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Astronomy News – Space Science – Articles and Images

 Astronomy  Comments Off on Astronomy News – Space Science – Articles and Images
Aug 262015
 

Has Stephen Hawking Just Solved a Huge Black-Hole Mystery?

August 25th, 2015

Hawking and two colleagues propose that information isn’t destroyed at the heart of a black hole; it’s stored at the black hole’s boundary in holographic form.

Stem Cells Survive Wild Ride on Prototype Space Capsule

August 25th, 2015

Despite a rough landing, stem cells riding in a prototype capsule survived a long fall back to Earth during a drop test part of an initiative to conduct research on the cells in space.

High-Res NASA Video of Hurricane Katrina Could Improve Forecasting

August 24th, 2015

Ten years after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, NASA has helped scientists better understand why the storm was so devastating, and how to save lives in the future.

Deadly 2005 Hurricane Season – What Powered It? | Video

August 24th, 2015

27 named storms formed over the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean in 2005, which spawned the most category 5 storms in a single season. NASA and NOAA tracked the paths of these killers. [On average there are only 10 storms per year.]

Meeting Pluto: Upcoming Kavli Hangout Explores New Horizons (LIVE)

August 21st, 2015

Learn the latest about Pluto in a live Google Hangout with NASA New Horizons co-lead Richard Benzel, team member Cathy Olkin, and Pluto expert Michael Brown.

Wormhole Created in Lab Makes Invisible Magnetic Field

August 20th, 2015

Physicists have created a so-called magnetic wormhole that transports a magnetic field from one point to the other without being detected.

Pulsar Proves Gravitational Constant is ‘Rock-Solid’

August 20th, 2015

Through extremely high precision measurements of a pulsar orbiting a white dwarf star, astronomers have found that the gravitational constant, which dictates the force of gravity, is “reassuringly constant” throughout the universe.

Curiosity Rover Snaps Awesome Selfies on Mars During Mountain Trek

August 19th, 2015

The 1-ton Curiosity rover snapped several low-angle shots with the camera at the end of its robotic arm on Aug. 5, at a site called Marias Pass in the foothills of the 3.4-mile-high (5.5 kilometers) Mount Sharp.

1.7 Billion Year-Old Star Cluster Snapped By ESO Observatory | Video

August 19th, 2015

3,000 light-years away in the Ara constellation lies the open star cluster IC 4651. According to the European Southern Observatory, “the stars in IC 4651 all formed around the same time out of the same cloud of gas.”

Radical! Neon Found on the Moon

August 18th, 2015

NASA’s LADEE spacecraft has made the first-ever detection of neon in the wispy lunar atmosphere, which is properly known as an “exosphere” because it’s so thin about 100 trillion times less dense than that of Earth at sea level.

Saturn’s Weirdest Ring Explained: Ancient Collision Caused It

August 18th, 2015

The mystery behind the origin of what may be Saturn’s oddest ring and its two companion moons may finally be solved: They came from an ancient, catastrophic collision, researchers say.

Yes, Even the Equator Can Get Slammed by Solar Storms

August 18th, 2015

When the magnetosphere shields Earth from these solar particles, they get funneled toward the polar regions of our atmosphere.

‘Lonely Mountain’ on Dwarf Planet Ceres Shines in Jaw-Dropping Photos

August 25th, 2015

A lonely mountain and other stunning features that dot the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres appear in amazing detail in new images from the Dawn spacecraft.

Photos: Hurricane Katrina From Space

August 25th, 2015

NASA spacecraft watched closely in 2005 as a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season yielded 27 named storms, including the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Fire Fountains of the Ancient Moon Explained

August 24th, 2015

The ancient lunar surface once erupted with geysers of lava and now, scientists think they know what caused these fiery fountains.

NASA & NOAA Now Understand Killer Hurricane Katrinas Deadly Details | Video

August 24th, 2015

Data from the GOES-5 satellite drove this simulation, illuminating the wind intensities and water vapor transport powering the massive category 5 storm, which ravaged New Orleans, Louisiana and adjoining areas in 2005.

Why Does Comet 67P Sing? Scientists Think They Know

August 21st, 2015

A strange song radiated by Comet 67P/C-G mystified scientists who first heard it last year. Now, they think they’ve solved the mystery of the singing space rock.

Astronomer Makes Music From A Ringing Star | Video

August 20th, 2015

Star surfaces boil with brightness variations expressible as audio waveforms. Turkish astronomer Burak Ula has found that star Y Cam of the Algol eclipsing binary ‘sings’ on a diminished whole tone scale, which he used to compose a piano piece.

Where Will NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover Land?

August 20th, 2015

The 28-mile-wide (45 kilometers) Jezero Crater emerged as the frontrunner among 30 or so potential locales during the second landing-site workshop for NASA’s 2020 Mars rover mission.

To Build a Gas Giant Planet, Just Add Pebbles

August 19th, 2015

Gas-giant planets such as Jupiter and Saturn form quickly, thanks to the fast accretion of pebble-size building blocks, new research suggests.

To Pluto and Beyond: Planetarium Show Wows Space Fans

August 19th, 2015

A planetarium show at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History this month gave audience members a vivid look at the New Horizons spacecraft’s epic flyby of Pluto.

‘Oxymoronic’ Supermassive Black Hole Found | Video

August 18th, 2015

Black hole RGG 118’s mass is 50,000 times that of the Sun and is 100 times less massive than the one found in the center of the milky way.

‘Eiffel Tower’ Prominence Towers Over The Sun

August 18th, 2015

An astrophotographer spotted a beautifully-formed solar prominence that looks like a giant version of the famous Parisian landmark.

Ace Solar Observatory to Make 3,000th Comet Discovery

August 17th, 2015

After nearly 20 years gazing at the sun, the SOHO spacecraft is about to spy its 3,000th comet.

Lonely Mountain On Dwarf Planet Ceres Has Bizarre Bright Streaks | Video

August 25th, 2015

NASA Dawn mission has returned a high resolution image from 915 miles above the surface of Ceres revealing a 4-mile-high mountain with brightly streaked slopes. Dawn captured the area, located in the southern hemisphere, on Aug. 19th, 2015.

Sun Unleashes Medium-Strength Solar Flare (Photo)

August 24th, 2015

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured an image of the flare, which erupted at 3:33 a.m. EDT (0733 GMT) this morning from a sunspot known as active region 2403.

Star Tunes: Composer Sets Twinkling Data to Music

August 24th, 2015

An astronomer and amateur musician has coaxed a haunting melody from a star’s distinctive twinkle.

Best Space Stories of the Week August 23, 2015

August 23rd, 2015

Scientists created a “magnetic wormhole” in the lab, a Canadian company got a patent for a huge inflatable space elevator and the mystery of the “singing” comet may be solved. Here are Space.com’s top stories of the week.

Digital Calendar Shows Best Images from NASA Space Telescope

August 21st, 2015

The new calendar features a dozen of the best pictures captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, which blasted off on Aug. 23, 2003, and continues to observe the heavens today.

Where Is All the Dark Energy and Dark Matter?

August 20th, 2015

Two experiments on Earth are helping to shine light on the hidden characteristics of dark energy and dark matter, elusive phenomena that make up nearly 95 percent of the universe but remains hidden from direct detection.

No Asteroid Is Threatening to Hit Earth Next Month, NASA Says

August 19th, 2015

For the last few months, rumors have circulated that a big asteroid will slam into Earth near Puerto Rico between Sept. 15 and Sept. 28, wreaking widespread destruction. Don’t believe the hype.

It’s Full of Stars! Brilliant Cluster Captured in New Images, Video

August 19th, 2015

A middle-aged clutch of stars shines in many colors in a new image released by the European Southern Observatory. The stars in the image are from an open star cluster called IC 4651, which lies in the Milky Way about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

Cosmic Forensics Pinpoint Stellar Suspects in Supernovae (Kavli Roundtable)

August 19th, 2015

New discoveries are showing how dying stars illuminate the universe.

Enormous Red Sprites Seen From Space (Update)

See the original post here:

Astronomy News – Space Science – Articles and Images

The Order of the Illuminati: Its Origins, Its Methods and Its …

 Illuminati  Comments Off on The Order of the Illuminati: Its Origins, Its Methods and Its …
Aug 232015
 

The Order of the Illuminati is often at the center of debates about the impact of secret societies on human history. Is the Illuminati a myth or does it truly secretly rule the world? As the number of people asking that question has grown, facts about the Order have become diluted with misconceptions and disinformation, making objective research on the subject difficult. This article attempts to shed some factual light on the Order of the Illuminati by reviewing some of the most important documents on the subject.

The world Illuminati is thrown around rather freely to describe the elite group that is secretly running the world. Most have a general idea of the meaning of the term, but are confused about the concepts and the ideas relating to it. Is the Illuminati the same thing as Freemasonry? What are their goals? What are their beliefs? Why do they act in secret? Do they practice occultism? Attempting to objectively research the subject can become an arduous task as most sources end up being either dismissive disinformation pieces that deny (and even ridicule) anything related to the Illuminati or, at the other end of the spectrum, espouse ill-informed fear mongering based on rumors and misconceptions. In both cases, the researcher ends up with the same result: a distorted version of the truth.

Considering that Secret Societies are supposed to be, by definition, secret, and that history is often rewritten by those in power, obtaining the unbiased truth about the Illuminati is a challenge. This article does not claim to reveal or expose everything that is to be known about the Illuminati; it rather attempts draw a more precise picture of the Order by citing authors who have extensively studied the subject. Whether they are, at the end of the day, critics or apologists of the Illuminati, these authors base their thoughts on credible facts. Some of the most interesting documents on the Illuminati were written by initiates of Secret Societies as they understood the philosophical and spiritual undercurrent driving the movement forward. Using these works, we will look at the origins, the methods and the impacts of the Illuminati on world history.

Although several groups called themselves Illuminati in the past, the most influential and memorable of them was the Bavarian Illuminati. Founded on May 1, 1776, the organization created by Adam Weishaupt blurred the line between spiritual and political Secret Societies. By mixing the occult sciences of Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism while conspiring to achieve precise political goals, the Illuminati became an actor on the world stage. While most Secret Societies of the time catered to rich people and their fascination with occultism, the Bavarian Illuminati actively sought to profoundly change the world.

Secret Societies have existed throughout the course of history, each of them with different aims and with different roles in society. While the Egyptian mystery schools were part of the Egyptian institution, other groups were secret due to their subversive and conspiratorial aims. These two next quotes, written by two famous political figures, describe these opposing views on Secret Societies:

A mystical Fraternity, who, in an earlier age, boasted of secrets of which the Philosophers Stone was but the least; who considered themselves the heirs of all that the Chaldeans, the Magi, the Gymnosophists, and the Platonists had taught; and who differed from all the darker Sons of Magic in the virtue of their lives, the purity of their doctrines, and their insisting, as the foundation of all wisdom, on the subjugation of the sense, and the intensity of Religious Faith? Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1884 [1. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Zanoni]

The governments of the present day have to deal not merely with other governments, with emperors, kings and ministers, but also with the secret societies which have everywhere their unscrupulous agents, and can at the last moment upset all the governments plans. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, 1876

These quotes describe different realms of influence of Secret Societies. The first one refers to the spiritual side while the second describes the political side. Not all Secret Societies dwell in the spiritual and not all of them get involved in political machinations. The Bavarian Illuminati operated in both realms.

Spiritual brotherhoods are pledged to Wisdom and guiding humanity towards the realm of the Infinite; Political brotherhoods [are comprised]of power-seekers who cloak their manipulative agenda in darkness. ()

All secret societies share certain fundamental themes. Membership is restricted to those who have an abiding interest in the subject. Thus, a spiritual group will attract people seeking more knowledge of a particular teacher or type of practice. The student is aware of the subject matter in advance and will approach the group for further instruction. More rarely, an individual may be tapped by the group because of a perceived affinity to its purpose.

In a political secret society, membership is restricted to those who share an ideological affinity with the goals the group represents. At the furthest end of the political spectrum, the mission will be revolution. Such a society will go to great lengths to defend itself. ()

The Illuminati are perceived by many as spanning the chasm between the spiritual and the political secret society. Often credited (or blamed) for influencing the French Revolution in 1787, the Illuminati taught a doctrine of social and political liberation that hinged on the equality of man, the embrace of rationalism, and the denial of crown and church as the legitimate institutions for the regulation of social and moral values. () While the views of the Illuminati may sound quite advanced for the time, the European revolutions they are believed to have encouraged degenerated into brutal bloodbaths whose singular lack of moral compass was appalling. [2. James Wasserman, The Mystery Traditions]

While some believe that Adam Weishaupt was the sole mastermind of the Illuminati and that his organization rose to glory and died in less than twelve years, most researchers initiated in occultism believe that the Bavarian Illuminati was the rare appearance of an ancient Brotherhood that could be traced back to the Knight Templars of the Middle-Ages.

Manly P. Hall, a 33rd Degree Freemason and prolific author, described in his pamphlet Masonic Orders of Fraternity an Invisible Empire that has been silently working for centuries towards social change. It periodically became visible throughout History, through different organizations who bore different names. According to him, these groups have a great yet silent impact on society, even transforming the educational system to form future generations.

The direct descent of the essential program of the Esoteric Schools was entrusted to groups already well-conditioned for the work. The guilds, trade unions, and similar protective and benevolent Societies had been internally strengthened by the introduction of a new learning. The advancement of the plan required the enlargement of the boundaries of the philosophic overstate. A World Fraternity was needed, sustained by a deep and broad program of education according to the method. Such a Fraternity could not immediately include all men, but it could unite the activities of certain kinds of men, regardless of their racial or religious beliefs or the nations in which they dwelt. These were the men of towardness, those sons of tomorrow, whose symbol was a blazing sun rising over the mountains of the east. ()

It was inevitable that the Orders of Fraternity should sponsor world education. () The program included a systematic expansion of existing institutions and the enlargement of their spheres of influence.

Slowly, the Orders of Universal Reformation faded from public attention, and in their places appeared the Orders of World Brotherhood. Everything possible was done to prevent the transitions from being obvious. Even history was falsified to make certain sequences of activity unrecognizable. The shift of emphasis never gave the impression of abruptness, and the motion appeared as a dawning of social consciousness. The most obvious clues to the secret activity have been the prevailing silence about the origin and the impossibility of filing the lacunae in the records of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century fraternal Orders. ()

The Orders of Fraternity were attached by slender and almost invisible threads to the parent project. Like earlier Schools of the Mysteries, these Fraternities were not in themselves actual embodiments of the esoteric associations, but rather instruments to advance certain objectives of the divine plan. [3. Manly P. Hall, Masonic Orders of Fraternity]

Here, Hall mentions a silence and lack of information regarding the workings of Secret Societies during the 17th and 18th century, the epoch during which the Bavarian Illuminati was active. It is during this time period that Secret Societies took action, causing revolutions, overthrowing Monarchical and Papal powers and taking hold of the banking system. Was the Bavarian Illuminati part of the Invisible Empire described by Hall? Is it still active today? Lets first look at Adam Weishaupt and his infamous Secret Society.

Adam Weishaupt was born in Ingolstadt, Bavaria on February 6, 1748. His father died when he was seven and his godfather, Baron Ickstatt, entrusted his early education to the most powerful group of the time: the Jesuits. Known for its subversive methods and conspiratorial tendencies, the Society of Jesus had a stronghold on Bavarias politics and educational system.

The degree of power to which the representatives of the Society of Jesus had been able to attain in Bavaria was all but absolute. Members of the order were the confessors and preceptors of the electors; hence they had a direct influence upon the policies of government. The censorship of religion had fallen into their eager hands, to the extent that some of the parishes even were compelled to recognize their authority and power. To exterminate all Protestant influence and to render the Catholic establishment complete, they had taken possession of the instruments of public education. It was by Jesuits that the majority of the Bavarian colleges were founded, and by them they were controlled. By them also the secondary schools of the country were conducted. [4. Vernon L. Stauffer, The European Illuminati]

The inner-workings of the Society of Jesus was quite similar to the occult Brotherhoods it was apparently working against. It functioned with degrees, initiation rites, elaborate rituals and esoteric symbols and had been suppressed countless times in several countries due to its subversive tendencies.

