Home > Uncategorized > Inevitable: US Spy Program Leaker Escapes to Hong Kong, Other Aftermath, How It Might Play Out

Inevitable: US Spy Program Leaker Escapes to Hong Kong, Other Aftermath, How It Might Play Out

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-nsa-prism-scandal-20130609,0,934854,full.story

In routine criminal cases, unlike this one, Hong Kong had shown a willingness in recent years to extradite people to face charges in the United States, he said.

In the video, Snowden said that “Hong Kong has a strong tradition of free speech.”

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997, but still enjoys some autonomy in business and governmental functions.

However, under Hong Kong’s Fugitives Offenders Ordinance, Beijing can issue an “instruction” to the city’s leader to take or not take action on extraditions where the interests of China “in matters of defense or foreign affairs would be significantly affected.”

Edward Snowden interview

A real US spy, ex military, High school dropout, who later got his GED and IT training, managed to get Security related contractor jobs at the heart of the US surveillance program (with a salary of $200K a year).

But along the way, Snowden became disenfranchised.  No single event cause it, he said.  It’s just a whole bunch of things.  Suddenly, or inevitably, the “steam valve” of Democracy stopped working.  Or rather, Snowden came to realize that the “steam valve” of Democracy was just a fake one put on the wall just for “looks”, and it didn’t work.

Snowden copied documents from his work, then took time off from work by making up an excuse that he was going away on medical treatment, hopped on a flight to Hong Kong.  The rest is recent history.  He disclosed the secret documents to the media, and revealed his identity as the leaker.

Several questions/comments though:

(1) How did NSA miss this leak?  Seriously, Snowden takes a vacation and flies to HK?  How did this not set off security alarms all over the place??  (In contrast, Bo Jiang gets detained for SIM card?)  Who runs the security in NSA?

(2) Why are Americans (Bradley Manning, Snowden, Ricin-letter sending ones, etc.) now taking such drastic and known illegal actions to buck the “democratic system”?  In Snowden’s case, it’s definitely more than mere “disclosure” of information.  Snowden wanted to make statements of sorts:  (a) US/UK governments are doing wrong, (b) the People are fooled for a very long time.

(3) As we have noted before, these cases only continue to illustrate how wide of a gap of perception there exists between the Western public/media and the Western Governments’ reality.

(4) Why is Snowden taking refuge in HK, (which would put his fate inevitably under China’s sovereign control)?  While he might right that China might resist US extraditions (just for PR values), Snowden also has very detailed knowledge about the IT systems of NSA, and doubtlessly Chinese Intelligence Service would be interested in obtaining such information from Snowden (who literally dropped into their laps).

Perhaps Snowden believes that if necessary, his knowledge of the IT systems of NSA would be a final bargaining chip in his own fate.  In essence, he is warning US to not go after him too hard, or he may have no choice but to seek asylum and safety with China.  So far, he is on the run.  But that won’t necessarily deter China from try to get him.

(5) What are the likely scenarios?  Undoubtedly, US and China (and probably many other nations, such as North Korea), are trying to locate Snowden, (and then have him bundled off to some secret interrogation facility).  If he is caught by US, he will likely end up in some dark cell somewhere, and no one will ever hear from him again.  Unlike Bradley Manning, Snowden would not be arrested on US soil, he would be renditioned (and Snowden has admitted that as a distinct possibility).

If he is caught by China, he will end up a bargaining chip.  China may very likely use him to embarrass US in public.  China may not want to keep Snowden around, such asylums are more trouble than they are worth.  Instead, China may offer to return Snowden to US, by requiring US to promise that Snowden would be treated fairly and leniently in US (for Human Rights purposes, wink wink nudge nudge).  Of course, US would make any promises to get Snowden returned, and would subsequently “reintepret” their own promise in 180 degrees, thus prompting China to accuse US of reneging promises and violating “human rights”.

If he is caught by other nations, he will again likely end up in some dark cell somewhere, and never acknowledged.

