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The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States government, responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA’s programs rely on “passive” electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering”.[14][15]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, NSA does not unilaterally conduct human-source intelligence gathering, despite often being portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, NSA is entrusted with assistance to and coordination of SIGINT elements at other government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[16] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest of U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][17] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18]

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau and Military Intelligence Branch, Section 8 (MI-8). It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber”.[22] The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[23]

Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.[24]

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[21]

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[28] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[29]

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USSMaddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[30]

A secret operation code-named “MINARET” was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[31] However the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal.”[31]

In the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[32] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[33] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[34] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[34] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[35] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[36]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[34]

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[37][38]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[39] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[40] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[40] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[40]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a ‘privacy mechanism’; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[42]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004; it was late, over budget, and didn’t do what it was supposed to do. The Baltimore Sun ran articles about this in 200607. The government then raided the whistleblowers’ houses. One of them, Thomas Drake, was charged with violating 18 U.S.C.793(e) in 2010 in an unusual use of espionage law. He and his defenders claim that he was actually being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project. In 2011, all 10 original charges against Drake were dropped.[43][44]

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive ‘test’ pieces rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[44] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[45]

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics[46] and “commercial secrets”.[47] In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[48][49][50] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion”(RAS).[48][51]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[52] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[53][54]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing them to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[55] It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[56] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[57] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.[58][59]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[60] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers[61] as well as internet communications,[56] relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[62] The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[63]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[64]

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.[65]

Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[66] Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse;[67] however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[68] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions;[69] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[70] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[71] A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[72][73] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[71] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[57]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[74]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[75]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[76]

On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents.[77] This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.[67]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[78] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[79][80][81]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[82][83] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[84][85] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[86]

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[87]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[89][90]

As of 2013[update], NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[91]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[99]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[100]

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[103]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Ft. Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[104] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[105]

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[106] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[106]

Edward Snowden’s leaking of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule” where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[105] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[107]

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[108] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[108] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts aperiodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.[109]

There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[109] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[110] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”[111] Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[108]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[112] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the website of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them it’s not clear describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[113] argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[112] George Maschke, the founder of the website, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian”.[113]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[114]

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee, the Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[106]

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[115] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[115] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[115] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[115]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[116] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[116] The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.[117]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[118] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[118]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[119] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013[update] .[119] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[119]

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[120] It is a classified network,[121] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[122] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[123]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[124]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[125] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[126] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[127]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.[128]

The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government.[129] NCSC was part of NSA,[130] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[131] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[131]

On July 18, 2013, Greenwald said that Snowden held “detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do”, thereby sparking fresh controversy.[132]

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39632N 764617W / 39.10889N 76.77139W / 39.10889; -76.77139 in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20mi (32km) southwest of Baltimore,[133] and 25mi (40km) northeast of Washington, DC.[134] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[135][136] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[137]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[138] Built on 350 acres (140ha; 0.55sqmi)[139] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000ha; 7.8sqmi),[140] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[134][141]

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.”[142] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[142] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000m2), or more than 68 acres (28ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”[142]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[143] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[142] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[144] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[145] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[144]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube”.[146] The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[144] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[147][148][149]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[150]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”[151]

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[152] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[138] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[151]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at $40million per year.[153]

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C.. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s cryptographic operations.[154] Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[155]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[155] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders.[156] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[155] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[157] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[157] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[157]

On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his friend, 20-year-old Kevin Fleming. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.[158][159]

The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement.[160] The NSA is investigating the incident, with help from the FBI. FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.[161]

An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,[162] but her later revision does not.[163] Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.[164]

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[165]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[166] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[147] It cost $3.2billion and covers 227 acres (92ha; 0.355sqmi).[147] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17ha; 0.065sqmi)[147] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[167]

Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54ha; 0.21sqmi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages.[147]Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[147]

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[153] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[153] It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[153]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[168] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[150][153]

On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative.[169] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[153]

In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill,[170] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[171]

The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA’s bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology.[172] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[173] In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed.[174] As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[172]

Following the signing in 19461956[175] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and ECHELON,[176] NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana,[177] New Zealand.[178]

NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.[179] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227ha; 0.878sqmi) in 1999.[180]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.[181]

In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.[182] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[182]

Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations.[183] These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.

Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.[184]

The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD.[184] The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,7004,600 m2 (40,00050,000ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.[185][186]

NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. who job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.[185]

According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[185]

The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.[185]

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[187]

According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[188]

Originally posted here:

Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex
Oct 292015

Annual meeting of around 130 North-Atlantic elites from the fields of energy, finance, government, intelligence, academia and the media.

Official site:

Famous Attendees: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, George Soros, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Murdoch, Jean-Claude Trichet (EU Bank President), Mervyn King (Bank of England), Edmond de Rothschild, Robert Oppenheimer, Robert McNamara, Henry Ford II

List of Bilderberg participants (wiki) 2012 list of US participants on They Rule Infographic showing how members of the Bilderberg are connected to absolutely everything.

With 65 to 70 regular members, the Bilderberg Group is the most exclusive group on this list. The group came to be identified with the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland where the group first met in 1954. The ultra secret group was founded by Denis Healey, Joseph Retinger, David Rockefeller and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (of the infamous Lockheed scandal in which he took kickbacks selling exploding planes).

From the get-go the Bilderbergers sought to develop a strategy and create European consensus for a European Common Market. They were behind the Amsterdam Treaty, the Treaty of Maastricht, the Treaty of Rome, and finally the European Constitution. Leaked 1955 transcripts revealed that Bilderbergers had discussed the creation of a United European with its own currency. They are also working on merging Canada, United states and Mexico into a North American Union. The Bilderberg discussed improving business relations and extending IMF loans to China before Nixons famous 1972 visit. At the Bilderberg meeting of 1991, David Rockefeller told then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton to support NAFTA.

The groups major source of funds is the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. The members are cherry picked most prominent members of other influential organization and national think tanks such as the Brookings, Carnegie Endowment, and Council of Foreign Relations. Much of the leadership of the Bilderberg is also groomed within these foundations. All these organization have similar ideologies. Henri de Castries of the French House of Castries currently heads the Bilderberg.

The High Priests of Globalization at the first Bilderberg Group Meeting in Oosterbeek, Netherlands

The annual meetings are held in a different country each year and is attended by around 130 elites with about 65 regulars. Forty percent of Bilderbergers are Americans. Each international region is roughly represented by one member from the finance sector, one from the government sector, and one from academia. The Group is separated into 6 panels with around 20 people in each panel. There are 3 main speakers per panel and everyone is obligated to comment.

As a whole the membership manages the planets resources and their membership is especially concentrated in the energy and banking sectors. Their goals are a one world constitution, a one world government, a one army and they work tirelessly towards that goal. The typical globalist agenda.

Potential candidate are observed a for a few meetings before being asked to join. Bilderberg researchers often point out that according to the Logan Act, it is illegal for any American government official to be present at the Bilderberg meetings.

Researcher and author of True Story Of Bilderberg Daniel Estulin has investigated the Bilderberg Group for 15 years. He stresses that the Bilderberg is not a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. His book is the book on the Bilderberg. Strangely, Estulin claims that Bilderberg Steering Committee member and founder of Canadas largest book chain Heather Reisman has banned True Story Of Bilderberg from her stores. However, that doesnt appear to be the case.

Jim Tucker has dedicated his entire life to chasing the Bilderbergers around the world after learning of the Groups existing in the 70s. Tucker has an informer inside the group who has consistently leaked him list of participants and talking points for years.

Secret Bavarian secret society active at the end of the 18th century and modern blanket term for the crme de la elite crme.

The Bavarian Illuminati was founded by Adam Weishaupt on May 1, 1776. The Illuminati is a secret society within secret societies. In 1784, the order was banned by the Bavarian government. Today, the term Illuminati is usually used as a blanket term for the inner circle of the elite.

The Illuminati was separated into three classes; 1. The Nursery Class; 2. The Masonic Class; 3. The Mystery Class. Each class was separated into degrees. Lower classes were unaware of the existence of higher classes. Non Illuminati were called the Profane.

I. Nursery Class: 1. Illuminati Novice (1-2 year trial period) 2. Illuminati Minerval 3. Illuminati Minor

II. Masonic Class: Symbolic Masonry 1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow Craft 3. Master Mason

Scottish Masonry 1. Illuminati Major (Scot Novice) 2. Illuminati Dirigens (Scot Knight)

III. Mystery Class: Lesser Mysteries 1. Illuminati Priest 2. Illuminati Prince (Regent)

Greater Mysteries 1. Illuminati Magus 2. Illuminati Rex

I am currently exposing the secrets of the Bavarian Illuminati in comic format and Terry Melanson has written a detailed non-fiction book about Adam Weishaupts Order of the Illuminati.

