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TBR News November 30, 2013

Nov 30 2013

The Voice of the White House

                Washington, D.C. November 30, 2013: “One of the primary goals of the American right wing business community is to encircle Russia and ruin her economically and then step in and claim her natural resources.. The U.S. Army got itself into Georgia not too long ago, and filled it with American troops and tons of equipment. The Russian countered this by sending armored columns into the country, thus causing the CIA army to flee to the east and the airport at Tiblisi while the grunts fled to the west to the Black Sea where our Navy rescued them. This debacle chilled the feeble attempt to get the Baltic States, Poland and others to join NATO. And trust me, the CIA was behind the so-called “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine and believe me, the bribes were astronomical. Fortunately, it was all tax payer’s money but we mangled to get the big naval base at Sebastopol under our thumb and there was the prospect of getting our business interests into control of the Ukrainian natural resources. The plan to get that country into the EU fell apart when Putin disapproved and now we see squeals of rage from the slack-jawed ninnies at Langley, rage that is clearly echoed in the columns of the government-friendly New York Times. If the well-paid rebels in Kiev think that by screaming and waving their arms around in public they will change matters, they had best remember the notorious CIA-instigated in Hungary in 1956. The CIA started the rebellion but it collapsed when the government would step in and confront the Russians. They man who conceived this fiasco, Frank Wisner, had a nervous breakdown and blew his brains all over the ceiling in his garage.”

Ukraine in Turmoil After Leaders Reject Major E.U. Deal

 

November 26, 2013

by David M. Herszenhorn 

New York Times

 

KIEV, Ukraine — Yuri V. Lutsenko, a onetime field commander of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, looked out across the tens of thousands of people who gathered on Sunday to protest the government’s decision to back away from a far-reaching political and trade deal with the European Union. Standing onstage under an ash-streaked sky, Mr. Lutsenko felt a powerful sense of déjà vu — and a deep need to apologize.

 

“I am sure that every person who stood at the glorious Orange Square nine years ago has to do the same,” he told the crowd. “I would like you to accept my personal apologies for what was not finished.”

 

For the second time in a decade, Ukraine is in turmoil, with tens of thousands of protesters in recent days loudly demanding that the country shake off its post-Soviet identity and move once and for all into the orbit of a more prosperous Europe.

 

They exploded in anger last week when their leaders, buckling under pressure from Moscow, said they would walk away from a deal that many here, especially the young, see as a vital step in escaping the clutches of the Kremlin and joining fellow ex-satellite countries of Eastern Europe on a path to modernization and greater wealth.

 

At stake here is not just the fate of a free-trade pact but whether the hardball tactics of Russia, willing to use every bit of economic muscle — including trade threats and its stranglehold on energy supplies — to exert blunt force in negotiations, will prevail over the national aspirations of millions of people.

 

The effort to draw in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet republics is also crucial to Europe, which has invested heavily in it and can ill afford a humiliating defeat at a time when its stature is already being called into doubt by the continuing economic strains within the euro zone.

 

Calls for Europe to answer the Kremlin’s threats of retaliatory sanctions against Ukraine with sanctions against Russia are raising the prospect of a bitter trade war that could complicate numerous efforts by Western powers to cooperate with Russia on security matters.

 

“Russia really depends on the E.U. buying gas and all this other stuff, “ said Andreas Umland, who teaches political science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy here. “The E.U. has leverage.”

 

With street protests continuing in Kiev and cities across the country on Tuesday, there was a distinct sense that Ukraine has been here before. More than 20 years after declaring its freedom and hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country of 46 million remains caught between Russia and the West, its aspirations for independence upended by the rivalries of bigger powers, its domestic politics riven by corruption, violence, revenge and ethno-regional strife, its people impoverished and fearful about the future.

 

Many Ukrainians say they regard the country’s political leaders since the end of the Soviet era to be a collective failure. At the same time, they say they recognize the constraints of being almost entirely dependent on Russia for energy, especially natural gas for heat, as well as the historic burden of being home to vital Russian military assets, including major installations for its Black Sea fleet.

 

“The foundation has to be completely changed in our country, so that it would not remain a post-Soviet barrack temporarily repainted in yellow and blue,” Mr. Lutsenko told the crowd, referring to the colors of the country’s flag. “We have to understand that not only the president has to be changed but the entire system.”

 

Mr. Lutsenko knows the perils of the system well. From his role as field commander, he went on to serve as a leader in Parliament and as the interior minister, under President Viktor A. Yushchenko, who was poisoned by dioxin in an assassination attempt during the disputed 2004 election. After Viktor F. Yanukovich, the revolution’s antihero, won the presidency in 2010, Mr. Lutsenko was arrested and jailed on abuse of authority charges, only to be pardoned earlier this year as Mr. Yanukovich came under pressure from the West.

 

Supporters of European integration had been pinning their hopes on the political and trade agreements, which had been in the works for more than four years, and Mr. Yanukovich had long talked about signing them at a major conference that begins on Thursday in Vilnius, Lithuania.

 

In contrast with 2004, they say they are focused entirely on raising standards of living, and putting Ukraine on track to become a member of the European Union so they could obtain the benefits that they see are now enjoyed by neighboring Poland and by the fellow ex-Soviet republics in the Baltics.

 

“I want to live in a country where the law is not just a word in the dictionary,” said Kateryna Zhemchuzhnykova, 25, a journalist who has been leading protests in the city of Donetsk in the traditionally Russia-friendly eastern half of Ukraine. She said she wanted a country “where people are free to tell what they think; to do what they want; to go where they dream.

 

Ms. Zhemchuzhnykova said that while her demonstrations had been relatively small, numbering 150 to 200 people each evening, and that protesters had faced some heckling, there had been no rallies in Donetsk in opposition to the accords with the European Union.

 

Taras Berezovets, a political consultant whose clients include members of Parliament, said expectations were raised by the president, partly with an eye to the 2015 election.

 

“Yanukovich promised them something; he promised them Europe,” Mr. Berezovets said in an interview.

 

Ukraine’s domestic politics are deeply complicated by ethno-cultural, religious and linguistic divisions. The mostly Russian-speaking and Russian Orthodox eastern and southern sections of the country tend to favor close ties with Moscow. In the West, Ukrainian speakers predominate, the Ukrainian Catholic Church has many adherents and Russia is regarded with suspicion or even hostility.

 

In Kiev on Wednesday, there were scattered reports of protesters clashing with the riot police. Also, the jailed former prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, said she had begun a hunger strike in support of protesters.

