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Snowden - what do you make of him

  • somtam2000

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    I've been half following the whole Snowden trainwreck and what I can't understand is that if he is such a smart cookie, why didn't he sort out his asylum before spilling the beans on his country's spying. He just seems to come across as kind of dense and naive.

    Thoughts?

    #1 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 06:20

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  • gregmccann1

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    I dunno. Good question about the asylum thing. He worked for the CIA (is that right? I've only been half following it too) and I imagine he signed loads of documents that stipulated that he cannot divulge the sensitive info that he did. He was breaking his contract and probably the law, and doing it with a secretive arm of government, so he certainly had an inkling of what sort of trouble he was getting himself into. I have a feeling that a few months down the line nobody is going to think about him very much anymore (and he'll probably be sore the lack of attention), and he can never go home again. His host countries will probably tire of him at some point (Russia already seems annoyed) and he'll realize that the the reason why he is not getting so much attention anymore is that just about every country engages in espionage. Perhaps not to the extent or on the scale, but they do, and certainly the news was not really "shocking." He'll fade away. That's my take.

    #2 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 12:58

  • MADMAC

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    Snowden's revelations were damaging to the US and Western Europe, but because of their lack of specificity (to date) I don't think the damage is lasting.

    The European left, who basically are contemptuous of the US, it's political traditions and culture, are, of course, happy little clowns. Never want to lose an opportunity to poke those evil Americans in the eye.

    The European center is sweating it out a bit that their cooperation with the evil Americans will be dimed out in detail. Right now, they're OK.

    Snowden is a dufus and intellectual nitwit. Of course he should have had an egress plan. That he compromised himself with such a plan, or without standing his ground in the US and going to court to grandstand, demonstrates he wansn't thinking real sharp on this one.

    #3 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 13:30

  • daawgon

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    I'm ashamed to call him an American. Just like all the other traitors, he'll spend a few years in Russia (or is it back to South America, today?) but eventually return to the States when he sees the light of day. Seems to me that we need to be considerably more careful whom we give those top secret clearances to.

    I don't like the spying either, but these are dangerous times, and I support Obama 100%.

    #4 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 14:12

  • MADMAC

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    "Seems to me that we need to be considerably more careful whom we give those top secret clearances to."

    Daawgon, it takes thousands of guys to run the machine - tens of thousands. There's no way you can be sure a few won't go off the reservation. The systemics now are pretty thorough, but he didn't decide to flip until after he was working at the agency - which is to say after he had passed his polygragh.

    I also support the President. He's in a tough position, trying to protect a free and open society while at the same time neutering those who want to destroy that society.

    #5 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 14:48

  • sayadian

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    What exactly has this guy done to compromise security?
    If Al Quaeda or whatever the brand name goes by these days, didn't imagine they were being watched/listened to then they must be the most stupid revolutionary group ever.
    I haven't heard that he's sold plans about the latest WMD U.S. is testing or the names of the CIA's agents. Or any other strategic information.

    What he has done is embarrass the U.S. President. Though it's questionable whether Obama could be more of an embarrassment to America than he is now. America has been caught spying on its allies and collecting vast amounts of personal data that Jo Stalin would have given his last shot of vodka for.Guys, you been caught with your pants down.
    Even Putin has outflanked an inept Obama.

    Anyway, there are far more important issues with an ongoing Ashes series.

    #6 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 22:28

  • somsai

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    I'll admit I haven't read one "serious" article about the whole thing yet, and I doubt there have been many written.

    Snowden has to be understood in the context of a pop icon writ political. A Sarah Palin of a different gender with a pole dancing girlfriend. There is a good rap video begging to be made and an Andy Warhole portrait to sit next to Mao and Marylyn.

    Snowden was kind of fun at first, then boring, now kind of fun again just because he won't go away. I mean what's he doing sitting in the transit lounge? Obama called Putin today, oh to be a fly on the wall.

    American govt data mining? Gadzooks who'd a thunk it!

    #7 Posted: 12/7/2013 - 22:39

  • LeonardCohe-
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    "but these are dangerous times,"

    You've been hoodwinked then. The world was a lot more dangerous in the past. People are living longer with better health and safety conditions. The greatest danger to one's health is obesity.

    Saya sums it up well. They have had their pants pulled down in front of Europe for all to see.

    #8 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 00:38

  • antoniamitc-
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    I was trying to be neutral on Snowden (didn't know enough details to really form an opinion) until he started complaining that America was interfering in his asylum requests and therefore his human rights are being violated.

    Now I just think he's an dick.

    I'm not a human rights lawyer, but I'm willing to bet that you DON'T have a human right to break the American version of the Official Secrets Act. He's broken the law, which means he's running from prosecution, not persecution.

    I'd respect him a lot more if he had stood by his principles and stayed to face a trial. Instead he takes off on some ill-thought-out getaway plans and whines that the US is being mean to him (perhaps during his meetings with Amnesty International they could explain to him some of the terrible dangers faced by people around the world who genuinely are being persecuted).

    I guess in Snowden's little world it's great to have principles as long as they don't cost you too much.

    #9 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 01:19

  • stefanw

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    His seemingly ridiculous asylum route looks like blatant attention seeking, as if he wants to get into a situation he can't get out of only for the "internet" and others to rise up and protest to help save a "hero".

    It doesn't bother me that he broke the law, leaked confidential info etc as I'm not the slightest bit interested in the threat to the security of Americans or other exaggerations. Also it seems people are about as interested as they are in Google or Facebook etc collecting data and spying. Sure people would prefer that it wasn't the case, and some people are totally against it but the majority don't care enough to stop using these services.

    #10 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 03:11

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  • sayadian

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    And that's how totalitarian states thrive.
    When people no longer care or believe they have nothing to fear if they are law-abiding and hard working.
    Seems the American propaganda machine is working when everyone is focused on Snowden when the real issue is the U.S. Govt believing it has the right to spy on innocent citizens both in the U.S. and overseas

    #11 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 05:56

  • MADMAC

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    "And that's how totalitarian states thrive.
    When people no longer care or believe they have nothing to fear if they are law-abiding and hard working."

    No it's not how they operate, and you, of all people here, should know better. The way they operate is when you defy state authority they take you to a gulag to work you ass off, freeze, starve, suffer and then maybe without explanation five years latter let you go - if you are lucky. If you are not lucky, they take you out back and put two in your head. That's how totalitarian states operate.

    "Seems the American propaganda machine is working when everyone is focused on Snowden when the real issue is the U.S. Govt believing it has the right to spy on innocent citizens both in the U.S. and overseas."

    They are not "spying" on their own citizens. They are maintaining a data base on externals to determine associations in order to track down terror networks. I worked this process for quite a while and there is nothing in the process that makes me uncomfortable about it.