Exactly what the illuminati is varies a great deal from one conspiracy theorist to the next. Different versions of it continues to appear in computer games, music, television and movies. Illuminati Researcher Mark Dices book Illuminati: Facts & Fiction does a great job at weeding through the various modern Illuminati incarnations and separating the wheat from the chaff. It has saved me hours of work in establishing the root of various Illuminati theories and rumors. (although he considers the Bavarian Illuminati to be Luciferian, which is something I should ask him about) Nevertheless, Dice book is essential.

Some researchers believe the Illuminati originated before and that Adam Weishaupt simply reincarnated a much older society. The 13 Bloodlines of the Illuminati is a popular theory about ancient families secretly ruling the United States.

Others believe that the modern elite and the current proponents of the New World Order grew out of Weishaupts movement. However, we have access to most of the original writings of the Illuminati and we know that the abolishment of private property was one of the goals of the Order. This is hardly in line with the modern capitalist plutocrats who make up todays Illuminati. Todays Illuminati is anything but enlightened.

Elite senior fraternity at Yale University

Famous Bonesmen: William H. Taft (Us President), George H.W. Bush (Us President, CIA), George W. Bush (US President) Averell Harriman, H.J. Heinz II, Henry Luce (Time-Life,CIA), Bill Bundy (CIA) and William F. Buckley. (CIA)

AKA Chapter 322, is a secret society at Yale University established by William Russell and Alphonso Taft in 1832. Each year 15 juniors are selected to join the Skulls in their senior year.

The Tomb, Yale

Investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman pays the tax bill. No one lives inside the Tomb. At the mention of the words Skull and Bones, they must leave the room. Meetings are on Thursdays and they always have dinner on Sundays. In the 2004 US Election, two Bonesmen, John Kerry and George W. Bush went head-to-head for the Presidency of the United States.

Skull and Bones, do you accept?

If the neophyte accepts, he is given a rolled up message tied with a black ribbon and sealed with the skulls emblem imprinted into black wax. The message instructs the neophyte of the time of place of his initiation. He is also instructed not to bring any metal. (Note that Masons are also divested of all metals during their initiation ceremonies.) Once they accept, they are members for life.

Skull and Bones owns Deer Island in St-Lawrence river

The clock is 5 minutes faster, which represents Skull and Bones which is to differentiate time spend inside the tomb from the outside, which is referred to as Barbarian time.

In 1876 a group of students calling themselves File and Claw broke into the Tomb and discovered that the Order was founded in 1832 (32) as the second chapter (+2) of a German secret society. They discovered a painting of a skull surrounded by Masonic symbols in Room 322 and released floor plans of the Tomb. The Skull themselves claim that 322 represents 322 bce, the year Demosthenes died. In keeping with this legend, their calendar begins 322 years before the Roman calendar. The year 2013 would be 2335 Anno Demostheni in Bonespeak.

They reportedly have the bones of Geronimo and Pancho Villa hidden in 322. Room 322 is the inner temple of the Skull and Bones. It features an encased skeleton which the Bonesmen called Madame Pompadour. There are other compartments in the case including manuscripts, secrecy oaths and initiation rituals.

HW Bush, Bonesman, 1948

Author of Fleshing out the Skull and Bones Kris Milliken, claims that the core group of Skull and Bones is still very much involved in the dope trade. They are Sorcerers of Death performing black magic. Taft Russells family fortune came from opium and according to Eustace Mullins, the fraternity continued to be involved in the dope trade all the way up to the Vietnam war.

3000 elites from academia, government, media, intelligence, military, banking and top corporations.

Official site:

Famous Members: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Conrad Black, William F. Buckley, Bill Bundy, Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Angelina, Jolie George Kennan, Carl Sagan, Paul Warburg, Oprah Winfrey, George Soros, Colin Powell, Bill Moyers, Rupert Murdoch, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Edgar Bronfman, Sr.

List of Council on Foreign Relations Members (wiki) Membership map on They Rule

The Council on Foreign Relations grew out of the round table groups and began as a gathering of scholars known as the Inquiry which included the power behind FDRs throne and author of Philip Dru: Administrator, Colonel House and Walter Lippmann.

This group attended the Paris Peace Conference where powerful members of the elite attended a private gathering at the Majestic Hotel. Round Table member Lionel Curtis suggested the creation a Royal Institute for International Affair in London and the Council of Foreign Relations, its US counterpart in New York. The CFR was officially founded in 1921.

Council on Foreign Relations HQ at 58 East 68th Street and Park Avenue

It is one of the most powerful private organizations and has a major influence on U.S. foreign policy. Its equally powerful British sister organization, the Royal Institute of International Affairs has been renamed Chatham House. Today the CFR has over 3000 members.

The group suggested the formation of a League of Nation. Five of the 6 men of the Agenda Group which drafted the United States proposal for a United Nations were members of the CFR. Carol Quigley called its members the international financial coterie The CFR was instrumental in planning the post World War 2 economic and political world order.

About the round table groups: De Beers Cecil Rhodes and journalist William T. Stead organized a secret society with an executive committee known as the Circle of Initiate. The secret society had an outer circle known as the Association of Helpers which eventually evolved into the Round Table Groups.

Sources and further information: Memoirs (Amazon) David Rockefeller, 2003

David Rockefellers elite think tank of over 300 private citizens from Europe, Asia, and North America.

Official site:

Famous Members: David Rockefeller, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jean-Claude Trichet, Henry Kissinger and Jimmy Carter.

List of List of Trilateral Commission Members ( .PDF) Membership map on They Rule.

David Rockefeller had been looking for a way to include Japan into international cooperation discussion. At the Belgium Bilderberg conference of 1972, Rockefeller discussed the idea with Columbia University Russian Studies professor Zbigniew Brzezinski (Zbig) who had himself previously approached the Bilderberg Steering Committee. The Steering Committee had been unreceptive to the idea.

The think tank had its first executive committee meeting in Tokyo in October 1973. The Trilateral Commission receive funds mostly from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and is deeply rooted in the CFR. The commission helps governments around the world reach constructive accords with other governments. They promote closer cooperation between Europe, Asia, and North America. In 1974 they published The Crisis of Democracy calling for democracy in moderation.

Ancient secret society sworn to protect the holy bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene

Famous Grandmasters: Jean de Gisors (11881220), Nicolas Flamel (13981418), Ren dAnjou (14181480), Lonard de Vinci (15101519), Isaac Newton (16911727), Charles de Lorraine (17461780), Maximilian de Lorraine (17801801), Victor Hugo (18441885), Claude Debussy (18851918),Jean Cocteau (19181963)

Certainly one of the most intriguing of all secret societies, unfortunately, it isnt real. The Priory of Sion legend is completely made up! (almost)

He also included Rennes-le-Chteau restaurant owner Nol Corbus (another admitted hoaxer) legend of Father Franois Brenger Saunire about discovering parts of the Knights Templarss lost treasure. It all made for a great story.

The strange events of the Priory of Sion and Rennes-le-Chteau were finally epitomized on the big screen in 2006 Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks.

Note to Mr. Langdon: Vinegar freezes at just under 0C (32F ). Next time you encounter an impossible-to-open-without-the-combination-type Cryptex, consider sticking the thing in the freezer for a few hours.

Researchers Lynn Pickett and Clive Prince have found evidence for the existence of a Priory of Sion within the Masonic Strict Observance Rites of Germany. Their goal was to form a United states of Europe.

Male elites meet every July for a 2 week encampment at private campground.

Famous Attendees: Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, GW Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Malcolm Forbes, William F. Buckley, Clint Eastwood, and William Randolph Hearst. Camp Membership

Founded in 1872, the Bohemian Grove is a 2700-acre campground in the midst of ancient Redwood trees located in Sonoma County, California. Every July, elites participate in a 2 week encampment to make ritual sacrifices to the sinister owl-god Moloch. Power brokers assemble at The Owl Shrine for informal Lakeside Talks. Nixon canceled his scheduled Lakeside Talk in 1971 because the media was insisting on covering it.

Thanks to the work of Alex Jones, Chris Jones and Phillip Weiss who have each individually infiltrated the Grove, the outside world has been able to assemble a lot of information on what happens there. Alex Jones footage can be seen in Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove (Youtube, 2:02:56) and Chris Joness (who worked undercover at the Grove) can be seen in Alex Jones The order of Death, which was released 5 years later to commemorate Alex Jones infiltration of the Grove. (Youtube, 44:46)

President Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, 1967

Weiss stayed as a guess at Bohemian Grove for 7 days in 1989. Weiss heard Walter Cronkite himself as the voice of the infamous owl. He even shook Ronald Reagans hand who confirmed that it was indeed at the Grove in 67 that he had assured Nixon that he would not challenge him in the upcoming Republican nomination. (so much for non-weaving. spiders) He also witnessed a Grover engaging in unBohemian behavior when Henry Kissinger rudely cut in line at the phone banks.

