Jul 122013
 

Snowden wants Russia asylum, lawmaker says

In this image provided by Human Rights Watch, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, center, attends a news conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport with Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks, left, Friday, July 12, 2013. Snowden wants to seek asylum in Russia, according to a Parliament member who was among about a dozen activists and officials to meet with him Friday in the Moscow airport where he's been marooned for weeks. Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov told reporters of Snowden's intentions after the meeting behind closed doors in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. (AP Photo/Human Rights Watch, Tanya Lokshina)
Associated Press

VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV 13 minutes ago PoliticsVladimir
MOSCOW (AP) — National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wants asylum in Russia and is willing to stop sharing information as a trade-off for such a deal, according to a lawmaker who was among a dozen activists and officials to meet with him Friday at the Moscow airport where he has been marooned for weeks.

Snowden appeared nervous, but in apparently good health during the meeting behind closed doors in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo airport, Duma member Vyacheslav Nikonov told reporters.

Human Rights Watch provided a photo of Snowden at the meeting, the first new image to appear of the former NSA systems analyst since the Guardian newspaper broke the story of widespread U.S. Internet surveillance based on his leaks.

Whether Russia would be willing to take Snowden up on his request is unclear. The Kremlin has signaled that it wants Snowden out. But granting asylum would be a diplomatically risky move, threatening to worsen Moscow-Washington already strained by U.S. criticism of President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on the country’s opposition and Putin’s allegation that the U.S. is meddling in Russian affairs.

But it would allow Putin to portray Russia as a principled defender of human rights and openness, despite the fact that it allows its security agencies to monitor the Internet.

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In this image provided by Human Rights Watch, NSA leaker …

In this image provided by Human Rights Watch, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, center, attends a news conf …

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told Russian news agencies after the announcement that Russia has not yet received a new bid for asylum and that Putin would continue with his insistence that Snowden stop leaking information.

Both Nikonov and Genri Reznik, a lawyer who participated in the meeting, said Snowden was willing to stop leaks.

“He said he was informed of this condition and that he can easily accept it. He does not intend to damage the United States’ interests given that he is a patriot of his country,” Nikonov said. However, it is unclear whether Snowden still is holding onto potentially sensitive information about U.S. intelligence operations.

Snowden is believed to have been stuck in the transit zone since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong, where he had gone before his revelations were made public. He had been expected to transfer in Moscow to a Cuba-bound flight, but did not get on the plane.

A brief video of the meeting’s opening shown on the Russian news site Life News showed Snowden speaking, then being interrupted by a flight announcement on the airport’s public-address system

“I’ve heard that a lot in the past weeks,” Snowden said, smiling ironically.

Snowden made an initial bid for Russian asylum, but Putin said he would have to agree to stop leaking before asylum would be considered. Snowden then withdrew his bid.

Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua recently have offered him asylum, but it is unclear if he could fly to any of those countries from Moscow without passing through airspace of the United States or its allies. Some European countries allegedly refused to allow Bolivian President Evo Morales to fly through their airspace on his way home from Moscow last week because of suspicions that Snowden was on his plane.

In a text of his opening statement at the meeting released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, Snowden said he wanted to accept all asylum offers and travel to the countries that have made them “to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.”

He also denounced the United States for what he said was pressuring its allies to block him from their airspace. Snowden could be hoping that Washington would not risk trying to block a flight he was on if he had Russian asylum.

Journalists gather around Genri Reznik, a prominent …
Journalists gather around Genri Reznik, a prominent lawyer and head of the Moscow bar association, a …

In the short term, he could also be seeking Russian asylum simply as a way of being able to get out of the airport and move freely.

How long a decision would take is unclear. Anatoly Kucherena, a member of a Kremlin advisory body who was at the meeting, said the process could take two to three weeks. But Putin’s imprimatur could accelerate the process, as it did when French actor Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian citizenship in a matter of a few days.

The activists at the meeting included Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty International’s Russia office, and Tatiana Lokshina, deputy head of the Russian office of Human Rights Watch. Also taken into the meeting room was Russia’s presidential human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.

They came after an email in Snowden’s name was sent on Thursday. On Facebook, Lokshina posted the text of the email, which says in part that Snowden wants to make “a brief statement and discussion regarding the next steps forward in my situation.”

Hundreds of journalists flocked to the airport, but were kept in a hallway outside the meeting area which was behind a gray door marked “staff only.” It was not clear if Snowden would have to come out that door or if he could exit by another route.

A view of Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, …
A view of Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, July 12, 2013. A Russian official of  …

Russia has said it cannot extradite him because by remaining in the transit zone he is technically outside Russian territory.

