teaching notes on Edward Snowden
compiled and created by jonCates in 2014
born June 21, 1983
@ 21 in 2004 enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a Special Forces recruit but did not complete any training
discharged on September 28, 2004
National Security Agency (NSA) as security guard
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in IT security
@ 26 in 2009: Dell, the computer corporation which is also a private military contractor, “inside an NSA facility on a US military base in Japan”
@ 30 in 2013: Booz Allen Hamilton: A Strategy and Technology Consulting Firm inside the NSA at the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center in Hawaii, as a “system administrator” or as an “infrastructure analyst” (these professional job titles can be translated as “Hacker”)
“Snowden had been offered a position on the NSA’s elite staff of hackers, Tailored Access Operations (TAO), but turned it down for the contractor position at Booz Allen”
May 20, 2013: Snowden flies to Hong Kong
June 2013: The Guardian (Britain) + The Washington Post (US) publishes leaked info. later Der Spiegel (Germany) publishes further leaked info
June 23, 2013: Snowden flies to Moscow, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks (“WikiLeaks had paid for Snowden’s lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out.”)
“On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport. Wikileaks stated that he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum”. According to Gellman, Snowden “didn’t choose Russia. He was literally changing planes in the Moscow airport when the United States revoked his passport.”
“Snowden remained in the Sheremetyevo transit zone for 39 days until being granted temporary asylum by the Russian government on August 1. In a statement made on July 1, Snowden said: Although I am convicted of nothing, [the US government] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.”
SUMMARY OF EVENTS
“While working for the NSA, Snowden had secretly downloaded classified documents detailing NSA surveillance operations. By May 20, 2013, Snowden had left Hawaii for Hong Kong, where he started releasing the top-secret material in his possession to the press.
On June 14, the U.S. Justice Department filed criminal charges against Snowden in federal district court. The following day, the Justice Department formally requested that Hong Kong authorities issue a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden. Eight days later, on the very morning — Hong Kong time — that his passport was revoked, Mr. Snowden was able to board a flight to Moscow. He remained in Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone until August 1, 2013, when Russian authorities granted him a one-year temporary asylum along with an identity document.”
Citizenship, Passports, and the Legal Identity of Americans: Edward Snowden and Others Have a Case in the Courts — Patrick Weil (2014); The Yale Law Journal
EXAMPLES OF DOCUMENTS
slides from Microsoft PowerPoint presentations authored by the NSA to explain current projects, research and active surveillance operations
DETAILS OF PRISM
“PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program known to have been operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007”
The details of PRISM initially revealed by Snowden include 41 PowerPoint slides, internal media created by the NSA for the NSA and their contractors. The NSA and private contractors operate the PRISM surveillance program in and on the United States but PRISM and similar systems also function globally because of the structure of the infrastructural system itself. The technical infrastructure, in this case, is the Internet. The Internet backbone’s structure is based on the ARPANET. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) developed by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA) in 1969 networked military, industrial and academic institutions and research centers together to form the Internet. In 1991, then Senator Al Gore begins to develop the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. This bill passes on December 9, 1991. On January 20, 1993, Al Gore becomes the Vice President of the United States in the Clinton administration. President Bill Clinton and especially Vice President Gore continue the work begun earlier to open internet infrastructure development to wider markets, an expanded academia and commercial corporate interests such as major telecommunications companies, telephone and television networks. The World Wide Web effectively begins to become openly constituted and publicly accessible via the development of the MOSAIC (graphical) Web browser developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“US Companies sitting on top of the wire… communications around the world… will likely pass through the United States… Thats allows the companies who are sitting on the wire to look at what is going past.” — Kurt Opsahl (of The Electronic Frontier Foundation) (2013)
ASPECTS OF PRISM AND RELATED NSA SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS
made known via Edward Snowden include:
TURMOIL: deep packet inspection is a passive system allowing the content of Internet traffic / messages to be read
TURBINE: deep packet injection is an active system allowing content of Internet traffic / messages to be written, edited or rewritten
QFIRE: is the combination of TURMOIL and TURBINE.
These systems lead to a situation Edward Snowden defines as “turnkey tyranny” in which these turnkey or closed systems provide proprietary forms of tyrannical control.
NSA SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGIES AND SYSTEMS
confirmed by Edward Snowden include:
Key Hole or Evolved Enhanced CRYSTAL (EEC) — developed by the
National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and Lockheed (~1976 — present)
Key Hole satellites are most likely similar in design to the Hubble Space Telescope as they have the same manufacturer, Lockheed. The above image is a NASA photo of:
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) — NASA / Lockheed / ESA / STScI (~1990 — present)
The HST is pointed away from the Earth to observe distant galaxies, stars and events. The Key Hole satellites, of which there are many, are pointed at the Earth to surveil the people of Earth.
NSA’s use of social software systems and hardware to develop / deploy: “contact chaining” a graph of the (human) network neighborhood around any specific individual, automating guilt by association.
NSA’s remote Apple iOS control: hot mic and camera control, the ability to turn on iPhone microphones and cameras remotely. also, the ability to remotely disable iPhone microphones and cameras, i.e. to prevent documentation of events.
“Every new technology necessitates a new war” — Marshall McLuhan
“Every new war necessitates a new technology” — jonCates
Since at least 2008, private military contractors constitute a military larger in size than the standing United States military forces. Privatized, corporatized and industrialized, these private military contractors are enmeshed into the United States military-industrial-academic-entertainment complex. Inextricable power relationships exist at this point that are based on economic and structural enmeshment. Part of the conditions and context that created the possibility of Edward Snowden’s situation of literally operating “outside of the law” in the daily routine of his employment are directly related to the privatization of military forces and operations in and by the United States as a nation-state. Operating without constraints or restraint, these private military contractors are almost never held legally or morally accountable for humans rights violations or war crimes including rape, murder and torture when operating internationally (i.e. in Iraq) or even when operating in the continental United States (i.e. in New Orleans) as the case of [the company formerly known as] Blackwater [now known as Academi] demonstrates.
“The privatization of war has created a structural dynamic, which responds to a commercial logic of the industry.” — Jose L. Gomez del Prado (2013)
“The military cannot do without them. There are more contractors over all than actual members of the military serving in the worsening war in Afghanistan.” — Jose L. Gomez del Prado (2013)