    "It doesn't bother me that he broke the law, leaked confidential info etc as I'm not the slightest bit interested in the threat to the security of Americans or other exaggerations."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJOwttgBpzE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=invFQftIpUM

    #12 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 07:36

  • somtam2000

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    From what I understand, he's aiming for a kinda whistleblower style status, which (to my mind) suggests he has unearthed stuff the US Govt was doing that was illegal under US law.

    Much of what I've read so far -- spying on, well, everything and everyone, isn't especially surprising -- disappointing perhaps, but I'm absolutely not surprised by it.

    But if the govt is breaking US laws doing what they're doing (shock horror!), and have subsequently cancelled his passport and tried to run him down etc, can a fair trial be expected? Perhaps not.

    Which brings me to why I posted this in the first place, for the life of me I don't understand why he didn't sort himself out first, then spill the beans, rather than do it in the reverse. Whole thing is odd -- and as Sayadian rightly points out, a distraction from the Ashes!

    #13 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 09:13

  • MADMAC

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    "From what I understand, he's aiming for a kinda whistleblower style status, which (to my mind) suggests he has unearthed stuff the US Govt was doing that was illegal under US law."

    But he didn't. And, in fact, nothing released indicated a violation of US law (although some ignorant pundits with agendas try to make that claim). What those who are reasonably well educated on the subject are concerned with is the process through which secret warrants are issued. That process has no further oversight and no public visibility. The first criticism of the process is valid, the second, I would think obviously, is not.

    "Much of what I've read so far -- spying on, well, everything and everyone, isn't especially surprising -- disappointing perhaps, but I'm absolutely not surprised by it."

    Except that's not what's happening. First it can't happen. There is way too much information flowing all over the place. You have to be selective. Secondly there are clear cut rules about what is permissable and what is not. Had Snowden revealed a violation of those rules, that might have been seriously scandalous. But he didn't. All indications right now demonstratet that's no happening. At the end of the day, people are inherently distrustful of intelligence agencies in free societies. But in the anarchic world we live in, they are a necessity.

    "But if the govt is breaking US laws doing what they're doing (shock horror!), and have subsequently cancelled his passport and tried to run him down etc, can a fair trial be expected? Perhaps not."

    But they are not breaking their own laws. Which is the core point everyone seems to be forgetting or is unaware of.

    "Which brings me to why I posted this in the first place, for the life of me I don't understand why he didn't sort himself out first, then spill the beans, rather than do it in the reverse. Whole thing is odd -- and as Sayadian rightly points out, a distraction from the Ashes!"

    It's not that odd when you consider his decision as a rash one, instead of a rational, reasoned one.

    #14 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 10:52

  • DLuek

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    "But they are not breaking their own laws."

    Supposedly he has a bunch of documents that haven't yet been released. You never know, maybe he's saving the "cherry on top" for when he finally reaches that South American beach chair.

    What I love about the whole situation is how the US government is (perhaps) squirming over what documents this not-so-clever average Joe might have with him. It was also pretty funny how the story that the US collects all sorts of internet data, not only on China but also the EU, broke a few days after the US tried to put their foot down on China's whole internet espionage program. All of a sudden here's this random dude making the president of the United States put his foot in his mouth.

    I agree that Snowden isn't the brightest bulb and that he should have planned the whole thing better -- but that's kind of what I like about him. He's a normal guy who grew a massive middle finger and stuck it right in the face of one of the most powerful governments in the world. I get a bit of joy any time anyone does that. And I also get joy when the "all-powerful" USA can't manage to get its hands on this not-so-clever guy. Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden -- we got them -- but not Snowden. I say let the fun continue -- all the way to that Venezuelan beach chair.

    #15 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 11:35

  • MADMAC

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    "Supposedly he has a bunch of documents that haven't yet been released. You never know, maybe he's saving the "cherry on top" for when he finally reaches that South American beach chair."

    Speculation on supposition though, is not terribly useful at this point. We have to work with what we know. And so far, what we know is no laws were broken.

    "What I love about the whole situation is how the US government is (perhaps) squirming over what documents this not-so-clever average Joe might have with him. It was also pretty funny how the story that the US collects all sorts of internet data, not only on China but also the EU, broke a few days after the US tried to put their foot down on China's whole internet espionage program. All of a sudden here's this random dude making the president of the United States put his foot in his mouth."

    Why would you love this? It's going to make allies who share with us very nervous about continuing to do so, and those who are sporadic, like the Russians, even more reluctant to do so in the future. People who "like" this sort of thing do so because they don't see the great danger that political Islam represents to us. They think, like Stefan, it's all hyperbole created for Machiavellian machinations. But in fact, Political Islam is a very dangerous animal. The best form of government, and this is demonstrable, is representative democracy. Perhaps direct democracy - perhaps - would be better. But that's not realistic in nations with millions of people. When you look at all the flaws of representative states, they pale in comparison with what it's like for the citizens living in closed societies.

    "I get a bit of joy any time anyone does that."

    They never do it to the North Koreans. They never do it to the Communist Chinese. They never do it to Iranians. Hell, the Sudanese government killed God knows how many people in the Sudan and they barely give a **** about that - and usually only in the context that the US government should be doing something about it (and as soon as the US did, it would be criticized by these same people for its methods).

    "I say let the fun continue -- all the way to that Venezuelan beach chair."

    First of all, that might encourage immitators. Maybe somebody will release something truly damaging. Secondly, eventually the Venezualan government will change and when it does, when there is a friendly government in power there, the party is over for Mr Snowden. No matter how it shakes out, he's on borrowed time. He will be in a US prison at some point - you can bet on it.

    #16 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 13:16

  • sayadian

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    The perception is that big government wants to control every aspect of our lives.
    The World managed to defeat the evils of fascism and communism without the level of intrusive data gathering spawned by the U.S. hysteria after 9/11.
    I am profoundly uneasy about it ESPECIALLY when I'm told I have nothing to worry about in the 'safe' hands of the intelligence community.
    You only have to contrast the treatment of Richard Nixon over Watergate with what is seemingly tolerated today to see how this insidious data gathering has become acceptable.

    #17 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 21:09

  • LeonardCohe-
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    "they never do it to the North Koreans. They never do it to the Communist Chinese."

    But the US claims to be the upholder of justice and freedom when they are a bunch of hypocrites. The US has lost a lot of respect around the world over the last decade or so. Jailing people for years without charge and telling other nations how to run their countries when they can't even sort out their own mess with an economy that is debt ridden. Gun ownership is above 80% per capita, the highest in the world and they can't even sort out a basic issue like that.

