Jumat, 21 Juni 2013



Surat Terbuka Moore kepada Obama


"pelangi di persia"
Michael Moore dulu (saat kampanye pemilu) mendukung Obama. Kini dia masuk ke barisan sakit hati karena ternyata Obama meneruskan kebijakan perang. Diapun menulis surat terbuka pada Obama. Surat ini ditulis ketika Obama berencana mengambil keputusan penambahan pasukan ke Afghanistan. Surat Moore sia-sia, Obama tak peduli suratnya dan tetap menambah 30.000 pasukan ke Afghan.

Tapi surat ini tetap menarik utk dibaca.
Salah satu poin menarik: pertanyaan ‘buat apa menambah pasukan ke Afghan padahal intelijen menyebutkan sesungguhnya jumlah Taliban hanya kurang dari 100 orang saja.?’
Maaf sedang ga punya waktu utk menerjemahkannya:)
http://dinasulaeman.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/surat-terbuka-moore-kepada-obama/
——————–
Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That’s the way General Washington insisted it must be. That’s what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. “You’re fired!,” said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in’ hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea — “Let’s invade Afghanistan!” Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There’s a reason they don’t call Afghanistan the “Garden State” (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has

Surat Terbuka Moore kepada Obama


Michael Moore dulu (saat kampanye pemilu) mendukung Obama. Kini dia masuk ke barisan sakit hati karena ternyata Obama meneruskan kebijakan perang. Diapun menulis surat terbuka pada Obama. Surat ini ditulis ketika Obama berencana mengambil keputusan penambahan pasukan ke Afghanistan. Surat Moore sia-sia, Obama tak peduli suratnya dan tetap menambah 30.000 pasukan ke Afghan.
Tapi surat ini tetap menarik utk dibaca.
Salah satu poin menarik: pertanyaan ‘buat apa menambah pasukan ke Afghan padahal intelijen menyebutkan sesungguhnya jumlah Taliban hanya kurang dari 100 orang saja.?’
Maaf sedang ga punya waktu utk menerjemahkannya:)
——————–
Dear President Obama,
Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.
It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That’s the way General Washington insisted it must be. That’s what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. “You’re fired!,” said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in’ hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).
So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea — “Let’s invade Afghanistan!” Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.
There’s a reason they don’t call Afghanistan the “Garden State” (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan’s nickname is the “Graveyard of Empires.” If you don’t believe it, give the British a call. I’d have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev’s number though. It’s + 41 22 789 1662. I’m sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you’re about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the “war president.” Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line — and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush’s Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you’re doing it so you can “end the war”) will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you’ve said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone — and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout “tea bag!”

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.
We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can’t take it anymore. We can’t take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of “landslide victory” don’t you understand?
Don’t be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn’t be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can’t change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can’t be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it’s time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, “No, we don’t need health care, we don’t need jobs, we don’t need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, ’cause we don’t need them, either.”
What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that’s what they’d do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam “might” be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish — the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn’t expect miracles. We didn’t even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn’t even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God’s sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON’T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother’s son.
We’re counting on you.
Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com
Afghanistan’s nickname is the “Graveyard of Empires.” If you don’t believe it, give the British a call. I’d have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev’s number though. It’s + 41 22 789 1662. I’m sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you’re about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the “war president.” Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line — and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush’s Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you’re doing it so you can “end the war”) will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you’ve said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone — and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout “tea bag!”

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can’t take it anymore. We can’t take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of “landslide victory” don’t you understand?

Don’t be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn’t be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can’t change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can’t be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it’s time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, “No, we don’t need health care, we don’t need jobs, we don’t need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, ’cause we don’t need them, either.”
What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that’s what they’d do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam “might” be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish — the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn’t expect miracles. We didn’t even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn’t even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God’s sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.
Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON’T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother’s son.
We’re counting on you.
Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

Afghanistan's Poppy Problem: Karzai's Brother Under Drug Suspicion

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai is facing hard times. As his brother fights accusations that he's involved in the country's rampant drug trade, an increasing number of Afghans are disappointed by their government. Many are starting to think about potential presidential successors.

