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US ‘may never know extent of Edward Snowden NSA leaks’ – report | World news | theguardian.com

US ‘may never know extent of Edward Snowden NSA leaks’ – report | World news | theguardian.com.

NSA sign

A senior administration official said: ‘I know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.’ Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

Government officials have concluded that they may never know the full extent of information leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to a report published on Saturday by the New York Times.

Senior government officials told the newspaper that investigators are unsure of the scope of information Snowden collected, partially because the Hawaii data facility he worked at, as a contractor, did not have employee monitoring software with which other NSA facilities were equipped. Such software is meant to detect unusual behavior among the agency’s approximately 35,000 employees.

“They’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man hours trying to reconstruct everything he has gotten, and they still don’t know all of what he took,” the Times quoted a senior administration official as saying. “I know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.”

Officials provided some details on how Snowden was able to avoid detection, including that he was able to hack firewalls intended to prevent employees from accessing some parts of the agency’s system. They also said they believe Snowden acted alone. According to the officials, Snowden would have known the Hawaii facility did not have the employee-monitoring software installed.

On Friday, an advisory committee tasked with assessing the agency’s operation submitted a report to the president. According to the White House, the contents of the report will not be made public until next month. President Barack Obama will then announce which recommendations he will act on.

Snowden, who was granted a year-long amnesty by Russia, has said that he gave all the documents, of which he kept no copies, to a group of journalists who then shared them with news organizations including the Guardian. However, the leader of the presidential advisory committee, Rick Ledgett, believes Snowden has access to documents that have not yet been disclosed. Ledgett said he would consider granting Snowden amnesty if he could provide those documents.

“So, my personal view is, yes, it’s worth having a conversation about,”Ledgett told CBS in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday, on 60 Minutes. “I would need assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured, and my bar for those assurances would be very high. It would be more than just an assertion on his part.”

 

Edward Snowden voted Guardian person of the year 2013 | World news | theguardian.com

Edward Snowden voted Guardian person of the year 2013 | World news | theguardian.com.

Edward Snowden

In May Edward Snowden flew to Hong Kong where he gave journalists the material which blew the lid on the extent of US digital spying. Photograph: The Guardian/AFP/Getty Images

For the second consecutive year, a young American whistleblower alarmed at the unfettered and at times cynical deployment of power by the world’s foremost superpower has been voted the Guardian’s person of the year.

Edward Snowden, who leaked an estimated 200,000 files that exposed the extensive and intrusive nature of telephone and internet surveillance and intelligence gathering by the US and its western allies, was the overwhelming choice of more than 2,000 people who cast a vote.

Snowden won 1,445 votes. In a distant second, from a list of 10 candidates chosen by Guardian writers and editors, came Marco Weber and Sini Saarela, the Greenpeace activists who spearheaded the oil rig protest over Russian Arctic drilling. They received 314 votes. Pope Francis gained 153 votes, narrowly ahead of blogger and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe, who received 144. Snowden’s victory was as clearcut as Chelsea Manning’s a year earlier.

It’s strange to think now, but a little more than six months ago, virtually no one had heard of Snowden, and few people outside the US would have been able to identify what the initials NSA stood for. Thoughinternet privacy was beginning to emerge as an issue, few people had any idea of the extent to which governments and their secretive auxiliaries were able to trawl, sift, collect and scrutinise the personal digital footprints of millions of private individuals.

All that changed in May when Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong, where he met Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, and independent filmmaker Laura Poitras, and handed over materials that blew the lid on spying technologies, some of which were truly stranger than fiction: a dragnet programme to scoop up digital activities direct from the servers of the biggest US tech companies; a tap on fibreoptic cables to gather huge amounts of data flowing in and out of the UK; a program to hoover up phone records of millions of Americans; a codebreaking effort to crack the encryption system that underpins the safety and security of the internet.

In so doing, Snowden certainly transformed his own life, and not for the better. Forced to go on the run, he ended up in Moscow where he now lives in a curious Julian Assange-like limbo, unable to move for fear of arrest, extradition to the US and a prosecution that would threaten a long jail sentence, if Manning’s term of 35 years is anything to go by.