In 1773, Weishaupts godfather used his great influence at the University of Ingolstadt to place his godson as chair of canon law. At that time, the institution was under heavy Jesuitical dominance and that particular position was traditionally held by influential Jesuits. Weishaupts growing embrace of Age of Enlightenment philosophies placed him at odds with the Jesuits and all kinds of political drama ensued. Despite this fact, Weishaupt learned a lot from the Jesuits organization and their subversive methods to obtain power. It is during this time that the idea of a Secret Soceity began to enter Weishaupts thoughts.

Brilliant, and well trained in the conspiratorial methods of access to power, young Weishaupt decided to organize a body of conspirators, determined to free the world from the Jesuitical rule of Rome. [5. Peter Tomkins, The Magic of Obelisks]

While some authors believe that the Jesuits (who were suppressed by papal bull in 1773) used Weishaupt to perpetuate their rule, others state that he was seeking to overthrow their powerful hold on Bavarian. On a wider scale, he was convinced that the world would profit from the overthrow of all governmental and religious institutions in the world to replace them by a world-wide, yet secretive, committee of initiates. To acheive his aims, he would use Jesuit methods against the Jesuits.

As Weishaupt pursued his studies, he also became knowledgeable in occult mysteries and Hermetism. He recognized the attractive power of this mysterious knowledge and understood that Masonic lodges would be the ideal venue to propagate his views. He therefore sought to become a Freemason, but was quickly disenchanted with the idea.

His imagination having taken heat from his reflections upon the attractive power of the Eleusinian mysteries and the influence exerted by the secret cult of the Pythagoreans, it was first in Weishaupts thought to seek in the Masonic institutions of the day the opportunity he coveted for the propagation of his views. From this, original intention, however, he was soon diverted, in part because of the difficulty he experienced in commanding sufficient funds to gain admission to a lodge of Masons, in part because his study of such Masonic books as came into his hands persuaded him that the mysteries of Freemasonry were too puerile and too readily accessible to the general public to make them worthwhile. [6. Stauffer, Op. Cit.]

Weishaupt soon realized that, to achieve his aims, it would be necessary for him to create his own secretive group, composed of powerful individuals who would embrace his views and help him propagate them.

He deemed it necessary, therefore, to launch out on independent lines. He would form a model secret organization, comprising schools of wisdom, concealed from the gaze of the world behind walls of seclusion and mystery, wherein those truths which the folly and egotism of the priests banned from the public chairs of education might be taught with perfect freedom to susceptible youths. [7. Ibid.]

The goal of Weishaupts organization was simple yet monumental: to overthrow all political and religious institutions in order to replace it with a group of Illuminati initiates. According to him universal happiness complete and rapid could be achieved by disposing of hierarchy, rank and riches. Princes and nations will disappear without violence from the earth; the human race will become one family; the world will be the abode of reasonable men. On May 1, 1776, the Order of the Illuminati was founded.

Weishaupts Illuminati began humbly with only five members, but after a few years and with powerful connections, the Order became a major political force across the world. Influential deciders, rich industrials, powerful noblemen and mysterious occultists joined the Order and participated in its conspiratorial objectives. Some historians claim that the Orders quick rise to success was due to a secret meeting between Weishaupt and a mysterious figure named Cagliostro, the most powerful occultist of the time.

In Ingolsstadt, Cagliostro is believed to have met Adam Weishaupt, professor of philosophy and canon law at the university, who in 1776, had founded the sect of Illuminati. Calling themselves heirs to the Knights Templar, they declared their interest in using celestial intervention as achieved by Cagliostro for the furtherance of a program of worldwide religious reform, but one more radical than Cagliostros, committed to avenging the death of the Templars Grand Master Molay by reducing to dust the triple crown of the popes and disposing of the last of the Capet Kings.

Cagliostro obliged, and described in prophetic detail the decapitation of Louis XVI, an event hardly to be envisaged at that time as anything but improbable. [8. Tompkins, op. cit.]

The Bavarian Illuminati was originally comprised of three primary grades: Novice, Minerval and Illuminated Minerval. Each grade was designed to achieve particular objectives while assuring complete control and dominance to the apex of the pyramid. Heres a brief look at each grade.

Entry-level members of the Bavarian Illuminati were attracted and introduced to the Order using attractive vocabulary (the quest for wisdom and betterment) and occult lore. They were however introduced to a highly monitored and controlling hierarchy, one that resembles the system of the Jesuits. There was no mention of the Orders political aims.

Once enrolled, the instruction of each Novice was to be in the hands of his enroller, who kept well hidden from his pupil the identity of the rest of his superiors. Such statutes of the order as he was permitted to read impressed upon the mind of the Novice that the particular ends sought in his novitiate were to ameliorate and perfect his moral character, expand his principles of humanity and sociability, and solicit his interest in the laudable objects of thwarting the schemes of evil men, assisting oppressed virtue, and helping men of merit to find suitable places in the world. Having had impressed upon him the necessity of maintaining inviolable secrecy respecting the affairs of the order, the further duties of subordinating his egoistic views and interests and of according respectful and complete obedience to his superiors were next enjoined. An important part of the responsibility of the Novice consisted in the drawing-up of a detailed report (for the archives of the order), containing complete, information concerning his family and his personal career, covering such remote items as the titles of the books he possessed, the names of his personal enemies and the occasion of their enmity, his own strong and weak points of character, the dominant passions of his parents, the names of their parents and intimates, etc. Monthly reports were also required, covering the benefits the recruit had received from and the services he had rendered to the order. For the building-up of the order the Novice must undertake his share in the work of recruitment, his personal advancement to the higher grades being conditioned upon the success of such efforts. To those whom he enrolled he became in turn a superior; and thus after a novitiate presumably two years in length, the way was open for his promotion to the next higher grade. [9. Stauffer, op. cit.]

When a Novice proved to his superiors to be worthy of advancement, he was initiated to the grade of Minerval.

Minerval seals of the Bavarian Illuminati. These pendants, worn around the necks of Minerval initiates, featured the Owl of Minerva . Also known as the Owl of Wisdom, this symbol is still found today in powerful places: around the White House, hidden on the dollar bill or on the insignia of the Bohemian Club.

The term Minerval is derived from Minerva who was the Roman goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the music. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl, which symbolizes her ties to wisdom. An ancient symbol of the mysteries, Minerva is prominently featured in places such as the Library of Congress and the Great Seal of California.

The second grade of the Illuminati was one of indoctrination. The initiates were lectured on the spiritual principles of the Order but had little information regarding the true aims of Weishaupt and his close circle of administrators.

The ceremony of initiation through which the Novice passed into the grade Minerval was expected to disabuse the mind of the candidate of any lingering suspicion that the order had as its supreme object the subjugation of the rich and powerful, or the, overthrow of civil and ecclesiastical government. It also pledged the candidate to be useful to humanity; to maintain a silence eternal, a fidelity inviolable, and an obedience implicit with respect to all the superiors and rules of the order; and to sacrifice all personal interests to those of the society. [10. Ibid.]

Minervals were permitted to meet some of their superiors (Illuminated Minervals) and to engage in discussions with them. This privilege alone was a great source of motivation for the new initiates.

Selected from among the Minerval, the Illuminated Minerval were given specific tasks to accomplish in order to prepare them to take action in the real world. Most of their work consisted in the study of mankind and the perfection of methods to direct it. Each Illuminated Minerval was entrusted with a small group of Minervals who were scrutinized, analyzed and lead towards specific directions. Lower-grade members of the Order therefore became test subjects for techniques that might be applied to the masses in general.

To the grade Illuminated Minerval were admitted those Minervals who in the judgment of their superiors were worthy of advancement. Elaborate initiatory ceremonies fixed in the candidates mind the notions that the progressive purification of his life was to be expected as he worked his way upward in the order, and that the mastery of the art of directing men was to be his special pursuit as long as he remained in the new grade. To accomplish the latter, i.e., to become an expert psychologist and director of mens consciences, he must observe and study constantly the actions, purposes, desires, faults, and virtues of the little group of Minervals who were placed under his personal direction and care. For his guidance in this difficult task a complicated mass of instructions was furnished him.

In addition to their continued presence in the assemblies of the Minervals, the members of this grade came together once a month by themselves, to hear reports concerning their disciples, to discuss methods of accomplishing the best results in their work of direction and to solicit each others counsel in difficult and embarrassing cases. In these meetings the records of the assemblies of the Minervals were reviewed and rectified and afterwards transmitted to the superior officers of the order. [11. Ibid.]

From this basic structure, the Illuminati began its expansion. Everything was in place for Weishaupt to achieve an important goal: the infiltration of Freemasonry.

In 1777, the year following the creation of the Illuminati, Weishaupt joined the Masonic lodge of Theodore of Good Counsel in Munich. Not only did he successfully propagate his views into the lodge, he also managed to get the lodge to bevirtually absorbed into the Illuminist order almost immediately. [12. Hall, op. cit.]

A definite alliance between the Illuminati and Freemasonry became possible in 1780 when a prominent figure by the name of Baron Adolf Franz Friederich Knigge was initiated into Weishaupts Order. The German diplomats Masonic connections and organizational skills were promptly put to use by the Order. Knigge would go on to accomplish two important tasks for the Illuminati: He revised the hierarchy of the Order, created new higher grades and allowed the full integration of Masonic lodges into the system.

Two weighty consequences promptly followed as the result of Kinigges advent into the order. The long-sought higher grades were worked out, and an alliance between the Illuminati and Freemasonry was effected. [13. Ibid.]

Knigge, an influential North German diplomat and occultist joined the Illuminati in 1780. He is here shown displaying the sign of the Hidden Hand (see the article entitled The Hidden Hand that Shaped the World on the Vigilant Citizen).

Knigges influence upon the Order was profound and immediate. The new system he devised attracted Freemasons and other powerful figures, which gave the movement great momentum. Heres the system devised by Knigge:

Knigges kept the Orders original grades untouched but added new grades above them. The second level of the Illuminati incorporated the grades of Freemasonry making therefore the Brotherhood simply a part of the wider Illuminist superstructure.

The grade Novice (a part of the system only in a preparatory sense) was left unchanged by Knigge, save for the addition of a printed communication to be put into the hands of all new recruits, advising them that the Order of the Illuminati stands over against all other forms of contemporary Freemasonry as the one type not degenerate, and as such alone able to restore the craft to its ancient splendor. ()

The three symbolic grades of the second class seem to have been devised solely for the purpose of supplying an avenue whereby members of the various branches of the great Masonic family could pass to the higher grades of the new order. [14. Ibid.]

The highest grades of the Order were restricted to a select few and included powerful individuals and influential figures. The grade of Prince held within its ranks National Inspectors, Provincials, Prefects and Deans of the Priests. At the top of the pyramid were the Magus (also known as Areopagites), which comprised the supreme heads of the Order. Their identities were safely guarded and are still difficult to confirm today.

Knigges strategy gave impressive results and allowed the Illuminati to become an extremely powerful movement.

The new method of spreading Illuminism by means of its affiliation with Masonic lodges promptly demonstrated its worth. Largely because of the fine strategy of seeking its recruits among the officers and other influential personages in the lodges of Freemasonry, one after another of the latter in quick succession went over to the new system. New prefectures were established, new provinces organized, and Provincials began to report a steady and copious stream of new recruits. () Students, merchants, doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, judges, professors in gymnasia and universities, preceptors, civil officers, pastors, priests all were generously represented among the new recruits. Distinguished names soon appeared upon the rosters of the lodges of the new system. Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, Duke Ernst of Gotha, Duke Karl August of Saxe-Weimar, Prince August of Saxe-Gotha, Prince Carl of Hesse, Baron Dalberg, the philosopher Herder, the poet Goethe, the educationist Pestalozzi, were among the number enrolled, By the end of 1784 the leaders boasted of a total enrollment of between two and three thousand members 106. and the establishment of the order upon a solid foundation seemed to be fully assured. [15. Ibid.]

Weishaup, however, did not enjoy his Orders success for long. Suspicions of Illuminati conspiracy against governments and religious arose across Europe. Seeing a credible threat against its power, the Bavarian government launched an edict outlawing all communities, societies and brotherhoods that existed without due authorization of the law. Furthermore, internal disagreements between Weishaupt and the higher ups of his Order lead to disputes and dissension. In the midst of it all, some members went directly to the authorities and testified against the Order, an opportunity that was not missed by the Bavarian government.

Out of the mouths of its friends, the accusations which its enemies made against the order were to be substantiated. By the admissions of its leaders, the system of the Illuminati had the appearance of an organization devoted to the overthrow of religion and the state, a band of poisoners and forgers, an association of men of disgusting morals and depraved tastes. [16. Ibid.]

By 1788, through the use of aggressive legislation and criminal charges, the Bavarian Illuminati was apparently dissipated and destroyed by the government. While some see here the conclusion of the story of the Illuminati, one must not forget that the tentacles of Illuminism had the time to spread way beyond to confines of Bavaria to reach Masonic lodges across Europe. In other words, the Illuminati was never destroyed, it simply went underground. A year later, an important event would prove that Illuminism was more alive and potent then ever: the French Revolution.

The violent overthrow of the French Monarchy in 1789 symbolizes to many the victory of Jacobinism and Illuminism over the traditional institutions of the time. The adoption of the Declaration of Human Rights officially recorded Masonic and Illuminist values into the core of the French government. The countrys new motto Libert, galit et Fraternit (Freedom, Equality and Brotherhood) was said to be a famous Masonic saying that was used in French lodges for centuries.

The official document of the Declaration of Human Rights contains several occult symbols referring to Secret Societies. First, the symbol of the All Seeing Eye within a triangle, surrounded by the light of the blazing star Sirius, is found above everything else (this symbol is also found on the Great Seal of the United States). Underneath the title is depicted an Ouroboros (a serpent eating its own tail), an esoteric symbol associated with Alchemy, Gnosticism and Hermetism, the core teachings of Masonry. Right underneath the Ouroboros is a red phrygian cap, a symbol representing Illuminist revolutions across the world. The entire Declaration is guarded by Masonic pillars.

If though Bavarian Illuminati was said to be dead, the ideas it promoted still became a reality. The Freemasons and Rosicrucians were still thriving, and the Illuminati appeared to be living through them. Europe was undergoing profound turmoil as a new class of people took the helms of power. Critics began to emerge, revealing to the masses the secret forces behind the changes they were witnessing.

Leopold Hoffman, a Freemason who was convinced that the Illuminati corrupted his Brotherhood, published a series of articles in his journal entitled Wiener Zeitschrift. He claimed that the lower grades of the Illuminati had been dissolved, but the highest degrees were still active. He also added that Freemasonry was being subjugated by Illuminism and transformed to serve its ends. He also stated that the French Revolution was the result of years of Illuminist propaganda.

In 1797, John Robinson, a Scottish physician, mathematician and inventor (he invented the siren) published a book entitled Proofs of a Conspiracy against All the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of the Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies. This devout Freemason became disenchanted when he realized that his brotherhood had been infiltrated by the Illuminati. Heres an excerpt of his book:

I have found that the covert of a Mason Lodge had been employed in every country for venting and propagating sentiments in religion and politics, that could not have circulated in public without exposing the author to great danger. I found, that this impunity had gradually encouraged men of licentious principles to become more bold, and to teach doctrines subversive of all our notions of moralityof all our confidence in the moral government of the universeof all our hopes of improvement in a future state of existenceand of all satisfaction and contentment with our present life, so long as we live in a state of civil subordination. I have been able to trace these attempts, made, through a course of fifty years, under the specious pretext of enlightening the world by the torch of philosophy, and of dispelling the clouds of civil and religious superstition which keep the nations of Europe in darkness and slavery.

