Posts Tagged ‘Snowden’

Edward Snowden Film Likely To Embarrass Obama Administration

October 11, 2014
 

Citizen Four is the shocking doc about Edward Snowden made by Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Just screened tonight was the two hour film will be released by the Weinstein Company this month. It doesn’t paint the Obama administration in a very good light as Snowden explains how the government has violated privacy rights on a massive scale.

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Also the filmmakers clearly inducate that all roads lead to POTUS, a fairly serious accusation. There may be serious repercussions.

Then there’s the Hollywoodization of Snowden. The detail of how and why Snowden went about this is pretty surprising considering how the 29 year old former NSA employee says he wants his own privacy and not to be a celebrity. It’s instructive to see his evolution from eyeglass wearing nerd to contact lenses and moussed up hair sporting hero of his own thriller. It’s all very Tom Cruise. Even the beautiful girlfriend sets up housekeeping with him in Moscow. Nevertheless as the details of the NSA’s programs are revealed Snowden says, “This isn’t science fiction. It’s really happening.”.

http://www.showbiz411.com/2014/10/10/edward-snowden-doc-premieres-shocking-inside-look-at-how-he-did-it

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At the end of the Laura Poitras doc, the famed informant registers shock over another who outranks him

By Seth Abramovitch, Chris O’Falt

The Hollywood Reporter

A second National Security Agency whistleblower exists within the ranks of government intelligence.

That bombshell comes toward the end of Citizenfour, a new documentary from filmmaker Laura Poitras about NSA informant Edward Snowden that had its world premiere on Friday at the New York Film Festival.

In the key scene, journalist Glenn Greenwald visits Snowden at a hotel room in Moscow. Fearing they are being taped, Greenwald communicates with Snowden via pen and paper.

While some of the exchanges are blurred for the camera, it becomes clear that Greenwald wants to convey that another government whistleblower — higher in rank than Snowden — has come forward.

The revelation clearly shocks Snowden, whose mouth drops open when he reads the details of the informant’s leak.

Also revealed by Greenwald is the fact that 1.2 million Americans are currently on a government watch-list. Among them is Poitras herself.

And the surprises don’t end there. Near the end of the film, which received a rousing standing ovation, it is revealed that Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s dancer girlfriend of 10 years, has been living with Snowden in Moscow.

When Poitras went to Moscow in July to show Snowden an early cut of the film, she shot footage of the two cooking dinner together, which appears in the final cut.

Snowden fled to Russia after the U.S. government revoked his passport and put pressure on other governments not to grant him asylum.

After spending 39 days in a Moscow airport, Snowden was granted a one-year asylum from President Vladimir Putin. He is now in the country on a three-year residency permit.

Poitras took the stage at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall following the screening, flanked by Greenwald, with whom she partnered on a pair of explosive stories in The Guardian and Washington Post about Snowden’s surveillance disclosures in June 2014.

Also joining them was Jeremy Scahill, their partner on the website The Intercept, and Snowden’s father and stepmother. Snowden’s father thanked Poitras for having made Citizenfour, which he deemed a “wonderful piece of work.”

Poitras kept her comments following the screening to a minimum, and thanked her crew and Snowden. Instead it was Greenwald and Scahill who did most of the talking, with Scahill at one point describing Poitras as “the most bad-ass director alive, period.”

Before the screening, Poitras told The Hollywood Reporter that she will never forget the moment when Snowden — who was so young Greenwald initially doubted his authenticity — said he was willing to go on the record with his allegations.

“One of the most intense moments was when Snowden told us his identity would not remain anonymous, and I knew that somebody was really, really putting their life on the line,” Poitras said.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nyff-edward-snowden-doc-citizenfour-740060

A demonstrator holds a photograph of Edward Snowden

A demonstrator holds a sign with a photograph of Edward Snowden during 4 July celebrations in 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph: Brian Snyder/REUTERS
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From The Guardian
Lindsay Mills, girlfriend of Edward SnowdenLindsay Mills, the girlfriend of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in Hawaii. Photograph: Splash/Luis Silos III

The mystery of the whereabouts of Edward Snowden’s long-time girlfriend is solved in a documentary that premiered in New York on Friday night: she has been living with the national security whistleblower in Russia since July.

The surprise revelation in the documentary, filmed by Laura Poitras, upends the widespread assumption that Snowden had deserted Lindsay Mills and that she, in a fit of pique, fled Hawaii where they had been living to stay with her parents in mainland US.

Since Snowden, a former NSA contractor, outed himself last year as being behind the biggest leak in US intelligence history, Mills has remained silent, giving no interviews or any hints of her feelings on the subject of her boyfriend or his actions.

The two-hour long documentary, Citizenfour, shows Mills living in Russia with Snowden.

When the Guardian met Snowden in Moscow in July, Snowden suggested the relationship was more complex than the view constantly recycled in the media of a woman abandoned and hinted that the two were not in fact estranged.

Citizenfour offers a fly-on-the wall account of Snowden. Poitras filmed him at the Mira hotel in Hong Kong last year during interviews with journalists that resulted in a series of stories in the Guardian about the extent of surveillance by the US and British intelligence agencies as well as the internet and telecom companies. The revelations started a worldwide debate about the balance between surveillance and privacy.

Poitras captures the tension in his room at the Mira – where then-Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald and I interviewed him – and in his final minutes at the hotel before he fled after being tipped off that hordes of media were about to arrive. She also filmed at the Guardian in London ahead of publication of one of the most explosive of the stories arising from Snowden’s revelations, and in Moscow, where Snowden is now in exile.

Snowden has been reluctant to talk about his personal life, preferring the media focus to be on wider debate about surveillance rather than him. But Poitras’s portrayal is both personal and sympathetic.

In his first comment about the documentary, which Poitras had shown to him in advance, Snowden told the Guardian: “I hope people won’t see this as a story about heroism. It’s actually a story about what ordinary people can do in extraordinary circumstances.”

Snowden was working as an NSA contractor in Hawaii where Mills joined him. A dancer, she posted many details and photographs about herself and him on the web.

She was still in Hawaii when news broke from Hong Kong that he was the whistleblower. Days earlier, authorities, suspicious about his prolonged absence from work, had visited their home.

On her blog, subtitled, ‘Adventures of a world-travelling, pole-dancing superhero,’ she wrote that she felt “sick, exhausted and carrying the weight of the world”. Shortly afterwards, she took the blog down.

The two appear to have been together since at least 2009, living part of the time near Baltimore before moving to Hawaii in 2012.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/11/edward-snowden-girlfriend-moscow-documentary-poitras

Seems Like Most People In Asia Worry About China’s Rise

July 15, 2014

By Banyan

FOR all the alarmist commentary in the international press—including The Economist—it still seems incredible that China’s tiffs with its neighbours about mainly tiny, uninhabited and barren rocks and islets in the South and East China seas might actually lead to conflict. But a survey published this week by the Pew Research Centre, an American polling organisation, suggests that many of the people most directly affected, ie those living in Asia, fear just that.

The global survey covered 44 countries, 11 of them in Asia. Not surprisingly, those countries with the most active territorial disputes with China were the most alarmed. In the Philippines, for example, which is engaged in a number of battles-of-will with China over encroachments on territory it claims in parts of the South China Sea, 93% of respondents were “concerned” about the possibility of conflict.

In Vietnam, in whose claimed territorial waters China started operating an oil-rig in May, it was 84%. And in Japan, which administers the Senkaku islands, claimed by China as the Daioyus, over which China announced an Air-Defence Identification Zone last November, 85% are worried. Even in South Korea and Malaysia, which are on very good terms with China, and whose own disputes with it are very low-key, the figures are 83% and 66% respectively. In China itself it is 62%.

Chinese leaders make much of how their country’s rise has been and will continue to be “peaceful”. Yet their recent behaviour suggests they may not be too bothered that many of their own citizens, as well as the people living in neighbouring countries, seem not to believe them.  They have done little to lessen concerns about China’s perceived willingness to use force to pursue its claims.

They may, however, feel a little queasy reading some of the other findings in the survey. Despite all the bad publicity America has received over its use of drone strikes and over the revelations by Edward Snowden, a former contractor of its security services, about the extent of American electronic surveillance of its own and others’ citizens, the United States remains a very popular country.

Of the 11 Asian countries surveyed, eight see America as their greatest ally. One, Indonesia, whose people are subtle in their logic, sees it as both best friend and biggest threat. The two, besides China, which do not see America as their greatest ally, are Malaysia and Pakistan, which are also the only ones not to have a majority holding a “favourable” view of America. Bangladesh is an exception, but Muslim-majority countries continue to have a dim view of America

The survey is not all bad news for China. Only those three most directly affected countries—Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam—see it as the biggest security threat to their country. And in a  number of Asian countries—Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand—views of China are as favourable as those of America.

What’s more, the perception that China is the coming superpower has taken root. In a survey in 2008, Pew found that a median of 41% of respondents believed China had already or would in the future supplant America as the world’s superpower. This year one half think China is already or will one day be the world’s leading power. Only a diehard 32% thinks China will never replace America in that role. That may be why the Asians are so fretful.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/07/asian-worries-about-china-s-rise

China-U.S. “Dialogue” Marred by “Lack of Trust”

July 13, 2014

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (3rd L) meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd L) and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew (1st L) in Beijing, capital of China, July 10, 2014. John Kerry and Jacob Lew came here to attend the Sixth Round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the Fifth Round of China-U.S. High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

BEIJING, July 12  — The sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), which was convened here Wednesday and Thursday, has been lauded by world media as conducive to boosting mutual understanding and building a new type of major-country relations.

Professors Chun Kalim from Hoseo University of South Korea said that China and the U.S. are two big powers in the world. It is reasonable and necessary to build a new era of relations between big powers in line with the current situation, which will also play a crucial role in maintaining world peace.

The China-U.S. dialogue process is a process of closer exchange and cooperation which will be helpful for the two sides to understand each other’s positions as well as to clear up contradictions and unpleasantness. It is worth mentioning that the China-U.S. cultural exchanges and dialogue are to be elevated to the same level as the strategic and economic position, which is a major breakthrough.

The Yonhap News agency reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony repeatedly mentioned the establishment of a new-type China-U.S. relations, and noted that China and the U.S. should respect each other’s choice of the development path. The two sides have reached agreement on cooperation in various fields, with plenty of achievements made.