 

Ukraine is also a country with a bloody and tragic history. Experts say about 7.5 million people died in Ukraine during World War II. Throughout its history, it has been dominated by larger powers, including Austria-Hungary and the Soviet Union. Ukraine has also been a major battleground, including a devastating 30-year stretch of war in the 1600s that involved Russians, Cossacks, Poles and Turks.

 

Russia’s desire to dominate is taken for granted in Ukraine. “This problem is going on for several hundred years; Ukraine lives in a polygon between Moscow, Istanbul and Warsaw,” Mr. Lutsenko said in an interview. “Figuratively speaking, the two heads of the Russian eagle from its coat of arms are looking in different directions, but every day they try to bite Ukraine.”

 

He said Russia used several levers of power, including its ability to egg on separatist movements in the Ukrainian south, the Russian Orthodox Church’s ability to stoke unrest, the possibility of levying trade sanctions and, of course, the ability to shut down natural gas pipelines.

 

Mr. Lutsenko said that in two and a half years in prison he had spent much of his time thinking about Ukraine’s problems and why the 2004 revolution failed, and that Ukraine needed to develop an entirely new approach. He has formed a new political party called the Third Ukrainian Republic and hopes to help the process along.

 

European officials have said that Russia had threatened to retaliate with severe trade sanctions that would be particularly devastating in eastern Ukraine, a main base of political support for Mr. Yanukovich. Ukraine is already facing a severe economic crisis and has been in talks for months about securing a loan package from the International Monetary Fund.

 

Many Ukrainians have tempered their criticism, hoping Mr. Yanukovich will somehow resurrect the agreements and sign them at the Vilnius conference, which he still plans to attend.

 

“He can either become a hero, or become the biggest loser in Ukrainian history,” Mr. Berezovets said. “Whatever happens, the only man that people hold responsible for failure is Yanukovich himself. He has personalized European integration to that extent.”

 

Comment: The United States, which engineered the Orange Revolution in the first place, lusts after Ukranian resources and desperately wants her to join the EU where she can get her hands on her, is badly frustrated. The New York Times, an organ of government wishes and opinions, always supported any official program slavishly. This is an excellent example of a response to His Master’s Voice Little surprise, then, to note that the Times has laid off two of its four city editors and 2,000 members of its staff as readership melts away.

 

The Taboo on Boycotting Israel has been Broken

 

November 26, 2013 

by David Lloyd

Electronic Intifada

 

Something extraordinary happened on Saturday evening at the American Studies Association’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.

 

At a packed open meeting called by the ASA’s National Executive Council to discuss a resolution to “endorse and honor” the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, speaker after speaker rose to express strong support for the resolution.

 

They urged the council to vote on it without further delay or deferral.

 

Israel and US complicity

 

Out of 44 speakers, whose names were submitted in writing and then drawn at random from a box, 37 spoke in favor of the boycott. They ranged from senior professors to graduate students and even undergraduate members of the association. All recalled the association’s fundamental commitment to the study and critique of racism and the US histories of imperialism and settler colonialism.

 

Many made the connection between Israel as a settler colony and US complicity in politically and materially supporting its colonial projects. In doing so, several remarked that they were members of the association because its commitment to anti-racist and anti-colonial scholarship made it especially hospitable to their work. For them, the connection was self-evident between anti-racist work within the United States and solidarity work with the victims of a settler colonial project that has the fullest support of the United States.

 

Over and over, speakers refuted the charge that endorsing the boycott is a contradiction that engages in limiting academic freedom in the name of academic freedom. They pointed out that this assertion is simply false, in the face of a campaign of misrepresentation evidenced in the room by a “Frequently Asked Questions” flyer opposing the resolution. That campaign implied that the boycott targets individuals on account of their national belonging or identity.

 

If anything, the resolution stands to further academic freedom — in particular that of Palestinians whose access to normal scholarly life is continually infringed by occupation, blockade, collective punishment in the form of school closures, and the denial of the fundamental right to travel. No Israeli scholar would be denied the right to express or publish an opinion, attend a conference, do research, or travel wherever they wished.

 

Speaking without fear

 

But the most significant thing about this event was that already it showed that engaging in the boycott, and even in discussion of the boycott, is an extension of academic freedom.

 

Despite years of lawfare in which pro-Israel lobbies and pressure groups have tried to shut down any criticism of Israel and refused to debate the facts, those who spoke at this meeting felt free to voice their opinions and their experiences without fear of harassment or recrimination.

 

It was deeply moving to hear younger scholars, graduates and undergraduates, one after the other, express feelings of liberation and legitimation. They were finally able to speak and to hear others speak publicly about an issue that has for so long been the third rail not only of US politics, but of academic discourse.

 

Palestinian academic freedom is our freedom

 

Opponents of the boycott tend to focus on its potential impact on the relatively privileged Israeli scholars, who will in fact only feel an impact in so far as they act as ambassadors for the Israeli state. For once, on Saturday, it was the actually restricted academic freedom of Palestinian scholars that was on the table. And it became clear that the extension of academic freedom to Palestinians is at the same time the extension of our own academic freedom here in the United States.

 

In a letter to the National Council, available at the meeting, opponents of the boycott claimed to have some fifty supporters. The petition in favor of the resolution had already amassed 850. What is missing even in that huge majority of supporters is the large number of scholars who would have wished to support the boycott, but dared not sign on for fear of intimidation or retaliation.

 

Ending the blockade on debate

 

The ASA’s open meeting was a clear indication that the time of fear and of the blockade on debate may be over — and that there is a new climate in which critical discussion of Israel’s policies towards Palestine will no longer be taboo.

 

But something yet more significant happened. The fifty or so opponents of the boycott claimed the support of “several former presidents, Council members, and ASA award winners.” The speakers in favor of the resolution did not appeal to such institutional or official authority, though many indeed could have.

 

What they appealed to was a sense of justice, of consistency with our values. They invoked the principle of solidarity with the oppressed, as the ASA encourages — and what everyone recognizes is the very condition of anti-racist work.

 

Time after time, speakers saw support for the resolution not as potentially divisive but as an enhancement of the meaning and significance of their association and of the relevance and value of scholarship itself. As one speaker put it, support for the boycott by the ASA would renew her belief in the meaning of scholarship itself — at a time when we are called to an increasingly professionalized separation of our intellectual work from our moral and political commitments.

