Italians and the NSA (Snowden & Wikileaks roundup)

Now it’s the Italians’ turn to find out they were spied on. It’s the —
by now usual — routine of listening from the embassy and getting access to the entire Italian telephone network to extract metadata.

(Metadata (n): As in, “The NSA never met a data it didn’t like.”)

Amusing are the notes that the current Italian prime minister is so US-friendly the US tapped him to try and stop the investigation of the CIA kidnapping in Milan of Abu Omar.

On the other hand, when the newspaper approached the relevant US government agencies for comment, none accepted the opportunity. Except, that is, the NSA, who asked the paper to “share the exact names/titles of all of the documents that you plan to cite [in your article]. It would help if we knew exactly what you are viewing.”

After sharing a few document titles, the NSA asked the paper to “shed light on the story itself: what are the findings/conclusions? What are your key claims?”

The newspaper declined, and the NSA, having gotten as much information as they could, dropped the pretense of being willing to comment.

Long article on the Snowden story from Rolling Stone. Yes, Assange did advise Snowden to go to and stay in Russia, on the grounds a future (CIA-inspired?) South American leadership change would make that continent not a good permanent home. I suspect Assange has viewed Russia as a counterbalancing force to US intelligence for a while now — c.f http://cryptome.org/2013/11/assange-moonlight-maze.htm .

Also, Snowden really did go through every document he gave Greenwald & Poitras — the files were meticulously organized in a “incredibly anal, ridiculously elaborate” filing system. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/snowden-and-greenwald-the-men-who-leaked-the-secrets-20131204?print=true

Speaking of Assange. According to a prosecution exhibit in the Manning trial… at one point Assange, or at least someone calling themselves “pressassociation@jabber.ccc.de,” had 4 months worth of audio from every telephone in the Icelandic parliament. “Nixon got nothing on us.”

To his credit, “pressassociation” notes the danger of Farmville & MMORPGs to create immersive Matrix-style societies. Unfortunately the overlooked the ENTIRE FREAKING INTERNET.

WL at one point ALSO had (but, as far as I know, never released) — a censored BBC legal defense against Trafigura(?), Canadian detainee documents, Russian and Chinese material,

a list of ALL the Tea Party volunteers from Glen Beck’s email, an analysis of Australia’s “earth hour” fireworks greenhouse gas release, Hungarian financial documents,

Scientology documents from Haiti (what is it with Haiti and weird religious groups — is there some inter-nutjob war against voodoo?), a load of German material, an entire database from the OECD, Israel’s application to the OECD,

800 pages of interrogation documents, 40GB of Icelandic banking & privatization documents…

Wikileaks also had access to the police fleet tracking system in the city where Assange was staying in 2010-03, and confirmation of an “insider” spy (in Wikileaks? or in the police?). http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/886185/pe-123.pdf

Stratfor recruited Eastern European “regime change architect” Srdja Popovic, according to Wikileaks Stratfor release. http://www.occupy.com/article/exposed-globally-renowned-activist-collaborated-intelligence-firm-stratfor

Snowden’s releases have trigged self-censorship in US journalists. The downside to the leaks. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/04/opinion/snowden-chilling-effect/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

http://espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2013/12/05/news/revealed-how-the-nsa-targets-italy-1.144428

” the former US Ambassador in Rome, Ronald Spogli, even wrote that Berlusconi’s Italy “automatically engages on our behalf” and the trust in the current Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, was so deep that Spogli even approached Letta – when he was the undersecretary to Prime Minister Romano Prodi – to ask for help in halting the investigation by the magistrates of Milan into the CIA’s extraordinary abduction of Abu Omar. Today Enrico Letta even turns directly to President Obama and his deputy, John Kerry, for clarification on the US intelligence spying activities in our country: “I am sure it will be fully explained to us”, he said.[…]

L’Espresso contacted the National Security Agency, the US State Department and the Department of Justice for comments on the top secret files pertaining Italy before publication of this article. L’Espresso even offered the opportunity to raise specific issues and security concerns. The US State Department and the Department of Justice did not reply to our request, whereas the NSA asked l’Espresso to “share the exact names/titles of all of the documents that you plan to cite [in your article]. It would help if we knew exactly what you are viewing”, Nsa spokeswoman, Vanee Vines wrote l’Espresso via email. We provided some of the titles available for the four documents we cite in this article and publish today in our newsmagazine, at that point Vines asked us to “shed ligh on the story itself: what are the findings/conclusions? What are your key claims?”. L’Espresso refused to share information on the story before publication, at that point Nsa spokeswoman, Vanee Vines, replied: “we are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and the US government has made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations”. Finally, Vines asked us: “At the very least, please redact all names and phone numbers and email addresses for security reasons”. The top secret documents examined by l’Espresso did not contain any name, phone number and email address.”

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