The Founding Founders, Freemasonry and the capital of the United States

Mostly harmless today, the freemasons held immense power in the 18th and 19th century. The earliest historical document mentioning the Old Charges of Freemasonry is the Regius Poem and dates to around 1425. The Grand Lodge of England formed in 1717. Masonic expressions that have become common idioms include: On the square, On the level, giving/getting the third degree and blackballing.

Blue Lodge and 2 major appendant bodies

Due to multiple bans on Freemasonry by Popes, a good catholic is still expected join the Knights of Columbus, as President Kennedy did, the Vaticans answer to Freemasonry. The Vatican is yet to reverse its stance on Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is composed of three levels, referred to as the Blue Lodge degrees:

1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow craft 3. Master Mason

Non-masons are called Cowans. There are multiple other degrees that a mason can obtain once he has become a Master Mason (Third degree) which masons call Appendant degrees. The most popular ones are the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, with 33 degrees and the York Rite .

In addition there are Masonic Lodges not recognized by the Grand Loge of England, and as a result, by the majority of regular Masonic lodges. For example, the Rite of Memphis-Misraim has 99 degrees and the Grand Orient de France accepts women.

A group of Three Hundred ruling individual descendant from the Black Nobility

Famous Members: British royals, Dutch royals, House of Hapsburg (?),Lord Halifax, Winston Churchill, Cecil Rhodes, George Bush, Aldous Huxley, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Giuseppe Mazzini and H.G. Wells

The existence of the Committee of 300 is wholly dependent on the word of Dr John Coleman, author of Conspirators Hierarchy The Story of The Committee of 300.

Joseph Pavlonksy John Clarke Doctor Coleman tells us that he gazed upon a mention of the supranational Committee of 300 or the Olympians while stationed with MI6 in Angola. He then decided to dedicate the rest of his life to exposing the group. His status as a MI6 whistleblower and the origin of his doctorate are never discussed in interviews. (leading Eustace Mullins to question his motives.)

Coleman uses the core of conspiracy theory literature and adds his own secret group which allegedly controls all the other ones. (Popular author David Icke added shape-shifting Reptilians to conspiracy lore and became an international bestseller) All the usual players are there. The Bilderberg Group, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Club of Rome, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations all make an appearance and serve as the executive arms of the Committee of 300. In Colemans scenario, the RIIA is above all the others and chooses the American Secretary of State and through him/her give the US President his marching orders. Prime Minister Disraeli had MI6 snuff out Abraham Lincoln and later, William Stevenson of Mi6 ordered the hit on JFK.

He also throws in popular nuggets such as the Black Nobility, (the group varies a great deal in conspiracy lore from the historical Black Nobility) who according to Coleman, made the Borgias look like Sunday school teachers. (The mysterious nobles are always a crowd pleaser.) According to Dr. Colemans decade long studies at the Cairo Museum (?), no member of the families of the Black Nobility or their servants has ever died from the Black Plague. He discovered that they drank a secret herbal compound and exposed themselves to low-frequency radiation making them immune to the disease.

The Queen of England is the head of the Committee of 300. The 300 families all rule with equal shares! (highly doubtful) The Queen is actually from the Black Nobility family of the House of Guelph. (Rex note: It is true that they change their name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor)

The Committee of 300 were behind Beatlemania and used the Beatles to induce young Americans towards drugs and Rock n Roll. They even came up with the word teenager (or not)

New words and new phrases prepared by Tavistock were introduced to America along with the Beatles. Words such as rock in relation to music sounds, teenager, cool, discovered and pop music were a lexicon of disguised code words signifying the acceptance of drugs and arrived with and accompanied the Beatles wherever they went, to be discovered by teenagers. Incidentally, the word teenagers was never used until just before the Beatles arrived on the scene, courtesy of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.

Colemans own deep hatred seeps into his work:

I hate to use these beautiful words in the context of Beatlemania; it reminds me of how wrongly the word lover is used when referring to the filthy interaction between two homosexuals writhing in pigswill. To call rock music, is an insult, likewise the language used in rock lyrics.

Is there any collaboration for Colemans Committee of 300 claims?


Coleman claims to have heard Gorbachev referred to the Committee of 300 on CNN but no one has been able to confirm it and the clip has disappeared from the CNN archives. Proponents of the group often point to German industrialist Walter Rathenaus quote, but there is no indication that Rathenau was referring to an actual group rather than a number.

Three hundred men, all of whom know one another, direct the economic destiny of Europe and choose their successors from among themselves. Geschftlicher Nachwuchs, Neue freie Presse, Walter Rathenau, 1909

Original post:
Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex

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Upstaged NATO searches for ‘360-degree’ response to Russia

 NATO  Comments Off on Upstaged NATO searches for ‘360-degree’ response to Russia
Oct 232015

TRAPANI, Italy The brass band played, the flags waved and Western generals delivered speeches brimming with resolve as NATO began big war games in the central Mediterranean this week.

But the military display seemed faintly unreal while Russian warplanes were bombing Syrian rebels a few hundred miles to the east in a coordinated action with President Bashar al-Assad’s armed forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

NATO, which waged an air campaign to help Libyan rebels oust Muammar Gaddafi, then left that country to descend into anarchy, is not a player in Syria and is watching uncomfortably as its former Cold War adversary Russia widens its role there.

The speed and scope of Moscow’s intervention in Syria’s four-year-old civil war, coming after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and support for pro-Kremlin rebels in eastern Ukraine last year, wrong-footed the U.S.-led alliance and has heightened soul-searching about its future.

“The West has been tactically surprised. I don’t think they anticipated what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin would get up to,” said Nick Witney, a former European Defence Agency chief now at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

NATO last year set in motion its biggest modernization since the Cold War. But the alliance’s political and military elite now see the need for a broader plan that goes beyond deterring Russia in the east. They call it thinking “360 degrees”.

“We need to develop a strategy for all kinds of crises, at 360 degrees,” said Gen. Denis Mercier, the Frenchman who heads NATO’s command focused on future threats. “We need to react in the south, in the east, the north, all around.”

NATO’s problem is that such a strategy is still embryonic while developments in Europe’s neighborhood are moving faster than the ponderous approach of the 28-nation defense pact, created in 1949 to deter the Soviet threat.

From the Baltics, where Russia has a naval base in Kaliningrad, through the Black Sea and annexed Crimea, to Syria, Moscow has stationed anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles able to cover huge areas.

NATO officials see the emergence of a strategy of defensive zones of influence, with surface-to-air missile batteries and anti-ship missiles that could disrupt NATO moving across air, land and sea or deny it access to some areas.

Unconventional warfare techniques are part of the equation, ranging from unidentified troops – the so-called “green men” without insignia on their uniforms seen in Crimea and eastern Ukraine – to disinformation operations and cyber attacks.


NATO also faces failing states, war, Islamist militancy and a refugee crisis at Europe’s borders. That is partly a result of the European Union’s inability to stabilize its neighborhood economically.

But critics say it is also due to U.S. President Barack Obama’s aversion to entanglement in Middle East wars in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. That has led to a decline in Washington’s influence across the region.

While NATO is drawing up a multi-layered deterrence plan, officials acknowledge a risk that Russia might again move faster to pre-empt Western action. For instance, it could move warships from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Libyan coast to hamper any possible NATO effort to support a government of national unity in the future.

Still, some say NATO has been here before and any talk of a lack of preparedness is overblown. Past bouts of questioning of the alliance’s relevance led to operations in the Balkans and in Afghanistan – a significant departure from 40 years of Cold War deterrence in which NATO forces never operated “out of area”.

A NATO official rejected any suggestion the alliance was passively watching Russia’s military build-up in Syria, noting that three allies the United States, France and Turkey were involved individually in the coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State rebels in Syria and Iraq.

Some experts see a danger of overestimating Putin, who oversees an economy weakened by Western sanctions and lower oil prices and cannot match NATO military power over the long term.

“We should be under no illusions about Putin’s hostility to the West but also be very careful not to over react to what a damaged Russian economy can produce in the way of military capability,” said Witney, a former British defense planner.


NATO’s public response is to test its new spearhead force of 5,000 troops, ready to move within a few days. Over the next five weeks, the alliance is carrying out its biggest military exercises since 2002, with 36,000 troops, 230 military units, 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships, to certify the force.

