| Snowden aide Harrison takes refuge in Berlin!

Snowden aide Harrison takes refuge in Berlin ~ Deutsche Welle.

After helping US whistleblower Edward Snowden attain asylum in Russia, British journalist Sarah Harrison has left Moscow. Harrison has taken refuge in Berlin, out of concern she could be detained in the UK.

Die britischen Journalistin und Wikileaks-Aktivistin Sarah Harrison spricht am 21.06.2012 vor der Botschaft von Ecuador in London, in der WikiLeaks Gründer Assange geflüchtet war, zur Presse. Bei seinem Flug von Hongkong nach Moskau wurde der ehemalige US-Geheimdienstler Edward Snowden von Harrison begleitet. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (zu dpa: «'Whistleblower' Snowden beschert Wikileaks ein Comeback»9

National security leakers lead a precarious existence these days. Julian Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over a year now, unable to leave for fear of being arrested by British authorities and extradited to Sweden as part of a sexual assault investigation. Assange believes that going to Sweden would be the first step in his extradition to the US and an eventual trial there.

Meanwhile, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden is under constant guard in Moscow after having received temporary asylum in Russia. For now, at least, Snowden has managed to avoid the fate that befell Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, who was convicted on espionage charges and sentenced in June to 35 years in prison for leaking 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

Snowden’s good fortune is largely due to British journalist Sarah Harrison, a Wikileaks researcher who helped the former NSA contractor escape the long arm of the US Justice Department. Having assisted one of the US government’s top public enemies, she has now taken refuge in Berlin, reticent to return to her native England for fear of being detained by authorities under the UK Terrorism Act.

On Wednesday, Harrison published a letter calling for whistle-blowers to be shielded from prosecution, saying that “giving us the truth is not a crime.”

“Wikileaks continues to fight for the protection of sources,” Harrison wrote. “We have won the battle for Snowden’s immediate future, but the broader war continues.”

‘Snowden is safe and protected’

Former intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden and Sarah Harrison (L) of WikiLeaks speak to human rights representatives in Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport July 12, 2013. Snowden is seeking temporary asylum in Russia and plans to go to Latin America eventually, an organisation endorsed by anti-secrecy group Wikileaks said on Twitter on Friday. REUTERS/Human Rights Watch/Handout (RUSSIA - Tags: POLITICS SOCIETY) NO COMMERCIAL OR BOOK SALES. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Harrison accompanied Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow

When Snowden first fled to Hong Kong after leaking his trove of NSA documents to US journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, Harrison flew to China at the behest of Wikileaks to help secure the whistle-blower’s safe passage and prevent his extradition to the US.

While not a lawyer by trade, she had acquired expertise on extradition matters through the case of Assange with whom she both worked and had been romantically involved.

“I’m sure that if Julian hadn’t been grounded at the embassy in London, he would have loved to have done it himself,” Jeremie Zimmermann told DW, referring to Snowden’s successful asylum application in Russia.

Zimmermann is the spokesman and co-founder of the digital rights group La Quadrature du Net in France. He was a contributor to Assange’s 2012 book “Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet” and knows Harrison.

“I’m sure after [Assange], Sarah was the most competent,” he continued. “She’s a brilliant journalist and researcher and a brilliant person in general.”

Although Harrison didn’t elaborate on why, exactly, she left Russia, she did write that the job of securing Snowden had been completed.

“Whilst Snowden is safe and protected until his asylum visa is due to be renewed in nine months time, there is still much work to be done,” Harrison said. “The battle Snowden joined against the surveillance state and for government transparency is one that Wikileaks – and many others – have been fighting, and will continue to fight.”

Exile in Berlin

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stands with Ecuador's Foreign Affairs Minister Ricardo Patino (R) at Ecuador's embassy in central London June 16, 2013. Assange sought asylum in the embassy on June 19, 2012, in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden. REUTERS/Chris Helgren (BRITAIN - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA CRIME LAW)Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Harrison has joined a growing colony in Berlin of transparency-advocates-in-exile. Poitras, who has reported on the Snowden leaks for the Washington Post and Der Spiegel, and hacker and Wikileaks supporter Jacob Appelbaum, both reside in the German capital.