 

Any association always runs the risk of becoming merely an institution, with its protocols and procedures and traditions. As an institution settles into its routines, it ossifies and forgets the values that brought people together to form it. What happened at the ASA on Saturday night reminded us that an association is not just a means to certain professional ends, but a voluntary gathering together of people with shared intellectual values and commitments.

 

To participate in that gathering was indeed a deeply re-energizing experience, renewing one’s faith both in the possibilities of that particular association and in the capacity for intellectual work to be at once scholarly and engaged with the world.

 

Attacks

 

At the time of writing, it remains unsure what the ASA’s National Council will decide regarding the resolution, though there is no doubt that the open meeting gave them a ringing endorsement should they decide to pass it.

 

But, already and predictably, attacks on the association have commenced. Based on past experience, few of the attacks will engage with the substance of the resolution — or with the facts of Israel’s ongoing denial of academic freedom to Palestinians and its relentless assault on the rights of a people to reproduce its cultural and intellectual life.

 

By and large, Zionists have refused to debate and have ceded that ground to their opponents. Instead, they rely increasingly on other means, predominantly legal and institutional harassment, to close down debate, force student senates to rescind democratically approved divestment resolutions, or punish students and academics for criticizing Israel.

 

There is no doubt that Zionist organizations have great power and the material resources to enable them to engage in a forceful assault on the American Studies Association.

 

But in the intellectual world, the resort to force is not a position of strength. Saturday evening at the ASA showed the power of reasoned, moral argument. And there is no going back from that. In the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people, a turning point has been achieved.

 

 

David Lloyd is Distinguished Professor of English at University of California, Riverside.

 

 

Is Shinzo Abe’s ‘new nationalism’ a throwback to Japanese imperialism?

 

The escalating standoff in the Pacific is seen by Beijing and Seoul as proof that Japan is reviving its military mindset

 

November 27, 2013

by Simon Tisdall in Yokosuka

theguardian.com,

 

 

The deepening confrontation between Japan and its giant neighbour, China, over a disputed island chain, which this week sucked in US military forces flying B-52 bombers, holds no terrors for Kenji Fujii, captain of the crack Japanese destroyer JS Murasame.

 

As a battleship-grey drizzle sweeps across Yokosuka harbour, home port to the Japan maritime self-defence force and the US Seventh Fleet, Fujii stands four-square on his helicopter deck, a totemic red Japanese sun-ray ensign flapping at the flagstaff behind him. His stance exudes quiet purposefulness.

 

The Murasame, armed with advanced missiles, torpedoes, a 76mm rapid-fire turret cannon and a vicious-looking Phalanx close-in-weapons-system (CIWS) Gatling gun, is on the frontline of Japan’s escalating standoff with China and its contentious bid to stand up for itself and become a power in the world once again. And Fujii clearly relishes his role in the drama.

 

Asked whether he will be taking his ship south, to the hotly disputed waters off the Senkaku islands in the East China sea (which China calls the Diaoyu and claims as its own), Fujii smiles and bows. His executive officer, acting as translator, explains that “for security and operational reasons” the captain cannot comment. The situation there is just too sensitive.

 

The name Murasame means “passing shower”. But Japan’s decision last year to in effect nationalise some of the privately owned Senkakus – officials prefer to call it a transfer of property rights – triggered a prolonged storm of protest from China, which has been sending ships to challenge the Japanese coastguard ever since.

 

So far, there have been no direct armed exchanges, but there have been several close shaves, including a Chinese navy radar lock-on and the firing of warning shots by a Japanese fighter plane.

 

China’s weekend declaration of an exclusive “air defence identification zone” covering the islands was denounced by Tokyo and Washington and sharply increased the chances of a military clash. US B-52 bombers and Japanese civilian airliners have subsequently entered the zone, ignoring China’s new “rules”.

 

On Tuesday, Beijing said it had monitored the flights; its next move is awaited with some trepidation.

 

For Shinzo Abe, Japan’s conservative prime minister who marks one year in office next month, the Senkaku dispute is only one facet of a deteriorating east Asian security environment that is officially termed “increasingly severe” and which looks increasingly explosive as China projects its expanding military, economic and political power beyond its historical borders.

 

One year on, Abe’s no-nonsense response is plain: Japan must loosen the pacifist constitutional bonds that have held it in check since 1945 and stand up forcefully for its interests, its friends and its values. The way Abe tells it, Japan is back – and the tiger he is riding is dubbed Abe’s “new nationalism”.

 

It is no coincidence that high-level contacts with China and South Korea have been in deep freeze ever since Abe took office, while the impasse over North Korea has only deepened. Unusually, a date for this year’s trilateral summit between Japan, China and South Korea has yet to be announced.

 

The Beijing and Seoul governments profess to view Abe’s efforts to give Japan a bigger role on the world stage, forge security and defence ties with south-east Asian neighbours, and strengthen the US alliance as intrinsically threatening – a throwback to the bad old days of Japanese imperialism.

 

Abe is also charged with arrogance, chauvinism and historical revisionism, by minimising or ignoring wartime legacies such as the controversy over Korean “comfort women” who were forced into prostitution by Japanese troops during the second world war.

 

Addressing the UN general assembly in September, Abe set an unapologetically expansive global agenda for a newly assertive Japan. Whether the issue was Syria, nuclear proliferation, UN peacekeeping, Somali piracy, development assistance or women’s rights, Tokyo would have its say. “I will make Japan a force for peace and stability,” Abe said. “Japan will newly bear the flag of ‘proactive contribution to peace’ [his policy slogan].”

 

Referring to the initial success of his “Abenomics” strategy to revive the country’s economic fortunes, he went on to promise Japan would “spare no pains to get actively involved in historic challenges facing today’s world with our regained strength and capacity … The growth of Japan will benefit the world. Japan’s decline would be a loss for people everywhere.”

 

Just in case Beijing missed his drift, Abe spelled it out: as a global trading nation, Japan’s reinvigorated “national interest” was existentially linked to freedom of navigation and open sea lanes around the Senkakus and elsewhere. “Changes to the maritime order through the use of force or coercion cannot be condoned under any circumstances.”

 

Akio Takahara, professor of international relations and law at Tokyo university, said such statements made clear the Senkaku standoff was potentially precedent-setting for all the countries of the region, including Vietnam and the Philippines, which have their own island disputes with Beijing.

 

“[Senkaku] must be viewed as an international issue, not just a bilateral issue … and it is very, very dangerous. They [China] must stop the provocations,” Takahara said. “If Japan did buckle, it would send a very bad message to China’s hardliners, they would be triumphant and the modernisers and reformers would be marginalised.”