It is this personal sacrifice, as much as his revelations, that impressed most readers who voted for him.

“He gave his future for the sake of democratic values, transparency, and freedom,” said Miriam Bergholz. Colin Walker wrote: “We need people like him to have the courage to forget about their own life in the cause of other people’s freedom. Let’s face it, his life is over as even if he goes back to the US he will face decades in prison and the personal sacrifice he has made is immense.” A commenter identifying themselves as “irememberamerica” asaid he voted for Snowden “for his extraordinary and exemplary courage, and the historic value of his daring act. At every step, he has displayed an astonishing integrity and presence of mind. He is a great American and international patriot.”

Some readers felt that the actions of the Greenpeace activists were as brave, if not braver, than Snowden’s

“Facing jail, as Snowden does, for defending privacy is one thing,” wrote CaptainGrey. “Facing injury or even death for defending the planet, as Greenpeace activists often do, is another entirely,” he said, in casting a vote for Weber and Saarela.

Others put in a good word for Pope Francis, Waris Dirie and Jack Monroe.

Iriscepero wrote: “[I am voitng for] Waris Dirie for her work concerning female genital mutilation. It’s an awful, brutal way of controlling females that carries significant health risks and it needs to end. I don’t feel the topic gets the attention it needs because of the nationalities that are usually involved in the practice.”

 

Final counts

 

Pope Francis – 153 votes

 

Marco Weber and Sini Saarela – 314 votes

 

Edward Snowden – 1,445 votes

 

Elon Musk – 11 votes

 

Kanye – 28 votes

 

Andy Murray – 22 votes

 

Waris Dirie – 69 votes

 

Jack Munroe – 144 votes

 

Satoshi Nakamoto – 33 votes

 

An open letter from Carl Bernstein to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger | Media | theguardian.com

An open letter from Carl Bernstein to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger | Media | theguardian.com.

Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein, Watergate journalist and author, who has written a letter to the Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, who is to be questioned by MPs over the NSA revelations. Photograph: Teri Pengilley

Dear Alan,

 

There is plenty of time – and there are abundant venues – to debate relevant questions about Mr Snowden’s historical role, his legal fate, the morality of his actions, and the meaning of the information he has chosen to disclose.

 

But your appearance before the Commons today strikes me as something quite different in purpose and dangerously pernicious: an attempt by the highest UK authorities to shift the issue from government policies and excessive government secrecy in the United States and Great Britain to the conduct of the press – which has been quite admirable and responsible in the case of the Guardian, particularly, and the way it has handled information initially provided by Mr Snowden.

 

Indeed, generally speaking, the record of journalists, in Britain and the United States in handling genuine national security information since World War II, without causing harm to our democracies or giving up genuine secrets to real enemies, is far more responsible than the over-classification, disingenuousness, and (sometimes) outright lying by a series of governments, prime ministers and presidents when it comes to information that rightly ought to be known and debated in a free society. Especially in recent years.

 

You are being called to testify at a moment when governments in Washington and London seem intent on erecting the most serious (and self-serving) barriers against legitimate news reporting – especially of excessive government secrecy – we have seen in decades.

 

The stories published by The Guardian, the Washington Post and the New York Times based on Mr Snowden’s information to date hardly seem to represent reckless disclosure of specific national security secrets of value to terrorists or enemy governments or in such a manner as to make possible the identification of undercover agents or operatives whose lives or livelihoods would be endangered by such disclosure. Such information has been carefully redacted by the Guardian and other publications and withheld from stories based on information from Mr Snowden. Certainly terrorists are already aware that they are under extensive surveillance, and did not need Mr Snowden or the Guardian to tell them that.

 

Rather, the stories published by the Guardian – like those in the Washington Post and the New York Times – describe the scale and scope of electronic information-gathering our governments have been engaged in – most of it hardly surprising in the aggregate, given the state of today’s technology, and a good deal of it previously known and reported and indeed often discussed “on background” with reporters by high government officials from the White House to Downing Street confident that their identities will not be disclosed.