“Already in the few days I have spent in Germany, it is heartening to see the people joining together and calling for their government to do what must be done – to investigate NSA spying revelations and to offer Edward Snowden asylum,” Harrison wrote in her letter.

The outcry in Germany has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks. Reports from the summer about the NSA collecting millions of Germans’ metadata have now been compounded by the revelation that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone was also allegedly hacked.

“Berlin seems to be the place of choice right now if you consider the vibrant character of the public debate here, and I’m referring to the last two front pages of Der Spiegel that sounded quite serious about it,” Zimmermann said. In a recent Der Spiegel issue, the news magazine published reports based on Snowden’s leaks, detailing possible NSA eavesdropping on Chancellor Merkel’s cell phone. The publication has also called for Snowden to be granted asylum.

Fear of UK Terrorism Act

The daughter of a middle class British family, Harrison’s father is a former executive at a clothing retailer and her mother works with children who have learning difficulties. After studying English literature at Queen Mary, she took a job as an international event manager, but ultimately decided to pursue journalism.

U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald (L) walks with his partner David Miranda in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport August 19, 2013. British authorities used anti-terrorism powers on Sunday to detain Miranda, the partner of Greenwald, who has close links to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. spy agency contractor who has been granted asylum by Russia, as he passed through London's Heathrow airport. The 28-year-old Miranda, a Brazilian citizen and partner of Greenwald who writes for Britain's Guardian newspaper, was questioned for nine hours before being released without charge, a report on the Guardian website said. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY MEDIA)
Greenwald’s boyfriend was held for nine hours under the terrorism act

Harrison received an internship with the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London in 2009 and landed a junior research position at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2010. Through her work at the bureau, she came into contact with Assange and later began working for Wikileaks as a researcher.

Taking the advice of legal advisers, Harrison has decided to stay in Germany, for fear of being detained in her native England under the UK Terrorism Act. In August, Glenn Greenwald’s boyfriend, David Miranda, was detained under the act for nine hours at London’s Heathrow Airport. Miranda had been on his way from Berlin back to Brazil – where he and Greenwald live – having transported materials between the Guardian journalist and Poitras.

Under the Terrorism Act, police can detain and question an individual in order to determine whether or not they are a “terrorist.” According to Harrison and other transparency activists, by detaining Miranda, London effectively defined national security reporting as “terrorism.”

“The problem is she’s now part of this net of suspicion,” Zimmerman said.

“It is likely that she would be suspected of the same kind of nonsensical charges if she even stepped foot here,” he continued. “So in a way, until further notice, she might be constrained to exile, the same way that Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras, [and] Appelbaum are today.”

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| Germany ready to charge UK and US intelligence over alleged bugging operations!

Germany ready to charge UK and US intelligence over alleged bugging operations ~ TONY PATERSON IN BERLIN, Belfast Telegraph.

Germany is preparing to bring charges against US and British intelligence amid fresh allegations that the services spied far more extensively than thought on German phone and internet traffic and bugged European Union offices in America.

A report alleging a major and continuous US National Security Agency spying operation in Germany was published by Der Spiegel magazine yesterday, prompting outrage from Berlin MPs still reeling from reports about extensive British surveillance in their country.

The German Justice Minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenburger, demanded an immediate explanation and said the behaviour of the intelligence services was “reminiscent of the actions against enemies during the Cold War”. “It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies,” she said.

The leak, which Der Spiegel said came from fugitive ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden, claimed that the NSA tapped into half a billion German phone calls, emails and SMS messages each month. Reports last week revealed extensive tapping of German phone and internet traffic by British intelligence under its so-called Tempora programme. The information was said to be shared with the NSA.

