Edward Snowden, PRISM whistleblower

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Should the United States prosecute Edward Snowden for revealing secret information on PRISM surveillance scheme?

Yes, he's betrayed his country and shall be prosecuted.
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No, he did good to his country.
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Edward Snowden, PRISM whistleblower

Postby Dae » Fri Jun 28, 13 2:18 pm

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(In case you haven't been following the news for the past month) Edward Snowden is a former CIA technical worker who provided the Guardian with top-secret NSA documents leading to revelations about US surveillance on phone and internet communications. He fled to Hong Kong in May, reportedly requested asylum in Ecuador and is currently in transit zone of the airport in Moscow, Russia, waiting for decision of the Ecuador officials.

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Postby clyzm » Fri Jun 28, 13 7:50 pm

It's ridiculous to see yahoo! message boards, facebook posts, Huffington Post article comments calling this guy a traitor, that he "divulged information to our enemies China and Russia" and that he should be persecuted. People really think the information he gave out would've stopped terrorists from planning attacks.

It's the same story back in the 70s with the pentagon papers leak. People were so adamant back then that those papers shouldn't have been released because they contained sensitive information that protected our nation.

Half this country's blind and I hate it
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Postby James » Fri Jun 28, 13 9:49 pm

I am dead.
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Postby Psychotic » Sat Jun 29, 13 3:02 am

No, and I don't think anyone who has ever been involved with things like WikiLeaks is a "traitor", either. The real "traitors" are the pieces of shit we vote in to protect our interests, and then they break all kinds of policies, regulations and amendments.

What's worse is, as clyzm said: That everyone is blind. They believe what they're told and they never question anything. I'm not a big supporter of Illuminati theories but I'm also not a fool. It doesn't matter who pulls the strings, someone's doing something stupid and they shouldn't be getting away with it.

But, as I said in other places: Complaining about it is a lost cause. Ultimately I'm not too concerned. It pisses me off but I'm not too concerned. This shit has been going on since the dawn of civilization and it's unlikely to ever stop. The primary difference nowadays is that things like the internet make it easier to oust people and for the public to learn.

The problems come from making people listen and do something. You can tell people a million stories and all of them can be true, but if they don't want to listen or they do not care then it's all a lost cause.

You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. If the people drink on their own accord perhaps we'll get somewhere.
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Postby Aidan » Sat Jun 29, 13 4:44 am

The sad part is that very intelligent people lead the planet while the majority populous are not.

Sheep need to become Shepard if anything is going to change. It's much easier being lazy, than motivating one to learn.

Brazil is a prime example of change right now.
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Postby Psychotic » Sat Jun 29, 13 5:08 am

Wait a few years and our generation will be the ones leading. Good luck with that.
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Postby James » Sat Jun 29, 13 9:51 am

With desposition and moderating of older of course.
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Postby Psychotic » Sat Jun 29, 13 9:48 pm

James wrote:With desposition and moderating of older of course.


Our generation already thinks it knows best, coupled with it's blind ignorance and rage at anyone it doesn't agree with I'm not convinced of your argument.

At the same time I don't think the world can get any worse, either.
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Postby DxPlayer » Sun Jun 30, 13 5:09 am

Discovered secret stuff about US government, fled to Hong Kong, now in Moscow. This guy is like a non augmented JC.
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Postby Psychotic » Sun Jun 30, 13 7:33 am

DxPlayer wrote:Discovered secret stuff about US government, fled to Hong Kong, now in Moscow. This guy is like a non augmented JC.


Well if the power suddenly goes out across the globe or we start getting some rebellious messages from a alias based on mythology you know what to do.
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Postby synthetic » Wed Jul 03, 13 8:16 am

I can fully understand why the surveillance was conducted, why it is defended and justified by US Gov. officials. I also believe that it is one of the very few hardline means of.. well.. protecting one human from another. I have no doubt that this project saved lot of lives. All that said,

violating the privacy of a normal unassuming individual is unethical.

Because of this, as much as I understand how it is now in the best interest of US government and its national security-intelligence extensions to make a vivid example of Snowden's betrayal (which it essentially is) and set him on fire in front of the entire world, I cannot personally support the prosecution of this whistle-blower.

Unless CIA has recently started hiring retards, whistles are generally not blown without urgency.