Although the meeting left Snowden’s fate still uncertain, it at least confirmed where he was; speculation had swirled that he had been spirited out of the country.

“We found for ourselves that he is real, he’s no phantom,” said Kuchurena.

___

Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.

Jun 212013
 

Edward Snowden Readies Private Plane for Icelandic Asylum

Reuters  |  Posted: 06/20/2013 6:38 pm EDT

REYKJAVIK, June 20 (Reuters) – An Icelandic businessman linked to WikiLeaks said he has readied a private plane to take Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who exposed secret U.S. surveillance programmes, to Iceland if the government grants him asylum.

“We have made everything ready at our end now we only have to wait for confirmation from the (Icelandic) Interior Ministry,” Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson told Reuters. He is a director of DataCell, a company which processed payments for WikiLeaks.

“A private jet is in place in China and we could fly Snowden over tomorrow if we get positive reaction from the Interior Ministry. We need to get confirmation of asylum and that he will not be extradited to the U.S. We would most want him to get a citizenship as well,” Sigurvinsson said.

Neither a WikiLeaks spokesman nor the Icelandic government were immediately available for comment.

Snowden, a former employee of contractor Booz Allen Hamilton who worked in an NSA facility in Hawaii, made world headlines this month after providing details of the programmes to the Guardian and Washington Post and fleeing to Hong Kong.

Earlier this week, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said a middleman had approached him on behalf of Snowden to seek asylum in Iceland.

The Icelandic government, which has declined to say whether they would grant asylum to Snowden, confirmed it had received the message from Hrafnsson.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, a lawmaker for the Pirate Party in Iceland which campaigns for Internet freedom, said the only way for Snowden to travel to the Nordic country would be to have Icelandic citizenship.

Snowden has mentioned Iceland as a possible refuge.

Iceland has a reputation for promoting Internet freedoms, but Snowden has said he did not travel there immediately from the United States because he feared the country of 320,000 could be pressured by Washington.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over allegations of sex offences, visited Iceland several times in the run-up to some of the website’s major releases. Assange denies any wrongdoing.

WikiLeaks and DataCell won a ruling this year in Iceland’s Supreme Court against MasterCard’s local partner.

The court upheld a lower court’s ruling that the payment card company had illegally ended its contract with the website. WikiLeaks’ funding had been squeezed without the ability to accept card payments. (Reporting by Robert Robertsson; Writing by Alistair Scrutton; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Jun 142013
 

Support Snowden Rally Hong Kong

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Support Edward Snowden HK香港聲援愛德華.斯諾登

Event

“My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.
I have been given no reason to doubt your system.”
– Edward Snowden

Meet 3pm, Chater Garden, Central Exit J2 | 本周六下午3點中環地鐵 J2出口

March to the US consulate, then HK SAR HQ in Tamar.

place

Confirmed Speakers:

Speaking at Chater Garden:
Albert Ho, Chairman of HK Alliance & ex-Democratic Party leader: “Why this case is important for HK’s future”
Ip lam Chong, In-Media HK: “The implications of Edward Snowden coming to Hong Kong”
Claudia Mo, LEGCO member, founding member of Civic Party: “Whistleblowers and free speech in HK”

Speaking at the US Consulate:
Charles Mok, LEGCO member: “The right to communicate safely online and freedom of expression”

Speaking at HK Gov’t HQ:
Law Yuk Kai, Director, HK Human Rights Monitor: “Hong Kong’s legal system & international legal system”
Ronny Tong, Civic Party LEGCO member: ” “

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Info at InMedia.org (Chi) & HongWrong.com (Eng)

Updates @ Follow us

Rally tag: #snowdenhk
Click to tweet this event in English or in Chinese.

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Download signs/placards (or make your own):

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Download event flyer (Eng/Chi):

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Link to event & update your timeline pic on FB:

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Download press release / organiser contact info (Eng/Chi):

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  • Edward Snowden, the whistleblower behind the NSA internet and phone surveillance program has come to Hong Kong because, he says, we “have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”. Snowden sacrificed his personal safety and freedom to defend our right to free speech and Internet freedom.
  • We call on Hong Kong to respect international legal standards and procedures relating to the protection of Snowden; we condemn the U.S. government for violating our rights and privacy; and we call on the U.S. not to prosecute Snowden.”
  • Do you want to stand for freedom and the rule of law? Or should we totally disregard Hong Kong’s legal system? This episode marks a crossroads in Hong Kong’s future. Stand up for the future of Hong Kong.
  • Time: 3-5:30pm, Saturday June 15, 2013. Please bring a whistle!
  • Rally route: Starting 3pm at Chater Garden, Central MTR exit J2. Rally to the U.S Consulate and then Tamar SAR government building.
  • Rally preparation: Please bring your friends, prepare for rain and try to bring water resistant posters. Slogan suggestions: “Defend Free Speech, Protect Snowden”, “No Extradition”, “Respect Hong Kong Law”, “Shame on NSA”, “Stop Internet Surveillance”, “Betray Snowden = Betray Freedom”.

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  • 揭發美國國家安全局侵犯全球互聯網和電話用戶私隱的愛德華.斯諾登目前正藏身香港,
    因為他相信香港「很重視言論自由和表達政治異見的權利」。他犧牲了自己的安逸的生活和自由,
    去捍衞大家的網絡與言論自由,這場仗不應該由他一個人來背負。
  • 請大家站出來,要求香港政府根據本身的法律去處理和保護斯諾登;譴責美國侵犯我們的權利與私隱,
    要求美國政府不要壓害這位人權捍衞者。
  • 我們亦要借這機會,告訴世界,香港市民會站出來,捍衞自由、人權和法治等普世價值。
    發出我們的聲音,向壓迫者說不!
  • 遊行時間:2013年6月15日下午3點至5點半。 請帶上口哨,我們都是 whistleblowers.
  • 遊行路線:3點於遮打花園(中環站J2出口)起步遊行至美國領事館抗議,
    再遊行至添馬艦政府總部要求港府保護斯諾登。
  • 遊行準備:請呼朋引伴一齊來;由於當天可能下雨,請自備一些防水的海報和橫額。遊行的口號包括:
    「捍衞自由港 保護斯諾登」、「停止互聯網監控」、「NSA可恥」、「出賣斯諾登=出賣自由」

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Rally organisers | 遊行發起團體:

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hongwrong
inmedia
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speak for humanity
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china worker logo logo

inmediahk.net 香港獨立媒體網
Hong Wrong
Civil Human Rights Front 民間人權陣線
People Power 人民力量
Hong Kong Christian Institute 香港基督徒學會
Hong Kong First 香港本土
Midnight Blue 午夜藍
Speak For Humanity
Land Justice League 土地正義聯盟
1908 Book Store 1908書社
Youth Union 青年聯社
Left 21 左翼廿
Socialist Action 社會主義行動
NuTongXueShe 女同學社
League of Social Democrats 社會民主連線
Hong Kong Professional Teachers Union 香港教育專業人員協會
Next Media Trade Union 壹傳媒工會
Defend HK Freedom 保衛香港自由聯盟
Autonomous8a 自治八樓
Hong Kong Women’s Worker Association 婦女勞工協會
League of Social Democrats 社會民主連線
Hong Kong Civil Liberties Union
Democratic Party 民主黨
Labour Party 工黨
The Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre 街工
Student Union of The Chinese University of Hong Kong 中大學生會
Globalisation Monitor 全球化監察

Jun 122013
 

Why Edward Snowden Is a Hero

Posted by

Is Edward Snowden, the twenty-nine-year-old N.S.A. whistle-blower who was last said to be hiding in Hong Kong awaiting his fate, a hero or a traitor? He is a hero. In revealing the colossal scale of the U.S. government’s eavesdropping on Americans and other people around the world, he has performed a great public service that more than outweighs any breach of trust he may have committed. Like Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department official who released the Pentagon Papers, and Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician who revealed the existence of Israel’s weapons program, before him, Snowden has brought to light important information that deserved to be in the public domain, while doing no lasting harm to the national security of his country.

Doubtless, many people inside the U.S. power structure—President Obama included—and some of its apologists in the media will see things differently. When Snowden told the Guardian that “nothing good” was going to happen to him, he was almost certainly right. In fleeing to Hong Kong, he may have overlooked the existence of its extradition pact with the United States, which the U.S. authorities will most certainly seek to invoke. The National Security Agency has already referred the case to the Justice Department, and James Clapper, Obama’s director of National Intelligence, has said that Snowden’s leaks have done “huge, grave damage” to “our intelligence capabilities.”

Before accepting such claims at face value, let’s remind ourselves of what the leaks so far have not contained. They didn’t reveal anything about the algorithms that the N.S.A. uses, the groups or individuals that the agency targets, or the identities of U.S. agents. They didn’t contain the contents of any U.S. military plans, or of any conversations between U.S. or foreign officials. As Glenn Greenwald, one of the journalists who broke the story, pointed out on “Morning Joe” today, this wasn’t a WikiLeaks-style data dump. “[Snowden] spent months meticulously studying every document,” Greenwald said. “He didn’t just upload them to the Internet.”

So, what did the leaks tell us? First, they confirmed that the U.S. government, without obtaining any court warrants, routinely collects the phone logs of tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of Americans, who have no links to terrorism whatsoever. If the publicity prompts Congress to prevent phone companies such as Verizon and A.T. & T. from acting as information-gathering subsidiaries of the spying agencies, it won’t hamper legitimate domestic-surveillance operations—the N.S.A. can always go to court to obtain a wiretap or search warrant—and it will be a very good thing for the country.

The second revelation in the leaks was that the N.S.A., in targeting foreign suspects, has the capacity to access vast amounts of user data from U.S.-based Internet companies such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Skype. Exactly how this is done remains a bit murky. But it’s clear that, in the process of monitoring the communications of overseas militants and officials and the people who communicate with them, the N.S.A. sweeps up a great deal of online data about Americans, and keeps it locked away—seemingly forever.

Conceivably, the fact that Uncle Sam is watching their Facebook and Google accounts could come as news to some dimwit would-be jihadis in foreign locales, prompting them to communicate in ways that are harder for the N.S.A. to track. But it will hardly surprise the organized terrorist groups, which already go to great lengths to avoid being monitored. Not for nothing did Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad go without a phone or Internet connection.

Another Snowden leak, which Greenwald and the Guardian published over the weekend, was a set of documents concerning another secret N.S.A. tracking program with an Orwellian name: “Boundless Informant.” Apparently designed to keep Snowden’s former bosses abreast of what sorts of data it was collecting around the world, the program unveiled the vast reach of the N.S.A.’s activities. In March, 2013, alone, the Guardian reported, the N.S.A. collected ninety-seven billion pieces of information from computer networks worldwide, and three billion of those pieces came from U.S.-based networks.

It’s hardly surprising that the main targets for the N.S.A.’s data collection were Iran (fourteen billion pieces in that period) and Pakistan (more than thirteen billion), but countries such as Jordan, India, and Egypt, American allies all, may be a bit surprised to find themselves so high on the list. “We hack everyone everywhere,” Snowden told the Guardian. “We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries.”

For most Americans, the main concern will be domestic spying, and the chronic lack of oversight that Snowden’s leaks have highlighted. In the years since 9/11, the spying agencies have been given great leeway to expand their activities, with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, which deals with legal requests from the agencies, and the congressional intelligence committees, which nominally oversees all of their activities, all too often acting as rubber stamps rather than proper watchdogs.

Partly, that was due to lack of gumption and an eagerness to look tough on issues of counterterrorism. But it also reflected a lack of information. Just a couple of months ago, at a Senate hearing, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, one of the few legislators to sound any misgivings over the activities of the intelligence agencies, asked Clapper, “Does the N.S.A. collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” To which Clapper replied: “No, sir.” (He added, “Not wittingly.”) At another hearing, General Keith Alexander, the director of the N.S.A., denied fourteen times that the agency had the technical capability to intercept e-mails and other online communications in the United States.

Thanks to Snowden, and what he told the Guardian and the Washington Post, we now have cause to doubt the truth of this testimony. In Snowden’s words: “The N.S.A. has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.”

Were Clapper and Alexander deliberately lying? If so, perhaps Snowden should be extradited to the United States and dragged into court—but only as part of a proceeding in which the two spymasters face charges of misleading Congress. I suppose you could make the argument that he is a naïve young man who didn’t fully understand the dangerous nature of the world in which we live. You could question his motives, and call him a publicity seeker, or an idiot. (Fleeing to Hong Kong wasn’t very smart.) But he doesn’t sound like an airhead; he sounds like that most awkward and infuriating of creatures—a man of conscience. “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things,” he told Greenwald. “I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

So what is Snowden’s real crime? Like Ellsberg, Vanunu, and Bradley Manning before him, he uncovered questionable activities that those in power would rather have kept secret. That’s the valuable role that whistle-blowers play in a free society, and it’s one that, in each individual case, should be weighed against the breach of trust they commit, and the potential harm their revelations can cause. In some instances, conceivably, the interests of the state should prevail. Here, though, the scales are clearly tipped in Snowden’s favor.

I’ll leave the last word to Ellsberg, who, for revealing to the world that that Pentagon knew early on that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable, was described in some quarters as a communist and a traitor: “Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA’s surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans’ and foreign citizens’ privacy does not contribute to our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we’re trying to protect.”

Photograph by Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty.

Jun 092013
 

Edward Snowden: the NSA Surveillance whistleblower

The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Snowden will go down in history as one of America’s most consequential whistleblowers, alongside Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. He is responsible for handing over material from one of the world’s most secretive organisations – the NSA.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,” but “I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant.”

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. “I don’t want public attention because I don’t want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing.”

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. “I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me.”

Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert attention from the substance of his disclosures. “I really want the focus to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in.” He added: “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

He has had “a very comfortable life” that included a salary of roughly $200,000, a girlfriend with whom he shared a home in Hawaii, a stable career, and a family he loves. “I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

‘I am not afraid, because this is the choice I’ve made’

Three weeks ago, Snowden made final preparations that resulted in last week’s series of blockbuster news stories. At the NSA office in Hawaii where he was working, he copied the last set of documents he intended to disclose.

He then advised his NSA supervisor that he needed to be away from work for “a couple of weeks” in order to receive treatment for epilepsy, a condition he learned he suffers from after a series of seizures last year.

As he packed his bags, he told his girlfriend that he had to be away for a few weeks, though he said he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade working in the intelligence world.”

On May 20, he boarded a flight to Hong Kong, where he has remained ever since. He chose the city because “they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”, and because he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the US government.

In the three weeks since he arrived, he has been ensconced in a hotel room. “I’ve left the room maybe a total of three times during my entire stay,” he said. It is a plush hotel and, what with eating meals in his room too, he has run up big bills.

He is deeply worried about being spied on. He lines the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them.

Though that may sound like paranoia to some, Snowden has good reason for such fears. He worked in the US intelligence world for almost a decade. He knows that the biggest and most secretive surveillance organisation in America, the NSA, along with the most powerful government on the planet, is looking for him.

Since the disclosures began to emerge, he has watched television and monitored the internet, hearing all the threats and vows of prosecution emanating from Washington.

And he knows only too well the sophisticated technology available to them and how easy it will be for them to find him. The NSA police and other law enforcement officers have twice visited his home in Hawaii and already contacted his girlfriend, though he believes that may have been prompted by his absence from work, and not because of suspicions of any connection to the leaks.

“All my options are bad,” he said. The US could begin extradition proceedings against him, a potentially problematic, lengthy and unpredictable course for Washington. Or the Chinese government might whisk him away for questioning, viewing him as a useful source of information. Or he might end up being grabbed and bundled into a plane bound for US territory.

“Yes, I could be rendered by the CIA. I could have people come after me. Or any of the third-party partners. They work closely with a number of other nations. Or they could pay off the Triads. Any of their agents or assets,” he said.

“We have got a CIA station just up the road – the consulate here in Hong Kong – and I am sure they are going to be busy for the next week. And that is a concern I will live with for the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.”

Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate, he fully expects the US government to attempt to use all its weight to punish him. “I am not afraid,” he said calmly, “because this is the choice I’ve made.”

He predicts the government will launch an investigation and “say I have broken the Espionage Act and helped our enemies, but that can be used against anyone who points out how massive and invasive the system has become”.

The only time he became emotional during the many hours of interviews was when he pondered the impact his choices would have on his family, many of whom work for the US government. “The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night,” he said, his eyes welling up with tears.

‘You can’t wait around for someone else to act’

Snowden did not always believe the US government posed a threat to his political values. He was brought up originally in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. His family moved later to Maryland, near the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade.

By his own admission, he was not a stellar student. In order to get the credits necessary to obtain a high school diploma, he attended a community college in Maryland, studying computing, but never completed the coursework. (He later obtained his GED.)

In 2003, he enlisted in the US army and began a training program to join the Special Forces. Invoking the same principles that he now cites to justify his leaks, he said: “I wanted to fight in the Iraq war because I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”.

He recounted how his beliefs about the war’s purpose were quickly dispelled. “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone,” he said. After he broke both his legs in a training accident, he was discharged.

After that, he got his first job in an NSA facility, working as a security guard for one of the agency’s covert facilities at the University of Maryland. From there, he went to the CIA, where he worked on IT security. His understanding of the internet and his talent for computer programming enabled him to rise fairly quickly for someone who lacked even a high school diploma.

By 2007, the CIA stationed him with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland. His responsibility for maintaining computer network security meant he had clearance to access a wide array of classified documents.

That access, along with the almost three years he spent around CIA officers, led him to begin seriously questioning the rightness of what he saw.

He described as formative an incident in which he claimed CIA operatives were attempting to recruit a Swiss banker to obtain secret banking information. Snowden said they achieved this by purposely getting the banker drunk and encouraging him to drive home in his car. When the banker was arrested for drunk driving, the undercover agent seeking to befriend him offered to help, and a bond was formed that led to successful recruitment.

“Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he says. “I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

He said it was during his CIA stint in Geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. But, at the time, he chose not to for two reasons.

First, he said: “Most of the secrets the CIA has are about people, not machines and systems, so I didn’t feel comfortable with disclosures that I thought could endanger anyone”. Secondly, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave him hope that there would be real reforms, rendering disclosures unnecessary.

He left the CIA in 2009 in order to take his first job working for a private contractor that assigned him to a functioning NSA facility, stationed on a military base in Japan. It was then, he said, that he “watched as Obama advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in”, and as a result, “I got hardened.”

The primary lesson from this experience was that “you can’t wait around for someone else to act. I had been looking for leaders, but I realised that leadership is about being the first to act.”

Over the next three years, he learned just how all-consuming the NSA’s surveillance activities were, claiming “they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behaviour in the world known to them”.

He described how he once viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. As an adolescent, he spent days at a time “speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own”.

But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Once he reached the conclusion that the NSA’s surveillance net would soon be irrevocable, he said it was just a matter of time before he chose to act. “What they’re doing” poses “an existential threat to democracy”, he said.

A matter of principle

As strong as those beliefs are, there still remains the question: why did he do it? Giving up his freedom and a privileged lifestyle? “There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich.”

For him, it is a matter of principle. “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” he said.

His allegiance to internet freedom is reflected in the stickers on his laptop: “I support Online Rights: Electronic Frontier Foundation,” reads one. Another hails the online organisation offering anonymity, the Tor Project.

Asked by reporters to establish his authenticity to ensure he is not some fantasist, he laid bare, without hesitation, his personal details, from his social security number to his CIA ID and his expired diplomatic passport. There is no shiftiness. Ask him about anything in his personal life and he will answer.

He is quiet, smart, easy-going and self-effacing. A master on computers, he seemed happiest when talking about the technical side of surveillance, at a level of detail comprehensible probably only to fellow communication specialists. But he showed intense passion when talking about the value of privacy and how he felt it was being steadily eroded by the behaviour of the intelligence services.

His manner was calm and relaxed but he has been understandably twitchy since he went into hiding, waiting for the knock on the hotel door. A fire alarm goes off. “That has not happened before,” he said, betraying anxiety wondering if was real, a test or a CIA ploy to get him out onto the street.

Strewn about the side of his bed are his suitcase, a plate with the remains of room-service breakfast, and a copy of Angler, the biography of former vice-president Dick Cheney.

Ever since last week’s news stories began to appear in the Guardian, Snowden has vigilantly watched TV and read the internet to see the effects of his choices. He seemed satisfied that the debate he longed to provoke was finally taking place.

He lay, propped up against pillows, watching CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ask a discussion panel about government intrusion if they had any idea who the leaker was. From 8,000 miles away, the leaker looked on impassively, not even indulging in a wry smile.

Snowden said that he admires both Ellsberg and Manning, but argues that there is one important distinction between himself and the army private, whose trial coincidentally began the week Snowden’s leaks began to make news.

“I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he said. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”

He purposely chose, he said, to give the documents to journalists whose judgment he trusted about what should be public and what should remain concealed.

As for his future, he is vague. He hoped the publicity the leaks have generated will offer him some protection, making it “harder for them to get dirty”.

He views his best hope as the possibility of asylum, with Iceland – with its reputation of a champion of internet freedom – at the top of his list. He knows that may prove a wish unfulfilled.

But after the intense political controversy he has already created with just the first week’s haul of stories, “I feel satisfied that this was all worth it. I have no regrets.”

Jun 072013
 

Thomas Jefferson was a remarkable man who started learning very early in life and never stopped.

At 5, began studying under his cousin’s tutor.

At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.

At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.

At 16, entered the College of William and Mary.

At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.

At 23, started his own law practice.

At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.

At 31, wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America and retired from his law practice.

At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.

At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.

At 33, took three years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.

At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia succeeding Patrick Henry.

At 40, served in Congress for two years.

At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.

At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.

At 53, served as Vice President and was elected president of the American Philosophical Society.

At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of Republican Party.

At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.

At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase doubling the nation’s size.

At 61, was elected to a second term as President.

At 65, retired to Monticello.

At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.

At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia and served as its first president.

At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence along with John Adams.

Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson really knew his stuff. A voice from the past to lead us in the future:

John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the white House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement: “This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

Thomas Jefferson Quotes

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms…disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. (Quoting Cesare Beccaria)

The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

The god who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.

And the day will come, when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva, in the brain of Jupiter.

In matters of style, swim with the current; In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.

The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.

When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will be borne, resistance becomes morality.

Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…. And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.

It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately.

Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free.

He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others.

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

In a government bottomed on the will of all, the…liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

Most bad government has grown out of too much government.

Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.

I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?

A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.

The right of self-government does not comprehend the government of others.

An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.

History, in general, only informs us what bad government is.

If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.

It is better to tolerate that rare instance of a parent’s refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings by a forcible transportation and education of the infant against the will of his father.

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.

The man who reads nothing at all is better than educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature.

In every country and every age, the priest has been hostile to Liberty.

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

May 132013
 

Does Innovation Require the Patent Office?

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Two years ago, I spoke to a gentlemen who had started and sold four companies. He was currently working on a new project that sounded very promising (for all I know, he has already sold that one too). We had just heard a talk in which the speaker told people that the whole key to business success in our time is patent ownership. Without it, no business can really succeed.

So I asked this gentleman what he thought of the talk. His response was quick (I paraphrase here):

“I’ve never once bothered with patents. They are expensive and pointless. They produce no revenue on their own. They sell no product or service. And they harm development by hemming in a company on a preset track. I need to be able to customize offerings and change what we do day to day. Patents bias a company toward old solutions even when they don’t work anymore.”

That’s an interesting perspective. And it raises the question: How much do patents have to do with innovation in the real world?

As much as we hear about patents, we might suppose there is some sort of direct link between them and the innovations we enjoy in our lives. Someone invents something and shows the plan to a bureaucrat. The exclusive license is issued, and away we go.

Economic historians have usually assumed a direct link between patents and innovation, basing much of their chronicle of history on records at the Patent Office. Much of what we think we know — that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, that the Wright Brothers were first in flight, that Thomas Edison holds the record for inventions because he has the most patents — comes from these records.

But is it true? Most patent holders assume so. They cling to them as a source of life and defend them against all encroachment. Some businesses build up their war chests with patents as purely defensive measures. The more you own, the more you can intimidate your competitors to stay out of your territory.

So how important are patents in generating innovation? The answer is not much, according to four economists from the Technical University of Lisbon. They are circulating their research on a platform sponsored by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. They looked at the best innovations between 1977-2004, as listed by the R&D awards in the journal Research and Development. They matched 3,000 innovations against patent records to establish the relationship.

Their findings are remarkable: Nine in 10 of the innovations were never patented. They were just created and marketed, and changed the world. In other words, it’s the market, not the bureaucracy, that innovates. The authors grant that there might have been downstream versions of the same innovations that were patented. But that fact actually doesn’t change the implications of the study, namely that there is no relationship between the existence of the Patent Office and direction and pace of innovation.

As you dig through their citations, you find other nuggets of information. It turns out that other researchers have found the same thing in early parts of the 20th century and even all the way back to the middle of the 19th. The results keep coming up the same way: There are patents and there are innovations, but they have little or nothing to do with each other.

These results are a classic case of the huge chasm between pop science and real science. In the pop version, people imagine that they will dream up some idea, file a patent, and then bring it into production and become a billionaire. The reality on the ground is that 90% of patents go completely unused. They are suitable for hanging, but not much else.

The patents that are actually in play in this world are used as weapons by big shots to hurt their competitors. They don’t cause business to succeed; it’s the reverse. The bigger the business, the more it is in the market for patents to help the big business hold its place in the market. They prompt lawsuits that go on for years that are eventually settled with an exchange of cash. Meanwhile, rather than actually fueling the innovative process, they put it on hold. So long as a patent is in existence, other innovations are legally bound not to do what they do best.

The software industry is an excellent case in point. In the 1970s and 1980s, patents were rare to nonexistent. Companies made money by making stuff and selling it, just as free enterprise would suggest. Then, the industry grew. People like Steve Jobs who once touted that talent for stealing the ideas of others began threatening other companies with lawsuits. Young programmers today know for a fact that if they ever come up with anything that threatens a big player, the small company is going to be hammered.

Two parallel streams of innovative software strategies have been running over the last 10 years: 1) highly protected and 2) patentless open source. Apple and Microsoft represent the patented style. Google is much more inclined to the open model. Companies like WordPress reveal their code to the world and make money in other ways. A good test case comes from the big smartphone war between Apple’s iOS, on the one hand, and Google’s Android operating system on the other.

The consensus today is that Android is winning hands down in terms of new users. The open-source system is roaring ahead with more than half the smartphone market already and a growing percentage of the tablet market. In terms of moneymaking, the app economy of the iOS is actually doing much better. But consider that it had a huge start, whereas the Android came much later. My own impression from dealing with both is that Android is moving ahead in every area fast.

We need to rethink our assumptions about the role of patents and innovations. If they have nothing to do with each other, and if patents actually dramatically slow down the pace of development, why not get rid of them altogether? That’s exactly what many of the old liberals of the 19th century pushed, and it the case is further bolstered by Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property.

Government planning never works. Laissez Faire isn’t perfect, but it provides the best chance for innovations to appear and thrive and for prosperity to result. The lesson for anyone with a business idea: Run with it and don’t wait on a bureaucracy.

Sincerely,
Jeffrey Tucker

Apr 212013
 

Bob Podolsky

Physicist, Psychotherapist, and Author Bob Podolsky  takes his experience from his psychotherapy practice and combines it with his experience from his physics and systems analysis career to understand what would have to change in order for humanity to thrive.

It turns out their is a root cause of most of the problems in the human condition! We have been taught to believe there are a great deal of the problems in the world like war, slavery, taxation, crime, pollution.   It turns out these are simply symptoms of the problem.  The real problem is Hierarchies.  There is an alternative that was developed by Bob and John David Garcia. The system combines ethics and unanimous agreement between the participants to increase creativity.  Unless humanity makes substantive changes to the way we organize as humans we are doomed to extinction!

Apr 162013
 

Who was Fredrick Bastiat

Frederic Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic concept of opportunity cost, and for penning the influential Parable of the Broken Window.

Bastiat asserted that the sole purpose of government is to protect the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property, and why it is dangerous and morally wrong for government to interfere with an individual’s other personal matters. From this, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty, and property if it promotes “legal [or legalized] plunder,” which he defined as using government force and laws to take something from one individual and give it to others (as opposed to a transfer of property via mutually-agreed contracts, without using fraud nor violent threats against the other party, which Bastiat considered a legitimate transfer of property

Frederic Bastiat Quotes

“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”

“Thus, if there exists a law which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or robbery, in any form whatever, it must not even be mentioned. For how can it be mentioned without damaging the respect which it inspires? Still further, morality and political economy must be taught from the point of view of this law; from the supposition that it must be a just law merely because it is a law. Another effect of this tragic perversion of the law is that it gives an exaggerated importance to political passions and conflicts, and to politics in general.”

“Legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways; hence, there are an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, bonuses, subsidies, incentives, the progressive income tax, free education, the right to employment, the right to profit, the right to wages, the right to relief, the right to the tools of production, interest free credit, etc., etc. And it the aggregate of all these plans, in respect to what they have in common, legal plunder, that goes under the name of socialism.”

“Society is composed of men, and every man is a FREE agent. Since man is free, he can choose; since he can choose, he can err; since he can err, he can suffer. I go further: He must err and he must suffer; for his starting point is ignorance, and in his ignorance he sees before him an infinite number of unknown roads, all of which save one lead to error.”

“They would be the shepherds over us, their sheep. Certainly such an arrangement presupposes that they are naturally superior to the rest of us. And certainly we are fully justified in demanding from the legislators and organizers proof of this natural superiority.”

“All you have to do, is to see whether the law takes from some what belongs to them in order to give it to others to whom it does not belong. We must see whether the law performs, for the profit of one citizen and to the detriment of others, an act which that citizen could not perform himself without being guilty of a crime. Repeal such a law without delay. … [I]f you don’t take care, what begins by being an exception tends to become general, to multiply itself, and to develop into a veritable system.”

“The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its purpose is to protect persons and property…. If you exceed this proper limit — if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, or artistic — you will then be lost in uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it on you.”

“As long as the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting to gain access to the legislature as well as fighting within it.”

“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal.”

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.”

“The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.”

“Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve… But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay … No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.”

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”

“The state tends to expand in proportion to its means of existence and to live beyond its means, and these are, in the last analysis, nothing but the substance of the people. Woe to the people that cannot limit the sphere of action of the state! Freedom, private enterprise, wealth, happiness, independence, personal dignity, all vanish.”

“Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.”

“The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else.”

“When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”

“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

“No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs (which alas! is all too inadequate).”

“By virtue of exchange, one man’s prosperity is beneficial to all others.”

 

More Frederic Bastiat quotes:

Apr 022013
 

Bob Podolsky on Declare your Independence

Robert Podolsky, is the son of famous physicist Boris Podolsky.

Podolsky who was a key in formulating the Einstein – Podolsky – Rosen (EPR) paper on quantum entanglement. Bob is promoting the Titania Project; self-organizing networks of humans which would displace hierarchical government, i.e. anarchy but not chaos.

2013-02-06 Hour 3 Robert Podolsky from Ernest Hancock on Vimeo.