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June 30, 2015
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The Last Days of Democracy

The Last Days of Democracy

By Elliot D. Cohen
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Tag: Edward Snowden


Chris Hedges Wins L.A. Press Club’s Top Award for Activism Journalism

The Truthdig columnist was honored Sunday night for his column “The Last Days of Tomas Young,” which “sharply skewers a VA system that failed to aid the very people it’s meant to serve.”

Posted on Jun 29, 2015 READ MORE



European Authorities Ask America to Let Edward Snowden Come Home to a Fair Trial

The Council of Europe declared its support of National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden on Tuesday and called on the European Union to offer whistleblowers asylum from “retaliation in their home countries.”

Posted on Jun 25, 2015 READ MORE



New Details About Drone Attacks Reported From Documents Leaked by Snowden

The New York Times on Wednesday reported details about American counterterrorism officials’ use of drone strikes in countries such as Yemen, as well as the working relationship between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.

Posted on Jun 24, 2015 READ MORE



Controversial British Intelligence Unit Engaged in Domestic Law Enforcement

Documents published by The Intercept on Monday reveal that a British spy unit purported by officials to be focused on foreign intelligence and counterterrorism—and notorious for using the “most controversial tactics of surveillance, online propaganda and deceit”—is heavily focused on political groups and other domestic matters.

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 READ MORE



My Weekend With Bernie: Three Issues Candidate Sanders Didn’t Address at His L.A. Fundraiser

The independent socialist said a lot of the right things, but he avoided the topics of foreign policy and Edward Snowden. Also, what’s his real motivation for running?

Posted on Jun 21, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Edward Snowden Teaches John Oliver How to Create Strong Passwords, Because His Are ‘a Joke’

Most of us have seen the memorable “Last Week Tonight” interview with Edward Snowden that aired in spring, but here’s a clip you may have missed about the importance of making better passwords than the “embarrassingly bad” ones most of us have.

Posted on Jun 17, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Former NSA Director Hayden Dismisses Snowden’s Impact

At The Wall Street Journal’s CFO conference, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden disparaged the idea that the leaking of documents by Edward Snowden was a two-year “nightmare” for the agency.

Posted on Jun 16, 2015 READ MORE



Dear Candidate Clinton: Pardon Edward Snowden

The Democratic front-runner needs the backing of the left to win the White House, but she must be made to pay a price for that support: reversal of her criticism of the whistleblower.

Posted on Jun 16, 2015 READ MORE



Has America Changed Since Edward Snowden’s Disclosures?

On the second anniversary of Snowden’s historic act of civil disobedience, it is worth reviewing what has changed—and what has not.

Posted on Jun 14, 2015 READ MORE



L.A. Times Editors Advocate Prosecution of Edward Snowden

A recent L.A. Times editorial called for the whistleblower’s prosecution. As Glenn Greenwald writes in denouncing the editorial, this is part of a wider journalistic war on transparency.

Posted on Jun 8, 2015 READ MORE



Truthdiggers of the Week: Edward Snowden and Rand Paul

These strange bedfellows, who share the view that unrestricted government spying is a violation of the Constitution, were the major forces in ending the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records and passing the USA Freedom Act.

Posted on Jun 5, 2015 READ MORE



Argentina’s President Was First Head of State to Meet With Edward Snowden

Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner met with the whistleblower in “secret talks” in 2013.

Posted on Jun 5, 2015 READ MORE



Edward Snowden on the Expiration of Surveillance Powers: ‘This Is the Power of an Informed Public’

The whistleblower who let Americans know their government had trained its surveillance powers on them as a matter of policy takes stock of the legislative and technological progress that has been made in the two years that have passed since his revelations.

Posted on Jun 5, 2015 READ MORE



Say It Plain: Stop Spying on Us

The recent debates over the USA Patriot and Freedom acts missed the point: Rather than discuss the details of how much to curb the government’s right to spy on us, Americans need to question the legitimacy of all government spying and push back as hard as possible against dubious claims to protect us.

Posted on Jun 4, 2015 READ MORE



Senate Passes USA Freedom Act, Restricting NSA Surveillance Powers

Passage of the act will end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

Posted on Jun 2, 2015 READ MORE



Thank You, Edward Snowden: An End to General Warrants as So-Called Patriot Act Expires

The U.S. government behemoth dedicated to spying on us all in contravention of the Constitution will likely be only slightly inconvenienced by the expiration of the misnamed “Patriot Act,” forced by Sen. Rand Paul late Sunday night. But at least a few baby steps back toward democracy will be taken as a result.

Posted on Jun 1, 2015 READ MORE



Truthdigger of the Week: Whistleblower John Kiriakou

The former CIA agent has seen his life ripped apart by the government because he revealed CIA torture. However, he continues to stand up for truth and humaneness and against a system that views all of us as undiscovered felons. 