An Afghan laborer destroys poppies
REUTERS
An Afghan laborer
destroys poppies
http://www.spiegel.de/international/grossbild-434523-692722.html

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai is facing increasing criticism in Kabul. Indeed, the talk these days is not of an additional term for the 48-year-old president, but rather who will succeed him. His time in office has been a sobering one: Afghans are deeply disappointed by the slow pace of reconstruction, an abysmal security situation, rampant corruption and a flourishing drug trade. Many chastise Karzai for being too docile in his dealings with corrupt governors and police chiefs and for maintaining ties for the country's former warlords. But Karzai's latest troubles are closer to home in nature: They center around allegations that one of his brothers is involved in drug trafficking. His younger brother Ahmed Wali Karzai is influential among the Popalzai, a Pashtun clan, in Karzai's home province of Kandahar and is the chairman of the provincial council. It is believed the Ahmed Wali is also the head of a group involved in opium and heroin trafficking that smuggles drugs to the West through Iran and Turkey. Sources in security circles claim that he provides protection for drug transports in southern Afghanistan.
ANZEIGE
Karzai, who has named fighting the poppy problem his most urgent task disputes the accusations against his brother. And SPIEGEL has learned that he has asked the United States ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald Neumann, for a neutral investigation. Afghanistan currently accounts for 90 percent of the world's opium production, and the United Nations estimates that illicit drug sales comprise about 52 percent of the impoverished country's gross domestic product. Though millions of dollars are being pumped into programs to eradicate opium cultivation, the agricultural sector continues to grow like a cancerous tumor. 
 
Graphic: The Heroin Roads


DER SPIEGEL
Graphic: The Heroin Roads
Washington is still supporting Karzai, but the United States is having its own problems in Afghanistan at the moment. The US high command has called on soldiers to use more reserve in their dealings with Afghan civilians. Aggressive driving and behavior, obscene gestures and threatening people with weapons just serves to provide ammunition to the enemy, stated an e-mail sent by an lower-ranking officer that was later distributed by Peter Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff. In May, incidents that led to the deaths of civilians in Afhganistan triggered spontaneous anti-American protests. Crowds at the protest also burned images of their president in effigy and chanted: "Death to Karzai!"
dsl/spiegel

Prahara Suriah, Perang Dunia Tiga yang Terselubung

http://hankam.kompasiana.com/2013/05/23/prahara-suriah-perang-dunia-3-yang-terselubung-562475.html#

 1369311991182032501

http://www.zerochan.net

Fenomena Arab spring yang dimulai dari Tunisia kemudian menjalar ke Libya dan Mesir ternyata terhenti dan berkecamuk di Suriah. Cara-cara yang digunakan seperti di Libya atau Tunisia terbukti tak berhasil menundukan pemerintahan Bashar Al Assad yang tengah berkuasa. Upaya menggulingkan kekuasaan Bashar Al Assad awalnya dilakukan oleh pihak oposisi melalui demonstrasi dan tuntutan reformasi politik namun sayangnya fakta dilapangan berbanding terbalik. Pemerintaahan Assad masih didukung oleh sebagian besar rakyat, tokoh2 agama dan kekuatan militer sehingga masih terlalu dini untuk digulingkan . 

Kegagalan Oposisi mengganti kekuasaan Suriah melalui jalan damai akhirnya mendorong banyak pihak yang bersekutu dengan oposisi untuk melancarkan pemberontakan bersenjata. Hanya dalam hitungan hari, Pasukan Pemerintah dan Pemberontak terlibat perterungan sengit yang berdarah-darah, suriah berkecamuk hebat, ribuan manusia meregang nyawa dan jutaan lainnya terpaksa menjadi pengungsi.

Perang Suriah yang awalnya dilakoni oleh 2 pihak saja yakni Pemerintah dan Oposisi Pemberontak mulai merembet kemana-mana, pasukan pemberontak mulai dijejali berbagai macam pasukan asing yang di deploy dari negara2 tetangga seperti jordania dan Turki. Pihak yang terlibat perang makin carut marut, ambigiu bahkan banyak juga segerombolan teroris yang memanfaatkan kerusuhan ini untuk ambil bagian dengan tujuan gak jelas. Dilain pihak, Negara tetangga suriah seperti Lebanon dan Turki kena cipatran perang suriah juga, 2 negara ini bersama jordania dituduh sebagai jalur penyuplai senjata dan logistik bagi kelompok pemberontak. 