What makes these situations uncomfortable is that in most of the recent cases no party involved is completely without some blame.
Snowden betrayed his country, and his country betrayed his people; and went on to invade the privacy of a lot of EU internet users, which the average US citizen is not expected to care about and likely doesn't.

All in all, I think Snowden should be placed under the -- juridically effective -- protective wing of some pro-democratic or humanist movement on his homeland soil, and focus should then shift from the IT man to the actual issue. Will it actually happen? Not unless couple nukes go off in the US, but it is always nice to envision the perfect outcome.
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Postby Hanover Fist » Thu Jul 04, 13 3:20 am

Many in politics are less intelligent than some citizens. I wouldnt say many leaders are particularly smart, then again there could be a reason that the more clever who really run things, or rather, manipulate, are the ones with the brains, but their drawback is they're insatiably greedy.
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Postby synthetic » Thu Jul 04, 13 6:14 am

The intelligent design as tool meant to guide a portion of the population often outlives and outlasts its architects. It is as much a statement of the quality of said design as well as a sad reminder that any system can and perhaps will inevitably be saturated with less capable individuals. Most obvious example is the rigid caste system in some cultures, where people are born with certain status even if they really don't give rats ass about it. Through connections and heritage this often applies in western culture in a very similar way.

The fundamental flaw with such systems is that they leave active decision making and ultimate guidance to the people that have gotten in the machine somehow, and the design in itself is simply responsible of maintaining its existence and place in the society.
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Postby Psychotic » Sat Jul 06, 13 3:21 am

I don't agree that "Snowden betrayed his country".

A country should not be whoever it's central power is, a country should be defined by it's people. Snowden did what he thought was right in defense of the people, not the government. He did not, at least in my opinion, betray his "country".
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Postby synthetic » Sat Jul 06, 13 5:56 am

Certain institutions and individuals are expected to be absolutely loyal, as it is vital for the integrity and functioning of structures that safeguard the well being of a nation. Most notably, the military and judicial system. Intelligence agencies can roughly or directly be placed in the former category.

You don't agree that Snowden betrayed his country, but I doubt you'd agree with military generals running a coup when and if they please; or segments of the judicial structure writing their own laws as they go.

You may see the dilemma here. Snowden was not supposed to leak the information, and who is to say that leaking it to his own nation justifies it, when leaking it to another nation would easily be seen as betrayal. Had he leaked other sensitive information to Russia, I doubt russians would've necessarily seen him as a traitor, but rather as a special friend.
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Postby Psychotic » Sat Jul 06, 13 8:28 am

I wasn't going to bring the military up personally, because so many people seem to have some insane amount of loyalties towards their countries armed defenders. I don't. I simply pity them.

I don't think the average soldier betrays their country, but I don't believe they fight for it, either. Snowden was supposedly doing what he thought best by the people, not those in charge. The military, on average, really don't think the same. They follow orders because yes, they more often than not need to, but not all those orders are on behalf of their entire country.

This is why Snowden leaked the information in the first place, at least by his own admission.
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Postby synthetic » Sun Jul 07, 13 3:05 am

In Snowden's case (and in the case of most whistle blowers) his morals outranked his sense of loyalty and I don't necessarily want to criticize it -- it just creates a curious situation where loyalty is expected regardless of morals, as any (and also this particular programme) such project is ultimately supposed to aid the government and through that its people. Corruption or Anarchy are not any better concepts for such institutions.

This entire incident simply illustrates that not every measure justifies its cause, and the American population would've been much happier with an all-out war on Islam which can in a sense be seen as a similar solution.
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Postby Aidan » Sun Jul 07, 13 5:06 am

If the Country is not loyal to its people, then it is in fact the government committing treason. The people are the nation. (brb turning this into rap lyrics lol.)

If the Gov't digs any deeper into social privacy I can see civil uprising returning in the near future.
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Postby synthetic » Sun Jul 07, 13 9:16 am

Steering a bit further from the topic, but it is probably not a good idea to piss off a country where every other citizen owns not one weapon but several. Whatever the reasons for that are, I don't think there is any other country in the world that is as well prepared for an uprising. Its results won't come without shades of grey, though.
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Postby clyzm » Sun Jul 07, 13 12:52 pm

I don't think there is any other country in the world that is as well prepared for an uprising


Doesn't Switzerland have those huge underground bunkers and all its citizens trained in the art of shooting/making delicious chocolates
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Postby synthetic » Sun Jul 07, 13 1:03 pm

Fortifying oneself in bunker and munching chocolate may not precisely be the kind of uprising that I understand by its definition, but it certainly makes them harder to conquer :smile2:. I just hope the underground facilities are not used for the purposes that some of their eastern neighbours seem to fancy.

