EPISODE 7 – Water Shortages, Edward Snowden Busted & Surveillance

Screenshot from Videa

This week, we dive into the shallow waters of California’s extreme drought and what you can do about it CA (hint: it’s not just about cutting back on personal hygiene). From extreme drought to extreme measures, we take a look at Baltimore’s notice to over 25,000 people that their water will be shut-off. Is water a human right? Are low income residents all to blame? Could there be some low life scum lurking in these murky waters? From murky waters to gallery art shows, we shift to some Art with Teeth, interviewing founder Keef Ward on why he handpicks thousands of social and political artists to showcase on his page, why art in activism is so important and some artists you absolutely have to check out now.

Confronting The Surveillance State

By Memorial Day weekend, Congress will likely have decided whether the federal government's mass surveillance programs will be partially reined in or not. (iStock)

By Memorial Day weekend, Congress will likely have decided whether the federal government’s mass surveillance programs — exposed first by The New York Times in December 2005 and more broadly by National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 — will be partially reined in or will instead become a dominant, permanent feature of American life. The creation of what many refer to as the “American Surveillance State” began in secret, just days after the Sept. 11 attacks. As the wreckage of the Twin Towers smoldered, President Bush and his top national security and intelligence advisers were making decisions that would trigger a constitutional crisis over surveillance programs that the public was told was essential to combating terrorism.

John Oliver Lands Edward Snowden Interview From Russia

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The comedian surprised viewers on Sunday night by revealing that he visited Russia last week and met with Snowden, who leaked a trove of documents about the American government’s mass surveillance programs to journalists in 2013. The result was a half humorous, half serious R-rated conversation about surveillance, centering around one specific possibility: Can the government secretly access Americans’ naked selfies? Snowden’s answer was: yes. “If you have your email somewhere like Gmail, hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or [if it] at anytime crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database.”

Artists Battle NYPD Over Edward Snowden Memorial In Brooklyn

Snowden Bust in Brooklyn from Animal New York

In a statement about the project, which they have entitled, “Prison Ship Martyrs Monument 2.0,” they wrote: Fort Greene’s Prison Ship Martyrs Monument is a memorial to American POWs who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War. We have updated this monument to highlight those who sacrifice their safety in the fight against modern-day tyrannies. It would be a dishonor to those memorialized here to not laud those who protect the ideals they fought for, as Edward Snowden has by bringing the NSA’s 4th-Amendment-violating surveillance programs to light. All too often, figures who strive to uphold these ideals have been cast as criminals rather than in bronze. Our goal is to bring a renewed vitality to the space and prompt even more visitors to ponder the sacrifices made for their freedoms. We hope this inspires them to reflect upon the responsibility we all bear to ensure our liberties exist long into the future.

Canada’s Spy Agency Reviews Millions Of Vids & Docs Daily

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Canada’s electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned. Details of the Communications Security Establishment project dubbed “Levitation” are revealed in a document obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden and recently released to CBC News. Under Levitation, analysts with the electronic eavesdropping service can access information on about 10 to 15 million uploads and downloads of files from free websites each day, the document says. “Every single thing that you do — in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites — that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” says Ron Deibert, director of the University of Toronto-based internet security think-tank Citizen Lab, who reviewed the document.

ACLU, Wikimedia & Others Sue NSA To Take Back The Internet

NSA Phone Records

Every time you email someone overseas, the NSA copies and searches your message. It makes no difference if you or the person you’re communicating with has done anything wrong. If the NSA believes your message could contain information relating to the foreign affairs of the United States – because of whom you’re talking to, or whom you’re talking about – it may hold on to it for as long as three years and sometimes much longer. A new ACLU lawsuit filed today challenges this dragnet spying, called “upstream” surveillance, on behalf of Wikimedia and a broad coalition of educational, human rights, legal, and media organizations whose work depends on the privacy of their communications. The plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and The Nation magazine, and many other organizations whose work is critical to the functioning of our democracy.

Snowden Releases Statement Following 'Citizenfour' Oscars Win

The Citizenfour team accept the award for best documentary feature. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” won Best Documentary at the Oscars on Sunday night. Director Laura Poitras accepted the award with Glenn Greenwald and Lindsay Mills, Snowden’s girlfriend, by her side. “The disclosures that Edward Snowden reveals don’t only expose a threat to our privacy but to our democracy itself,” Poitras said in her acceptance speech. “When the most important decisions being made, affecting all of us, are made in secret, we lose our ability to check the powers that control. Thank you to Edward Snowden, for his courage, and for the many other whistleblowers. I share this with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists who are exposing truth.” The film tells the story of Snowden’s 2013 National Security Agency leaks.

