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Edward Snowden: hunting the source in Moscow (photos of the NSA whistleblower arriving in Russia)

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WHEN Edward Snowden landed in Moscow on a flight from Hong, the media was massed.

Some journalists went about showing passengers photos of the wanted man. Have you seen him? What did he drink on the flight? Was he nervous? Did he play Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds? No snippet of information is to trite to relay about the NSA worker who told us all that big US Government co-opts big Internet companies to spy on American and British citizens.

Ben Smith puts the case:

But Snowden’s personal story is interesting only because the new details he revealed are so much more interesting. We know substantially more about domestic surveillance than we did, thanks largely to stories and documents printed by The Guardian. They would have been just as revelatory without Snowden’s name on them. The shakeout has produced more revelatory reporting, notably this new McClatchy piece on the way in which President Obama’s obsession with leaks has manifested itself in the bureaucracy with a new “Insider Threat Program.”

Snowden’s flight and its surrounding geopolitics are a good story; what he made public is a better one. I’m not sure why reporters should care all that much about his personal moral status, the meaning of the phrase “civil disobedience,” or the fate of his eternal soul. And the public who used to be known as “readers” are going to have to get used to making that distinction.

Journalists stand next to the Ecuador's Ambassador's car while waiting for the arrival of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who recently leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor, Snowdon is wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs, but was allowed to leave Hong Kong for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

Journalists stand next to the Ecuador’s Ambassador’s car while waiting for the arrival of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who recently leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor, Snowdon is wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs, but was allowed to leave Hong Kong for a “third country” because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory’s government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

Journalists stand next to Ecuador's Ambassador's car while waiting for the arrival of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who recently leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor, Snowdon is wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs, but was allowed to leave Hong Kong for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

Journalists stand next to Ecuador’s Ambassador’s car 

An unidentified passenger, right, who just arrived from Hong Kong and said to waiting journalists that he had seen former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs Edward Snowden, aboard his flight from Hong Kong, as the unidentified passenger speaks to journalists at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow. Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor Snowdon, wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave Hong Kong for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday.(AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko)

An unidentified passenger, right, who just arrived from Hong Kong and said to waiting journalists that he had seen former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs Edward Snowden, aboard his flight from Hong Kong.

Journalists show passengers arriving from Hong Kong a tablet with a photo of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs, at Sheremetyevo airport, just outside Moscow, Russia, Sunday, June 23, 2013. The former National Security Agency contractor wanted by the United States for revealing two highly classified surveillance programs has been allowed to leave for a "third country" because a U.S. extradition request did not fully comply with Hong Kong law, the territory's government said Sunday. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Journalists show passengers arriving from Hong Kong a tablet with a photo of Edward Snowden

COMBO - This six-picture combo shows, left to right on first row, American fugitive Robert Lee Vesco, center, leaves a Cuban court in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 2, 1996; Former United States CIA agent Philip Agee presents his travel agency "Cuba Linda," or "Beautiful Cuba" at a news conference in Havana, Cuba, June 22, 2000; Undated file photo provided by the New Jersey State Police showing Assata Shakur, born Joanne Chesimard, who was put on a U.S. government terrorist watch list on May 2, 2005. Bottom row from left to right, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks speaks to the media and members of the public from a balcony at the Ecuador Embassy in London, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012; Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti is escorted by police officers while leaving court in Rio de Janeiro, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009; Ronnie Biggs, one of Britain's most notorious criminals, holds a copy of his newly-released autobiography "Odd Man Out: The Last Straw", London, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden is just one of many people on the run who have sought shelter in Latin America to avoid the reach of authorities back home. (AP Photos/Canadian Press-Jose Goitia; Jose Goita; New Jersey State Police; Kirsty Wigglesworth; Felipe Dana; Kirsty Wigglesworth)

 This six-picture combo shows, left to right on first row, American fugitive Robert Lee Vesco, center, leaves a Cuban court in Havana, Cuba, Aug. 2, 1996; Former United States CIA agent Philip Agee presents his travel agency “Cuba Linda,” or “Beautiful Cuba” at a news conference in Havana, Cuba, June 22, 2000; Undated file photo provided by the New Jersey State Police showing Assata Shakur, born Joanne Chesimard, who was put on a U.S. government terrorist watch list on May 2, 2005. Bottom row from left to right, Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks speaks to the media and members of the public from a balcony at the Ecuador Embassy in London, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012; Italian fugitive Cesare Battisti is escorted by police officers while leaving court in Rio de Janeiro, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009; Ronnie Biggs, one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, holds a copy of his newly-released autobiography “Odd Man Out: The Last Straw”, London, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011. Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden is just one of many people on the run who have sought shelter in Latin America to avoid the reach of authorities back home.