Veteran Indian strategic analyst Ramesh Chopra said the dialogue is conducive to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

He said the United States and China can hold dialogue and coordination on various issues despite their differences.

Both China and the United States are economic giants and East, Southeast as well as South Asia can benefit immensely by interacting bilaterally as well as multi-laterally in the fields of economy and development to derive maximum advantage, Chopra said.

Russia’s Kommersant daily newspaper published on Thursday an article titled “American diplomacy turns to China,” in which it said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to China for the S&ED is seen as a step to build a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States, which was raised by the two countries’ leaders last year.

The S&ED proved that the United States saw the economic cooperation between China as a top priority.

Progress was registered in negotiations on the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which helps solve the problems of trade imbalance, the exchange rate of the Chinese yuan, investment restrictions and so on.

World News published in the Philippines reported that, through the joint efforts, the annual China-U.S. dialogue has scored more than 300 achievements of cooperation and achieved perfect success.

As the largest developed country and the largest developing country in the world, although the two countries face conflicts of interest, they have common interests in various fields including denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, the international fight against terrorism, the nuclear issue of Iran, the international financial crisis and climate changes, the newspaper said.

Strengthening communications and reducing frictions will benefit both countries, it said.

Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao newspaper said China and the United States had seen frequent frictions over the past year and the dialogue created an opportunity for the two sides to cushion the blow and “cool down” tensions.

The paper said the dialogue had already made breakthroughs on important issues such as currency reform and BIT.

In another article, the paper said the economic dialogue yielded over 90 items of agreement and the most remarkable progress is that both sides agreed to resolve core issues and major provisions of BIT.

Although the two failed to reach agreements over cyber security and maritime disputes, it showcased the complicated “cooperative and contradictory” relationship between the two giant economies.

Sin Chew Daily, a Malaysian Chinese-language newspaper, reported that China and the United States had reached an agreement that the two countries’ leaders would continue to maintain regular communication.

At the same time, it said that China and the United States had agreed to promote their cooperation in fields like anti-terrorism, law enforcement, anti-corruption, customs, fishery, maritime affairs, energy and climate changes, security, etc.

Thailand’s Sirinakorn Daily News quoted academics as saying that China and the U.S. should take good advantage of this dialogue to reshape bilateral relations and create a positive momentum for development.

An article posted on the website of MCOT, a Thai-language media group, said that the relations between China and the United States have much bearing on global peace and stability.

Both countries have expected to take this opportunity to improve their relations, further promote economic and security cooperation and prevent disagreements from exerting negative impact, it said.

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) speaks to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew next to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) during a meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

By David Gordon

Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew traveled to Beijing this week for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, at a time when U.S.-China tensions are running higher than at any point in the past decade. Though each country’s bureaucrats were able to put on a good face and paper over significant disagreements, they were unable to make progress on any major security or economic issue.

Unfortunately, the U.S. administration passed up a chance to advance and elevate the U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty, an agreement that sets the rules of the road for cross-border investment. Doing so could have yielded major economic benefits and had positive spillover effects on the strategic issues vexing both countries. But now, with little for the two sides to hang their hats on, the relationship is ripe for more tension.

A year ago, when President Barack Obama met with new Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Sunnylands Ranch in California, the two laid out an ambitious agenda, agreeing to discuss contentious cyber issues, the need to increase pressure on North Korea, and more broadly chart a positive course for the world’s most important bilateral relationship.

Since the earlier summit, however, a number of issues have set back relations. Increased Japan-China acrimony in the East China Sea, an aggressive Chinese move to set up oil rigs in disputed waters off Vietnam, and the Edward Snowden espionage revelations have set teeth on edge in Washington and Beijing.

On the economic side, U.S. indictments of Chinese military hackers, a series of ongoing trade disputes, the recent weakening of China’s currency and continued restrictions on foreign investors have each threatened to undermine the countries’ $500-billion-a-year commercial relationship. While the United States continues to describe relations with China as a delicate balance between cooperation and competition, China looks at the United States through a darker lens, convinced that America is determined to “contain” its rise.

At this year’s dialogue, the Obama administration passed up a big opportunity to make progress on the BIT. At the opening ceremony, Xi publicly expressed interest in “speeding up” talks on the treaty, but from the final communique it is clear that the U.S. side did not take up his offer.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hand with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi as they arrive for the China-U.S. Eco Partnerships signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool (CHINA – Tags: POLITICS) – RTR3XZLB CHINA

So, why is the treaty important? Each country would have to treat most foreign business ventures as if they came from home. China could no longer subject U.S. companies to technology-transfer mandates that force them to hand over trade secrets as a price of doing business in the country. Chinese state-owned enterprises would be restricted in their ability to use the government to boost their competitiveness. U.S. firms would be allowed to invest more in sectors like insurance, telecom and banking, which were previously highly restricted to foreigners. They could for the first time seek legal recourse through independent international arbitration. The Chinese economy would benefit from the BIT — both by making U.S. investors more confident in their Chinese exposure, and by allowing more Chinese investment in the United States.

Treaty talks remain in the early stages because the Obama administration, it appears, does not want to seem too eager to either engage China or reward the Chinese for bad behavior. But slow-rolling the BIT will reinforce the view of many in China that the only real U.S. economic priority in Asia is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal that China has not been asked to join and which it sees as part of a U.S. containment strategy.

At the S&ED, the administration should have pushed to conclude the BIT before President Obama leaves the White House. Such a commitment would have sent a strong signal that Obama remains serious about his statement at Sunnylands that — despite the tension surrounding regional maritime claims, currency manipulation and corporate espionage — the U.S. has a real stake in China’s success.

Progress on the BIT will not make regional tensions disappear. Security issues will remain strained as the United States continues to stand strong on maritime issues, a matter of critical importance to America’s treaty-bound allies Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia. By demonstrating resolve in the face of Chinese maritime aggression, U.S. security commitments decrease the odds of conflict. This stance, though, will inevitably strain U.S.-China relations.

Still, the BIT could take at least some of the bite out of a growing list of security challenges. It would be the first major agreement between the United States and China on any issue since the negotiations for China to gain World Trade Organization membership ended in 2001. During the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union came to major agreements on a variety of strategic and economic issues, providing an important safety valve for the relationship. Passage of the BIT would help our two nations create a habit of dealing with difficult issues in a workmanlike way. A major economic breakthrough is more likely to soften Beijing’s territorial assertiveness than holding back on an agreement that would benefit both countries.

The South China Morning Post is reporting on Sunday, July 13, 2014 that “Mistrust between China and US is getting worse”

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When U.S. Government Conducts “Targeted Surveillance,” It Also Grabs Phone, Internet Data, Personal Info on Nine Times The Number of “Innocent Bystanders”

July 6, 2014

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While collecting data on legally targeted foreigners, U.S. government vacuums up nine times as many conversations from “innocent citizens.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the National Security Agency intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.

Nearly half of those surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents, the Post reported in a story posted on its website Saturday night. While the federal agency tried to protect their privacy by masking more than 65,000 such references to individuals, the newspaper said it found nearly 900 additional email addresses that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or residents.

At the same time, the intercepted messages contained material of considerable intelligence value, the Post reported, such as information about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.

As an example, the newspaper said the files showed that months of tracking communications across dozens of alias accounts led directly to the capture in 2011 of a Pakistan-based bomb builder suspected in a 2002 terrorist bombing in Bali. The Post said it was withholding other examples, at the request of the CIA, that would compromise ongoing investigations.

The material reviewed by the Post included roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts. It spanned President Barack Obama’s first term, 2009 to 2012, and was provided to the Post by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted were catalogued and recorded, the Post reported. The newspaper described that material as telling “stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes.” The material collected included more than 5,000 private photos, the paper said.

The cache Snowden provided to the newspaper came from domestic NSA operations under the broad authority granted by Congress in 2008 with amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to the Post.

By law, the NSA may “target” only foreign nationals located overseas unless it obtains a warrant based on probable cause from a special surveillance court, the Post said. “Incidental collection” of third-party communications is inevitable in many forms of surveillance, according to the newspaper. In the case of the material Snowden provided, those in an online chat room visited by a target or merely reading the discussion were included in the data sweep, as were hundreds of people using a computer server whose Internet protocol was targeted.

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Online:

Washington Post: washingtonpost.com

Related Stories

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The Washington Post

Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. NSA analysts masked, or “minimized,” more than 65,000 such references to protect Americans’ privacy, but The Post found nearly 900 additional e-mail addresses, unmasked in the files, that could be strongly linked to U.S. citizens or U.S.residents.The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public. There are discoveries of considerable intelligence value in the intercepted messages — and collateral harm to privacy on a scale that the Obama administration has not been willing to address.

Among the most valuable contents — which The Post will not describe in detail, to avoid interfering with ongoing operations — are fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into U.S. computer networks.


A breakdown of the cache of NSA-intercepted communications provided to the Washington Post by Edward Snowden

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-nsa-intercepted-data-those-not-targeted-far-outnumber-the-foreigners-who-are/2014/07/05/8139adf8-045a-11e4-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html?hpid=z1

Months of tracking communications across more than 50 alias accounts, the files show, led directly to the 2011 capture in Abbottabad of Muhammad Tahir Shahzad, a Pakistan-based bomb builder, and Umar Patek, a suspect in a 2002 terrorist bombing on the Indonesian island of Bali. At the request of CIA officials, The Post is withholding other examples that officials said would compromise ongoing operations.

Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded nevertheless.

In order to allow time for analysis and outside reporting, neither Snowden nor The Post has disclosed until now that he obtained and shared the content of intercepted communications. The cache Snowden provided came from domestic NSA operations under the broad authority granted by Congress in 2008 with amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA content is generally stored in closely controlled data repositories, and for more than a year, senior government officials have depicted it as beyond Snowden’s reach.

The Post reviewed roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.

The material spans President Obama’s first term, from 2009 to 2012, a period of exponential growth for the NSA’s domestic collection.

Taken together, the files offer an unprecedented vantage point on the changes wrought by Section 702 of the FISA amendments, which enabled the NSA to make freer use of methods that for 30 years had required probable cause and a warrant from a judge. One program, code-named PRISM, extracts content stored in user accounts at Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, Google and five other leading Internet companies. Another, known inside the NSA as Upstream, intercepts data on the move as it crosses the U.S. junctions of global voice and data networks.

