We begin with a violence in South Korea, via SINA English:
US ambassador to South Korea attacked and hurt: local media
U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert was attacked by a man wielding a razor and screaming that the rival Koreas should be unified, South Korean police and media said Thursday. TV images showed Lippert bleeding from his head and wrist, but his injuries weren’t immediately clear. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.
YTN TV reported that the man screamed “South and North Korea should be reunified” during the attack. The rival Koreas have been divided for decades along the world’s most heavily armed border. The U.S. stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, and some South Koreans see the U.S. presence as a barrier toward a unified Korea.
YTN TV said Lippert’s injuries weren’t seen as life threatening. Police confirmed that Lippert was attacked and a suspect was detained and being questioned but didn’t have other details, including the type of weapon and the extent of Lippert’s injuries. YTN said a man only identified by his surname, Kim, was detained after the attack.
BBC News covers a clearance:
Darren Wilson will not face US charges over Brown killing
The US Justice Department has said it will not charge former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson over the killing of black teenager Michael Brown.
But the same department has accused city’s police and court system of widespread racial bias.
The investigation found no evidence to disprove Mr Wilson’s testimony that he feared for his safety or other evidence enough to bring civil rights charges.
A Missouri grand jury also declined to charge him with murder in November.
From United Press International, blowback:
One Ferguson official fired, two suspended in wake of DOJ report
“This type of behavior will not be tolerated in the Ferguson Police Department or any other department. We must do better not only as a city, but also as a state and country.” — Ferguson Mayor James Knowles.
In the wake of a scathing U.S. Justice Department report accusing the Ferguson judicial system of systematic racism, one police official was fired and two others were suspended, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.
Mayor James Knowles spoke to reporters Wednesday evening after Attorney General Eric Holder presented the results of two investigations stemming from the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson.
The department determined no charges would be brought against Wilson but found evidence of racism and misconduct in Ferguson’s police department and municipal court system.
Knowles said one police official was fired and two others were suspended in response to the Justice Department uncovering several racist emails sent by police and court employees.
The Atlantic Monthly‘s headline notes the distinction:
Officer Cleared, City Indicted
In two sweeping reports, the Justice Department cleared former officer Darren Wilson, but lambasted Ferguson’s police department for discriminatory practices.
Almost seven months after Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, the Justice Department cleared Wilson of civil-rights violations in a report released on Wednesday. But the tenor of the report— along with a separate 105-page report that excoriated the Ferguson Police Department for “racial bias”—was hardly tame.
“There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson’s stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety,” the report read, in a cutting use of negative space. It also concluded that there were no “prosecutable violations” by Wilson and that witness accounts of Brown surrendering with his hands up, a gesture that became the inspiration for the protests that followed his death, “are inconsistent with the physical evidence.”
The more incendiary details came from the investigation into Ferguson’s police department and its municipal court, the practices of which “both reflect and exacerbate existing racial bias, including racial stereotypes,” the report read. “Ferguson’s own data establish clear racial disparities that adversely impact African Americans. The evidence shows that discriminatory intent is part of the reason for these disparities.”
From Reuters, a stacked deck asserted:
Snowden says U.S. not offering fair trial if he returns
Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of the government’s mass surveillance programs, said on Wednesday he is not being offered a fair trial if he returns to the United States.
“I would love to go back and face a fair trial, but unfortunately … there is no fair trial available, on offer right now,” he said in a live question and answer discussion organized by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Ryerson University and the CBC.
“I’ve been working exhaustively with the government now since I left to try to find terms of a trial.”
More context from the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald:
The “Snowden is Ready to Come Home!” Story: a Case Study in Typical Media Deceit
Most sentient people rationally accept that the U.S. media routinely disseminates misleading stories and outright falsehoods in the most authoritative tones. But it’s nonetheless valuable to examine particularly egregious case studies to see how that works. In that spirit, let’s take yesterday’s numerous, breathless reports trumpeting the “BREAKING” news that “Edward Snowden now wants to come home!” and is “now negotiating the terms of his return!”
Ever since Snowden revealed himself to the public 20 months ago, he has repeatedly said the same exact thing when asked about his returning to the U.S.: I would love to come home, and would do so if I could get a fair trial, but right now, I can’t.
His primary rationale for this argument has long been that under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute under which he has been charged, he would be barred by U.S. courts from even raising his key defense: that the information he revealed to journalists should never have been concealed in the first place and he was thus justified in disclosing it to journalists. In other words, when U.S. political and media figures say Snowden should “man up,” come home and argue to a court that he did nothing wrong, they are deceiving the public, since they have made certain that whistleblowers charged with “espionage” are legally barred from even raising that defense.
From CBC News, weakness north of the U.S. border:
Edward Snowden says Canadian intelligence gathering has ‘weakest oversight’
- NSA whistleblower says he would return to U.S. to face charges but can’t be guaranteed a fair trial
U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden says Canada has one of the “weakest oversight” frameworks for intelligence gathering in the Western world.
Snowden made the comments during a teleconference discussion hosted by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Ryerson School of Journalism, moderated by CBC Radio host Anna Maria Tremonti. He was speaking via video link from Russia.
“Canadian intelligence has one of the weakest oversight frameworks out of any Western intelligence agency in the world,” he said.
Snowden said he wouldn’t specifically weigh in on the government’s new anti-terror legislation, saying that whether it is good or bad is ultimately up for Canadians to decide.
