Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Kerry Chronicles: South America Sour on U.S. Spying

This after the U.S. history in the region of coups and corpses in the service of corporate profits, under the cover of a drug war or the fight against communism. 

Who can blame them for being pissed off?

"Brazil, Colombia chilly toward the US; After NSA leaks, Kerry faces hard job to build ties" by Deb Riechmann |  Associated Press, August 12, 2013

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to Colombia and Brazil this week builds on efforts to deepen relations with Latin America, but he can expect a curt reception from the two US allies after reports that an American spy program widely targeted data in e-mails and telephone calls across the region.

Yeah, that's right. Not only are they gobbling up all U.S. citizen communications, they are gathering all American communications, and all world communications. That's not hyperbole, that's the facts!

On Kerry’s first visit to South America as the Obama administration’s chief diplomat, the disclosures by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden could chill talks on trade and energy, and even discussions about the Oct. 23 state dinner that President Obama is hosting for Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff.

‘‘I don’t think this is going to be a warm ‘abrazo,’ ’’ said Michael Shifter, president of the Washington-based Inter-American Dialogue, using the Spanish word for ‘‘hug.’’ “I think it will be businesslike.’’

Kerry was scheduled to arrive early Monday in Bogota. Colombia is holding peace talks to end a half-century conflict with the Western Hemisphere’s most potent rebel army, a force diminished in strength thanks in considerable measure to US military and intelligence support.

There may be other reasons.

The United States wants to support peace talks between Colombia’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which are occurring in Cuba. 


FARC Almost Finished 
Colombia, rebels set up peace talks
Colombia holds first peace talks with rebels in decade
Colombian rebels announce cease-fire
Colombia bombs rebel camps, 6 bodies recovered
Freedom From FARC

What a farce!

Also seeDetroit gets less aid than Colombia

What are they complaining about?

Colombia is one of the United States’ closest allies in the region, but the reports about the spy program have rankled Colombian officials.

Brazil’s O Globo newspaper reported last month that citizens of Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and other nations were among the targets of a massive NSA operation to secretly gather data on phone calls and Web communications worldwide. The reports were based on information from Snowden.

Related: The Boston Globe's NSA Intercepts 

Did they have "pipes" on their soil?

Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, said he wanted clarification from Washington on whether US data-gathering in Colombia had overstepped the nations’ joint operations against drug traffickers and illegal armed groups.

Santos said Vice President Joe Biden called him about the issue after revelations by Snowden that US digital snooping targeted allies as well as foes. Santos said Biden offered explanations. Asked if he was satisfied with them, Santos replied, ‘‘We are in that process.’’

Biden also called Rousseff to express what Brazil’s communications minister, Helena Chagas, said was ‘‘his regret over the negative repercussions caused by the disclosures.’’ 



Kerry's turn:

"Kerry hears Brazil’s demands for NSA clarifications; Seeks to answer concerns about intercepted data" by Deb Riechmann |  Associated Press, August 14, 2013

BRASILIA — Brazil demanded answers Tuesday from the United States about National Security Agency spying in the country and warned that trust between the two nations would be damaged if explanations were not satisfactory.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who was visiting Brasilia, sought to allay Brazil’s concerns about the program, saying the United States would work to provide answers to Brazil and other Latin American nations rankled by the NSA surveillance revealed by systems analyst Edward Snowden.

Are you going to apologize to the leader of Bolivia?

‘‘We’re now facing a new type of challenge in our bilateral relationship,’’ Brazil Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said at a news conference. ‘‘The challenge is related to news about the interception of Brazilian electronic and telephone communications. And if those challenges are not resolved in a satisfactory way, we run the risk of casting a shadow of distrust over our work.’’

He said that Brazil was seeking explanations through political, diplomatic, and technical channels, but that those clarifications were not an ‘‘end to themselves.’’

‘‘We need to stop practices that violate sovereignty, ‘‘ he said.

The O Globo newspaper reported last month that information released by Snowden showed Brazil is the top target in Latin America for the NSA’s massive intelligence-gathering effort, aimed at monitoring communications around the world.


Brazil is supposed to be our friend!

Public opposition to the spying was on display outside the Foreign Ministry building on Tuesday as a few dozen protesters yelled ‘‘go away, spies’’ to some members of Kerry’s traveling party as they left the building.

God bless those wonderful Brazilians!!!

Kerry defended the NSA program, saying it had been approved by all three branches of the US government.

You know, everything Hitler did was approved by all branches of the German government. Did that make it right?

‘‘We’re not surprised and we’re not upset that Brazil would ask questions. Absolutely understandable,’’ Kerry said.

Will someone please come and clean up the stinky, steaming pile the AmeriKan Secretary of State left?

‘‘Brazil is owed answers with respect to those questions and they will get them. And we will work together very positively to make certain that this question — these issues — do not get in the way of all the other things that we talked about,’’ Kerry said.

He said he could not discuss operational issues.

‘‘We will guarantee that Brazil and other countries will understand exactly what we are doingwhy and how — and we will work together to make sure that whatever is done is done in a way that respects our friends and our partners,’’ Kerry said. “And that is what we are going to achieve.’’

