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Military Fails to Link Manning Leaks With Any Deaths (Sentencing Testimony from General)

Source: Courthouse News

@wikileaks: No deaths caused by release of Afghan War Logs, says general who headed leak investigation | Courthouse News https://t.co/5oYOsO69pF

Military Fails to Link Leaks With Any Deaths


FT. MEADE, Md. (CN) - The largest intelligence leak in U.S. history, disclosed by Pfc. Bradley Manning to WikiLeaks, did not lead to the deaths of any military sources, the government's first sentencing witness testified Wednesday.

- snip -

In 2011, then-Army Chief of Staff Mike Mullen had said that Manning and WikiLeaks "might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."

But Manning has insisted that he sent WikiLeaks only low-sensitivity categories of files that he believed would shed light on U.S. war fighting and statecraft. Three years of journalistic scrutiny into the effects of the leaks could not uncover a case of an intelligence source who was killed or injured because of the disclosures.

The military's position took another hit Wednesday, as the former brigadier general who headed the Information Review Task Force investigating the leaks said that he had never heard that a source named in the Afghan war logs was killed.

Though the Taliban had claimed that its review of the war logs led them to an Afghan whom the U.S. military named as a source, the supposed informant the Taliban claimed to have executed was not in fact named in the leaked materials.

Read more: https://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/31/59869.htm

New Snowden Leak Upstages U.S. Move to Declassify Documents

Source: Reuters

New Snowden leak upstages U.S. move to declassify documents

By Alina Selyukh and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON | Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:50pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New revelations from former security contractor Edward Snowden that U.S. intelligence agencies have access to a vast online tracking tool came to light on Wednesday as lawmakers put the secret surveillance programs under greater scrutiny.

The Guardian, citing documents from Snowden, published National Security Agency training materials for the XKeyscore program, which the newspaper described as the NSA's widest-reaching system that covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet."

Intelligence analysts can conduct surveillance through XKeyscore by filling in an on-screen form giving only a "broad justification" for the search and no review by a court or NSA staff, the Guardian said.

Snowden's revelations to media that U.S. intelligence agencies collected data on phone calls and other communications of Americans and foreign citizens as a tool to fight terrorism have sparked uproar in the United States and abroad.

Intelligence officials say the programs helped thwart terrorist attacks.

"The implication that NSA's collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false," the agency said in a statement in response to the Guardian's new report, calling XKeyscore part of "NSA's lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system."

Lawmakers have called for greater oversight of the vast surveillance system, which expanded rapidly after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE96U03320130731

Juan Cole: "Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World"


Top Ten Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World

Posted on 07/31/2013 by Juan Cole

Bradley Manning will be sentenced today, having been found guilty of 20 counts on Tuesday, including espionage (despite the lack of evidence for intent to spy and the lack of evidence that his leaking ever did any real harm). Whatever one thinks of Manning’s actions, that we deserved to know some of what he revealed and that his revelations changed the world are undeniable.

1. Manning revealed the Collateral Murder video of a helicopter attack in Iraq on mostly unarmed non-combatants (though some of those struck may have been armed), including two Reuters journalists, whose cameras were taken for weapons, and children. The army maintains that the video does not show wrongdoing, but the killing of unarmed journalists is a war crime, and the callousness of video gives an idea of what was going on in Iraq during the years of the US occupation. When the Bush administration asked the Iraqi parliament for permission to keep a base in the country, the parliamentarians said, absolutely not. The US military was forced to withdraw from Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.

2. Manning revealed the full extent of the corruption of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, adding fuel to the youth protest movement of late 2010, which translated the relevant US cables into Arabic. Manning contributed to the outbreak of powerful youth movements demanding more democratic governance in the Arab world.

3. Manning revealed to the US and Yemeni publics the secret drone war that Washington was waging in that country. That the cables show then dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh acquiescing in the US strikes on his country probably played into the movement to remove him as president, which succeeded in early 2012.

- snip -

6. Revealed that Afghanistan government corruption is “overwhelming”. This degree of corruption, which has shaken the whole banking system and caused US funds to be massively misused, is still a factor in our decision of whether to stay in Afghanistan in some capacity after December 2014. The US public is in a better position to judge the issue with these documents available.

- snip -

10. Manning’s act of courage encouraged hackers to leak the emails of Bashar al-Assad and his wife, showing their jewelry buys in Europe and gilded style of life while al-Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs and other cities with no regard for the lives of noncombatants. In fact, Manning inspired numerous leakers, including some who blew the whistle on PLO corruption and willingness to give away most of Jerusalem to Israel, and, likely, Edward Snowden, who revealed to us that our government has us all under surveillance.