 

Moreover, the Guardian—like the Times and the Post in the US – has gone to great lengths to consult with Downing Street, the White House and intelligence agencies before publishing certain information, giving time for concerns to be raised, discussed sensibly, and considered.

 

What is new and most significant about the information originating with Mr Snowden and some of its specificity is how government surveillance has been conducted by intelligence agencies without the proper oversight – especially in the United States – by the legislative and judicial branches of government charged with such oversight, especially as the capabilities of information-gathering have become so pervasive and enveloping and with the potential to undermine the rights of all citizens if not carefully supervised. The “co-operation” of internet and telecommunications companies in some of these activities ought to be of particular concern to legislative bodies like the Commons and the US Congress.

 

As we have learned following the recent disclosures initiated by Mr Snowden, intelligence agencies – especially the NSA in the United States – have assiduously tried to avoid and get around such oversight, been deliberately unforthcoming and oftentimes disingenuous with even the highest government authorities that are supposed to supervise their activities and prevent abuse.

 

That is the subject of the rightful and necessary public debate that is now taking place in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

 

Rather than hauling in journalists for questioning and trying to intimidate them, the Commons would do well to encourage and join that debate over how the vast electronic intelligence-gathering capabilities of the modern security-state can be employed in a manner that gives up little or nothing to real terrorists and real enemies and skilfully uses all our technological capabilities to protect us, while at the same time taking every possible measure to insure that these capabilities are not abused in a way that would abrogate the rights and privacy of law-abiding citizens.

 

There have always been tensions between such objectives in our democracies, especially in regard to the role of the press. But as we learned in the United States during our experience with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, it is essential that no prior governmental restraints or intimidation be imposed on a truly free press; otherwise, in such darkness, we encourage the risk of our democracies falling prey to despotism and demagoguery and even criminality by our elected leaders and government officials.

 

With warmest regards and admiration,

 

Carl Bernstein

 

Edward Snowden revelations prompt UN investigation into surveillance | World news | The Guardian

Edward Snowden revelations prompt UN investigation into surveillance | World news | The Guardian.

Ben Emmerson

Ben Emmerson: ‘The Guardian has revealed an extensive programme of surveillance which potentially affects every one of us.’ Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

The UN’s senior counter-terrorism official is to launch an investigation into the surveillance powers of American and British intelligence agencies following Edward Snowden’s revelations that they are using secret programmes to store and analyse billions of emails, phone calls and text messages.

The UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC said his inquiry would also seek to establish whether the British parliament had been misled about the capabilities of Britain’s eavesdropping headquarters, GCHQ, and whether the current system of oversight and scrutiny was strong enough to meet United Nations standards.

The inquiry will make a series of recommendations to the UN general assembly next year.

In an article for the Guardian, Emmerson said Snowden had disclosed “issues at the very apex of public interest concerns”. He said the media had a duty and right to publish stories about the activities of GCHQ, and its American counterpart the National Security Agency.

“The astonishing suggestion that this sort of responsible journalism can somehow be equated with aiding and abetting terrorism needs to be scotched decisively,” said Emmerson, who has been the UN’s leading voice on counter-terrorism and human rights since 2011.

“It is the role of a free press to hold governments to account, and yet there have even been outrageous suggestions from some Conservative MPs that the Guardian should face a criminal investigation. It has been disheartening to see some tabloids giving prominence to this nonsense.”

Emmerson’s intervention comes ahead of Tuesday’s hearing of the home affairs select committee, which is conducting its own inquiry into counter-terrorism.

The Guardian’s editor in chief, Alan Rusbridger, will give evidence to MPs on the committee on Tuesday afternoon, followed by the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and assistant commissioner Cressida Dick.

Over the last six months the Guardian, along with other international media organisations, has revealed the existence of mass surveillance programmes, such as GCHQ’s Tempora, which taps into the cables that carry internet traffic in and out of the UK.

Last month, the heads of Britain’s three intelligence agencies, MI5, GCHQ and MI6, gave evidence before parliament’s intelligence and security committee.

During a 90-minute hearing, they accused Snowden of leaking material that had been “a gift to terrorists”.

But Emmerson said such claims “need to be subjected to penetrating scrutiny”.

He said his inquiry will be requiring further testimony from GCHQ’s director, Sir Iain Lobban, the director of MI5, Andrew Parker, and MI6 chief Sir John Sawers.

“I will be seeking a far more detailed explanation than security chiefs gave the (ISC) committee. They must justify some of the claims they have made in public, because as matters stand, I have seen nothing in the Guardian articles which could be a risk to national security. In this instance, the balance of public interest is clear.”

He added: “When it comes to assessing the balance that must be struck between maintaining secrecy and exposing information in the public interest there are often borderline cases. This isn’t one of them. The Guardian’s revelations are precisely the sort of information that a free press is supposed to reveal.”

Emmerson said nobody had suggested the Mail on Sunday should be prosecuted when it published revelations from the former MI5 officer,David Shayler, and that the attorney general had rightly abandoned a prosecution against Katharine Gun, the GCHQ whistleblower who in 2003 revealed the US and UK were trying to manipulate a vote at the UN security council in favour of military intervention in Iraq.

No jury would ever have convicted her even though she had broken the Official Secrets Act, Emmerson said.

“The Guardian has revealed there is an extensive programme of mass surveillance which potentially affects every one of us, but has been assiduous in avoiding the revelation of any detail which could put sources at risk. The Mail on Sunday, on the other hand, published material that was of less obvious public interest.”

Emmerson said the Snowden disclosures had caused reverberations across the world.

“There can be no doubt the revelations concern matters of international public interest. Wholescale reviews have been mooted by President Obama, Chancellor Merkel and Nick Clegg. In the US, a number of the revelations have already resulted in legislation.

“In Europe, the political class is incandescent. Many states have registered serious objections at the UN, and there are diplomatic moves towards an international agreement to restrict surveillance activity.”

Chaired by Keith Vaz, the home affairs select committee called for the Guardian to give evidence following the ISC hearing.

However, a number of civil liberties groups and campaigners have raised concerns about the intense political pressure put on the Guardian, and condemned the UK government’s demand that it destroy the Snowden files it was researching in the UK.

The freedom of expression group Article 19 and the Open Rights Group are among two signatories to a letter sent to Vaz ahead of Tuesday’s session. They describe their deep concerns that the review of the Guardian “could restrict media freedom in the UK by discouraging future reporting on important matters of public interest”.

The letter calls on MPs to take into account “international human rights standards, and in particular those that relate to the right to freedom of expression and media freedom”.

 

NSA leaks on Canadian surveillance coming, Greenwald says – World – CBC News

NSA leaks on Canadian surveillance coming, Greenwald says – World – CBC News.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald says there may be more Canadian spying revelations in the near future.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald says there may be more Canadian spying revelations in the near future. (Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press)

Glenn Greenwald — the journalist who, through his source Edward Snowden, revealed a massive domestic and foreign spying operation by the U.S. National Security Agency — says documents outlining Canadian surveillance will be published.

 

“The documents are quite complex. There are a lot of them. There is enormous amounts of reporting to do in Canada, one of the most active surveillance agencies in the world, because of how closely they work with the NSA,” Greenwald told Brent Bambury, host of CBC Radio’s Day 6.

 

“There are many, many, many more significant documents about Canadian surveillance and partnership with the NSA that will be reported and, I think, will be quite enlightening for the people of Canada.”

 

 

Greenwald, whose work helped spur an international debate on surveillance and privacy, dismisses critics who claim publishing classified government documents puts people in danger.

“I think not publishing the leaks puts [people] in danger because when you have a system of government in which people can exercise great power in the dark, that’s what is dangerous,” he said.

 

“Terrorists have long ago known that the U.S. and U.K. governments do everything possible to monitor their communications … We didn’t tell the terrorists anything they didn’t already know. What we’ve told people that they didn’t already know, ordinary citizens all around the world, is that this spying system is directed not at the terrorists but at them.”

‘Everything should be questioned’

Earlier this year, British agents oversaw the destruction the Guardian newspaper’s hard drives after the paper published revelations from Snowden’s leaks — a move Greenwald says demonstrated how desperate the government was to suppress the information.

inside-snowden-04589880Edward Snowden worked as a contract employee at the U.S. National Security Agency. (The Guardian/Associated Press)

 

“I think what it also underscored is just how precarious press freedoms are in the very Western countries that love to lecture the world about how vital and important they are,” he said.

 

“Everything should be questioned. No institutional authority is ever so formidable that they should be entitled to shield themselves from challenge and questioning. And I think that lies at the heart of the value of privacy, I think it lies at the heart of a belief in free speech as well.”

 

On Saturday, the Guardian confirmed its editor, Alan Rusbridger, will appear before a U.K. House of Commons committee over its decision to publish Snowden’s intelligence files after warnings from security chiefs that the leaks damaged U.K. security.

Disclosures about the activities of Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency and its close co-operation with the NSA have embarrassed British Prime Minister David Cameron and angered lawmakers in his ruling Conservative party who say they have compromised national security.

Civil liberties groups say the files have shown the need for more effective controls over intelligence gathering but spy chiefs have been highly critical about their publication.

 

Tory anti-environment advocacy protects corporate, not public, interests | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

Tory anti-environment advocacy protects corporate, not public, interests | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com. (source)

Tory anti-environment advocacy protects corporate, not public, interests

Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Telegraph screed supports Cameron’s contempt for green policies at our expense

Cuadrilla fracking site at Balcombe

Cuadrilla has doubled the height of its security fences and installed razor wire at its Balcombe site. Photograph: Wpa Pool/Getty Images

Yesterday Jacob Rees-Mogg, member of parliament for North East Somerset, wrote an article in the Telegraph claiming that the fundamental cause of the UK’s “high energy prices” is “climate changealarmism.” His piece coincided with Prime Minister David Cameron‘sannouncement that to tackle rocketing gas and electricity bills he would “roll back” green levies on energy bills and subject Britain’s “Big Six” energy giants to a “competition test.”

Even the Tory’s own lead environmentalist MP, Zac Goldsmith, was appalled. “In 2010, leaders fought to prove they were the greenest”, he said. “Three years on, they’re desperately blaming their own policies on the other. Muppets.”

But Rees-Mogg’s piece illustrates the insidious nature of the anti-environment economic ideology that has been so influential in the Tory party, and that has derailed the potential for meaningful environmental policy. Energy companies have announced prices rises against the background of government regulation and “green taxes”, he writes, because concern over climate change has led to unjustifiable opposition to coal and fracking:

“In the 2010s it is not the price of bread that is falsely and unnecessarily inflated by obstinate politicians but that of energy. There are cheap sources of energy either available or possible but there is a reluctance to use them. Coal is plentiful and provides the least expensive electricity per megawatt, while fracking may provide a boon of shale gas.”

He is wrong on both counts – laughably so. A number of recent scientific studies in major journals such as FuelEnergy, the International Journal of Coal Geology – to name just a few – have projected that a peak in world coal production is only a few years away, followed by production declines and spiraling prices.

As for fracking, its capacity to provide cheap shale gas has beenquestioned by leading independent experts who point to steep production declines at wells, along with overinflated industry reserve estimates that have led to a “bubble” that could burst in the next five years.

At the core of Rees-Mogg’s obfuscation on energy is an ideology that paints corporations as the key to prosperity for all:

“As the Government has made the price higher so the energy companies put a margin on top. High prices are almost expected.”

But this is also false. The fundamental cause of the high energy prices consistently dampening prospects for economic growth is the peak and plateauing of cheap conventional oil production since around 2005, which has ramped up oil prices and compelled a deepening dependence on increasingly expensive unconventional sources like tar sands, oil shale and shale gas. This is not particularly controversial – even Shell’s CEO has warned that shale gas will not reduce prices, and evidence submitted to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that shale gas “will not be a panacea for bringing down gas and electricity bills” as costs will be “50% to 100% higher than in the US.”

Rees-Mogg then flirts unabashedly with climate denialism, arguing that the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on the climate “remains much debated”, and that climate models are inaccurate because it was “computer modelling” that led to the 2008 global banking collapse of 2008. Notwithstanding the obvious fact that climate models are completely different from the quantitative models that justified the reckless debt-expansion behind the global financial crisis, the former are only inaccurate in being too conservative – whereas the latter wererigged by financiers to maximise profits at taxpayer’s expense.

Rees-Mogg’s other case for inaction is that we are not responsible for climate change. Britain emits only “2 per cent” of the world’s CO2. What he ignores here is that the UK is still in the top ten of global emitters – and that if every country decided on inaction because it only contributes by itself a small percentage of emissions, then what we have is a recipe for abject failure.

Rees-Mogg would have us believe he is motivated by the plight of the poor, whom he says are “most particularly” punished as a “matter of choice not of necessity…. This can be stopped by ending the environmentalist obsession and delivering cheap energy.” But one might be forgiven for concluding that his real concern is corporate profiteering. The solution to high energy prices, he says, is “to free the market” – the same “free” market that led to the 2008 crash, the Eurozone crisis, and so on – “not to control prices which will simply reduce supply.”

This is hardly surprising. Rees-Mogg is a founding partner at Somerset Capital Management (SCM), a global asset management fund where hecurrently works as a macro specialist while also being an MP. Among its many investments, SCM specialises in emerging markets, including in the energy industry. Its largest holdings include oil majors such as the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) – which for instance is spearheading multibillion dollar deals to access the North American shale gas market – and Russia’s OJSC Rosneft Oil Company.

According to its interim report published in March this year, the fund pulled out of some energy projects on the basis of declining rates of profitability “due to the rising cost of production”, but viewed CNOOC’s recent ventures to exploit US fracking as “favourable.” In other markets such as India, China and Brazil, economic prospects were mixed as “both domestic consumption and exports put in lacklustre performances.” The overall assessment was uncertain, with the report noting that emerging market economies are “cooling”, and that “The market has periodic rallies but these show no real conviction.”

While Rees-Mogg’s firm profits from fracking abroad, Rees-Mogg himself uses his own parliamentary privilege to advocate fracking at home, while promoting a kind of free market extremism. In a speech last month during a Private Member’s Bill proposing amendments to the Deep Sea Mining (Temporary Provisions) Act 1981, Rees-Mogg reportedly urged for greater deregulation to permit British companies to explore the potential for off-shore and deep sea resources:

“That’s what this is really about: exploring these resources that could add to the wealth not only of the nation but of the globe at large; because as we’ve seen the emergence of the new economies – China, India, Brazil and of Russia – so we have seen demand for resources grow extraordinarily.”

“I would urge the Bill to have a more deregulatory ambition within it”, he added.

“It’s obviously wise to extend it purely for metals to include gas and to include liquids, because there may be all sorts of exciting things at the depths of the sea. There may be endless supplies of gas, there may be oils spurting out as if Saudi Arabia is on the seabed.”

Ironically, these are precisely the sorts of policies that could indirectly benefit corporate players like Somerset Capital Management, its holdings, and its clients in emerging markets and beyond. Indeed, SCM’s own indifference to environmental challenges is plainly stated on its website, where it declares:

“… we makes [sic] no claim to using environmental, social and governance concerns as tenets of ethics in the fashioning of investment returns.”

That might be all quite acceptable in its own context, but when this cavalier attitude becomes evident in public advocacy by our so-called political representatives, it’s time to start asking questions about the extent to which politics is being hijacked in the name of unaccountable corporate power.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development and author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation: And How to Save It among other books. Follow him on Twitter @nafeezahmed

Russia denies using gifts to spy on G20 leaders – World – CBC News

Russia denies using gifts to spy on G20 leaders – World – CBC News. (source)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 6, 2013. The Kremlin is denying a report that spy devices were distributed as gifts at the summit.Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Sept. 6, 2013. The Kremlin is denying a report that spy devices were distributed as gifts at the summit. (Alexey Maishev/RIA Novosti/Reuters)

Russia has denied reports that its intelligence services spied on hundreds of foreign delegates at a Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg in September using gifts such as teddy bears, diaries and free USB keys.