Such measures, agreed at a NATO summit in Wales last year following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, are aimed chiefly at reassuring eastern allies that Russia will not be able to invade them too. There is still debate about whether the spearhead force could be used in North Africa or beyond.

Small command posts with NATO flags from Estonia to Bulgaria and the spearhead force are ready. But one NATO diplomat called such measures “the minimum necessary”, and Gen. Mercier said the so-called Readiness Action Plan was “just a first step”.

“We have worked on reassuring our allies,” said Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme commander in Europe. “We are not exactly sure what it will take to work in the future,” he said when asked what NATO’s modern deterrents might look like.

The next NATO summit next July in Warsaw is the target date for proposals for more modern, agile deterrents.

Such ideas include setting up NATO-flagged command posts on the southern flank and adapting the spearhead force for maritime and air operations.

They could also feature a permanent naval force to patrol the Mediterranean and work more closely with the European Union and the United Nations in stabilizing fragile states.

Another idea involves including a nuclear deterrent in training exercises, something Britain supports but others, such as Germany, worry would be seen as a provocation by Russia.

NATO’s Gen. Mercier even suggested looking to companies such as courier DHL Worldwide Express and online retailer to improve NATO’s deployment speed.

“The question is how to have new ideas to make deployments easier. We should look at what the civilian world does, to DHL and Amazon. How do they improve their logistics?” Mercier said.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Paul Taylor)

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Upstaged NATO searches for ‘360-degree’ response to Russia

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PRISM (surveillance program) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Oct 202015

PRISM is a clandestine[1]surveillance program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies.[2][3][4] Since 2001 the United States government has increased its scope for such surveillance, and so this program was launched in 2007.

PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.[5][6] The PRISM program collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms.[7] The NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier,[8][9] and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.[10]

PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration.[11][12] The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[13] Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as “dangerous” and “criminal” activities.[14] The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA’s Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.[15]

Documents indicate that PRISM is “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports”, and it accounts for 91% of the NSA’s internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority.”[16][17] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls.[18][19]

U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government’s executive, judicial and legislative branches.[20][21] On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.”[22]

PRISM was publicly revealed when classified documents about the program were leaked to journalists of The Washington Post and The Guardian by Edward Snowden at the time an NSA contractor during a visit to Hong Kong.[2][3] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[2][3]

The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008, Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype in 2011 and Apple in 2012.[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft”.[2]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the U.S., because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[16] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[3][16]

Snowden’s subsequent disclosures included statements that governments such as the United Kingdom’s GCHQ also undertook mass interception and tracking of internet and communications data[24] described by Germany as “nightmarish” if true[25] allegations that the NSA engaged in “dangerous” and “criminal” activity by “hacking” civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as “universities, hospitals, and private businesses”,[14] and alleged that compliance offered only very limited restrictive effect on mass data collection practices (including of Americans) since restrictions “are policy-based, not technically based, and can change at any time”, adding that “Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications”,[14] with numerous self-granted exceptions, and that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in cases of uncertainty.[26][27][28]

Below are a number of slides released by Edward Snowden showing the operation and processes behind the PRISM program.

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the U.S.

Details of information collected via PRISM

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

Slide showing PRISM’s tasking process

Slide showing the PRISM collection dataflow

Slide showing PRISM case numbers

Slide showing the REPRISMFISA Web app

Slide showing some PRISM targets.

Slide fragment mentioning “upstream collection”, FAA702, EO 12333, and references explicitly in the text.

FAA702 Operations, and map

FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads “Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority”. FAIRVIEW is in the center box.

FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads “Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority”. STORMBREW is in the center box.

Tasking, Points to Remember. Transcript of body: Whenever your targets meet FAA criteria, you should consider asking to FAA. Emergency tasking processes exist for [imminent /immediate ] threat to life situations and targets can be placed on [illegible] within hours (surveillance and stored comms). Get to know your Product line FAA adjudicators and FAA leads.

The French newspaper Le Monde disclosed new PRISM slides (See Page 4, 7 and 8) coming from the “PRISM/US-984XN Overview” presentation on October 21, 2013.[29] The British newspaper The Guardian disclosed new PRISM slides (see pages 3 and 6) in November 2013 which on the one hand compares PRISM with the Upstream program, and on the other hand deals with collaboration between the NSA’s Threat Operations Center and the FBI.[30]

Wikimedia Commons keeps copies of the leaked PowerPoint slides, and other associated documents.

PRISM is a program from the Special Source Operations (SSO) division of the NSA, which in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances, cooperates with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[2] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program,[31][32] was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and challenged as illegal, because it did not include warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[32][33][34][35][36] PRISM was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[16]

PRISM was enabled under President Bush by the Protect America Act of 2007 and by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunizes private companies from legal action when they cooperate with U.S. government agencies in intelligence collection. In 2012 the act was renewed by Congress under President Obama for an additional five years, through December 2017.[3][37][38] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[37]

The most detailed description of the PRISM program can be found in a report about NSA’s collection efforts under Section 702 FAA, that was released by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) on July 2, 2014.[39]

According to this report, PRISM is only used to collect internet communications, not telephone conversations. These internet communications are not collected in bulk, but in a targeted way: only communications that are to or from specific selectors, like e-mail addresses, can be gathered. Under PRISM, there’s no collection based upon keywords or names.[39]

The actual collection process is done by the Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) of the FBI, which on behalf of the NSA sends the selectors to the US internet service providers, which were previously served with a Section 702 Directive. Under this directive, the provider is legally obliged to hand over (to DITU) all communications to or from the selectors provided by the government.[39] DITU then sends these communications to NSA, where they are stored in various databases, depending on their type.

Data, both content and metadata, that already have been collected under the PRISM program, may be searched for both US and Non-US person identifiers. These kind of queries became known as “back-door searches” and are conducted by NSA, FBI and CIA.[40] Each of these agencies have slightly different protocols and safeguards to protect searches with a US person identifier.[39]

Internal NSA presentation slides included in the various media disclosures show that the NSA could unilaterally access data and perform “extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information” with examples including email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats (such as Skype), file transfers, and social networking details.[3] Snowden summarized that “in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc. analyst has access to query raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want.”[14]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be U.S. citizens, but in the process, communication data of some U.S. citizens are also collected unintentionally.[2] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign U.S. data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[2]

According to The Guardian, NSA had access to chats and emails on, Skype, because Microsoft had “developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the interception of chats, and “for Prism collection against Microsoft email services will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”[41][42]

Also according to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald even low-level NSA analysts are allowed to search and listen to the communications of Americans and other people without court approval and supervision. Greenwald said low level Analysts can, via systems like PRISM, “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents.[31] And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[43]

He added that the NSA databank, with its years of collected communications, allows analysts to search that database and listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future.”[43] Greenwald was referring in the context of the foregoing quotes to the NSA program X-Keyscore.[44]

Unified Targeting Tool

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7, 2013 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[18] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[46] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[46] Clapper concluded his statement by stating, “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[46] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[47] Clapper later admitted the statement he made on March 12, 2013 was a lie,[48] or in his words “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.”[49]

On June 7, 2013 U.S. President Barack Obama, referring to the PRISM program[citation needed] and the NSA’s telephone calls logging program, said, “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[50] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[50] In separate statements, senior Obama administration officials (not mentioned by name in source) said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[51]

On June 8, 2013, Director of National Intelligence Clapper made an additional public statement about PRISM and released a fact sheet providing further information about the program, which he described as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. 1881a).”[52][53] The fact sheet stated that “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and the Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[52] The fact sheet also stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[52] Democratic Senators Udall and Wyden, who serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, subsequently criticized the fact sheet as being inaccurate.[clarification needed] NSA Director General Keith Alexander acknowledged the errors, stating that the fact sheet “could have more precisely described” the requirements governing the collection of e-mail and other internet content from U.S. companies. The fact sheet was withdrawn from the NSA’s website around June 26.[54]

In a closed-doors Senate hearing around June 11, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that Snowden’s leaks had caused “significant harm to our nation and to our safety.”[55] In the same Senate NSA Director Alexander defended the program.[further explanation needed] Alexander’s defense was immediately criticized by Senators Udall and Wyden, who said they saw no evidence that the NSA programs had produced “uniquely valuable intelligence.” In a joint statement, they wrote, “Gen Alexander’s testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program helped thwart ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods.”[55][56]

On June 18, NSA Director Alexander said in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee of Congress that communications surveillance had helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide (at least 10 of them involving terrorism suspects or targets in the United States) between 2001 and 2013, and that the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90 percent of those cases.[57][58][59] According to court records, one example Alexander gave regarding a thwarted attack by al Qaeda on the New York Stock Exchange was not in fact foiled by surveillance.[60] Several senators wrote Director of National Intelligence Clapper asking him to provide other examples.[61]

