Monday, August 5, 2013

  • Greenwald: Snowden "Doing Very Well" in Russia After Sparking "Extraordinary Debate" on NSA, Spying


    Two months ago today, Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian newspaper published his first article revealing the existence of a secret court order for Verizon to hand over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency. Since then, The Guardian has published a trove of articles detailing the NSA’s vast surveillance powers based on documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Last week, Snowden was granted temporary asylum for one year in Russia. We talk to Glenn Greenwald. "I have spoken to him, and he’s doing very well. He’s obviously happy that his very strained situation of being in this kind of no-person’s land in the airport has been resolved," Greenwald says. "He now is able to be safe, or at least relatively safe, for the next year from persecution by the United States. And he is most interested, whenever I talk to him, in talking not about his own situation, but about the really extraordinary debate that he helped provoke, both in the United States and around the world, about privacy, surveillance and Internet freedom." We also speak with Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef about Snowden.

  • Greenwald: Is U.S. Exaggerating Threat to Embassies to Silence Critics of NSA Domestic Surveillance?


    The Obama administration has announced it will keep 19 diplomatic posts in North Africa and the Middle East closed for up to a week, due to fears of a possible militant threat. On Sunday, Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the decision to close the embassies was based on information collected by the National Security Agency. "If we did not have these programs, we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys," Chambliss said, in a direct reference to increasing debate over widespread spying of all Americans revealed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. "Nobody has ever questioned or disputed that the U.S. government, like all governments around the world, ought to be eavesdropping and monitoring the conversations of people who pose an actual threat to the United States in terms of plotting terrorist attacks," Greenwald says. Pointing to the recent revelations by leaker Edward Snowden that he has reported on, Greenwald explains, "Here we are in the midst of one of the most intense debates and sustained debates that we’ve had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance, and suddenly, an administration that has spent two years claiming that it has decimated al-Qaeda decides that there is this massive threat that involves the closing of embassies and consulates around the world. ... The controversy is over the fact that they are sweeping up billions and billions of emails and telephone calls every single day from people around the world and in the United States who have absolutely nothing to do with terrorism." Greenwald also discusses the NSA’s XKeyscore Internet tracking program, Reuters’ report on the Drug Enforcement Agency spying on Americans, and the conviction of Army whistleblower Bradley Manning.

  • New Iranian President Calls for West to End Sanctions, Reduce "Antagonism and Aggression"


    Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, was sworn in on Sunday, replacing outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In what analysts termed a "conciliatory address," Rouhani called for engaging with the United States and the lifting of international sanctions. Three days before he was inaugurated, the U.S. House passed its harshest sanctions yet on Iran, focusing on the country’s oil exports. We speak to Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. "For the U.S. Congress to pass sanctions three days before the inauguration of the new president — a president that has engaged successfully in diplomacy in the past, who has given the world some hope ... only indicates that there isn’t a clear interest in the U.S. Congress for a resolution, but rather a clear interest for going towards a confrontation," Parsi says.