Posted on May 30, 2015 READ MORE



The Pre-Charge Punishment of Julian Assange

When I went to London to interview him in the embassy this week, Assange asserted his belief that this pretrial phase is serving as both punishment and deterrent, and that Sweden is acting as a surrogate for the United States, which wants him jailed to stop the work of WikiLeaks.

Posted on May 28, 2015 READ MORE



Here’s How to Help Deep-Six Section 215 of the Patriot Act

It’s not just Republican Sen. Rand Paul who doesn’t want Congress to allow the Patriot Act’s Section 215—which has enabled the U.S. government to spy on residents on an unprecedented scale in recent years—to be renewed before its scheduled expiration on June 1.

Posted on May 27, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Scheer and Hedges: For the Corporatist State, Information Is Control (Part 4/7)

In this installment of their seven-part interview series posted on The Real News Network, Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer and columnist Chris Hedges drill into the motivations for the collusion between big tech companies and the U.S. government. The end result: Control of Americans’ data leads to control of citizens themselves.

Posted on May 26, 2015 READ MORE



Why We Need to Praise Whistleblower Jeremy Hammond, Too

Jeremy Hammond’s hacktivism is overlooked by the media, but his actions have some calling him “the original Snowden”; Canada is threatening to come down hard on activists calling for a boycott of Israeli products; and it seems bees are far more complex creatures than most of us may think. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on May 26, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: Edward Snowden: When You Monitor Everyone, You Understand Nothing—and That Has to Change

In an exclusive one-hour interview with The Guardian, the NSA whistleblower weighs in on the recent (somewhat incomplete) shift in Congress toward bulk data collection, warning, “This is only the bare beginning of reform.”

Posted on May 23, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO:  Robert Scheer and Chris Hedges on How the Private Sector Buys and Sells Your Privacy

As Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer points out to Chris Hedges in this interview for The Real News Network, the safeguards written into the U.S. Constitution to protect Americans against abuses of their civil liberties don’t exactly apply to violations by the private sector.

Posted on May 19, 2015 READ MORE



Edward Snowden: ‘If I Had Taken [the NSA] Documents to Congress, I Would’ve Gone to Jail’

Addressing an audience at Stanford University via video chat on Friday, Edward Snowden discussed the moral conundrums he faced as a whistleblower. He also made some recommendations on how authorities should address whistleblowers and surveillance.

Posted on May 19, 2015 READ MORE


NSA Whistleblower William Binney: Seeking Blackmail Power, U.S. Officials Enabled 9/11

The 31-year National Security Agency veteran blew the whistle when he realized technology that he had developed to protect Americans was being used to spy on them. In a wide-ranging, 45-minute discussion, he and Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer discuss who’s responsible for the surveillance program, how authorities’ desire for blackmail power through mass spying was a factor in their failure to stop the 9/11 attacks, and more.

Posted on May 15, 2015 READ MORE



House Votes to Change Patriot Act by Stopping Bulk Phone Data Collection

The House of Representatives on Wednesday gave Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a big reason to crank up his hustle if he wants to hang on to the part of the Patriot Act that allows for the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

Posted on May 13, 2015 READ MORE



Why the ACLU’s Big Victory Against NSA Surveillance Falls Short

A federal court ruling that the National Security Agency’s vast telephone metadata collection program is illegal is a clear advance for civil liberties, but it doesn’t go far enough.

Posted on May 12, 2015 READ MORE



Absurdity: Attorney Says Spy Chief Forgot About NSA Program When He Misled Congress (Video)

The top lawyer representing James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said Clapper had “forgotten” about the NSA’s massive spying program when he wrongly told Congress in 2013 that the government does not “wittingly” collect information about millions of Americans.

Posted on May 11, 2015 READ MORE



A Nation of Snitches

All totalitarian systems, including our own, rely on informants to keep the people afraid and under control. We will not be free of corporate tyranny until the network of snitches—in the government and on the streets—is banished.

Posted on May 10, 2015 READ MORE



Veteran D.C. Attorney: ‘Without Edward Snowden, Our System Could Have Failed’

The efforts to reform the way the U.S. government gathers intelligence indicate that the whistleblower’s disclosures “have had the impact that motivated him,” writes Ronald Goldfarb, who served in the Justice Department of the Kennedy administration, at Time magazine.

Posted on May 10, 2015 READ MORE



U.S. Government Designated Prominent Al-Jazeera Journalist a ‘Member of al-Qaida’

A top-secret document provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the U.S. government labeled a prominent journalist a member of al-Qaida and put him on a watch list of suspected terrorists.

Posted on May 8, 2015 READ MORE



Bulk NSA Phone Surveillance Exposed by Edward Snowden Ruled Illegal (Video)

The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the mass collection of telephone metadata unlawful in a landmark decision that provides a foothold for a full legal challenge to the National Security Agency.