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told various news outlets that by June 24 they were already seeing what they said was evidence that suspected terrorists had begun changing their communication practices in order to evade detection by the surveillance tools disclosed by Snowden.[62][63]

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[64] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[65] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Following these statements some lawmakers from both parties warned national security officials during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have allowed for the agency’s mass collection of telephone metadata.[75] “Section 215 expires at the end of 2015, and unless you realize you’ve got a problem, that is not going to be renewed,” Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the USA Patriot Act, threatened during the hearing.[75] “It’s got to be changed, and you’ve got to change how you operate section 215. Otherwise, in two and a half years, you’re not going to have it anymore.”[75]

Leaks of classified documents pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government’s secret surveillance programs, but members of the court maintained they were not collaborating with the executive branch.[76]The New York Times, however, reported in July 2013 that in “more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks.”[77] After Members of the U.S. Congress pressed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to release declassified versions of its secret ruling, the court dismissed those requests arguing that the decisions can’t be declassified because they contain classified information.[78]Reggie Walton, the current FISA presiding judge, said in a statement: “The perception that the court is a rubber stamp is absolutely false. There is a rigorous review process of applications submitted by the executive branch, spearheaded initially by five judicial branch lawyers who are national security experts, and then by the judges, to ensure that the court’s authorizations comport with what the applicable statutes authorize.”[79] The accusation of being a “rubber stamp” was further rejected by Walton who wrote in a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy: “The annual statistics provided to Congress by the Attorney General […]frequently cited to in press reports as a suggestion that the Court’s approval rate of application is over 99%reflect only the number of final applications submitted to and acted on by the Court. These statistics do not reflect the fact that many applications are altered to prior or final submission or even withheld from final submission entirely, often after an indication that a judge would not approve them.”[80]

The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[81] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[82] A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve “network hygiene” and prevent any classified material from appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.[81] Access to the Washington Post, which also published information on classified NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden, had not been blocked at the time the blocking of access to The Guardian was reported.[82]

The former head of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, Gert-Ren Polli, stated he knew the PRISM program under a different name and stated that surveillance activities had occurred in Austria as well. Polli had publicly stated in 2009 that he had received requests from US intelligence agencies to do things that would be in violation of Austrian law, which Polli refused to allow.[83][84]

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[85] Australia’s former foreign minister Bob Carr said that Australians shouldn’t be concerned about PRISM but that cybersecurity is high on the government’s list of concerns.[86] An Australian diplomat stated that the acts of Edward Snowden were treachery and offered a staunch defence of her nation’s intelligence co-operation with America. [87]

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, responded by cancelling a planned October 2013 state visit to the United States, demanding an official apology, which by October 20, 2013, hadn’t come.[88] Also, Rousseff classified the spying as unacceptable between more harsh words in a speech before the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013.[89] As a result, Boeing lost out on a US$4.5 billion contract for fighter jets to Sweden’s Saab Group.[90]

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSEC), said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate.” Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind” in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[91][92]

On 20 October 2013 a committee at the European Parliament backed a measure that, if it is enacted, would require American companies to seek clearance from European officials before complying with United States warrants seeking private data. The legislation has been under consideration for two years. The vote is part of efforts in Europe to shield citizens from online surveillance in the wake of revelations about a far-reaching spying program by the U.S. National Security Agency.[93] Germany and France have also had ongoing mutual talks about how they can keep European email traffic from going across American servers.[94]

On October 21, 2013 the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, summoned the U.S. Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, to the Quai d’Orsay in Paris to protest large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Paris prosecutors had opened preliminary inquiries into the NSA program in July, but Fabius said, ” obviously we need to go further” and “we must quickly assure that these practices aren’t repeated.”[95]

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[96]German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “the internet is new to all of us” to explain the nature of the program; Matthew Schofield of McClatchy Washington Bureau said, “She was roundly mocked for that statement.”[97] Gert-Ren Polli, a former Austrian counter-terrorism official, said in 2013 that it is “absurd and unnatural” for the German authorities to pretend not to have known anything.[83][84] The German Army was using PRISM to support its operations in Afghanistan as early as 2011.[98]

In October 2013, it was reported that the NSA monitored Merkel’s cell phone.[99] The United States denied the report, but following the allegations, Merkel called President Obama and told him that spying on friends was “never acceptable, no matter in what situation.”[100]

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[101] the Business Insider article[102] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM programVerint Systems and Narus.

The Mexican Government after finding out about the PRISM program has started to build its own spying program to spy on its own citizens. According to Jenaro Villamil a writer from Proceso(magazine), CISEN the intelligence agency from Mexico has started to work with IBM and Hewlett Packard to develop its own data gathering software. Facebook, Twitter, Emails and other social network sites are going to be priority.”[103]

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[104]

Edward Snowden, in a live streamed Google Hangout to Kim Dotcom and Julian Assange alleged that he had received intelligence from New Zealand, and the NSA has listening posts in New Zealand[105]

At a meeting of European Union leaders held the week of 21 October 2013, Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, said that “spying activities aren’t proper among partner countries and allies”. On 28 October 2013 the Spanish government summoned the American ambassador, James Costos, to address allegations that the U.S. had collected data on 60 million telephone calls in Spain. Separately, igo Mndez de Vigo, a Spanish secretary of state, referred to the need to maintain “a necessary balance” between security and privacy concerns, but said that the recent allegations of spying, “if proven to be true, are improper and unacceptable between partners and friendly countries”.[106]

In the United Kingdom, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which also has its own surveillance program Tempora, had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. But after 2014, the Tempora lost its access to the PRISM programme.[citation needed] The Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament reviewed the reports GCHQ produced on the basis of intelligence sought from the US. They found in each case a warrant for interception was in place in accordance with the legal safeguards contained in UK law.[107]

In August 2013, The Guardian newspaper’s offices were visited by agents from GCHQ, who ordered and supervised the destruction of the hard drives containing information acquired from Snowden.[108]

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][3]

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[3][109] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[110][111]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[18]The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[2] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[111]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[114]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[115] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[116]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[117] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[117] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[117] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[117] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states, “Collection directly from the servers”[118] and the companies’ denials.[117]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by the FISA Court is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[117] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[117] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[117] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or ssh.[119]

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to its web site, the company reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) was between 9,000 and 10,000.” The company further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000” user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[120]

That same day, Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base.”[121]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its website’s transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[122]

Cisco Systems has seen a huge drop in export sales because of spying fears from the National Security Agency using backdoors in its products.[123]

On September 12, 2014, Yahoo! reported the U.S. Government threatened the imposition of $250,000 in fines per day if Yahoo didn’t hand over user data as part of the NSA’s PRISM program.[124] It is not known if other companies were threatened or fined for not providing data in response to a legitimate FISA requests.

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[125] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[126] It wrote with respect to the FISA-Court in context of PRISM that it is “a perversion of the American justice system” when “judicial secrecy is coupled with a one-sided presentation of the issues.”[127] According to the New York Times, “the result is a court whose reach is expanding far beyond its original mandate and without any substantive check.”[127]

James Robertson, a former federal district judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for three years between 2002 and 2005 and who ruled against the Bush administration in the landmark Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, said FISA court is independent but flawed because only the government’s side is represented effectively in its deliberations. “Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case,” said James Robertson.[128] Without this judges do not benefit from adversarial debate. He suggested creating an advocate with security clearance who would argue against government filings.[129] Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA court should provide overall legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the court “has turned into something like an administrative agency.” Under the changes brought by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded the US government’s authority by forcing the court to approve entire surveillance systems and not just surveillance warrants as it previously handled, “the court is now approving programmatic surveillance. I don’t think that is a judicial function.”[128] Robertson also said he was “frankly stunned” by the New York Times report[77] that FISA court rulings had created a new body of law broadening the ability of the NSA to use its surveillance programs to target not only terrorists but suspects in cases involving espionage, cyberattacks and weapons of mass destruction.[128]

Former CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, writing in an op-ed article published in The Guardian, said that “Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don’t have enough information as a society to make that decision.”[130] Computer security expert John Bambenek from the University of Illinois suggested that use of data mining in national security cases might be prone to inaccuracy and manipulation.[131]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[132]

The Obama administration’s argument that NSA surveillance programs such as PRISM and Boundless Informant had been necessary to prevent acts of terrorism was challenged by several parties. Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said of the case of Najibullah Zazi, who had planned to bomb the New York City Subway, that interviews with involved parties and U.S. and British court documents indicated that the investigation into the case had actually been initiated in response to “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services, rather than to leads produced by NSA surveillance.[133] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is alleged to have conducted the 2013 Boston marathon bombings with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had visited the Al Qaeda-affiliated Inspire magazine website, and even though Russian intelligence officials had raised concerns with U.S. intelligence officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston attacks. Daly observed that, “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[134]

