The Zimmerman Distraction | Unfilter 59

The Zimmerman Distraction | Unfilter 59

We’ll push past the distractions and focus on the important events. During an interview this week NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice claims to have held the orders in his hands to wiretap top government officials, today the NSA Admits It Analyzes more people’s data than previously revealed, in what continues to be a series of story changes. We’ll bring you up to date.

Then: Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Russia, while the media runs wild with claims of a secret NSA blueprint.

Plus a follow up on the death of Michael Hastings, your feedback, and much much more.

On this week’s Unfilter.

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— Show Notes —

Zimmerman Trial a Distraction?

For the record, that’s where I’m coming from regarding the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin murder trial in Florida — a lamentable tragedy of errors marketed as a multimedia morality play on the combustible theme of race. It makes me crazy to see what I call the Mighty MSNBC Art Players and other media figures fictionalize, dissemble and play fast and loose with facts. The case is troubling enough without turning the participants into political symbols.

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Latest Leaks

Abby Martin talks to Russell Tice, former intelligence analyst and original NSA whistleblower, about how the recent NSA scandal is only scratches the surface of a massive surveillance apparatus, citing specific targets the he saw spying orders for including former senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

But Inglis’ statement was new. Analysts look “two or three hops” from terror suspects when evaluating terror activity, Inglis revealed. Previously, the limit of how surveillance was extended had been described as two hops. This meant that if the NSA were following a phone metadata or web trail from a terror suspect, it could also look at the calls from the people that suspect has spoken with—one hop. And then, the calls that second person had also spoken with—two hops. Terror suspect to person two to person three. Two hops. And now: A third hop.

For a sense of scale, researchers at the University of Milan found in 2011 that everyone on the Internet was, on average, 4.74 steps away from anyone else. The NSA explores relationships up to three of those steps. (See our conversation with the ACLU’s Alex Abdo on this.)

Plaintiffs include: GreenPeace, Human Rights Watch and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. CalGuns, which lobbies against more restrictive gun laws, and one California gun manufacturer, Franklin Armory, have also joined the case, as have religious groups including the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The suit was brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group and law firm. It asserts that the NSA’s “dragnet surveillance” – which extends to millions of Americans – is illegal and unconstitutional.

Other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have also recently sued the NSA in response to leaked information on its surveillance programs. This most recent case is especially notable in that it represents a broad coalition of groups that often don’t have much use for each other.

Approximately 160 billion envelopes, packages and postcards were photographed by the United States Postal Service last year, reports The New York Times.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released documents confirming that police license plate readers capture vast amounts of data on innocent people, and in many instances this intelligence is kept forever.

According to documents obtained through a number of Freedom of
Information Act requests filed by ACLU offices across the United
States, law enforcement agencies are tracking the whereabouts of
innocent persons en masse by utilizing a still up-and-coming

In some jurisdictions, that information is then held forever.
FOIA requests obtained by the ACLU estimated that authorities in
Jersey City, New Jersey have accumulated 10 million license plate
records as of last year — in a town of only 250,000 — because
retention policies allow officials to keep that data for five
years. In Milpitas, California — a town with roughly four times
the population — has no retention policy and has picked up around
4.7 million plates.

Some authorities such as Minnesota State Patrol delete all their scanned records after 48 hours. Others are much looser in their regulations, such as the town of Milpitas in California, population 67,000, which stores almost 5m plate reads with no time limits at all.

Soon, I will introduce legislation that would repeal the laws that brought us our current “surveillance state”: the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act. My bill would restore the probable cause-based warrant requirement for any surveillance against an American citizen being proposed on the basis of an alleged threat to the nation.

Where in the World is Snowden

WikiLeaks, which has been advising Snowden, announced his application in a tweet: “Edward Snowden today has filed for a temporary protection visa with Russia’s ministry of immigration.”

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on Tuesday submitted a request for temporary asylum in Russia, his lawyer said.

Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer who is a member of the Public Chamber, a Kremlin advisory body, said that Snowden submitted the asylum request to Russia’s Federal Migration Service. The service had no immediate comment.

Kucherena told The Associated Press that he met Snowden in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and Snowden made the request after the meeting.

“In order to take documents with him that proved that what he was saying was true he had to take ones that included very sensitive, detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do,” Greenwald said in Brazil, adding that the interview was taking place about four hours after his last interaction with Snowden.

Former two-term GOP Senator Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire emailed Edward Snowden

Michael Hastings Cremated Without Family Consent:

Hastings’ friend and confidant SSgt. Joe Biggs disclosed a macabre twist in the award-winning journalist’s death in a suspicious single-car accident. According to SSgt. Biggs, “Michael Hastings’ body was returned to Vermont in an urn.”


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