    #18 Posted: 13/7/2013 - 23:56

  • MADMAC

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    "The perception is that big government wants to control every aspect of our lives."

    Big govenment, little government... government has a tendency to regulate. But I would remind you that that is mostly done with the consent of the people. Every new law and rule has some ostensibly good purpose. I had this discussion with people right here on the net, why I prefer libertarian values, and was told by a European member "libertarian vlaues overlook a lot of social problems". Well, you can't have it both ways.

    "The World managed to defeat the evils of fascism and communism without the level of intrusive data gathering spawned by the U.S. hysteria after 9/11."

    You are kidding right? Do you realize how instrusive government was during WW II on the western citizenry? Rationing, blackouts, control of media... And during the cold war there were all kinds of excesses. Come on, maintain historical perspective here.

    "I am profoundly uneasy about it ESPECIALLY when I'm told I have nothing to worry about in the 'safe' hands of the intelligence community."

    And is there a way the intelligence community could operate that you would not be uneasy about?

    "You only have to contrast the treatment of Richard Nixon over Watergate with what is seemingly tolerated today to see how this insidious data gathering has become acceptable."

    Richard Nixon was using his own boys for his nefarious activities. But no doubt there was abuse in the 60s and 70s. That's why we had significant legislation passed to ensure oversight of intelligence activities. I ask you again, is there a way our intelligence agencies could operate in which you would not be concerned? Obviously intelligence agencies have to gather data to analyze it to draw conclusions.

    "But the US claims to be the upholder of justice and freedom when they are a bunch of hypocrites."

    This is unfair. The world is anarchic. Yes, there have been times when the decisions on use of force were debateable. On the other hand, we allowed to Europeans to clean up their own backyard in Bosnia and they couldn't do it. They had to have us. So... let's be fair. Much of the criticism is tied to two phenomenon:
    1. European resentment at American power when they think that power should reside in their "more sophisticated hands".
    2. The natural human desire to see the champion knocked off his pedastal.

    "telling other nations how to run their countries"

    When was the last time the US government told another western government how to run it's country?

    #19 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 00:21

  • sayadian

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    Ration cards etc weren't what I was referring to. The Third Reich and Stalin's Russia employed a network of local spies to record everything its citizens did and thought. I don't think The Allies intimidated its citizens to quite the same extent. The Snowden revelations seem to indicate we are heading in that direction.
    I am sure Churchill wouldn't have been so intimidated by an amorphous bunch of lunatics like AQ when he and that generation faced a far greater peril without bringing in ill-thought legislation like The Patriot Act.
    Every time I am reminded that I can't take a penknife on a plane I realise the terrorists are winning by making us into instruments of their own madness. A penknife FFS!
    Anyway, the game plan is radically changing and the Islamic world seems to be heading for genocidal, sectarian civil war.
    Surely,it is time to get out and leave them to it.

    #20 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 03:42

  • MADMAC

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    "The Snowden revelations seem to indicate we are heading in that direction."

    No, they don't. The demarcation line is clear. Exploiting externals is fine, exploiting internals without a warrant remains a no-go.

    "I am sure Churchill wouldn't have been so intimidated by an amorphous bunch of lunatics like AQ when he and that generation faced a far greater peril without bringing in ill-thought legislation like The Patriot Act."

    You can quibble over whether or not the Patriot Act was excessive or not - of course it's not your concern, you are not a US citizen. But the truth remains, in real terms Americans are more free now than they were in 1965 or 1955 or 1945. And that is demonstrable. Nobody lives in fear today that because of their politics they will be hauled off and killed or imprisoned. So we need to maintain persepctive.

    "Every time I am reminded that I can't take a penknife on a plane I realise the terrorists are winning by making us into instruments of their own madness. A penknife FFS!"

    They are not winning. They are losing and losing badly. We have been inconvenienced, they are being killed in large numbers and their own popular bases of support continues to erode.

    "Anyway, the game plan is radically changing and the Islamic world seems to be heading for genocidal, sectarian civil war."

    Perhaps. Their reformation process will be more difficult than ours was. We'll see.

    #21 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 06:15

  • sayadian

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    The Patriot Act and its sweeping powers impinges on everybody's freedom regardless of their nationality. There are innocent men (in the eyes of U.S. Law) languishing in Quantanamo because of it. Snowden's revelations tell us that even America's allies are being spied on because of the sweeping powers the act gives U.S. government agencies.

    #22 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 07:40

  • DLuek

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    Oh boy, knew I should have kept quiet on this one.

    It's going to make allies who share with us very nervous about continuing to do so.

    Perhaps rightfully so?

    The demarcation line is clear. Exploiting externals is fine, exploiting internals without a warrant remains a no-go.

    That depends on your definition of "exploiting." Plenty of people would argue that collecting what are generally considered private emails of US citizens with no warrant is exactly that.

    Also keep in mind that "externals" is extended to any non US citizen, including Leonard and Sayadian (what's this Ashes thing anyway? In fact, what the hell is cricket? :) If you're not a US citizen, you have no rights in the eyes of the US government, even if you score lots of wickets. (On that note, check this out: What playing cricket looks like to Americans).

    Nobody lives in fear today that because of their politics they will be hauled off and killed or imprisoned.

    Sure, McCarthyism isn't going on anymore, but any Muslim in the US is bound to feel frightened and intimidated, most likely not due to their politics but rather their religion or ethnicity. I know for a fact that the "men in black" watch and intimidate Muslim-Americans. It happened to a college friend of mine for absolutely no reason (other than his race and religion). He's a very normal American guy - his family moved here from Iraq when he was 2 - he likes to drink beer and watch football (and I don't mean soccer!). If you're him, you have to live with the fact that every single email you write is almost certainly being read by some shadowy "big brother". There's definitely something unsettling about that level of invasiveness without any warrant. Whether or not it's warranted in the name of security is debatable. Perhaps there are better ways.

    They never do it to the North Koreans. They never do it to the Communist Chinese. They never do it to Iranians.

    Who do you mean by "they"? There are certainly so called "little people" in the world standing up to all of those forces, and more power to them. All I was saying is that I appreciate it when an "average Joe" stands up to one of the world's most powerful forces. It's up to the people to keep those powers in check. There are people on both sides of the fence here -- some, like you Mac, seem to think he's a traitor and has put the security of US citizens at risk. Others feel that he simply provided a much needed wake-up call.

    Political Islam is a very dangerous animal.

    Isn't that beside the point? Snowden leaked that the US is spying on its own citizens, its allies and semi-allied nations like China. If you mean that the truth damages the United States' relations with its allies, which could turn around and put combined security efforts between allies on shaky ground and thereby damage security for all of us, shouldn't the US have considered that beforehand? Or do you feel that it's fine for the US to do things like this so long as it doesn't get caught?