Ron Paul, a former Republican member of Congress and prominent libertarian, thanked Snowden and Greenwald and denounced the mass surveillance as unhelpful and damaging, urging instead more transparency in U.S. government actions.[135] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[136]

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman defended limited government surveillance programs intended to protect the American people from terrorist acts:

Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened. But I worry even more about another 9/11. … If there were another 9/11, I fear that 99 percent of Americans would tell their members of Congress: “Do whatever you need to do to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again.” That is what I fear most. That is why I’ll reluctantly, very reluctantly, trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and e-mail addressesand then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congressto prevent a day where, out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime.[137]

Political commentator David Brooks similarly cautioned that government data surveillance programs are a necessary evil: “if you don’t have mass data sweeps, well, then these agencies are going to want to go back to the old-fashioned eavesdropping, which is a lot more intrusive.”[138]

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer worried less about the legality of PRISM and other NSA surveillance tools than about the potential for their abuse without more stringent oversight. “The problem here is not constitutionality. … We need a toughening of both congressional oversight and judicial review, perhaps even some independent outside scrutiny. Plus periodic legislative revisionsay, reauthorization every couple of yearsin light of the efficacy of the safeguards and the nature of the external threat. The object is not to abolish these vital programs. It’s to fix them.”[139]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[140] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[140][141] Simon had stated that many classes of people in American society had already faced constant government surveillance.

Political theorist, and frequent critic of U.S. government policies, Noam Chomsky argued, “Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy which is their own population.”[142]

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted June 11 through 13 found that 66% of Americans generally supported the program.[143][144][Notes 1] However, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 28 through July 8 found that 45% of registered voters think the surveillance programs have gone too far, with 40% saying they do not go far enough, compared to 25% saying they had gone too far and 63% saying not far enough in 2010.[145] Other polls have shown similar shifts in public opinion as revelations about the programs were leaked.[146][147]

In terms of economic impact, a study released in August by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation[148] found that the disclosure of PRISM could cost the U.S. economy between $21.5 and $35 billion in lost cloud computing business over three years.[149][150][151][152]

Sentiment around the world was that of general displeasure upon learning the extent of world communication data mining. Some national leaders spoke against the NSA and some spoke against their own national surveillance. One national minister had scathing comments on the National Security Agency’s data-mining program, citing Benjamin Franklin: “The more a society monitors, controls, and observes its citizens, the less free it is.”[153] Some question if the costs of hunting terrorists now overshadows the loss of citizen privacy.[154][155]

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Beaches and Islands – Krabi

 Islands  Comments Off on Beaches and Islands – Krabi
Oct 052015

>> Back To Visitor Guide Main Page

:: Beaches & Islands in the Sun

Visitors to Krabi beaches and islands are of many different backgrounds. Some are on their honeymoon and are overseas for the first time, others are adventurists who barely unpack their bags before leaving on their next adventure. We have visitors who have traveled the world over who have enjoyed travels on continents around the world, hot and cool climates. When you read about the islands and beaches of Krabi you will see that there is truly something to enjoy and love for everyone.

Ao Nang Beach

Krabi is hardly 18 km away from the bay and the bay has some 83 islands scattered around. Each one of these islands are a short distance away from one another. And during low tides, you can even wade your way to the neighboring island. In this sort of a natural set up, there is little shortage for sandy beaches and crystal clear water. But among them all, Ao Nang beach is supposed to be the best.

Ao Nang has the cleanest of environments in the area. This is the most developed beach in the area. And the beach is accessible by road from Krabi. Less crowded and more quiet, it gives a more peaceful atmosphere to the tourist than the Krabi. The majestic looking limestone cliffs rising straight from calm, clear waters of the sea and the long beach line that runs the whole length of the resort are great attractions claimed exclusively by Ao Nang. The shallow coast line is very safe for children to play with the waves. The deserted beach of Pai Plong is easily accessible on foot when the tide is low. There are 83 islands of various sizes in the bay off this beach. And the facilities for boat trips are well organized in the beach. Tourism sector takes care of the food requirements at the sea front itself. With widest range of accommodation facilities , transports either by boat or road, excellent facilities for tasty foods, tourists often make this area a base camp to make their foray further deep to discover the caves or for trekking and rock climbing.

Hat Noppharat Thara

This beach is on the western side of the Krabi town. The park covers an extensive area of the main land and 80 islands including Phi Phi Islands.

20 km west of Krabi and 3 miles long, this beach is lined with a majestic Casuarina forest. The beach is a part of Koh Phi Phi National Marine Park. Just as in the case of Ao Nang , during low tides, it is possible to reach other islands in the bay on foot.

Railay or Railey Beach & ( Hat Tham Beaches )

Two of the most popular beaches in Ao Phra Nang peninsula are Rai Leh and Hat Tham. This is just to the south of Ao Nang. Phra Nang area is a hilly terrain with craggy limestone cliffs. There are no proper roads in this area. The beaches are accessible by long tail boats. This scenario gives a secluded feel to the place.

In Rai Leh, excellent accommodation is available which gives an added attraction to this beach. There are plenty of rock formations in the area. And caves with stalactites and stalagmites are spectcular attraction in Rai Leh. As is quite typical of this area, the limestone geology has forged many interesting rock formations.

Besides, these beaches provide opportunities for rock climbing enthusiasts. A spectacular view of the surrounding areas from the top of the cliff is a rewarding experience to the hardship and strain you take to climb the hill side. The facilities including supplies of climbing gear and training for the novice are also available.

Pristine beaches with pure white sand and shallow clear water make the Rai Leh beach a favorite to the tourists. Swimming and sunbathing in this beach is much popular. Rai Leh beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. And this is one of Krabi’s most unique areas.

Pra Nang Beach

Connected to Rai Lei by a small path is Phra Nang (not to be confused with Ao Nang) on the outer most point of the headland, backed by a limestone cliff which soars above the beach providing some welcome shade in the hot afternoon. At the bottom of the cliff lies the Princess Cave or Tham Phra Nang Nok – local legend surrounds the cave and local fishermen leave offerings for good fortune. It’s a great beach to simply hang out. In the late morning the “sandwich boats” arrive. Local longtail boats equipped with ice boxes, bread and sandwich ingredients. Fancy a cheese and ham baguette? Freshly made and not expensive, the ladies on the boats will serve with a smile and often a free piece of fruit. A path Swimming and snorkeling can be enjoyed off this pristine, white sandy beach, and from here it is possible to hike to the top of the headland to get spectacular views of the entire area.

Klong Muang Beach/Tubkaak

Krabi’s latest beach destination, Muang Klong is aiming upmarket with 5 star and boutique hotels like the Sheraton Krabi Resort, the Nakamanda and the Tubkaak Resort. Unlike Ao Nang it doesn’t have the impressive cliffs immediately towering over the beach, but it does have powder white sand and safe swimming

The Lanta Island Group

About 53 islands are included in this group, which form the southern most district of Krabi Province.

Koh Lanta Yai The largest of the islands, it was formerly known as Pulao Satak, its name in the Malay language, which means Long Beach Island. The island is a favourite spot for those seeking peace and solitude, and is the home of the District and National Park offices. Mountainous and rugged in some spots, especially near the southern tip; with a combination of gravely and fine white sandy beaches, the island is also home to a clan of Chao Ley, or Sea Gypsies – an ethnic group who preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies. In recent years accommodation has increased in Lanta with a range from basic bungalows to upmarket resorts now available. You can get to Lanta on the regular ferry from Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.

Koh Taleng Beng Lies in the Lanta district and is similar in shape to Phi Phi Ley. Swallows also nest at this island which at low tide has a small beach and tunnel.

Mu Koh Hah Still in the Lanta area, this is a group of 5 islands featuring coral gardens and good diving spots.

Koh Ngai, Koh Rock Nai and Koh Rock Nok South of Lanta Island, these 3 islands are close to Trang Province. Koh Ngai is easily accessed via ferry from Pak Meng Beach, others are accessed by hired boat and feature both beaches and coral gardens.

Poda Beach

This is another location much favored by tourists. Lying off the coast of Ao Nang , Poda Beach is famous for its pure white sandy beach and warm waters. Diving and snorkeling , sun bathing and boating are the favorite activities in this beach. This is considered to be an ideal place for fun and relaxation.

Phi Phi Island Beaches

These islands are some of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. This is one of the much sought after locations in Krabi province. The superb scenery of these islands are not just limited to the silvery sand beaches but the Emerald green sea, the multi colored coral reefs and the abundance of the underwater marine life. Hardly 2 hrs journey by boat from Ao Nang beach, the twin islands Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh provide excellent entertainments.

Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands. Covering some 28 square km area, this is in the northern part of the island. Phi Phi Don has several long white sand beaches. Long ,white curved beach, fringed by palms and between mountain ranges provide sheltered calm waters for beach sports. Plenty of accommodation is available at the site. You can have beach side bungalows or smaller resorts as you please. Bars are available adjacent to the Muslim areas where you have to be discrete. Sun bathing and swimming in the shallow waters are the popular enjoyment here.

There are very many restaurants in Phi Phi Don. In fact, Thailand as a whole is considered to be a land of restaurants. This may perhaps be the only place in the world where you have more number of restaurants and eateries on a per capita basis. And Phi Phi Don is no exception. Both European cuisine and tasty Thai foods are available at the beach restaurants. Bars, cabaret, souvenir shops, fishing excursions and chartered boats are all available at the site.

Phi Phi Leh is only some six in area. The main attraction is the rocks and caves. Rugged cliff surfaces with sparse vegetation rising staraight from the sea bed to several metres to the sky provide real challenge to the rock climbing enthusiasts.

There are several caves where birds roost in their multitudes. The sea swallows make their gelatinous nests in these caves. And these nests are some delicacy in the Chinese cuisine. The Viking cave is famous for the murals inside. These paintings depict Viking-like sailing vessels and sailors there by giving the name for the cave.

The underwater life is also much captivating. The colorful coral reef and underwater creatures give a feast to the divers. Snorkeling is a favorite sport in these beaches. In short, Phi Phi Islands are a real treat to the tourist and one of the best choices in the Andaman Bay.

Ko Paid ( Bamboo Island ) This is another of the Phi Phi Islands but uninhabited. This has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. And the beaches are unspoiled as the area is uninhabited.

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Hungary joins other NATO allies to host command center …

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Oct 042015

BUDAPEST Hungary, along with other states in central and eastern Europe, will host a command center to help coordinate deployment of NATO’s rapid reaction force in an emergency, the government said on Friday.

The U.S.-led military alliance has already activated similar centers in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania.

Hungary said the command center, called a NATO Force Integration Unit, would be staffed by 40 officers from Hungary and other NATO member states, but it would not be a base for forces.

“Its task in peaceful times is to organize and plan international exercises and, in an emergency, the coordination of the NATO Reaction Force,” the government spokesman’s office said in a reply to questions by Reuters.

The role of NATO’s spearhead force, due to be fully operational early next year, is likely to be discussed by alliance defense ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Oct.8.

Some eastern European NATO members, including Poland, want to keep the force’s focus on deterring a possible Russian attack in light of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in March last year.

“We started from the fact that the world is becoming a more and more dangerous place and we may need fast and efficient help from our allies,” the spokesman said.

NATO said on its website that the centers would “help in rapid deployment of Allied forces to the eastern part of the Alliance if necessary.”

(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Illuminati – Crystalinks

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati – Crystalinks
Oct 032015


Eye Symbology

The Illuminati is the name of many groups, modern and historical, real and fictitious, verified and alleged. Most commonly, however, The Illuminati refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, perhaps the least secret of all secret societies in the world, described below. Most use refers to an alleged shadowy conspiratorial organization which controls world affairs behind the scenes, usually a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. Illuminati is sometimes used synonymously with New World Order.

Illuminati is a Greek word meaning Illumination a name given to those who submitted to Christian baptism. Those who were baptized were called Illuminati or Illuminated / Enlightened Ones by the Ante-Nicene clergy, on the assumption that those who were instructed for baptism in the Apostolic faith had an enlightened understanding. The Alumbrados, a mystical 16th-century Spanish sect, were among the societies that subsequently adopted the name Illuminati.

Since Illuminati literally means ‘enlightened ones’ in Latin, it is natural that several unrelated historical groups have identified themselves as Illuminati. Often, this was due to claims of possessing gnostic texts or other arcane information not generally available.

The designation illuminati was also in use from the 14th century by the Brethren of the Free Spirit, and in the 15th century was assumed by other enthusiasts who claimed that the illuminating light came, not by being communicated from an authoritative but secret source, but from within, the result of exalted consciousness, or “enlightenment”.

Alumbrados of Spain

To the former class belong the alumbrados of Spain. The historian Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo found the name as early as 1492 (in the form iluminados, 1498), but traced them to a Gnostic origin, and thought their views were promoted in Spain through influences from Italy. One of their earliest leaders, born in Salamanca, a laborer’s daughter known as La Beata de Piedrahita, came under the notice of the Inquisition in 1511, as claiming to hold colloquies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary; some high patronage saved her from a rigorous denunciation. (Menendez Pelayo, Los Heterodoxos Espaoles, 1881, vol. V.). Ignatius Loyola, while studying at Salamanca in 1527, was brought before an ecclesiastical commission on a charge of sympathy with the alumbrados, but escaped with an admonition.

Illumines of France

The movement (under the name of Illumines) seems to have reached France from Seville in 1623, and attained some following in Picardy when joined (1634) by Pierce Guerin, cure of Saint-Georges de Roye, whose followers, known as Gurinets, were suppressed in 1635. A century later, another, more obscure body of Illumines came to light in the south of France in 1722, and appears to have lingered till 1794, having affinities with those known contemporaneously in Britain as ‘French Prophets’, an offshoot of the Camisards.


A different class were the Rosicrucians, who claimed to originate in 1407, but rose into notice in 1614 when their main text Fama Fraternitatis appeared; a secret society, that claimed to combine the possession of esoteric principles of religion with the mysteries of alchemy. Their positions are embodied in three anonymous treatises of 1614 (mentioned in Richard and Giraud, Dictionnaire universel des sciences ecclesiastiques, Paris 1825), as well as in the Confessio Fraternitatis of 1615. Rosicrucians also claimed heritage from the Knights Templar.


Later, the title Illuminati was applied to the French Martinists which had been founded in 1754 by Martinez Pasqualis, and to their imitators the Russian Martinists, headed about 1790 by Professor Schwartz of Moscow; both were occultist cabalists and allegorists, absorbing eclectic ideas from Jakob Boehme and Emanuel Swedenborg.


A movement of freethinkers that were the most radical offshoot of The Enlightenment – whose adherents were given the name Illuminati (but who called themselves “Perfectibilists”) – was founded on May 1, 1776 by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830), who was the first lay professor of canon law. The group has also been called the Illuminati Order, the Order of the Illuminati, and the Bavarian Illuminati.In the conservative state of Bavaria, where the progressive and enlightened elector Maximilian III Joseph von Wittelsbach was succeeded (1777) by his conservative heir Karl Theodor, and which was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church and the aristocracy, such an organization did not last long before it was suppressed by the powers of the day.

In 1784, the Bavarian government banned all secret societies, including the Illuminati and the Freemasons. The structure of the Illuminati soon collapsed, but while it was in existence many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members.

Its members were supposedly drawn primarily from Masons and former Masons, and although some Masons were known to be members there is no evidence that it was supported by Freemasons. The members pledged obedience to their superiors, and were divided into three main classes: the first, known as the Nursery, encompassed the ascending degrees or offices of Preparation, Novice, Minerval and Illuminatus Minor; the second, known as the Masonry, consisting of the ascending degrees of Illuminatus Major and Illuminatus dirigens, the latter also sometimes called Scotch Knight; the third, designated the Mysteries, was subdivided into the degrees of the Lesser Mysteries (Presbyter and Regent) and those of the Greater Mysteries (Magus and Rex). Relations with Masonic lodges were established at Munich and Freising in 1780.

The order had its branches in most countries of the European continent; its members were reportedly around 3,000-4,000 members in the span of 10 years. The scheme had its attraction for literary men, such as Goethe and Herder, and even for the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. Internal rupture preceded its downfall, which was effected by an edict of the Bavarian government in 1785.

The Bavarian Illuminati have cast a long shadow in popular history thanks to the writings of their opponents; the lurid allegations of conspiracy that have colored the image of the Freemasons have practically opaqued that of the Illuminati. In 1797, Abbe Augustin Barruel published Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism outlining a vivid conspiracy theory involving the Knights Templar, the Rosicrucians, the Jacobins and the Illuminati.

A Scottish Mason and professor of natural history named John Robison started to publish Proofs of a Conspiracy Against all the Religions and Governments of Europe in 1798. Robison claimed to present evidence of an Illuminati conspiracy striving to replace all religions with humanism and all nations with a single world government.