Manning’s Conviction Seen as Making Prosecution of WikiLeaks’ Assange Likely

Source: Washington Post

By Billy Kenber, Published: July 30 E-mail the writer
The conviction of Army private Bradley Manning on espionage charges Tuesday makes it increasingly likely that the United States will prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a co-conspirator, according to his attorney and civil liberties groups.

Judge Denise Lind, an Army colonel, found Manning guilty of several violations of the Espionage Act, and he could face life in prison. Press freedom advocates said the verdict adds to their alarm that the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of leakers will discourage whistleblowers from providing critical information on military and intelligence matters.

- snip -

Military prosecutors in the court-martial portrayed Assange as an “information anarchist” who encouraged Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents. And they insisted that the anti-secrecy group cannot be considered a media organization that published the leaked information in the public interest.

Defense attorneys denied “the claim that Bradley Manning was acting under the direction of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, but the government kept trying to bring that up, trying to essentially say that Julian was a co-conspirator,” said Michael Ratner, Assange’s American attorney and the president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York. “That’s a very bad sign about what the U.S. government wants to do to Julian Assange.”

A grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. But it is unclear whether any sealed indictments exist or whether Assange has been charged.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mannings-conviction-seen-as-making-prosecution-of-wikileaks-assange-likely/2013/07/30/79746700-f94f-11e2-afc1-c850c6ee5af8_story.html

Film Academy Elects First African American President

Source: Los Angeles Times

Film academy elects first African American president: Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Los Angeles Times | July 30, 2013 | 6:58 PM

Veteran Hollywood marketer Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been elected the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that hands out the Oscars each year.

Isaacs, a longtime academy insider who most recently held the job of first vice president, will serve a one-year term with eligibility to stay in the role for three additional years.

She was elected Tuesday evening over governor Rob Friedman, Lionsgate motion picture group co-chair, by the academy's 48-member board of governors.

- snip -

The election of Isaacs comes at a time when the academy is interested in addressing the issue of diversity. A 2012 Los Angeles Times survey found that the academy was overwhelmingly white, male and older. Though outgoing president Hawk Koch and academy chief executive officer Dawn Hudson have made strides to increase the diversity within the organization — eliminating the quota system for electing members, bringing in additional women to the board — the group is still predominantly male and white.

The addition of Isaacs to the top post means the academy will now be run by two women, including Hudson.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/moviesnow/la-et-mn-film-academy-elects-first-african-american-president-20130730,0,2262593.story

Egypt Prosecutor Orders Detention of Ousted President Over Contact with Hamas

Source: Associated Press

@AP: BREAKING: Egypt prosecutor orders detention of ousted president over contact with Hamas, news agency reports

@AP: MORE: Morsi is being detained over alleged contacts with Hamas to help in his escape from prison in 2011: http://t.co/gsupqkYntz -JM


Jul. 26 4:18 AM EDT

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's official news agency reports that the state prosecutor has ordered the detention of the ousted president over alleged contacts with Hamas to help in his escape from prison in 2011.

The MENA news agency said Mohammed Morsi has been detained for 15 days for investigation into the charges.

Egypt's military has been holding Morsi in an undisclosed location since deposing him on July 3.

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ousted-egypt-president-detained-over-hamas-contact

Fugitive Snowden's Hopes of Leaving Moscow Airport Dashed

Source: Reuters/AFP/Associated Press

Fugitive Snowden's hopes of leaving Moscow airport dashed

By Lidia Kelly

Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:35pm EDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden's hopes of leaving Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in a month on Wednesday were dashed when he failed to secure permission from Russia to leave.

An airport source said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States on espionage charges for revealing details of government intelligence programs, was handed documents by his lawyer that were expected to include a pass to leave the transit area.

However, Snowden did not go through passport control and lawyer Anatoly Kucherena, who is helping him with his request for temporary asylum in Russia until he can reach a country that will shelter him, said the American did not have the pass he needed.

It was not clear whether there had been last-minute political intervention or a hitch, or whether the pass had never been in his possession.