 

A senior government official was more terse: “We don’t want to see China patrolling the East and South China seas as though they think they own them.”

 

Abe’s forcefulness has produced forceful reactions. In a recent editorial, South Korea’s Joongang Daily, lambasted him as “one of the most rightwing politicians in Japan in decades”. It continued: “Buoyed by the nationalist mood sweeping Japanese society since Abe took the helm of the once-pacifist nation, [rightwing politicians] are increasingly regressing to a militarist path … As a result, the political situation of north-east Asia is becoming shakier than ever.”

 

Pure hyperbole, say Abe’s defenders. Tensions were high primarily as a result of China’s aggressive bid for hegemonic regional leadership, a senior foreign ministry official insisted, while describing the antagonistic South Korean leadership’s anti-Japan behaviour as “strange” and “emotional”.

 

Abe’s premise, said government spokeswoman Kuni Sato, was that, after years of restraint, “Japan can now do what other countries do within international law”. What Abe was doing was “necessary and justified” in the face of China’s diplomatic hostility and rapid military buildup, said Yuji Miyamoto, a former ambassador to Beijing.

 

“Only three countries don’t understand this policy – China, South Korea and North Korea,” said Nobuo Kishi, the prime minister’s younger brother and senior vice-minister for foreign affairs. In contrast, the members of Asean (Association of South-East Asian Nations) were mostly on board.

 

Abe’s advancing security agenda suggests his second year in office will be even more rumbustious than the first. It includes creating a national security council modelled on the US and British versions (David Cameron and William Hague have offered their advice), a new national security strategy, revamped defence guidelines, and a harsh state secrets law.

 

Criticised by the UN and the main opposition parties, the proposed law threatens long jail sentences for whistleblowers and journalists who break its vague, catchall provisions. Abe has increased the defence budget for the first time in years, is overseeing an expansion of naval and coastguard capabilities (Japan’s maritime self-defence force, or navy, is already the second biggest in Asia by tonnage), and has gathered expert support for a reinterpretation of article 9 of Japan’s pacifist constitution to allow “collective self-defence” – meaning that if the US or another ally is attacked, Japanese armed forces will join the fight.

 

On the diplomatic front, Abe is busily wooing his Asian neighbours. Having visited all 10 members of Asean in his first year, he will host a gala Asean summit in Tokyo on 13 December that looks very much like an anti-China jamboree.

 

He comprehensively outflanked Beijing during this month’s typhoon emergency in the Philippines, sending troops, ships and generous amounts of aid, the biggest single overseas deployment of Japanese forces since 1945 – while China was widely criciticised for donating less financial aid that the Swedish furniture chain Ikea.

 

Abe is also providing 10 coastguard vessels to the Philippines to help ward off Chinese incursions. Improved security and military-to-military co-operation with Australia and India form part of his plans.

 

Officials insist, meanwhile, that the US relationship remains the bedrock of Japanese security. Taking full advantage of Barack Obama’s so-called “pivot to Asia”, Abe’s government agreed a revised pact in October with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, providing for a “more robust alliance and greater shared responsibilities”.

 

With a wary eye on China, the pact envisages enhanced co-operation in ballistic missile defence, arms development and sales, intelligence sharing, space and cyber warfare, joint military training and exercises, plus the introduction of advanced radar and drones. Japan is also expected to buy American advanced weapons systems such as the F35 fighter-bomber and two more Aegis-equipped missile defence destroyers.

 

Washington is positively purring with pleasure over Abe’s tougher stance. “The US welcomed Japan’s determination to contribute proactively to regional and global peace and security,” a joint statement said. The pact reflected “shared values of democracy, the rule of law, free and open markets and respect for human rights”. But Abe’s opponents fear the country is developing a new military mindset.

 

What the Japanese public makes of what seems to amount overall to a landmark post-war shift in the scope and ambition of Japan’s regional and global engagement is hard to gauge.

 

China’s disapproval ratings are a record high 94%, but a big majority (80%) of people polled also believe good bilateral relations are important. Many cling to the old pacifist verities but many others now understand the world around Japan is changing fast and unpredictably, said Kuni Miyake of Tokyo’s Canon Institute for Global Studies.

 

“Despite his conservative, hawkish image, Abe is in fact a very pragmatic, reasonable politician. But he is also proud of Japan and he is saying it’s OK to be proud,” Miyake said.

 

“A huge power shift is going on in east Asia. Before Abe and the new era, we were day-dreaming. We thought we could follow pacifism, not threaten anybody, have no army, and the world would leave us alone. We were in a bubble. And it worked because of the US alliance, not because of pacifism.

 

“The next generation doesn’t believe that … People are aware that prayers for peace are not enough. We have to deter many potential aggressors. If China insists on being a Pacific power and challenges the US-Japan hegemony at sea, a showdown is inevitable,” Miyake said.

 

For Takahara, the opposite holds true. There were limits to what Japan could do when faced by China’s rising power and Abe’s approach was fraught with peril. “There is really no choice but to use diplomacy and dialogue to mend ties with China,” Takahara said.

 

“Abe is very rightwing by traditional measures. He is a historical revisionist at heart. He would really like to visit the Yasukuni shrine where Japan’s war dead are remembered. He is a nationalist … But Abe won’t succeed with his ‘new nationalism’. We are a post-industrial society. There’s no way the youngsters will go along.”

 

China’s move to establish air defense zone appears to backfire

 

 

November 27, 2013

by Simon Denyer, 

Washington Post

 

BEIJING — It was designed as a forceful response to Japanese assertiveness. But Beijing’s creation of an air defense zone may have backfired, experts said, eliciting a strong joint response from the United States and Japan.

 

Instead of strengthening China’s position, the “air defense identification zone” has unsettled and united its neighbors. It provided Washington with a perfect opportunity to reassure its Asian allies that it remains committed to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

On Saturday, the Communist Party government said any non­commercial aircraft entering a broad zone over the East China Sea should first identify itself and warned that failure to do so could provoke “defensive emergency measures” by China’s armed forces. The statement heightened an already tense standoff with Japan over several disputed islets in the area.

 

But the United States called China’s bluff by sending two warplanes into the zone Tuesday, and Beijing’s response was muted. The Defense Ministry merely said it had identified and monitored the planes, while the Foreign Ministry stressed that the zone was purely defensive and offered to strengthen communications with other regional players to maintain peace and security.

