"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Obama surveillance changes vindicate Edward Snowden - Julian Assange

"Obama is effectively rewriting the Constitution. The First Amendment has no exception for an embarrassed military or an embarrassed White House. What part of 'no' does President Barack Obama not understand?"
Julian Assange

The founder of the WikiLeaks website said on Saturday that Comrade Obama’s announcement of changes to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program this week vindicated Edward Snowden’s release of information about the program.

“Today the President of the United States validated Edward Snowden’s role as a whistleblower by announcing plans to reform America’s global surveillance program,” WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange said in a statement.

“But rather than thank Edward Snowden, the president laughably attempted to criticize him while claiming that there was a plan all along, ‘before Edward Snowden,’” Assange continued. “The simple fact is that without Snowden’s disclosures, no one would know about the programs and no reforms could take place,” reports The Hill.

"Moreover, the US government’s hypocrisy over Snowden’s right to seek asylum has been stunning. America offers asylum to dissidents, whistleblowers and political refugees without regard to other governments opposition all the time. For example, the US has accepted 3,103 of their own asylees, 1,222 from Russia and 1,762 from Venezuela," said Assange.

Those who dare to tell the truth must flee to other nations or hide inside the
embassies of the few countries willing to defy the Anointed One. 

Assange compared Snowden to former solider Bradley Manning, who was convicted of releasing classified information about the Iraq War, and Daniel Ellsberg, who released the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

“As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently once stated, ‘All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent,’” Assange said. “Luckily for the citizens of the world, Edward Snowden is one of those ‘people of good conscience’ who did not ‘remain silent,’ just as Pfc Bradley Manning and Daniel Ellsberg refused to remain silent.”

Obama said on Friday that he was planning to ask Congress to narrow and improve oversight of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the government to collect phone records, in response to criticism of the NSA’s surveillance programs.

Assange accused the Department of Justice of “betraying two key principles that President Obama championed when he ran for office -- transparency and protection for whistleblowers.

“During his 2008 campaign, the president supported whistleblowers, claiming their ‘acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled,’” Assange said. “Yet his administration has prosecuted twice as many whistleblowers than all other administrations combined.”

Obama said pointedly during a news conference on Friday that he did not think Snowden was a “patriot.”

Liberty is almost gone.

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