A spokesman for the Federal Prosecutor said the office was preparing to bring charges against “persons unknown” in relation to the reports.

There was also widespread and mounting anger at official European Unionlevel yesterday following disclosures that the NSA had spied on EU computer networks at its offices in New York and Washington and that it had also bugged the premises. Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, demanded “full clarification” from the US and said that if the disclosures proved true they would have a severe impact on US-EU ties.

It also emerged that the UK Government had invited German MPs and justice officials to attend a video conference at British Embassy in Berlin today during which the issue of spying would be addressed.

Der Spiegel said the NSA’s German phone and internet surveillance operation was the biggest in the EU. On  7 January 2013 it tapped into some 60 million German phone calls in a single day.

The magazine said that CanadaAustraliaBritain and New Zealand were exempt from NSA surveillance but Germany was regarded as a country open for “spy attacks”.

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Propaganda Dummies1

NSA PRISM1

| Violating privacy: EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying!

EU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying on European diplomats, warns of severe impact on relations ~ RT.

The president of the European parliament has demanded an explanation from US authorities over the latest revelation that EU diplomatic missions in Washington, New York and Brussels were under electronic surveillance from the NSA.

“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations,” he added.

Other EU diplomats also expressed shock concerning the latest batch of revelations in the NSA leak, reported by Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday.

“If these reports are true, it’s disgusting,” Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel.

“The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies,” Asselborn continued. “We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately.”

A spokesman for the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story.

Snowden, 30, a former CIA employee who blew the whistle on the massive US surveillance program that collected data both at home and abroad, is presently in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, while he is attempting to gain political asylum in Ecuador.

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HypoMeterC 

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| ‘Mossad spy’ spilled secrets to Hezbollah: Report!

‘Mossad spy’ spilled secrets to Hezbollah: report ~ The Daily Star.

BERLIN: A man identified by media as an AustralianIsraeli Mossad agent and found hanged in a Tel Aviv jail had passed secrets to Hezbollah before his death, an influential German magazine reported Sunday.

News weekly Der Spiegel said Ben Zygier, a man known as “Prisoner X” who died in 2010 in an allegedly suicide-proof cell, had handed tips to the Lebanese group that led to the arrest of at least two people spying for Israel.

After conducting its own “internal investigations”, the report found that Zygier had started working for Mossad in 2003, investigating European companies doing business with Iran and Syria.

It said Zygier — who was raised in Melbourne but moved to Israel about a decade before his death — was ordered back to Israel in 2007 because his bosses were unhappy with his work.

In 2008 he took a leave of absence, Spiegel said, and returned to Melbourne to finish his studies after trying to recruit new agents for Israel in a bid to restore his standing with his bosses.

In the process he came in contact with Hezbollah supporters, Spiegel said, and while trying to convince them to work for Mossad, disastrously spilled highly sensitive information.

This included the names of Lebanese nationals Ziad al-Homsi and Mustafa Ali Awadeh, who were arrested in May 2009 on charges of spying for Israel and later sentenced to several years of hard labour.

The report said Israeli security authorities had told Zygier after his arrest that they wanted to make an example of him and demanded a prison sentence of at least 10 years.

Zygier was found dead in his cell in December 2010 at the age of 34.

This file photo taken on February 14, 2013 shows Australian newspapers leading their front pages in Australia with the story of Ben Zygier. AFP PHOTO / William WEST / FILES

This file photo taken on February 14, 2013 shows Australian newspapers leading their front pages in Australia with the story of Ben Zygier. AFP PHOTO / William WEST / FILES

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Scandal X

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| Killed child is dog on 2 legs? Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot!

The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child ~ Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic.

May his story remind us that U.S. strikes have reportedly killed many times more kids than died in Newtown — and that we can do better. 

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Reuters

This isn’t an argument against drone strikes — it is a critique of the way that they’re presently carried out.

