Edward Snowden Comes Forward as NSA Whistleblower

Edward Snowden, a digital security systems specialist, revealed himself as the NSA whistleblower.

“I’m willing to sacrifice my comfortable life because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Watch this 12-minute interview with the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald in which Snowden, who’s been holed up in a hotel room in Hong Kong since May 20, discusses his motivations and his uncertain future. He’s under no illusions.

Guantanamo remembered: A personal perspective / Opinion / Al Jazeera

From Moazzam Begg, a British Pakistani who spent two years in Guantanamo Bay without charge:

“You are now the property of the United States and you have no rights” – these were the first words to greet me and other prisoners held in the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. Ten years on, little has changed there.

More: Guantanamo remembered: A personal perspective – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

For more details on Begg’s case, his Wiki is a good place to start.

10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free – WaPo

Lots of things are easy to gloss over when you’re not really paying attention.

Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

via 10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free – The Washington Post.

Another Great Reason to be a Canadian

George Bush won’t likely be visiting soon. From an Amnesty International – Canada press release issued today:

Canada urged to arrest and prosecute George W. Bush

Overview

Amnesty International today urged Canadian authorities to arrest and either prosecute or extradite former US President George W. Bush for his role in torture, ahead of his expected visit to Canada on 20 October. Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture. Amnesty International submitted a memorandum to the Canadian authorities on 21 September 2011 outlining the case for his legal responsibilty. The violations took place during the CIA’s secret detention program between 2002 and 2009 – and include torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading-treatment and enforced disappearances. While President, George W. Bush authorized the use of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees held in the secret CIA program.

Full Text

Amnesty International today urged Canadian authorities to arrest and either prosecute or extradite former US President George W. Bush for his role in torture, ahead of his expected visit to Canada on 20 October.

“Canada is required by its international obligations to arrest and prosecute former President Bush given his responsibility for crimes under international law including torture,” said Susan Lee, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“As the US authorities have, so far, failed to bring former President Bush to justice, the international community must step in. A failure by Canada to take action during his visit would violate the UN Convention against Torture and demonstrate contempt for fundamental human rights.”

Amnesty International submitted a memorandum to the Canadian authorities on 21 September 2011 that makes a substantial case for the former president’s legal responsibility for a series of human rights violations.

The violations took place during the CIA’s secret detention program between 2002 and 2009 – and include torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading-treatment and enforced disappearances.

While President, George W. Bush authorized the use of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques” against detainees held in the secret CIA program.

The former President later specifically admitted to authorizing the “waterboarding” of several individuals whose subjection to this torture technique has been confirmed.

Detainees were subjected to waterboarding and a range of other “enhanced interrogation techniques” – including being forced to stay for hours in painful positions and sleep deprivation  – during the CIA’s secret detention program, set up under then-President Bush’s authorization.

The CIA Inspector General found that Zayn al Abidin Muhammed Husayn (known as Abu Zubaydah) and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed were subjected, between them, to at least 266 applications of waterboarding while in detention between 2002 and 2003.

Amnesty International’s submission also highlights further evidence of torture and other crimes under international law committed against detainees held under US military custody in Guantánamo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“This is a crucial moment for Canada to demonstrate it is prepared to live up to its commitments and obligations with respect to human rights,” said Susan Lee. “Canada has been a leader in efforts to strengthen the international justice system and must now demonstrate that when it comes to accountability for human rights violations, no one and no country is above international law.”

photo – Vienna 065 /piran cafe

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Screencaps of Standard & Poor’s wiki entry revisions for 6 August

There was quite a flurry of activity on the Standard & Poor’s wikipedia entry yesterday, 96 revisions in all. As a point of reference, just 17 revisions were recorded from the beginning of July through 5 August.

Because I didn’t feel like washing the dishes this morning, screencaps follow:

Sanders on S&P downgrade: ‘Where were they four years ago?’

From U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ FB page on the S&P downgrade:

I find it interesting to see S&P so vigilant today in downgrading the US credit rating. Where were they 4 years ago when they, and other credit rating agencies, helped cause this horrendous recession by providing AAA ratings to worthless sub-prime mortgage securities on behalf of Wall Street investment firms? Where were they last December when Congress and the White House drove up the national debt by $700 billion by extending Bush’s tax breaks for the rich?

For those of you outside the U.S. who aren’t familiar with Sanders: he is the longest serving independent in U.S. Congressional history.

America’s city of broken dreams: 50 jobless and destitute people set up forest community on New York’s doorstep | Mail Online

America’s city of broken dreams: 50 jobless and destitute people set up forest community on New York’s doorstep | Mail Online

Looks like a tidier version of a Roma Gypsy camp along a highway. The Thirdworldization continues, and few are noticing. Mad Max isn’t too far away.

America’s city of broken dreams: 50 jobless and destitute people set up forest community on New York’s doorstep | Mail Online.