(Sputnik) – Until the Snowden leaks, the United States had no idea how many people had access to its top secret files. Prior to the earthshaking revelations wrought by the disclosures of NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, the security apparatus of the United States was ignorant as to…
This year’s lowlights from world politics, the culture wars, and the military-industrial complex.
Each year Conn Hallinan gives awards to individuals, companies, and governments that make reading the news a daily adventure. Here are the awards for 2016.
The Golden Lemon Award had a number of strong contenders in 2016, including:
General Atomics for its MQ-9 Reaper armed drone, which has a faulty starter-generator that routinely shorts out the aircraft. So far, no one can figure out why. Some 20 were either destroyed or sustained major damage last year. The Reapers costs $64 million apiece.
Panavia Aircraft Company’s $25 billion Tornado fighter-bomber that can’t fly at night because the cockpit lights blind the pilot. A runner up here is the German arms company Heckler & Koch, whose G-36 assault rifle can’t shoot straight when the weather is hot.
The British company BAE’s $1.26 billion Type 45 destroyer that breaks down “whenever we try to do too much with them,” a Royal Navy officer told the Financial Times. Engaging in combat, he said, would be “catastrophic.”
Your privacy and way of life is in jeopardy. Snowden risked his life, freedom, and reputation to warn you. He deserves a pardon. He displayed himself a true patriot.
In 2002, I developed a multi-step cipher. Over the years, it has been used to transmit information in the United States and in foreign countries. It has securely transmitted information across international borders and out of prisons. Maybe half a dozen people know the steps necessary to render the message below in plain text. #PardonSnowden
It’s been more than three years since Snowden, then a 29-year-old former National Security Agency contractor announced that he was the source of astonishing revelations of mass surveillance by the US government and its allies. In that time, what was known only to intelligence insiders has shocked many legislators, the American public, and the world, and prompted the most thorough reconsideration of US intelligence law and policy in decades. The journalists he entrusted with the revelations won prestigious prizes; corporations, damaged by the revelations that they were involved – knowingly or unwittingly – in mass privacy abuses, rolled out more secure products and platforms; and the United Nations took on the protection of digital privacy. The debate over what role surveillance plays in a democratic society roils on, every day.
In an all-too familiar tactic shared by the US political right and left alike, the Democratic Party has blamed the WikiLeaks release of internal emails on Russia. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, however, isn’t convinced.
Over the weekend, WikiLeaks released a cache of some 20,000 emails from high-ranking members within the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The correspondence has embarrassed party elites, showing an obvious bias against Clinton’s primary opponent Bernie Sanders. The revelations have already forced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down.
Rather than discuss the content of the emails, the DNC has instead launched a smear campaign against WikiLeaks, and alleged that the organization received the information from hackers hired by the Russian government.
Whistleblower Edward Snowden raised concerns about mass surveillance to his superiors at the NSA before publicly releasing thousands of classified documents, Vice News revealed.
But he did not get a response.
After leaking the documents, the agency repeatedly tried to find evidence, or lack thereof, of Snowden’s claims. However, each time there were reasons to return a negative — and false — response to reporters from various outlets.
The methods the NSA used to cover up Snowden’s accusations varied, the story says. On one occasion, high-ranking NSA officials did not inform the Media Leaks Task Force (an internal NSA group tasked with Snowden’s case investigation) about interactions Snowden had with agency employees. The official later explicitly apologized for not providing actual information to the task force.