I have observed these doctrines gradually diffusing and mixing with all the different systems of Free Masonry; till, at last, AN ASSOCIATION HAS BEEN FORMED for the express purpose of ROOTING OUT ALL THE RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENTS, AND OVERTURNING ALL THE EXISTING GOVERNMENTS OF EUROPE. I have seen this Association exerting itself zealously and systematically, till it has become almost irresistible: And I have seen that the most active leaders in the French Revolution were members of this Association, and conducted their first movements according to its principles, and by means of its instructions and assistance, formally requested and obtained: And, lastly, I have seen that this Association still exists, still works in secret, and that not only several appearances among ourselves show that its emissaries are endeavouring to propagate their detestable doctrines, but that the Association has Lodges in Britain corresponding with the mother Lodge at Munich ever since 1784. . . The Association of which I have been- speaking is the order of ILLUMINATI, founded, in 1775 [sic], by Dr. Adam Weishaupt, professor of Canon-law in the University of Ingolstadt, and abolished in 1786 by the Elector of Bavaria, but revived immediately after, under another name, and in a different form, all over Germany. It was again detected, and seemingly broken up; but it had by this time taken so deep root that it still subsists without being detected, and has spread into all the countries of Europe [17. John Robinson, Proofs of a Conspiracy]

Augustin Barrel, a French Jesuit priest also published in 1797 a book linking the French Revolution to the Bavarian Illuminati. In Mmoires pour servir lhistoire du Jacobisime, he traced back the slogan Liberty and Equality back to the early Templars and claimed that, in the higher degrees of the order, liberty and equality is explained not only by war against kings and thrones but by war against Christ and his altars. He also provided details pertaining to the Illuminist take-over of Freemasonry.

Barruel charged that not only the lower order of Masonry were duped by Weishaupt, but also those of Weishaupts own Illuminati, for whom he had provided another top-secret level of direction known as the Aeopagus, a withdrawn circle of directors of the whole order, who alone knew its secret aims. To Barruel, such revolutionary leaders as La Rochefoucauld, Lafayette, and the duc dOrlans, had become Illuminati agents and dupes of more extreme radicals such as Danton, provocateurs who sparked the Illuminati-directed rebellion. Barruel further charged that the entire French Masonic establishment had been converted to Weishaupts revolutionary ideas, its lodges turned into secret committees which planned bloodshed. [18. Tompkins, op. cit.]

Most of Americas Founding Fathers were part of Secret Societies, whether the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians or others. Some of them travelled to Europe and were well versed in the doctrines of the Illuminati.

From 1776 to 1785 when the Bavarian Illuminati was openly active Benjamin Franklin was in Paris serving as the ambassador of the United States to France. During his stay, he became Grand Master of the lodge Les Neufs Soeurs which was attached with the Grand Orient of France. This Masonic organization was said to have become the French headquarters of the Bavarian Illuminati. It was particularly influential in organizing of the French support for the American Revolution and was later part of the process towards the French Revolution.

In 1799, when German minister G.W. Snyder warned George Washington of the Illuminati plan to overthrow all governments and religion, Washington replied that he had heard much of the nefarious and dangerous plan and doctrines of the Illuminati. He however concluded his letter by stating: I believe notwithstanding, that none of the Lodges in this country are contaminated with the principles ascribed to the society of Illuminati.

In another letter to Snyder, written a month later, Washington continued on the topic:

It was not my intention to doubt that, the Doctrines of the Illuminati, and principles of Jacobinism had not spread in the United States. On the contrary, no one is more truly satisfied of this fact than I am.

The idea that I meant to convey, was, that I did not believe that the Lodges of Free Masons in this Country had, as Societies, endeavoured to propagate the diabolical tenets of the first, or pernicious principles of the latter (if they are susceptible of separation). That Individuals of them may have done it, or that the founder, or instrument employed to found, the Democratic Societies in the United States, may have had these objects; and actually had a separation of the People from their Government in view, is too evident to be questioned.

Part of the original letter written by George Washington regarding the Illuminati

Judging by this letter, George Washington was obviously well aware of the doctrines of the Illuminati And even if he did not believe that the Masonic institutions of the United States propagated its doctrines, he concedes that individuals might have undertaken that endeavour. After the Bavarian Illuminati

Today, the term Illuminati is used to loosely describe the small group of powerful individuals who are working towards the creation of a World Government, with the issue of a single world currency and a single world religion. Although it is difficult to determine if this group descends directly from the original Bavarian Illuminati or that it even uses the term Illuminati, its tenets and methods are in perfect continuation of it. As stated above, the name that is used to describe the occult elite can change. And, ultimately, the name is irrelevant; what needs to be recognized is the underlying current that has existed for centuries.

According the Manly. P Hall, the Bavarian Illuminati was part of what he calls the Universal Brotherhood, an invisible Order at the source of most Hermetic Secret Societies of the past. It has worked for centuries towards the transformation of mankind, guiding it through a worldwide alchemical process. The same way the alchemical Great Work seeks to turn crude metals into gold, it claims to work towards a similar metamorphosis of the world. According to Hall, the Universal Brotherhood sometimes makes itself visible, but under the guise of different names and symbols. This would mean that the Knights Templars, Freemasons, Rosicrucians, and Illuminati are temporary visible manifestations of an underlying force that is infinitely more profound and more powerful. However, human beings being what they are weak toward greed and power-lust these movements often become corrupted and end up conspiring against the masses for more power and material gain.

Certainly there was an undercurrent of things esoteric, in the most mystical sense of the word, beneath the surface of Illuminism. In this respect, the Order followed exactly in the footsteps of the Knights Templars. The Templars returned to Europe after the Crusades, bringing with them a number of choice fragments of Oriental occult lore, some of which they had gathered from the Druses of Lebanon, and some from the disciples of Hasan Ibn-al-Sabbah, the old wizard of Mount Alamut.

If there was a deep mystical current flowing beneath the surface of Illuminism, it is certain that Weishaupt was not the Castalian Spring. Perhaps the lilies of the Illuminati and the roses of the Rosicrucians were, by a miracle of Nature, flowing from the same stem. The old symbolism would suggest this, and it is not always wise to ignore ancient landmarks. There is only one explanation that meets the obvious and natural requirements of the known facts. The Illuminati were part of an esoteric tradition which had descended from remote antiquity and had revealed itself for a short time among the Humanists of Ingolstadt. One of the blossoms of the sky plant was there, but the roots were afar in better ground. [19. Hall, op. cit.]

Hall concludes that the Illuminati existed long before the advent of Weishaupts Order and that it still exists today. It was under the guise of defeat and destruction that the Illuminati realized its greatest victories.

Weishaupt emerged as a faithful servant of a higher cause. Behind him moved the intricate machinery of the Secret School. As usual, they did not trust their full weight to any perishable institution. The physical history of the Bavarian Illuminati extended over a period of only twelve years. It is difficult to understand, therefore, the profound stir which this movement caused in the political life of Europe. We are forced to the realization that this Bavarian group was only one fragment of a large and composite design.

All efforts to discover the members of the higher grades of the Illuminist Order have been unsuccessful. It has been customary, therefore, to assume that these higher grades did not exist except in the minds of Weishaupt and von Knigge. Is it not equally possible that a powerful group of men, resolved to remain entirely unknown, moved behind Weishaupt and pushed him forward as a screen for its own activities?

The ideals of Illuminism, as they are found in the pagan Mysteries of antiquity, were old when Weishaupt was born, and it is unlikely that these long-cherished convictions perished with his Bavarian experiment. The work that was unfinished in 1785 remains unfinished in 1950. Esoteric Orders will not become extinct until the purpose which brought them into being has been fulfilled. Organizations may perish, but the Great School is indestructible. [20. Ibid.]

The Great Seal of the United States features the unfinished Great Pyramid of Giza, a symbol of the unfinished work of the Esoteric Orders: a New World Order. The Seal was adopted on the American dollar by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a 32nd Degree Freemason and a Knight of Pythias with ties Manly P. Hall.

If the Illuminist Agenda is still alive today, what form does it take? From the esoteric and spiritual point of view, some modern Secret Societies such as the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) have claimed to be the heirs of Illuminism. Other researchers stated that there exists hidden Orders above the 33 visible degrees of Freemasonry that form the Illuminati. As they are, by definition, secret, obtaining details about these Orders is quite difficult.

The political side of modern Illluminism is a lot more visible and its plans are obvious. An increasingly restrictive and concentrated group is being entrusted with the creation of important decisions and policies. International committees and organizations, acting above elected officials are today creating social and economic policies that are applied on a global level. This phenomenon is rather new in world history as a rather than kingdoms or nation-states, a non-elected shadow government, composed of the worlds elite, is gradually becoming the center of world power.

On another political plane are ideological groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, or participants in the World Economic Forum. Here we find leaders in politics, business, finance, education, and the media who share a belief in the value of global solutions; are in position of high authority and influence; and represent different levels of involvement with the inner circle of the group. Most members simply welcome the opportunity to associate with other well-known luminaries and are honored by being offered membership or attendance privileges. Yet, the ideology at the highest levels of such groups supports a world government to be administered by a class of experts and planners, entrusted with running centrally organized social and political institutions. Although members may be persuaded to add their considerable voices to certain transnational political and economic policies, they may bot be as supportive (or even aware) of the long-range ambitions of the inner circle. While these groups quite often hold their meetings in secret, their membership lists are a matter of public record. It is the central agenda that is disguised. [21. Wasserman, op. cit.]

The main elite groups and councils are: the International Crisis Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the World Economic Forum, the Brookings Institution, Chatham House, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group. The Bohemian Club is known to hold informal gatherings of the world elite punctuated with strange ceremonies and rituals. The Clubs insignia is an Owl similar to the one found on the Bavarian Illuminatis Minerval seal.

Insignia of the Bohemian Club

If one would carefully study the members and attendees of these exclusive clubs, one would notice that they combine the most powerful politicians, CEOs and intellectuals of the time with lesser known individuals with famous names. They are descendants of powerful dynasties that rose to power by taking over vital aspects of modern economies, such as the banking system, the oil industry or mass media. They have been associated with game changing events, such as the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. This act completely modified the banking system of the United States, placing it in the hands of a few elite corporations. A proof of this is the court decision of 1982 stating that The Reserve Banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the FTCA [the Federal Tort Claims Act], but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.

In his book Bloodlines of the Illuminati, controversial author Fritz Springmeier claims that todays Illuminati is formed from the descendants of thirteen powerful families whose ancestors had close or distant ties to the original Bavarian Illuminati. According to Springmeier, the 13 bloodlines are: the Astors, the Bundys, the Collins, the DuPonts, the Freemans, the Kennedys, the Li, the Onassis, the Reynolds, the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Russells and the Van Duyns. [22. Fritz Springmeier, The Bloodlines of the Illuminati]

There is no doubt that by virtue of the material and political resources they own, some of these families have a great deal of power in todays world. They appear to form the core of what we call today the Illuminati. However, are they conspiring to create a New World Order? Heres a quote from David Rockefellers memoirs that might answer some questions:

For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents such as my encounter with Castro to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as internationalists and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure one world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it. [23. David Rockefeller, Memoirs]

The story of the Illuminati has been repressed or revealed, debunked or exposed, ridiculed or exaggerated countless times all depending on the point of the authors and whether they are apologists or critics. To obtain the absolute truth about a group that was always meant to be secret is quite a challenge and one must use a great deal of judgment and discernment to differentiate the facts from the fabrications. As it is not possible to answer all of the questions relating to the Illuminati, this article simply attempted to draw a more precise picture of the Order and to present important facts relating to it.

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Member states of NATO – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 152015
 

NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an international alliance that consists of 28 member states from North America and Europe. It was established at the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. Article Five of the treaty states that if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.[1]

Of the 28 member countries, two are located in North America (Canada and the United States) and 25 are European countries while Turkey is in Eurasia. All members have militaries, except for Iceland which does not have a typical army (but does, however, have a coast guard and a small unit of civilian specialists for NATO operations). Three of NATO’s members are nuclear weapons states: France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO has 12 original founding member nation states and from 18 February 1952 to 1 April 2009 it added 16 more member nations.

NATO has added new members six times since its founding in 1949, and since 2009 NATO has had 28 members. Twelve countries were part of the founding of NATO: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1952, Greece and Turkey became members of the Alliance. In 1990, with the reunification of Germany, NATO grew to include the former country of East Germany. Between 1994 and 1997, wider forums for regional cooperation between NATO and its neighbors were set up, including the Partnership for Peace, the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. In 1997, three former Warsaw Pact countries, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland, were invited to join NATO. After this fourth enlargement in 1999, the Vilnius group of The Baltics and seven East European countries formed in May 2000 to cooperate and lobby for further NATO membership. Seven of these countries joined in the fifth enlargement in 2004. Albania and Croatia joined in the sixth enlargement in 2009.

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NATO, Russia military drills fuel risk of war, study …

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Aug 152015
 

Published August 12, 2015

A think tank warned Wednesday that an increase in the scale and number of military exercises undertaken by both NATO and Russia is increasing the chance of a European conflict.

Ian Kearns, director of the London-based European Leadership Network, told The Associated Press that the war games are contributing to a climate of mistrust” that have “on occasion become the focal point for some quite close encounters between the NATO and Russian militaries.”

Kearns is one of the co-authors of an ELN study, looking at two military exercises held this year by Russian and NATO. The study found signs that Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia.

The exercises can feed uncertainty and heighten the risk of dangerous military encounters, according to the ELN.

Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated since Russias annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year. The ELN study said NATO plans approximately 270 exercises this year, while Russia has announced 4,000 drills at all levels.

Russias March exercise involved 80,000 personnel, while NATOs Allied Shield in June mobilized 15,000 people from 19 NATO countries and three partner states.

The study said the exercises showed what each side views as its most vulnerable points: For NATO, it’s Poland and the Baltic states while for Russia, concerns are more numerous and include the Arctic, Crimea and border areas with NATO members Estonia and Latvia.

The ELN has formulated a few ideas to defuse tensions, including for governments to examine the need for more restraint in the size and scenarios of future exercises.

“History is full of examples of leaders who think they can keep control of events, and events have a habit of taking on a momentum and dynamic of their own,” said Kearns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Edward Snowden – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Aug 152015
 

Edward Snowden Born Edward Joseph Snowden (1983-06-21) June 21, 1983 (age32) Elizabeth City, North Carolina, U.S. Residence Russia (temporary asylum) Nationality American Occupation System administrator Employer Booz Allen Hamilton Kunia, Hawaii, US (until June 10, 2013) Knownfor Revealing details of classified United States government surveillance programs Title Rector of the University of Glasgow Term February 18, 2014 present Predecessor Charles Kennedy Criminal charge Theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person (June 2013). Awards Sam Adams Award,[1] Right Livelihood Award (2014)[2] Stuttgart Peace Prize (2014)[3]

Edward Joseph “Ed” Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American computer professional, former CIA employee, and former government contractor who leaked classified information from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013. The information revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments.

Snowden was hired by Booz Allen Hamilton, an NSA contractor, in 2013 after previous employment with Dell and the CIA.[4] On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at a NSA facility in Hawaii and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other newspapers including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On June 21, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act and theft of government property.[5] On June 23, he flew to Moscow, Russia, where he reportedly remained for over a month. Later that summer, Russian authorities granted him a one-year temporary asylum which was later extended to three years. As of 2015, he was still living in an undisclosed location in Russia while seeking asylum elsewhere.[6]

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero, a whistleblower, a dissident, a patriot, and a traitor. His disclosures have fueled debates over mass surveillance, government secrecy, and the balance between national security and information privacy.

Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983,[7] in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[8] His maternal grandfather, Edward J. Barrett,[9][10] was a rear admiral in the United States Coast Guard who became a senior official with the FBI and was in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 when it was struck by an airliner hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.[11] Edward’s father, Lonnie Snowden, a resident of Pennsylvania, was also an officer in the Coast Guard,[12] and his mother, Elizabeth B. Snowden, a resident of Ellicott City, Maryland, is chief deputy at the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.[13][14][15] His older sister, Jessica, became a lawyer at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington. “Everybody in my family has worked for the federal government in one way or another,” Snowden told James Bamford in a June 2014 interview published two months later in Wired. “I expected to pursue the same path.”[16] His parents divorced in 2001,[17] and his father remarried.[18] Friends and neighbors described Snowden as shy, quiet and nice. One longtime friend said that he was always articulate, even as a child.[14] “We always considered Ed the smartest one in the family,” said his father, who was not surprised when his son scored above 145 on two separate IQ tests.[16] Snowden’s father described his son as “a sensitive, caring young man” and “a deep thinker.”[19]

In the early 1990s, while still in grade school, Snowden moved with his family to Maryland.[20]Mononucleosis caused him to miss high school for almost nine months.[16] Rather than return, he passed the GED test[21] and enrolled in Anne Arundel Community College.[13] Although Snowden had no bachelor’s degree,[22] ABC News reported that he worked online toward a master’s degree at the University of Liverpool in 2011.[23] In 2010, while visiting India on official business at the U.S. embassy,[24] Snowden trained for six days in core Java programming and advanced ethical hacking.[25] Snowden was reportedly interested in Japanese popular culture, had studied the Japanese language,[26] and worked for an anime company domiciled in the U.S.[27][28] He also said he had a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese and was deeply interested in martial arts; at age 20, he listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of agnostic was “strangely absent.”[29] Snowden told The Washington Post that he was an ascetic, rarely left the house and had few needs.[30]

Before leaving for Hong Kong, Snowden resided in Waipahu, Hawaii, with his longtime girlfriend, Lindsay Mills.[31] According to local real estate agents, they moved out of their home on May 1, 2013.[32] Mills had reportedly blogged on March 15, 2013 that the couple had “received word that we have to move out of our house by May 1. E is transferring jobs.”[33] In October 2014, Glenn Greenwald reported at The Intercept that Mills had moved to Moscow in June 2014 to live with him and that Snowden was “now living in domestic bliss.”[34] Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena added that the couple visits Russian cultural sights together but that Mills does not live in Russia full-time due to visa restrictions.[35][36]

Snowden has said that in the 2008 presidential election, he voted for a third-party candidate. He has stated he had been planning to make disclosures about NSA surveillance programs at the time, but he decided to wait because he “believed in Obama’s promises.” He was later disappointed that President Barack Obama “continued with the policies of his predecessor.”[37]

A week after publication of his leaks began, technology news provider Ars Technica confirmed that Snowden, under the pseudonym “TheTrueHOOHA,” had been an active participant at the site’s online forum from 2001 through May 2012, discussing a variety of topics.[38] In a January 2009 entry, TheTrueHOOHA exhibited strong support for the United States’ security state apparatus and said he believed leakers of classified information “should be shot in the balls.”[39] However, in February 2010, TheTrueHOOHA wrote, “Did we get to where we are today via a slippery slope that was entirely within our control to stop? Or was it a relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?”[40]

In accounts published in June 2013, interviewers noted that Snowden’s laptop displayed stickers supporting internet freedom organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project.[21] Snowden considers himself “neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.”[41]

In 2014 Snowden stated that “women have the right to make their own choices” and supported providing “a basic income for people who have no work, or no meaningful work”.[42]

On May 7, 2004, Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve as a Special Forces candidate through its 18X enlistment option, but he did not complete the training.[7][43] He said he wanted to fight in the Iraq War because he “felt like [he] had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.”[21] Snowden said he was discharged after breaking both legs in a training accident.[44] He was discharged on September 28, 2004.[45]

He was then employed for less than a year in 2005 as a “security specialist” at the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language, a non-classified facility.[46] In June 2014, Snowden told Wired that this was “a top-secret facility” where his job as a security guard required a high-level security clearance, for which he passed a polygraph exam and underwent a stringent background check.[16]

In 2006, after attending a job fair focused on intelligence agencies, Snowden was offered a position at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),[16] which he joined.[47] He was assigned to the global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[16]

In May 2006, Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a “computer wizard.”[29] After distinguishing himself as junior man on the top computer team, Snowden was sent to the CIA’s secret school for technology specialists, where he lived in a hotel for six months while studying and training full-time.[16]

In March 2007,[16] the CIA stationed Snowden with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer network security.[48] Assigned to the U.S. mission to the United Nations, Snowden was given a diplomatic passport and a four-bedroom apartment near Lake Geneva.[16] According to Greenwald, while there Snowden was “considered the top technical and cybersecurity expert” in that country and “was hand-picked by the CIA to support the president at the 2008 NATO summit in Romania.”[49] Snowden described his CIA experience in Geneva as “formative,” stating that the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home. Snowden said that when the latter was arrested, a CIA operative offered to help in exchange for the banker becoming an informant.[50]Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss Confederation for the year 2013, in June of that year publicly disputed Snowden’s claims. “This would mean that the CIA successfully bribed the Geneva police and judiciary. With all due respect, I just can’t imagine it,” said Maurer. The revelations were said to have come at a sensitive time as the U.S. was pressing the Swiss government to increase banking transparency.[51] In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA.[40]

In 2009, Snowden began work as a contractor for Dell,[21] which manages computer systems for multiple government agencies. Assigned to an NSA facility at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Snowden instructed top officials and military officers on how to defend their networks from Chinese hackers.[16] During his four years with Dell, he rose from supervising NSA computer system upgrades to working as what his rsum termed a “cyberstrategist” and an “expert in cyber counterintelligence” at several U.S. locations.[52] In 2011, he returned to Maryland, where he spent a year as lead technologist on Dell’s CIA account. In that capacity, he was consulted by the chiefs of the CIA’s technical branches, including the agency’s chief information officer and its chief technology officer.[16] U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the investigation said Snowden began downloading documents describing the government’s electronic spying programs while working for Dell in April 2012.[53] Investigators estimated that of the 50,000 to 200,000 documents Snowden gave to Greenwald and Poitras, most were copied by Snowden while working at Dell.[4]

In March 2012, Dell reassigned Snowden to Hawaii as lead technologist for the NSA’s information-sharing office.[16] At the time of his departure from the United States in May 2013, he had been employed for 15 months inside the NSA’s Hawaii regional operations center, which focuses on the electronic monitoring of China and North Korea,[4][54] the last three of which were with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.[55][56] While intelligence officials have described his position there as a “system administrator,” Snowden has said he was an “infrastructure analyst,” which meant that his job was to look for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world.[57] On March 15, 2013three days after what he later called his “breaking point” of “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress”[58]Snowden quit his job at Dell.[59] Although he has stated that his “career high” annual salary was $200,000,[60] Snowden said he took a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,[61] where he sought employment in order to gather data and then release details of the NSA’s worldwide surveillance activity.[62] According to a Reuters story by Mark Hosenball, while in Hawaii, Snowden “may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers” to give him their logins and passwords “by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator.”[63] NBC News reported that the NSA sent a memo to Congress and “[w]hile the memo’s account is sketchy, it suggests that, contrary to Snowden’s statements, he used an element of trickery to retrieve his trove of tens of thousands of classified documents.”[64][65][66] This report was disputed,[67] with Snowden himself saying in January 2014, “With all due respect to Mark Hosenball, the Reuters report that put this out there was simply wrong. I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers.”[68][69] The day after Snowden publicly took responsibility for the NSA surveillance revelations, Booz Allen terminated his employment “for violations of the firm’s code of ethics and firm policy.”[70]

A former NSA co-worker told Forbes that although the NSA was full of smart people, Snowden was “a genius among geniuses,” who created a backup system for the NSA that was widely implemented and often pointed out security bugs to the agency. The former colleague said Snowden was given full administrator privileges, with virtually unlimited access to NSA data. Snowden was offered a position on the NSA’s elite team of hackers, Tailored Access Operations, but turned it down to join Booz Allen.[71]

A source “with detailed knowledge on the matter” told Reuters that hiring screeners for Booz Allen had found some details of Snowden’s education that “did not check out precisely,” but decided to hire him anyway; Reuters stated that the element which triggered these concerns, or the manner in which Snowden satisfied the concerns, were not known.[22] The rsum stated that Snowden attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University. A spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins said that the university did not find records to show that Snowden attended the university, and suggested that he may instead have attended Advanced Career Technologies, a private for-profit organization which operated as “Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins.”[22] The University College of the University of Maryland acknowledged that Snowden had attended a summer session at a UM campus in Asia. Snowden’s rsum stated that he estimated that he would receive a University of Liverpool computer security master’s degree in 2013. The university said that Snowden registered for an online master’s degree program in computer security in 2011 but that “he is not active in his studies and has not completed the program.”[22]

Snowden said that, using “internal channels of dissent”, he had told multiple employees and two supervisors about his concerns that the NSA programs were unconstitutional. An NSA spokeswoman responded, saying they had “not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention”.[30] Snowden elaborated in January 2014, saying “[I] made tremendous efforts to report these programs to co-workers, supervisors, and anyone with the proper clearance who would listen. The reactions of those I told about the scale of the constitutional violations ranged from deeply concerned to appalled, but no one was willing to risk their jobs, families, and possibly even freedom to go to through what [Thomas Andrews] Drake did.”[69][72] In March 2014, during testimony to the European Parliament, Snowden wrote that before revealing classified information he had reported “clearly problematic programs” to ten officials, who he said did nothing in response.[73] In a May 2014 interview, Snowden told NBC News that after bringing his concerns about the legality of the NSA spying programs to officials, he was told to stay silent on the matter. Snowden said:

The NSA has recordsthey have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. I had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through email, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office. I did it in Fort Meade. I did it in Hawaii. And many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs. They had never seen them themselves. And the ones who had, went, “You know, you’re right. But if you say something about this, they’re going to destroy you”.[11]

In May 2014, U.S. officials released a single email that Snowden had written in April 2013 inquiring about legal authorities but said that they had found no other evidence that Snowden had expressed his concerns to someone in an oversight position.[74] In June 2014, the NSA said it had not been able to find any records of Snowden raising internal complaints about the agency’s operations.[75] That same month, Snowden explained that he himself has not produced the communiqus in question because of the ongoing nature of the dispute, disclosing for the first time that “I am working with the NSA in regard to these records and we’re going back and forth, so I don’t want to reveal everything that will come out.”[76]

In his May 2014 interview with NBC News, Snowden accused the U.S. government of trying to use one position here or there in his career to distract from the totality of his experience, downplaying him as a “low level analyst.” In his words, he was “trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseaspretending to work in a job that I’m notand even being assigned a name that was not mine.” He said he’d worked for the NSA undercover overseas, and for the DIA had developed sources and methods to keep information and people secure “in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world. So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.”[11] In a June interview with Globo TV, Snowden reiterated that he “was actually functioning at a very senior level.”[77] In a July interview with The Guardian, Snowden explained that, during his NSA career, “I began to move from merely overseeing these systems to actively directing their use. Many people dont understand that I was actually an analyst and I designated individuals and groups for targeting.”[78] Snowden subsequently told Wired that while at Dell in 2011, “I would sit down with the CIO of the CIA, the CTO of the CIA, the chiefs of all the technical branches. They would tell me their hardest technology problems, and it was my job to come up with a way to fix them.[16]

Of his time as an NSA analyst, directing the work of others, Snowden recalled a moment when he and his colleagues began to have severe ethical doubts. Snowden said 18- to 22-year-old analysts were suddenly “thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all your private records. In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sensefor example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they’re extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker and sooner or later this person’s whole life has been seen by all of these other people.” As Snowden observed it, this behavior was routine, happening “probably every two months,” but was never reported, being considered among “the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”[24]

The exact size of Snowden’s disclosure is unknown,[79] but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files[80] and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files.[81] NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents.[82] Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were on the order of 1.7 million,[83] a number that originally came from Department of Defense talking points.[84] In July 2014, The Washington Post reported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of “roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts.”[85] In June 2015, Vice News reported that, according to a declassified U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense files, more than he downloaded from the NSA.[84]

In March 2014, Army General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee, “The vast majority of the documents that Snowden exfiltrated from our highest levels of security had nothing to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities. The vast majority of those were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques and procedures.”[86] When retired NSA director Keith Alexander was asked in a May 2014 interview to quantify the number of documents Snowden stole, Alexander answered, “I don’t think anybody really knows what he actually took with him, because the way he did it, we don’t have an accurate way of counting. What we do have an accurate way of counting is what he touched, what he may have downloaded, and that was more than a million documents.”[87]

According to Snowden, he did not indiscriminately turn over documents to journalists, stating that “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest. There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over”[88] and that “I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country.”[62]

In June 2014, the NSA’s recently installed director, U.S. Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers, stated that while some terrorist groups had altered their communications to avoid surveillance techniques revealed by Snowden, the damage done was not significant enough to conclude that “the sky is falling.”[89] Nevertheless, in February 2015, Rogers said that Snowden’s disclosures has a “material impact” on the NSA’s ability to “generate insights as to what counterterrorism, what terrorist groups around the world are doing.”[90]

In April 2015 the Henry Jackson Society, a British neoconservative think tank, published a report claiming that Snowden’s intelligence leaks negatively impacted Britain’s ability to fight terrorism and organized crime.[91][92]Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, criticized the report and said it “presumes that the public are idiots and that we only became concerned about privacy after Snowden.”[93]

The New York Times’ James Risen reported that Snowden’s decision to leak NSA documents “developed gradually, dating back at least to his time working as a technician in the Geneva station of the CIA.”[94] Snowden first made contact with Glenn Greenwald, a journalist working at The Guardian, in late 2012.[95] He contacted Greenwald anonymously as “Cincinnatus”[96] and said he had “sensitive documents” that he would like to share.[97] Greenwald found the measures that the source asked him to take to secure their communications, such as encrypting email, too annoying to employ. Snowden then contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras in January 2013.[98] According to Poitras, Snowden chose to contact her after seeing her New York Times documentary[99] about NSA whistleblower William Binney. The Guardian reported that what originally attracted Snowden to both Greenwald and Poitras was a Salon article written by Greenwald detailing how Poitras’ controversial films had made her a “target of the government.”[97][100]

Greenwald began working with Snowden in either February[101] or April 2013, after Poitras asked Greenwald to meet her in New York City, at which point Snowden began providing documents to them.[95]Barton Gellman, writing for The Washington Post, says his first “direct contact” was on May 16, 2013.[102] According to Gellman, Snowden approached Greenwald after the Post declined to guarantee publication within 72 hours of all 41 PowerPoint slides that Snowden had leaked exposing the PRISM electronic data mining program, and to publish online an encrypted code allowing Snowden to later prove that he was the source.[102]

Snowden communicated using encrypted email,[98] and going by the codename “Verax”. He asked not to be quoted at length for fear of identification by stylometry.[102]

According to Gellman, prior to their first meeting in person, Snowden wrote, “I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.”[102] Snowden also told Gellman that until the articles were published, the journalists working with him would also be at mortal risk from the United States Intelligence Community “if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information.”[102]

In May 2013, Snowden was permitted temporary leave from his position at the NSA in Hawaii, on the pretext of receiving treatment for his epilepsy.[21] In mid-May, Snowden gave an electronic interview to Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum which was published weeks later by Der Spiegel.[103]

After disclosing the copied documents, Snowden promised that nothing would stop subsequent disclosures. In June 2013, he said, “All I can say right now is the US government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”[104]

On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong,[88] where he was staying when the initial articles based on the leaked documents were published,[105] beginning with The Guardian on June 5.[106] Greenwald later said Snowden disclosed 9,000 to 10,000 documents. [107]

Within months, documents had been obtained and published by media outlets worldwide, most notably The Guardian (Britain), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Washington Post and The New York Times (U.S.), O Globo (Brazil), Le Monde (France), and similar outlets in Sweden, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Australia.[108] In 2014, NBC broke its first story based on the leaked documents.[109] In February 2014, for reporting based on Snowden’s leaks, journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman and The Guardians Ewen MacAskill were honored as co-recipients of the 2013 George Polk Award, which they dedicated to Snowden.[110] The NSA reporting by these journalists also earned The Guardian and The Washington Post the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service[111] for exposing the “widespread surveillance” and for helping to spark a “huge public debate about the extent of the government’s spying”. The Guardian’s chief editor, Alan Rusbridger, credited Snowden, saying “The public service in this award is significant because Snowden performed a public service.”[112]

The ongoing publication of leaked documents has revealed previously unknown details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the United States’ NSA[115] in close cooperation with three of its Five Eyes partners: Australia (ASD),[116] the United Kingdom (GCHQ),[117] and Canada (CSEC).[118]

The Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said in November 2013 that only one percent of the documents had been published.[119] Officials warned that “the worst is yet to come”.[120][121]