Posted on May 7, 2015 READ MORE


VIDEO: The Edward Snowden Interview the U.S. Media Didn’t Want You to Watch

In light of the recent revelations gleaned from the Snowden documents, we dug up the video and transcript of Edward Snowden’s first interview with a media outlet, a clip from the German channel ARD, which wasn’t covered by U.S. media.

Posted on May 6, 2015 READ MORE



Techno-Art of the Moment, Featuring Laura Poitras, Ai Weiwei and the Mona Lisa

“Seven on Seven: Empathy and Disgust,” a New York event, couples artists with technologists or activists and gives them 24 hours to produce something. And those “somethings” turn out to be most interesting.

Posted on May 5, 2015 READ MORE



Don McCullough (CC BY-NC 2.0)

For 10 Years, NSA Software Has Made Phone Calls Searchable by Keyword

According to a report in The Intercept, the Snowden documents describe extensive use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and extract the content of voice conversations and to flag conversations of interest.

Posted on May 5, 2015 READ MORE



Congressional Republicans and Democrats Unite on Two Bills to Check Surveillance and Patriot Act

Twin bills that would revise the Patriot Act and curb the state surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden look certain to become law as bipartisan support mounts in both chambers of Congress.

Posted on May 1, 2015 READ MORE



Guerrilla Artists Install Bust of Edward Snowden in Brooklyn

An anonymous group worked in secret to place a 100-pound tribute to the whistleblower in Fort Greene Park.

Posted on Apr 6, 2015 READ MORE


John Oliver Flew to Russia to Interview Edward Snowden for One of the Best Clips You’ll See All Year

John Oliver recently discovered, much to his dismay, that many Americans still don’t know who Edward Snowden is or what he did. So the “Last Week Tonight” host did what any good political comedian would: He took a trip to Moscow to talk to the whistleblower.

Posted on Apr 6, 2015 READ MORE



Dead Spying Legislation Returns With Help From Big Business (Video)

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act failed after Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass government spying. But today it’s back, largely unchanged, and President Obama is expected to reverse his opposition to it.

Posted on Apr 2, 2015 READ MORE



Why Wikimedia Just Might Win Its Lawsuit Over NSA Surveillance

The nonprofit organization behind Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, claims that because of Edward Snowden’s revelations, the spy agency can no longer use the same old “state secrets” defense.

Posted on Mar 27, 2015 READ MORE



U.S. Threatened Germany Over Snowden, Vice Chancellor Says

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said the U.S. government threatened to stop sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin gave asylum to the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel there.

Posted on Mar 20, 2015 READ MORE



The Coming Death, and Afterlife, of the NSA Spying Law

The Patriot Act provision that authorized mass surveillance on Americans is set to expire, but don’t be fooled: The snooping is likely to continue. In an interview with Truthdig, Sen. Ron Wyden calls ending dragnet surveillance a “big priority.”

Posted on Mar 15, 2015 READ MORE



Tariq Ali: The Time Is Right for a Palace Revolution

One of our most trenchant critics of corporate capitalism deplores the rise of an “extreme center” that has seized control of the political process and wages endless war while doing the bidding of global corporations. Our only hope, he says, is revolt.

Posted on Mar 1, 2015 READ MORE



Robert Scheer: On Civil Liberties, Obama’s ‘Probably the Worst President We’ve Had’

Barack Obama “makes George W. Bush and Richard Nixon look good by comparison,” Truthdig’s editor-in-chief told Salon in an interview about his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy.”

Posted on Feb 28, 2015 READ MORE


Calls for Social Justice Abound at the Oscars

From “Citizenfour” director Laura Poitras’ acceptance speech for the Best Documentary Oscar to host Neil Patrick Harris’ quip that the Oscars are for Hollywood’s “best and whitest,” political commentary and calls for social justice rang through last night’s 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony.

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 READ MORE


How Google Met the CIA, Plus Other Scary Stories From ‘They Know Everything About You’

This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: Robert Scheer connects the dots on surveillance, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership could break the Internet, a Super Bowl commercial embarrasses minimum-wage workers and the Republican candidates for president embarrass themselves.

Posted on Feb 6, 2015 READ MORE


How Google Met the CIA, Plus Other Scary Stories From ‘They Know Everything About You’

This week on Truthdig Radio in association with KPFK: Robert Scheer connects the dots on surveillance, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership could break the Internet, a Super Bowl commercial embarrasses minimum-wage workers and the Republican candidates for president embarrass themselves.

Posted on Feb 6, 2015 READ MORE



Truthdig’s Books of the Year: Part Two

You’ve read part one—now find out which books made the cut in the last installment about our top 10 top reads of 2014.

Posted on Dec 29, 2014 READ MORE


Edward Snowden Comments on the CIA’s Secret Torture Report

“If we can run a rendition, a kidnapping, a detention program, a torture program, keep it secret for years, and then when it is revealed, hold no one to account, what does this mean for the future direction of our society?” the NSA whistle-blower said after the U.S. Senate’s release of the CIA torture report.

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 READ MORE


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