Sekutu Suriah, Rusia yang memiliki banyak kepentingan strategis dengan Suriah juga merasa terganggu akibat perang Suriah ini dan sampe sekarang secara konsisten terus mendukung Bashar Al Assad. Sama Seperti Rusia, Iran juga turut mendukung secara politis terhadap Bashar Al Assad, China pun demikian meski tak terlalu terlihat seperti Rusia dan Iran.

Di pihak pemberontak, dukungan kuat mengalir dari Liga Arab, Dewan Kerjasama Negara Teluk (Gulf Cooperation Council) ,Inggris, Perancis, Turki, dan tentu saja Amerika serikat serta Israel. Banyak tangan asing yang turut bermain di Suriah semakin memanaskan situasi, saling tuduh sudah menjadi menu harian, PBB melalui Dewan Keamanan gagal meloloskan resolusi karena di veto Rusia dan China, Bila PBB meloloskan resolusi ini maka bakal menjadi alat legalitas bagi Amerika dan NATO untuk melakukan invasi terbuka seperti kasus Libya. Solusi damai yang ditawarkan Bashar Al Assad tern yata juga ditolak oleh pihak oposisi begitu juga sebaliknya tuntutan Oposisi juga ditolak keras oleh Assad. Nah, mengamati dinamika yang berkembang di Suriah, sepertinya tak ada salahnya klo Prahara di Suriah bisa disebut sebagai Perang Dunia ke 3 yang terselubung. Banyak Negara yang terlibat meski secara tak langsung atau bahasanya gaulnya “Nabok Nyilih Tangan”.

Perang Dunia 3 di suriah ini terbagi dalam 2 poros, Yakni :

1. Aliansi Bumi (Earth Alliance) aka E.F.S.F

Pihak yang berada di kubu ini antara lain Suriah, Rusia, Iran, Hizbullah, dan China. Rusia yang memiliki pangkalang angkatan laut di tartus memindahkan sebagian armada laut hitam dan pasifiknya ke pangkalan ini, tak tanggung2 kapal2 penghancur, pendarat dan kapal selam disiagakan di pangkalan ini guna mencegah campur tangan langsung Negara lain. Rusia juga serius membantuk menyokong persenjataan rusia, dari klas bawah sampai atas seperti mengirim sistem pertahanan udara S300 , Rudal anti kapal Yakhont dan Pantsyr S-1, menyebar radar canggih serta melatih pasukan suriah untuk mengoperasikan alutsista canggih tersebut. 

Kekuatan militer suriah yang didukung persenjataan canggih membuat pihak Barat seperti NATO tak berani melakukan serangan langsung, hanya Israel yang berani mengirim jet tempurnya untuk menghancurkan tempat strategis di Suriah yang langsung dikecam oleh banyak pihak. Iran kabarnya mengirimkan pasukan khususnya untuk bertempur bersama pasukan pemerintah serta mengirimkan pasokan senjata. Iran dan suriah sering bekerja sama menyalurkan senjata bagi pasukan Hizbullah dalam kampanye anti Israel dan pembebasan Palestina, Hizbullah sendiri juga turut mengirimkan pasukan terbaiknya untuk bertempur di Suriah. China yang sebelum dibuat jengkel karena ekspansi ekonominya yang strategis di Libya di hancurkan oleh Barat, bakal memperjuangkan kepentingan ekonomis yang berharga di Suriah agar tak kembali kecolongan seperti kejadian di Libya.

2. Federasi Bintang (Star Federation) aka ZEON

Kubu ini di isi oleh Negara-negara teluk ato liga arab pro oposisi, Turki, Israel, Amerika dan NATO. Secara militer jelas kubu ini jauh lebih unggul ketimbang pihak Suriah, hanya masalah legitimasilah yang membuat kekuatan militer kubu ini tak dikeluarkan secara langsung. Poros ini memilih menggunakan tangan orang lain yakni para pemberontak dengan memberikan dukungan dana, logistic, senjata, alat komunikasi dan pelatihan militer. Sayangnya dukungan luar biasa poros ini terhadap pemberontak ternyata tak memberikan hasil yang memuaskan. 

Berkali-kali pasukan pemberontak terpojok dan hampir binasa oleh serangan Pasukan pemerintah suriah. Kubu ini juga didukung penuh oleh kekuatan media di seluruh dunia, guna mengpropagandakan masyarakat internasional untuk turut mendukung penggulihan rezim Assad. Bila pertempuran terus berlanjut tanpa ada tanda –tanda kapan bisa berakhir, bisa jadi dengan berbagai alasan, pasukan militer dari kubu ini akan memaksa untuk meng intervensi secara langsung yang diperkirakan akan terjadi head to head dengan kekuatan Rusia dan Iran di Suriah. Di dalam tubuh NATO pun hanya Perancis dan Inggris yang masih bersedia mendukung penggulingan Assad, Negara anggota NATO lain lebih memilih untuk menangani krisis yang tengah melanda seluruh eropa.

Ada pihak yang percaya bahwa upaya mengporak porandakan Suriah lebih disebabkan karena alasan ekonomi, Suriah merupakan simpul dari jalur ekonomi paling legendaries di dunia yakni Jalur Sutra. Jalur sutra melewati banyak Negara sehingga tak mudah bagi satu pihak untuk menguasainya sekaligus, Pihak yang berhasil menguasai simpul jalur sutra maka dia menguasai separuh jalur sutra ! Rencana pembangunan pipa2 minyak dan gas yang melewati jalur sutra sangat bernilai ekonomis tinggi, bagi pihak barat yang tengah dilanda krisis ekonomi parah tentu saja proyek pipa2 ini membuatnya tergiur. Selain masalah ekonomi, konon kabarnya Bila Suriah berhasil ditundukan dan dikuasai barat maka gerbang utama untuk menyerang Iran akan terbuka lebar. 

Hanya suriahlah titik strategis untuk memasuki wilayah Iran, Irak yang tadinya bisa digunakan sebagai gerbang menyerang Iran ternyata justru berbalik merapat dan menjadi sekutu Iran. Sekarang kondisi dilematis menggerogoti Suriah, bila pemerintahan Assad jatuh ke pemberontak belum tentu kondisi Suriah akan lebih baik, Libya dan Afghanistan sudah membukti hal itu, bukanya damai malah terjadi perang sipil tak berkesudahan. Sedang bila Pemerintahan Assad tetap utuh maka pemberontakan juga akan terus berkobar dimana rakyat Suriah bakal semakin lama menderita.

At least, perang dunia ini baru bisa berhenti bila pihak yang berseteru mau menahan diri dan memilih menhentikan aksinya, duduk bersama dalam perundingan damai yang mampu mengakomodir keinginan semua pihak. Perang hanya akan meninggalkan bekas luka yang perih, memelihara kebencian, dendam yang tak berujung. Sudah banyak korban tak berdosa dan kehilangan orang2 terkasih akibat perang ini, siapapun yang menang dan kalah tak akan mampu mengembalikan apa yang hilang sebelum perang ini terjadi. Peace for Suriah..

Korosareta kara koroshite, koroshita kara korasarete.. Sore de saigo wa hontouni heiwa ni narunokayo?! (Membunuh karena ada yang dibunuh.. dibunuh Karena membunuh, kau pikir yang seperti itu akan bisa jadi kedamaian pada akhirnya?!) – Gundam Seed

The top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant

Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA's surveillance of Americans' communication

Computer keyboard
 
 
The documents show that discretion as to who is actually targeted lies directly with the NSA's analysts. Photograph: Martin Rogers/Workbook Stock/Getty
Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information "inadvertently" collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target "non-US persons" under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.
The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.
The procedures cover only part of the NSA's surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.
The Fisa court's oversight role has been referenced many times by Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials as they have sought to reassure the public about surveillance, but the procedures approved by the court have never before been publicly disclosed.
The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.
However, alongside those provisions, the Fisa court-approved policies allow the NSA to:
• Keep data that could potentially contain details of US persons for up to five years;
• Retain and make use of "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;
• Preserve "foreign intelligence information" contained within attorney-client communications;
• Access the content of communications gathered from "U.S. based machine[s]" or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the US, for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.