 

“We hope relevant countries do not make too much of a fuss about it, panic and read too much into it,” spokesman Qin Gang said.

 

Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, said the mild reaction was surprising. “It is almost as though they hadn’t anticipated the U.S. response and didn’t know what to do,” he said.

 

In Chinese eyes, the standoff began in September 2012, when the Japanese government purchased three of the islands — known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China — from a private Japanese landowner. In response, Beijing stepped up its own claims to the rocky landmasses, increasing sea patrols and pressing Japan to accept that the territory is disputed.

 

Japan, like numerous other countries, has its own air defense identification zone. The country increasingly has cited the zone as a reason to warn or intercept Chinese planes in the area, according to military experts in Beijing. In September, Japan threatened to shoot down Chinese drones flying over the disputed islands; China warned that such a move would constitute an act of war.

 

The Chinese military had been considering establishing its own air defense zone for some time, and this increased tension may have tipped the balance, experts said.

 

“Japan has been acting more and more confrontational with regards to the Diaoyu islands, so China had to roll out its own measures to balance it out,” said Zhou Yongsheng of the Center for Japanese Studies at China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing. “Whenever Chinese aircraft entered Japan’s zone, they would dispatch fighter jets to intercept us, which put us in a very passive position.”

 

‘A hawkish voice’

 

Popular sentiment in Japan and China also has become increasingly hostile toward the other country. Rising nationalism in China is now coupled with genuine concern about the intentions of a more nationalist Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His government has raised military spending since coming to power in December.

 

Zhu Feng, a professor of international studies at Peking University, said China had established the air zone to “curb the arrogance of the Abe administration.” Zhao Chu, a military affairs columnist, said China was responding to Japan’s more aggressive enforcement of its own zone.

 

“But the primary cause is that China needs a stronger foreign policy at present because an appeal for that has been gathering momentum in Chinese society for over a decade,” Zhao said. “It’s a hawkish voice that now dominates Chinese society.”

 

Beijing’s actions appear to fit a recent pattern, experts said. Reluctant to be seen as the provocateur, China tends to respond forcefully to what it sees as provocations from others and then advance its own claims even more strongly.

 

But China may have overplayed its hand with Saturday’s Defense Ministry announcement, experts said.

 

Both Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel strongly criticized the move. Vice President Biden will convey the administration’s concerns when he meets separately with the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea on a week-long trip to Asia starting Sunday, officials said.

 

Under President Obama, the United States has announced a “strategic rebalancing” — or pivot — toward Asia, a move that many in China see as an attempt to contain its rise. But when Obama, consumed by the federal government shutdown, failed to attend two important summits in Asia last month, doubts surfaced about the depth of the U.S. commitment. Biden will try to reassure the leaders of Japan and South Korea during his trip, but this week’s events may already have done the job for him.

 

Hagel called his Japanese counterpart, Itsunori Onodera, on Wednesday, described China’s move as “a potentially destabilizing unilateral action” and commended the Japanese government “for exercising appropriate restraint,” spokesman Carl Woog said in a statement.

 

Acting on instructions from their government, Japan’s two biggest commercial airlines announced that they would not relay plans to China before flying through its newly declared zone. Onodera told reporters Wednesday that Self-Defense Forces jets would continue to operate in the East China Sea without reporting their flight plans to Beijing.

 

“This announcement and quick U.S. response have clarified the U.S.’s siding with Japan much more than the past,” said Mathieu Duchâtel, a representative of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Beijing. “So there is some degree of miscalculation” by China.

 

Echoing of concerns

 

Japan has voiced concern for years about what it sees as China’s increasing maritime aggression, but in recent days those concerns have been echoed by Taiwan and South Korea. The anger from South Korea is particularly notable, because Seoul, under President Park Geun-hye, has drawn closer with Beijing while sparring with Japan over historical issues.

 

On Wednesday, South Korea’s foreign minister, Yun Byung-se, said in a speech that China’s announcement had “made already tricky regional situations even more difficult to deal with.”

 

In the past few months, China had been working hard to reassure many of its Asian neighbors that its rise not only did not threaten them but also would be to their benefit. China’s leaders have made successful visits to Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam and offered billions of dollars in trade and investment.Now, those reassurances may look less convincing.

 

“This will inject a large dose of anxiety and uncertainty into countries in the region about China’s rise,” said Haenle of the Carnegie-Tsinghua institute.

 

The episode also appears to underline China’s sometimes confusing foreign and strategic policy stance, with the armed forces often adopting more hawkish positions than the Foreign Ministry. That, said Haenle, was precisely why President Xi Jinping announced this month that he would establish a high-level committee to better coordinate national security policy.

 

            David Nakamura in Washington, Chico Harlan in Seoul and Liu Liu, Li Qi and Guo Chen in Beijing contributed to this report.

 

Busting Eight Common Excuses for NSA Mass Surveillance

 

by Cindy Cohn and Trevor Timm

November 25, 2013 |

eff

 

We’ve heard from lots of folks who are passionately concerned about the NSA’s mass spying, but are struggling to get their friends and family to understand the problem and join the over a half-million people who have demanded change through stopwatching.us and elsewhere.

 

Of course, you can show them the Stop Watching Us video and this great segment from Stephen Colbert. And if you’d like a detailed refresher on all the ways NSA is conducing mass surveillance, ProPublica has a handy explainer here.

 

You can also check out this new video from filmmaker Brian Knappenberger (writer and director of We Are Legion: the Story of the Hacktivists):

 

But you also need to be prepared to respond to the common refrains of folks confused, nonplussed, or simply exhausted from the headlines. So here’s a cheat sheet to help you talk about the NSA spying when you’re with family and friends.

 

I have nothing to hide from the government, so why should I worry?

 

There are a few ways to respond to this, depending on what you think will work best for the person raising the question.

 

•Point out how mass surveillance leaves you at the mercy of not only the NSA, but also to the DEA, the FBI and even the IRS. We know that the government claims that any evidence of a “crime” can be sent to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.

 

•Tell them that, even if you don’t think you have something to hide, it’s possible the government thinks you do, or can create some concern about you (or your friends or loved ones). There are so many laws and regulations on the books, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said the Congressional Research Service did not have the resources to count them all.  One legal expert has argued that the average person likely commits three felonies a day without ever realizing. So, you may be technically breaking a law you have no idea about.