If he is really lucky and smart, Snowden may end up smuggling himself into some unknown mountain village, where no one knows he’s even there.  (But that generally don’t last very long).

(6) Snowden’s movement only further demonstrate how easy it would be for spies to penetrate the porous borders of China, and how easy it would have been for spies to set up espionage shops in China.  If Snowden intended to hack into computer networks, he could easily go into China, hack computers from within China, without being detected as to who he is.

This too should be a wakeup call to the Chinese government.  That they do need to keep a tab on foreign visitors (for a variety of reasons).

* Relatedly, Snowden’s disclosure of the PRISM documents prompted vehement (and somewhat angry) DENIAL responses from the major tech companies involved.

http://www.minyanville.com/business-news/editors-pick/articles/Google-Inc-Google-CEO-Reaction-to/6/7/2013/id/50242?refresh=1

Google’s CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond blogged, http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/what.html

The terse denial is just that, very terse simple denial, boiling down to “We didn’t do it, we never heard of it.”

Accusing others of spying is one thing, being accused of participating in spying, well, that’s hard to swallow.

But the last paragraph of the Google Denial is interesting:

Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.

So wait, So Google is admitting that there is some “level of secrecy around the current legal procedures”??  But what is that “level of secrecy”?  Google doesn’t elaborate, because they can’t.  YET, they still deny that they are giving SECRET access to the US government for surveillance??

Seems like a self-contradiction, and a weird denial with non-denial.

The 9 companies named in the PRISM program document all denied giving US/UK government “direct access” to user data.

Well, that rather depends on what they mean by “direct access”, which they again do not elaborate.

On that same note, the US government deny “targeting”, but rather they call it mere “collecting” data.

I’m sure guys like Snowden were not convinced by such Orwellian Newspeak.  Indeed, Snowden probably got more upset by such weird denials.  To him, “surveillance” is “surveillance”.  Whether the Government is collecting surveillance on everyone or just “targeting” a few, doesn’t really make anyone feel better about it.  Whether Google participated willingly or just went along with it, ALSO doesn’t make much difference to anyone.  Google (Apple, etc.) are now just cogs in the surveillance machine, intentional or not, it’s just FACT, the brutal reality that Good People can be co-opted into all sorts of things.

A few years back, Google made a stink publicly (in the same blog forum) that it didn’t want to participate in Chinese government’s monitoring programs, and it withdrew from Chinese market.

I simply don’t see Google doing the same for the US market and UK market.  Instead, Google merely denies that it’s doing anything wrong in US and UK (and it portrays itself as a victim of secrecy in a way).

Well, economic reality does co-opt principles, not surprisingly.  And when one makes public announcements of “principles”, to cast stones at others, sooner or later, one might find oneself in the center of a public stoning.

 

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  1. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 09:00 | #1

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/edward-snowden-reported-nsa-leaker-face-extradition-hong/story?id=19362851#.UbX3JsXA_h5

    Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., late Sunday became one of the first U.S. officials to call for “extradition proceedings at the earliest date” and warned that “no country should be granting this individual asylum.”

    Other top lawmakers have also called for an aggressive prosecution.

    Wow, “aggressive” indeed.

    “There appear to be at least two possible grounds on which they could refuse:

    (1) Beijing could intervene and order Hong Kong officials not to surrender Snowden, citing “defense, foreign affairs or essential public interest or policy” reasons, per the treaty. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China.

    (2) The Chinese could also refuse to hand over Snowden if they believe an extradition request is “politically motivated,” or designed to punish a suspect for “political opinion,” or if they believe complying would deny him a fair trial, the agreement says.”

  2. June 10th, 2013 at 09:20 | #2

    Indeed, I picked up on Google saying about “direct access” too. Google dumps all their customers data somewhere. The NSA goes there to pick them up. Presto. Indirect access.

    Interesting development Black Phoenix. In my opinion, the Chinese government doesn’t really play tit-for-tat.

    China may simply turn him over because he violated U.S. law. China also expects the U.S. to turn over criminals she wants to prosecute.