    All of the above spoken with all do respect. :)

    #23 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 08:05

  • MADMAC

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    I had a long answer to each point in detail and when I went to save it, the system had logged me out and I lost everything. So I will summarise briefly.

    Non-US citizens have no right to privacy from the US government. Just as I have no right to privacy from the Thai government. It's not tied to the Patriot Act. It's always been that way.

    NSA is not exploiting the internals of emails or conversations of any type without a warrant - that is, the internals of said of US citizens. It exploits the externals.

    It does not read "everyone's mail". That's not even remotely feasible. Collection has to be targetted.

    The US and it's intelligence agencies is not what's wrong with the world.

    #24 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 09:24

  • billytheliar

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    The first law in every country, democratic or not, is the salvation of the fatherland (I don't remember the latin phrase for it). So, democracies do not torture - unless it's nessecary. Or, if they do, they always will find government officials and "responsible" judges who will certify that waterboarding, done 150 times, is not exactly torture - or mass spying is not exactly spying, it's just collecting relevant data.General consensus cannot be a criterium, either : if a country decides to expell, or kill, an 1% minority, it can enjoy widespread popular approval - that doesn't mean that the decision is democratic. It's all power politics - every government does what it has the power to do, to preserve the interest of the country, the way it percieves it. And the twilight (or total darkness) of the intelligence community is the right environment, if one wants to justify the tapping of communications of let's say the german chancellor in the name of combatting militant islam.
    Snowden will eventually end in an american prison, not because he is a "traitor", but because every country that respects itself and depends mainly on power has to statuate such examples (the name of Mordechai Vanunu comes in my mind).

    I usually hesitate to be personal, but, MADMAC, do you really believe that what is right, just or legitimate can be aswered by quoting a paragraph of the law? ("the point is if they broke their own laws") That smells really totalitarian. There will always be a discrepance between legal and legitimate, or just. Τhis gap that has opened with the french revolution will never be closed again. I also wanted to remark that libertarian, for the rest of the world (outside the US) means anarchist and, despite your resentment of the "clowns of the european left" you are referring to the heritage of an anthropological constant - the pursuit of utopia, which is not absent in the liberal (again not in the US sense) thought tradition.
    Ah, yes "When was the last time the US government told another western government how to run its country?" - If you mean the colour of the taxis or the collectors' uniforms, I think the answer is simple. If you mean decisions tanging vital (or so-pecieved) interests of the US, I think the answer is simple, too. Well, unless you think everything gets public.

    #25 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 11:43

  • LeonardCohe-
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    If the US was so good MM would be living there. As for wars if you make up false claims and then invade a country based on lies then you are in the wrong.

    #26 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 12:02

  • sayadian

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    Rights, no rights- what does it matter? The U.S. manages to circumvent them anyway. They just redefine reality.
    Bill Clinton never smoked dope because he didn't inhale. He never had sex with Monika because sex must involve penetration.
    Of course, they don't make us aware of the new definitions until they are caught.
    All I'm saying are rights mean nothing; what is important is perception.
    The American president is angry because he's been caught with his fingers in the till. The games up. We've had a consistent pattern of lies emerging from American government for awhile now. The biggest being the WMD scandal. It's a low point in the integrity of this nation.
    Rather than berate Snowden or ridicule 'European lefties' America needs to get its house in order.

    #27 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 19:54

  • LeonardCohe-
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    It was obvious at the time the WMD claim was a lie but the western media went along with it like puppies.

    #28 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 21:23

  • MADMAC

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    "It was obvious at the time the WMD claim was a lie but the western media went along with it like puppies."

    It wasn't that obvious. A lot of people believed that Chemical weapons were in the Iraqi arsenal (although frankly I considered that a weak causus belli).

    "Rights, no rights- what does it matter? The U.S. manages to circumvent them anyway. They just redefine reality"

    They were also a critical element in defeating fascism and the global communist movement.

    I am not saying that the US is perfect, or that it's government has never made mistakes. It's a huge country with immense power. What I am saying is that the intel agencies are not enemies of free peoples. They are not sitting in basements twisting their mustaches trying to **** you. They are working very hard to try and protect same from state and non-state actors who have extreme agendas.

    Again, the US is not what's wrong with the world.

    #29 Posted: 14/7/2013 - 23:40

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Intelligence agencies may very well be working to make the world a safer place (but I rather doubt it)
    It's this massive program of surveillance that concerns people. Such immense power over the lives of ordinary people is bound to be misused.
    The track record of the British government isn't much better.
    I'll quote Mr Snowden on how he sees it.
    'America is a fundamentally good country....but the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedoms of all publics.'

    #30 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 00:09

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    'America is a fundamentally good country....but the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedoms of all publics.'

    The structures of power in the US are very complicated and they are anything other than monolithic.

    Again, I ask you, how could an intelligence agency like NSA function and you would not be concerned?

    #31 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 02:24

  • Snookieboi

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    Snowden is a real life hero. Not the brightest, but much more of a hero than a brainwashed kid who joins the army for example.Why? Because truth and honesty is such an important and rare commodity in todays society, and far more valuable in the long run.

    Snowden has gotten to the core issue about Government lies and deception, something far more important than anything else since the Government control every aspect of society, and what is society if it is based upon a pack of crafted lies?

    Suddenly people have been painfully reminded to the extent that their Government really lacks trust in them, the reasons why life is so. Snowden is the man who's set the cat free and got the people thinking about stuff, and that's good. Very good.

    He has proof that America is spying on it's own and it's supposed allies. Strange how America says national security is at stake when it suits them. I guess America's allies could say the same too regarding being spied on!

    Definately food for thought. Land of the free, yea right!

    #32 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 02:48

  • MADMAC

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    Snookie
    Beyond the fact that he did not expose that the US was "spying on it's own", there is some more gross hyperbole above - how about government controls every aspect of society. Now that's just bullshit, pure and simple.

    Beyond that take a look around the world in the 20th century at the kind of governments we ended up with when people tried a radical new approach. We got Hitler and the Nazis. We got Lenin and the Stalinists. We got Mao and his friendly gang of four. Pol Pot... do any of these names means anything to you?

    The thought process embedded above is deliberately designed to delegitimize. As if the Western Democracies were not legitimate - which would mean that something else is more legitimate. I'm all ears.

    Again, for the third time, the US is not what is wrong with the world.

    #33 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 03:14

  • Snookieboi

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    {.......how about government controls every aspect of society. Now that's just bullshit, pure and simple.