 

•We all benefit from a system that allows privacy. For example, when journalists can speak to sources without the specter of surveillance, helping fuel investigative journalism and the free flow of information. And this is not just a hypothetical—the Department of Justice subpoenaed the phone records of Associated Press journalists in an effort to track down government whistleblowers. And it’s not just journalists. Activists, political organizers, lawyers, individuals conducting sensitive research, businesses that want to keep their strategies confidential, and many others rely on secure, private, surveillance-free communication.

Isn’t the NSA using the mass spying to stop terrorists?

 

Even the NSA cannot point to a single terrorist attack they’ve stopped using the Patriot Act phone surveillance program that sweeps up virtually every phone record in the United States. They’ve thrown out many numbers claiming that the information was helpful in some capacity, including repeatedly claiming that it thwarted some 54 attacks, but those numbers have been thoroughly debunked.

 

The only remaining example the NSA points to is known as the “Zazi case.” However, in that case, the Associated Press reported that the government could have easily stopped the plot without the NSA program, under authorities that comply with the Constitution. Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall have been saying this for a long time.

 

That’s the point here: we can stop terrorists with law enforcement authorities that this country has been using for decades. We don’t need to upend the Constitution to keep the nation safe.

 

The government will not abuse its power.

 

Some people believe that the government will never abuse its power, especially when the party they support is in office.  You should remind these people that the government has a long history of overstretching its surveillance powers and using that information to try to blackmail people. Example of this include the NSA spying on Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, and even some sitting senators in the 1960s. Imagine how Sen. Joe McCarthy’s investigations might have gone if he had access to this kind of spying.

 

We already have evidence of abuse of power. We know that the NSA analysts were using their surveillance powers to track their ex-wives and husbands, and other love interests. They even had a name for it, LOVEINT.  The FISA court has also cited the NSA for violating or ignoring court orders for years at a time. And those are just self-reported abuses. An independent investigation might reveal even more.

 

Allowing mass spying is patriotic.

 

Stopping untargeted seizure of information is one of the key reasons we fought the War of Independence and drafted the Fourth Amendment.  During colonial times, the “crime” was tax evasion—remember the Boston Tea Party?  The British crown issued Writs of Assistance, which were general warrants that allowed the British authorities to search through anyone’s papers in order to find those who were skirting the taxes.  American patriot James Otis Jr. argued against the “hated writs” but lost his case in the British courts.  John Adams noted that from that case, “the child independence was born.” 

 

Since that time, warrants have had to specify the persons and places searched. Mass surveillance by the NSA does neither.  In short, one of our countries’ founding principles is the prohibition on mass searches and seizures.

 

Kids today (or my friends) post everything they do on Facebook or Twitter, why should we care if the government can see too?

 

            What people choose to put on Facebook or Twitter (or Instagram or Tumblr or some other service) is almost always curated.  People put the best or sometimes the worst things that happen to them online, but studies show they still keep things private, and restrict the audience for other information.  A new poll shows young people may even be more privacy conscious than older adults.

 

We all know someone whose Facebook feed continued to show happy pictures even as they went through a terrible breakup or divorce.  The point of privacy is control over the information that is available about you. Some people choose to share more, some choose to share less, but nearly everyone wants the power to pick and choose what information is available about them to their friends and to strangers, like future employers or NSA agents.

 

Google and Facebook have my information, so why shouldn’t the NSA?

 

There are many privacy problems with how the giant Internet companies gather and use so much of your personal data. However, Google and Facebook do not have the power to arrest you and, unlike government surveillance, there are other choices for communication tools. For example, you can use DuckDuckGo instead of Google search.

 

Remember: while we may not like how companies collect a lot of our information, they are not under the same requirement to follow the Fourth Amendment. We need to protect the private information held by companies too, but the Constitution provides a foundation that always protects our communications from the prying eyes of government.

 

It’s just metadata, so why should I care?

 

For the mass phone record collection program, the NSA has said it is not “listening in” to telephone calls.  Instead they are collecting a record of everyone you call, who calls you, when you’re on the phone, the length of your phone call, and at times, even your location.

 

This “metadata” can be as invasive as the content of your conversations. It can reveal your religious and political views, who you are dating (and when you break up), who your spouse and children are, your movements, and even information your closest friends and family don’t know, such as medical conditions.

 

Additionally, the government is getting more than just metadata. We also know the government has obtained online content, including email, under separate programs, and used the data based on a guess that you are 51 percent likely to be foreign, by scanning large a portion of the total number of emails entering and exiting the United States. Metadata is only a part of the government spying programs.

 

            This sucks, but there’s nothing I can do!

 

Actually there is plenty you can do! First, join the over half-million others and sign our petition at stopwatching.us. Then call your representative in Congress—there are bills going through Congress right now that could curtail some of this spying and bring real transparency and accountability to the NSA. There are also some that need to be opposed so we don’t end up legalizing much of this illegal surveillance.

 

There’s lots you can do to fight NSA surveillance. But one of the most important things you can do is explain why this issue is important to friends and family.  So please share this guide widely.

 

 

NSA infected 50,000 computer networks with malicious software

 

November 23, 2013

by Floor Boon, Steven Derix and Huib Modderkolk

nrc.nl

 

            The American intelligence service – NSA – infected more than 50,000 computer networks worldwide with malicious software designed to steal sensitive information. Documents provided by former NSA-employee Edward Snowden and seen by this newspaper, prove this.

 

A management presentation dating from 2012 explains how the NSA collects information worldwide. In addition, the presentation shows that the intelligence service uses ‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE) in more than 50,000 locations. CNE is the secret infiltration of computer systems achieved by installing malware, malicious software.

 

One example of this type of hacking was discovered in September 2013 at the Belgium telecom provider Belgacom. For a number of years the British intelligence service – GCHQ – has been installing this malicious software in the Belgacom network in order to tap their customers’ telephone and data traffic. The Belgacom network was infiltrated by GCHQ through a process of luring employees to a false Linkedin page.

 

NSA special department employs more than a thousand hackers

The NSA computer attacks are performed by a special department called TAO (Tailored Access Operations). Public sources show that this department employs more than a thousand hackers. As recently as August 2013, the Washington Post published articles about these NSA-TAO cyber operations. In these articles The Washington Post reported that the NSA installed an estimated 20,000 ‘implants’ as early as 2008. These articles were based on a secret budget report of the American intelligence services. By mid-2012 this number had more than doubled to 50,000, as is shown in the presentation NRC Handelsblad laid eyes on.