  3. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 09:42 | #3

    According to Greenwald of UK’s Guardian, PRISM is only the tip of the disclosure material.

    Apparently, Guardian is still going through all the documents Snowden gave them, and they are planning on revealing more about the surveillance program, which also apparently have a lot more than merely these information collection programs.

    Also, I think China could just let HK handle this, while keeping an eye on it.

    If HK end up saying NO to US on extradition, China would still have some deniability: “Hey, you guys criticized us before about interfering with HK. Why complain to us about not interfering?”

  4. June 10th, 2013 at 10:30 | #4

    Embedding the Edward Snowden interview by Glenn Greenwald from Black Phoenix’s link above:

  5. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 10:49 | #5

    James Fallows and the Atlantic did some rather cheesy commentaries about Snowden making a bad choice in deciding to go to HK.

    Yes, HK is subservient to China, in the matters of national politics, and China may very well decide to turn Snowden over to US.

    But AGAIN, relativeness counts.

    In Snowden’s calculus, WHICH countries in the world today is even capable of standing up to a US extradition order? And WHICH one of those may afford some amount of personal freedom and protection for a US wanted refugitive??

    From his point of view, there is history of US going after men like Assange (and Bobby Fisher, etc.), there were not many places that could say NO to US.

    And from the record of Assange’s asylum ordeal, is it really any other suggestions than HK?

    I wonder which country Fallows would suggest, because he doesn’t offer any other alternatives.

    For Snowden, I would say HK does offer the most amount of freedom and autonomy (and MOST importantly anonymity).

    And Snowden probably would know this well, given that he was an Ex-Intelligence Officer. (He probably was told by others that HK is an easy place to hide if needed to, given its large and very transient Expat community).

    *I find it rather ironic that James Fallows would question/doubt Snowden’s choice for hiding, given that Snowden had presumably WAY MORE experience in Military and Espionage than Fallows.

    (Granted, even Snowden hinted that he would be caught. I don’t think Snowden was delusional about his chances. Snowden undoubtedly picked what he thought was the best choice, among very few viable choices).

  6. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 10:54 | #6

    Oh, 1 more:

    Why wasn’t Congressman Frank Wolf watching NSA leakers like Snowden??

    Maybe he ONLY enjoys “Chinese Student Spy” as a form of voyeurism?

  7. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 10:57 | #7

    A previous NSA whistleblower/leaker warns consequences for Snowden:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/06/nsa-whistleblower-drake-edward-snowden-goverment-will-seek-revenge-retaliation

    “What will happen to w’blower who handed over Prism program info to WP, given the unprecedented reprisals & prosecutions with this Admin to w’blowing?

    Gov’t is no doubt apoplectic behind the scenes – not just with w’blower but also with reporter and have already launched a major criminal investigation.

    The info from Prism was increasingly showing up in the PDB [the President’s Daily Brief, the top-secret and selective intelligence report he receives each morning].

    They will move shadows and shades to identify the w’blower and turn the surveillance system inside out to find and fry him.

    Gov’t will burn with a decided white hot intensity of revenge and retaliation and start threatening big time even before finding the w’blower. (JUST happened!)

    And when they find the w’blower the full wrath of administrative and bureaucratic punitive measures will descend on the w’blowers, because w’blowers threats the integrity of the NatSec state.

    Obama is ferociously against unauthorized leaks and wants hard justice meted our against them – Chicago style.”

  8. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 10:59 | #8

    Now, the big question (interesting but very dangerous scenario):

    Will US deploy “Drone kill” program against Snowden??

    That question should keep him (and most of us) up at nights.

  9. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 11:26 | #9

    The Duck Pond attempts to minimize the story by calling it a “faux scandal”, noting that it is nothing new.

    I would agree that it is nothing new for US/UK government to spy on its people, via sweeping court orders (secret ones at that).

    That only goes to show, by the very fact that this “story” is such a giant hit in the Western media in the last few days, and more to come, that the Western public and media are out of touch with reality. That’s the real story.