    Beyond that take a look around the world in the 20th century at the kind of governments we ended up with when people tried a radical new approach. We got Hitler and the Nazis. We got Lenin and the Stalinists. We got Mao and his friendly gang of four. Pol Pot......}

    I disagree Madmac, because the Government DOES control every aspect of society, and is finally responsable for the way it's society turns out , wether it be one run by Hitler, or Pol Pot. Any good society would ensure that Hitlers and Polpots would not have lasted.

    Regardless of People thinking they have some influence on the real important Government issues, really thay don't, and the Government has it's own hidden real agendas it'll never change. That's why they control the population, aka their 'happy slaves', now slightly more enlightened and less happy ones. Sure, you may think you have control, but the Gov is the Gov, regardless of political party. You might be able to influence petty changes, but that's about all. Unfair?-Hell yea!

    #34 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 07:27

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I disagree Madmac, because the Government DOES control every aspect of society, and is finally responsable for the way it's society turns out , wether it be one run by Hitler, or Pol Pot. Any good society would ensure that Hitlers and Polpots would not have lasted."

    But they did. See, right now, we have these little mini-revolutions in which people can replace their existing government without blowing each other up. They are called elections. Other forms of government are more compelled to use the blow up method.

    Government does not control every aspect of society. Example:

    1. You can marry who you choose. Your bride is not selected for you.
    2. You can say whatever you want. Here you are not concerned that should you say something against your government it's not going to come back and haunt you. No agents are going to arrest you in the dead of night. You have true freedom of expression. Not a big deal - until you don't have it.
    3. You can participate. A friend of mine in 2006 left the Army and ran for a seat in the house and won. And anybody can do this.
    4. You can protest, organize boycotts, organize strikes... in closed societies those organizing strikes get their skulls cracked open for their trouble.

    Now, is western democracy perfect? Does it have a perfect track record on anything? Nope. But it sure beats the options.

    And do I have control? Huh, I got to leave. I didn't like the level of regulation back home (didn't like the climate either) and so I was able to move to Thailand. Try doing that if you are North Korean, or from Stalinist Russia or Pol Pots Cambodia.

    In Democracy the glass is half empty, but it's all half full. In closed societies it's more like 1/8 full, 7/8 empty - or worse.

    #35 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 08:02

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Govs act in a similar way to private companies in that they want to control or influence your behaviour. There is constant advertising oh why you should do this or that with little facts to back up any of it.

    Control/influence equals power which in turn equals money.

    "It wasn't that obvious. A lot of people believed that Chemical weapons were in the Iraqi arsenal"

    Obvious to the thoughful, but yeah lots of gullible people fell for it but they fell for Y2K and are now hooked on this Co2 con when the correlation with temps is awfully weak and all the IPCC forecasts to date have been wrong. But the masses will believe anything if it appears on TV enough. Remember back 7 years it was called Global warming? The warming disappeared so the con was changed to climate change to cover everything. How convenient. Dodgy used car salesmen change their company names too when caught out.

    #36 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 08:12

  • Snookieboi

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    Thanks for that Madmac.

    The point i was making was more to do with the real big hidden power agendas. I really don't believe that we will ever really be able to change any of that.

    With reference to being allowed to choose marriage partners, stage protests, etc, well, to me that's trivial stuff to Governments. And hey, they've gotta keep their slaves happy right? But in the end, the Government couldn't care less about that sort of stuff. It's of little threat to their smokescreen.

    But Snowden is!

    The point i'm making is that the Government has learnt the hard way that it must allow it's people certain freedoms within society for it to function and flourish. (The true value of those freedoms is another thing, because we are not really allowed to know ourselves, our programming is largely due to brainwashing from birth.)
    If populations are too restricted, then society suffers and so does the Government. Their job is to make things work in the best way for them, and it just so happens that that means keeping the slaves happy.

    #37 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 08:17

  • sayadian

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    'how could an intelligence agency......function and you'd not be concerned'

    I'll throw that question back at you in another format.

    How did they function before the technology allowed them to collect and collate such huge masses of data?

    The traditional way would consist of methods such as:

    Targeting persons or organisations of interest.
    Inserting agents for long or short terms.
    Developing assets (bribe, blackmail or convince them)
    All this still goes on but there is an unhealthy obsession with electronic trawling which is man power costly since the machines produce an awful lot of garbage, software writers still have a long way to go.
    None of these methods bother me.
    Mass data collection is a poor way of looking for specific intelligence however it is excellent for controlling tbe general population
    That's why it was so popular in the Third Reich and Uncle Joe Stalin's USSR.

    #38 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 08:39

  • SBE

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    what I can't understand is that if he is such a smart cookie, why didn't he sort out his asylum before spilling the beans on his country's spying.

    Maybe I'm missing something obvious but I don't see how he could have asked for asylum without revealing why he needed it. He'd have had to spill the beans in private to the countries where he wanted asylum. If any of these countries had informed the US what he was about to do it's very likely he would have been shut up ether in Guantanamo or permanently before he'd had a chance to spill the beans to the American people which was the whole point of the exercise I think. Also intense media provides a certain level of personal security for him. If the US tries to use dirty tactics to silence him then the whole world will know about it.

    The US administration does seem extraordinarily keen to prevent him from revealing any more secrets though. I wonder what it is they're hiding? It must be something really really damaging to the career prospects of the people in power if they're prepared to force down the Bolivian president's plane and search it for Snowden.

    #39 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 12:33

  • LeonardCohe-
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    SBE could be right here. Media does provide a certain level of protection.

    #40 Posted: 15/7/2013 - 21:25

  • MADMAC

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    "How did they function before the technology allowed them to collect and collate such huge masses of data?"

    Not very well. How did the transportation industry function before the combustion engine? Not very well.

    "Targeting persons or organisations of interest."

    And lo and behold, that's the current way too.

    "Inserting agents for long or short terms."

    Well, you don't actually "insert agents" all that much as you tend to flip them. But yeah, they do that too. Do not confuse NSA with CIA. They work together but one is focussed on HUMNINT and one is focussed on SIGINT.

    "All this still goes on but there is an unhealthy obsession with electronic trawling which is man power costly since the machines produce an awful lot of garbage, software writers still have a long way to go"

    Individiauls don't go through it all. The vast majority of data is never looked at. But the system is targetted.

    "Mass data collection is a poor way of looking for specific intelligence however it is excellent for controlling tbe general population"

    It is if you want to go through it all. If you can tap into the data and make associations it's useful. The software is perhaps better than you think.

    What is not happening (there is no manpower for it even were it legal) is some analyst is pulling up and reading every email that's transmitted. That's not happening. The entire process requires an analyst to have a starting point. Remmember, he is working externals here. It's about associations which can help guys on the ground do what you were describing above. It's also very useful for developing things like order of battle information on potential conflict armies and so forth.