 

Cyber operations are increasingly important for the NSA. Computer hacks are relatively inexpensive and provide the NSA with opportunities to obtain information that they otherwise would not have access to. The NSA-presentation shows their CNE-operations in countries such as Venezuela and Brazil. The malware installed in these countries can remain active for years without being detected.

 

‘Sleeper cells’ can be activated with a single push of a button

 

The malware can be controlled remotely and be turned on and off at will. The ‘implants’ act as digital ‘sleeper cells’ that can be activated with a single push of a button. According to the Washington Post, the NSA has been carrying out this type of cyber operation since 1998.

 

The Dutch intelligence services – AIVD and MIVD – have displayed interest in hacking. The Joint Sigint Cyber Unit – JSCU – was created early in 2013. The JSCU is an inter-agency unit drawing on experts with a range of IT skills. This new unit is prohibited by law from performing the type of operations carried out by the NSA as Dutch law does not allow this type of internet searches.

 

The NSA declined to comment and referred to the US Government. A government spokesperson states that any disclosure of classified material is harmful to our national security.

 

 

Ukraine in Turmoil After Leaders Reject Major E.U. Deal

 

November 26, 2013

by David M. Herszenhorn

New York Times

 

KIEV, Ukraine — Yuri V. Lutsenko, a onetime field commander of Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution, looked out across the tens of thousands of people who gathered on Sunday to protest the government’s decision to back away from a far-reaching political and trade deal with the European Union. Standing onstage under an ash-streaked sky, Mr. Lutsenko felt a powerful sense of déjà vu — and a deep need to apologize.

 

“I am sure that every person who stood at the glorious Orange Square nine years ago has to do the same,” he told the crowd. “I would like you to accept my personal apologies for what was not finished.”

 

For the second time in a decade, Ukraine is in turmoil, with tens of thousands of protesters in recent days loudly demanding that the country shake off its post-Soviet identity and move once and for all into the orbit of a more prosperous Europe.

 

They exploded in anger last week when their leaders, buckling under pressure from Moscow, said they would walk away from a deal that many here, especially the young, see as a vital step in escaping the clutches of the Kremlin and joining fellow ex-satellite countries of Eastern Europe on a path to modernization and greater wealth.

 

At stake here is not just the fate of a free-trade pact but whether the hardball tactics of Russia, willing to use every bit of economic muscle — including trade threats and its stranglehold on energy supplies — to exert blunt force in negotiations, will prevail over the national aspirations of millions of people.

 

The effort to draw in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet republics is also crucial to Europe, which has invested heavily in it and can ill afford a humiliating defeat at a time when its stature is already being called into doubt by the continuing economic strains within the euro zone.

 

Calls for Europe to answer the Kremlin’s threats of retaliatory sanctions against Ukraine with sanctions against Russia are raising the prospect of a bitter trade war that could complicate numerous efforts by Western powers to cooperate with Russia on security matters.

 

“Russia really depends on the E.U. buying gas and all this other stuff, “ said Andreas Umland, who teaches political science at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy here. “The E.U. has leverage.”

 

With street protests continuing in Kiev and cities across the country on Tuesday, there was a distinct sense that Ukraine has been here before. More than 20 years after declaring its freedom and hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country of 46 million remains caught between Russia and the West, its aspirations for independence upended by the rivalries of bigger powers, its domestic politics riven by corruption, violence, revenge and ethno-regional strife, its people impoverished and fearful about the future.

 

Many Ukrainians say they regard the country’s political leaders since the end of the Soviet era to be a collective failure. At the same time, they say they recognize the constraints of being almost entirely dependent on Russia for energy, especially natural gas for heat, as well as the historic burden of being home to vital Russian military assets, including major installations for its Black Sea fleet.

 

“The foundation has to be completely changed in our country, so that it would not remain a post-Soviet barrack temporarily repainted in yellow and blue,” Mr. Lutsenko told the crowd, referring to the colors of the country’s flag. “We have to understand that not only the president has to be changed but the entire system.”

 

Mr. Lutsenko knows the perils of the system well. From his role as field commander, he went on to serve as a leader in Parliament and as the interior minister, under President Viktor A. Yushchenko, who was poisoned by dioxin in an assassination attempt during the disputed 2004 election. After Viktor F. Yanukovich, the revolution’s antihero, won the presidency in 2010, Mr. Lutsenko was arrested and jailed on abuse of authority charges, only to be pardoned earlier this year as Mr. Yanukovich came under pressure from the West.

 

Supporters of European integration had been pinning their hopes on the political and trade agreements, which had been in the works for more than four years, and Mr. Yanukovich had long talked about signing them at a major conference that begins on Thursday in Vilnius, Lithuania.

 

In contrast with 2004, they say they are focused entirely on raising standards of living, and putting Ukraine on track to become a member of the European Union so they could obtain the benefits that they see are now enjoyed by neighboring Poland and by the fellow ex-Soviet republics in the Baltics.

 

“I want to live in a country where the law is not just a word in the dictionary,” said Kateryna Zhemchuzhnykova, 25, a journalist who has been leading protests in the city of Donetsk in the traditionally Russia-friendly eastern half of Ukraine. She said she wanted a country “where people are free to tell what they think; to do what they want; to go where they dream.”

 

Ms. Zhemchuzhnykova said that while her demonstrations had been relatively small, numbering 150 to 200 people each evening, and that protesters had faced some heckling, there had been no rallies in Donetsk in opposition to the accords with the European Union.

 

Taras Berezovets, a political consultant whose clients include members of Parliament, said expectations were raised by the president, partly with an eye to the 2015 election.

 

“Yanukovich promised them something; he promised them Europe,” Mr. Berezovets said in an interview.

 

Ukraine’s domestic politics are deeply complicated by ethno-cultural, religious and linguistic divisions. The mostly Russian-speaking and Russian Orthodox eastern and southern sections of the country tend to favor close ties with Moscow. In the West, Ukrainian speakers predominate, the Ukrainian Catholic Church has many adherents and Russia is regarded with suspicion or even hostility.

 

In Kiev on Wednesday, there were scattered reports of protesters clashing with the riot police. Also, the jailed former prime minister, Yulia V. Tymoshenko, said she had begun a hunger strike in support of protesters.

 

Ukraine is also a country with a bloody and tragic history. Experts say about 7.5 million people died in Ukraine during World War II. Throughout its history, it has been dominated by larger powers, including Austria-Hungary and the Soviet Union. Ukraine has also been a major battleground, including a devastating 30-year stretch of war in the 1600s that involved Russians, Cossacks, Poles and Turks.