On a more related note, I saw an interesting article/slide-show about the better known "whistle blowers". Was quite interesting, particularly the Israeli case. Don't have a link at hand right now, but maybe someone else spotted it.
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Postby Psychotic » Sun Jul 07, 13 1:10 pm

r12m wrote:In Snowden's case (and in the case of most whistle blowers) his morals outranked his sense of loyalty and I don't necessarily want to criticize it -- it just creates a curious situation where loyalty is expected regardless of morals, as any (and also this particular programme) such project is ultimately supposed to aid the government and through that its people. Corruption or Anarchy are not any better concepts for such institutions.

This entire incident simply illustrates that not every measure justifies its cause, and the American population would've been much happier with an all-out war on Islam which can in a sense be seen as a similar solution.


The issue, of course, is what you think is moral, reasonable, rational and logical to begin with. A lot of these cases are subjective logic and many times what seems reasonable to one seems insane to another.

Rationality, logic and reason are all fairly subjective ideals. Also note that America, in general, is taught to be ignorant. I do not mean this offensively, I mean that education factors into a lot of how and why the American people believe what they do.

Unquestionable loyalty and pride in their country can be seen and taught at such early ages and some never learn much history outside their own country (this applies for lots of other countries too, unfortunately) that it's really no surprise why some of them seem blissfully unaware of what actually happens around them.

As for morals, though. Morals existence is debatable. Friedrich Nietzsche did not believe in them. It is hard to judge an action on a ranking of good vs. bad when the two principles are very much subjective to begin with.

Nietzsche believed that the aristocracy will have a much different set of morals than the slaves they keep to serve them. What is "good" to a man in power is wealth, fame, strength, etc, and what is "bad" was to be a slave: poor, sick, weak. Slaves, of course, believed the polar opposite.

Who is good? Who is bad? The entire belief hasn't changed since Nietzsche proposed it: The rich think they're better, the poor think they're not. Quite a simple idea to understand.

So is Snowden right, in the end? I believe so, yes. But the American government does not. Some within the US do believe that the NSA's spying was no cause for concern as they do so to supposedly protect the country at heart. Some of these are simply misguided, at least in my eyes, and some use it as a facade.

So who is right? Well, that's why we're having this discussion now, isn't it? Because it's up to the people to decide and, quite frankly, given the uproar on the internet I think that it will always be relatively 50/50, in a best case scenario. Some will believe what they're told, others won't. Simple as that, really.

I'm a cynic, so as much I will defend Snowden I also think his actions are ultimately futile, as were the numerous whistleblowers before him. People have been blowing whistles for hundreds of years and it has never stopped an organization or a government from doing questionable things before. The internet won't really change that.

I care, but then I don't. I had numerous debates with a man who believed wholeheartedly in the Illuminati and other such shadow goverments. Good for him, I told him. I no longer care. What does it matter, in the end? Better to live my life in blissful ignorance than to question something that people have done so for hundreds of years and never changed, if it is all true. I think that's why most people are apathetic, ultimately. It's not that they don't care, it's that they don't care enough, or see no real point in it.

This doesn't mean I won't defend people like Snowden in getting the justice they do deserve, mind you. Nor does it mean I won't stop believing in in some grassroots movements. It just means I won't fight as passionately and wholeheartedly as I could. Not when I have something better to do, really.

I was called selfish for my beliefs. I can do more for the world by being alive and selfish than a martyr who is on the run. Or dead.
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Postby synthetic » Sun Jul 07, 13 1:31 pm

Deep Throat managed to live relatively peacefully into old age, but the again he didn't shout his name out to the media when he fed the press gov intel.

Specifics of morals are no doubt subjective, but I do believe most of us inherit the sense of right and wrong that, distilled into very clear resolutions, should ultimately determine our course. From a strictly humanist point of view, Snowden made an irrefutably right decision that can be compared to something as plain as reporting a criminal. Previously I argued from a point of view not many are keen on seeing, emphasising the importance of loyalty that state institutions depend on. Legally, he should have the ability to appeal to some law that even the government should not be above.