    It’s apparently VERY NEW in many people’s mind! One wonders why Duck Pond is therefore so out of touch with its own Mother Pond.

    Perhaps it’s time for Duck Pond to worry about the backward thinking of Americans and Britons. I mean, what were they thinking, that this is PRE-Patriot Act?!

  10. Black Pheonix
  11. June 10th, 2013 at 12:15 | #11

    Parsing some of the languages:

    Google: we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers.

    Part, or all of the server data can be replicated to some government’s systems, “in accordance with the law”.

    Google: We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this.

    We’re all doing evil now. Google’s new motto is, do the least evil, at least what I think the least.

    Obama: nobody is listening to your phone calls.

    Gosh, this is easy. 1. Calls can be listened by computers. 2. Only your call log is actively scanned. When somebody at certain capacity is interested in you, only then your calls will be listened. The worst part is that someone may not be that competent and the hackers feast on their systems.

    ******

    A question is, how much damage does this do to the reputations of American Internet companies, internationally?

  12. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 12:27 | #12

    For a non-story, there are a lot of calls for protests and etc.

    For a big deal, protests and etc. won’t do jack sh*t. (and Snowden knows this).

    For what it is, it’s turning into just another story, well, that Sells more newspapers.

    The thing is, if Snowden really believed that he could change things with his disclosures, then he would have stayed in US, and wait for what follows. (Like Dan Ellsburg).

    But he ran away, because he knows, at least in the short term, nothing will change, and in the long run, things also may not change. (He just vaguely hopes that in the long run, thing might change).

    *If one looks like Ellsburg, one can see that nothing changed. Disclosures only give temporary outrage at best. New votes means new regimes get to continue old policies, pretend things changed, when nothing did.

    Obama continued Bush’s policies. He who follows Obama won’t change the formula.

  13. June 10th, 2013 at 12:39 | #13

    Would like to think I am a practical man. When you are out on the Internet, you forgo some of your privacy and that’s a given. Even the likes of Google, Facebook, etc. are one or maybe 2 major security bleaches away from being out of business, so they would try their best to safeguard your private information. Moreover, your information is spread across many places.

    Now great, there is a government-owned private information aggregator out there. Soon every intelligence analyst would want an account on it. All it takes is one dumb analyst to click to claim that free iPod ad, to compromise the whole thing…

  14. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 13:10 | #14

    @jxie

    That’s why the data collected most likely is in raw database form, isolated only to the user data, dumped on some “middle man” data storage servers, and crunched by NSA over periods of time.

    That would minimize the risk to the NSA’s servers.

    That said, however, the data is very vulnerable to alterations, at a number of steps in the data dump.

    If some terrorist organizations really wanted to mess with US and UK, they can alter the data for various purposes:

    (1) cover their own tracks,
    (2) to falsely implicate other people: Americans, opposition factions, etc.
    (3) to misdirect intelligence operations.

    The problem with PRISM is that, it is nothing special. It’s a search engine, very similar to Google’s core data-mining program.

    It makes connections with probabilities assigned between individuals and groups, and then allows for “search” for relevant connections based upon specific events.

    But as Google found out, people can “game” the search engine: See pages that try to generate content to place themselves high on the Google ranking. (And they do this WITHOUT knowing Google’s secret formula for ranking).

    I would venture to say that I have no doubt that someone can figure out how to “game” the PRISM search engine.

    Once that’s done, the system is pretty much useless.

    They can keep retuning the algorithm like Google does, but it will get progressive worse over time, because unlike in Google’s case, the NSA data content is based on very LONG history records, which would be contaminated by any “gamed” data in the system, confusing the system as to which data set are real and which are the “gamed” data designed to fool the system.

    (I believe Google’s searches tend to focus on more recently indexed web data, which allows Google to retune its algo and ignore the old “gamed” data).

  15. Charles Liu
    June 10th, 2013 at 13:53 | #15

    Maybe China should have some kind of democracy program to host the guy, do media push to promote him as the most important overseas American dissident. Get 3rd party NGOs to nominate him for a Nobel peace prize.