Media reports documenting the existence and functions of classified surveillance programs and their scope began on June 5, 2013, and continued throughout the entire year. The first program to be revealed was PRISM, with reports from both The Washington Post and The Guardian published an hour apart. PRISM allows for court-approved direct access to Americans’ Google and Yahoo accounts.[113][122][123] The Post’s Barton Gellman was the first journalist to report on Snowden’s documents. He said the U.S. government urged him not to specify by name which companies were involved, but Gellman decided that to name them “would make it real to Americans.”[124] Reports also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ.[122][125] The initial reports included details about NSA call database, Boundless Informant, and of a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand the NSA millions of Americans’ phone records daily,[126] the surveillance of French citizens’ phone and internet records, and those of “high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics.”[127][128][129]XKeyscore, an analytical tool that allows for collection of “almost anything done on the internet,” was described by The Guardian as a program that “shed light” on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements: “I, sitting at my desk [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”[130]

It was revealed that the NSA was harvesting millions of email and instant messaging contact lists,[131] searching email content,[132] tracking and mapping the location of cell phones,[133] undermining attempts at encryption via Bullrun[134][135] and that the agency was using cookies to “piggyback” on the same tools used by internet advertisers “to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.”[136] The NSA was shown to be “secretly” tapping into Yahoo and Google data centers to collect information from “hundreds of millions” of account holders worldwide by tapping undersea cables using the MUSCULAR surveillance program.[113][114]

The NSA, the U.S. CIA and GCHQ spied on users of Second Life and World of Warcraft by creating make-believe characters as a way to “hide in plain sight.”[137] Leaked documents showed NSA agents spied on their “love interests,” a practice NSA employees termed LOVEINT.[138][139] The NSA was also shown to be tracking the online sexual activity of people they termed “radicalizers,” in order to discredit them.[140] The NSA was accused of going “beyond its core mission of national security” when articles were published showing the NSA’s intelligence-gathering operations had targeted Brazil’s largest oil company, Petrobras.[141] The NSA and the GCHQ were also shown to be surveilling charities including UNICEF and Mdecins du Monde, as well as allies such as the EU chief and the Israeli Prime Minister.[142]

By October 2013, Snowden’s disclosures had created tensions[143][144] between the U.S. and some of its close allies after they revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazil, France, Mexico,[145] Britain,[146] China,[147] Germany,[148] and Spain,[149] as well as 35 world leaders,[150] most notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said “spying among friends” was “unacceptable”[151] and compared the NSA with the Stasi.[152] Leaked documents published by Der Spiegel in 2014 appeared to show that the NSA had targeted 122 “high ranking” leaders.[153]

The NSA’s top-secret “black budget,” obtained from Snowden by The Washington Post, exposed the “successes and failures” of the 16 spy agencies comprising the U.S. intelligence community,[154] and revealed that the NSA was paying U.S. private tech companies for “clandestine access” to their communications networks.[155] The agencies were allotted $52 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.[156]

An NSA mission statement titled “SIGINT Strategy 2012-2016″ affirmed that the NSA plans for continued expansion of surveillance activities. Their stated goal was to “dramatically increase mastery of the global network” and “acquire the capabilities to gather intelligence on anyone, anytime, anywhere.”[157] Leaked slides revealed in Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide, released in May 2014, showed that the NSA’s stated objective was to “Collect it All,” “Process it All,” “Exploit it All,” “Partner it All,” “Sniff it All” and “Know it All.”[158]

Snowden stated in a January 2014 interview with German television that the NSA does not limit its data collection to national security issues, accusing the agency of conducting industrial espionage. Using the example of German company Siemens, he stated, “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to US national interestseven if it doesn’t have anything to do with national securitythen they’ll take that information nevertheless.”[159] In August 2014, German national newspaper Die Welt reported that, in the wake of Snowden’s revelations and in response to an inquiry from the Left Party, Germany’s domestic security agency Bundesamt fr Verfassungsschutz (BfV) investigated and found no “concrete evidence” (Konkrete Belege) that the U.S. conducted economic or industrial espionage in Germany.[160]

In February 2014, during testimony to the European Union, Snowden said of the remaining “undisclosed programs”: “I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders.”[161]

In March 2014, documents disclosed by Glenn Greenwald writing for The Intercept showed the NSA, in cooperation with the GCHQ, has plans to infect millions of computers with malware using a program called “Turbine.”[162] Revelations included information about “QUANTUMHAND,” a program through which the NSA set up a fake Facebook server to intercept connections.[162]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information furnished by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, message texts, and online accounts, that support the claim.[163]

In an August 2014 interview, Snowden for the first time disclosed a cyberwarfare program in the works, codenamed MonsterMind. The program would “automate the process of hunting for the beginnings of a foreign cyberattack”. The software would constantly look for traffic patterns indicating known or suspected attacks. What sets MonsterMind apart was that it would add a “unique new capability: instead of simply detecting and killing the malware at the point of entry, MonsterMind would automatically fire back, with no human involvement”. Snowden expressed concern that often initial attacks are routed through computers in innocent third countries. “These attacks can be spoofed. You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?”[16]

Snowden’s identity was made public by The Guardian at his request on June 9, 2013.[101] He explained: “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”[21] He added that by revealing his identity he hoped to protect his colleagues from being subjected to a hunt to determine who had been responsible for the leaks.[164] According to Poitras, who filmed the interview with Snowden in Hong Kong, he had initially not wanted to be seen on camera, because “he didn’t want the story to be about him.”[165] Poitras says she convinced him it was necessary to have him give an account of the leaked documents’ significance on film: “I knew that the mainstream media interpretation would be predictable and narrow, but because to have somebody who understands how this technology works, who is willing to risk their life to expose it to the public, and that we could hear that articulated, would reach people in ways that the documents themselves wouldn’t.”[165] Snowden explained his actions saying: “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things [surveillance on its citizens] I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”[166] In a later interview Snowden declared:

For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself. All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed.[30]

Snowden said that in the past, whistleblowers had been “destroyed by the experience,” and that he wanted to “embolden others to step forward” by demonstrating that “they can win.”[167] In October, Snowden spoke out again on his motivations for the leaks in an interview with The New York Times, saying that the system for reporting problems does not work. “You have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it,” Snowden explained, and pointed out the lack of whistleblower protection for government contractors, the use of the 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute leakers, and his belief that had he used internal mechanisms to “sound the alarm,” his revelations “would have been buried forever.”[94][168]

In December 2013, upon learning that a U.S. federal judge had ruled the collection of U.S. phone metadata conducted by the NSA as likely unconstitutional, Snowden stated: “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”[169]

In January 2014, Snowden said his “breaking point” was “seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress.”[58] This referred to testimony on March 12, 2013three months after Snowden first sought to share thousands of NSA documents with Greenwald,[95] and nine months after the NSA says Snowden made his first illegal downloads during the summer of 2012[4]in which Clapper denied to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA wittingly collects data on millions of Americans.[170] Snowden said, “Theres no saving an intelligence community that believes it can lie to the public and the legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back. Beyond that, it was the creeping realization that no one else was going to do this. The public had a right to know about these programs.”[171] In May 2014, Vanity Fair reported that Snowden said he first contemplated leaking confidential documents around 2008, but that “Snowden held back, in part because he believed Barack Obama, elected that November, might introduce reforms.”[4] Snowden stated that he had reported policy or legal issues related to spying programs to more than 10 officials, but as a contractor had no legal avenue to pursue further whistleblowing.[172]

In May 2013 Snowden took a leave of absence, telling his supervisors he was returning to the mainland for epilepsy treatment, but instead left Hawaii for Hong Kong[173] where he arrived on May 20. Snowden told Guardian reporters in June that he had been in his room at the Mira Hotel since his arrival in the city, rarely going out.[59] On June 10, correspondent Ewen MacAskill said “He’s stuck in his hotel every day; he never goes out. I think he’s only been out about three times since May 20th and that was only briefly.”[174] Mira staff told Wall Street Journal reporters, however, that Snowden did not check in to the hotel until June 1.[59][175]

Snowden vowed to challenge any extradition attempt by the U.S. government, and engaged a Canadian, Hong Kong-based human rights lawyer Robert Tibbo, as his legal adviser.[176][177][178] Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he planned to remain in Hong Kong until “asked to leave,”[179] adding that his intention was to let the “courts and people of Hong Kong” decide his fate.[180] While in Hong Kong Snowden told the Post that “the United States government has committed a tremendous number of crimes against Hong Kong. The PRC as well,”[181] going on to identify Chinese Internet Protocol addresses that the NSA monitored and stating that the NSA collected text-message data for Hong Kong residents. Glenn Greenwald explained the leak as reflecting “a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”[182]

In late August, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Snowden was living at the Russian consulate shortly before his departure from Hong Kong to Moscow.[183] Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and legal adviser to Snowden, said in January 2014, “Every news organization in the world has been trying to confirm that story. They haven’t been able to, because it’s false.”[184] Likewise rejecting the Kommersant story was Anatoly Kucherena, who became Snowden’s lawyer in July 2013, when Snowden asked him for help with seeking temporary asylum in Russia.[185] Kucherena stated that Snowden “did not enter into any communication with our diplomats when he was in Hong Kong.”[186][187] In early September 2013, however, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that, a few days before boarding a plane to Moscow, “Mr. Snowden first appeared in Hong Kong and met with our diplomatic representatives.”[188] In June 2014, investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein wrote that a U.S. official had told him that on three occasions in June 2013, Snowden had been observed on CCTV cameras entering the Hong Kong tower where the Russian consulate is located.[59]

On June 22 (18 days after publication of Snowden’s NSA documents began), U.S. officials revoked his passport.[189] On June 23, Snowden boarded the commercial Aeroflot flight SU213 to Moscow, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.[190][191] Hong Kong authorities said that Snowden had not been detained as requested by the United States, because the United States’ extradition request had not fully complied with Hong Kong law,[192][193] and there was no legal basis to prevent Snowden from leaving.[194][195][Notes 1] On June 24, U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said “we’re just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant though the Privacy Act prohibits me from talking about Mr. Snowden’s passport specifically, I can say that the Hong Kong authorities were well aware of our interest in Mr. Snowden and had plenty of time to prohibit his travel.”[198] That same day, Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks had paid for Snowden’s lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out.[199]

In October 2013, Snowden said that before flying to Moscow, he gave all the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, and did not keep any copies for himself.[94] In January 2014, he told a German TV interviewer that he gave all of his information “to American journalists who are reporting on American issues.”[58] During his first American TV interview, in May 2014, Snowden said he had protected himself from Russian leverage “by destroying the material that I was holding before I transited through Russia.”[11]

On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo international airport.[200] WikiLeaks stated that he was “bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”[201] Snowden had a seat reserved to continue to Cuba[202] but did not board that onward flight, saying in a January 2014 interview that he was “stopped en route” despite an intention to be “only transiting through Russia.” He stated, “I was ticketed for onward travel via Havanaa planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be inbut the State Department decided they wanted me in Moscow, and cancelled my passport.”[184] He said the U.S. wanted him there so “they could say, ‘He’s a Russian spy.'”[203] Greenwald’s account differs on the point of Snowden being already ticketed. According to Greenwald, Snowden’s passport was valid when he departed Hong Kong but was revoked during the hours he was in transit to Moscow, meaning “he could no longer get a ticket and leave Russia.” Snowden was thus, Greenwald says, forced to stay in Moscow and seek asylum.[204]

According to one Russian report, Snowden planned to fly from Moscow through Havana to Latin America; however, Cuba informed Moscow it would not allow the Aeroflot plane carrying Snowden to land.[205] Anonymous Russian sources claimed that Cuba had a change of heart after receiving pressure from U.S. officials,[206] leaving him stuck in the transit zone because at the last minute Havana told officials in Moscow not to allow him on the flight.[207]Fidel Castro called claims that Cuba would have blocked Snowden’s entry to his country a “lie” and a “libel.”[202]The Washington Post said “[t]hat version stands in contrast to widespread speculation that the Russians never intended to let the former CIA employee travel onward.”[208] Russian president Putin said that Snowden’s arrival in Moscow was “a surprise” and “like an unwanted Christmas gift.”[209] Putin said that Snowden remained in the transit area of Sheremetyevo, noted that he had not committed any crime in Russia, and declared that Snowden was free to leave and should do so.[210] He denied that Russia’s intelligence agencies had worked or were working with Snowden.[209]

Following Snowden’s arrival in Moscow, the White House expressed disappointment in Hong Kong’s decision to allow him to leave,[211] with press secretary Jay Carney stating, “We very clearly believe that Mr. Snowden ought to be returned to the United States to face the charges that have been set against him,”[212] and the director of the State Department’s press office concurred: “We are deeply disappointed by the decision of the authorities in Hong Kong to permit Mr. Snowden to flee despite a legally valid U.S. request to arrest him for purposes of his extradition under the U.S.-Hong Kong Surrender Agreement. We hope that the Russian Government will look at all available options to return Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he’s charged.”[198] An anonymous U.S. official not authorized to discuss the passport matter told AP Snowden’s passport had been revoked before he left Hong Kong, and that although it could make onward travel more difficult, “if a senior official in a country or airline ordered it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport.”[213] In a July 1 statement, Snowden said, “Although I am convicted of nothing, [the US government] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.”[214]

After Snowden received asylum in Russia, international criminal defense lawyer Douglas McNabb commented that “absent of Mr. Snowden attempting to travel to Latin America, as long as he stays in Russia, hes apparently safe.”[215]Julian Assange agreed with this assessment, saying in a December 2013 Rolling Stone interview, “While Venezuela and Ecuador could protect him in the short term, over the long term there could be a change in government. In Russia, he’s safe, he’s well-regarded, and that is not likely to change. That was my advice to Snowden, that he would be physically safest in Russia.”[173] According to Snowden, “the CIA has a very powerful presence [in Latin America] and the governments and the security services there are relatively much less capable than, say, Russia…. they could have basically snatched me….”[216]

Four countries offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela.[215]ABC News reported that no direct flights between Moscow and Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua exist, and that “the United States has pressured countries along his route to hand him over.” Snowden explained in July 2013 that he decided to bid for asylum in Russia because he did not feel there was any safe travel route to Latin America.[217] Snowden said he remained in Russia because “when we were talking about possibilities for asylum in Latin America, the United States forced down the Bolivian Presidents plane”, citing the Morales plane incident. On the issue, he said “some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.”[218] He said that he would travel from Russia if there was no interference from the U.S. government.[184]

In an October 2014 interview with The Nation magazine, Snowden reiterated that he had originally intended to travel to Latin America: “A lot of people are still unaware that I never intended to end up in Russia.” According to Snowden, the U.S. government “waited until I departed Hong Kong to cancel my passport in order to trap me in Russia.” Snowden added, “If they really wanted to capture me, they would’ve allowed me to travel to Latin America, because the CIA can operate with impunity down there. They did not want that; they chose to keep me in Russia.”[219]

On July 1, 2013, president Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had been attending a conference of gas-exporting countries in Russia, suggested during an interview with Russia Today that he would be “willing to consider a request” by Snowden for asylum.[220] The following day, Morales’ plane en route to Bolivia was rerouted to Austria and reportedly searched there after France, Spain and Italy denied access to their airspace.[221] U.S. officials had raised suspicions that Snowden may have been on board.[222] Morales blamed the U.S. for putting pressure on European countries, and said that the grounding of his plane was a violation of international law.[223]

In April 2015, Bolivia’s ambassador to Russia, Mara Luisa Ramos Urzagaste, accused WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange of putting Morales’s life at risk by intentionally providing to the United States false rumors that Snowden was on the Morales’s plane. Assange responded that the plan “was not completely honest, but we did consider that the final result would have justified our actions. We can only regret what happened.”[224]

Snowden applied for political asylum to 21 countries.[225] A statement attributed to him contended that the U.S. administration, and specifically Vice President Joe Biden, had pressured the governments to refuse his asylum petitions. Biden had telephoned President Rafael Correa days prior to Snowden’s remarks, asking the Ecuadorian leader not to grant Snowden asylum.[226] Ecuador had initially offered Snowden a temporary travel document but later withdrew it;[227] on July 1, President Rafael Correa said the decision to issue the offer had been “a mistake.”[228]