US has gotten a bit bold placing their institutions above laws, for the purpose or with the excuse of countering terrorism -- likely bit of both. If government is *of* people and *for* people, with what reasoning does it stand above the laws that its people *must* abide to?

In a relatively black and white manner, this issue should come down to laws that protect the privacy of its law-abiding citizens, and all parties in this crime should be prosecuted.

Perhaps every day they sentence someone for not "blowing a whistle" if they were aware of a crime. If Snowden gets punished for doing his duty, either their laws are poor, or their government is.

Indeed, I am slightly backtracking my previous words about betrayal, as I didn't properly think of the laws that actually should apply here. The way I see it, it is clearly illegal to leak classified information, and it should remain this way -- but it is also illegal to conduct lawless surveillance and invade the privacy of law-abiding citizens. I don't see it as a conflict of interest as the party whose information was leaked committed a crime, and as such could not have a stronger case against Snowden who did what is actually expected from any US citizen.
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Postby Psychotic » Sun Jul 07, 13 10:28 pm

Essentially that is what Snowden and his supporters are arguing. I understand why certain information is kept under wraps, but that doesn't make some of the NSA's actions at all justifiable.

Frankly though, I have believed that the US government has shown the exact signs of what they describe as "terrorism" for years now. They rule by instilling fear into their populace, if not of what they can do then of what others do. They seek to actively control every free place of haven such as the internet, as well.

True terror is when the people must question if what their state does is right. True terrorism is when you can no longer live your life in a normal manner (relatively speaking), when you feel paranoid or worried about walking down the street or waking up in the morning wondering how you're going to survive.
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Postby synthetic » Mon Jul 08, 13 5:48 am

I agree with the second sentence in your description of "true terror", but the former is just a sad reality of current democracy anywhere.

I take freedom of speech, expression, and criticism granted as elements of advanced civilization, but I believe that philosophies that describe or justify the violation of any of the human rights must be repressed and their advocates prosecuted. It is entirely sensible and humane approach, but the society tends to take it to the extremes by either claiming the right to violate the laws under the cover of religion or personal beliefs, or it is the government that selectively curbs suitable freedoms.

Two main reasons US government conducts illegal surveillance: religion, and guns. Every other problem they manage to address to through the gathered material is just an added bonus.

I view the past decade or two as our newest crusade, a war in which the healthier religion has the upper hand in spite of the oppositions technological advantages. Get rid of both religions and there is no terror; just small scale insurgency and politics -- going hand in hand.

Gun ownership with the freedoms seen in the US is plain retarded and there isn't much to comment. At least it keeps the geopolitical future on that continent colourful. As long as every idiot has guns there, you'll have your very own terrorism with "made in US" stamped on it.
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Postby Hanover Fist » Tue Jul 09, 13 9:52 pm

Are you referring to North America or the countries where "made in the US guns circulate to change the outcome of civil war in the middle East?
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Postby synthetic » Wed Jul 10, 13 5:18 am

If the middle east didn't get weaponry from the US they would get them from RF or from "private" dealers that sell their soviet heritage to any interested parties (which they are, anyway). Reference went for the mainland.
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Postby Clancy Stein » Wed Jul 10, 13 10:21 pm

All users around the world are now being watched by the NSA's PRISM program.

Although this has been suspected for the past five years it has been confirmed recently that it has in fact been in place since 2007.

http://youtu.be/sJjMWeWYMY4
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Postby synthetic » Fri Aug 16, 13 5:25 am

So, apparently the NSA has been overstepping its boundaries even though they were significantly altered to their benefit in 2008. From what I understand, they have dug up 2800 violations so far.

So, we have a large investigative body conducting permitted surveillance under the blanket of fairly sufficient secrecy, and they still manage to fuck up thousands of times. Well, I am not surprised, but it is noteworthy for its significance: something like this is bound to happen under human governance.

According to a senior NSA official's words they "are a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line"

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Postby Psychotic » Fri Aug 16, 13 6:13 am

When you find yourself on the "wrong side of the line" in over several hundred cases, and in many of those it is a deliberate, concious choice, I don't thing such an excuse applies anymore.
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