    "That's why it was so popular in the Third Reich and Uncle Joe Stalin's USSR."

    It wasn't. They mostly used HUMINT collection. There was a small amount of collection against insurgent short wave radio and the HF spectrum - against enemy Army order of battle. It wasn't used to collect on local population hardly at all. Human sources did that. The Gestapo and the NKVD were HUMINT based organizations.

    "I wonder what it is they're hiding?"

    Sources and methods. The more he releases exactly how things are done, the more our opponents will adjust and make years of previous work by a lot of people useless. The issue of cooperation is also a touchy one for a lot of states and they don't want their cooperation to be public knowledge.

    #41 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 00:12

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Madmac
    I think I got the same demons in my machine you had. Power down three times, lost reply three times. Something to do with the rains or NSA?
    So I hurried in getting the final version down so I just noticed I left out chunks. The most noticeable concerned data gathering under Stalin and Hitler. Of course, I meant they collected their data through thousands of informants. Phone tapping existed but was rudimentary.



    Maybe I didn't make it clear that my list referred to spying in general. These are just basics used successfully up until the Cold War and some are still of use.
    When I refer to short-term agents I include use of Special Forces.
    I have no idea what flipping is (rotation? But not likely in the spy world)

    As regards machine-generated data.
    People have to check erroneously flagged stuff. Quite a bit of work.

    NSA/CIA. I thought they came under one umbrella now. If one is doing SIG and the other HUMINT they'd have to be.

    Does the FBI still operate as The (internal) SECURITY SERVICE?

    #42 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 05:37

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
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    Is it possible to do a loop from Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang-Vientiane-Siem Reap-Bangkok in one week?

    I would also like to squeeze in Bali and the Phillipines.

    #43 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 06:25

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Best done via Moscow

    #44 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 06:31

  • MADMAC

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    China, was that a deiberate non-sequitor or what?

    Yes, the FBI and the other police agencies have responsibility for the internals. I think there are far too many of them myself. I would like to see the DEA and it's mission terminated (because I don't think drug use should be illegal even though on a personal level I object to it).

    I think the ATF should be part of the FBI and can't think of a good reason to have a separate service there.

    Ultimately the intelligence services all have one head, but they are still separate agencies. So the CIA is doing it's HUMINT based work, NSA is doing it's SIGNT based work, and DIA is doing it's military focussed work. They do work together, and intimately with the military (some more, like NSA, some less, like CIA). Sharing data is the norm. The benefit of that is it makes analysts more efficient, they can access more information on their subject matter. The risk is security, more people can access more data so if someone pulls a "Snowden" they are able to compromise more information.

    There are no easy answers to these dilema's in a free society. The freedoms associated with open societies give them their strength, and also create vulnerabilities. It is human nature to try and prevent those vulnerabilities from being exploited, but there are paradoxes in which there are no "right" answers.

    As I said before, men like Alexander and Clapper are not maniacal guys sitting in smoke filled rooms twisting their mustaches and planning how to subvert the country (or the world). They (and their agencies) have a difficult job and try to balance conflicting interests.

    #45 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 07:30

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Well, I'm never going to be a fan of collecting data for the sake of it.
    I am not convinced that it is safe to give any state such power over an individual.
    I hear that what the U.S. was doing was unconstitutional and that is the strongest argument for Snowden to go public. Others deny this.
    Does the American Constitution guarantee privacy?

    The only thing that's really pissed me off is how well Putin has come out of this. You get the impression if Snowden had been a Russian he would have been dead of a 'heart attack' by now.

    #46 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 07:53

  • chinarocks

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    "China, was that a deiberate non-sequitor or what?"

    Most definitely - I thought the tone needed a little lightening.

    Although I must admit I had to google what "non-sequitor" meant.

    #47 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 07:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I hear that what the U.S. was doing was unconstitutional and that is the strongest argument for Snowden to go public. Others deny this.
    Does the American Constitution guarantee privacy?"

    US Supreme Court Rulings guarantee said privacy. There was a critical court ruling (I can't remmember the specifics) around 1928 where police were tpping some guys phone without any kind of warrant and the Supreme Court ruled that was an invasion of privacy and a violation of the 4th amendment (humor me here, I'm working from memory and too lazy to look up the specifics). Since then to monitor phone conversations is considered a violation of the 4th amendment. What NSA is doing, exploiting externals, is not considered violation of the same and the data doesn't have any real use in court either.

    "The only thing that's really pissed me off is how well Putin has come out of this. You get the impression if Snowden had been a Russian he would have been dead of a 'heart attack' by now."

    Of course. I'm not too hard on the Russians though. Their democracy is very immature. To develop mature institutions in a democracy takes time. This is especially true if you come out of a totalitarian society with no history of political tolerance like Russia. Their culture is also especially nihilistic making it a dangerous brew. When all factors are considered, they are doing OK. They need another 50 years or so. As democratic strongmen go, Putin isn't the worst out there.

    #48 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 09:10

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "Although I must admit I had to google what "non-sequitor" meant."

    We all learn different **** in school. My German teacher used to accuse me of answering his questions with non-sequitors when I sucked in German. I wish he could hear me now. I was a terrible German student in High School, but somehow became fluent in the language. He'd have never believed it.

    #49 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 09:25

  • LeonardCohe-
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    What's with all the code talk? Trying to sound all fancy. You play chess and dance. You're not James Bond.

    #50 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 10:29

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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    BTW what bag should I take and what should I pack?

    Is 12 countries in 5 days a little rushed?

    Please help.

    #51 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 10:30

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Check that your passport is still valued and you have the required visa. Your itinerary takes you through Siberia and on to North Korea. This leg seems straightforward enough but then your options become more limited. Check to see if NK have a direct flight to Havana.
    Maybe an extended stay in Laos might be the better option.

    #52 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 20:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "What's with all the code talk? Trying to sound all fancy. You play chess and dance. You're not James Bond."

    Code talk? What code talk?

    I was an Army intelligence officer for 23 years and might have picked up some acronyms along the way. Hardly code talk.

    #53 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 23:24

  • stefanw

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    "They think, like Stefan, it's all hyperbole created for Machiavellian machinations."

    Huh?

    Madmac do you really think what Snowden has revealed increases the threat to Americans? I was trying to say that what he has revealed isn't all that groundbreaking. I mean does Microsoft (or whoever) sharing data aid terrorist organisations? What person didn't already know that the US had large intelligence and "spying" operations on key targets.

    Com'on...

    #54 Posted: 16/7/2013 - 23:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I mean does Microsoft (or whoever) sharing data aid terrorist organisations?"

    Specificty is everything. I know that using a microsoft product puts me at risk, when I thought encoading it made it safe, now I don't use that anymore. But you say:

    "What person didn't already know that the US had large intelligence and "spying" operations on key targets."