The broad scope of the court orders, and the nature of the procedures set out in the documents, appear to clash with assurances from President Obama and senior intelligence officials that the NSA could not access Americans' call or email information without warrants.

The documents also show that discretion as to who is actually targeted under the NSA's foreign surveillance powers lies directly with its own analysts, without recourse to courts or superiors – though a percentage of targeting decisions are reviewed by internal audit teams on a regular basis.

Since the Guardian first revealed the extent of the NSA's collection of US communications, there have been repeated calls for the legal basis of the programs to be released. On Thursday, two US congressmen introduced a bill compelling the Obama administration to declassify the secret legal justifications for NSA surveillance.

The disclosure bill, sponsored by Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican, is a complement to one proposed in the Senate last week. It would "increase the transparency of the Fisa Court and the state of the law in this area," Schiff told the Guardian. "It would give the public a better understanding of the safeguards, as well as the scope of these programs."

Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which was renewed for five years last December, is the authority under which the NSA is allowed to collect large-scale data, including foreign communications and also communications between the US and other countries, provided the target is overseas.
FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.

One-paragraph order

One such warrant seen by the Guardian shows that they do not contain detailed legal rulings or explanation. Instead, the one-paragraph order, signed by a Fisa court judge in 2010, declares that the procedures submitted by the attorney general on behalf of the NSA are consistent with US law and the fourth amendment.

Those procedures state that the "NSA determines whether a person is a non-United States person reasonably believed to be outside the United States in light of the totality of the circumstances based on the information available with respect to that person, including information concerning the communications facility or facilities used by that person".

It includes information that the NSA analyst uses to make this determination – including IP addresses, statements made by the potential target, and other information in the NSA databases, which can include public information and data collected by other agencies.

Where the NSA has no specific information on a person's location, analysts are free to presume they are overseas, the document continues.

"In the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a United States person," it states "a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless such person can be positively identified as a United States person."

If it later appears that a target is in fact located in the US, analysts are permitted to look at the content of messages, or listen to phone calls, to establish if this is indeed the case.

Referring to steps taken to prevent intentional collection of telephone content of those inside the US, the document states: "NSA analysts may analyze content for indications that a foreign target has entered or intends to enter the United States. Such content analysis will be conducted according to analytic and intelligence requirements and priorities."

Details set out in the "minimization procedures", regularly referred to in House and Senate hearings, as well as public statements in recent weeks, also raise questions as to the extent of monitoring of US citizens and residents.

NSA minimization procedures signed by Holder in 2009 set out that once a target is confirmed to be within the US, interception must stop immediately. However, these circumstances do not apply to large-scale data where the NSA claims it is unable to filter US communications from non-US ones.

The NSA is empowered to retain data for up to five years and the policy states "communications which may be retained include electronic communications acquired because of limitations on the NSA's ability to filter communications".

Even if upon examination a communication is found to be domestic – entirely within the US – the NSA can appeal to its director to keep what it has found if it contains "significant foreign intelligence information", "evidence of a crime", "technical data base information" (such as encrypted communications), or "information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property".

Domestic communications containing none of the above must be destroyed. Communications in which one party was outside the US, but the other is a US-person, are permitted for retention under FAA rules.

The minimization procedure adds that these can be disseminated to other agencies or friendly governments if the US person is anonymised, or including the US person's identity under certain criteria.

holder nsa legislation  
 
Holder's 'minimization procedure' says once a target is confirmed to be in the US, interception of communication must stop. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images 
 
A separate section of the same document notes that as soon as any intercepted communications are determined to have been between someone under US criminal indictment and their attorney, surveillance must stop. However, the material collected can be retained, if it is useful, though in a segregated database:

"The relevant portion of the communication containing that conversation will be segregated and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice will be notified so that appropriate procedures may be established to protect such communications from review or use in any criminal prosecution, while preserving foreign intelligence information contained therein," the document states.

In practice, much of the decision-making appears to lie with NSA analysts, rather than the Fisa court or senior officials.

A transcript of a 2008 briefing on FAA from the NSA's general counsel sets out how much discretion NSA analysts possess when it comes to the specifics of targeting, and making decisions on who they believe is a non-US person. Referring to a situation where there has been a suggestion a target is within the US.

