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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/9/13

Edward Snowden Has Awakened the Sleeping Giant

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"Any sound that Watson made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it... There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment...You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." ~~George Orwell, 1984

There's no denying Mr. Orwell was a visionary before his time. However, if George was with us today, he would surely cringe (even in darkness) and blush three shades of red if he knew about today's night-vision technology. The following information should send goose bumps rippling across your skin. It did for me. This essay is no science fiction novel. It is real. All societies are in big trouble. We are facing a most egregious situation that extends much further than Orwell's large fictional country -- "Oceania." This is worldwide and, once again, it's real.  

Aside from the ongoing destruction of our planet with GMO crops, radiation fallout, chemtrails, fluoride added to our water supplies and a host of other carcinogenic unpleasantries forcing humanity to live in a deadly toxic soup, we now know we are also living under a huge microscope attached to a mammoth NSA vacuum cleaner that is sucking everything up. Thanks to the sobering revelations of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the world has been given a glimpse of the abuse of power (and trust) that our governments have breached. Indeed, the gravity of this "hijacking of humanity" is a crime against "life" itself.   

Each moment of our daily existence, 24-7, our every movement and still-frame is being tracked, monitored, recorded and stored by the NSA and/or its affiliates. The implications are vast: faxes, home phones, cellular phones, emails, telex satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications, microwave links, voice, texts, images and many other things that run on electromagnetic energy and beyond is being sucked-up. Suck, suck, suck...  

To no surprise, the western news media, which is nothing more than a propaganda mouthpiece for the state, is performing damage control by attempting to divert attention onto Edward Snowden, himself. Their task is to demonize him as a traitor, while at great risk, not informing us of the vital information he conveys. In addition, his prosecution and probable lengthy prison sentence (for telling the truth) will ultimately be a Big Brother lesson to all future whistleblowers to "stand down."  

But thankfully, these days, the world is not so easily fooled. The old switch-and-bait, wag-the-dog tactic is not working so well. This round, the message is not easily lost, twisted nor forgotten. In fact, on the heels of Wikileaks, whole societies are again extremely infuriated by Snowden's eavesdropping revelations. Heads of State fully understand the ramifications of this criminal intrusion on privacy that woefully affects all nations, all people, on all continents.  

Just to set the record straight -- we owe this international hero a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices he has made in order to expose this hideous global spy ring. And thus far, the best thank you letter I have read on his behalf is written by Rebecca Solnit, "Prometheus Among the Cannibals: A Letter to Edward Snowden." You can read Rebecca's letter here.  

Meanwhile, as reported in the Guardian by Glenn Greenwald on August 7, 150 human rights groups from around the world issued a letter demanding that the US cease prosecuting Snowden on the ground that his disclosures have triggered a much-needed public debate about mass surveillance. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we have learned the extent to which our lives are systematically monitored by governments -- without transparency, accountability or safeguards from abuse.  

However, a lesson in hypocrisy was delivered just the day before on August 6, when President Obama appeared on Jay Leno. With a wide grin, our commander and chief had the audacity to say "There is no spying on Americans, we don't have a domestic spying program."

Well, I beg to differ, Mr. President -- in addition to the many NSA facilities that already exist around the globe -- over a year ago it was reported in Wired that many top-secret clearances were issued for a $2 billion massive NSA Data Collection Center being built in Bluffdale, Utah, a 10-year project of immense secrecy with a sole purpose to intercept, decipher, analyze, and keep vast swaths of the world's communications siphoned through its servers and routers to be stored in near-bottomless databases. Yes, this includes all data collected on Americans here in the U.S...
Check it out. It is said that every publication in the Library of Congress can be stored on 15 terabytes. This new facility in Utah holds metadata measured in yottabytes. We had to look this one up. Wow. This is inconceivable! One Yottabyte is one trillion terabytes! The moral of this story is that after you go on national TV and lie to the American public about your international/domestic spy programs, I guess you need "yottabytes" to eavesdrop on the planet.

For more information about the many NSA metadata collection centers, you can find out more here and here. Indeed, their spy treachery is coming into focus as they continue to suck everything up. Our leaders are also utilizing bogus laws to prevent the public from accessing much of anything at conventional outlets. Even smaller internet providers are under heavy attack if they refuse to hand over our data; or if they provide a useful peg to those of us (such as Snowden, Greenwald, etc.) who desire keeping the public up-to-date on what is happening.  

Snowden's Email Provider Shuts Down to Avoid "Being Complicit in Crimes Against the American People"  

Boing Boing reports:

"Remember when word circulated that Edward Snowden was using Lavabit, an email service that purports to provide better privacy and security for users than popular web-based free services like Gmail? Lavabit's owner has shut down the service, and posted a message on the lavabit.com home page today about wanting to avoid 'being complicit in crimes against the American people.' According to the statement, it appears he rejected a U.S. court order to cooperate with the government in spying on users."

The statement from Lavabit owner Ladar Levison also says:

"I feel you deserve to know what's going on -- the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests. ... This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States."

An update from the Guardian states: "Silent Circle, another provider of secure online services, announced ... later Thursday night that it would scrap its own encrypted email offering, Silent Mail."

Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian reports Edward Snowden -- who, it was recently revealed, used Lavabit's email service -- as saying:

"The President, Congress, and the Courts have forgotten that the costs of bad policy are always borne by ordinary citizens, and it is our job to remind them that there are limits to what we will pay.

"America cannot succeed as a country where individuals like Mr. Levison have to relocate their businesses abroad to be successful. Employees and leaders at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and the rest of our internet titans must ask themselves why they aren't fighting for our interests the same way small businesses are. The defense they have offered to this point is that they were compelled by laws they do not agree with, but one day of downtime for the coalition of their services could achieve what a hundred Lavabits could not."

So true!  

Plus, in the wake of NSA's embarrassment, they're groveling to justify their surreptitious activity in other ways too. Remember Bush's many terror alerts? Well, just like an old throw rug getting hung and beat, that sneaky terror alert "dust devil" is now spinning its magic for Obama. For that scoop, I recommend you read this piece written by Sarah Lazare, a staff writer at Common Dreams.  

Here come the Drones 

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Vincent L. Guarisco is a freelance writer from Washington State, a frustrated Facebook user, and a founding member of the International Alliance of Atomic Veterans. IAAV with AAV here in the U.S..

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