    Yes, of course, but they have to talk over long distances. This means one way or another there are vulnerabilities. When they KNOW one system is compromised, they move to another. Just like military communications. If you know your net is compromised, you change frequencies.

    #55 Posted: 17/7/2013 - 04:42

  • neosho

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    Madmac
    The Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 pretty much throw all the constitutional guarantees out the window. Even for American citizens. It also makes it legal for the government to do anything it wants. Including assassination.So you're right in saying what they are doing is not illegal. The court that oversees what the NSA does is a sole judge. All the NSA does is issue a National Security Letter to that court. Thousands upon thousands have been issued. They don't read every e-mail or listen to every phone call. They target certain words and phrases through their programs. Call a friend in America and issue a veiled threat of some kind. They'll be knocking at your door.
    As for Snowden. How did he leak what was already known. Except for the listening in on allies, all the rest was brought to light in 2006 under the Bush administration and the phone and internet companies were given immunity for prosecution.

    #56 Posted: 18/7/2013 - 18:08

  • DLuek

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    Speaking of asylum, if Snowden made it to Cuba, maybe they could hide him in a bunch of brown sugar and ship him to North Korea. Then he could go sing karaoke and watch basketball with Rodman (aka The Worm) and the pudgy kid they call Supreme Leader. He'd fit in there.

    #57 Posted: 18/7/2013 - 21:50

  • neosho

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    I stand corrected.
    The FISC court now has 11 judges all appointed by the Chief Justice. Still pretty much a rubber stamp court though. The NSL letters are mainly used by the FBI which has issued about 200,000 since 2003.

    #58 Posted: 19/7/2013 - 07:23

  • MADMAC

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    "The Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 pretty much throw all the constitutional guarantees out the window. Even for American citizens."

    Which is why you can no longer say what you want in the US - you will be visited by the FBI and taken to the gulag is you say anything against the government. You can not protest either, or you will be imprisoned or killed. And you can not organize labor. Nor can you participate in the political process. It's now a police state.

    #59 Posted: 21/7/2013 - 11:23

  • SBE

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    Amnesty International takes a very dim view of the way the UK government has been trying to suppress freedom of information in the Snowden affair.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/uk-must-account-its-actions-repress-guardian-reporting-surveillance-2013-08-20

    Alas, all this terrible publicity for the UK government was totally unnecessary because Snowden naturally didn't just make one copy. Even the British Secret Service should have had enough brains to work that out so I can only assume they did it because showing clear support for Uncle Sam was far more important than pretending to be a free and democratic nation. Uncle Sam seems so cross with Mr Snowden that they will go to practically any lengths to shut him up and they don't seem to care much about bad publicity either.

    Possibly because it's nothing compared to the bad publicity they'll get if Snowden manages to reveal all his files to the US electorate.

    Anyway, there's some more dirt in the Washington Post today.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/black-budget-summary-details-us-spy-networks-successes-failures-and-objectives/2013/08/29/7e57bb78-10ab-11e3-8cdd-bcdc09410972_story.html

    Telling citizens how the government spends their tax money is not a threat to national security. In a democracy, how tax money gets used is one of the main criteria for voting in a government. Secret black budgets are therefore undemocratic and some of the electorate might prefer this money to be spent on education, roads and health care etc rather than it being used to spy on them.

    Will the Washington Post get a visit from the CIA or NSA too now? How would they justify doing it? If they try the usual "giving information to the enemy" BS what they are in effect saying is that the "enemy" is the general public.

    #60 Posted: 30/8/2013 - 08:31

  • MADMAC

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    SBE - what gives lie to the above is the simple fact you were willing to post it.

    If the US and the UK were police states and their own peoples were their enemies, then you would be afraid to post something against the government for fear of reprisal. But you are not. Now, if you really lived in a police state, like China for example, you might have cause to be concerned. Because they DO arrest people and imprison them under harsh conditions for lengthy periods for political dissent. In North Korea, another police state, you can be executed for just wanting to leave the country.

    People in the west have no idea what a police state it like and have no idea how fortunate they are. They are constantly describing events with hyperbole on steroids.

    #61 Posted: 30/8/2013 - 12:18

  • SBE

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    I didn't use the term "police state" but it's heading that way and it's better to speak out while we still can. No point in waiting in silence until it's too late.

    I agree with former president Carter when he said. "America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time."

    And I lived for 4 years in Syria when the current president's father was in power so I do know what it's like to live in a police state. I didn't turn the BBC world news signature tune up too loud when I was living in the Congo either.

    #62 Posted: 30/8/2013 - 12:50

  • MADMAC

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    "I didn't use the term "police state" but it's heading that way and it's better to speak out while we still can. No point in waiting in silence until it's too late."

    It's not heading that way. Not even close. Not a single political freedom has been lost in the US since the McCarthy era. The US is more free now (politically) than ever in it's history. That is demonstrable fact.

    Police states don't become police states gradually. It happens rapidly. The citizenry is beaten over the head with a baseball bat by a dictatorial regime. The gradualist arguement is given lie to by history.

    I agree with former president Carter when he said. "America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time."

    I'm sure you would. But if America doesn't have a functioning democracy now, then it never did. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. Fact. Minorities are more empowered now, so if you don't like miniorities having a political voice, then things are worse. Otherwise, it's a bullshit statement which Carter made without buttressing it with facts.

    "And I lived for 4 years in Syria when the current president's father was in power so I do know what it's like to live in a police state. I didn't turn the BBC world news signature tune up too loud when I was living in the Congo either."

    Then you ought to know better than make the comparison - because there isn't one. You can say anything political you want - anything - without any fear of consequence in the western world. If you don't value that now, you never will.

    #63 Posted: 30/8/2013 - 23:45

  • sayadian

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    I wonder why U.S.A tops the world rankings for number of prisoners per 100,000 of the population?
    Not China.They jail a mere seventh of what the U.S. does.

    I wonder why black people who make up around 13% of the general population are 40% of the prison population.

    It couldn't be political could it? They must just be all bad.

    Repression comes in different shapes and sizes.

    #64 Posted: 1/9/2013 - 06:35

  • SBE

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    Ach ignore him Sayadian, everyone knows MM always talks through his arse.

    Except the "hyperbole" he posted in # 59. :-)

    #65 Posted: 1/9/2013 - 08:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I wonder why U.S.A tops the world rankings for number of prisoners per 100,000 of the population?
    Not China.They jail a mere seventh of what the U.S. does."

    Fascist doesn't translate to more people jailed. The American people are hard on crime and have a very violent culture. This has been true since we've been Americans. But that has NOTHING - as in the big zero - to do with political freedom. You are every bit as politically free in the US and you are in Great Britain or Canada or Australia.