Ecuador's Foreign Mister Ricardo Patino speaks to reporters at a hotel during his visit to Vietnam Monday, June 24, 2013. Patino said that his government is analyzing an asylum request from Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor wanted for revealing classified secrets. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh)

Ecuador’s Foreign Mister Ricardo Patino speaks to reporters at a hotel during his visit to Vietnam Monday, June 24, 2013. Patino said that his government is analyzing an asylum request from Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor wanted for revealing classified secrets. 

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Posted: 24th, June 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment


Edward Snowden escapes Hong Kong drone strike to spy on Ecuador’s enlightened neighbours

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EDWARD Snowden the National Security Agency whistleblower,  is heading to… Ecuador. That’s where Julian Assange wants to go, should the WikiLeaks head man ever escape his asylum lounge in London’s Ecaudorean embassy. One day, we should know pretty much everything about Ecuador.

That’s if Snowden makes it. He’s been charged with espionage and theft by the US Government.  Snowden told us that the NSA can and does incidentally log domestic communications while targeting foreigners. In short, the NSA spies on Americans. And such is the power of the USA, that Britons get spied on, too.

WikiLeaks, which is supporting Mr Snowden, says in a statement:

“Mr Snowden requested that WikiLeaks use its legal expertise and experience to secure his safety. Once Mr Snowden arrives at his final destination his request will be formally processed.”

 

But isn’t Snowden just a US traitor? He’s not on the side of freedom. He’s just on the other side. He fled to Hong Kong, not exactly a bastion of free expression. He was out to win friends in Beijing:

In an interview with the South China Morning Post newspaper, Snowden claims the U.S. has long been attacking a Hong Kong university that routes all Internet traffic in and out of the semi-autonomous Chinese region. Snowden said the National Security Agency’s 61,000 hacking targets around the world include hundreds in Hong Kong and mainland China, the paper reported late Wednesday. The Post, Hong Kong’s main English-language newspaper, said Snowden had presented documents to support those claims, but it did not describe the documents and said it could not verify them.

The New Yorker noted that the Chinese were warming to the grass:

Offering details about America’s cyber strategy on China may not help him much in American public opinion, but it already has in China. After initially attracting muted attention during a Chinese holiday earlier this week, by Thursday, his case was major news, and Snowden was a popular man here. Mo Shucao flagged me to an online survey that found that seventy-eight per cent of respondents regarded Snowden as a freedom fighter who protects civil liberties. As for how the Chinese government should handle the case, eighty-one per cent supported giving Snowden asylum either to protect him or extract more of the intelligence he is able to leak. Only three per cent supported surrendering him to the United States.

So. Why didn’t Snowden head to China? Adam Minter has an idea:

What’s becoming clear is that it’s in China’s best interest that Snowden leave Hong Kong — and soon. No doubt, on Monday there was no small amount of gloating in Beijing at the thought of a former U.S. intelligence analyst contemplating asylum on Chinese territory. But that satisfaction likely gave way to a wary recognition that Snowden is an advocate for digital privacy and against the surveillance state. Whatever benefit he might serve as an intelligence asset, or as a source of national prestige, is outweighed by the prospect of the world’s most famous whistle-blower living out his days in Hong Kong with nothing better to do than turn his attention to the surveillance state across the border.

In Ecuador, Snowden can spy on Peru and Colombia.

China is an easy target for criticism. But at least the US Even can change:

Seeking to drag the shadowy world of U.S. national security law into the light, a bipartisan group of senators has proposed a bill that would declassify significant legal opinions reached by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court… The bill is based on Merkley’s past proposal to declassify important FISA court opinions. He is joined by a small bipartisan group of senators that includes Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Al Franken of Minnesota. Republicans joining the effort include Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Dean Heller of Nevada.

And Snowden could have been killed in Hong Kong. Crank up the Drone Strike:

“Hong Kong is an island; it’s a port city surrounded by deep water. In 2008 the Navy demonstrated something called Submarine Over-The-Horizon Organic Capability—launching and controlling a lethal Switchblade drone from a submerged sub. The Switchblade is a one-use drone, powered by a quiet electric motor, that weighs about six pounds and flies up to 50 mph for 15 minutes. Switchblade carries a high-explosive warhead that can blow up everything within a 1-, 5-, or 7-meter range around the drone; it can take out an individual, or a truck. A high-resolution video camera in the nose allows a human operator to verify the target before detonating the drone. This is a far less destructive than the 20-pound warhead on the Hellfire missiles fired by Reaper drones, which can cause considerable collateral damage.”

But they want him alive…

Posted: 23rd, June 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment


Edward Snowden shuns Brazil and Turkey fo life in Mother Russia

SO. Which country is NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden heading to? Turkey? Brazil? Nope:

United States intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong on a flight bound for Moscow, reports say.

The South China Morning Post, quoting what it says are credible sources, said he was due to arrive in Moscow on Sunday evening.

It said Moscow would not be his final destination.

It’s like the Cold War never ended…

Posted: 23rd, June 2013 | In: Reviews | Comments (2)