision, House Republicans said, the companies won’t cooperate with U.S. intelligence.

“We cannot conduct foreign surveillance without them. But if we continue to subject them to billion-dollar lawsuits, we risk losing their cooperation in the future,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.

The government does have the power to compel telecommunications companies to cooperate with wiretaps if it gets warrants from a secret court. The government apparently did not get such warrants before initiating the post-9/11 wiretaps, which are the basis for the lawsuits.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said the bill is meant to fix that. It would let a judge determine whether lawsuits should be dismissed, rather than having Congress make that decision.

“I believe that the nation is deeply concerned about what has gone on for the last seven years, and I want to restore some of the trust in the intelligence community,” Reyes said.

About 40 lawsuits have been filed against telecommunications companies by people and organizations alleging the companies violated wiretapping and privacy laws. The lawsuits have been combined and are pending before a single federal judge in California.

The Democrats’ measure would encourage the judge to review in private the secret government documents underpinning the program to decide if the companies acted lawfully.

The administration has prevented those documents from being revealed, even to a judge, by invoking the state secrets privilege. That puts the companies in a bind because they are unable to defend themselves.

Just a fraction of Congress has been granted access to the records.

Democrats argued against quashing the lawsuits without knowing in detail why the immunity is necessary.

Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said the government may have as many as five ongoing clandestine surveillance programs. “Congress is not fully informed, and it would be reckless to grant retroactive immunity without knowing the scope of programs out there,” Harman said.

“All members of Congress should see those documents so they could see the breadth and scope” of the wiretapping program, said Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass.

The surveillance law is intended to help the government pursue suspected terrorists by making it easier to eavesdrop on international phone calls and e-mails between foreigners abroad and Americans in the U.S, and remove barriers to collecting purely foreign communications that pass through the United States_ for instance, foreign e-mails stored on a server.

A temporary law expired Feb. 16 before Congress was able to produce a replacement bill. Bush opposed an extension of the temporary law as a means to pressure Congress into accepting the Senate version of the surveillance legislation.

Bush and most Capitol Hill Republicans say the lawsuits are damaging national security and unfairly punish telecommunications companies for helping the government in a time of war.

“There is not one iota of evidence that the companies acted inappropriately whatsoever,” said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.

Democrats say the bill protects the privacy rights of Americans by making sure the telecommunications companies — and the wiretapping program — did not violate any laws.

“We have the opportunity to serve the protection of our country … and uphold our oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “Let us take that opportunity.”

The Democratic bill also would initiate a yearlong bipartisan panel modeled after the 9/11 Commission to investigate the administration’s so-called warrantless wiretapping program.

Friday’s vote came after House Republicans forced a rare, late-night secret session of Congress on Thursday to discuss the bill. It was the first such session of the House in a quarter century; the last one was in 1983, on U.S. support for paramilitary operations in Nicaragua. Only five closed sessions have occurred in the House since 1825.

Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas said she didn’t believe any minds were changed on the bill.

“We couldn’t have gone more of an extra mile to make sure we’re doing the best for national security,” she said.

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