    "I wonder why black people who make up around 13% of the general population are 40% of the prison population."

    They were an oppressed group (in extremis up until the end of the civil war, and then still repressed severely until 1964 and defacto until the last 30 years or so. As such, they have occupied the lowest economic rungs of the country. This, combined with lack of educational opportunities has created a strong tendency towards criminal behavior. Additionally, given their more limited economic resources, their capacity to hire quality representation is lacking. It all adds up to a higher prison population per capita.

    "It couldn't be political could it? They must just be all bad."

    It's not political repression. It's racial repression. Those things should not be confused. In 2013 blacks are perfectly free to express themselves politically without fear of an attack by the state. THAT is political repression. Do not confuse racism or corruption with political repression. They are not synonamous.

    "Repression comes in different shapes and sizes."

    Absolutely. And do you think blacks have it better now in the US or was it better for them in 1950? How about in 1900? How about in 1850? How about hispanics? Are we are really even having this conversation?

    "everyone knows MM always talks through his arse."

    SBE the word is ass. And I feel the same about you. Guess we just have to live with each other.

    #66 Posted: 1/9/2013 - 09:09

  • sayadian

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    'It's not political repression. It's racial repression.'

    It's not political right? Remember Florida?

    Source:New York Times April 12th 2012.

    '...the United States Commission on Civil Rights found that approximately 11 percent of Florida voters in 2000 were African-American; yet African-Americans cast more than half of the 180,000 rejected ballots. The commission found that statistical data, reinforced by credible anecdotal evidence, point to the widespread denial of voting rights. The report then concluded that the disenfranchisement of Florida's voters fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters.'

    Isn't that politics (as well as racism?)

    #67 Posted: 1/9/2013 - 09:36

  • MADMAC

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    There are arguements even today that the Republican Party, knowing that it has a difficult time garnering votes from minorities, actively seeks ways to disenfranchise them. How much merit there is varies from arguement to arguement. BUT AGAIN, I remind you, this problem was FAR, FAR, FAR more endemic 100 years ago. Blacks (as well as everyone else) has significantly and measurably more political freedom today than 50 or 100 years ago. Thus giving lie to the arguement that things are getting worse. They are not.

    And disenfranchisement arguements not withstanding, nobody is being jailed for political speech nor being otherwise repressed for same.

    Arguing that the US (or any western democracy) is becoming a police state is, as SBE would say, talking out one's "arse".

    #68 Posted: 1/9/2013 - 09:44

  • LeonardCohe-
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    "I wonder why black people who make up around 13% of the general population are 40% of the prison population."

    Take a look at Africa. Many of the countries are basket cases.

    #69 Posted: 1/9/2013 - 21:58

  • sayadian

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    What's that got to do with it?
    Are you saying they have a propensity to crime because of genetics?

    #70 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 03:54

  • MADMAC

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    I don't like genetics based arguements. I don't think they are fair to individuals - even where some truth may exist in them on economies of scale. Concerning the US, there is no question that historically our black population was maginalized and brutalized and the current issues we have are a result of our history.

    That having been said: All persons in the US are more politically free today than ever. And that's a fact that I can support.

    #71 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 04:41

  • chinarocks

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    Racial profiling is alive and well in America. A black youth is four times more likely to be randomly stopped and searched than his white counterpart.

    In addition, while marijuana use is roughly equal between whites and blacks in America, there are four times as many blacks as whites in jail for said offences.

    #72 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 04:56

  • LeonardCohe-
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    "Are you saying they have a propensity to crime because of genetics?"

    More than 50% of behaviour is due to genetics.

    #73 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 07:23

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Just a few years ago, the MICTAR published an article in the prestigious journal Science (I can show you the article if any of you are interested) that summarized their most recent work. Among other data, they reported in this study that about 70% of the differences in IQ between identical twins reared apart was due to genetic variation. In other words, the heritability of IQ score in these twins is about 0.70.

    #74 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 07:25

  • LeonardCohe-
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    The major reviews of genetic influences in antisocial behavior typically combine a wide range of definitions for what may be considered antisocial. In a legal setting, it may be worth considering studies involving illegal behaviors specifically. Several large-scale twin and adoption studies of criminality have been conducted in various countries, including the United States,34 Sweden,35 Denmark,36 and Norway.37 Concordance between twins for property crimes such as theft and vandalism has been generally greater for MZ twin pairs (who are genetically identical) compared to DZ twin pairs (who on average share only fifty percent of their genes).38 Property crime convictions among adopted individuals significantly increased when a biological parent was convicted.39 In comparison, conviction rates showed little or no increase in adopted children raised by parents with property crime convictions.

    #75 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 07:31

  • LeonardCohe-
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    "A black youth is four times more likely to be randomly stopped and searched than his white counterpart."

    Makes sense if they are commiting more crimes. It might upset the pc brigade but you stop the people most likely not grannies going to the supermarket.

    #76 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 07:33

  • chinarocks

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    "Makes sense if they are commiting more crimes."

    The point I am trying to make is that they are not necessarily committing more crimes. Presumably when they are stopped and randomly searched then the police are looking for drugs (amongst other things). The evidence suggests that whites are as likely to be carrying drugs (well, marijuana in the case I read about) as black individuals.

    A little bit like the fact that domestic terrorists with no Islamist ties have killed more Americans since 9/11 than Islamic inspired ones, yet the ones of Islamic persuasion receive a lot more screening / checks etc. I still think they are correct to crack down on any whiff of Islamic violence but better control of domestic gun laws, for example, would probably save more American lives than persistent drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.

    #77 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 07:42

  • LeonardCohe-
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    If the jails have a lot more of them per capita then they are commiting more crimes. I'm talking murder, serious assault, armed robbery not a small bag of dope.

    #78 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 08:16

  • chinarocks

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    "If the jails have a lot more of them per capita then they are commiting more crimes"

    Not necessarily - it may also be, and in some case almost certainly is, due to the fact that they are searched more frequently than whites. As is my point above, which you again appear to have missed.

    #79 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 08:20

  • LeonardCohe-
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    I'm talking serious crimes not trivial stuff. Facts show they do commit more of these crimes.

    #80 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 08:28

  • LeonardCohe-
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    "I'm talking murder, serious assault, armed robbery not a small bag of dope."

    You missed that bit for some reason?

    #81 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 08:29

  • somtam2000

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    This strayed right off topic & have deleted a few posts.

    As the ongoing thread has nothing to do with Snowden anymore I'm locking it off. Please see my earlier thread about keeping things on topic.

    Thanks

    #82 Posted: 2/9/2013 - 08:50

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