It begins with a tragedy.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel has published a moving profile of an American drone pilot who flew armed, remotely piloted missions over Afghanistan, one country where the War on Terror is actually declared. Drone strikes there are run under the supervision of Air Force officers operating under military procedures. For those reasons, it is better hedged against abuse than the drone program run elsewhere by the CIA. The subject of the profile nevertheless lamented the fact that he sometimes had to kill “good daddies,” that he watched targets so thoroughly via drone surveillance that he even attended their funerals — interesting, that — and that as a consequence of the job he collapsed with stress-induced exhaustion and developed PTSD.

One traumatic incident stands out in his memory:

There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs …. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact… With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds. Bryant felt as if he had to count each individual pixel on the monitor. Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says. Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif. Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach. “Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?

The United States kills a lot of “dogs on two legs.” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported last August that in Pakistan’s tribal areas alone, there are at least 168 credible reports of children being killed in drone strikes. Presidents Bush and Obama have actively prevented human-rights observers from accessing full casualty data from programs that remain officially secret, so there is no way to know the total number of children American strikes have killed in the numerous countries in which they’ve been conducted, but if we arbitrarily presume that “just” 84 children have died — half the Bureau’s estimate from one country — the death toll would still be more than quadruple the number of children killed in Newtown, Connecticut.

Yet Obama has never remarked as he did Sunday that “as a nation, we are left with some hard questions” as a result of those deaths. He has never mused that “if there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent… then surely we have an obligation to try.” He’s never asked, “Are we really prepared to say that dead children are the price of our freedom?”

As I argued yesterday, criticizing Obama’s speech in Newtown, it is often appropriate to choose freedom rather than minimize the number of innocent deaths in a society. Nearly all of us benefit from living in a country where we enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and many of us use it to drink alcohol, drive cars, collect guns, and allocate some of our antibiotics to growing beef that’s made into delicious double-cheeseburgers.

We accept that properly valuing freedom sometimes lessens our safety.

Yet our zeal to minimize deaths from terrorism — something far less likely to kill any one of us than cars or booze or guns — is so great that our government unintentionally but predictably kills many hundreds of innocents abroad, including scores of children, so that we may kill the “militants” in their midst. How many innocents die? What is the likelihood the average “militant” we kill would successfully do us harm if left alive? The executive branch refuses to give us the best information it has pertaining to those questions, and we don’t much care to press for it. Nor do we care to create more powerful disincentives to avoid dead innocents by being more transparent. Forget giving up drone strikes. We aren’t even willing to conduct them in accordance with previously held ideas about how to ensure lethal force isn’t unaccountable and abused.

Moreover, it is possible that America’s drone strikes create more enemies than they kill. Most of the potential blowback will unfold over a longer time horizon than the average politician ever considers.

But we already know that the number of terrorists created isn’t zero:

A Pakistani-born man wanted to avenge the deaths of U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan by blowing up a New York City landmark but lacked the money and materials to carry out the plan, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Gilbert said at a bail hearing that Raees Alam Qazi, 20, researched bomb-making techniques on Internet sites affiliated with al Qaeda, including one using Christmas tree lights, and the FBI recorded phone calls and conversations linking Qazi to a purported “lone wolf” plot. “He fully intended to do this, and thankfully he didn’t have enough money,” Gilbert said. Referring to casualties in U.S. drone attacks, she added: “He wants to avenge those deaths and kill people.”

Arguing against waterboarding, Jim Manzi once wrote, “We have suffered several thousand casualties from 9/11 through today. Suppose we had a 9/11-level attack with 3,000 casualties per year every year. Each person reading this would face a probability of death from this source of about 0.001% each year. A Republic demands courage — not foolhardy and unsustainable ‘principle at all costs,’ but reasoned courage — from its citizens.” We ought to be courageous enough to “risk” reforms to our drone program that make it subject to military rules; more transparent; and less likely to kill several times more children than were slain in a massacre we properly regard as horrific. Foreign children are no less deserving of life than our own.

Of course, the same is true of innocent foreign adults …

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DroneEerie1

TerrorSham1 candles2