No government oversight body, including the Justice Department, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, intelligence committees in Congress or the president’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, has delved into a comparably large sample of what the NSA actually collects — not only from its targets but also from people who may cross a target’s path.


A composite image of two of the more than 5,000 private photos among data collected by the National Security Agency from online accounts and network links in the United States. The images were included in a large cache of NSA intercepts provided by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Images obtained by The Washington Post)

Among the latter are medical records sent from one family member to another, résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. In one photo, a young girl in religious dress beams at a camera outside a mosque.

Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam or striking risque poses in shorts and bikini tops.

“None of the hits that were received were relevant,” two Navy cryptologic technicians write in one of many summaries of nonproductive surveillance. “No additional information,” writes a civilian analyst. Another makes fun of a suspected kidnapper, newly arrived in Syria before the current civil war, who begs for employment as a janitor and makes wide-eyed observations about the state of undress displayed by women on local beaches.

By law, the NSA may “target” only foreign nationals located overseas unless it obtains a warrant based on probable cause from a special surveillance court. For collection under PRISM and Upstream rules, analysts must state a reasonable belief that the target has information of value about a foreign government, a terrorist organization or the spread of nonconventional weapons.

Most of the people caught up in those programs are not the targets and would not lawfully qualify as such. “Incidental collection” of third-party communications is inevitable in many forms of surveillance, but in other contexts the U.S. government works harder to limit and discard irrelevant data. In criminal wiretaps, for example, the FBI is supposed to stop listening to a call if a suspect’s wife or child is using the phone.

There are many ways to be swept up incidentally in surveillance aimed at a valid foreign target. Some of those in the Snowden archive were monitored because they interacted directly with a target, but others had more-tenuous links.

If a target entered an online chat room, the NSA collected the words and identities of every person who posted there, regardless of subject, as well as every person who simply “lurked,” reading passively what other people wrote.

“1 target, 38 others on there,” one analyst wrote. She collected data on them all.

In other cases, the NSA designated as its target the Internet protocol, or IP, address of a computer server used by hundreds of people.

The NSA treats all content intercepted incidentally from third parties as permissible to retain, store, search and distribute to its government customers. Raj De, the agency’s general counsel, has testified that the NSA does not generally attempt to remove irrelevant personal content, because it is difficult for one analyst to know what might become relevant to another.

The Obama administration declines to discuss the scale of incidental collection. The NSA, backed by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., has asserted that it is unable to make any estimate, even in classified form, of the number of Americans swept in. It is not obvious why the NSA could not offer at least a partial count, given that its analysts routinely pick out “U.S. persons” and mask their identities, in most cases, before distributing intelligence reports.

If Snowden’s sample is representative, the population under scrutiny in the PRISM and Upstream programs is far larger than the government has suggested. In a June 26 “transparency report,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that 89,138 people were targets of last year’s collection under FISA Section 702. At the 9-to-1 ratio of incidental collection in Snowden’s sample, the office’s figure would correspond to nearly 900,000 accounts, targeted or not, under surveillance.

‘He didn’t get this data’

U.S. intelligence officials declined to confirm or deny in general terms the authenticity of the intercepted content provided by Snowden, but they made off-the-record requests to withhold specific details that they said would alert the targets of ongoing surveillance. Some officials, who declined to be quoted by name, described Snowden’s handling of the sensitive files as reckless.

In an interview, Snowden said “primary documents” offered the only path to a concrete debate about the costs and benefits of Section 702 surveillance. He did not favor public release of the full archive, he said, but he did not think a reporter could understand the programs “without being able to review some of that surveillance, both the justified and unjustified.”

“While people may disagree about where to draw the line on publication, I know that you and The Post have enough sense of civic duty to consult with the government to ensure that the reporting on and handling of this material causes no harm,” he said.

In Snowden’s view, the PRISM and Upstream programs have “crossed the line of proportionality.”

“Even if one could conceivably justify the initial, inadvertent interception of baby pictures and love letters of innocent bystanders,” he added, “their continued storage in government databases is both troubling and dangerous. Who knows how that information will be used in the future?”

For close to a year, NSA and other government officials have appeared to deny, in congressional testimony and public statements, that Snowden had any access to the material.

As recently as May, shortly after he retired as NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander denied that Snowden could have passed FISA content to journalists.

“He didn’t get this data,” Alexander told a New Yorker reporter. “They didn’t touch —”

“The operational data?” the reporter asked.

“They didn’t touch the FISA data,” Alexander replied. He added, “That database, he didn’t have access to.”

Robert S. Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in a prepared statement that Alexander and other officials were speaking only about “raw” intelligence, the term for intercepted content that has not yet been evaluated, stamped with classification markings or minimized to mask U.S. identities.

“We have talked about the very strict controls on raw traffic, the training that people have to have, the technological lockdowns on access,” Litt said. “Nothing that you have given us indicates that Snowden was able to circumvent that in any way.”

In the interview, Snowden said he did not need to circumvent those controls, because his final position as a contractor for Booz Allen at the NSA’s Hawaii operations center gave him “unusually broad, unescorted access to raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] under a special ‘Dual Authorities’ role,” a reference to Section 702 for domestic collection and Executive Order 12333 for collection overseas. Those credentials, he said, allowed him to search stored content — and “task” new collection — without prior approval of his search terms.

“If I had wanted to pull a copy of a judge’s or a senator’s e-mail, all I had to do was enter that selector into XKEYSCORE,” one of the NSA’s main query systems, he said.

The NSA has released an e-mail exchange acknowledging that Snowden took the required training classes for access to those systems.

‘Minimized U.S. president’

At one level, the NSA shows scrupulous care in protecting the privacy of U.S. nationals and, by policy, those of its four closest intelligence allies — Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

More than 1,000 distinct “minimization” terms appear in the files, attempting to mask the identities of “possible,” “potential” and “probable” U.S. persons, along with the names of U.S. beverage companies, universities, fast-food chains and Web-mail hosts.

Some of them border on the absurd, using titles that could apply to only one man. A “minimized U.S. president-elect” begins to appear in the files in early 2009, and references to the current “minimized U.S. president” appear 1,227 times in the following four years.

Even so, unmasked identities remain in the NSA’s files, and the agency’s policy is to hold on to “incidentally” collected U.S. content, even if it does not appear to contain foreign intelligence.

In one exchange captured in the files, a young American asks a Pakistani friend in late 2009 what he thinks of the war in Afghanistan. The Pakistani replies that it is a religious struggle against 44 enemy states.

Startled, the American says “they, ah, they arent heavily participating . . . its like . . . in a football game, the other team is the enemy, not the other teams waterboy and cheerleaders.”

“No,” the Pakistani shoots back. “The team’s water boy is also an enemy. it is law of our religion.”

“Haha, sorry thats kind of funny,” the American replies.

When NSA and allied analysts really want to target an account, their concern for U.S. privacy diminishes. The rationales they use to judge foreignness sometimes stretch legal rules or well-known technical facts to the breaking point.

In their classified internal communications, colleagues and supervisors often remind the analysts that PRISM and Upstream collection have a “lower threshold for foreignness ‘standard of proof’ ” than a traditional surveillance warrant from a FISA judge, requiring only a “reasonable belief” and not probable cause.

One analyst rests her claim that a target is foreign on the fact that his e-mails are written in a foreign language, a quality shared by tens of millions of Americans. Others are allowed to presume that anyone on the chat “buddy list” of a known foreign national is also foreign.

In many other cases, analysts seek and obtain approval to treat an account as “foreign” if someone connects to it from a computer address that seems to be overseas. “The best foreignness explanations have the selector being accessed via a foreign IP address,” an NSA supervisor instructs an allied analyst in Australia.

Apart from the fact that tens of millions of Americans live and travel overseas, additional millions use simple tools called proxies to redirect their data traffic around the world, for business or pleasure. World Cup fans this month have been using a browser extension called Hola to watch live-streamed games that are unavailable from their own countries. The same trick is routinely used by Americans who want to watch BBC video. The NSA also relies routinely on locations embedded in Yahoo tracking cookies, which are widely regarded by online advertisers as unreliable.

In an ordinary FISA surveillance application, the judge grants a warrant and requires a fresh review of probable cause — and the content of collected surveillance — every 90 days. When renewal fails, NSA and allied analysts sometimes switch to the more lenient standards of PRISM and Upstream.

“These selectors were previously under FISA warrant but the warrants have expired,” one analyst writes, requesting that surveillance resume under the looser standards of Section 702. The request was granted.

‘I don’t like people knowing’

She was 29 and shattered by divorce, converting to Islam in search of comfort and love. He was three years younger, rugged and restless. His parents had fled Kabul and raised him in Australia, but he dreamed of returning to Afghanistan.

One day when she was sick in bed, he brought her tea. Their faith forbade what happened next, and later she recalled it with shame.

“what we did was evil and cursed and may allah swt MOST merciful forgive us for giving in to our nafs [desires]”

Still, a romance grew. They fought. They spoke of marriage. They fought again.

All of this was in the files because, around the same time, he went looking for the Taliban.

He found an e-mail address on its English-language Web site and wrote repeatedly, professing loyalty to the one true faith, offering to “come help my brothers” and join the fight against the unbelievers.

On May 30, 2012, without a word to her, he boarded a plane to begin a journey to Kandahar. He left word that he would not see her again.

If that had been the end of it, there would not be more than 800 pages of anguished correspondence between them in the archives of the NSA and its counterpart, the Australian Signals Directorate.

He had made himself a target. She was the collateral damage, placed under a microscope as she tried to adjust to the loss.

Three weeks after he landed in Kandahar, she found him on Facebook.

“Im putting all my pride aside just to say that i will miss you dearly and your the only person that i really allowed myself to get close to after losing my ex husband, my dad and my brother.. Im glad it was so easy for you to move on and put what we had aside and for me well Im just soo happy i met you. You will always remain in my heart. I know you left for a purpose it hurts like hell sometimes not because Im needy but because i wish i could have been with you.”

His replies were cool, then insulting, and gradually became demanding. He would marry her but there were conditions. She must submit to his will, move in with his parents and wait for him in Australia. She must hand him control of her Facebook account — he did not approve of the photos posted there.