In a July 1 statement published by WikiLeaks, Snowden accused the U.S. government of “using citizenship as a weapon” and using what he described as “old, bad tools of political aggression.” Citing Obama’s promise to not allow “wheeling and dealing” over the case, Snowden commented, “This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile.”[229] Several days later, WikiLeaks announced that Snowden had applied for asylum in six additional countries, which WikiLeaks declined to name “due to attempted U.S. interference.”[230]

The French interior ministry rejected Snowden’s request for asylum, saying, “Given the legal analysis and the situation of the interested party, France will not agree.”[231] Poland refused to process his application because it did not conform to legal procedure.[232]Brazil’s Foreign Ministry said the government “does not plan to respond” to Snowden’s asylum request. Germany, Finland and India rejected Snowden’s application outright, while Austria, Ecuador, Norway and Spain said he must be on their territory to apply.[233] Italy cited the same reason in rejecting his request,[234] as did the Netherlands.[235] In November 2014, Germany announced that Snowden had not renewed his previously denied request and was not being considered for asylum.[236]

Putin said on July 1, 2013, that if Snowden wanted to be granted asylum in Russia, he would be required to “stop his work aimed at harming our American partners.”[237] A spokesman for Putin subsequently said that Snowden had withdrawn his asylum application upon learning of the conditions.[238]

In a July 12 meeting at Sheremetyevo Airport with representatives of human rights organizations and lawyers, organized in part by the Russian government,[239] Snowden said he was accepting all offers of asylum that he had already received or would receive in the future, noting that his Venezuela’s “asylee status was now formal.”[240] He also said he would request asylum in Russia until he resolved his travel problems.[241] Russian Federal Migration Service officials confirmed on July 16 that Snowden had submitted an application for temporary asylum.[242] On July 24, Kucherena said his client “wants to find work in Russia, travel and somehow create a life for himself.” He said Snowden had already begun learning Russian.[243]

Amid media reports in early July 2013 attributed to U.S. administration sources that Obama’s one-on-one meeting with Putin, ahead of a G20 meeting in St Petersburg scheduled for September, was in doubt due to Snowden’s protracted sojourn in Russia,[244] top U.S. officials repeatedly made it clear to Moscow that Snowden should immediately be returned to the United States to, in the words of White House press secretary Jay Carney, “face the charges that have been brought against him for the unauthorized leaking of classified information.”[245][246][247] Snowden needed asylum, according to his Russian lawyer, because “he faces persecution by the U.S. government and he fears for his life and safety, fears that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment.”[248]

In a letter to Russian Minister of Justice Alexander Konovalov dated July 23,[249]U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sought to eliminate the “asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise.” Holder asserted that the theft and espionage charges against Snowden do not carry the possibility of a death penalty and that the United States would not seek the death penalty “even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional death penalty-eligible crimes.” Holder said Snowden is free to travel from Moscow despite the June 22 revocation of his U.S. passport. He is, Holder explained, immediately eligible for a “limited validity passport” good for direct return to the United States. Holder also assured Konovalov that Snowden would not be tortured. “Torture is unlawful in the United States,” Holder wrote. “If he returns to the United States, Mr. Snowden would promptly be brought before a civilian court convened under Article III of the United States Constitution and supervised by a United States District Judge. Mr. Snowden would be appointed (or if so chose, could retain) counsel.”[250] The same day, the Russian president’s spokesman reiterated the Kremlin’s position that it would “not hand anyone over”; he also noted that Putin was not personally involved in the matter as Snowden “has not made any request that would require examination by the head of state” and that the issue was being handled through talks between the FSB and the FBI.[251]

In March 2015, journalist Glenn Greenwald reported at The Intercept that Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, told him the U.S. government had threatened to stop sharing intelligence if Germany offered Snowden asylum or arranged for his travel there.[252]

On June 14, 2013, United States federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against Snowden, charging him with theft of government property, and two counts of violating the Espionage Act through unauthorized communication of national defense information and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.”[5][249] Each of the three charges carries a maximum possible prison term of ten years. The charge was initially secret and was unsealed a week later.

Snowden was asked in a January 2014 interview about returning to the U.S. to face the charges in court, as Obama had suggested a few days prior. Snowden explained why he rejected the request: “What he doesn’t say are that the crimes that he’s charged me with are crimes that don’t allow me to make my case. They don’t allow me to defend myself in an open court to the public and convince a jury that what I did was to their benefit. So it’s, I would say, illustrative that the President would choose to say someone should face the music when he knows the music is a show trial.”[58][253] Snowden’s legal representative, Jesselyn Radack, wrote that “the Espionage Act effectively hinders a person from defending himself before a jury in an open court, as past examples show,” referring to Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou and Chelsea Manning. Radack said that the “arcane World War I law” was never meant to prosecute whistleblowers, but rather spies who sold secrets to enemies for profit. Under this law, she states, “no prosecution of a non-spy can be fair or just.”[254]

Snowden left the Moscow airport on August 1 after 39 days in the transit section. He had been granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year;[255] the asylum grant can be extended indefinitely on an annual basis.[256] According to his Russian lawyer, Snowden went to an undisclosed location kept secret for security reasons.[257] In response to the asylum grant, the White House stated that it was “extremely disappointed,” and cancelled a previously scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.[258][259] Additionally, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham urged President Obama to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but House Speaker John Boehner, also a Republican, rejected that idea as “dead wrong.”[260]

In late July 2013, Lon Snowden said he believed his son would be better off staying in Russia, and didn’t believe he would receive a fair trial in the U.S.[261] In mid-October, he visited his son in Moscow, later telling the press that he was pleased with Edward’s situation, and still believed Russia was the best choice for his asylum, saying he wouldn’t have to worry about people “rushing across the border to render him.” Snowden commented that his son found living in Russia “comfortable,” and Moscow “modern and sophisticated.”[262] Snowden’s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, announced on October 31 that his client had found a website maintenance job at one of Russia’s largest websites, but refused to identify the site for “security reasons.” Jesselyn Radack, one of Snowden’s American lawyers, said she was “not aware” of any new job.[263] Asked about this by The Moscow Times in June 2014, The Guardian correspondent Luke Harding replied, “Kucherena is completely unreliable as a source. We [The Guardian] did the rounds of Russian IT companies when he made that claim last year and none of themnone of the big ones, at leastconfirmed this.”[264]

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who had traveled to Russia to give Snowden a whistleblower award, said that Snowden did not give any storage devices such as hard drives or USB flash drives to Russia or China, and that the four laptops he carried with him “were a ‘diversion’ and contained no secrets.” U.S. officials said they assumed that any classified materials downloaded by Snowden had fallen into the hands of China and Russia, though they acknowledged they had no proof of this.[265] In an October 2013 interview, Snowden maintained that he did not bring any classified material into Russia “because it wouldn’t serve the public interest.” He added, “There’s a zero percent chance the Russians or Chinese have received any documents.”[94] In June 2015, however, The Sunday Times reported that British government officials anonymously claimed to the paper that Russia and China had cracked an encrypted cache of files taken by Snowden, forcing the withdrawal of British spies from live operations.[266] The BBC also stated that their sources told them British intelligence assets had been moved as a precaution after the Snowden leaks.[267] Several prominent media outlets and persons have disputed the validity of The Sunday Times’s story. The Intercept’s Greenwald said the report had “retraction-worthy fabrications,” and “does […] nothing other than quote anonymous British officials,” and notes that parts of the Times’s report was removed from the original post without the Times saying it did so;[268]The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple stated that CNN reporter George Howell may have unknowingly damage the report’s credibility in an on-air interview with the story’s lead author Tom Harper “by asking obvious questions about the story.”[269]

WikiLeaks released video of Snowden on October 11 taken during the Sam Adams Award reception in Moscow, his first public appearance in three months. Former U.S. government officials attending the ceremony said they saw no evidence Snowden was under the control of Russian security services. The whistleblower group said he was in good spirits, looked well, and still believes he was right to release the NSA documents.[270] In the video, Snowden said “people all over the world are coming to realize” that the NSA’s surveillance programs put people in danger, hurt the U.S. and its economy, and “limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and associate freely” as well as putting people “at risk of coming into conflict with our own government.”[271]

On October 31, German lawmaker Hans-Christian Strbele traveled to Moscow to meet with Snowden, whom he invited to testify before the German parliament to assist investigations into NSA surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002.[272][273][274] After the visit, Snowden indicated a willingness to testify, though not from Moscow as Germany requested. Snowden said he would rather give testimony before the U.S. Congress, his second choice being Berlin.[275]

Also in October, journalist Glenn Greenwald commented on Snowden’s Russian asylum: “[Snowden] didn’t choose to be there. He was trying to get transit to Latin America, and then the U.S. revoked his passport and threatened other countries out of offering Snowden safe passage.”[276] WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, who accompanied Snowden from Hong Kong to Moscow, left Russia in early November after waiting until she felt confident he had “established himself and was free from the interference of any government.”[277]

On December 17, 2013, Snowden wrote an open letter to the people of Brazil offering to assist the Brazilian government in investigating allegations of U.S. spying, and added that he continued to seek, and would require, asylum.[278] Snowden wrote, “Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the U.S. government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from traveling to Latin America!”[279] Brazil had been in an uproar since Snowden revealed that the U.S. was spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, her senior advisors, and Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras.[280] Rousseff and officials of the Brazilian foreign ministry said in response that they could not consider asylum for Snowden because they had not received any formal request.[281] A representative of the foreign ministry said that a fax requesting asylum had been sent to the Brazilian embassy in Moscow in July but it had not been signed and could not be authenticated.[282] David Miranda, the Brazilian partner of Glenn Greenwald, launched an internet petition urging the Brazilian president to consider offering Snowden asylum.[283]

Snowden met with Barton Gellman of The Washington Post six months after the disclosure for an exclusive interview spanning 14 hours, his first since being granted temporary asylum. Snowden talked about his life in Russia as “an indoor cat,” reflected on his time as an NSA contractor, and discussed at length the revelations of global surveillance and their reverberations. Snowden said, “In terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated.”[30] He commented “I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.” On the accusation from former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden that he had defected, Snowden stated, “If I defected at all, I defected from the government to the public.”[30] In 2014, Snowden said that he lives “a surprisingly open life” in Russia and that he is recognized when he goes to computer stores.[203]

According to BuzzFeed, in January 2014 an anonymous Pentagon official said that he wanted to kill Snowden, claiming that By [Snowden] showing who our collections partners were, the terrorists have dropped those carriers and email addresses.”[284] Other intelligence analysts expressed their anger to BuzzFeed as well, with an Army intelligence officer complaining that Snowden’s leaks had increased his “blindness” and expressing his hope that Snowden would be killed in a covert way. When asked about the BuzzFeed story, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said death threats were “totally inappropriate” and had no place in our discussion of these issues.”[285]

On Meet the Press in late January 2014, speculation arose from top U.S. officials in the House and Senate Intelligence Committees that Snowden might have been assisted by Russian intelligence,[286] prompting a rare interview during which Snowden spoke in his defense. He told The New Yorker “this ‘Russian spy’ push is absurd,” adding that he “clearly and unambiguously acted alone, with no assistance from anyone, much less a government.”[184]The New York Times reported that investigations by the NSA and the FBI “have turned up no evidence that Mr. Snowden was aided by others.”[287] Days later, Feinstein stated that she had seen no evidence that Snowden is a Russian spy.[288] Germany’s Der Spiegel suggested the accusations were part of a “smear campaign” by U.S. officials. For Snowden, the smears did not “mystify” him; he said that “outlets report statements that the speakers themselves admit are sheer speculation.”[289]

In late January 2014, US attorney general, Eric Holder in an interview with MSNBC indicated that the U.S. could allow Snowden to return from Russia under negotiated terms, saying he was prepared to engage in conversation with him, but that full clemency would be going too far.[290]

Snowden’s first television interview[291] aired January 26, 2014 on Germany’s NDR. In April 2014, he appeared on video from an undisclosed location during President Putin’s live annual Q&A exchange with the public. Snowden asked, “Does Russia intercept, store, or analyzein any waythe communications of individuals?” Putin replied, “Russia uses surveillance techniques for spying on individuals only with the sanction of a court order. This is our law, and therefore there is no mass surveillance in our country.”[292] Reactions were split. Critics said it looked like a “highly-scripted propaganda stunt for Vladimir Putin”[293] and that Snowden is “bought and paid for entirely by the Russians.”[293][294] Snowden insisted his question was designed to hold the Russian president accountable.[295] In an op-ed for The Guardian, Snowden said his question was intended “to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion.” Snowden called Putin’s response “evasive”.[296] A few days later, The Daily Beast reported that Snowden himself “instantly regretted” asking Putin the “softball question”, which was crafted with several of his key advisers, and that he was mortified by the reaction. Ben Wizner, one of Snowden’s legal advisers, told the Beast that Snowden hadn’t realized how much his appearance with Putin would be seen as a Kremlin propaganda victory. “I know this is hard to believe,” Wizner acknowledged. “I know if I was just watching from afar, I’d think, ‘Wow, they forced him to do this.’ But it’s not true. He just fucking did it.”[297] Asked six months later about the incident, Snowden conceded, “Yeah, that was terrible! Oh, Jesus, that blew up in my face. And in the United States, what I did appearing at that Putin press conference was not worth the price.”[219]

In March 2014, the international advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi) reported that the European Parliament, in adopting a Data Protection Reform Package, rejected amendments that would have dropped charges against Snowden and granted him asylum or refugee status.[298]

In May 2014, NBC’s Brian Williams presented the first interview for American television.[299] In June, The Washington Post reported that during his first year of Russian asylum, Snowden had received “tens of thousands of dollars in cash awards and appearance fees from privacy organizations and other groups,” fielded inquiries about book and movie projects, and was considering taking a position with a South African foundation that would support work on security and privacy issues. “Any moment that he decides that he wants to be a wealthy person,” said Snowden’s attorney Ben Wizner, “that route is available to him,” although the U.S. government could attempt to seize such proceeds.[300]

Also in May, the German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal unanimously decided to invite Snowden to testify as a witness.[301] In September, opposition parties in the German parliament filed constitutional complaints to force the government to let Snowden testify in Berlin. Snowden had refused a proposed video conference from Moscow, saying he wants to testify only in Berlin and asking for safe conduct.[302][303][304]

On July 13, 2014, The Guardian published its first story based on an exclusive, seven-hour interview newly conducted with Snowden in a Moscow city centre hotel. Snowden condemned the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill announced to the UK’s House of Commons on July 10[305] bolstering the state’s right to keep personal data held by Internet and phone companies. Snowden said it was very unusual for a public body to pass such emergency legislation except during total war. “I mean we don’t have bombs falling. We don’t have U-boats in the harbor. It defies belief.”[306] The Daily Mail reported that Snowden had “caused fury” by attacking Britain. “His critics said the new surveillance Bill was being pushed through Parliament today largely because of his treachery in leaking Britain’s spy secrets.”[307] On July 13 and 17, The Guardian posted video clips, of about 2 minutes[306] and 14 minutes[308] in length, excerpted from the full interview. On July 18, The Guardian published a nearly 10,000-word “edited transcript” of their Snowden interview.[78] A year after arriving in Moscow, Snowden said he is still learning Russian. He keeps late and solitary hours, effectively living on U.S. time. He does not drink, cooks for himself but doesn’t eat much. “I don’t live in absolute secrecy,” he says. “I live a pretty open lifebut at the same time I don’t want to be a celebrity.” He does not work for a Russian organization, yet is financially secure thanks to substantial savings from his years as a well-paid contractor and more recently numerous awards and speaking fees from around the world.[24]

On August 7, 2014, six days after Snowden’s one-year temporary asylum expired, his Russian lawyer announced that Snowden had received a three-year residency permit. “He will be able to travel freely within the country and go abroad,” said Anatoly Kucherena. “He’ll be able to stay abroad for not longer than three months.” Kucherena explained that Snowden had not been granted political asylum, which would allow him to stay in Russia permanently but requires a separate process.[309] “In the future,” he added, “Edward will have to decide whether to continue to live in Russia and become a citizen or to return to the United States.”[310] In May 2015, The New York Times reported, “Snowden’s main source of income is speaking fees, which have sometimes exceeded $10,000 for an appearance.”[311]

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero,[312][313][314] a whistleblower,[315][316][317][318] a dissident,[319] a patriot,[320][321][322] and a traitor.[323][324][325][326] His release of NSA material was called the most significant leak in U.S. history by Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg,[327][328] who said, “Snowden’s disclosures are a true constitutional moment” enabling the press to hold the Executive branch of the U.S. federal government accountable, while the legislative and judiciary branch refused to do so.[329] On January 14, 2014, Ellsberg posted to his Twitter page: “Edward Snowden has done more for our Constitution in terms of the Fourth and First Amendment than anyone else I know.”[330]

On June 9, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper condemned Snowden’s actions as having done “huge, grave damage” to U.S. intelligence capabilities.[331] On June 27, 2013, The Monterey Herald reported that the United States Army had barred its personnel from access to parts of the website of The Guardian after that site’s revelations of Snowden’s information about global surveillance.[332] The entire Guardian website was blocked for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[333]

Journalist Naomi Wolf in June 2013 questioned the authenticity of Snowden’s story. She elucidated her “creeping concern that the NSA leaker is not who he purports to be, and that the motivations involved in the story may be more complex than they appear to be”, and in what was called a “conspiracy theory”, presented a series of questions concerning the official narrative. “From the standpoint of the police state and its interests,” she asks, “why have a giant Big Brother apparatus spying on us at all times unless we know about it?”[334][335][336]

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Edward Snowden – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tax Haven Cyprus

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Tax Haven Cyprus
Aug 102015
 

Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Cyprus is a popular tourist destination which receives millions of visitors each year who flock to the white sand beaches to soak in the Mediterranean sun. Cyprus is one of several tax havens located in the European continent. An offshore jurisdiction Cyprus specializes in services such as the incorporation of offshore companies, offshore insurance, and the formation of Cyprus Trusts among other offshore services

Cyprus is a well developed country which is well sought after as an offshore tax haven. A member of the European Union Cyprus has strict laws in place to protect the offshore financial sector of the jurisdiction. Cyprus can be considered a low tax haven since the country has a low tax regime in place for offshore companies and resident companies. The tax haven of Cyprus is popular among European investors and businessmen.