Quoting a report from the European Council’s security office to Italian intelligence services, Italy’s Corriere della Sera daily has reported this week that at least 300 such devices were issued at the Sept. 5-6 summit and were revealed to be spy gear during security debriefing sessions last month.

The report fuels controversy over international espionage after reports that U.S. intelligence services had conducted telephone surveillance of allied countries and leaders.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he did not know what the source of the latest allegations was.

“This is undoubtedly nothing but an attempt to shift the focus from issues that truly exist in relations between European capitals and Washington to unsubstantiated, non-existent issues,” he was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

Tension between the United States and its allies has grown over reports that European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been spied on by U.S. intelligence services.

Gifts showed signs of ‘manipulation’

According to Corriere della Sera, a regular debriefing with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and other EU delegates revealed they had been given souvenir USB keys and cables to connect smartphones with personal computers.

It said EU officials alerted German intelligence services which conducted detailed tests on the devices.

“These are devices adapted to the clandestine interception of data from computers and mobile telephones,” the newspaper quoted an initial report as saying.

Daily La Stampa newspaper said the devices showed “anomalies” and signs of “manipulation” but it was not certain how much information had been collected by Russian spies.

The reports appear to show a more traditional pattern of intelligence gathering than the reported U.S. snooping.

The Guardian newspaper reported in July that British intelligence services had spied on G20 delegates at a summit in 2009, tricking some delegates into using free internet cafes apparently set up for their benefit.

 

Fact Or Fiction: NSA Unveils “Internal Patriot Discovery” Protocol | Zero Hedge

Fact Or Fiction: NSA Unveils “Internal Patriot Discovery” Protocol | Zero Hedge. (source/link)

Rather than go to exhaustive lengths identifying the “terrorists,” we identify (based on every piece of data you have ever touched in your life) the ‘patriots’ and thus, by process of elimination find the real terrorists…

VIDEO

 

Glenn Greenwald: “The Most Shocking Stories Have Not Been Published”…Is This Why He Left The Guardian? | A Lightning War for Liberty

Glenn Greenwald: “The Most Shocking Stories Have Not Been Published”…Is This Why He Left The Guardian? | A Lightning War for Liberty. (FULL ARTICLE)

Just yesterday, I was taken aback by an article in Time magazine in which Glenn Greenwald was quoted as saying:

The archives are so complex and so deep and so shocking, that I think the most shocking and significant stories are the ones we are still working on, and have yet to publish.

The above statement was expressed during a speech by Greenwald at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This takes on an entirely new meaning now that we know Mr. Greenwald has decided to leave The Guardian. There have been grumblings for several weeks now that the relationship between the journalist and the paper had been strained. Whether or not that is the result of new censorship resulting from government pressure on the paper at this stage is unknown. Either way, I can’t wait to see what new information he has in store for us, whether it will be through a Brazilian news organization or an independent venture.

Below are statements from both Glenn and The Guardian:

Statement of Glenn Greenwald:

“My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling: I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved….

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance | UK news | The Guardian

Former Labour minister accuses spies of ignoring MPs over surveillance | UK news | The Guardian. (FULL ARTICLE)

A former Labour cabinet minister has warned that GCHQ and Britain’s other intelligence agencies appear to be undertaking mass surveillancewithout parliament’s consent because the coalition failed to get the so-called “snoopers’ charter” passed into law after Liberal Democrat opposition.

Nick Brown, a former chief whip who sat on the parliamentary committee scrutinising the draft communications data bill, said there was an “uncanny” similarity between the GCHQ surveillance programmes exposed by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden and proposals in the first part of the bill.

The communications data bill – dubbed the “snoopers’ charter” by critics – would have given GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 much greater powers to gather and save information about people’s internet activities but it was shelved in the spring amid Lib Dem fears that it intruded too much into privacy.

Brown, a Labour MP, said that it “looks very much like this is what is happening anyway, with or without parliament’s consent” under GCHQ’s secret Tempora programme, which was revealed by the Guardian in July in reports based on files leaked by Snowden. Tempora allows GCHQ to harvest, store and analyse millions of phone calls, emails and search engine queries by tapping the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic….

 

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