"Once again, the standard here is a reasonable belief that your target is outside the United States. What does that mean when you get information that might lead you to believe the contrary? It means you can't ignore it. You can't turn a blind eye to somebody saying: 'Hey, I think so and so is in the United States.' You can't ignore that. Does it mean you have to completely turn off collection the minute you hear that? No, it means you have to do some sort of investigation: 'Is that guy right? Is my target here?" he says.

"But, if everything else you have says 'no' (he talked yesterday, I saw him on TV yesterday, even, depending on the target, he was in Baghdad) you can still continue targeting but you have to keep that in mind. You can't put it aside. You have to investigate it and, once again, with that new information in mind, what is your reasonable belief about your target's location?"

The broad nature of the court's oversight role, and the discretion given to NSA analysts, sheds light on responses from the administration and internet companies to the Guardian's disclosure of the PRISM program. They have stated that the content of online communications is turned over to the NSA only pursuant to a court order. But except when a US citizen is specifically targeted, the court orders used by the NSA to obtain that information as part of Prism are these general FAA orders, not individualized warrants specific to any individual.

Once armed with these general orders, the NSA is empowered to compel telephone and internet companies to turn over to it the communications of any individual identified by the NSA. The Fisa court plays no role in the selection of those individuals, nor does it monitor who is selected by the NSA.

The NSA's ability to collect and retain the communications of people in the US, even without a warrant, has fuelled congressional demands for an estimate of how many Americans have been caught up in surveillance.

Two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – both members of the Senate intelligence committee – have been seeking this information since 2011, but senior White House and intelligence officials have repeatedly insisted that the agency is unable to gather such statistics.

US files criminal charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden

Charges include theft of government property and unauthorised communication of national defence information
  • guardian.co.uk,
Woman walks past Edward Snowden banner in Hong Kong
A woman walks past a banner supporting Edward Snowden in Hong Kong. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images


The US has filed espionage charges against the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and reports say authorities have requested that Hong Kong detain him for extradition. Legislators in Hong Kong responded by calling for mainland China to intervene in the case. 

Snowden, 29, is charged with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorised person, according to court documents.

Snowden is reported to be in hiding in Hong Kong. The Washington Post said the US had asked the autonomous Chinese territory to detain the former NSA contractor on a provisional arrest warrent, while other reports cited US officials as saying preparations were being made to seek his extradition.

One Hong Kong legislator, Leung Kwok-hung, said Beijing should instruct Hong Kong to protect Snowden from extradition before the case was dragged through the court system. Leung also urged the people of Hong Kong to "take to the streets to protect Snowden". Another lawmaker, Cyd Ho, vice-chair of the pro-democracy Labour party, said China "should now make its stance clear to the Hong Kong SAR [special administrative region] government". 

US prosecutors have 60 days to file an indictment and can then take steps to secure Snowden's extradition from Hong Kong for a criminal trial in the US. Snowden would be able to challenge the request for his extradition in court in Hong Kong.

The US extradition treaty with Hong Kong has an exception for political offences, which might include espionage.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic businessman linked to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, said on Thursday he had readied a private plane in China to fly Snowden to Iceland if Iceland's government would grant asylum. Iceland refused on Friday to say whether it would grant asylum to Snowden.

The complaint against Snowden was filed at the federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia where Snowden's former employer, government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered. The complaint is dated 14 June, five days after Snowden was first revealed as the leaker.

The US and Hong Kong have a standing agreement on the surrender of fugitives. However, Snowden's appeal rights could drag out any extradition proceeding. The success or failure also depends on what the suspect is charged with under US law and how it corresponds to Hong Kong law. In order for Hong Kong officials to honour the extradition request they have to have some applicable statute under their law that corresponds with a violation of US law.

Advocacy organisation the Government Accountability Project said Snowden should be shielded from prosecution by whistleblower protection laws. "He disclosed information about a secret programme that he reasonably believed to be illegal, and his actions alone brought about the long-overdue national debate about the proper balance between privacy and civil liberties, on the one hand, and national security on the other," the group said in a statement.


 

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