She refused. He insisted:

“look in islam husband doesnt touch girl financial earnigs unless she agrees but as far as privacy goes there is no room….i need to have all ur details everything u do its what im supposed to know that will guide u whether its right or wrong got it”

Later, she came to understand the irony of her reply:

“I don’t like people knowing my private life.”

Months of negotiations followed, with each of them declaring an end to the romance a dozen times or more. He claimed he had found someone else and planned to marry that day, then admitted it was a lie. She responded:

“No more games. You come home. You won’t last with an afghan girl.”

She begged him to give up his dangerous path. Finally, in September, she broke off contact for good, informing him that she was engaged to another man.

“When you come back they will send you to jail,” she warned.

They almost did.

In interviews with The Post, conducted by telephone and Facebook, she said he flew home to Australia last summer, after failing to find members of the Taliban who would take him seriously. Australian National Police met him at the airport and questioned him in custody. They questioned her, too, politely, in her home. They showed her transcripts of their failed romance. When a Post reporter called, she already knew what the two governments had collected about her.

Eventually, she said, Australian authorities decided not to charge her failed suitor with a crime. Police spokeswoman Emilie Lovatt declined to comment on the case.

Looking back, the young woman said she understands why her intimate correspondence was recorded and parsed by men and women she did not know.

“Do I feel violated?” she asked. “Yes. I’m not against the fact that my privacy was violated in this instance, because he was stupid. He wasn’t thinking straight. I don’t agree with what he was doing.”

What she does not understand, she said, is why after all this time, with the case long closed and her own job with the Australian government secure, the NSA does not discard what it no longer needs.

Jennifer Jenkins and Carol D. Leonnig contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-nsa-intercepted-data-those-not-targeted-far-outnumber-the-foreigners-who-are/2014/07/05/8139adf8-045a-11e4-8572-4b1b969b6322_story.html?hpid=z1

Nearly half of NSA surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents

Nearly half of NSA surveillance files contained names, email addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2682085/New-report-says-NSA-monitors-innocent-users-online.html#ixzz36hJHuwN3
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We, the people are violent and filled with rage: A nation spinning apart on its Independence Day

July 5, 2014

School shootings, hatred, capitalism run amok: This 4th of July, we are in the midst of a tragic public derangement

Salon

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn,” 1837

For centuries most Americans have believed that “the shot heard ’round the world” in 1775 from Concord, Massachusetts, heralded the Enlightenment’s entry into history. Early observers of America such as G.W.F. Hegel, Edward Gibbon and Edmund Burke believed that, too. A new kind of republican citizen was rising, amid and against adherents of theocracy, divine-right monarchy, aristocracy and mercantilism. Republican citizens were quickening humanity’s stride toward horizons radiant with promises never before held and shared as widely as they were in America.

The creation of the United States really was a Novus ordo seclorum, a New Order of the Ages, a society’s first self-aware, if fumbling and compromised, effort to live by the liberal expectation that autonomous individuals could govern themselves together without having to impose religious doctrines or mystical narratives of tribal blood or soil. With barely a decorous nod to The Creator, the founders of the American republic conferred on one another the right to have rights, a distinguished group of them constituting the others as “We, the people.”

That revolutionary effort is not just in trouble now, or endangered, or under attack, or reinventing itself. It’s in prison, with no prospect of parole, and many Americans, including me, who wring our hands or wave our arms about this are actually among the jailers, or we’ve sleepwalked ourselves and others into the cage and have locked ourselves in. We haven’t yet understood the shots fired and heard ’round the world from 74 American schools, colleges and military bases since the Sandy Hook School massacre of December 2012.

These shots haven’t been fired by embattled farmers at invading armies. They haven’t been fired by terrorists who’ve penetrated our surveillance and security systems. With few exceptions, they haven’t been fired by aggrieved non-white Americans. They’ve been fired mostly by young, white American citizens at other white citizens, and by American soldiers at other American soldiers, inside the very institutions where republican virtues and beliefs are nurtured and defended.

They’ve been fired from within a body politic so drained of candor and trust that, beneath our continuing lip-service to republican premises and practices, we’ve let a court conflate the free speech of flesh-and-blood citizens with the disembodied wealth of anonymous shareholders. And we’ve let lawmakers, bought or intimidated by gun peddlers and zealots, render us helpless against torrents of marketed fear and vengeance that are dissolving a distinctively American democratic ethos the literary historian Daniel Aaron characterized as “ethical and pragmatic, disciplined and free.”

Many Americans are adapting to living with variants of force and fraud that erupt in road rage; lethal stampedes by shoppers on sale days; security precautions in their homes against the prospect of armed invasion; gladiatorialization and corruption in sports; nihilism in entertainment that fetishizes violence without context and sex without attachment ; the casino-like financing of utterly unproductive economic activities such as the entertainment I’ve just mentioned and the predatory lending that has tricked millions out of their homes; the commercial groping and goosing of private lives and public spaces, even in the marketing of ordinary consumer goods; and the huge, new prison industry that Americans have created to deter or punish broken, violent men, most of them non-white, only to find schools in even the whitest, “safest” neighborhoods imprisoned by fear of white gunmen who’ve often been students themselves.

Abroad, meanwhile, thousands more shots, fiendish and celebratory, are being fired into the corpses of American national-security and nation-building projects by terrorists and fanatics we were told had been decimated. These projects cost trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives, limbs, homes and hopes, including those of American soldiers, contractors and idealists. Their sacrifices can’t justify retroactively what shouldn’t have been undertaken in the first place.

Stressed by all this republican derangement, millions are spending billions on palliatives, medications, addictions and even surveillance designed to protect them from themselves. All those vials, syringes, security systems and shootings reflect the insinuation of what Gibbon called “a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire…” until Roman citizens “no longer possessed that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honour, the presence of danger, and the habit of command. They received laws and governors from the will of their sovereign, and trusted for their defence to a mercenary army.” Only a few late-Roman republicans, recalling their old freedoms, concluded, with Livy, that “We have become too ill to bear our sickness or their cures.”

What went wrong?

You might argue, and quite rightly, that “We, the people” have always subverted the truths we’d held to be self-evident, beginning with slavery and continuing with plutocracy. Yet somehow the republic kept experiencing what Lincoln called “a new birth of freedom,” thanks only partly to the fortuitous confluence of two oceans’ protection, a vast continent’s ever-alluring frontier and unending streams of aspiring immigrants:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates will stand
A mighty woman with a torch
Whose flame is the imprisoned lightning,
And her name: Mother of Exiles

True enough, the republic thus limned by Emma Lazarus in “The New Colossus,” her poem for the Statue of Liberty, needed those exiles for its labor market. And it still had a guiding aristocracy of sorts, but supposedly only “an aristocracy of talent and virtue,” as Jefferson put it, and not one of blood and ill-gotten wealth. True, too, certain lingering Puritan beliefs had nourished in the embattled farmers (and, even long before 1775, in some of the Puritans themselves) a conviction that resistance to tyranny is obedience to God. That injunction to defy worldly power sometimes in the name of a Higher Power legitimated individual conscience and autonomy right up through the nonviolent defiance of the best of the civil-rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s.

But the American emphasis on individual conscience and autonomy also gestated a liberal capitalist republic that has reduced individualism to market exchanges in ways that are now destroying both individuals and the society.

A liberal capitalist republic has to rely on its citizens to uphold voluntarily certain public virtues and beliefs that neither the liberal state nor markets can nourish or defend. The liberal state isn’t supposed to judge between one way of life and another, after all; and markets reward you as a self-interested consumer and investor, not as a citizen who might put such interests aside at times to advance a greater good that self-interest alone can’t achieve.

The moral silence and often bankruptcy of states and markets leaves citizen-leaders to be nourished and trained all the more intensively in institutions that stand somewhat apart from the state and markets. The Puritan founders of America’s oldest colleges understood this, but they expected that those colleges’ graduates would serve a theocratic state that would control markets and everything else. We’re right to dismiss the Puritans’ theocracy because it was repressive and hypocritical. But we’re wrong to have lost a side of its animating spirit that would have kept markets from controlling and devouring republican government and even our bodies and ourselves.

Symptoms and scapegoats hide the disease

Having miscarried republican self-discipline and conviction so badly, we find ourselves scrambling to monitor, measure and control the consequences, such as the proliferation of mental illness and the glorification and marketing of guns, as if these were causing our implosion.

They aren’t. They’re symptoms, not causes — reactions to widespread heartbreak at the breakdown of what Tocqueville called republican habits of the heart that we used to cultivate.

Equally symptomatic, not causal, are self-avowedly “deviant” and “transgressive” gyrations by people who imagine that the sunset of civic-republican order heralds a liberating, Dionysian dawn. Sloughing off our bad old repressions, we’ve been swept up by the swift market currents that turn countercultures into over-the-counter cultures and promote a free-for-all that’s a free-for-none as citizens become customers chasing “freedoms” for sale.

Even our war-makers’ and -mongers’ grand strategies and the growing militarization of our domestic police forces are more symptomatic than causal of the public derangement that’s rising all around us.

But turning the bearers of such frightening symptoms into our primary villains or scapegoats would only deepen our blindness to the disease, which is as old as the biblical worship of the Golden Calf and as new as Goldman Sachs. It runs deeper than anything that anyone but the Puritans and their Old Testament models tried to tackle.

I’m not suggesting we can or should return to Puritanism! Anyone expecting to recover that faith and way of life is stumbling up dry streambeds toward wellsprings that have themselves run dry. But we do need wellsprings that could fortify us to take risks even more daunting than those taken by the embattled farmers. We’d somehow have to reconfigure or abandon empty comforts, escapes and protections that both free-market conservatives and readers of Salon are accustomed to buying and selling, sometimes against our own best hopes and convictions.

Our cure would also require reweaving a fabric of public candor and comity strong enough to resist the rise of ressentiment, a public psychopathology, once associated with the rise of fascism, in which insecurities, envy and hatreds that many have been nursing in private converge in scary public eruptions that diminish their participants even in seeming to make them big. Ressentiment’s “little-big man” seeks easy targets for frustrations borne of exploitation by powers that he’s afraid to face and reckon with head-on. Blaming scapegoats warps his assessment of his hardships and options and drives him to wreak vengeance on them as soon as there are enough little-big men (and women, of course) to do so en masse under a Glenn Beck or a Sarah Palin.