Bill C-51 provides for a sweeping range of measures that would allow suspects to be detained based on less evidence and lets CSIS actively interfere with suspects’ travel plans and finances.
Critics say the legislation is too broad and lacks oversight.
CBC News covers a needed resource:
Edward Snowden archive aims to ‘piece together the bigger picture’
- Canadian project to create fully searchable database began last summer
A Canadian team has created a searchable database of all the publicly released classified documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in hopes it’ll help citizens better understand the complex files trickling out around the world.
The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto’s faculty of information revealed the archive on Wednesday before hosting a live Q&A with Snowden, the U.S. whistleblower and subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour.
“What we’re hoping this database can do is start to piece together the bigger picture,” said Laura Tribe, CJFE’s national and digital programs lead.
The database may be found online here.
Advice from one who knows, via CBC News:
The apps Edward Snowden recommends to protect your privacy online
There are a host of free, easy-to-use apps and programs that can help protect your privacy online, and if everybody uses them it can provide a sort of “herd immunity” said Edward Snowden in a live video chat from Russia on Wednesday.
Snowden recommended using programs and apps that provide end-to-end encryption for users, which means the computer on each end of the transaction can access the data, but not any device in between, and the information isn’t stored unencrypted on a third-party server.
“SpiderOak doesn’t have the encryption key to see what you’ve uploaded,” said Snowden, who recommends using it instead of a file-sharing program like Dropbox. “You don’t have to worry about them selling your information to third parties, you don’t have to worry about them providing that information to governments.”
“For the iPhone, there’s a program called Signal, by Open Whisper Systems, it’s very good,” said Snowden. He also recommended RedPhone, which allows Android users to make encrypted phone calls, and TextSecure, a private messenging app by Open Whisper Systems.
“I wouldn’t trust your lives with any of these things, they don’t protect you from metadata association but they do strongly protect your content from precisely this type of in-transit interception,” said Snowden.
The Guardian covers a franchise operation:
New Zealand spying on Pacific allies for ‘Five Eyes’ and NSA, Snowden files show
- Secret papers show NZ spy agency GCSB is collecting calls and internet traffic in bulk and sending it to the US National Security Agency
New Zealand is spying indiscriminately on its allies in the Pacific region and sharing the information with the US and the other “Five Eyes” alliance states, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The secret papers, published by the New Zealand Herald, show that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) collects phone calls and internet communications in bulk in the region at its Waihopai Station intercept facility in the South Island.
Since a 2009 upgrade, Waihopai has been capable of “full take” collection of both content and metadata intercepted by satellite, the documents showed. The data is then channelled into the XKeyscore database run by the US National Security Agency, where it also becomes available to agencies in each of the “Five Eyes” countries: the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
A leaked NSA memo credits the GCSB with providing “valuable access not otherwise available to satisfy US intelligence requirement”.
From TheLocal.de, intention or irony?:
NSA inquiry chief suffers phone tampering
Patrick Sensburg, chairman of the Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA), asked security experts to examine his phone after suspecting he might have been hacked – only for it to be tampered with in the post.
Die Welt reported on Wednesday that Christian Democratic Union (CDU) MP Sensburg’s encrypted Blackberry Z30 wasn’t working properly in February.
Parliamentary officials immediately packed it in a lead-lined container (to block wireless signals) and sent it for testing at the Federal Office of IT Security (BSI) in Bonn by ordinary DHL parcel post.
It was the first time an MP’s phone had had to be transported in this way. But the Bundestag confirmed to Die Welt that the BIS found the signal-proof container had been opened before the phone arrived at their offices.
From Nextgov, a panopticon deadline looms:
Time is Running Out to Reform NSA Mass Surveillance
There’s another national security clock ticking in Congress.
Lawmakers have less than 100 days left to decide whether they want to reform the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk collection of U.S. call data—or risk losing the program entirely. Core provisions of the post-9/11 Patriot Act are due to sunset on June 1, including Section 215, which grants intelligence agencies the legal authority they need to carry out mass surveillance of domestic metadata—the numbers and timestamps of phone calls but not their actual content.
Government officials have said they have no backup plan for replacing the intelligence void if Congress fails to reauthorize the law in some fashion. And earlier this week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper suggested lawmakers should bear the brunt of blame if the program lapses and the homeland is struck by terrorism.
After the jump, a 2014 U.S. identity theft tally, a GoDaddy-based hack attack spree, Merkel issues a Russian sanctions threat, a Pakistani convicted of a Big Apple bomb plot, Charlie Hebdo arson arrests in Germany, France faces a long-term attack-level terror alert as drones send Paris into another flurry, the House of Lords lays out a British drone boom, another Colombian journalist assassinated, on to the ISIS front and a major strike at Syrian Air Force Intelligence, America’s top soldier welcomes Iran’s involvement in the ISIS war, and ISIS grows desperate for cash, Libyan fundies grab oil fields, on to the Boko Haram front and an ultimatum from Chad, and more than a million Nigerian refugees, ISIS threatens a Pakistani university, India’s prime minister bans a powerful lethal gang rape documentary, a leak reveals a self-serving Sri Lanka hyperbole, Indonesian press limitations, China ups its military budget again and an admiral calls for more aircraft carrier to control the Indian Ocean, China reassures tech firms over new cyber-backdoor demands and inaugurates a crackdown on foreign NGOs, Japan marks a distancing from South Korea, the Comfort Women issue sparked a South Korean visit, Japan announces a watch of the Chinese military budget, and a debate erupts over allegations of Shinzo Abe media meddling. . . Continue reading