by Stephen Lendman
Millions worldwide owe Edward Snowden sincere gratitude. He revealed what's vital to know. He connected important dots to do so.
He revealed unconstitutional NSA spying. He did it courageously. When governments operate lawlessly, exposing wrongdoing is crucial. Doing it entails risks.
Snowden did so anyway. He did it because it's the right thing to do. On September 11, London's Guardian published important new information. It did so from documents he provided. More on that below.
On September 12, Russia Today (RT) headlined "EU lawmakers nominate Snowden for Sakharov human rights prize."
European parliamentarians established it in December 1988. They did so to honor individuals and organizations championing human rights and freedom of thought.
Nelson Mandela and Russia's Anatoly Marchenko were its first joint recipients. In 1992, Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo became the first organization given the coveted award.
It's generally granted on or around December 10. It's the day in 1948 when the UN General Assembly ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's commemorated worldwide as Human Rights Day.
Perhaps Snowden will be this year's recipient. Washington will go all out to prevent it. EU Parliament United Left/Nordic Greens representatives Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms said:
He "deserves to be honored for shedding light on the systematic infringements of civil liberties by US and European secret services. (He) risked his freedom to help protect ours."
Swedish Pirate Party representative Christian Engstrom co-nominated Snowden. He paid "a heavy personal price" for acting heroically, he said.
He deserves recognition for doing so. On September 16, an "official presentation of all the candidates will take place," said RT. In October, the winner will be announced.
On or around December 10, an awards ceremony is scheduled in Strasbourg. Snowden rightfully deserves to be honored.
New information London's Guardian published provides more reasons to do so. It headlined "NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans' data with Israel."
In other words, the agency and Israel both spy on Americans. They do it lawlessly. They do it because who'll stop them. It's sanctioned at the highest levels of both governments.
NSA "routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel." It does it "without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens," said the Guardian.
A "top secret" document Snowden revealed explains. Details are included in a memorandum of understanding. It's between NSA and its Israeli counterpart.
It's called Unit 8200. It's sometimes called the Israeli Sigint (signal intelligence) National Unit (ISNU). It was established in 1952. It monitors and collects military intelligence.
It operates a massive global spy network. It intercepts international communications. It has covert operations in Israeli embassies worldwide.
It operates like NSA. It does so lawlessly. Raw intelligence NSA supplies Israel shows it "hand(s) over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens," said the Guardian.
"The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis."
Information Snowden revealed exposed numerous Obama lies. He claims NSA doesn't spy on Americans. Their privacy is respected.
False! NSA spies at home and abroad. No domestic privacy safeguards exist. Personal information about Americans is shared with other governments.
Israel is one of many. In March 2009, a memorandum of understanding explained intelligence sharing "ground rules."
It includes alleged "protection(s) of US persons." It cites constitutional rights to privacy and "need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect" them.
It doesn't matter. NSA spies unconstitutionally. Fundamental rights are ignored. Israel operates the same way. It does what it wants with impunity.
Memorandum language discloses that Israel gets "raw Sigint" data. It says:
It "includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content."
Information shared isn't "filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications."
"Although the memorandum is explicit in saying the material had to be handled in accordance with US law, and that the Israelis agreed not to deliberately target Americans identified in the data, these rules are not backed up by legal obligations," said the Guardian.
The document states:
"This agreement is not intended to create any legally enforceable rights and shall not be construed to be either an international agreement or a legally binding instrument according to international law."
An NSA spokesperson lied claiming shared intelligence complies with privacy laws and norms. The Guardian poses specific questions pertaining to NSA intelligence sharing.
The agency stonewalled. It refused to answer. Its memorandum of understanding lets Israel retain "any files containing the identities of US persons" up to a year.
It doesn't matter. It bears repeating. NSA and Israel's counterpart do whatever they wish. They operate extrajudicially. They do it covertly. They've always operated this way.
US government communications obtained through raw intelligence are supposed to be "destroy(ed) upon recognition."
They pertain to ones "either to or from an official of the US government."
They include communications of "officials of the executive branch (including the White House, cabinet departments, and independent agencies), the US House of Representatives and Senate (member and staff) and the US federal court system (including, but not limited to, the supreme court)."
It bears repeating. It doesn't matter. The CIA considers Israel its main regional spy threat.
Washington's Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally."
The Pentagon accused Israel of "actively engag(ing) in military and industrial espionage in the United States."
Its operations are highly sophisticated. In terms of technical capability and human resources, it rivals America's best.
It has access to the highest US political, military, and intelligence sources. It steals everything it can get its hands on.
It ignores fundamental laws, rules, agreements and norms. It fits the classic definition of a rogue state. So does America.
NSA is legally bound to target only foreign-based persons and organizations without an individual warrant. It's permitted to collect meta-data containing Americans' emails and telecommunications related to foreign targets.
NSA ignores its own mandate. It does whatever it wants. It operates lawlessly. So does Israel.
Memorandum of understanding language "mentions only one check carried out by the NSA on the raw intelligence."
It says "the agency will 'regularly review a sample of files transferred to ISNU to validate the absence of US persons' identities.' "
"It also requests that the Israelis limit access only to personnel with a 'strict need to know.' "
Israel's allowed "to disseminate foreign intelligence information concerning US persons derived from raw Sigint by NSA" provided it does so "in a manner that does not identify the US person."
It permits releasing the identity of US individuals with NSA's written permission.
The Guardian obtained a related top secret document. It's dated 2008. A senior NSA official said Israel aggressively spies on America.
"On the one hand," he said, "the Israelis are extraordinarily good Sigint partners for us, but on the other, they target us to learn our positions on Middle East problems."
"A NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) ranked them as the third most aggressive intelligence service against the US."
"One of NSA's biggest threats is actually from friendly intelligence services, like Israel."
"There are parameters on what NSA shares with them, but the exchange is so robust, we sometimes share more than we intended."
The Guardian asked Obama officials how often US data is found in raw intelligence. No response was gotten.
An NSA statement said:
"We are not going to comment on any specific information sharing arrangements, or the authority under which any such information is collected."
"The fact that intelligence services work together under specific and regulated conditions mutually strengthens the security of both nations."
"NSA cannot, however, use these relationships to circumvent US legal restrictions."
"Whenever we share intelligence information, we comply with all applicable rules, including the rules to protect US person information."
NSA lies. It does so consistently. It's been caught red-handed many times. Director of National Intelligence head James Clapper is an admitted perjurer.
Nothing US administration or intelligence officials say has credibility. Misinformation, deception and willful lies substitute for truth and full disclosure.
Israel operates the same way. They're rogue imperial partners. They do what ever they want. They do it with impunity. They've always done things this way. Claims otherwise ring hollow.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Join us on our
Share this page with your friends