Whether ressentiment erupts in racist violence, sectarian fanaticism, anti-Communist witch hunts, totalitarian show trials, politically correct cultural revolutions or sadistic escapism, its most telling symptoms are paranoia and routinized bursts of hysteria. Under the ministrations of gifted demagogues, its grievances and pain assume a fleeting brilliance that soon collapses, tragi-comically or catastrophically, on its own cowardice and lies.

Its targets often shift. The 9/11 attacks brought a reprieve of sorts to African-Americans, the republic’s most enduring scapegoats, when the burden of white censure pivoted toward Muslims. Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam lost credibility, but so did whites such as the neoconservative Daniel Pipes, who kept on insisting years after 9/11 that the first black president was a Muslim and a friend of terrorists.

The slipperiness of scapegoating became clear to me in 1993, as I wrote about a deranged black gunman, Colin Ferguson, who’d opened fire in a Long Island Rail Road car, killing six passengers. Even while holding him responsible, I saw him bearing symptoms far more widespread than his private demons. Noting Ferguson’s enthusiasm for a politics of rage, paranoia and death threats then prominent on a black radio station and in demagogic street politics, I warned that even deranged loners are sometimes better attuned to our subconscious hatreds and fears than we care to admit. That was true, too, of Jared Loughner, >the white paranoid-schizophrenic and anti-government fantasist who killed a U.S. District Court judge and six other people while trying to kill but severely wounding U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 13 others in 2011.

While apocalyptic religious and racist ranting can provoke emotionally disturbed people, so can journalism and entertainment that massage hatreds too diffuse to be called racist, religious or ideological. Some school shooters nursed the depictions of violence and lust that are pumped incessantly into young Americans’ horizons with the help of new technologies and investment strategies that ride reckless misreadings of the First Amendment. This hasn’t been done with malevolent intent as often as it’s been done in a kind of civic mindlessness by media corporations incentivized and indeed forced by market pressures to bypass our brains and hearts on the way to our lower viscera and wallets by exaggerating fears of armed home invasion, government takeover and vengeful victory by gunplay.

The invisible disease

Even though relatively few young Americans follow these siren songs into acts of destruction, the public fetishizing of sex and violence without context or caring dampens many others’ faith in society during their formative years. You don’t need to know a lot of developmental psychology or anthropology to know that children crave culturally coherent tests of prowess and loyalty in symbolic rites of passage that ratify their communal belonging. When such rites and symbols fail, some flail about, seeking order in private delusions, Dartmouth College fraternities and public orchestrations of ressentiment.

In 1775, most American communities still filtered such basic generational and human needs through traditions that encompassed kinship bonds and seasonal rhythms. In “Common Sense,” Thomas Paine could urge readers to take their recent experiences of monarchy “to the touchstones of nature” and decide whether they would abide the empire’s abuses. Today, those “touchstones of nature” — and with them, republican convictions about selfhood and society — have been torn up by runaway engines and developments in technology, communications and even intimate biology that would terrify Paine, Adam Smith and John Locke, not to mention those who fired the first shot at Concord. This time, we’re all in bed with the enemy. In “The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism” 40 years ago, Daniel Bell — no anti-capitalist, but prophetic enough about the worship of Golden Calves — argued that free markets no longer make free men because “economic liberalism has become… corporate oligopoly, and, in the pursuit of private wants, a hedonism that is destructive of social needs.”

He warned that consumer capitalism displaces the needs that the early republic filtered through nature’s rhythms and kinship traditions. It displaces those needs with ginned-up “wants” that “by their nature, are unlimited and insatiable…. [T]he rational calculation of efficiency and return” displace “the principle of the public household,” strip-mining and selling off fragments of cultural narratives.

Without civic wellsprings and narratives deep and compelling enough to strengthen a society’s adhesives and disciplines in the hearts of its young, neither free-market conservatives nor world-is-flat neoliberal cosmopolitans can reconcile their professed commitments to ordered, republican liberty with their knee-jerk obedience to riptides of destructive investment that are dissolving republican virtue and sovereignty before our eyes.

No wonder we’re losing our vision, in both senses of the word:

▪ Our foreign-policy savants across the ideological spectrum were too blind see that the Soviet Union was so much weaker than American Cold War propaganda and hysteria insisted that it imploded in 1989. The fabled “missile gap” that John F. Kennedy ran on in 1960 was as imaginary as Saddam Hussein’s WMD, but anyone who tried telling either of those truths was charged with a “failure of nerve” or worse by the blind war-mongers in our midst.

▪ Our business press was too blind to see that a tsunami of predatory lending would wreck the national economy and throw millions from their homes.

▪ Our market-addled Congressional committees and blue-ribbon commissions on national intelligence couldn’t discover, until Edward Snowden revealed it, that public surveillance had taken on an all-devouring life of its own.

▪ Neo-conservative and Vulcan conservative advocates of using American military force to spread democracy abroad couldn’t see that their strategy was doomed because democracy isn’t woven that way and because it was destroying democracy at home in ways that, if unchecked, will destroy the republic whose strengths they’ve so badly misconstrued and betrayed.

▪ Our consumer society, addicted to cheap comforts and quick fixes, can’t see its own Orwellian ensnarement by commercial censors, and it couldn’t take Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” about global warming seriously enough to offset the onrushing damage with the serious sacrifices we have yet to make.

▪ Our gilded political consultants, pollsters and campaign donors were too blind to see the boiling undercurrents that have swept away House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Nor can they see that Cantor’s political demise presages an inflammation of ressentiment so wild that the coming, specious, “Who Lost Iraq?” debate will be accompanied by the shot that some military veteran who feels betrayed will fire at a politician who’s been left holding the empty bag of our civic-republican hopes.

So we are flying almost totally blind, punched bloody by a Hand that we keep insisting is Invisible. We can see only the sickness of the gunmen and of the proliferation of their guns. Treatment of those symptoms is urgently needed, but it will be insufficient to curb the wrecking ball that global capitalism has become on our willfully blind watch, and triage won’t renew the civic fabric.

Exemplary defiance has its place

Whenever republican candor and courage have seemed about to succumb like this to tribal and theocratic delusions or to force and fraud in the past, some citizens have roused others to fend off threats to republican premises and practices:

▪ In 1776 a young schoolteacher named Nathan Hale was caught trying to track and expose the military and intelligence operations of the only established, legitimate government of his time. But just before his hanging he said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country” and became an incarnation of a nascent republic.

▪ Hale’s dignity in adversity, unfathomable to many of us these days, anticipated that of Martin Luther King, Jr., and black churchgoers who walked unarmed and trembling toward armed men and dogs with nothing but their faith and their long-shot strategy to delegitimate the seemingly impregnable segregationist establishment of their time by appealing to republican principles and an American civil religion whose theology was as vague as that of the founders.

▪ Hale’s dignity also anticipated that of three Yale seniors I came upon one wintry morning in 1968 as they gave university chaplain William Sloane Coffin, Jr., their military draft cards to announce their resistance to the U. S. Government on behalf of the American republic.

“The government says we’re criminals, but we say the government is criminal for waging this war,” said one of the seniors, struggling to find his voice. For all we knew, these guys were about to be arrested on the spot, and some of us felt arrested morally by their example because they were ready to pay the penalty of law in order to affirm their commitment to honest law itself.

Coffin, who held to a Calvinist theology that, like King’s, saw resistance to tyranny as obedience to God, was present to bless a courage that few national-security state conservatives understand, in the idiom of an American civil-religion few neoliberals and post-modern leftists understand. When he quoted Dylan Thomas’ “Do not go gentle into that good night; rage, rage, against the dying of the light,” that civil religion seemed to awaken briefly and to walk and talk again, re-moralizing the state and the law, and the silent, wild confusion I was feeling gave way to something like awe. (I described this experience in The Washington Monthly in 2000, during the protracted “election” of George W. Bush.)

▪ Hale’s courage also anticipated Edward Snowden’s. Both young men may have been impetuous and otherwise flawed in some respects, but they showed that resistance to corrupted power requires not only prowess, means, and will, but an elusive, republican sensibility that’s cultivated in civil society and confirmed in little daily interactions long before it emerges in demonstrations of civic courage that startle and move other citizens.

With a wonderment somewhat like Hegel’s, the German political philosopher Jurgen Habermas marveled at this “constitutional patriotism” in American citizens who possessed what Gibbon described as “that public courage which is nourished by the love of independence, the sense of national honor, the presence of danger, and the habit of command.”

When I tell young millennials these stories, though, many of them listen pretty much as they would to tales about knights in shining armor, long ago and far away. Much closer to them are the school shootings and Internet mayhem that make brave citizenship seem archaic, implausible, and irrelevant to self-discovery and social change.

Yet republican expectations do have ways of resurfacing whenever “We, the people” begin to imagine what our lives would be like, singly and together, if we had to live without them. Not everyone can be seduced or intimidated away from them.

Still, so many Americans are generations removed from any easily recoverable religious or ethno-racial identity or other adhesive that we have to ask: Where are the touchstones or narratives strong enough renew public virtues and beliefs that neither markets nor the liberal state do much to nourish or defend?

Nourishing a new liberal order

The question should prompt a quest for a political culture that isn’t too commercial and vapid and that isn’t held together only by demagoguery and delusion. No reconfiguration of today’s capitalism will be possible without something better than that. Yet no think tank, legislature or foundation can carry that quest or that reconfiguration to a just conclusion. Nor can an Occupy Wall Street that isn’t grounded in something deeper than its own noble effort to be the change it wants us all to make.

Nor can our “illness” be cured by champions of a new foreign-policy “realism” such as Robert Kagan, who urge us to face the inevitable challenges of a world where only willpower and force can sustain the liberal order that many Americans take for granted. That’s right as far as it goes, but it begs the question of where willpower comes from and what, within the liberal order itself, is sapping that willpower.

Quoting Michael Ignatieff, Kagan speculates candidly that liberal civilization itself “runs deeply against the human grain and is achieved and sustained only by the most unremitting struggle against human nature.” Perhaps, Kagan adds, “this fragile democratic garden requires the protection of a liberal world order, with constant feeding, watering, weeding, and the fencing off of an ever-encroaching jungle.” But he can’t seem to face the challenge posed by the new shots heard ’round the world from America: The jungle and its encroachments begin not only abroad but within our own garden.