A company incorporated in the tax haven of Cyprus can be called an International Business Company if all of its owners are foreigners to the country. Cyprus companies can be used for investment and as trading companies. The tax haven of Cyprus imposes the same tax rate for all companies incorporated in the jurisdiction. Companies in the low tax haven of Cyprus pay taxes worth 10% of their annual profits. There is no withholding tax applied to the payment of dividends in tax haven Cyprus. Cyprus also has no wealth tax.

The offshore tax haven of Cyprus is well known for offshore banking. The low tax environment of Cyprus allows for offshore bank accounts at many banking institutions on the island. There are no taxes applied to the interest earned by offshore bank accounts in the tax haven of Cyprus. Therefore offshore bank accounts in tax haven Cyprus is good for investments.

Cyprus International trusts have its advantages in tax haven Cyprus. The offshore tax haven allows for the formation of trusts; which will pay no taxes on income gained outside of the territory. Trust dividends and interest gained are tax free in the low tax haven Cyprus. Cyprus trusts are granted privacy. The names of the trust owners are not disclosed to the registrar and there is no need for Cyprus trusts to do financial reporting to any authority in tax haven Cyprus.

As a tax haven Cyprus is well regulated. Privacy is one of the features of all tax havens of the world. Cyprus has legislation in place to protect the privacy of offshore bank account holders, the owners of Cyprus trusts and Cyprus International Business Companies. Tax haven Cyprus has banking secrecy laws in place to protect the integrity of offshore bank accounts in the jurisdiction. The disclosure of information in Cyprus offshore bank accounts is prohibited and punishable by the law. Bank employees and other persons who are associated with Cyprus banks must take an oath of secrecy. This is a requirement of the Central bank of tax haven Cyprus.

Cyprus offshore companies or International Business companies are also awarded privacy per the companies legislation of offshore Cyprus. Companys legislation allows for the registration of Cyprus offshore companies beneficial owners need not be filed with the Registrar of Companies. Company legislation allows for the incorporation of companies using nominee shareholders and directors. The names of the beneficial owners will remain private. In cases of criminal investigations into the operations of the offshore company then the names of beneficial owners might be released.

Offshore corporations in Cyprus are obligated to prepare annual accounting reports to the relevant authorities in the tax haven. Cyprus offshore companies are also expected to comply with the countrys laws an file its annual return which must be signed by the company secretary and director. It must be noted that tax haven Cyprus have signed double tax agreement with many foreign countries including the United States, France ,Sweden, China , Canada, and Demark among others. There is no exchange control in place for offshore trusts and offshore companies in the tax haven of Cyprus. This makes it easier to companies to engage in trade. The absence of exchange controls makes the tax haven of Cyprus favorable for the remittance of large sums of funds and also for the transfer of funds.

The low tax haven of Cyprus has favorable conditions which encourage the incorporation of offshore companies, trusts and the opening of offshore bank accounts in the jurisdiction. Offshore corporations and bank accounts can be established by persons of any nationality. The offshore jurisdiction laws of the tax haven are very strict but also allows for the formation of flexible offshore structures. One of the main factors which encourage people to go offshore is the tax savings from which they will benefit. Tax haven Cyprus provides clients with the opportunity to reduce on tax liabilities in a legal manner.

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Tax Haven Cyprus

Genetic engineering – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Human Genetic Engineering  Comments Off on Genetic engineering – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aug 042015
 

Genetic engineering, also called genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome using biotechnology. It is therefore a set of technologies used to change the genetic makeup of cells, including the transfer of genes within and across species boundaries to produce improved or novel organisms. New DNA may be inserted in the host genome by first isolating and copying the genetic material of interest using molecular cloning methods to generate a DNA sequence, or by synthesizing the DNA, and then inserting this construct into the host organism. Genes may be removed, or “knocked out”, using a nuclease. Gene targeting is a different technique that uses homologous recombination to change an endogenous gene, and can be used to delete a gene, remove exons, add a gene, or introduce point mutations.

An organism that is generated through genetic engineering is considered to be a genetically modified organism (GMO). The first GMOs were bacteria generated in 1973 and GM mice in 1974. Insulin-producing bacteria were commercialized in 1982 and genetically modified food has been sold since 1994. Glofish, the first GMO designed as a pet, was first sold in the United States December in 2003.[1]

Genetic engineering techniques have been applied in numerous fields including research, agriculture, industrial biotechnology, and medicine. Enzymes used in laundry detergent and medicines such as insulin and human growth hormone are now manufactured in GM cells, experimental GM cell lines and GM animals such as mice or zebrafish are being used for research purposes, and genetically modified crops have been commercialized.

IUPAC definition

Process of inserting new genetic information into existing cells in order to modify a specific organism for the purpose of changing its characteristics.

Note: Adapted from ref.[2][3]

Genetic engineering alters the genetic make-up of an organism using techniques that remove heritable material or that introduce DNA prepared outside the organism either directly into the host or into a cell that is then fused or hybridized with the host.[4] This involves using recombinant nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) techniques to form new combinations of heritable genetic material followed by the incorporation of that material either indirectly through a vector system or directly through micro-injection, macro-injection and micro-encapsulation techniques.

Genetic engineering does not normally include traditional animal and plant breeding, in vitro fertilisation, induction of polyploidy, mutagenesis and cell fusion techniques that do not use recombinant nucleic acids or a genetically modified organism in the process.[4] However the European Commission has also defined genetic engineering broadly as including selective breeding and other means of artificial selection.[5]Cloning and stem cell research, although not considered genetic engineering,[6] are closely related and genetic engineering can be used within them.[7]Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that takes genetic engineering a step further by introducing artificially synthesized material from raw materials into an organism.[8]

If genetic material from another species is added to the host, the resulting organism is called transgenic. If genetic material from the same species or a species that can naturally breed with the host is used the resulting organism is called cisgenic.[9] Genetic engineering can also be used to remove genetic material from the target organism, creating a gene knockout organism.[10] In Europe genetic modification is synonymous with genetic engineering while within the United States of America it can also refer to conventional breeding methods.[11][12] The Canadian regulatory system is based on whether a product has novel features regardless of method of origin. In other words, a product is regulated as genetically modified if it carries some trait not previously found in the species whether it was generated using traditional breeding methods (e.g., selective breeding, cell fusion, mutation breeding) or genetic engineering.[13][14][15] Within the scientific community, the term genetic engineering is not commonly used; more specific terms such as transgenic are preferred.

Plants, animals or micro organisms that have changed through genetic engineering are termed genetically modified organisms or GMOs.[16] Bacteria were the first organisms to be genetically modified. Plasmid DNA containing new genes can be inserted into the bacterial cell and the bacteria will then express those genes. These genes can code for medicines or enzymes that process food and other substrates.[17][18] Plants have been modified for insect protection, herbicide resistance, virus resistance, enhanced nutrition, tolerance to environmental pressures and the production of edible vaccines.[19] Most commercialised GMO’s are insect resistant and/or herbicide tolerant crop plants.[20] Genetically modified animals have been used for research, model animals and the production of agricultural or pharmaceutical products. They include animals with genes knocked out, increased susceptibility to disease, hormones for extra growth and the ability to express proteins in their milk.[21]

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Nanotechnology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Nano Technology  Comments Off on Nanotechnology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 282015
 

Nanotechnology (“nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology[1][2] referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold. It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Until 2012, through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars, the European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars.[3]

Nanotechnology as defined by size is naturally very broad, including fields of science as diverse as surface science, organic chemistry, molecular biology, semiconductor physics, microfabrication, etc.[4] The associated research and applications are equally diverse, ranging from extensions of conventional device physics to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, from developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale to direct control of matter on the atomic scale.

Scientists currently debate the future implications of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be able to create many new materials and devices with a vast range of applications, such as in medicine, electronics, biomaterials energy production, and consumer products. On the other hand, nanotechnology raises many of the same issues as any new technology, including concerns about the toxicity and environmental impact of nanomaterials,[5] and their potential effects on global economics, as well as speculation about various doomsday scenarios. These concerns have led to a debate among advocacy groups and governments on whether special regulation of nanotechnology is warranted.

The concepts that seeded nanotechnology were first discussed in 1959 by renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his talk There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, in which he described the possibility of synthesis via direct manipulation of atoms. The term “nano-technology” was first used by Norio Taniguchi in 1974, though it was not widely known.

Inspired by Feynman’s concepts, K. Eric Drexler used the term “nanotechnology” in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which proposed the idea of a nanoscale “assembler” which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity with atomic control. Also in 1986, Drexler co-founded The Foresight Institute (with which he is no longer affiliated) to help increase public awareness and understanding of nanotechnology concepts and implications.

Thus, emergence of nanotechnology as a field in the 1980s occurred through convergence of Drexler’s theoretical and public work, which developed and popularized a conceptual framework for nanotechnology, and high-visibility experimental advances that drew additional wide-scale attention to the prospects of atomic control of matter. In the 1980s, two major breakthroughs sparked the growth of nanotechnology in modern era.

First, the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981 which provided unprecedented visualization of individual atoms and bonds, and was successfully used to manipulate individual atoms in 1989. The microscope’s developers Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at IBM Zurich Research Laboratory received a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986.[6][7] Binnig, Quate and Gerber also invented the analogous atomic force microscope that year.

Second, Fullerenes were discovered in 1985 by Harry Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl, who together won the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.[8][9] C60 was not initially described as nanotechnology; the term was used regarding subsequent work with related graphene tubes (called carbon nanotubes and sometimes called Bucky tubes) which suggested potential applications for nanoscale electronics and devices.

In the early 2000s, the field garnered increased scientific, political, and commercial attention that led to both controversy and progress. Controversies emerged regarding the definitions and potential implications of nanotechnologies, exemplified by the Royal Society’s report on nanotechnology.[10] Challenges were raised regarding the feasibility of applications envisioned by advocates of molecular nanotechnology, which culminated in a public debate between Drexler and Smalley in 2001 and 2003.[11]

Meanwhile, commercialization of products based on advancements in nanoscale technologies began emerging. These products are limited to bulk applications of nanomaterials and do not involve atomic control of matter. Some examples include the Silver Nano platform for using silver nanoparticles as an antibacterial agent, nanoparticle-based transparent sunscreens, and carbon nanotubes for stain-resistant textiles.[12][13]

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Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Astronomy  Comments Off on Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 282015
 

Astronomy is a natural science which is the study of celestial objects (such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and nebulae), the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth, including supernovae explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic microwave background radiation. A related but distinct subject, physical cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole.[1]

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. The early civilizations in recorded history, such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Nubians, Iranians, Chinese, and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy and the making of calendars, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.[2]

During the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of astronomical objects, which is then analyzed using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented toward the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results and observations being used to confirm theoretical results.

Astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena and Amateur astronomers have made and contributed to many important astronomical discoveries.

Astronomy (from the Greek from astron, “star” and – -nomia from nomos, “law” or “culture”) means “law of the stars” (or “culture of the stars” depending on the translation). Astronomy should not be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects.[5] Although the two fields share a common origin they are now entirely distinct.[6]

Generally, either the term “astronomy” or “astrophysics” may be used to refer to this subject.[7][8][9] Based on strict dictionary definitions, “astronomy” refers to “the study of objects and matter outside the Earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties”[10] and “astrophysics” refers to the branch of astronomy dealing with “the behavior, physical properties, and dynamic processes of celestial objects and phenomena”.[11] In some cases, as in the introduction of the introductory textbook The Physical Universe by Frank Shu, “astronomy” may be used to describe the qualitative study of the subject, whereas “astrophysics” is used to describe the physics-oriented version of the subject.[12] However, since most modern astronomical research deals with subjects related to physics, modern astronomy could actually be called astrophysics.[7] Few fields, such as astrometry, are purely astronomy rather than also astrophysics. Various departments in which scientists carry out research on this subject may use “astronomy” and “astrophysics,” partly depending on whether the department is historically affiliated with a physics department,[8] and many professional astronomers have physics rather than astronomy degrees.[9] One of the leading scientific journals in the field is the European journal named Astronomy and Astrophysics. The leading American journals are The Astrophysical Journal and The Astronomical Journal.

In early times, astronomy only comprised the observation and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye. In some locations, early cultures assembled massive artifacts that possibly had some astronomical purpose. In addition to their ceremonial uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops, as well as in understanding the length of the year.[13]

Before tools such as the telescope were invented, early study of the stars was conducted using the naked eye. As civilizations developed, most notably in Mesopotamia, Greece, India, China, Egypt, and Central America, astronomical observatories were assembled, and ideas on the nature of the universe began to be explored. Most of early astronomy actually consisted of mapping the positions of the stars and planets, a science now referred to as astrometry. From these observations, early ideas about the motions of the planets were formed, and the nature of the Sun, Moon and the Earth in the universe were explored philosophically. The Earth was believed to be the center of the universe with the Sun, the Moon and the stars rotating around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the universe, or the Ptolemaic system, named after Ptolemy.[14]

A particularly important early development was the beginning of mathematical and scientific astronomy, which began among the Babylonians, who laid the foundations for the later astronomical traditions that developed in many other civilizations.[15] The Babylonians discovered that lunar eclipses recurred in a repeating cycle known as a saros.[16]

Following the Babylonians, significant advances in astronomy were made in ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world. Greek astronomy is characterized from the start by seeking a rational, physical explanation for celestial phenomena.[17] In the 3rd century BC, Aristarchus of Samos estimated the size and distance of the Moon and Sun, and was the first to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system.[18] In the 2nd century BC, Hipparchus discovered precession, calculated the size and distance of the Moon and invented the earliest known astronomical devices such as the astrolabe.[19] Hipparchus also created a comprehensive catalog of 1020 stars, and most of the constellations of the northern hemisphere derive from Greek astronomy.[20] The Antikythera mechanism (c. 15080 BC) was an early analog computer designed to calculate the location of the Sun, Moon, and planets for a given date. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.[21]

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Kovalam – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jul 222015
 

Kovalam is a beach town by the Arabian Sea in Thiruvananthapuram city, Kerala, India, located around 16km from the city center.[1]

Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and true to its name the village offers an endless sight of coconut trees.