Yeah, the only people they will NOT TELL are the AMERICAN PEOPLE!

Revelations about NSA snooping in Brazil came at a time when the United States has been trying to expand the relationship with Brazil, an economic powerhouse in Latin America.


Expanding relations or STEALING their $ECRETS?

During President Obama’s visit to Brazil in 2011, the two nations signed 10 bilateral agreements. Five more were signed when President Dilma Rousseff visited the United States earlier this year, evidence of enhanced cooperation between the two countries.

I could go and look for a link to the post, but why bother?

Rousseff, who met with Kerry Tuesday afternoon, has been invited again to Washington in October, when Obama hosts a state visit for Brazil.

Both Patriota and Kerry boasted that the US-Brazil relationship had matured and that the two nations were working together on many issues.


Maybe this is why Brazil was target number one:

"Writer on NSA says he won’t be silenced; British officials detained partner" by Bradley Brooks |  Associated Press, August 20, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO — An American journalist who has written stories based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said Monday he’ll publish with more fervor after British authorities detained his partner.

London police detained David Miranda, who is in a civil union with reporter Glenn Greenwald, under antiterror legislation at Heathrow Airport in London Sunday.

Related: Greenwald Exposes Gregory 

I didn't know David Gregory was gay. That explains the poor ratings.

Miranda arrived Monday in Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with Greenwald.

A defiant Greenwald promised he was going ‘‘to write much more aggressively than before’’ about government snooping.

Why are you holding back? 

Related: NSA spying never catches Israelis - Why not? 

Also see: Wikileaks Whisper

‘‘I’m going to publish many more things about England, as well,’’ he said in Portuguese at Rio’s international airport when Miranda arrived. ‘‘I have many documents about England’s espionage system, and now my focus will be there, too. I think they’ll regret what they’ve done.’’

In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the US government was tipped off by UK counterparts that Miranda would be detained but that the United States had not requested the action. The Brazilian government objected to Miranda’s detention, saying it wasn’t based on any real threat.

Miranda said he wasn’t threatened while detained but confirmed that personal objects were taken from him.

“There were six different agents,’’ he said. ‘‘They asked questions about my whole life, about everything. They took my computer, video game, cellphone, memory thumb drives, everything.’’

In London, a British lawmaker called for police to explain why Miranda had been detained and why it took nearly nine hours to question him.

Miranda was held for nearly the maximum time that British authorities are allowed to detain individuals under the Terrorism Act’s Schedule 7, which authorizes security agencies to stop and question people at borders.

Keith Vaz, chairman of Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, told the BBC that ‘‘you have a complaint from Mr. Greenwald and the Brazilian government — they indeed have said they are concerned at the use of terrorism legislation for something that does not appear to relate to terrorism. So it needs to be clarified, and clarified quickly.’’

Vaz said it was ‘‘extraordinary’’ that police knew Miranda was Greenwald’s partner and that the authorities were targeting partners of people involved in Snowden’s disclosures.

The case drew the ire of rights groups.

‘‘It’s incredible that Miranda was considered to be a terrorist suspect,’’ said David Mepham, the UK director at Human Rights Watch. ‘‘On the contrary, his detention looks intended to intimidate Greenwald and other journalists who report on surveillance abuses.’’

Britain’s laws are not unique. US customs officials can search the electronic devices of anyone entering the United States without a search warrant. According to a 2011 internal Homeland Security Department report, officers at the border can search the devices and in some cases hold on to them for weeks or months.

Greenwald has written about NSA surveillance programs based on files disclosed by Snowden, who now has temporary asylum in Russia.

Miranda, a 28-year-old university student, was traveling home to Brazil after visiting Germany, where he met with Laura Poitras, a US filmmaker who has worked with Greenwald on the NSA stories.


RelatedReporter promises more leaks after partner detained

Why not just out it all and bring the whole damn system down?

UK defends detention of journalist’s partner

"Guardian talks of protecting Edward Snowden; British paper destroyed drives containing leaks" by Raphael Satter |  Associated Press, August 21, 2013

LONDON — A British newspaper released new details of its confrontation with the country’s intelligence service on Tuesday, saying it destroyed hard drives containing material leaked by Edward Snowden to insulate the former American intelligence worker from potential prosecution and to keep reporting on his leaks.

The Guardian said senior staffers shattered the electronics using angle grinders and drills in mid-July in a bid to avoid legal action or even a police raid that could halt its reporting or provide evidence for US officials seeking to put Snowden behind bars.

“I didn’t want to get in that position,” editor Alan Rusbridger said in a video interview posted to the Guardian’s website. “Once it was obvious that they would be going to law, I would rather destroy the copy than hand it back to them or allow the courts to freeze our reporting.” He said the paper has other copies of the same material elsewhere.

Rusbridger spoke as disquiet continued to grow over the detention of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, who was held for nine hours at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday as he was ferrying material related to the Snowden story between filmmaker Laura Poitras in Germany and Brazil, where Greenwald is based.