What seems our greatest weakness could be one of our greatest strengths, although it, too, won’t be enough: Even 150 years after the founding, the philosopher George Santayana wrote that Americans still heralded the Enlightenment’s entry into history precisely because they’d “all been uprooted from their several soils and ancestries and plunged together into one vortex, whirling irresistible in a space otherwise quite empty. To be an American is of itself almost a moral condition, an education and a career….”

Although there’s plenty to regret and respect in the traditions we’ve lost, there’s no turning back from the “moral condition” and “career” we face as citizens. We have no choice but to keep faith with the republic and one another. If Americans have a manifest destiny now, it’s to lead in weaving a new republican fabric that markets can serve but not subvert.

In 2008, Barack Obama seemed to incarnate so brilliantly the promise of weaving our diversity into a new republican discipline — he even invoked Puritan and biblical wellsprings in some of his speeches — that many people ’round the world considered him a prophet who would satisfy their hunger for new narratives. Probably no national political leader ever can do that.

The narratives the world needs now will have to come from other prophets and leaders yet unsung. I do think that Americans will be strong among them, if only because we’ve had so much experience generating that hunger by generating the civic-republican-capitalist effort that has failed.

 

Putin On Obama, Sanctions, Ukraine, Crimea, Snowden, Internet — Ukraine in a “civil war” thanks to the West

May 24, 2014

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Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, pauses during a global business leaders summit at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, May 23, 2014.

Photo: Vladimir Putin by Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

MOSCOW – A defiant Vladimir Putin declared today that the U.S.-led world order “has failed.” Speaking to business leaders a at a forum in St Petersburg, the Russian president railed against U.S. sanctions and dismissed allegations that Russia is meddling in Ukraine, which he said was in the midst of “civil war” thanks to the West. He also rejected accusations by President Obama in unusually pointed terms.

The Russian president was addressing the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia’s answer to World Economic Forum in Davos. This year fewer Western executives were in attendance after the White House leaned on them not to attend as the Obama administration seeks to isolate Russia over its policy in Ukraine and Crimea.

He urged investors “not to give in to pressure and blackmail” as the West tries to isolate Russia.

ON PRESIDENT OBAMA:

When asked by a moderator about President Obama’s accusations that the Kremlin was lying when it claims it is not meddling in Ukraine, President Putin brushed aside the very notion with sarcasm.

“Who made him a judge?” he bristled, though he quickly added that he thinks Obama has a better opinion of him than was suggested.

ON EDWARD SNOWDEN:

Putin dismissed allegations that American intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who received asylum in Russia last year after being stranded in a Moscow airport for weeks, was a Russian spy.

“He’s not an agent of ours. He hasn’t given us any secrets. He hasn’t leaked anything,” Putin said.

ON US-RUSSIA RELATIONS:

Putin blamed the failure of the “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations on “unilateral moves” by the Obama administration.

“We didn’t damage these relations. Despite the harsh rhetoric and contradictory approaches, we continue cooperation,” he said.

“We are not going to engage in self-isolation,” Putin added. “But you cannot force someone to love you.”

ON UKRAINE:

Putin says that Ukraine is in the midst of a “civil war.” He said it was not a “revolution,” but rather a “coup” that deposed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in February.

He rejected Western claims that the unrest in Ukraine is due to Russian meddling, saying an American-backed “coup” resulted in “chaos and full-scale civil war.”

Asked if Russia will recognize the results of this Sunday’s presidential election in Ukraine, Putin said Russia “will respect the will of the people” and will work with whoever wins. His comments, however, afford him some wiggle room to declare that the election did not reflect the will of the people since separatist-held regions in southeastern Ukraine are rejecting the vote.

Putin also demanded that Ukraine pay the $3.5 billion Russia says Ukraine owes it for past gas deliveries.

He called Europe “snobs” for ignoring Russia’s concerns about the economic deal they offered Ukraine last year. President Yanukovich ultimately rejected the offer in favor of a Russian loan, leading to the street protests that led to his ouster.

ON CRIMEA:

Putin defended Russia’s intervention in Crimea, which the West and the leaders in Kiev have denounced as an illegal land grab.

“We just ensured the free will of the people,” Putin said of the hastily-arranged referendum that led to the region’s annexation by Russia.

“If we had not done that there would have been worse than in Odessa where people were burned alive,” Putin argued, referring to a fiery clash in the Ukrainian city last month that left dozens dead.

ON SANCTIONS:

Putin defended his friends who were sanctioned by the United States last month over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Crimea.

“Those people are my friends and I’m proud to call them my friends. They are patriots,” Putin said. “Their business have been directed towards cooperation with our country. Have their sanctions harmed their business? Definitely so. But they are experienced entrepreneurs. They took their money out and moved it to Russia so they haven’t sanctioned too much, but their businesses have been damaged by sanctions. This is unlawful and unfair.”

A visibly angry Putin noted that the United States is threatening more sanctions and asked what the justification will be.

“What have we done this time? There has recently been an earthquake in Thailand. Would you like to sanction Russia for that as well?” he asked sarcastically. “There is a civil war in Ukraine. What does Russia have to do with that?”

He suggested the United States only imposed the sanctions to gain a trade edge over European competitors who do more business with Russia.

Putin conceded that the sanctions have taken a toll on the Russian economy, which is hemorrhaging money and on the brink of recession. He argued, however, that it has not caused any lasting damage.

ON THE WORLD:

“The world is really changing rapidly. We see colossal geopolitical, technological and structural shifts. The unipolar model of the world order has failed,” Putin said. “Today this is obvious to everyone, even to those who are still trying to act in their habitual coordinate system.”

ON THE INTERNET:

Putin claimed that Russia had no plan to restrict the internet, despite widespread fears to the contrary.

“We have no restrictions over individual self-expression or the use of modern technologies for personal or business development,” Putin said.

He suggested any restrictions were similar to measures imposed in the West.

“Restrictions were introduced, so what do they consist of? Banning the propaganda of pedophilia, child pornography, methods of suicide. Excuse me, there are plenty of such restrictions in the legal systems of all other countries, including Europe and the United States,” Putin added.

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Published May 23, 2014

FoxNews.com

Violent clashes continued in Ukraine, as reports of at least 21 dead overshadowed Russian President Vladimir Pu

tin’s suggestion that Russia will recognize the outcome of Sunday’s presidential election in the embattled country.

See Video:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/05/23/putin-says-russia-will-respect-ukraine-vote/

Violent clashes continued in Ukraine, as reports of at least 21 dead overshadowed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that Russia will recognize the outcome of Sunday’s presidential election in the embattled country.

Fighting between pro-Russia separatists and government forces appeared to be escalating, leaving 20 more rebels and one soldier dead, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reported Friday.

As many as 500 insurgents attacked a convoy of government troops Thursday outside the eastern village of Rubizhne, causing 20 insurgent casualties, the ministry said. It also said one Ukrainian soldier was killed early Friday in a separate clash near the same area.

Speaking at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg Friday, Putin said Russia wants peace and order restored in Ukraine. “We will treat the choice of the Ukrainian people with respect,” Putin said, according to a Reuters report.

Putin added that the Kremlin will be ready to work with the new leadership. At the same time, he voiced hope that Ukraine’s new leader will end military actions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels seized several government buildings and have been fighting Ukrainian forces in deadly street battles for weeks.

Earlier, Putin had blamed the West for encouraging a “coup” in Ukraine when the nation’s pro-Russian president was chased from power and leading the country into what he called “chaos and a full-scale civil war.”

Describing himself as an optimist, Putin expressed hope for resolving the Ukraine crisis, and said a resolution would help improve dialog with the U.S.

”I am not losing faith that the situation in Ukraine will at some point become normal and we will find the inner strength to normalize relations (with the United States),” Putin said.

When commenting on the effect of sanctions on many Russian businesses, Putin said the U.S. could be pressing the restrictions to win a competitive edge over Europe, Reuters reported.

In earlier comments at the forum, Putin said Moscow’s largest concern over the crisis in Ukraine was that the former Soviet republic would join NATO. “Tomorrow Ukraine may join NATO, while the day after tomorrow parts of the U.S. anti-missile system could be deployed there,” Putin said.

Russia has long been wary of the expansion of the military bloc into eastern Europe, and specifically former Soviet republics. Putin said last month Russia’s move to annex Crimea from Ukraine was partly influenced by concerns over NATO enlargement.

Putin also said Russia wants to work with the U.S. on many projects. “We are not planning any self-isolation,” Putin said. “We hope that common sense … will prompt our European and U.S. partners to work with Russia,” Putin said.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s leader urged all voters to take part in the crucial ballot to “cement the foundation of our nation” but pro-Russia insurgents still battled government forces in eastern Ukraine.

In a live televised address from Kiev, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, who is not running, emphasized the importance of Sunday’s vote to choose a new leader.

“Today, we are building a new European country the foundation of which was laid by millions of Ukrainians who proved that they are capable of defending their own choice and their country,” Turchynov said. “We will never allow anyone to rob us of our freedom and independence, turn our Ukraine into a part of the post-Soviet empire.”

Authorities in Kiev had hoped that a new president would unify the divided nation, where the west looks toward Europe and the east has strong traditional ties to Russia. But they have now acknowledged it will be impossible to hold the vote in some areas in the east — especially in Donetsk and Luhansk, where insurgents have declared independence and pledged to derail the vote. Election workers and activists say gunmen there have threatened them and seized their voting materials.

The village of Semenovka on the outskirts of Slovyansk, a city that has been the epicenter of clashes for weeks, has seen continuous shelling by the Ukrainian government forces retaliating to rebel fire.

Early Friday, a house was destroyed by mortar fire that came from Ukrainian government side, but locals reported no casualties.

At a security conference in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged the West to reach a settlement based on mutual interests.

“If we sincerely want to help the Ukrainian people overcome this crisis, it’s necessary to abandon the notorious zero-sum games, stop encouraging xenophobic and neo-Nazi sentiments and get rid of dangerous megalomania,” Lavrov said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

China accuses US of hypocrisy, threatens retaliation on cyber disagreement (Snowden, NSA, WikiLeaks disqualify U.S. from lecturing China

May 21, 2014

China accuses US of hypocrisy and threatens retaliation over hacking charges against five People’s Liberation Army officers

Press materials are displayed on a table of the Justice Department before Attorney General Eric Holder was to speak at a news conference Photo: AP

China accused the United States of hypocrisy and threatened retaliation over hacking charges against five People’s Liberation Army officers.