    Sound familiar?

  16. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 14:07 | #16

    @Charles Liu

    Better yet: Let US extradite him, and THEN decry his treatment in the US, and nominate him for Nobel. (And if the likes of DL, Desmond Tutu, NGO’s, etc., refuse to help him, DECRY how they are toeing the lines of US government. Which I would predict will happen.)

    DL, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, will undoubtedly demonstrate their paid loyalty to US government, and keep their mouths very shut over this.

    AI offered only 1 vague statement on Manning’s detention.

  17. Black Pheonix
    June 10th, 2013 at 14:22 | #17

    @Black Pheonix

    Further to my comments above, I would further elaborate that, 1 of the chief reasons that US government is so mad about this disclosure is PRECISELY that once PRISM is out of the bag, the public may actually try to “fight back” by “SPAMMING” the PRISM database.

    Heck, people might even create an “anti-PRISM spam” app on mobile phones, causing massive amounts of confusing data for the PRISM system. (And you can’t control that, even if Apple iTune bans it, jailbroken phones will still have it).

    And this would then effectively render NSA’s shinny new data server facility (with “yottabytes” of storage) in Nevada completely useless.

    Yes, they are just mad, because they barely got their hands on their new toy “spy gadget”, and bam, with 1 disclosure, it’s useless now.

    Hey, I would be mad too. (Except, I’m not that stupid to believe that 1 search engine could solve the problems of my intelligence services).

    PS: The Chinese surveillance system is more human dependent, but then again, China is not going to a decade long war against far away crazy religious factions living in the middle of some forsaken desert.

    and China is not teaching people to believe in “freedom”, while hiring them to SECRETLY spy on other citizens. (I mean, how much of an inherent conflict can one get on that notion?)

  18. pug_ster
    June 10th, 2013 at 15:11 | #18

    I can’t believe that the Hong Kong government would kowtow to the US government like this. I mean you see numerous thugs who committed political crimes in China yet when they are in HK, they can stick a middle finger back to China. Now a political prisoner from the US is going to be shipped back to the US.

  19. pug_ster
    June 10th, 2013 at 21:49 | #19

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-calderone/ap-snowden-whistleblower_b_3416380.html

    Looks like the American propaganda machine has already started to churn in regards of this guy, AP Editor says Do Not Describe Edward Snowden As A ‘Whistleblower.’ I would expect this kind of garbage coming from Fixed news or NY Times. AP, Seriously?

  20. Zack
    June 11th, 2013 at 03:48 | #20

    @pug_ster
    the american satraps and spies in the Australian media have been carrying out their master’s orders, judging by what i’ve glanced at from the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.
    It’s defamation and character assassination all over again; next thing y’know, Mr Snowden turns out to be a slave owning, white supremacist, paedophilic rapist.

  21. June 11th, 2013 at 04:44 | #21

    Another interpretation (ok speculation for now) of “direct access”.

    Obama has recently said that no one is listening to your phone calls. But of course, that just means no one is proactively listening live. And it’s probably true. It would be prohibitively expensive for even the U.S. gov’t to do that. To do things more efficiently, the government needs to be able to collect and search through massive data.

    We know the U.S. gov’t has the capaibility and is storing a huge amount of data from every means possible, including phones, videos, and remote sensors.

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/is-the-government-also-monitoring-the-content-of-our-phone-calls.html

    http://www.infowars.com/obama-nobody-is-listening-to-your-phone-calls-but-what-about-your-dishwasher/

    We know the U.S. gov’t also has the capability (and is further developing the ability) to scan through massive data.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/cia-presentation-on-big-data-2013-3

    Taking internet companies word that gov’t has no “direct access” – a term no one is clarifying – I will take it to mean the gov’t doesn’t have a direct backdoor key to these companies.