 

Russia’s desire to dominate is taken for granted in Ukraine. “This problem is going on for several hundred years; Ukraine lives in a polygon between Moscow, Istanbul and Warsaw,” Mr. Lutsenko said in an interview. “Figuratively speaking, the two heads of the Russian eagle from its coat of arms are looking in different directions, but every day they try to bite Ukraine.”

 

He said Russia used several levers of power, including its ability to egg on separatist movements in the Ukrainian south, the Russian Orthodox Church’s ability to stoke unrest, the possibility of levying trade sanctions and, of course, the ability to shut down natural gas pipelines.

 

Mr. Lutsenko said that in two and a half years in prison he had spent much of his time thinking about Ukraine’s problems and why the 2004 revolution failed, and that Ukraine needed to develop an entirely new approach. He has formed a new political party called the Third Ukrainian Republic and hopes to help the process along.

 

European officials have said that Russia had threatened to retaliate with severe trade sanctions that would be particularly devastating in eastern Ukraine, a main base of political support for Mr. Yanukovich. Ukraine is already facing a severe economic crisis and has been in talks for months about securing a loan package from the International Monetary Fund.

 

Many Ukrainians have tempered their criticism, hoping Mr. Yanukovich will somehow resurrect the agreements and sign them at the Vilnius conference, which he still plans to attend.

 

“He can either become a hero, or become the biggest loser in Ukrainian history,” Mr. Berezovets said. “Whatever happens, the only man that people hold responsible for failure is Yanukovich himself. He has personalized European integration to that extent.”

 

Snowden Related Targets

November 27,  2013

            About 552 pages of Snowden’s documents have been published and a much smaller number of the documents from which the pages were excerpted. Many of the pages are redacted, some apparently by NSA-GCHQ, others by reporters and publishers. It is not clear by whom, how or when the excerpts and redactions were made. A variety of persons with legal, editorial and technical skills were involved.

            Many of the published accounts involve multiple reporters and associated sources. Multiple outlets are involved; 10 have published original pages (other accounts published only narratives, no pages).

Outlet Reporters Pages
The Guardian

Glenn Greenwald
Ewen MacAskill
Laura Poitras
Alan Rusbridger
Nick Davies
Nick Hopkins
Julian Borger
James Ball
Spencer Ackerman
Dominic Rushe
Ed Pilkington
Luke Harding
Juliette Garside
Bruce Schneier

14 211
Washington Post

Barton Gellman
Laura Poitras
Craig Timberg
Steven Rich
Max Ehrenfreund
Ashkan Soltani
Matt DeLong

7 152
Der Spiegel

Laura Poitras
Holger Stark
Fidelius Schmid
Jens Glüsin
Jacob Appelbaum

5 19
O Globo Fantastico

Glenn Greenwald
Roberto Kaz
José Casado

3 ~87
New York Times

Jeff Larson
Nicole Perlroth
Scott Shane
James Risen
Laura Poitras

5 36
ProPublica

Jeff Larson

1 7
Le Monde

Jacques Follorou
Glenn Greenwald

2 19
Dagbladet

Glenn Greenwald

1 13
NRC Handelsblad

Floor Boon
Steven Derix
Huib Modderkolk

3 1
Huffington Post

Glenn Greenwald
Ryan Gallagher
Ryan Grim

3 3
Associates and Sources:

Sarah Harrison
Julian Assange
David Miranda

Total 45
Includes duplicates
Greenwald (5) and
Poitras (4)
552

Each published account would involve reporters; multiple editors; lawyers; media producers and staff; copy editors; proofreaders; researchers; slide and text formatters; graphic artists; redaction technicians; technology evaluators for networks and comsec; espionage consultants; NSA-GCHQ specialists; and other specialists suitable for each account.

It might be estimated that at least 10 persons at each outlet were involved in the legal, editorial and technical review as well as preparation and publication of each page, or about 1,000 persons total, if duplication of services are ignored. Or half that to allow for duplication — about 500.

To enhance security and to minimize disclosures, each account might have changed personnel. If so, it might be estimated that 10 persons at each outlet were involved for each page, or 5,520 persons. However, reporters and senior personnel may have been retained to assure continuity, thus reducing the number to, say, 5 persons for each page, or 2,760 persons.

Thus, an estimated range of 500 to 2,760 persons may have had access to the documents from which the pages were excerpted and redacted.

Presumbably most of these persons are likely to have been required to sign non-disclosure agreements for the tasks. Others may have been already subject to NDAs as part of their job. It is expected that none of them were required to sign official secrecy agreements, although some may hold official secrecy clearances, or are bound by professional confidentiality requirements.

According to reports the Snowden files are composed of about 50,000 documents (or pages, that is not clear), NY Times says “more than 50,000 shared by The Guardian”, although the Director of NSA has claimed 200,000 were taken. Other reports, usually attributed to Glenn Greenwald, state that copies of the full collection provided to Greenwald and Laura Poitras is encrypted and stored in two or more places to be used as “insurance” against harm to Snowden, and will be published should Snowden be harmed.

In one report Greenwald said Snowden no longer has any of the original material. In another report Greenwald said he does not know if Snowden has additional material.

Other reports claim that the Greenwald-Poitras collection of about 50,000 files was confiscated by UK authorities from David Miranda’s laptop, but the collection has not been fully decrypted.

There have been no reports of leakage from the insurance stashes, the publication outlets or the various reported transmissions among them (except for the Miranda snatch by UKG), although there could be some which have not been disclosed, not known, were sold or bartered, or were stolen for future use.

It is likely that intelligence and law enforcement agencies have made stringent efforts to access the documents by customarily secret burglary, bribery, barter, purchase, deception, co-optation.

Those multiple persons and outlets who have had access, or suspected of access, are certain to have been targeted, some perhaps successfully persuaded to cooperate with promises of confidentiality, backed by threats if cooperation is refused — a standard coercive means of authorities.

While Edward Snowden is knowledgeable about counter-espionage and likely advised his initial correspondents, who in turn advised successive cooperators, usually these counter-operations are not revealed, but hints of them are leaked to discourage participation.

Beyond that, it is customary to foment disputes and disagreements among competing publications, reporters, opinionators, experts, the spying industry and consumers, along with threats against families, friends and employers, as now occurring, to rattle and pressure targets to consider cooperating with authorities, including use of rewards — monetary and career — for informants.

 

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