On Tuesday Beijing summoned Max Baucus, the US ambassador, for talks and issued a flurry of angry and wounded denials that it had engaged in cyber-espionage.

“The claims of so-called commercial cyber-theft and so on have been spun out of thin air,” insisted the Defence ministry, adding that the US had “nefarious motives” and was trying to “bamboozle” the world.

A day earlier, the US Justice department took the dramatic step of issuing wanted posters for five PLA officers for what it called “21st-century burglary”.

The public naming and shaming of the men for having allegedly hacked into several US companies to steal data signalled the end of an era of quiet diplomacy over cyber-espionage and warfare and the US suggested more indictments would follow.

“This first indictment of Chinese cyber actors clears the way for additional charges to be made,” said Robert Anderson, executive assistant director of the FBI. “This is the new normal. This is what you’re going to see on a recurring basis.”

In response, China’s Foreign ministry accused the US of hypocrisy, demanded an end to the prosecution and threatened retaliation, without specifying what steps might be taken.

“The US confuses right and wrong and accuses us when it has it has been doing something wrong itself,” said Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign ministry.

“They are hypocritical on cyber security issues,” he added, warning that unless the charges were dropped, China would “take further action in accordance with the development of the situation”.

Mr Hong insisted that neither the Chinese government nor the Chinese military “had ever participated in any of the activities alleged by the US” and that China was itself a victim of cyber-hacking.

He side-stepped a question over whether PLA Unit 61398, the alleged source of the hacking, exists and what its main activities are. He also did not disclose what Mr Baucus and his Chinese counterparts had discussed in their meeting.

“The hypocrisy and double standards of the United States regarding Internet security issues have been abundantly obvious from WikiLeaks to the Snowden affair,” the Defence ministry said.

“The Chinese military is a serious victim of this kind of US conduct. Statistics show that the Internet user terminals of the Chinese military have come under many attacks from abroad in recent years, and IP addresses show that a considerable number of these originated in the United States.”

Latest data from the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center of China (NCNERTTCC) showed that from March 19 to May 18, a total of 2,077 Trojan horse networks or botnet servers in the US directly controlled 1.18 million host computers in China.

The NCNERTTCC found 135 host computers in the U.S. carrying 563 phishing pages targeting Chinese websites that led to 14,000 phishing operations.

In the same period, the centre found 2,016 IP addresses in the US had implanted backdoors in 1,754 Chinese websites, involving 57,000 backdoor attacks.

Related here on Peace and Freedom:

'UglyGorilla,' an alias of Chinese army official Wang Dong, allegedly controlled the computers of U.S. victims after a gang of cyber-hackers gained access by sending users fake 'spearphishing' emails that contained links to malware

‘UglyGorilla,’ an alias of Chinese army official Wang Dong, allegedly controlled the computers of U.S. victims after a gang of cyber-hackers gained access by sending users fake ‘spearphishing’ emails that contained links to malware

epa04214253 An undated handout photograph made available by the US Federal Bureau of Investiigation (FBI) shows Sun Kailiang. Reports state on 19 May 2014 that  Sun Kailiang along with four other Chinese Army Officers are being sought by the FBI after they have been charged with hacking into US companies in the first cyber-espionage case of its kind.  EPA/FBI / HANDOUT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
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'KandyGoo' (R) tested malicious email messages and managed domain accounts used by the Chinese

‘Jack Sun’ (Top), a Chinese Army captain, ‘was observed both sending malicious emails and controlling victim computers,’  while ‘KandyGoo’ (Bottom) tested malicious email messages and managed domain accounts used by the Chinese

epa04214251 An undated handout photograph made available by the US Federal Bureau of Investiigation (FBI) shows Wen Xinyu. Reports state on 19 May 2014 that  Wen Xinyu along with four other Chinese Army Officers are being sought by the FBI after they have been charged with hacking into US companies in the first cyber-espionage case of its kind.  EPA/FBI / HANDOUT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
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epa04214250 An undated handout photograph made available by the US Federal Bureau of Investiigation (FBI) shows Huang Zhenyu. Reports state on 19 May 2014 that Huang Zhenyu along with four other Chinese Army Officers are being sought by the FBI after they have been charged with hacking into US companies in the first cyber-espionage case of its kind.  EPA/FBI / HANDOUT BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

‘WinXYHappy’ may sound like an unoriginal Twitter handle, but it was the alias of an alleged Chinese army hacker (Top) who controlled Americans’ computer accounts while computer programmer ‘hzy_lhx’ (Bottom) and others managed online domains after the People’s Liberation Army got control of them

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2633886/China-escalates-tensions-summons-U-S-envoy-U-S-brings-criminal-charges-against-Chinese-Army-officials-hacking-American-companies.html#ixzz32GoSW4NW

While U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Is In Beijing, China and The U.S. Look Thousands of Miles Apart in Their Outlooks — Even Confrontational

April 8, 2014

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chinese Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan listen to the U.S. national anthem during a welcome ceremony at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters prior to their meeting in Beijing on Tuesday. Alex Wong/AP

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan offered a defiant defense of Beijing’s territorial claims …

By Ernesto  Londoño
The Washington Post

BEIJING – Near a banner offering him a “warm welcome,” Defense Secretary ChuckHagel urged officers at China’s premier military university to work toward a new era of cooperation between the world’s top military rivals.But during his first trip to China as Pentagon chief, icy body language and barbs telegraphed a relationship utterly devoid of warmth and very much saddled by suspicion.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan offered a defiant defense of Beijing’s territorial claims on two sets of islands contested by Japan and the Philippines, disputes that are particularly vexing for Washington because it has defense treaties with both nations.

“On this issue, we will make no compromise, no concession — not even a tiny violation is allowed,” the Chinese minister warned sternly. “We are prepared at any time to cope with any type of threats and challenges.”

Chinese officials have long viewed the Obama administration’s policy to expand military and diplomatic engagements as an effort to contain Beijing’s military rise and bolster its rivals in the region. American officials have made a concerted effort to dispel that narrative, saying they welcome a rising China, as long as it acts in a way they deem constructive. That effort has a long way to go.

After Hagel wrapped up his afternoon speech with tale of a friendly exchange over the radio between sailors aboard American and Chinese ships that crossed paths in the East China Sea, the tone once again turned confrontational.

A researcher at the school demanded to know if the United States was taking the side of Japan and the Philippines in the territorial disputes to create havoc for China and stymie its military rise.

“You are using the excuses of the islands to make trouble for China to hamper its [military] development,” said the officer. “That is what we worry about.”

While the bulk of Hagel’s remarks on Thursday were conciliatory and forward-looking, he wagged his finger at one point, protesting China’s surprise establishment last year of an air defense zone in an area that includes the islands that are the subject of Beijing’s dispute with Tokyo.

“Every nation has the right to establish air defense zones, but not a right to do it unilaterally, without consultation,” Hagel told reporters, speaking alongside his Chinese counterpart.

As China has invested mightily in defense in recent years, the United States has become keenly interested in and alarmed by its capabilities, particularly in cyberspace. U.S. officials have begun urging China to be more transparent about its expanding military complex.

During his speech, Hagel said that the Pentagon recently offered Chinese officials a briefing about Washington’s evolving cyber-warfare doctrine.

“We are urging China to do the same,” Hagel said, noting that Beijing has so far refrained from divulging much about a program widely regarded as among the most aggressive and advanced in the world.

The Chinese defense minister rejected the notion that China has an offensive Internet program, which was first reported by the New York Times.

“The U.S. wants transparency in things it wants to know,” said Chu Shulong, a professor at Tsinghua University who focuses on U.S.-Chinese relations. “However, when it comes to things that the U.S. doesn’t want to disclose, it dismisses transparency.”

Pentagon officials say that China has taken modest, albeit significant, steps in recent years to broaden lines of dialogue and offer U.S. officials some insight into its new platforms and technology.

As China’s military continues to grow, Hagel said in the speech, “American and Chinese forces will be drawn into closer proximity – which increases the risk of an incident, accident or miscalculation.”

Seeking to avoid that, the two countries have agreed to establish a mechanism to warn each other about major military operations. China has also hosted several senior U.S. military officials, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the heads of the Air Force, Army and Navy.

Upon Hagel’s arrival in China Monday night, he was given a tour of the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning – an overture Pentagon officials saw as a significant confidence-building step. Chinese officials balked at a request by U.S. officials to allow Hagel’s traveling press corps to see the ship as well. That meant journalists were instead were taken to tour a brewery.

 

Gu Jinglu in Beijing contributed to this report.

Related:

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Chuck Hagel and Chang Wanquan

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan participate in a joint news conference at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters in Beijing, China Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The defense chiefs of China and the U.S. faced off Tuesday over Beijing’s escalating territorial disputes in the region, as Hagel, wagging his finger, said China doesn’t have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands with no consultation. (AP Photo/Alex Wong, Pool)

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “Wagging His Finger” Gets A Chilly Response From His Host Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan

April 8, 2014

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Chuck Hagel and Chang Wanquan

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan participate in a joint news conference at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters in Beijing, China Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The defense chiefs of China and the U.S. faced off Tuesday over Beijing’s escalating territorial disputes in the region, as Hagel, wagging his finger, said China doesn’t have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands with no consultation. (AP Photo/Alex Wong, Pool)

U.S. and China Clash Over Contested Islands — While in Beijing Hagel Also Says U.S. Wants More Transparency from China on Cyber Issues

By Helene Cooper

The New York Times

BEIJING — The United States and China clashed over Japan on Tuesday, as the Chinese defense minister asserted that Beijing had “indisputable sovereignty” over a group of islands in the East China Sea and that his country’s military stood ready to protect its interests in territorial disputes.

The minister, Gen. Chang Wanquan, affirmed that China would not be first to launch an attack over the territorial dispute. But he accused Japan of “confusing the right with the wrong” in its assertion of control over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, which are known as the Senkaku in Japan and as the Diaoyu in China.

“China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands,” General Chang said. He added that on the issue of what he called “territorial sovereignty,” China would “make no compromise, no concession, no treaty.”