    That is probably true – at least if you judge by what laws are in the books. The U.S. has been mulling over making the web (email, social networking, etc.) come under the laws that explicitly allow the gov’t to wiretap.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/us/politics/obama-may-back-fbi-plan-to-wiretap-web-users.html?pagewanted=all

    But that may be politically unfeasible yet (barring another 911 or some other shock to the U.S.). But there are other ways.

    Just as gov’t doesn’t need a backdoor to Twitter to mine Twitter because Twitter sends out streams of all content for anyone to download anyways, gov’t may also not need backdoor to google and facebook and the likes. So long as they provide a stream that the gov’t can then record elsewhere, that’s all that’s needed. If the stream were live streams, the gov’t would not have direct access, but they would have the pieces and the technology to piece together the pieces offsite all user data and communication from a certain date forward. If the stream were backup or synchronization streams, the gov’t could potentially have access to all data.

    Facebook and google and others synchronize and backup data across nodes spread around the nation and the world. The gov’t needs only to have such access to build its database. It needs not have “direct access” – a backdoor key – to have access.

  22. aeiou
    June 11th, 2013 at 05:37 | #22

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/11/4418030/americans-support-phone-tracking-oppose-email-spying-pew-research

    majority of americans are quite happy to live their police state.
    which makes you wonder why they get so uppity about china all the time. americans would happily drink horse piss and call it liberty if you told them it was to ensure that america remains the greatest and the most freedomest country in the world.

  23. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 06:13 | #23

    Zack :

    @pug_ster
    the american satraps and spies in the Australian media have been carrying out their master’s orders, judging by what i’ve glanced at from the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian.
    It’s defamation and character assassination all over again; next thing y’know, Mr Snowden turns out to be a slave owning, white supremacist, paedophilic rapist.

    Don’t forget “porn downloading”.

  24. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 06:22 | #24

    @Allen

    Yes, “direct access” terminology is practically meaningless in the digital age, when every bit of information can be copied a thousands of times in a blink of an eye.

    It’s a left over from the old “wiretapping” law days, but that doesn’t really apply to the internet technologies that well, because NO ONE has “direct access” to any thing on the internet.

    Even EMAILS and phone calls are relayed. Think about it.

    By the government’s logic, the ONLY way any one has “direct access” to even their own information (like the old telephone days), is if you are making a direct call to the other end, with NO relaying of information any where.

    Well, that’s not how telephone switches and email servers work nowadays. EVERY bit of data is compressed, copied, encoded, copied, and then decoded and decompressed on the servers of the network.

    So who has “direct access”? No one, that’s who.

    And that should give you an idea how WIDE range the government’s current claim really is.

  25. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 07:13 | #25

    aeiou :

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/11/4418030/americans-support-phone-tracking-oppose-email-spying-pew-research

    majority of americans are quite happy to live their police state.
    which makes you wonder why they get so uppity about china all the time. americans would happily drink horse piss and call it liberty if you told them it was to ensure that america remains the greatest and the most freedomest country in the world.

    That media press headline is highly MISLEADING.

    The actual Pew Poll questions: http://www.people-press.org/files/2013/06/6-10-13-1.png

    As you can see, the 1st question implied that every surveillance is carried out with a specific court order, which is actually not what the US government is doing.

    The 2nd question reflects more the reality of the situation: And one can see the result indicates that MORE Americans are opposed to it today than 10 years ago. 52% opposed.

    And on top of it, the poll is done with ONLY about 1000 people, that’s way too small of a sample size to make such bold claims.

    Geez, I don’t know who come up with these silly polls, and why the US media make such ridiculous claims based on these results.

  26. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 07:24 | #26

    Ai Weiwei is shocked and surprised:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/11/nsa-surveillance-us-behaving-like-china

    Ai says US is behaving like China. Wow, I guess he was out of touch with reality, (which shouldn’t be a surprise).

  27. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 09:14 | #27

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/11/us-markets-stocks-idUSBRE9560L320130611

    Smear campaign against Snowden continues, and Russia offers asylum to Snowden. Surprise, not.