More Crimes By NSA

Top photo: Shutterstock

American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The hack was perpetrated by a joint unit consisting of operatives from the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. The breach, detailed in a secret 2010 GCHQ document, gave the surveillance agencies the potential to secretly monitor a large portion of the world’s cellular communications, including both voice and data.

‘Privacy Critical To Human Freedom’

Filmmaker Laura Poitras, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. (Image: via The New School)

During a unique conversation hosted by the New School and the New York Times on Thursday, the three people most responsible for bringing the story of mass global surveillance programs orchestrated by the U.S. National Security Agency were brought together for the first time since they first met in a Hong Kong hotel in 2013. Filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald sat with the New York Times media columnist David Carr on stage while the whistleblower himself, Edward Snowden, appeared via videolink from Russia where he remains under asylum protection. “Yes, governments possess extraordinary powers—but at the end of the day there are more of us than there are of them.” —Edward Snowden

Court: US-UK Surveillance Scheme Illegal For 7 Years

The legal challenge was the first of dozens of GCHQ-related claims to be examined in detail by the IPT. Photograph: Ho/Reuters

The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared on Friday that regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law. Advocacy groups said the decision raised questions about the legality of intelligence-sharing operations between the UK and the US. The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years – between 2007, when the Prism intercept programme was introduced, and 2014.

‘Citizenfour’ Producers Sued Over Edward Snowden Leaks

USA Freedom Act, launched in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations, failed in the Senate last night. Photograph: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images

Horace Edwards, who identifies himself as a retired naval officer and the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, has filed a lawsuit in Kansas federal court that seeks a constructive trust over monies derived from the distribution of Citizenfour. Edwards, who says he has “Q” security clearance and was the chief executive of the ARCO Pipeline Company, seeks to hold Snowden, director Laura Poitras, The Weinstein Co., Participant Media and others responsible for “obligations owed to the American people” and “misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies.” It’s an unusual lawsuit, one that the plaintiff likens to “a derivative action on behalf of the American Public,” and is primarily based upon Snowden’s agreement with the United States to keep confidentiality.

Popular Resistance Newsletter: Internet Emergency

Hungarians protest Internet tax. Source: András Hajdú of abcug.hu.

The FCC meeting on December 11 is likely to be the day they announce new rules for the Internet. We’ve made a lot of progress in ensuring net neutrality but are not there yet. We need you to act now. Take two steps: Take a photo of yourself holding a sign that says #RealNetNeutrality, #ReclassifyTheInternet. You can add another slogan if you like, e.g. Save the Internet, Equal Access for All, My Voice Matters. Then upload a photo to the campaign page: My Voice Matters that will show a broad national consensus for no compromise on net neutrality. Sign up to join us in taking action this Thursday evening. We are urging people to take a very simple action to save the Internet. Organize an event in your community, at your college quad, a local Comcast or Verizon – or wherever works for you. The event should be in the evening so you can hold your cell phone lit up to symbolize the Internet. And, hold a sign like the one we describe in the first action. Sign up your event on our map. Do this now so we quickly show momentum and build the day of action; and people can learn about your event and join you.

Laura Poitras' Snowden Documentary 'Citizenfour' Opens Nationwide!

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Besides Edward Snowden, the film features Glenn Greenwald and William Binney, along with Kevin Bankston, Jacob Appelbaum, Ewen MacAskill, Julian Assange, Ladar Levison, David Miranda, Jeremy Scahill, and Lindsay Mills. The film is an enthralling look a truly historic moment in journalism and the political earthquake that followed, but since Poitras, Greenwald, and Snowden are on our board of directors, do not just take our word for it. The film has received rave reviews from film, art, culture, and political reporters since its world premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 10. You can read excerpts from all of the major reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Virtual Interview: Edward Snowden

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It’s not just here in the United States. Snowden’s revelations are still causing ruptures and generating headlines all around the world, including in Brazil, which has just said that it wants to question Snowden about revelations that the U.S. agency intercepted the communications of President Dilma Rousseff and her aides; in Germany, where the N.S.A. reportedly tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone; and in Australia, where the government was embarrassed by the revelation that it had been spying on the President of neighboring Indonesia. And there are almost certainly more stories to come. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, said that his paper has so far published only one per cent of the files that it received from Snowden.

Second US Intelligence Leaker, Says Greenwald

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The investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald has found a second leaker inside the US intelligence agencies, according to a new documentary about Edward Snowden that premiered in New York on Friday night. Towards the end of filmmaker Laura Poitras’s portrait of Snowden – titled Citizenfour, the label he used when he first contacted her – Greenwald is seen telling Snowden about a second source. Snowden, at a meeting with Greenwald in Moscow, expresses surprise at the level of information apparently coming from this new source. Greenwald, fearing he will be overheard, writes the details on scraps of paper. The specific information relates to the number of the people on the US government’s watchlist of people under surveillance as a potential threat or as a suspect.