He continued, “The Chinese military can assemble as soon as summoned, fight any battle and win.”

General Chang made his comments at a news conference with the United States defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, after a morning of meetings at the Ministry of National Defense. It is Mr. Hagel’s first trip to China as defense secretary.

While both men sought to present their meetings as constructive, they espoused divergent views on a number of issues, particularly the territorial dispute in the East China Sea, and a similar dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.

At one point, Mr. Hagel appeared impatient, wagging his finger. “The Philippines and Japan are longtime allies of the United States,” he said. “We have mutual self-defense treaties with each of those countries” he continued, adding that the United States was “fully committed to those treaty obligations.”

Mr. Hagel accused China of adding to tensions in the region by unilaterally declaring an air defense zone in the East China Sea with “no collaboration, no consultation.” Such moves, he warned, could “eventually get to dangerous conflict.”

The exchange punctuated a visit that American defense officials had sought to present as a long-awaited deepening of military relations between the two countries. On Monday, Mr. Hagel became the first foreign military dignitary allowed on board a Chinese aircraft carrier, and on Tuesday the United States and China announced a series of modest steps toward improving communications.

But there appeared to be no closing of the gaps on more contentious issues.

Mr. Hagel, for instance, called on China to be more open about its cyberwarfare capabilities, which American officials have said Beijing uses for commercial espionage.

Mr. Hagel portrayed the United States as transparent about its own capabilities in telecommunications security, pointing to a recent briefing that the Defense Department gave to Chinese officials on the Pentagon’s doctrine for defending against cyberattacks.

“More transparency will strengthen China-U.S. relations,” Mr. Hagel said. “Greater openness about cyber reduces the risk that misunderstanding and misperception could lead to miscalculation.”

Beijing, American defense officials said, still has not responded to Mr. Hagel’s invitation to reciprocate with a briefing of its own.

General Chang stood impassively next to Mr. Hagel during his call Tuesday for more openness on cybersecurity. When it was his turn to talk, he said that “the defense activity of the People’s Liberation Army in cyberspace abides” by Chinese law. “It will not pose a threat to others,” he added.

The disagreement with China over digital security issues puts Mr. Hagel in the difficult position of splitting hairs with Beijing over what is acceptable to spy on and what is not. American officials have maintained that a barrage of attacks that originated in China aimed to steal technology and other intellectual property from Silicon Valley and from military contractors and energy firms in the United States. Many of those attacks have been linked to cyberwarfare units of the People’s Liberation Army, acting on behalf of state-owned, or state-affiliated, Chinese companies.

But the United States has not always been transparent about cyberespionage, either. Last month The New York Times and the German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the United States had infiltrated the networks of Huawei, China’s networking and telecommunications giant. Additional disclosures about American spying were revealed in National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former contractor at the agency.

After his meetings at the Defense Ministry, Mr. Hagel went to the National Defense University in Beijing to give a speech and hold a question-and-answer session with a group of about 120 Chinese military officers. Most of the questions from the audience centered on the Senkaku-Diaoyu dispute, as Chinese officers repeatedly complained that American policy in the region favored Japan.

Late last year, China set off a trans-Pacific uproar when it declared that an “air defense identification zone” gave it the right to identify and possibly take military action against aircraft near the islands. Japan refused to recognize China’s claim and the United States has since defied China by sending military planes into the zone, unannounced.

In February, Capt. James Fannell, the director of intelligence and information operations with the United States Pacific Fleet, said in San Diego that China was training its forces to be capable of carrying out a “short, sharp” war with Japan in the East China Sea.

“The United States takes no position on individual claims” in the island dispute, Mr. Hagel said. But he repeated that it had treaty obligations to defend Japan and the Philippines.

Read the rest:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/world/asia/united-states-and-china-clash-over-contested-islands.html?_r=0

Related:

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Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — The defense chiefs of China and the U.S. faced off Tuesday over Beijing’s escalating territorial disputes in the region, with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and telling his Chinese counterparts they do not have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands, with no consultation.

And he said America will protect Japan, the Philippines and other allies locked in disputes with China, as laid out in U.S. treaty obligations.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said his country will not take the initiative to stir up troubles with Japan, but warned that Beijing is ready to use its military if needed to safeguard its territory. And he said the U.S. must “stay vigilant” against Japan’s actions and “not be permissive and supportive” of Tokyo.

Washington has criticized Beijing’s recent declaration of an air defense zone over a large swath of the East China Sea, including disputed remote islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. Hagel was in Japan earlier this week, reassuring its leaders of ongoing U.S. support.

In their remarks Tuesday, Hagel and Chang largely aired their countries’ well-known positions about the territorial disputes, although doing it for the first time in China, shoulder to shoulder, after nearly two hours of meetings.

“Every nation has a right to establish an air defense zone, but not a right to do it unilaterally with no collaboration, no consultation. That adds to tensions, misunderstandings, and could eventually add to, and eventually get to, dangerous conflict,” said Hagel, pointing his finger toward television cameras and photographers at the back of the room, as shutters clicked.

For his part, Chang said China stands ready to resolve the disputes diplomatically. But he made it clear that China is always ready to respond militarily to threats.

Chang also complained that the Philippines illegally occupies part of China’s islands and reefs in the South China Sea..

He told Hagel, “We will make no compromise, no concession, no trading, not even a tiny … violation is allowed.”

On a broader scale, the meeting focused on how the U.S. and China can build stronger ties, in the wake of years of frosty relations over Beijing’s military buildup, persistent cyber-attacks against U.S. government agencies and private industry, and the aggressive Chinese territorial claims.

Washington says it takes no side on the sovereignty issue of the islands but will defend Japan and the Philippines. But it also has refused to recognize the air defense zone or follow China’s demands that its aircraft file flight plans with Beijing’s Defense Ministry and heed Chinese instructions.

The Pentagon chief also pressed China on North Korea, saying that Washington and Beijing have a shared interest “in achieving a verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

North Korea has been escalating its rhetoric lately, threatening additional missile and nuclear tests and conducting a series of ballistic missile launches.

Later Tuesday, at the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defense University, Hagel gave a speech to about 120 colonels and other staff officers, and was more direct, challenging China to play a more constructive role in North Korea.

Continuing to support the Pyongyang regime, he said, “will only hurt China’s international standing” and it’s position in the region.

In the defense university speech, Hagel also pointed to cybersecurity as an area where the U.S. wants the Chinese to be more transparent.

As proof that the U.S. has tried to be more open, he revealed publicly for the first time that the Pentagon gave Chinese government officials a briefing on the doctrine that governs the use of the military’s cyber capabilities. And he urged China to do the same.

It has not. And Chang, when asked about the issue, said the PLA abides by the law in its cyber operations and will not pose a threat to others. He added that China “stands ready to deepen the communication with the U.S.” on cyber.

While the disagreements between the U.S. and China were starkly evident during the day’s events, there also was an underlying current of slowly growing cooperation.

The two countries interests outweigh their differences, said Chang, adding that “The Pacific is huge enough to hold both China and the U.S.”

They also outlined several new agreements.

“Our vision is a future where our militaries can work closely together on a range of challenges, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. However, to reach this objective, we must be candid about issues where we disagree,” Hagel said.

He said the two countries have agreed to conduct a joint military medical exercise, although no date was set.

And Hagel said that Washington and Beijing will establish formal procedures that will allow their armies to better communicate and also set up an Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue between the assistant defense secretary for the Asia Pacific and China’s director of the Ministry of National Defense Foreign Affairs Office, so they also can more easily exchange views.

The United States’ campaign to encourage China to be more open about its military growth and intentions got a symbolic boost Monday as Hagel received a rare tour of the country’s first aircraft carrier. But efforts to get the Asian giant to be more transparent about cyber attacks and other defense operations have been less successful.

Related:

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan shake hands at the end of a joint news conference at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters in Beijing, China Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The defense chiefs of China and the U.S. faced off Tuesday over Beijing’s escalating territorial disputes in the region, as Hagel, wagging his finger, said China doesn’t have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands with no consultation. (AP Photo/Alex Wong, Pool)

Ex-CIA boss Hayden: Dangling convicted spy Pollard in peace talks looks desperate

April 7, 2014

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Former NSA and CIA director Michael V. Hayden

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden suggested Sunday the Obama administration’s apparent offer to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to salvage the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is a desperate effort that could open the door for criminal spies like Edward Snowden to walk away free.

Jonathan Pollard speaking during an interview in a conference room at the Federal Correction Institution in Butner, N.C., on May 15, 1998. Associated Press

“I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea to keep some people at the table,” Hayden, a Bush administration appointee and former NSA director, told “Fox News Sunday.”

 

“It’s almost a sign of desperation to throw this in the pot, offer a third view. If this were to take place … people in the intelligence community would not be hearing the name Pollard, they would be hearing Snowden.”

Last year, Snowden, then a National Security Agency contractor, gave news outlets classified documents that exposed the federal government’s massive, global surveillance efforts, which include data on the phone calls and Internet activities of Americans and foreign leaders worldwide.

Edward Snowden relaxing during an interview. Image by Barton Gellman, The Washington Post

Snowden is charged with espionage and is living under asylum in Russia in what is largely considered the biggest security leak in U.S. history.

“I believe this kind of behavior could be politically negotiated away,” Hayden also said.

U.S. officials have indicated that Secretary of State John Kerry offered the early release of Pollard during talks with both sides last week in Israel, in an effort to restart the U.S.-led two-party peace talks, which have stalled over the delayed release of Palestinian prisoners.

Secretary of State John Kerry

Pollard, an American Jew, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy when he gave thousands of classified documents to his Israeli handlers. The Israelis recruited him to pass along U.S. secrets including satellite photos and data on Soviet weaponry in the 1980s.

He was arrested by FBI agents in Washington in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. He pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents to Israel and received a life sentence. President Obama and his predecessors have refused to release Pollard despite pleas from Israeli leaders.

Apart from any negotiations in the meantime, Pollard could be released from prison on Nov. 21, 2015 — 30 years after his arrest. He has been serving his sentence at a federal facility in Butner, N.C.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday: “What I can affirm to you is that the issue of Jonathan Pollard and his disposition is something that has been frequently raised by Israeli officials. And all I can tell you is that the president has not made a decision to release Mr. Pollard and that he is continuing to serve his sentence, having been convicted of espionage.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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