Kovalam first received attention when the Regent Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore constructed her beach resort, Halcyon Castle, here towards the end of the 1920s. Thereafter the place was brought to the public eye by her nephew the Maharaja of Travancore.[2] The European guests of the then Travancore kingdom discovered the potentiality of Kovalam beach as a tourist destination in the 1930s. However, Kovalam shot into limelight in the early seventies with arrivals of the masses of hippies on their way to Ceylon in the Hippie Trail. This exodus started the transformation of a casual fishing village of Kerala into one of the most important tourist destinations in all India.[3]

Kovalam has three beaches separated by rocky outcroppings in its 17km coastline, the three together form the famous crescent of the Kovalam beach

Detour past Kovalam junction to land on Samudra Beach which is to the north of Ashoka Beach. One has the option to walk along the sea-wall too.The sight of the waves lashing on the rocks below is awesome. Shallow waters stretching for hundreds of metres are ideal for swimming. The beaches have steep palm covered headlands and are lined with shops that offer all kinds of goods and services.[6]

The larger of the beaches is called Light House Beach for its 35 metre high light house which towers over it atop Kurumkal hillock. The second largest one is Hawah Beach named thus for the topless European women who used to throng there. It was the first topless beach in India.[citation needed] However topless bathing is banned now except in private coves owned by resorts. Visitors frequent these two beaches. The northern part of the beach is known as Samudra Beach in tourism parlance. A large promontory separates this part from the southern side. Samudra Beach doesn’t have tourists thronging there or hectic business. The local fishermen ply their trade on this part. The sands on the beaches in Kovalam are partially black in colour due to the presence of ilmenite and Monazite. The normal tourist season is from September to May. Ashoka beach is also the part of Kovalam beach.

There are a large number of beach resorts in and around Kovalam. The sea port of Vizhinjam is about 3km away and famous for its special varieties of fish, old Hindu temples, big churches and a mosque. The Proposed International Trans shipment Terminal at Vizhinjam is also close to Kovalam.

Kovalam was among the most prominent tourist spots in India during the hippy era. It still has a high status among tourists, who arrive mostly from Europe and Israel.[citation needed] Kovalam is finding a new significance in the light of several Ayurvedic salons, and recuperation and regeneration resorts which provide a wide variety of Ayurvedic treatments for tourists.[7]

Kovalam assembly constituency is part of Trivandrum (Lok Sabha constituency).[8] The assembly constituency of Kovalam is represented by Jameela Prakasham of Janatha Dal. She defeated the sitting MLA Adv. George Mercier.[9][10]

Hawwah beach (Eves beach)

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Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 212015
 

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes “well-born” from eu, “good, well” and genos, “race, stock, kin”)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.[4][5] It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics), or both.[6] Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advancements in gene editing (e.g. CRISPR).[7] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined. The definition of it as a “social philosophy”that is, a philosophy with implications for social orderis not meant to be definitive, and is taken from Frederick Osborn’s journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”.[8]

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as Ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in Britain[9] and spread to many countries, including the United States and most European countries. In this period eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies meant to improve the genetic stock of their countries. Such programs often included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaustthe murder by the German state of approximately 11 million peoplewhen many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them Sweden and the US, continued to carry out forced sterilizations for several decades.

A major critique of eugenics policies is that regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are vulnerable to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction.

The idea of eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12] The idea of eugenics to decrease the birth of inferior human beings has existed at least since William Goodell (1829-1894) advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[13][14]

However, the term “eugenics” to describe the modern concept of improving the quality of human beings born into the world was originally developed by Francis Galton. Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Galton believed that desirable traits were hereditary based on biographical studies.[15] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained a controversial concept.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities, and received funding from many sources.[18] Organisations formed to win public support, and modify opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, included the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907, and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen, and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[19] Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[20] It has roots in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.[21] Later, in the 1920s and 30s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries, including Belgium,[22]Brazil,[23] Canada,[24]Japan, and Sweden.[25]

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, in Sweden the eugenics program continued until 1975.[25] In addition to being practised in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Its political aspects involved advocating laws allowing the pursuit of eugenic objectives, such as sterilization laws. Its moral aspects included rejection of the doctrine that all human beings are born equal, and redefining morality purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “less fit” races.

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. At this point in time, eugenics was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments and influential individuals and institutions. Many countries enacted[34] various eugenics policies and programmes, including: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, and genocide. Most of these policies were later regarded as coercive or restrictive, and now few jurisdictions implement policies that are explicitly labelled as eugenic or unequivocally eugenic in substance. The methods of implementing eugenics varied by country; however, some early 20th century methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, the segregation or institutionalization of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and their mass murder. The practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many of the discriminatory eugenics laws were largely abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[36] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a population] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[37] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[38] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, government practices of compulsive sterilization continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, allegedly 2,000 persons were involuntarily sterilized.[39] China maintains its forcible one-child policy as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation in order to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[40][41][42] In 2007 the United Nations reported forcible sterilisations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[43] During the years 200506 to 201213, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[44]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[45] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[46] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[47]

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NATO and Russia watch one another closely in Eastern …

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO and Russia watch one another closely in Eastern …
May 232015
 

Sweden scrambled fighter jets to intercept two Russian military planes that flew too close to Swedish airspace.

With Russia flexing its muscles, three of its Baltic neighbors — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have asked NATO to permanently deploy ground troops as a deterrent.

Russian fighter jets are being watched closely by NATO as the country flexes it’s muscle in the air.

CBS News

On Europe’s Eastern frontier, NATO F-16s and Eurofighters drill for something they’re doing more and more, intercepting Russian military aircraft flying too close for comfort to European airspace.

A cockpit video shows NATO jets shadowing Russian planes, which often try to stay invisible by turning off their transponders.

Play Video

The Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets to escort Russian bombers away from U.K. airspace, an encounter that one analyst described to Charlie …

We watched the NATO pilots practice from a military transport plane. But last years in the Baltic states, they did this for real more than 150 times, a nearly four-fold increase on 2013.

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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

 NSA  Comments Off on The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data
Apr 142015
 

Last December, I had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to meet with multiple European tech companies, web hosts, and other infrastructure providers. The topic of intelligence agency backdoors and US corporate involvement with such policies came up more than once, often in not-entirely-friendly ways. Its therefore refreshing to see the head of the NSA, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, state up front that the NSA isnt interested in a backdoor solution to digital surveillance. Instead, he wants a so-called front-door solution which could be even worse.

Instead of handing the NSA a unilateral window into encrypted communications taking place at Google or Apple, Rogers suggested a future in which the encryption keys to access such information would be divided between at least two groups possibly more. In the simplest example, Google would retain half the key, while the NSA held the other half. Thus, the agency wouldnt be able to unilaterally snoop inside anyones files it would need Googles support.

I dont want a back door, Rogers, the director of the nations top electronic spy agency, said during a speech at Princeton University, according to the Washington Post. I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.

The first problem with Rogers proposed front-door solution is that its a meaningless feel-good measure given the current regulatory structure of our national security system. Before the Snowden leaks, Google, Microsoft, and other digital providers were forbidden from disclosing that theyd received national security letters, even in aggregate. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that Yahoo went to bat for users, challenging the legality and authority of the NSA and lost, every time.

Giving half a key to Google or Yahoo would be meaningless unless the company possesses the authority to refuse to use it. In theory, the court system offers robust oversight of how such capabilities are used. In practice, the FISA court has operated more like a rubber stamp body than an organization devoted to judicial oversight. The government, as a whole, doesnt currently have a great track record of respecting suspects rights the FBI is on record as ordering local police departments to drop cases rather than disclose how secret stingray hardware may have been used in ways that fundamentally violate those suspects Fourth Amendment rights.

The other systemic problem with Rogers suggestion is that it assumes a degree of trust between corporations and government at a time when such good feelings are at an all-time low. The NSA has demonstrated no practical ability to differentiate between friend and foe. Its decision to hoover up data running across Googles transatlantic cables may have been legal, but it illustrated a total lack of respect for Google and a willingness to resort to extrajudicial methods when it was convenient.

The NSA could avoid this problem by sharing the key with government-appointed escrows rather than corporations, but this simply hides the process from public view. Thats already extremely problematic.

The technological problems with the NSAs front-door policy are formidable. The divide the key among trusted parties, approach isnt new the NSA proposed exactly this method of securing its ill-fated Clipper Chip in the early 1990s. At the time, the newly-formed EFF and other consumer advocacy agencies battled the NSAs proposed system, noting that it exposed citizens to increased surveillance while providing no assurance that the cryptographic standard, dubbed Skipjack, was actually secure.

Many of these questions would remain in any escrow system the government dreamed up today. The basic question is, is it possible to design a completely secure system to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries, said Donna Dodson, chief cybersecurity adviser at the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technologies. Theres no way to do this where you dont have unintentional vulnerabilities.

Hackers, generally speaking, dont go after the code itself or attempt to brute-force it instead, they work to compromise the organizations that hold the keys, or find other avenues of attack. Splitting the key into parts is only an advantage if the parts cant be combined or analyzed for clues to the final key structure. In order to function properly, every escrow needs to be secure, and every one-time access key needs to be destroyed.

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Nato | Define Nato at Dictionary.com

 NATO  Comments Off on Nato | Define Nato at Dictionary.com
Apr 082015
 

[ney-toh] /ne to/

IPA Syllables

an organization formed in Washington, D.C. (1949), comprising the 12 nations of the Atlantic Pact together with Greece, Turkey, and the Federal Republic of Germany, for the purpose of collective defense against aggression.

Origin of NATO Expand

N(orth) A(tlantic) T(reaty) O(rganization)

Examples from the web for NATO Expand

British Dictionary definitions for NATO Expand

North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an international organization composed of the US, Canada, Britain, and a number of European countries: established by the North Atlantic Treaty (1949) for purposes of collective security. In 1994 it launched the Partnership for Peace initiative, in order to forge alliances with former Warsaw Pact countries; in 1997 a treaty of cooperation with Russia was signed and in 1999 Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic became full NATO members

Word Origin and History for NATO Expand

acronym of North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which was set up in 1949.

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NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015 – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015 – Video
Apr 032015
 



NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015
On Monday 30 March 2015 the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence in Brussels.

By: NATO

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NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015 – Video

NASA Invites Public to April Hubble 25th Anniversary Events

 Hubble Telescope  Comments Off on NASA Invites Public to April Hubble 25th Anniversary Events
Apr 022015
 

GREENBELT, Md., April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25 years of science this April 2015 with a variety of events open to the public around the U.S. Here is a sampling of events happening this month in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. Some events charge admission.

The IMAX movie, “Hubble 3D” has re-opened at select theatres across the U.S. and showings continue in April. Hubble images come to vast, three-dimensional life and take audiences through the telescope’s 20-year existence and puts them in orbit with astronauts during the latest servicing mission. For more information and the trailer, visit: http://hubblesite.org/hubble_20/imax_hubble_3d/

Hubble will be featured at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space museum in Washington throughout April. For details and dates: http://airandspace.si.edu/events/calendar/Index.cfm?month=4&year=2015

From April 23 to May 2, a Hubble imagery exhibit called “Heaven’s Carousel,” created by the European Space Agency will be at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

On April 23 from 9 to 9:45 a.m. EDT, NASA will unveil the official Hubble 25th anniversary image at the Newseum in Washington. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, and Hubble Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, will speak about Hubble’s achievements.

On April 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Smithsonian’s NASM Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia will hold a Family Day Event with astronauts. For information: http://airandspace.si.edu/events/detail.cfm?id=15779

On April 25, Hubble information and displays will be featured at a table during the University of Maryland Day at College Park, Maryland. For information: http://www.marylandday.umd.edu/

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASAand ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center inGreenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute(STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASAby the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For more information about the Hubble telescope and other upcoming events, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

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NASA Invites Public to April Hubble 25th Anniversary Events

NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015, Q & A Session – Video

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Apr 012015
 



NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015, Q A Session
Question and Answer session following the NATO Secretary General's address to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and Sub-Committee on Security and Defence in Brussels (30…

By: NATO

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NATO Secretary General at the European Parliament, 30 MAR 2015, Q & A Session – Video

NATO chief seeks closer cooperation with the European Union on new security challenges

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Mar 312015
 

BRUSSELS NATO’S secretary-general wants more joint action with the European Union to face the security challenges coming from Russia and the violent Islamic extremism plaguing some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Jens Stoltenberg told a European Parliament hearing Monday that NATO and the EU should combine efforts to make member countries more “resilient” to the so-called hybrid brand of warfare that Western governments accuse Russia of waging in Ukraine. Along with military force, hybrid warfare includes cyber-attacks, the use of social media, deception and disinformation.

The NATO secretary-general also said the EU should assist friendly countries to its south and southeast like Jordan to combat the spread of Islamic extremism.

Stoltenberg told European lawmakers that “the time has come to spend more on defense.”

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NATO chief seeks closer cooperation with the European Union on new security challenges

Lithuania: US-led NATO military convoy halts in Lithuania – Video

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Mar 292015
 



Lithuania: US-led NATO military convoy halts in Lithuania
A convoy of NATO military vehicles on its way from Estonia to Germany arrived in the Lithuanian town of Marijampole, Tuesday as part of a 1770-km (1100-mile) tour through six European countries….

By: RuptlyTV

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Lithuania: US-led NATO military convoy halts in Lithuania – Video

NATO's new perils

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Mar 262015
 

Brussels – The NATO alliance seems stuck at a crossroads on Ukraine, unsure whether to move toward greater confrontation with Russia or accept the deadlocked “frozen conflict” that has emerged there.

It’s a unified morass, at least, with President Obama sharing the reluctance of European leaders to escalate the crisis by providing defensive weapons to Ukraine or tightening sanctions against Russia. The U.S. tacitly backs the decision made by European leaders here late last week to maintain the status quo – and link any easing of sanctions to implementation of the Minsk agreement that has brought a shaky truce in Ukraine.

The policy impasse was illustrated by Gen. Philip Breedlove, the NATO commander. I asked him Sunday at a conference here whether arming Kiev, which he reportedly favors, would be stabilizing or destabilizing. He indicated that he favored sending weapons, saying: “I do not think that any tool of U.S. … power should necessarily be off the table.”

But Breedlove noted the ambiguity of the policy choice: “Could it be destabilizing? The answer is yes. Also, inaction could be destabilizing.” That answer was a snapshot of the alliance’s dilemma. Breedlove spoke at the Brussels Forum, organized by the German Marshall Fund, of which I’m a trustee.

The problem is that it’s hard to see how current sanctions policy will lead to a true de-escalation, unless Russian President Vladimir Putin has a sudden conversion. Russian analysts here say it could take years for sanctions to bite so much that they force a policy change.

Leaving aside whether a Russian economic breakdown would really be in the West’s interest, sanctions may have a perverse outcome in the near term: Rather than encouraging Putin and his cronies to change course, they may instead empower the most corrupt and conservative forces in Russia.

Sanctions had just this unintended outcome in Iraq during the 1990s, when controls that were meant to punish the regime of Saddam Hussein enfeebled the mass economy but enriched elite regime cronies who could evade sanctions. Russians here warned that just such a process may be underway in Russia.

NATO has learned to live with frozen conflicts near its borders, such as between Georgia and the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; and between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Diplomatic efforts to resolve these disputes have been underway for years, with little progress.

But a frozen conflict with Russia itself would be considerably more dangerous. The status quo, with Ukraine vulnerable and sanctions continuing, would mean increasing isolation and impoverishment of a Russian economy that was foundering long before Putin annexed Crimea and triggered reprisals. Russians can probably live with a declining economy – their ability to endure suffering is part of the Russian national identity – but this course seems likely to produce a Russia that’s ever more lawless, unsteady and prone to violence, internally and externally.

The Brussels Forum discussions explored another dilemma for NATO: As a conventional military alliance, it is ill-prepared for the “hybrid warfare” Russia has waged in Ukraine, which has been closer to a paramilitary covert action to support proxy forces than to a traditional military attack. Breedlove acknowledged this problem, and said that NATO needed to mount an “all of government” response to Moscow, including information operations and other tools that are traditionally used by intelligence agencies or foreign ministries, not military alliances.

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NATO's new perils




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism