Post by TsarSamuil on Oct 12, 2011 12:58:32 GMT -5
Enigma machine set to star in Gdansk WWII Museum.
TheNews.pl 12.10.2011 13:21
The Internal Security Agency (ABW), Poland's counter-intelligence department, has signed a contract for the permanent loan of a model of the famed Enigma cipher machine to the upcoming Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk.
“The Enigma machine will be one of the most important exhibits in the main exhibition of the museum,” enthused Dr Pawel Machcewicz, director of the forthcoming enterprise.
Ciphers decoding from German Enigma machines during World War II played a crucial role in the Allied victory.
Some historians contend that the success of the operation shortened the war by several years, saving millions of lives.
Work at decrypting the ciphers was focused at Bletchley Park, a manor in central England that had been been commandeered by British Intelligence for the war effort.
As is commemorated in a memorial at Bletchley, Polish cryptographers paved the way for the Allied breakthrough.
In July 1939, on the eve of war, the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau demonstrated to their British and French counterparts how to crack the Nazi communications system. The Poles had been the only ones to penetrate the network, and had been unravelling German codes since 1932.
Three mathematicians, Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski were instrumental in the Polish operation.
Besides the Enigma machine model, Poland's Internal Security Agency will be contributing many more items to the museum.
The planned opening for the institution is 2014, and the state is contributing 358.4 million zloty (83 million euros). (nh/pg)
Post by TsarSamuil on Oct 23, 2011 20:01:54 GMT -5
German police arrest couple suspected of spying for Russia.
RT.com 23 October, 2011, 01:52
The German Federal Police have arrested a married couple on suspicion of spying for Russia's foreign intelligence service for over two decades, according to reports in the German media.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office says the two were arrested on Tuesday by the GSG-9 special operations team, an elite division of the German police.
The pair were arrested separately, with one being picked up in the city of Baligen in Baden-Wuerttemberg state in the south-west of the country, while the other was detained in Marburg in the state of Hesse, which is to the west of central Germany.
Police reportedly walked in on the woman while she was listening to encoded radio transmissions.
The German news weekly, Der Spiegel, said that according to the authorities the man and the woman – referred to only as Andreas A. and Heidrun A. – had been working in Germany as Russian spies since the days when the KGB, the Soviet Union's spy agency, was operating in the country during the Cold War.
According to documents the couple both hail from South America, the man from Argentina and the woman from Peru, although both had Austrian passports.
However, inquiries made by German authorities in South America confirmed that the passport data had been falsified.
The couple allegedly moved to West Germany in 1988. Apparently, Andreas A. and Heidrun A. have been working all across Europe, with Germany serving as their base. It is thought they could have been playing a linking role between other agents and Moscow, media reports suggest. Also, according to Der Spiegel, Andreas A. speaks with a Russian accent, though he claims he knows only German, English and Spanish. Both have denied all charges.
It is not known what the alleged spies' target was, Der Spiegel says.
It is the first time undercover foreign agents have been found in Germany since the county was reunified in 1990, Der Spiegel stresses.
Police began investigating the couple after a Russian spy ring was uncovered in the United States last year.
Post by TsarSamuil on Oct 23, 2011 20:27:23 GMT -5
Russian soldier, mom convicted of spying for Georgia.
17:15 19/10/2011 ROSTOV-ON-DON, October 19 (RIA Novosti)
The North Caucasus District Military Court on Wednesday found a Russian serviceman and his mother guilty of spying for Georgia.
Sr. Lt. David Aliyev and his mother Irina Aliyeva were sentenced to ten and eight years in a high security prison, respectively.
Lt. Gen. Vladimir Milovanov, the military prosecutor of the Southern Military District, said the verdict was just.
“I believe that the court has passed a legitimate, well substantiated and just verdict with regard to the spies,” Milovanov said, adding that the convicts had been gathering information that fell under the definition of official secrets.
The suspected spies were arrested by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in January.
Aliyev, deployed to a military unit in Russia’s Southern Military District, was found to "have been collecting secret information on orders from Georgian intelligence services."
His mother was involved in conveying the information to Georgia.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 20, 2012 17:39:07 GMT -5
UK admits spying on Russia with the help of a fake rock.
RT.com 19 January, 2012, 09:51
The UK has admitted for the first time it was spying on Russia six years ago with the help of a fake rock. The adviser to the then British PM Tony Blair called the incident embarrassing.
“They had us bang to rights,” Jonathan Powell told the BBC in an interview. He added that Russians must have known about the spying hardware for some time and exposed it at a politically opportune moment.
In January 2006, a report on Russian television claimed there was proof that British spies were using electronic equipment hidden inside a fake rock to exchange information between agents and embassy staff.
“Ever since I made that program six years ago – I’ve been haunted by everyone,” says Arkady Mamontov, a Russian TV journalist who made the film revealing details of the spy scandal. “I was called names, people laughed at me. Now I want to thank the man who admitted to the English special service’s operation. We were right after all!”
According to the report, an agent would pass by the rock and download data from his portable computer, while a diplomat would later collect it in a similar way. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) have identified four Britons involved in the spy ring.
“At first I had some doubts that the video was fake, or a game of some kind. So I double- and triple-checked through various sources, to be sure that it was real,” Mamontov adds.
Christopher Pierce, the diplomat who was said to have installed the secret link, was also responsible for financing Russian non-governmental organizations with British grants, as was one of the other alleged spies, Mark Doe.
“It was all about missile/rocket technologies. And the very same, the spy Doe was a cashier for several NGOs, including the Moscow Helsinki Group,” Mamontov says.
The report implied that there may have been further links between the two sides of their jobs in Russia, and said the spy scandal “discredited the fine idea of NGOs.”
Britain expressed “concern and surprise” over the allegations at the time. The “spy rock scandal” was taken with skepticism by many people, including Russians. They said it was either a scam or simply blown out of proportion in what was described as a Kremlin assault on NGOs.
A month before the report was made public, Russia introduced a new law tightening up control over such organizations. Critics accused the Russian authorities of a “conspiracy mentality” in suspecting the infiltration of spies into human right groups and other NGOs.
The FSB said it had chosen to leak information on the spy ring to journalists only after it had failed to settle the dispute with its British counterpart discreetly. It denied allegations that the disclosure was aimed at undermining NGOs operating in Russia.
There have been a number of spy scandals between Britain and Russia. The latest saw a Russian woman winning her fight in London against extradition, after she was accused of being a honeytrap for a British MP.
Russia Convicts Military Officer of Spying For CIA.
16:39 10/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 10 (RIA Novosti)
A Russian military district court sentenced on Friday an engineer at the Plesetsk Space Center in northern Russia to 13 years in prison on charges of state treason, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said.
Lt. Col. Vladimir Nesterets, a senior testing engineer at the center, has been convicted of selling secret data on tests of new Russian ballistic missiles.
“Nesterets has pleaded guilty on charges of selling information about testing of new Russian strategic missile systems to CIA officers in exchange for money,” the FSB said in a statement.
“He was sentenced to 13 years in a high security prison and stripped of his rank,” the statement said.
The details of the trial, which was held behind closed doors, are not available to the public because of national security reasons.
President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that Russian counterintelligence exposed 199 foreign spies in 2011, including 41 professional intelligence officers and 158 agents in the pay of foreign spymasters.
Medvedev did not elaborate on the spies’ home countries, but said some of the agents were Russian nationals.
The Plesetsk Space Center is the only space launch facility on Russian territory. It is mainly used for launches of military satellites and tests of ballistic missiles.
Post by TsarSamuil on May 18, 2012 13:55:49 GMT -5
Russian man gets eight years for espionage.
MOSCOW, May 18 (Xinhua) -- A Russian man was convicted of passing ballistic missile secrets to foreign intelligence services and got eight years in prison Friday.
Alexander Gniteyev, a former defense industry worker, was convicted of high treason and espionage by the Sverdlovsk district court in Yekaterinburg in central Russia.
He also faces a fine of 100,000 roubles (3,200 U.S. dollars) and is not allowed to change his residential place or leave the city without getting state permission, the court's press service said Friday, without providing further details.
The judgment has not come into force. A spokesman for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) local branch told reporters that Gniteyev used to work for the Academician N. A. Semikhatov Automatics Research and Production Association.
Investigators found that the man had collected secret information about Russian missile projects and pass it to foreign intelligence agencies.
Local media reported earlier the suspect had provided secrets on "managing system of the newest naval strategic missile Bulava" to a foreign secret service.
RSM-56 Bulava is a submarine launched ballistic missile and developed by Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. As Russia's most advanced three-stage solid fuel missile, it could carry up to 10 hypersonic, individually guided, maneuverable warheads with a yield of 100-150 kt each.
Spy’s Maps Could be Used to Plot Cruise Missile Tasks - FSB.
13:37 01/06/2012 MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti)
Classified topographic maps stolen from Russia’s General Staff of the Armed Forces in 2008 and transferred to the U.S. Pentagon by a former serviceman, could be used in planning military campaigns in Russia, and for the development of the flight tasks for cruise missiles, an anonymous FSB official said in an interview with the Rossiya 1 TV channel published on Friday.
“The possession of the these topographic materials by the military bodies of the foreign states allow them to carry out military campaigns…and develop the flight tasks for cruise missiles,” the FSB official told the TV channel.
The former Russian serviceman, Vladimir Lazar was sentenced on Thursday to 12 years in jail, and was stripped of his military rank, for selling classified topographic maps of Russia to the U.S. Pentagon.
Lazar, while working in the Topographic Service of Russia’s General Staff of the Armed Forces, was noticed by the Federal Security Service in 2008 when he transferred over 7,500 classified maps to his former fellow student, Alexander Lesment, who was reported to have collaborated with U.S. intelligence since 1994.
Lazar was arrested in November 2010 when the security officials came to his place with the formal notice of espionage charges filed against him, Kommersant daily reported on Friday. The court found him guilty on Friday of treason and divulging state secrets, and sentenced Lazar to 12 years in jail.
It is however unclear whether Lazar was paid for his service, the TV channel said.
“There are two points of view. The first one is that he worked for money. The other one is that was offended with the government since his career went sour. He served until achieving a colonel’s rank, but his ambitions were bigger,” the anonymous FSB official told the Rossiya 1 TV channel.
According to the TV channel, Lazar told the FSB he had received $800 for the maps. The investigation however did not believe his words since the price of one map as the security service officials said is no less than $10.
Lazar confirmed that he had handed in the maps, but said he had not considered it to be a crime.
Magomed Magomedov, Lazar’s lawyer told the Kommersant daily that his client regretted his “too light-hearted” decision.
Magomedov also said they would appeal the verdict since there was a similar case in 2010 when a former serviceman, 59-year-old Gennady Sipachev, was sentenced to four-year high security imprisonment for a similar crime.
Sipachev, who was caught in 2008 when he sent the cartographic information from the Russian Armed Forces to the U.S. Defense Department over the Internet, received a moderately mild sentence after confessing his guilt and agreeing to cooperate with the investigation.
17:43 06/07/2012 MOSCOW, July 6 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti)
Russia’s lower house of parliament approved on Friday in its first reading a controversial bill that would force non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded from abroad and engaged in political activity to declare themselves “foreign agents."
The draft law has met with fierce opposition from critics who say the term “foreign agent” is a near synonym for “spy’ in Russian and would lead to the discreditation of human rights groups.
NGOs would also have to publish a biannual report of their activities and carry out an annual financial audit. Failure to comply with the law could result in four-year jail sentences and/or fines of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,200) for members.
A Kremlin source told RIA Novosti earlier this week that the law could be approved by both houses of parliament this month and enter into force this fall.
The country’s oldest rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, has said it will close down its offices rather than comply with the law. Russia’s Public Chamber also said on Thursday that it would not support the bill - which has also been criticized by the Kremlin’s own rights council - in its current form.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier this year that the United States was pumping millions of dollars into NGOs to try to influence the results of elections in Russia.
The bill was proposed by United Russia lawmaker Alexander Sidyakin, the author of recent legislation that sharply increased fines for violations of regulations governing protests.
“There is an entire network of NGOs whose financing is suspicious from the point of view of its provider,” Sidyakin said in a statement on the United Russia website this week.
But Sidyakin rejected allegations that the term “foreign agent” was associated by most Russians with espionage in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti on Thursday.
“I think the idea that ‘foreign agent’ means ‘spy’ is more of a hangover from the Soviet period in which our parents grew up,” he said. “I don’t think younger generations see the expression this way. We should try to get over Cold War terminology. I believe there is nothing insulting in this term.”
Sidyakin singled out the independent election monitor Golos as an example of what he said were attempts by the United States to “affect Russian politics,” citing at a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday the “$2 million given to the organization in 2011 to dirty the Russian authorities.”
Golos, which monitors alleged election violations in Russia, freely admits to receiving funding from abroad and members have said Russian businessmen are afraid to donate for fear of repercussions.
Veteran human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, of the For Human Rights organization, told RIA earlier this week the proposed law was an attack on the entire Russian civil liberties movement.
“This is a liquidation of the human rights movement in Russia.” Ponomaryov said. “We will not obey this law if it is adopted. We will not register as foreign agents.”
Moscow Helsinki head, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, said this week she would appeal to the U.S. Congress and the European parliament to add the authors of the bill to a visa blacklist drawn up in connection with the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.
The move saw United Russia deputies sign up en masse to become co-authors of the bill.
"We decided to join him as co-authors," United Russia parliamentary faction chief Andrei Vorobyov told journalists.
U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly discussed the law with members of Russian NGOs while on a visit to St. Petersburg last week.
02:18 05/10/2012 WASHINGTON, October 5 (RIA Novosti)
A naturalized US citizen, accused of being a Russian agent, and six others charged in an alleged plot to ship high-tech microelectronics to the Russian military and intelligence agencies, appeared in a Houston federal courtroom on Thursday to hear the charges against them.
“Those are fairly dramatic allegations that we will certainly take a hard look at to see if there is any evidence to support them. We are going to take the charges very seriously and examine the charges very critically,” said Eric Reed, the attorney for the alleged ringleader Alexander Fishenko.
The defendants did not enter pleas and US Magistrate Judge Mary Millioy ordered them to be held pending further developments in the case, the Houston Chronicle reported.
More information that the government says it has about the defendants could become public during bond hearings scheduled for Friday.
Fishenko, who owns Texas-based Arc Electronics and other companies linked to the charges, along with ten others, were accused of being members of a “Russian military procurement network operating in the United States and Russia,” according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.
Eight suspects were arrested in Houston and three suspects are still at-large and believed to be outside the US. The charges include illegally exporting technology, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
Fishenko, who was born in the former Soviet Union in what is now Kazakhstan and became a US citizen in 2003, is also charged with being an unregistered foreign agent of the Russian government.
The alleged smuggling operation supposedly shipped $50 million worth of microelectronics commonly used in a wide-range of military systems to Russia.
Authorities say that when he applied to live in the US, Fishenko claimed to have no military service, but has since said he served in a Soviet intelligence unit in the 1980s, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The indictment charges that the technology exported should have been “subject to strict government controls due to their potential use in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers.”
US prosecutors argue that the 46-year-old Fishenko and his co-conspirators went to great lengths to cover up their illegal activity by saying Arc Electronics was a manufacturer of traffic lights.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the defendants are not connected to Russian intelligence services and noted they had not been charged with espionage.
If convicted, the defendants could face up to 65 years in a US federal prison. Fishenko faces an additional 30 years for conspiracy to commit money laundering while acting as an unregistered agent for the Russian government.
Litvinenko worked for 'MI6 and gave Spain intel on Russian Mafia' – widow's lawyer.
RT.com 13 December, 2012, 21:19
Former FSB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko, who died in London of polonium poisoning in 2006, worked for the British foreign intelligence service as well aiding Spain in their fight against the Russian mafia, the UK inquest revealed Thursday.
“At the time of his death Litvinenko had been for a number of years a regular and paid agent and employee of MI6 with a dedicated handler whose pseudonym was Martin,” Ben Emmerson QC, representing Marina Litvinenko, told the coroner.
Emmerson said that MI6 “tasked” Litvinenko to connect with Spanish intelligence whom he provided with information on “organized crime and Russian Mafia activity in Spain and more broadly.” The information went directly to Spanish prosecutors.
The agent was paid by both the British and Spanish secret services into a joint bank account he held with his wife, the hearing at Camden Town Hall, in London, was told.
Litvinenko allegedly met “Martin” on October 31, 2006 – less than a month before his death, Emmerson revealed. The handler is expected to testify in the inquest, an investigation thats looking to find the reasons behind his death but not rule on anyone’s guilt.
The QC and Litvinenko’s family stressed that such deep involvement of the agent with the British intelligence put even more responsibility on the UK government to protect him
Litvinenko, who was aged 43 at the time of his death, died of polonium-210 poisoning after allegedly drinking tea with his two former colleagues at a central London hotel.
He was a critic of Vladimir Putin and had sought to expose what he called wrongdoing within the FSB security service. Litvinenko had worked both for the FSB and its predecessor the KGB before he fled Russia in 2000. On his deathbed, Litvinenko blamed Putin for his demise.
The death sparked massive alarm that such a highly toxic material could be brought into the UK without being traced. The case came to be branded as “nuclear terrorism.”
The two Russians, who met with Litvinenko, were former KGB contacts Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun. UK prosecutors have named the two as prime suspects in his death. Both deny involvement, while Russia refused to extradite them saying such an extradition would contradict its constitution.
Lugovoy, now a Russian MP, maintains that Litvinenko had acquired the polonium and ended up either poisoning himself or was killed by the MI6. A lie detector test in April also showed Lugovoy did not contribute to the incident.
On Thursday, Hugh Davies, counsel to the inquest, concluded that the material released by the British government for the inquest “does establish a prima facie case as to the culpability of the Russian state in the death,” as quoted by British newspaper, The Mirror.
Davies ruled out evidence against Boris Berezovsky, a Russian tycoon in self-exile who was accused of Litvinenko’s death by the agent’s father. He also dropped other suspects who have been named in conspiracy theories including the Spanish mafia, Chechen groups and several others.
Russia says it would like to become an interested party in the inquest and have the chance to make submissions and cross examine witnesses.
Post by TsarSamuil on Mar 17, 2013 15:18:32 GMT -5
Britain’s MI6 Paid $136,000 to Poisoned Ex-Russian Spy.
MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti) – Britain's secret intelligence service MI6 paid at least 90,000 pounds ($136,000) to former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died after being poisoned in London in 2006, The Sunday Times has reported.
The disclosure, the latest twist in the Litvinenko affair, provides “new insight into the extent of Litvinenko’s links with MI6 and the suggestion that he was killed by a Russian spy,” the report said.
Litvinenko, a 43-year-old former FSB officer, turned critic of the Kremlin and moved from Russia to Britain in 2000 where he claimed asylum. He was poisoned with the toxic radioactive isotope Polonium-210 in London in 2006, shortly after he was granted UK citizenship.
The newspaper said citing Marina Litvinenko, the widow of former KGB agent, that payments from British intelligence began in late 2003 or early 2004 when 18,000 pounds ($27,000) were deposited in the couple’s bank account.
MI6 also gave Litvinenko a fake passport, the newspaper said citing the transcripts of the widow’s statements to British detectives in November 2006, which were made public only now.
From 2004 onwards Litvinenko received a retainer of around 2,000 pounds ($3,000) a month from MI6. The report said “the payments continued until March 2007, four months after his death from poisoning by polonium-210.”
Britain's long-awaited inquest into the death of Litvinenko has been delayed by five months until October.
Earlier this week, Andrei Lugovoi, a former officer of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) suspected by the British authorities of poisoning Litvinenko said that he will pull out of the inquest into the killing, blaming political pressure from London.
Duma Committee OKs Bill on FSB Agent Stationing Abroad.
MOSCOW, April 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s parliamentary committee on security urged the parliament Wednesday to pass in a first reading a presidential bill that would allow the Federal Security Service (FSB) to dispatch its officers abroad on a permanent basis.
The bill enabling the FSB to send its advisors and specialists to foreign states for long-term assignments, subject to approval from the host nation, was submitted to the State Duma by President Vladimir Putin on March 2.
The FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, has signed cooperation agreements with the security services and law enforcement agencies in Kyrgyzstan, according to a memo to the bill posted on the Russian presidential website kremlin.ru. It has also signed agreements with the disputed territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which most world governments consider to be part of Georgia’s territory but whose independence Russia recognized after a brief war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008.
FSB officers are currently dispatched abroad for up to six months to provide assistance to security services in other states. The frequent rotation of personnel is not conducive to an effective struggle against “international crimes,” the memo says.
The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, will consider the bill on April 10.
Cloak, dagger and a blond wig? FSB says CIA agent nabbed in Moscow (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
RT.com May 14, 2013 10:41
Promises of millions, a new face and detailed instructions on a double-agent conspiracy in Moscow. Bearing the hallmarks of a Cold War spy thriller, Russia’s counterintelligence agency says it caught a CIA officer trying to flip a Russian operative.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) Public Relations Center announced that detained individual was Ryan Christopher Fogle, a career diplomat working as the third secretary of the Political Section of the American embassy in Moscow.
The agency stressed that Christopher had “special technical equipment” in his possession, including an additional wig, a microphone, multiple pairs of dark sunglasses and a lot of cash in euro – along with a Moscow atlas, a compass, two knives, and an American Bic lighter.
The detainee, who was sporting a blond wig at the time of his interception, was delivered to the FSB receiving office for questioning. Following all of the necessary procedures, he was handed over to representatives of the US embassy in Moscow.
he one-page letter to “a dear friend” found in Christopher’s possession was to be clandestinely delivered to the would-be recruit.
The correspondence proposed a US$100,000 payment for an interview with the prospective double agent, as well as $1 million per annum if the candidate chose to accept the mission and supply the American side with information.
Proving its technological prowess in the digital era, the alleged spy further offered step-by-step instructions on how to create a new Gmail account to be used for future contacts.
Ever-so-savvy, the document stressed the importance of not divulging any real contact information like phone numbers, email or home addresses when creating an email account for the purposes of spying on one’s own country.
It further discouraged the use of personal handheld mobile devices and laptops when registering the account, proposing a more anonymous setting like an internet café would be more judicious. If that didn’t pan out, the prospective recruit was told to buy a new mobile device or computer with the express purpose to be used for the express purpose of establishing contact. The new device was to be paid for in cash, and all expenses would be reimbursed.
Once a new Gmail account was created, the recruit was told to write a letter to unbacggdA@gmail.com and wait one week for a reply.
“Thank you for reading this. We look forward to working with you in the nearest future. Your friends,” the missive concludes.
On Tuesday, The Russian government announced that Fogle had been branded a “persona non grata,” demanding his immediate expulsion from Russia.
“At a time when the presidents of our countries have reaffirmed their readiness to broaden our bilateral relations, including special service [cooperation] in the battle with international terrorism, such provocative actions in the spirit of the “Cold War” do not facilitate a strengthening of mutual trust,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
US Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul refused to comment on the detention of his subordinate or his alleged part in the cloak and dagger plot.
On his Twitter account the ambassador simply wrote ‘no’ when questioned about Ryan Fogle.
McFaul has a date with the Russian Foreign Ministry, however, where he has been summoned to give an explanation for the not-so-undercover incident.
Former assistant secretary of state Jon Alterman told RT the timing of the incident was “strange” in light of the upcoming international conference on Syria spearheaded by Moscow and Washington.
“It clearly will have an effect on the talks. I don’t think it tells us anything new about US-Russian relations. What is strange is the timing, because when it comes to catching spies – if this even was a spy – you get to choose when you take action. And the decision to act immediately before the summit seems to me calculated to affect the summit,” he argued.
The website of the American embassy in Russia says that its Political Section is engaged in “bringing to the attention of the Russian government the US position on the issues of foreign policy and security.” The section’s other task is to “inform Washington about the main provisions of the foreign and defense policy of Russia,” as well as Russian domestic political life.
Assange to NSA whistleblower Snowden: ‘We are winning, but I hope you have a plan’
RT.com June 11, 2013 19:19
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has voiced strong support for fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden, but urged him to escape Hong Kong immediately to avoid being “prosecuted for years”.
“I have called for exactly such actions in response to the surveillance state, and it is pleasing to see such simple, concrete proof,” Assange told RT, from the Ecuador embassy in London, where he has been holed up for a year.
Last week Snowden, a highly-paid software contractor, revealed the existence of PRISM, an overarching National Security Agency (NSA) program that collects vast amounts of personal online communication.
Assange said that he was aware that the US government was extensively collecting private citizens’ data, but admitted that he was “shocked” by how means of surveillance are “intermeshed into one single system”.
Classified documents leaked to the Guardian showed that the software, operational since 2007, was collating tens of millions of pieces of information each month from the protected inner servers of leading companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple.
On Monday, 29 year-old Snowden, a resident of Hawaii, disappeared from his hotel room in Hong Kong, where he has been for the past three weeks, and has not been contacted since.
Assange has urged him to leave China, whose government he described as “no friend of whistleblowers”.
Instead he has urged him to seek asylum in Russia (which earlier said “it would consider it”) or South America.
“We have been in contact with Snowden’s people in terms of the possible advice and support we can give him,” said Assange.
The chief of WikiLeaks, which became famous for publishing more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables, insisted that the latest leak was part of a new trend, and that in the future, the communication capability of the internet would make it impossible to keep any such program secret.
“I think we are winning, and we are a part of a new international body politic that is developing thanks to the internet,” said Assange.
Assange warned that Snowden and his family would be aggressively pursued by the US prosecutors for “years and years”.
He also compared Snowden’s possible fate to that of Bradley Manning, the US private who was responsible for downloading the diplomatic cables. Manning is currently standing trial on over 20 different charges, including publishing data that was later accessed by Osama Bin Laden.
“The [Manning] trial is trying to set a precedent – that communicating with the media is the same as communicating with the enemy, and that’s a a death penalty offense,” said Assange.
Assange, is stuck in the Ecuadorian embassy, as he faces extradition to Sweden to be questioned over alleged sexual assault the moment he steps out. His lawyers argue that he could then be extradited to the US on more grave charges connected to WikiLeaks, which they say have been prepared against him.
The Australian wished Snowden better luck during his escape.
“Perhaps Snowden has a plan we don’t know about. I hope so,” said Assange.
Ron Paul: ‘Thankful’ for Edward Snowden.
politico.com By BREANNA EDWARDS | 6/10/13 5:00 PM EDT
Former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas praised NSA leaker Edward Snowden for his part in exposing how much information the government has been collecting from private citizens.
“We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk,” Paul said in a statement posted on the website of Campaign for Liberty, a nonprofit political organization which focuses on educating about constitutional issues, which he chairs. “They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”
“The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing,” Paul added in obvious criticism of the Obama administration. “The Fourth Amendment is clear; we should be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects, and all warrants must have probable cause. Today the government operates largely in secret, while seeking to know everything about our private lives – without probable cause and without a warrant.”
Russia May Consider US Spy Leaker’s Asylum Request – Media.
MOSCOW, June 11 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian authorities will consider political asylum for Edward Snowden, who risks prosecution in the United States for his recent blockbuster spy leaks, if he sends a proper request, business daily Kommersant said Tuesday, citing the Kremlin spokesman.
“If we receive such a request, we will consider it,” Kommersant quoted presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov as saying.
Snowden, a 29-year-old former employee of the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA), unmasked himself on Sunday as a source of recent disclosures about US government’s secret surveillance programs.
He said he was aware of possible prosecution but disclosed secret documents in response to America’s systematic surveillance of innocent citizens.
The leaks have led the NSA to ask the US Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation with possible “state treason” charges. The Justice Department did not comment on the issue saying only that it was in the “initial stages of an investigation” into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, according to The Washington Post.
Snowden, who moved to Hong Kong from the United States before revealing secrets to media, earlier told The Washington Post that he was seeking “asylum from any countries that believe in free speech and oppose the victimization of global privacy.”
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June last year to avoid his extradition to Sweden, on Monday called Snowden a “hero” and urged other countries to grant the US whistleblower political asylum.
“What other countries need to do is line up to give support for him. Everyone should go to their politicians and press and demand that they offer Mr. Snowden asylum in their country,” Sky News quoted him as saying.
Germany slams US for ‘Stasi methods’ ahead of Obama visit.
RT.com June 12, 2013 11:07
Germans are expressing outrage as details of a US internet spy program - revealed by a former CIA employee-turned-whistleblower – are prompting comparisons with that of former communist East Germany’s Ministry for State Security.
Unfortunately for Obama’s upcoming trip to Berlin, it was revealed that Germany ranks as the most-spied-on EU country by the US, a map of secret surveillance activities by the National Security Agency (NSA) shows.
German ministers are expressing their outrage over America’s sweeping intelligence-gathering leviathan, with one parliamentarian comparing US spying methods to that of the communist East Germany’s much-dreaded Ministry for State Security (Stasi).
Washington is using "American-style Stasi methods," said Markus Ferber, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian sister party and member of the European Parliament.
"I thought this era had ended when the DDR fell," he said, using the German acronym for the disposed German Democratic Republic.
Clearly, enthusiasm for the American leader’s upcoming visit will be much more tempered than it was in 2008 when 200,000 people packed around the Victory Column in central Berlin to hear Obama speak of a world that would be dramatically different from that of his hawkish Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
Merkel will question Obama about the NSA program when he visits in Berlin on June 18, government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters on Monday. Some political analysts fear the issue will dampen a visit that was intended to commemorate US-German relations on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
Bush excesses, Obama digresses
One year into his second term, Barack Obama seems powerless to roll back the military and security apparatus bolted down by the Bush administration in the ‘War on Terror.’
One consequence of this failure of the Obama administration to reign in Bush-era excesses emerged last week when former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden, 29, blew the whistle on a top-secret intelligence system named Prism, which collects data on individuals directly from the servers of the largest US telecommunications companies.
According to documents leaked to the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers, PRISM gave US intelligence agencies access to emails, internet chats and photographs from companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Verizon and Skype.
Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said leaked reports that US intelligence services are able to track virtually all forms of Internet communication demanded an explanation.
"The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is," she wrote in a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday. "The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the US administration itself is paramount at this point.”
She has sent a letter to her “US counterpart Eric Holder” seeking clarification on the legal foundation of the PRISM program.
“I’ve observed with great concern reports about a possible program,” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement emailed by her ministry in Berlin. “This may constitute massive access to telecommunications data without permission on a huge scale.”
All of the facts must be put on the table, the minister added.
Obama has defended the intelligence-gathering system as a "modest encroachment" that Americans should be willing to accept on behalf of security.
"You can't have 100 per cent security and also then have 100 per cent privacy and zero inconvenience,” he said. “We're going to have to make some choices as a society. There are trade-offs involved."
The United States, however, is not legally restricted from eavesdropping on the communications of foreigners, meaning in theory that Washington could be listening to and collecting the private communications of individuals anywhere in the world.
Peter Schaar, Germany's federal data protection commissioner, said the leaked intelligence was grounds for "massive concern" in Europe.
"The problem is that we Europeans are not protected from what appears to be a very comprehensive surveillance program," he told the Handelsblatt newspaper. "Neither European nor German rules apply here, and American laws only protect Americans."
Meanwhile, German opposition parties hope to gain from the scandal, especially with parliamentary elections approaching in September, and Merkel looking to win a third term.
"This looks to me like it could become one of the biggest data privacy scandals ever," Greens leader Renate Kuenast told Reuters.
Obama is scheduled to hold talks and a news conference with Merkel on Wednesday followed by a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate, the 18th triumphal arch that is one of Germany’s most recognizable landmarks.
'Cold War' spying: France, Germany want explanation for US leaks ahead of trade talks.
RT.com July 01, 2013 10:25
French President Francois Hollande has told the US to immediately stop spying on European institutions after reports emerged of US surveillance of European Union diplomatic missions. Germany said such “Cold War-style behavior” was “unacceptable.”
"We cannot accept this kind of behaviour between partners and allies," Hollande told journalists on Monday. "We ask that this immediately stop."
"There can be no negotiations or transactions in all areas until we have obtained these guarantees, for France but also for all of the European Union, for all partners of the United States," Hollande added.
His statement was reportedly a reference to upcoming talks between the US and EU, which will be aimed at creating the world's largest free trade zone.
The meetings are scheduled to take place next week, but French Minister of Foreign Trade Nicole Bricq said the talks could be jeopardized.
"This is a topic that could affect relations between Europe and the United States," she told AFP. "We must absolutely re-establish confidence...it will be difficult to conduct these extremely important negotiations."
Hollande said he asked French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to get in touch with US Secretary of State John Kerry immediately "to get all the explanations and all the information."
Meanwhile, Brussels has summoned US the ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, to give an explanation for the alleged spying, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told Belgian television channel VRT.
The German government also summoned the US ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy, to Berlin on Monday to explain the incendiary reports. Chancellor Merkel’s spokesperson said the government wants “trust restored."
"If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable," said spokesman Steffen Seibert.
"We are no longer in the Cold War," Seibert added.
Germany is pushing for the formation of a US-EU trade agreement which would encourage economic growth. However, Seibert stressed that “mutual trust is necessary in order to come to an agreement.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also spoke out against the alleged spying program, calling for an explanation “as quickly as possible."
German publication Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged EU offices in Brussels, New York and Washington. The reports were based on data released by CIA fugitive Edward Snowden, who is currently believed to be held up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport awaiting an answer on his asylum plea to Ecuador.
Following the release of the report, the president of the EU parliament demanded an explanation from Washington, stressing that if the allegations were true there would be significant backlash on US-EU relations.
“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
The EU commissioner for justice, Viviane Reding, also intimated that bilateral trade discussions may be put on hold while the accusations are investigated.
"We cannot negotiate over a big transatlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators," she said.
There have also been calls from French and German politicians for their governments to grant asylum to Edward Snowden.
In the wake of European outrage, US Secretary of State spoke out in defense of the US, maintaining that the mass surveillance of allies was “not unusual.”
“Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contributes to that,” said Kerry at a press conference. He said he would make no further comments on the matter until he was fully aware of the facts.
Former CIA employee Edward Snowden released a trove of classified data in May, blowing the whistle on the mass US surveillance program, Prism, and inciting the ire of civil rights groups.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warned the US that no matter what befalls Snowden NSA secrets will continue to be revealed to the public.
“There is no stopping the publishing process at this stage,” he told ABC News program 'This Week,' while holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
"Great care has been taken to make sure Mr. Snowden cannot be pressured by any state to stop the publishing process," Assange added.
WikiLeaks has been reportedly aiding Snowden in his asylum plea to the Ecuadorian government, providing him with legal aid and advice.
Gore: NSA program 'violates' Constitution.
thehill.com By Daniel Strauss - 06/14/13 06:06 PM ET
Former Vice President Al Gore strongly criticized the National Security Agency's secret telephone data collection program saying it violates the Constitution.
"I quite understand the viewpoint that many have expressed that they are fine with it and they just want to be safe but that is not really the American way," Gore told The Guardian. "Benjamin Franklin famously wrote that those who would give up essential liberty to try to gain some temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Gore's comments contrast from those from a number of national security officials and lawmakers, including President Obama, who have said the program is constitutional and necessary to national security. But Gore disagreed.
"This in my view violates the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment and the First Amendment – and the Fourth Amendment language is crystal clear," Gore continued. "It is not acceptable to have a secret interpretation of a law that goes far beyond any reasonable reading of either the law or the constitution and then classify as top secret what the actual law is."
"This is not right," Gore added.
Gore's comments come as Obama plans to defend the program to European officials during trips to Germany and Ireland next week.
A recent Washington Post/Pew Research poll found a majority of adults say they find the program acceptable. Gore brushed off those findings.
"I am not sure how to interpret polls on this, because we don't do dial groups on the bill of rights," Gore said.
In a separate interview with Bloomberg TV, former President Bill Clinton said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was correct when he said the NSA program was used to "protect our nation from a wide variety of threats." Clinton said with the NSA and other similar programs, law enforcement officials were just trying to keep track of who was communicating with whom.
"That's essentially what most of these government programs are now trying to do in monitoring telecommunications and e-mail," Clinton said. "And I think that the head of the NSA said it correctly yesterday. They have prevented a very large number of harmful actions."
US spied on Russian President Medvedev at 2009 G20 summit – NSA leaks.
RT.com June 16, 2013 20:30
As Britain readies to host the G8 summit, the documents uncovered by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed that back in 2009 US spies intercepted top-secret communications of then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to London.
The Guardian, which has seen the documents, also revealed that UK intelligence agency GCHQ monitored foreign politicians and intercepted their emails during the 2009 G20 summit held in the British capital, which was attended by Medvedev. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by UK intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
This comes as the 39th G8 summit is scheduled to start on Monday in the small Northern Irish resort town of Lough Erne with all the nations who were present at the 2009 London meeting attending.
According to the leaked documents viewed by the British paper, the details of the intercept of Medvedev’s communications were set out in a briefing prepared by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and shared with high-ranking officials from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The document entitled "Russian Leadership Communications in support of President Dmitry Medvedev at the G20 summit in London – Intercept at Menwith Hill station" was drafted in August 2009, four months after the Russian president attended the London G20 summit.
The NSA paper says: "This is an analysis of signal activity in support of President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to London. The report details a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted. The signal activity was found to be emanating from the Russian embassy in London and the communications are believed to be in support of the Russian president."
The interception of Medvedev’s communications by the US intelligence service came hours after his first meeting with the US President Barack Obama where they struck a warm tone and promised a “fresh start” in US-Russia relations.
The latest revelations will be a major embarrassment for Washington, as Obama is set to meet with the incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G8 summit in Northern Ireland and discuss such tough issues as the Syrian conflict.
In the wake of the scandalous leak of NSA documents, US officials have been defending massive surveillance tactics stressing that they were crucial in the fight against terrorism. However, the recent revelations about the actions of the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) suggests this was simply a case of espionage.
The information obtained by the GCHQ analysts was being rapidly passed on to the British representatives in the G20 meetings, giving them a negotiating advantage. "In a live situation such as this, intelligence received may be used to influence events on the ground taking place just minutes or hours later. This means that it is not sufficient to mine call records afterwards – real-time tip-off is essential," read one of the leaked documents.
During the London summit, GCHQ used what one document described as "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of the foreign delegations. The spy agency set up internet cafes where they used an email interception program and key-logging software to monitor delegates' use of computers. The security of delegates’ BlackBerrys had been penetrated to enable GCHQ see their messages and phone calls.
According to the report the surveillance operation was ordered at a senior level in the government of the then prime minister, Gordon Brown, and appears to have run for at least six months before and after the world leaders gathered in London on April 2.
One document reveals that when G20 finance ministers met in London in September 2009, British intelligence again spied on the delegates, including Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and possibly 15 other members of his team.
Referring to the NSA spying on the Russian president at that summit, RT contributor Afshin Rattansi says Britain has served as a surveillance platform for the US for decades. “For many years the British people realized that the National Security Agency was basically using the United Kingdom. And the largest spying outfit of the United States is here in Britain,” he said.
“Perhaps the British people will realize that they are living in a state where their media and all institutions surrounding them, all industrial aspects of the civic society are under a kind of surveillance state that is not being covered in the news.”
The 2009 summit came at a critical moment when the crisis in Western capitalism hit its peak, Rattansi notes. “These kind of revelations show that when governments such as Britain and the United States come close to worrying, they will use this to try and persuade different officials at different governments to sway them.”
Snowden files 'show massive UK spying op'
smh.com.au June 22, 2013
London: British spies are running an online eavesdropping operation so vast that internal documents say it even outstrips the United States' international internet surveillance effort, The Guardian newspaper says.
The paper cited UK intelligence memos leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to claim that UK spies were tapping into the world's network of fibre optic cables to deliver the "biggest internet access" of any member of the Five Eyes - the name given to the espionage alliance composed of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
That access could in theory expose a huge chunk of the world's everyday communications - including the content of people's emails, calls, and more - to scrutiny from British spies and their US allies. How much data the British are copying off the fibre optic network isn't clear, but it's likely to be enormous.
The Guardian said the information flowing across more than 200 cables was being monitored by more than 500 analysts from the NSA and its UK counterpart, GCHQ. Advertisement
"This is a massive amount of data!" The Guardian quoted a leaked slide as boasting.
The newspaper, whose revelations about America and Britain's globe-spanning surveillance programs have reignited an international debate over the ethics of espionage, said GCHQ was using probes to capture and copy data as it crisscrossed the Atlantic between western Europe and North America.
It said that, by last year, GCHQ was in some way handling 600 million telecommunications every day - although it did not go into any further detail and it was not clear whether that meant that GCHQ could systematically record or even track all the electronic movement at once.
GCHQ declined to comment on Friday, although in an emailed statement it repeated past assurances about the legality of its actions.
"Our work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary, and proportionate," the statement said.
Fibre optic cables - thin strands of glass bundled together and strung out underground or across the oceans - play a critical role in keeping the world connected. A 2010 estimate suggested that such cables are responsible for 95 per cent of the world's international voice and data traffic, and The Guard-ian said Britain's geographic position on Europe's western fringe gave it natural access to many of the trans-Atlantic cables as they emerged from the sea.
The Guardian said GCHQ's probes did more than just monitor the data live; British eavesdroppers can store content for three days and metadata - information about who was talking to whom, for how long, from where, and through what medium - for 30 days.
New Snowden leak reveals US hacked Chinese cell companies, accessed millions of sms - report.
RT.com June 23, 2013 06:35
US government has been hacking Chinese mobile operator networks to intercept millions of text messages, as well as the operator of region’s fibre optic cable network, South China Morning Post writes citing Edward Snowden.
More information on National Security Agency activity in China and Hong Kong has been revealed by SCMP on Sunday, shedding light on statements Snowden made in an interview on June 12.
“The NSA does all kinds of things like hack Chinese cell phone companies to steal all of your SMS data,” Snowden was quoted as saying on the SCMP's website.
In a series of reports the paper claims Snowden has provided proof of extensive US hacking activity in the region.
The former CIA technician and NSA contractor reportedly provided to the paper the documents detailing specific attacks on computers over a four-year period, including internet protocol (IP) addresses, dates of attacks and whether a computer was still being monitored remotely. SCMP however did not reveal any supporting documents.
The US government has been accused of a security breach at the Hong Kong headquarters of the operator of the largest regional fibre optic cable network operator, Pacnet. Back in 2009, the company’s computers were hacked by the NSA but since then the operation has been shut down, according to the documents the paper claims to have seen.
Pacnet’s network spans across Hong Kong, China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore and provides connections to 16 data centers for telecom companies, corporations and governments across the region.
The whistleblower has also allegedly revealed the US had viewed millions of text messages by hacking Chinese mobile phone companies. That is a significant claim since the Chinese sent almost billion text messages in 2012 and China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile network carrier.
In his very first leak to the media, Snowden had already exposed the scale of the American government spying operation on its domestic mobile network operators. He later revealed that the US and the UK possessed technology to access the Blackberry phones of delegates at two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009.
In a third article, SCMP claims that the US on a regular basis has been attacking the servers at Tsinghua University, one of country’s biggest research institutions. The whistleblower said that information obtained pointed to hacking activities, because it contained such details as external and internal IP addresses in the University’s network, which could only have been retrieved by a security breach.
Tsinghua University is host to one of Chinas’ six major backbone networks, the China Education and Research Network (CERNET) containing data about millions of Chinese citizens.
‘Mad invader, eavesdropper’: China slams US after Snowden accusations.
RT.com June 25, 2013 06:58
The US has gone from ‘model of human rights’ to manipulator of internet rights, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party wrote. China has struck back at the US over its allegations that Beijing allowed NSA leaker Edward Snowden to leave Hong Kong.
The damning article in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the party’s official newspaper, came in response to Washington’s accusations of the “deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant.”
Addressing Washington’s allegations, the People’s Daily wrote that China could not accept "this kind of dissatisfaction and opposition.”
"Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for handling things in accordance with the law,” wrote Wang Xinjun, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science in the People's Daily commentary.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also denounced the US accusations as "groundless and unacceptable.”
"It is unreasonable for the US to question Hong Kong's handling of affairs in accordance with law, and the accusation against the Chinese central government is groundless," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.
The Hong Kong government released an official statement on Sunday, saying that US fugitive Edward Snowden had left the Chinese territory for Moscow legally and voluntarily. The statement also mentioned that the extradition documents submitted by the US on charges of espionage were not sufficient to warrant Snowden’s arrest under Chinese law.
The column praises the former CIA contractor for “his fearlessness that tore off Washington's sanctimonious mask."Snowden has been branded by the US as ‘traitor’ by US politicians for the leaking of classified documents to The Guardian newspaper that revealed the existence of the spy program PRISM.
"In a sense, the United States has gone from a model of human rights to an eavesdropper on personal privacy, the manipulator of the centralized power over the international internet, and the mad invader of other countries' networks," the People's Daily said.
The case of Edward Snowden has captivated world media since he fled from the US in May. Although the fugitive’s whereabouts are unknown, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange confirmed to RT that Snowden was en route to Ecuador via Moscow accompanied by WikiLeaks legal representative Sarah Harrison.
Snowden was checked in for a flight from Moscow to Havana, Cuba, yesterday, but there was no sign of him on the plane, according to RT’s correspondent Egor Piskunov. As a consequence, it is now thought that he is still in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.
The whistleblower has applied for asylum in Ecuador and the country’s government confirmed that it is processing the application.
Amnesty urges US: ‘Refrain from manhunt’
The US has called on all countries in the northern hemisphere to surrender Snowden to US jurisdiction and has resolved to seek cooperation from his destination country. However human rights organization Amnesty International has launched an appeal, urging the US not to prosecute anyone who discloses data on US government human right violations.
"No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations by the US government. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression," said Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International.
In addition, the organization also stressed that an individual who has an asylum bid underway cannot legally be extradited.
China's state newspaper praises Edward Snowden for 'tearing off Washington's sanctimonious mask'
State-run People's Daily says whistleblower has exposed US hypocrisy after Washington blamed Beijing for his escape
Jonathan Kaiman in Beijing and agencies guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 25 June 2013 10.22 BST
China's top state newspaper has praised the fugitive US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden for "tearing off Washington's sanctimonious mask" and rejected accusations Beijing had facilitated his departure from Hong Kong.
The strongly worded front-page commentary in the overseas edition of the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist party, responded to harsh criticism of China from the US for allowing Snowden to flee.
The Chinese government has said it was gravely concerned by Snowden's allegations that the US had hacked into many networks in Hong Kong and China, including Tsinghua University, which hosts one of the country's internet hubs, and Chinese mobile network companies. It said it had taken the issue up with Washington.
"Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong special administrative region for handling things in accordance with law," wrote Wang Xinjun, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science in the People's Daily commentary.
"In a sense, the United States has gone from a 'model of human rights' to 'an eavesdropper on personal privacy', the 'manipulator' of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad 'invader' of other countries' networks," the People's Daily said.
The White House said allowing Snowden to leave was "a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship".
The People's Daily, which reflects the thinking of the government, said China could not accept "this kind of dissatisfaction and opposition".
"The world will remember Edward Snowden," the newspaper said. "It was his fearlessness that tore off Washington's sanctimonious mask".
The exchanges mark a deterioration in ties between the two countries just weeks after a successful summit meeting between presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. But experts say Washington is unlikely to resort to any punitive action.
A commentary in the Global Times, owned by the People's Daily, also attacked the US for cornering "a young idealist who has exposed the sinister scandals of the US government".
"Instead of apologising, Washington is showing off its muscle by attempting to control the whole situation," the Global Times said.
Snowden gave US authorities the slip by leaving Hong Kong on an Aeroflot plane to Moscow on Sunday. The US had requested his detention for extradition to the US on treason charges but the Hong Kong authorities responded that the papers had not been in order and Snowden was free to leave.
Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said Washington did not believe the explanation that it was a "technical" decision by Hong Kong immigration authorities. "The Hong Kong authorities were advised of the status of Mr Snowden's travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited his travel as appropriate. We do not buy the suggestion that China could not have taken action."
On Monday Snowden had been expected to board another plane from Moscow for Cuba and ultimately fly from there to Ecuador, which is considering granting him asylum. But journalists who boarded the plane in Moscow soon found Snowden had not taken his seat.
When the plane landed in Cuba there was likewise no sign that Snowden had been on board. The pilot greeted journalists at Havana's Jose Marti international airport by pulling out his own camera, taking pictures of the them and saying: "No Snowden, no."
The harshly worded Chinese commentaries did not appear on the country's main news portals on Tuesday afternoon. Instead most articles focused on hard news, such as Snowden's still-unknown final destination, his relationship with WikiLeaks and the details of his departure from Hong Kong.
Another editorial in the People's Daily on Monday defended the Hong Kong government for allowing Snowden to leave despite a US warrant for his arrest, claiming that it acted according to the law and "will be able to withstand examination".
"The voices of a few American politicians and media outlets surrounding the Prism scandal have become truly shrill," it said. "Not only do some of them lack the least bit of self-reflection but they also arrogantly find fault with other countries for no reason at all."
Shi Yinhong, an expert on China-US relations at Renmin University in Beijing, said the Snowden affair had given China's leaders an opportunity to shore up their own legitimacy domestically by projecting a strong message of US hypocrisy.
Yet behind the scenes, he said, top leaders were probably reluctant to allow the affair to significantly impact bilateral ties. "Maybe this will have an impact on public opinion in China, but for the Chinese government almost nothing has changed," he said. "Even if this damages China-US relations it'll be very temporary."
EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying on European diplomats, warns of severe impact on relations.
RT.com June 30, 2013 10:39
The president of the European parliament has demanded an explanation from US authorities over the latest revelation that EU diplomatic missions in Washington, New York and Brussels were under electronic surveillance from the NSA.
“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”
“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations," he added.
Meanwhile, Germany's justice minister also called for an immediate explanation from the United States saying the news that Washington bugged European Union offices was "reminiscent of the Cold War."
"It must ultimately be immediately and extensively explained by the American side whether media reports about completely disproportionate tapping measures by the US in the EU are accurate or not," Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement.
Other EU diplomats also expressed shock concerning the latest batch of revelations in the NSA leak, reported by Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday.
"If these reports are true, it's disgusting,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel.
"The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies,” Asselborn continued. “We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately."
A spokesman for the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story, Reuters reported.
Der Spiegel, quoting from a September 2010 "top secret" US National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, reported on Saturday the NSA was eavesdropping on the EU’s internal computer networks in Washington, as well as at the 28-member bloc UN office in New York.
The German magazine also reported that five years ago, the NSA also targeted telecommunications at the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home to the European Council, where all EU member states have their offices.
Snowden, 30, fled the US for Hong Kong in May, just weeks before The Guardian and Washington Post published details he provided about a top-secret US government surveillance program that accumulated internet and telephone traffic both at home and abroad.
The whistleblower is presently in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, where it is believed he is attempting to gain political asylum in Ecuador.
Lode Vanoost, former deputy speaker of the Belgian parliament, believes that the main purpose of the US surveillance program was “economic spying” on the EU.
“At the moment, the EU is negotiating a new free trade agreement with the United States,” the former deputy speaker noted. “Well, [now the US can gather] what their opponent is already discussing internally of strategy. That is one of the possibilities.”
Vanoost also believes that part of the reason for the spying was due to the decline in US economic strength.
“On the economic level, [the US] is losing ground everywhere,” he said. “Look at what the BRIC countries are doing. The EU is having stronger ties with Russia, with Africa, with Latin America. And the US doesn’t seem to get its economic priorities imposed as it used to. So what I see is a big risk for economic spying.”
He added that there is “too much at stake” for there to be a total breakdown in US-EU bilateral relations, however, “behind closed doors there will be some very tough words” exchanged between EU and American officials.
After slapping US, France finds itself in spotlight for spying.
Reports says that several EU nations are engaged in surveillance programs similar to PRISM.
csmonitor.com By Sara Miller Llana, Staff writer / July 5, 2013
Judging from the rhetoric alone, it might seem that transatlantic relations are sinking to a low point in the wake of news about alleged spying of the US on its European allies.
French President François Hollande called for the suspension of transatlantic trade talks, set to begin next Monday. European officials across the political spectrum reacted with equal, if not stronger, acrimony, calling the US "Big Brother" and its spy program, revealed by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, a vestige of the cold war.
But behind angry admonishments, Europe has agreed to move forward with Monday’s talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). And although European officials have demanded the US address its concerns over spying and privacy – those talks are also set to begin within days – few expect this most recent revelation to be insurmountable. In fact, many European nations, thrust further into the affair this week when suspicions that Mr. Snowden was aboard a Bolivia-bound airplane that was diverted to Vienna as it traveled from Russia, have acknowledged that they also spy, with France at the center of attention.
Eric Denécé, director of the French Center for Intelligence Studies and a former military intelligence analyst, says he expects the spying allegations on Europe to be little more than a political blip, though he differentiates between intergovernmental spying and Snowden’s revelations of surveillance of American citizens through the PRISM program.
“For 40 or 50 years, we absolutely know the US intelligence agency is listening to everybody, including France,” he says. “This is absolutely normal. It’s the job of intelligence agencies to listen to [one] another.”
French politicians have been among the angriest in terms of reaction, calling for the TTIP negotiations to be put on hold. But in the wake of their criticism of US action, they have faced a barrage of their own. Revelations of French domestic spying
Le Monde published Thursday a report alleging widespread intelligence spying in France, similar to the US PRISM program. France’s leading daily paper, whose report received widespread international media coverage, alleges that such acts are "outside the law, and beyond any proper supervision.”
And while the European Union Parliament condemned American spying, it rejected Thursday a suspension of TTIP negotiations, as France had sought. Instead it urged trade talks to go forward, as planned, according to a statement.
It acknowledged growing issues of spying among its own member states as well. “Parliament also expresses grave concern about allegations that similar surveillance programs are run by several EU member states, such as the UK, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, and Poland. It urges them to examine whether those programs are compatible with EU law.”
Meanwhile, US-German ties are under stress amid revelations that the United States spied on Germany more than on any other EU country. Germans are particularly wary about state-driven snooping, given the widespread surveillance under the Stasi in East Germany and earlier under Nazi Germany.
President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Thursday to a high-level meeting among both nations to discuss US actions.
However, Sergey Lagodinsky, head of the EU/North America department of the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin, says that the real damage to the transatlantic relationship at this point is among the citizenry. “The damage is not intergovernmental, but within our population,” he says. “[The scandal] has made clear to a wide number of citizens that the rhetoric of alliance and partnership is not followed by a degree of mutual trust.”
That sentiment is clear in a recent German poll showing that, in the wake of Snowden’s revelations, only 49 percent of Germans say Americans can be trusted as partners, down from 65 percent, according to ARD-DeutschlandTrend.
Indeed, while Dr. Denécé, the intelligence analyst, says he expects the spying allegations on the EU to become muted, revelations from Snowden on the PRISM program should be a concern to all amid a general decline of democracy in the US since the Patriot Act, he says. “Now we discover that all US citizens are under electronic surveillance,” he says. He calls this a threat to the world at large. “This is dangerous for democracy as a whole.”
For now, it’s hard to know Europe’s exact position on Snowden, among many contradictions.
Shashank Joshi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, wrote in The Telegraph that France’s condemnation and call to suspend trade talks is “pretty hilarious, given France's penchant for stealing American defense technology, bugging American business executives and generally annoying US counterintelligence officials. If you've been paying attention, you know that France is a proficient, notorious and unrepentant economic spy.”
Positions became even murkier earlier this week when Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria, after several European countries, including France, reportedly refused to allow the plane through their air space on suspicion that Snowden had left Russia, where he's been holed up as he unsuccessfully seeks asylum somewhere. It has led to accusations that the US is influencing countries behind the scenes, though it is unclear what access was denied by Europe and why.
If it’s confirmed that the French bowed to American pressure in the incident, says Denécé, “it is absolutely a contradiction” that will hurt President Hollande.
Snowden: NSA is ‘in bed with the Germans’
RT.com July 07, 2013 19:36
US fugitive Edward Snowden has accused Germany and the US of partnering in spy intelligence operations, revealing that cooperation between the countries is closer than German indignation would indicate, Der Spiegel magazine reported.
“They are in bed with the Germans, just like with most other Western states,” the German magazine quotes Snowden as saying, adding that the NSA’s has a Foreign Affairs Directorate which is responsible for cooperation with other countries.
Partnerships are orchestrated in ways that allow other countries to “insulate their political leaders from the backlash,” according to Snowden, providing a buffer between politicians and the illegal methods of snooping. He accused the collaboration of grievously “violating global privacy.”
“Other agencies don't ask us where we got the information from and we don't ask them. That way they can protect their top politicians from the backlash in case it emerges how massively people's privacy is abused worldwide,” he said.
Snowden gave the interview to a cipher expert and a documentary filmmaker with the help of encrypted emails shortly before he rose to global fame, Der Spiegel reported.
The publication recollected that the US Army is simultaneously in the process of building a base in Wiesbaden, southwest Germany, claiming it will be used as an intelligence center by the NSA.
The four-story bug-proof spying center is made from imported American materials and costs $119 million. Its construction will allow for the closure of over 40 existing sites across in Heidelberg, Mannheim and Darmstadt, US Army Garrison Wiesbaden spokeswoman Anemone Rueger told Stars and Stripes.
The Der Spiegel report also indicates that the German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and NSA work very closely together.
It was revealed at the end of June that the US combs through half a billion of German phone calls, emails and text messages on a monthly basis.
An earlier report by Der Spiegel, also based on revelations by Snowden, revealed that the NSA bugged EU diplomatic offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks.
Chancellor Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert said that this would constitute intolerable behavior if proven.
“If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert.
“We are no longer in the Cold War,” he said.
Merkel remained quiet regarding the Snowden PRISM leaks when Obama visited Berlin, diplomatically stating that, “the topic of commensurability is important.”
Germans are particularly sensitive about eavesdropping because of the hangover from the intrusive surveillance state which characterized the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR) and Nazi era totalitarianism.
The Der Spiegel report claims that the NSA provides the BND with analysis tools to monitor data passing through German territory. Opposition parties insisted when revelations were made about the extent of espionage that somebody in Merkel's office, where the German intelligence agencies are coordinated, must have known what was going on.
BND head Gerhard Schindler confirmed the existence of the two country’s intelligence partnerships during a meeting with members of the German parliament’s control committee specifically for overseeing intelligence issues, according to Der Spiegel.
The BND is legally allowed to look through 20 percent of transnational communications, in addition to monitoring internet search terms and telecommunications, Deutsche Welle wrote on June 30, while the US can essentially capitalize on Germany’s data collection packets. The cooperation includes the passing of data over areas deemed crisis regions.
The BND lacks the capacity to fully use its legally allowed monitoring. Der Spiegel reported that the agency is currently only monitoring only about 5 percent of data traffic, but is planning to expand its server, capacity and staffing in order to be more effective.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which overlooks domestic counter-espionage, is currently investigating whether the NSA has access to German Internet traffic. A preliminary analysis was inconclusive.
“So far, we have no information that Internet nodes in Germany have been spied on by the NSA,” said Hans-Georg Maassen, the president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden fled the US in May a few weeks before his first leaks were published by the Guardian. He is believed to have been holed up in Moscow airport since June 23 and initially made asylum requests to 20 countries, including Germany, followed by a further six.
Snowden was refused asylum in Germany on the grounds that asylum requests must be made on German soil.
A spokesman of the Interior Minister said, “the German right of residence principally entails the possibility of acceptance from abroad, if this seems necessary for international legal or urgent humanitarian reasons, or for the ensuring of political interests of the federal republic of Germany. This needs to be examined thoroughly in the case of Mr. Snowden.”
New revelations: Germany sends 'massive amounts' of phone, email data to NSA.
RT.com August 07, 2013 21:13
Germany’s BND intelligence service sends “massive amounts” of intercepts to the NSA daily, according to a report based on Edward Snowden’s leaks. It suggests a tight relationship has been developed between the two agencies – which the BND claims is legal.
Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Snowden and obtained by Der Spiegel revealed that the 500 million pieces of phone and email communications metadata collected by the NSA in Germany last December were “apparently” provided with the BND’s approval.
The data was allegedly handed over at two collection sites as part of the operation titled “Germany – Last 30 days.” One of those collection sites has been identified as the Bavarian BND facility at Bad Aibling, which the NSA is said to have officially left back in 2004.
Der Spiegel’s investigation, which cites BND sources, says that the code name of the Bad Aibling facility is mentioned in Snowden’s papers as one of the signals intelligence activity designators (SIGADs) employed by the US spy agency to collect the data.
The BND source added that the mentioned name is “associated with telecommunications surveillance in Afghanistan.”
Officially, however, Berlin is still waiting for an answer from Washington as to where in Germany the metadata documented in the NSA files was obtained, according to Der Spiegel. The clarification of what and who are behind the so-called SIGADs, and what sort of information was passed on, is an extremely delicate matter for both the BND and the Chancellery - with Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Ronald Pofalla being nominally in charge of coordinating the country’s intelligence agencies.
The details in the recent report have sparked more uneasy questions to be fired at Merkel’s government. Hans-Christian Stroebele of Germany’s Green party has demanded an “immediate investigation” of allegations, reminding that it has been claimed up to now that the Americans had abandoned Bad Aibling years ago and transferred control to Germany.
“Now we are reading that the NSA expanded their facility there, received data on site and also analyzed it there. That is a completely new development; that’s news that we have to follow up on,” said Stroebele, who is also a member of the German parliament’s intelligence oversight committee.
Frustrated that he and other committee members learned about the BND’s data transfers to the NSA from a media report, Stroebele stressed that “the government is playing the wrong game there.”
But officials from the German foreign intelligence service responded by saying the practice is completely legal, adding that the two agencies have been closely working together for decades.
“The BND has worked for over 50 years together with the NSA, particularly when it comes to intelligence on the situation in crisis zones. The cooperation with the NSA in Bad Aibling serves exactly these goals and it has taken place in this form for over ten years, based on an agreement made in the year 2002,” the BND said, as quoted by Deutsche Welle.
According to Snowden’s leaks, not only have the German agents enjoyed access to the NSA’s latest tools, such as XKeyscore, but the US agents have also shown a keen interest in several BND programs – which, according to the report, were deemed even more effective than those of the NSA.
But the BND has assured that no data transferred to the NSA contains information on German citizens – which, according to the German agency’s chief Wolfgang Bosbach, would explain why the government never mentioned the vast data transfers during the testimony they gave to parliamentary committees after the NSA scandal was unveiled.
“The transfer of data clearly did not involve German citizens but rather data that the BND had collected in accordance with its statutory mission,” Bosbach said.
“Before metadata relating to other countries is passed on, it is purged, in a multistep process, of any personal data about German citizens it may contain,” the BND said in response to inquiries, as quoted by Deutsche Welle. The agency added that there is currently “no reason” to believe that “the NSA gathers personal data on German citizens in Germany.”
The BND is strictly forbidden from monitoring the communications of German citizens by the G-10 law, a regulation anchored in the country’s constitution that limits the powers of the intelligence agencies.
However, it does not concern foreign intelligence, which, according to the report, includes hundreds of thousands of records from Middle Eastern satellite telephone providers, thousands of mobile communications, and daily eavesdropping on some 62,000 emails.
“The NSA benefits from this collection, especially the…intercepts from Afghanistan, which the BND shares on a daily basis,” the report says.
Such large-scale data transfer became possible after the BND established a direct electronic connection to the NSA network in Bad Aibling, it claims.
When the scandal initially emerged, German Chancellor Merkel claimed that she learnt about the US surveillance programs through press reports, and that she had had no knowledge of the BND’s collaboration with the NSA.
Merkel, who is under pressure from critics ahead of the September 22 election, also stressed that Germany “is not a surveillance state.”
However, she seemingly justified the NSA’s job, saying that “the work of intelligence agencies in democratic states was always vital to the safety of citizens and will remain so in the future.” While being asked to clear up the situation with the US allegedly bugging the embassies of European countries and EU facilities, Merkel stressed that the US will remain Germany’s “most loyal ally.”
NSA spied on Latin America for energy and military intel.
RT.com July 10, 2013 09:23
The NSA’s spy program encompasses most countries in Latin America, new cables released by Edward Snowden have confirmed. The data gathered on military affairs and “commercial secrets” has provoked a flurry of furious rhetoric from regional leaders.
Brazilian daily, O Globo, which obtained the cables released by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, published a report on Tuesday detailed the National Security Agency’s initiatives in Latin America.
The US government retrieved key data on a number of issues including the oil market, drugs trade and political movements. Colombia is a top priority for the US, registering the most spy activity, with Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil following closely behind. In addition, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and El Salvador are under surveillance, though to a lesser degree.
According to the documents obtained by O Globo, the NSA carried out espionage in Latin America in the first quarter of 2013 using at least two data-snooping programs: ‘PRISM,’ from February 2-8 and ‘Boundless Informant’ from January through to March.
‘PRISM’ recorded metadata through Facebook, Google, Microsoft and YouTube, while ‘Boundless Informant’ monitored telephone calls and access to the internet.
O Globo also reported that the NSA gathered information through private Brazilian telecommunications companies using a program called ‘Silverzephyr.’ The daily was unable to identify the companies, but stated that using the program the US gained access to phone calls, faxes and emails.
Furthermore, the leaked information revealed the existence of data-crunching centers in Bogota, Caracas, Mexico City and Panama City and Brasilia that dealt with information intercepted from satellites.
Brazil is currently investigating telecommunication companies believed to be involved in the massive US surveillance program. The country’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was quick to react to the news, stating that if the reports of spying were confirmed it would definitely be a “violation of our sovereignty, without a doubt, just like it’s a violation of human rights.”
Brazil’s Senate foreign relations committee has requested that US ambassador Thomas Shannon to testify on the allegations. It is unclear whether Shannon, who is not legally obliged to provide testimony, will agree.
Gilberto Carvalho, a top aide to President Rousseff, called for a "very hard" response to the United States .