  28. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 12:03 | #28

    Come to think of it, the Weirdness of the logic for the defense of the surveillance, in the lack of “direct access”.

    Consider for a moment, let’s assume the US government’s logic was correct, that there was no “direct access”.

    OK, then by extension, when Snowden was working for the contractor, working for the NSA, he also had no “direct access” to any information, classified or otherwise.

    Then by further logical extension, Snowden could not have “leaked” any classified information, because he had no “direct access” to any secrets.

    I.e. he got what other people “copied” to him, as much as Google “copied” data and forwarded them to NSA.

  29. Charles Liu
    June 11th, 2013 at 12:39 | #29

    Back in 1999 during the Seattle WTO protest, the FBI had the Seattle Police send plain clothe into the crowds to tak head shots, copy license plate number, and diretive to target specific groups.

    I heard this from a co-worker back then, who was a volunteer deputy with the Seattle police at the time. He was sent to the WTO protest to target a group called BRADY, and the intel SeaPD collected were later turned over to the FBI:

    http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/you-know-a-may-day-protest-was-successful-when/Content?oid=16636009

    Well guess, “having tea” is “routine activity” in America too.

  30. pug_ster
    June 11th, 2013 at 17:46 | #30

    If I were Snowden, I would probably find a contact in the Russian Embassy in Hong Kong and would want to seek Asylum there. The Hong Kong police probably doesn’t want to do anything with this guy and he will get a free pass to go to Russia.

  31. Black Pheonix
    June 11th, 2013 at 18:57 | #31

    I doubt he would be happy in Russia, and Russia is not serious.

    Snowden has probably already gone underground, and won’t be easy to track down.

    He might have already snuck across the border into China, and perhaps then smuggled himself to some place like Thailand, where it’s got enough internet, not too much law enforcement, and easy enough for him to hide.

    Now he just needs to change his appearance, and lay low for the rest of his life.

    (Unfortunately, sooner or later, the odds are, he will make a mistake, surface, and US will get him).

    Let’s not forget, he’s probably ruined quite a few careers in the US military industrial complex, and there are probably at least a dozen kill contracts out for him. Those folks will want him dead.

  32. pug_ster
    June 11th, 2013 at 21:16 | #32

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/peter-king-reporters-prosecuted_n_3424541.html

    Rep. Peter King thinks that reporters who publishes ‘classified’ information. The US is becoming more like the dictatorship.

  33. Black Pheonix
    June 12th, 2013 at 06:04 | #33

    @pug_ster

    Well, that’s also inevitable.

    US (majority of its people and politicians) believe that they OWN their media. Hence, they disparage foreign media with nationalistic zeal.

    So, how dare some US journalists betray them by publishing the “family dirt”?!

    If it was some foreign media, they would have already spied on them, and may even drone bombed them, just to make a point.

  34. Black Pheonix
    June 12th, 2013 at 06:14 | #34

    On a separate note, I personally think, by Chinese historical standards, that people like Snowden are violating a trust of loyalty.

    In Class Chinese tradition, the People owe loyalty to the Sovereign government. Public servants more so.

    If you fundamentally disagree with your sovereign’s policies, you can counsel the sovereign, petition for change, (or even resign), but you cannot break your loyalty by disclosing “secrets”.

    There is good rationale for “secrecy” in all governments, and Leaking of secrets destroys the ability of the government to trust its own employees. (This is why “treason” is so harshly dealt with through out history).

    Unfortunately, the Democratic Philosophy/propaganda is fundamentally opposite to the nature of Government secrecy, and thus, such conflicts will only become more in Western societies.

    Unlike the West, China needs to continue to recognize the need for “secrecy”, and its importance to maintaining good functional government.

  35. Black Pheonix
    June 12th, 2013 at 06:58 | #35

    Why Snowden went to Guardian. “Subservient American media”.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/12/opinion/kurtz-snowden-greenwald/index.html

  36. Black Pheonix
    June 12th, 2013 at 07:33 | #36

    Somewhat inevitable, Expat blogger PekingDuck defending PRISM as nothing new, and gets an ear full from other Expats.

    http://www.pekingduck.org/2013/06/snowden-the-nsa-heroism-and-china/

    I say, Richard “the Duck” is getting quite cynical in his expectation of the “freedom loving” Democracies.