@BreakingNews: Report: Russia gives Edward Snowden documents allowing him to leave Moscow airport, source tells RIA Novosti state news agency - @AFP

@AP: BREAKING: Russian state news agency says leaker Edward Snowden has documents to enter Russia. -MM

@Reuters: Snowden granted papers needed to leave Moscow airport: source http://t.co/CFQkHqoZt4

Snowden granted papers needed to leave Moscow airport: source

Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:59am EDT

Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden was on Wednesday granted documents that will allow him to leave a Moscow airport where he is holed up, an airport source said on Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of U.S. government intelligence programs, was expected to meet his lawyer at Sheremetyevo airport later on Wednesday after lodging a request for temporary asylum in Russia. The immigration authorities declined immediate comment.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE96N0KH20130724

Breaking: US Will Proceed with Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels After Congressional Concerns Eased

Source: Reuters

@BreakingNews: The US will proceed with plan to arm Syrian rebels after congressional concerns were eased, officials tell @Reuters http://t.co/KgWHCyrEcN

Exclusive: U.S. congressional hurdles lifted on arming Syrian rebels

By Tabassum Zakaria and Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON | Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:03pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will move forward with a plan for the United States to arm the struggling Syrian rebels after some congressional concerns were eased, officials said on Monday.

"We believe we are in a position that the administration can move forward," House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Reuters.

The White House announced in June that it would offer military aid to vetted groups of Syrian rebels after two years of balking at directly sending arms to the opposition.

"We have been working with Congress to overcome some of the concerns that they initially had, and we believe that those concerns have been addressed and that we will now be able to proceed," a source familiar with the administration's thinking told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE96L0W520130723

"The Drone That Killed My Grandson" - Nasser al-Awlaki Op/Ed in NYT


The Drone That Killed My Grandson
Published: July 17, 2013 2 Comments

SANA, Yemen — I LEARNED that my 16-year-old grandson, Abdulrahman — a United States citizen — had been killed by an American drone strike from news reports the morning after he died.

The missile killed him, his teenage cousin and at least five other civilians on Oct. 14, 2011, while the boys were eating dinner at an open-air restaurant in southern Yemen.

- snip -

Nearly two years later, I still have no answers. The United States government has refused to explain why Abdulrahman was killed. It was not until May of this year that the Obama administration, in a supposed effort to be more transparent, publicly acknowledged what the world already knew — that it was responsible for his death.

The attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., said only that Abdulrahman was not “specifically targeted,” raising more questions than he answered.

My grandson was killed by his own government. The Obama administration must answer for its actions and be held accountable. On Friday, I will petition a federal court in Washington to require the government to do just that.

- snip -

The government repeatedly made accusations of terrorism against Anwar — who was also an American citizen — but never charged him with a crime. No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court. He did not deserve to be deprived of his constitutional rights as an American citizen and killed.

Early one morning in September 2011, Abdulrahman set out from our home in Sana by himself. He went to look for his father, whom he hadn’t seen for years. He left a note for his mother explaining that he missed his father and wanted to find him, and asking her to forgive him for leaving without permission.

- snip -

That was the last time I heard his voice. He was killed just two weeks after his father.

A country that believes it does not even need to answer for killing its own is not the America I once knew. From 1966 to 1977, I fulfilled a childhood dream and studied in the United States as a Fulbright scholar, earning my doctorate and then working as a researcher and assistant professor at universities in New Mexico, Nebraska and Minnesota.


ACLU: Digital Dragnet Ensnares Millions of Innocent Drivers

Source: NBC News

ACLU: Digital dragnet ensnares millions of innocent drivers

Bob Sullivan, Columnist, NBC News
13 minutes ago

Drive down many highways, boulevards or small side streets in America, and your movements are being noted by electronic cameras. Eyes in the sky controlled by local police departments snap photos of every passing license plate and store the data, sometimes forever. Even the smallest of agencies now deploys these high-tech voyeuristic machines, creating massive databases where more than 99 percent of the entries represent innocent people.

All, warned the American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday, for a one-in-a-million chance that the cameras might aid in the apprehension of a serious criminal.

"Plate readers are the most pervasive system of location tracking that people haven't heard of," said Catherine Crump, a privacy lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union. She wrote the ACLU report released Wednesday questioning the way such cameras are being used. "Even though virtually all of us have had our cars logged into these databases, few know this technology exists."

Plate-reading cameras differ from speed cameras, red light cameras, or even parking enforcement cameras, which are designed to catch violators and criminals. Plate readers simply capture every car that goes by in a digital dragnet, then check the plate number against “hit lists” of cars associated with criminal activity.

The ACLU does not object to the use of so-called LPR (License Plate Reader) technologies, Crump said. Checking license plates can be an effective way to spot a stolen car or a fugitive. She objects to the long-term retention of that data, and what she argues is an out-of-whack balancing act between civil liberties and investigative tools.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/aclu-digital-dragnet-ensnares-millions-innocent-drivers-6C10654018
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