Snowden’s leaks have served as the jumping off point for a series of stories about America’s globe-spanning surveillance program, including revelations that US spies reach deep inside private companies to keep track of tens of millions’ of innocent Americans’ phone and Internet conversations with limited independent oversight. The stories have emboldened privacy activists and embarrassed President Obama, who unveiled a slate of intelligence reforms intended to calm public concerns.

Legal commentators questioned the legality of Miranda’s detention, which civil liberties group have decried as an abuse of power aimed at sabotaging Greenwald’s coverage.

The British government has declined to comment on the shattered hard drives, but it defended its decision to detain Miranda, saying it was right to stop anyone suspected of possessing “highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism.”

A law firm representing Miranda had begun legal action against the government, calling his detention unlawful and seeking assurances that British officials would not share the material seized from Miranda. In a letter, London-based Bindmans called on the government to return a “mobile phone, laptop, memory sticks, smart-watch, DVDs, and games consoles” taken from Miranda.

“These items contain sensitive, confidential journalistic material and should not have been seized.”

Specialists suggested the government’s case is dicey. The piece of legislation used to stop Miranda — Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act — is especially contentious because it allows police to stop people for passing through airports up to nine hours without suspicion they committed an offense.

British legal blogger David Allen Green said Schedule 7 could only be used to determine whether a person was a terrorist — and not, as he put it, “a fishing expedition for property.”

“If the questioning, detention, and search of Miranda was for a purpose other than to determine if he was a terrorist, then it was unlawful,” he said.

David Lowe, a former police officer and academic at Liverpool John Moores University, believes the government was acting in good faith, although he could understand why journalists might be concerned.

We should ALL be concerned, meaning EVERY CITIZEN on the PLANET!

He argued that the Snowden leaks could contain details of intelligence operations against groups such as Al Qaeda, which he said was where antiterror laws could come into play.

“It’s a thin connection,” he acknowledged.

British Home Secretary Theresa May took that line of argument in her comments Tuesday.

“I think it’s absolutely right that if the police believe that if somebody is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that could help terrorists, that could risk lives or lead to a potential loss of life, that the police are able to act, and that’s what the law enables them to do,” May said.


"UK defends request to destroy data" by Danica Kirka |  Associated Press, August 22, 2013

LONDON — Britain’s government ordered the country’s top civil servant to ask the Guardian newspaper to destroy data leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, senior ministers said Wednesday.

The Guardian says it came under pressure from the government soon after publishing stories in June about US and British surveillance based on Snowden’s information.

And I was left with the impression above that it was the brave media that blah, blah, blah.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defended the decision to ask Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood to approach the newspaper.

“The deputy prime minister thought it was reasonable for the Cabinet secretary to request that the Guardian destroy data that would represent a serious threat to national security if it was to fall into the wrong hands,” Clegg’s office said in a statement. He “felt this was a preferable approach to taking legal action.” The action “was agreed to on the understanding that the purpose of the destruction of the material would not impinge on the Guardian’s ability to publish articles about the issue, but would help as a precautionary measure to protect lives and security.”

The Guardian says it destroyed hard drives with material leaked by Snowden rather than hand it over or face legal action from the government.

The paper says it has other copies outside Britain.

Foreign Secretary William Hague also backed the decision to ask the Guardian to get rid of the documents.

“The government clearly has a duty if information is held insecurely and could be damaging to our national security, to try to make sure that it is recovered or destroyed,” he said.

Never mind all the government and business data breaches and classified files left in cars and such.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger disclosed the destruction amid disquiet over the detention of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, who was held for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport. Miranda was ferrying data from filmmaker Laura Poitras in Germany to Greenwald, who is based in Brazil.

Civil libertarians says Miranda’s detention was unlawful.

A law firm representing Miranda has begun legal action against the government and wants assurances that material seized will not be shared.

The combination of the data destruction and the Miranda detention has touched off alarm in Britain about the reach of the secret state. 

See: British Government Building Gestapo 

Looks like they are all done.



"British begin inquiry in NSA case" by Danica Kirka and Raphael Satter |  Associated Press, August 23, 2013

LONDON — Britain has launched a criminal investigation into Edward Snowden’s leak of classified material to the Guardian newspaper and is sifting through papers it seized from the partner of one of the paper’s journalists, a government lawyer said Thursday.

More alarms bells!

The revelation by lawyer Jonathan Laidlaw came at London’s High Court, where lawyers for David Miranda — the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald — unsuccessfully sued to stop police from combing through digital data seized from him Sunday at Heathrow Airport.

It was the British government’s first mention of a criminal inquiry linked to the seized material, which included a laptop, cellphone, DVDs, and memory sticks.

(Blog editor is apoplectic and speechless)

Greenwald has been at the center of the Guardian’s disclosures about the National Security Agency, which have exposed the US government’s secret domestic spy program. Miranda, a Brazilian student, was held nearly nine hours as he flew through the London airport after meeting in Germany with a journalist.


How about examining your own conduct, you piece of shit regime? 

And WHEN, oh WHEN, are you god-damned corporate shills going to WakeTF up? The $y$tem you slave and serve doesn't care about you! 

Oh, right, you are only interested in the paycheck!