    Interesting to see how well he has “sinicized” himself to adjust to the old reality of under Surveillance, with a twist of Nationalistic pride.

  37. Black Pheonix
    June 12th, 2013 at 07:42 | #37

    Western High TEch companies demand right to show documents to prove that indeed, “dog ate their data,” and it wasn’t their fault.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/12/microsoft-twitter-rivals-nsa-requests

  38. Black Pheonix
    June 12th, 2013 at 11:12 | #38

    NSA is looking for a few good patent attorneys:

    http://careers.aipla.org/jobseeker/job/13765362/Attorney/__company__/?vnet=0

    patenting for the PRISM surveillance system?

  39. aeiou
    June 12th, 2013 at 22:47 | #39
  40. June 12th, 2013 at 23:40 | #40

    @aeiou
    Haha, Norway will get her teeth knocked out. Plus, that committee are all bought already. Don’t forget they gave LXB the nobel.

  41. Zack
    June 13th, 2013 at 03:13 | #41

    @YinYang
    yet the norwegians were wise enough to allow China into the Arctic Council. At least some in Norway know which side their bread’s buttered.

  42. June 14th, 2013 at 05:44 | #42

    Following up on my previous comment on how “direct access” need not involve access to a server, only on a stream of communication over network, that appears to be the strategy the NSA has taken in general.

    “We hack network backbones – like huge internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,” Snowden described in a recent interview.

  43. Black Pheonix
    June 14th, 2013 at 06:11 | #43

    @Allen

    The NSA powerpoint presentation appears to indicate their “upstream” communication interception, (what Snowden perhaps was referring to), are pointed to locations on a world map where Under Ocean Fiber Optic cables are.

    Some have speculated that this was also part of the Echelon program, where the NSA has physically tapped into the “line” of the internet itself.

  44. Zack
    June 14th, 2013 at 06:38 | #44

    @Black Pheonix
    looking at the slides, isn’t it coincidental that a few months in 2009 after Google joined the PRISM program, it made its highly publicized ‘exit’ from China?

  45. Black Pheonix
    June 14th, 2013 at 06:44 | #45

    @Zack

    Yes, it is rather interesting.

    Perhaps some Chinese employees of Google found their “backdoor”, and decided to tell the Chinese government about it. The Chinese government, in its usual fashion, decided to use it instead of publicly expose it.

    After which, Google had no choice but to exit from China, while keeping their servers in HK (to spy on HK), which was just fine to China.

  46. Zack
    June 14th, 2013 at 06:52 | #46

    @Black Pheonix
    indeed, CNTV has a great piece pointing out this incriminating fact on google which at the moment has decided to take it upon itself as portraying itself as a victim of the government and trying to spearhead ‘intenet transparency’ against the government. i’ll say this much for Larry Page and Sergei Brin; those cunts sure have some nerve.
    http://english.cntv.cn/20130614/104878.shtml

  47. Black Pheonix
    June 14th, 2013 at 07:41 | #47

    @Zack

    It is also interesting that while Google (other high tech companies) have tried to explain their action as being forced upon them by US government, they don’t bother to explain their actions in helping to spy on “foreigners”.

    China is calling on US to explain its hacking activities. But China needs to demand the foreign companies to explain their activities in China.

    I say, none of them can be trusted until they explain their activities (which the NSA has stated that was providing “direct access” to the US government).

    The NSA document is an admission of guilt. All of the mentioned foreign companies listed in the PRISM program should be put on trial for aiding a foreign government in espionage. Their assets in China should be seized for forensic analysis (if they do not explain themselves clearly).

    Frankly, who cares what “excuses” they may have. If they were ordered by US court to spy for US in China, that’s still a crime in China.

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