"If we lower our heads, they will trample all over us tomorrow," he said.
President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said she hopes the US’ actions will be condemned at the next Mercosur (an economic union between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela) summit.
“I feel a shiver going down my spine when I see that they are spying on all of us through their services in Brazil,” she said in reference to the O Globo article.
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, known for his pro-US stance, stated that the reports were “concerning.”
"We are against these kinds of espionage activities," he said in a televised interview. "It would be good for [Peru's] Congress to look with concern at privacy issues related to personal information."
In turn, Colombia has called on the US for an explanation for an “unauthorized” data collection program.
"In rejecting the acts of espionage that violate people's rights and intimacy as well as the international conventions on telecommunication, Colombia requests the corresponding explanations from the United States government through its ambassador to Colombia," the Colombian Foreign Ministry said in the statement.
Mexico, one of the most surveilled countries, has thus far refrained from commenting on the reports .
US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who currently has an extradition order against his name from Washington, is holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport unable to leave because his passport has been revoked. He has applied for political asylum in a number of Latin American countries. Venezuela and Nicaragua have said they are currently assessing his request.
US slams Russia for giving 'propaganda platform' to Snowden.
The White House says that Russia granting political asylum to Edward Snowden will be on par with providing the National Security Agency leaker with a "propaganda platform" to further harm the United States.
Last Edit: Aug 8, 2013 11:33:45 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Kerry Warns Russia, China Over Fugitive Mole - Media.
MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia and China on Monday that their relations with the United States would be impaired if it becomes clear they had ignored extradition requests for fugitive former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, according to media reports.
Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong on a flight to Moscow on Sunday, despite the US authorities requesting his extradition for his disclosure of classified documents about US intelligence programs involving monitoring of computer systems and social networks.
Speaking during a visit to New Delhi, Kerry said Snowden has betrayed his country and has to face the consequences, and it would be "very disappointing" if China and Russia had known about the whistleblower’s plans to take a Hong Kong-Moscow plane on Sunday.
"There would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship" with the US if this had occurred, Kerry said according to the Wall Street Journal. He also said that there was no clear information on where Snowden is staying as of Monday.
Snowden, who is seeking political asylum in Ecuador, was expected to take a flight from Moscow to Havana this afternoon, but did not appear on the flight, which was mobbed by journalists.
Russian officials have not yet confirmed Snowden’s presence in Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media he had no idea Snowden had planned to come to Moscow. "I first heard about it from you [journalists]" he said.
Snowden, accompanied by Sarah Harrison, a representive of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, is being kept out of public view in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport transit area, according to an airport source who spoke to RIA Novosti, after he failed to get on a Cuba-bound plane that he had been checked in for.
Meanwhile, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in Hanoi, Vietnam, that his government's officials “are analyzing with a lot of responsibility” Snowden’s asylum request, the RT state-run Russian television reported.
'Groundless and unacceptable': Russia lashes out at US over Snowden accusations.
RT.com June 25, 2013 08:57
Washington’s allegations over US fugitive Edward Snowden are ‘unacceptable’ as he never crossed the Russian border, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. As a consequence, any attempt to accuse or threaten Moscow by the US is unfounded.
“Russia has nothing to do with Snowden's movements, he chose his route himself and didn't cross the Russian border,” said Lavrov, responding to a question by RT’s correspondent at a press conference with the Algerian foreign minister.
According the Reuters sources at Sheremetevo airport, Snowden arrived on Sunday with a valid ticket to Havana on Monday which he did not use. He is reportedly not able to cross the Russian border because he is not in possession of a valid visa. Moreover, the whistleblower’s passport is thought to have been revoked a day after he fly out of Hong Kong to Moscow on Sunday.
“For this reason we consider all attempts to accuse Russia of violating American law and conspiring against the US unfounded and unacceptable,” stress Lavrov, adding that the Kremlin does not tolerate threats.
Lavrov’s statements follow strong US rhetoric threatening consequences if Moscow does not comply with the US extradition order against Snowden under the espionage act.
"We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the US to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden stressed on Sunday, when Snowden reportedly arrived in Moscow.
WikiLeaks, who are reportedly aiding Snowden in his asylum bid, confirmed on Monday that he was en route to Ecuador via Moscow. The Ecuadorian government said it has received the application for asylum and is currently processing it.
In order to get to Ecuador from Moscow Snowden will have to transfer in Cuba, however, Sheremetevo airport officials have said to Russian media that he was on neither Monday or Tuesday’s flights to Havana.
'World order unjust and immoral!' Ecuador’s Correa rips into Snowden coverage.
RT.com June 27, 2013 07:49
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa came up with scalding online remarks over criticism his country faced from the US press for potentially granting asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
“They’ve managed to focus attention on Snowden and on the ‘wicked’ countries that ‘support’ him, making us forget the terrible things against the US people and the whole world that he denounced,” Correa said Wednesday in response to a Tuesday Washington Post editorial.
“The world order isn’t only unjust, it’s immoral,” Correa added.
The US newspaper accused Correa of adhering to double standards in the NSA leaker case, as Ecuador is considering harboring Snowden from prosecution over US espionage charges. It descried the Ecuadoran president as “the autocratic leader of a tiny, impoverished” country with an ambition to replace the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez as “the hemisphere’s preeminent anti-US demagogue”.
The Washington Post lashed out at a legislation recently adopted by Ecuador, saying that it diminishes freedom of press. It also said Ecuador is profiting from duty-free trade with the US while criticizing Washington’s policies.
Earlier this week US Secretary of State John Kerry chose rhetoric similar to that of the Washington Post as he admonished China and Russia for failing to apprehend Snowden and extradite him for trial in America.
"I wonder if Snowden chose Russia or China for assistance because they are such bastions of internet freedom," he said sarcastically.
Cost of non-compliance
US officials are also mounting pressure on Ecuador over its stance in the leaker debacle. Senator Robert Menendez, who heads the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate, said such a move would hurt Ecuador’s international trade, which is highly dependent on export to the US.
"Our government will not reward countries for bad behavior," the influential US lawmaker said, as he was warning that he would target two trade programs with Ecuador for accepting the NSA leaker.
Menendez said he would lead the effort to prevent the renewal of Ecuador's duty-free access to US markets under the Generalized System of Preferences program. He also said he would block renewal of the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA). Both programs expire at the end of next month.
The major commodities of Ecuador’s export to the US are crude oil, cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, shrimp and prawns. Duty-free access to US markets is supporting roughly 400,000 jobs in the country of 14 million people.
Ecuador is the last remaining recipient of the ATPDEA, which used to include Bolivia, Colombia and Peru in the past and was not expected to be renewed for Ecuador even before Snowden came up with his revelations of the US phone and internet surveillance programs.
The country has been lobbying the Obama administration to include additional goods under the Generalized System of Preferences program to soften the blow from the cancellation.
Putin: Snowden can stay in Russia if he stops damaging USA.
RT.com July 01, 2013 15:03
President Vladimir Putin says NSA leaker Edward Snowden may stay in Russia, if he wants to, but only if he stops activities aimed against the United States.
“There is one condition if he wants to remain here: he must stop his work aimed at damaging our American partners. As odd as it may sound from me,” Putin told a media conference in Moscow.
In Putin’s opinion, Snowden considers himself “a fighter for human rights” and it seems unlikely that he is going to stop leaking American secret data.
However, Russia is not going to extradite Snowden, the president underlined.
“Russia has never extradited anyone and is not going to do so. Same as no one has ever been extradited to Russia,” Putin stated.
“At best,” he noted, Russia exchanged its foreign intelligence employees detained abroad for “those who were detained, arrested and sentenced by a court in the Russian Federation.”
Snowden "is not a Russian agent", the president said, repeating that Russian intelligence services were not working with the fugitive American.
He said Snowden should choose his final destination and go there. Putin added that he has no idea when that is going to happen.
“If I knew, I would tell you now,” he told the media conference after the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries.
Putin and his US counterpart Barrack Obama instructed their nations’ security services – Russia’s FSB and America’s FBI respectively - to resolve the situation around the Snowden case, Nikolay Patrushev, the secretary of the Russian Security Council said earlier on Monday.
The former CIA employee Snowden, who is behind the biggest leak in the NSA, has been stuck in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for over a week now, after he arrived in the Russian capital from Hong Kong.
The US annulled the whistleblower’s American passport and he presently has no other documents with which he can travel.
Putin suspects US spied on Russian embassies
Putin does not rule out that the US was bugging Russian diplomatic missions. The President was commenting on a scandal stirred up by new documents leaked by Snowden which revealed that the US was spying on dozens of foreign missions and embassies abroad.
“It’s none of our business that allies are eavesdropping on each other. Let them do what they want,” Putin stated.
He observed that there was nothing in the leaked data on attempts to bug official Russian representations.
“I don’t rule out that it’s possible,” Putin noted.
The US special services work on a global scale, but they also have “some kind of departmental interests.”
“Let our colleagues [special services] decide which of them is right and which is wrong and what should be done to stop it,” Putin concluded.
Snowden scraps Russia asylum bid over call to cease ‘anti-US activity’ – Kremlin.
RT.com July 02, 2013 08:23
US whistleblower Edward Snowden asked for asylum in Russia, but later withdrew the request after President Putin urged him to cease "anti-American activity," according to the President's spokesperson.
“Snowden did ask to stay in Russia. However, when he found out Russia’s position on the matter and the associated conditions he decided not to stay in Russia,” said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. Snowden is still held up in a Moscow airport and has issued asylum bids to 15 countries, the spokesman added.
Peskov told press that Russia does not relinquish political asylum seekers to countries with the death penalty.
“Snowden, by sincere conviction or for some other reason, considers himself to be a human rights activist, a fighter for the ideals of democracy and human freedom. Russian human rights activists and organizations, as well as their colleagues abroad acknowledge this. For this reason, extraditing Snowden to a country like the US where capital punishment is enforced is impossible,” Peskov explained to press.
Furthermore, Peskov stressed that Snowden is currently in the transit zone area of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and had never crossed the Russian border. He added that the Russian authorities are not engaged in active dialogue with the former CIA employee and “have never collaborated with Snowden.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Monday that Snowden could stay in the Russian Federation on the condition that he ceased all anti-American activity. Furthermore, Putin affirmed that Russia has no intention of extraditing Snowden as “Russia has never extradited anyone.”
However, Snowden is no longer in a position to harm the US, as all the information he has, has already been leaked to journalists and so it is up to them when and if further revelations that are damaging to the US are released, James Corbett, an independent journalist and editor of the Corbett Report, told RT.
As such, Putin’s comments - that he stops leaking information - are on face value meaningless.
“It’s a question of what we make of the offer itself and really I think there’s not much more to it than political blather that’s aimed to shore up the Moscow Washington relationship, rather than anything to do with Snowden and what he’s talking about,” said Corbett.
The former CIA employee, responsible for releasing troves of NSA classified data to the press, is stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo for the time being. The whistleblower has applied for asylum in 21 countries, according to the organization WikiLeaks, who claims to be helping Snowden get political asylum.
'US citizen has no right to free speech?' State Dept spokesperson grilled over Snowden.
Tensions are high as NSA leaker Edward Snowden officially submitted application for temporary asylum in Russia on Tuesday. After Russian and international human rights advocates and lawyers met with Snowden at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on Friday, the US said it is disappointed in Russia for considering the whistleblowers asylum. During a daily press briefing State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki was given a thorough grilling on the Snowden affair by journalists, including AP's Matthew Lee and CNN's Elise Labott and was left lost for words at almost every turn.
Snowden granted 1-year asylum in Russia, leaves airport (PHOTOS)
RT.com August 01, 2013 11:45
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and is allowed to enter the country’s territory.
The whistleblower has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, Snowden's legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said, with his words later confirmed by Russia’s Federal Migration service.
“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone,” he added.
Kucherena showed a photocopy of the document to the press. According to it, Snowden is free to stay in Russia until at least July 31, 2014. His asylum status may be extended annually upon request.
With his newly-awarded legal status in Russia, Snowden cannot be handed over to the US authorities, even if Washington files an official request. He can now be transported to the United States only if he agrees to go voluntarily.
A statement by the WikiLeaks has revealed the words Snowden said after he was handed the Russian asylum certificate.
"Over the past eight weeks we have seen the Obama administration show no respect for international or domestic law, but in the end the law is winning,” the NSA leaker stressed. “I thank the Russian Federation for granting me asylum in accordance with its laws and international obligations."
Snowden departed at around 15.30 Moscow time (11.30 GMT), airport sources said. His departure came some 30 minutes before his new refugee status was officially announced.
His present location has not been made public nor will it be disclosed, Kucherena said.
“He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority,” the attorney explained. “He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer.”
Snowden eventually intends to talk to the press in Russia, but needs at least one day of privacy, Kucherena said.
The whistleblower was unaccompanied when he left the airport in a regular taxi, Kucherena added.
However, WikiLeaks contradicted the lawyer, saying the organization’s activist Sarah Harrison accompanied Snowden.
Russia is confident that the latest development in the Snowden case will not affect US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Moscow, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.
“We are aware of the atmosphere being created in the US over Snowden, but we didn’t get any signals [indicating a possible cancellation of the visit] from American authorities,” he told RIA Novosti.
Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, came to international prominence after leaking several classified documents detailing massive electronic surveillance by the US government and foreign allies who collaborated with them.
Snowden was hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel when he first went public in May. Amidst mounting US pressure on both Beijing and local authorities in the former-British colony to hand the whistleblower over for prosecution, Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23.
Moscow was initially intended as a temporary stopover on his journey, as Snowden was believed to be headed to Ecuador via Cuba. However, he ended up getting stranded at Sheremetyevo Airport after the US government revoked his passport. Snowden could neither leave Russia nor enter it, forcing him to remain in the airport’s transit zone.
In July, Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, a status that would allow him to live and work in the country for one year. Kucherena earlier said the fugitive whistleblower is considering securing permanent residency in Russia, where he will attempt to build a life.
White House 'extremely disappointed' with Snowden asylum.
RT.com August 01, 2013 16:51
The White House is re-evaluating whether US President Barack Obama needs to participate in a summit this autumn summit with Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, after Moscow granted asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
"We are evaluating the utility of the summit in light of this," White House spokesperson, Jay Carney, said.
The US is “extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step” despite Washington’s official and private requests to expel him, he added.
Carney stressed that Snowden's asylum is an “unfortunate development” in US-Russia relations, undermining the record of law enforcement cooperation between the two states, which was on an upswing since the Boston bombings. The White House spokesman stated that Washington would soon contact Russian authorities on the issue.
At the same time, Carney said that the US doesn’t want “Mr Snowden to become a problem” in US relations with Russia, which cover “important and broad” issues.
The spokesman stressed the US doesn’t view Edward Snowden as a whistleblower or dissident, reminding that the NSA former contractor is accused of leaking classified information in his home country.
Next week’s talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, were also “up in the air,” a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Earlier, US Senator John McCain expressed his outrage with Snowden’s Russian asylum and demanded Washington re-examine its relations with Moscow and “strip away the illusions that many Americans have had about Russia.”
“Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States,” he said. “It is a slap in the face of all Americans. Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for.”
McCain’s proposed countermeasures include, expansion of the Magnitsky Act, completion of all phases of the US missile defense programs in Eastern Europe and support for Russian “dissidents” like Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny.
On Thursday, Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia and was allowed to enter the country’s territory.
According to the issued documents, the former CIA employee who broke PRISM spying scandal to the world is free to stay in Russia until at least July 31, 2014. Then the asylum status may be extended.
With that in hand, Snowden cannot be handed over to the US authorities, even if Washington files an official request. He can now be transported to the United States only if he agrees to go voluntarily.
On receiving the asylum documents, the former NSA contractor left the airport for an unspecified destination; concerns over his security were cited.
Kremlin ‘disappointed’ Obama calls off Putin talks, decision 'Snowden-related'
RT.com August 07, 2013 14:41
By calling off Obama’s visit to Moscow, the US has shown it is not ready to build relations on an equal footing, the Kremlin says. The Snowden situation, on which the decision was based, is not Russia’s fault, presidential aide Yury Ushakov stressed.
“We are disappointed by the US administration’s decision to cancel the visit of President Obama to Moscow that was planned for the beginning of September. It is clear that the decision is related to the situation around the former intelligence agency employee Snowden – something that was created not by us,” Ushakov told reporters on Wednesday.
According to Ushakov, the US has “for many years dodged entering into an extradition treaty” with Russia and “invariably refused” its extradition requests citing the absence of such a treaty.
“All this situation shows that the US is still not ready to build relations with Russia on equal footing,” Putin’s aide added.
Despite that, Obama’s invitation to visit Moscow remains in effect, and Russia is “ready to continue working with our American partners on all the key issues of the bilateral and multilateral agenda,” Ushakov said.
Earlier today US President Barack Obama canceled a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow which was scheduled for September. The move came after Russia’s recent decision to grant temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The White House cited the lack of progress in “missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last 12 months” as the grounds for the move, adding that Russia’s “disappointing decision” to grant Snowden asylum was also among the factors.
Washington’s decision showed that the US will readily “sacrifice their bilateral relations with Russia” for the issues of their “internal agenda,” said Andrey Klimov, vice chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee.
“We shall not forget such a behavior, but it can by no means signal a start of another Cold War,” Klimov stressed, adding that there are “too many issues” that Russia and the US still need to be working on together.
Rather than seeing it as “a tragedy,” Klimov said he perceives the move as “an outcome of the situation of the domestic policy of the US.”
The situation between Russia and the US logically requires that the two countries’ leaders meet at soon as possible, Foreign Affairs Committee chairman of the Russian Duma, Aleksey Pushkov told RIA Novosti, saying that Washington’s decision is only hindering progress.
“Now that so much negativity has built up [between Russia and the US], it would have been viable for the presidents of the two countries to meet and to see what of this negativity could be overcome, what could be left behind, and to set a new agenda,” Pushkov said. However, he added that Obama’s refusal to come to Moscow effectively delays such an opportunity.
Edward Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena has also been scathing about the cancellation, saying that a human rights decision had been politicized by the Obama administration.
"What has Putin got to do with Snowden? Putin didn't make the decision to grant asylum. This is not even political asylum, but temporary asylum," he told RT.
"It appears that for the US, international policy trumps human rights, and they don't want to act within the legal boundaries, simply don't understand that Russia is not able to hand over Snowden at the current time."
Pravda.ru 06.08.2013 01:26 Paul Craig Roberts
As Washington loses its grip on the world, defied by Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and now Russia, the US government resorts to public temper tantrums. The constant demonstration of childishness on the part of the White House and Congress embarrasses every American.
Washington's latest outburst of childish behavior is a response to the Russian Immigration Service granting US whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum in Russia for one year while his request for permanent asylum is considered. Washington, having turned the US into a lawless state, no longer has any conception of legal procedure. Law is whatever serves Washington. As Washington sees it, law is nothing but Washington's will. Any person or country that interferes with Washington's will is behaving unlawfully.
Because Obama, like Bush before him, routinely disobeys US law and the US Constitution, the White House actually thinks that Russian President Putin should disobey Russian and international law, overturn the Russian Immigration Service's asylum decision, and hand over Snowden to Washington.
Washington expected Russia to hand over Snowden simply because Washington demanded it. Like a two-year old, Washington cannot conceive that its demands don't take precedence over international law and the internal legal procedures of every country. How dare Russia stand up for law against "the indispensable nation."
The White House spokesman, who is so unimpressive that I cannot remember his/her name/gender, declared that the White House moron might punish Putin by not going to visit him in Moscow next month. I doubt Putin cares whether the WH moron shows up.
The WH moron's term of office is close to an end, but Putin, unless the CIA assassinates him, will be there for another decade. Moreover, every Russian leader has learned that a US president's word means nothing. Clinton, the two Bushes and the current WH moron violated every agreement that Reagan made with Gorbachev. Why would the president of Russia, a nation ruled by law, want to meet with a tyrant?
Not to be outdone by the WH in childish behavior, members of the House and Senate added their two-bits to America's embarrassment. Congressional morons "reacted furiously," according to news reports, and warned "of serious repercussions in US-Russian relations." Here we have another extraordinary demonstration of Washington's hubris. Only Russia has to worry about repercussions in the relationship. Washington doesn't have to worry. His Imperial Majesty will simply deny Putin an audience.
Congress seems unaware of its schizophrenia. On the one hand Congress is outraged about the National Stasi Agency's illegal and unconstitutional spying--especially on Congress--and is attempting to defund the Stasi Agency's surveillance program. The amendment to the military spending bill by Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan, almost passed. The amendment was barely defeated by votes purchased by the spy industry.
On the other hand, despite its outrage over being spied upon, Congress wants the scalp of the brave hero, Edward Snowden, who informed them that they were being spied upon. Here we have a demonstration of the historical stupidity of government--shoot the messenger.
Only a few right-wing crazies believe that universal surveillance of every American is necessary to US security. The National Stasi Agency will fight hard and blackmail every member of the House and Senate, but the blackmail itself will lead to the National Stasi Agency's wings being clipped, or so we can hope. If it is not done soon, the Stasi Agency will have time to organize a false flag event that will terrify the sheeple and bring an end to the attempts to rein in the rogue agency.
The United States is on the verge of economic collapse. The alleged "superpower," a bankrupt entity, was unable after 8 years of efforts to occupy Iraq and had to give up. After 11 years the "superpower" has been defeated in Afghanistan by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban, and is now running for cover with its tail between its legs.
Washington compensates for its military impotency by committing war crimes against civilians. The US military is a great killer of women, children, village elders, and aid workers. All the mighty "superpower" can do is to lob missiles shot from pilotless drones into farm houses, mud huts, schools, and medical centers.
The schizophrenic denizens of Washington have made Americans a hated people. Those with the foresight to know to escape from the growing tyranny also know that wherever they might seek refuge, they will be seen as vermin from the most hated nation and subjected to being scapegoated as spies and evil influences, and at risk of being decimated in reprisals against Washington's latest atrocity.
Washington has destroyed the prospects of Americans both at home and abroad.
Last Edit: Aug 7, 2013 15:53:27 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
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