More recently, Antony C. Sutton suggested that the secret society Skull and Bones was founded as the American branch of the Illuminati; others think Scroll and Key had Illuminati origins, as well. Writer Robert Gillette claimed that these Illuminati ultimately intend to establish a world government through assassination, bribery, blackmail, the control of banks and other financial powers, the infiltration of governments, mind control, and by causing wars and revolution to move their own people into higher positions in the political hierarchy.

Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, claimed they intended to spread information and the principles of true morality. He attributed the secrecy of the Illuminati to what he called “the tyranny of a despot and priests”.

Both seem to agree that the enemies of the Illuminati were the monarchs of Europe and the Church; Barrul claimed that the French revolution (1789) was engineered and controlled by the Illuminati through the Jacobins, and later conspiracy theorists have also claimed their responsibility for the Russian Revolution (1917), although the order was officially shut down in 1790. Few historians give credence to these views; they regard such claims as the products of over-fertile imaginations.

Several sources suggest that the Bavarian Illuminati survived, and perhaps even exists today. Conspiracy theorists highlight the link between the Illuminati and Freemasonry. It is also suggested that the United States’ founding fathers – some being Freemasons – were rife with corruption from the Illuminati. Often the symbol of the all-seeing pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States is cited as an example of the Illuminati’s ever-present watchful eye over Americans.

Very little reliable evidence can be found to suggest that Weishaupt’s group survived into the 19th century. However, several groups have since used the name Illuminati to found their own rites, claiming to be the Illuminati. Such groups include the Grand Lodge Rockefeller of David Goldman (USA), Orden Illuminati of Gabriel Lopez de Rojas (Spain), and The Illuminati Order of Solomon Tulbure (USA).

In 1995, Gabriel Lpez de Rojas founded Illuminati Order in Barcelona, Spain, elaborating the Operative Rite of The Illuminati of Bavaria. This Rite is based on the Rite of the Illuminati and high degrees of Scottish Rite of 33 degrees.The System of its Illuminati Grand Master, Gabriel Lpez de Rojas, is the Redism. This system is based on the lemma HOMO EST DEUS, or “man is god”.

Groups describing themselves as Illuminati say they have members and chapters (lodges) throughout the world.

About the time that the Illuminati were outlawed in Bavaria, the Roman Catholic Church prohibited its members from joining Masonic lodges, on pain of excommunication. This was done as a general edict, since the Church believed many lodges to have been infiltrated and subverted by the Illuminati, but was not able to accurately ascertain which ones. This rule was relaxed only in the late 20th century.

Illuminati Wikipedia







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Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News and Discussion

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News and Discussion
Sep 282015

Bank of America Files Patent Application for Cryptocurrency-Mediated Wire Transfers View more NeuCoin Launches a New Digital Currency for Online and Mobile Gaming View more Bitcoin Hardware Wallet KeepKey Launches and Begins Shipping View more Three Bitcoin Finalists Vie for BBVA Open Talent Competition Honors in Barcelona View more Bitcoin Tracker One ETN Offers Liquidity to European Investors View more Digital Currency Derivatives Exchanges Prepare for Regulation after CFTC Bitcoin Ruling View more Bitcoin Derivatives Company LedgerX Appoints Ex-CFTC Commissioner Wetjen to Board View more Australian Regulators Investigating Banks for Closing Accounts of Bitcoin Companies View more The Decentralist Perspective, or Why Bitcoin Might Need Small Blocks View more Everything You Need to Know about the Proposed Changes to the Bitcoin Block Size Cap View more Gavin Andresen on the Block Size: Its Hard to Find a Signal above All the Noise View more Bitcoin XT Big Block Fork Spurs Debate and Controversy View more Bank of England Chief Economist: Blockchain-based Digital Currency Issued by Central Banks Could Replace Cash View more Sig3 Launches an Automated Policy-Based Transaction Cosigner for Multisig Bitcoin Transactions View more BitGo Processes Over $1 Billion in Bitcoin Transactions in Third Quarter View more Storj Network Passes 1 Petabyte Storage Space View more Bitcoin and Gold Exchange Vaultoro Reaches $1 Million in Gold Trading Volume View more Bitcoin According to Regulators: Money, Currency, Property, and Now a Commodity View more Nine Top Global Banks Pool Resources to Fund R3 to Develop Digital Currency Standards View more UBS to Develop Yet Another Permissioned Blockchain for Banks View more Blythe Masters and Wall Street Opt for Permissioned Non-Bitcoin Blockchains View more Nick Szabo on Permissioned Blockchains and the Block Size View more Notable Bitcoin Core Contributors Now Open to Increasing Block-size Limit to 2 or 4MB View more Coinkite Processes $250 Million in Third Quarter; 10% of Total Daily Bitcoin Transactions View more IBM Developing Blockchain Without Bitcoin for Record-Keeping and Smart Contracts View more Closing the Loop: Australian Organic Farm Creates a Local Bitcoin Economy Among Farmers View more Wall Steet Interest in Bitcoin Grows with ARK Fund Investing in Silberts Bitcoin Investment Trust View more Alt-Options Launches Bitcoin Derivative Market View more Coin Center: State Bank Supervisors Proposal Good for Lawyers, Bad for Consumers and Innovators View more BitPagos Acquires Argentinian Bitcoin Exchange Unisend View more First Peer-Reviewed Academic Bitcoin Journal, Ledger, Launches and Issues Call for Papers View more

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Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency News and Discussion

NATO: ‘Strong’ Russian Presence in Eastern Ukraine

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Sep 262015

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg told AFP Thursday there was still a “strong” Russian presence in eastern Ukraine in support of pro-Moscow rebels although a recent ceasefire seems to be holding.

Stoltenberg said he backed the continuation of European Union and United States sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukraine until Moscow changes its behaviour.

“There is no doubt that there is a strong Russian presence in the eastern part of Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in an interview at NATO HQ in Brussels.

“There (are) Russian forces there, there (is) Russian equipment and Russia continues to train and to assist the separatists.”

Stoltenberg said it was an “encouraging” sign for the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement, which was brokered by France and Germany in February, that a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has held.

“All the parties of the agreement have still a long way to go before we can say that the agreement is fully implemented, but at least it is an encouraging sign that for the first time since this agreement was first signed last fall, the ceasefire seems to be holding,” he said.

“When there is no violence going on, no fighting going on it is easier to make progress also on the other elements of the agreement,” which include the withdrawal of heavy weapons and restoration of full Ukrainian control of the border with Russia.

“Russia has to change behaviour if they (are going) to do something with the economic sanctions,” he said. “Therefore I think sanctions should continue.”

Damaging EU economic sanctions against Russia come up for review in December, with EU leaders saying a decision on whether they will be lifted depends on Moscow fully implementing its Minsk commitments to cut support for the rebels and restore the border.

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NATO: ‘Strong’ Russian Presence in Eastern Ukraine

Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

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Sep 232015

Calling yourself a libertarian today is a lot like wearing a mullet back in the nineteen eighties. It sends a clear signal: business up front, party in the back.

You know, those guys who call themselves socially liberal but fiscally conservative? Yeah. Its for them.

Today, the ruling class knows that theyve lost the culture wars. And unlike with our parents, they cant count on weeping eagles and the stars n bars to get us to fall in line. So libertarianism is their last ditch effort to ensure a succession to the throne.

Republicans freak you out but think the Democrats are wimps? You must be a libertarian! Want to sound smart and thoughtful in front of your boss without alienating your socially liberal buds? Just say the L-word, pass the coke and everyones happy!

Just look at how they play it up as the cool alternative to traditional conservatism. Its pathetic. George Will wore the bowtie. But Reason magazines Nick Gillespie wears an ironic D.A.R.E. t-shirt. And dont forget the rest of his all-black wardrobe, complete with leather jacket. What a totally with-it badass.


With such a bleak economic forecast for the Millennials, it shouldnt surprise anyone that our elites want to make libertarianism shorthand for political disaffection. Now theres a demographic with some growth potential. And its inspired a lot of poorly-sourced, speculative babble about how the kids have all gone Galt, almost always through the personal anecdotes of young white men.

A couple of months ago, after Harvard released a poll on the political views of Millennials, libertarians took to the internet to tell the world how the youth of America was little more than a giant anarcho-capitalist sleeper cellready to overthrow the state and privatize the air supply at a moments notice. So I took a look at the poll numbers. And you know what? Its utter horseshit.

Right off the bat, were told that 79% of Millennials dont consider themselves politically-engaged at all so, uh, keep that in mind.

Much is made of the fact that less than half of the survey respondents thought the government should provide free health care to those who cant afford it. What they dont mention is that that number (44 percent) is twice the percentage who say they stand against (22 percent) such hand outs. Nearly a third didnt think one way or the other.

Then we hear that the poll proves kids dont care about climate change. But they dont mention that slightly more Millennials wanted the government to do more on that front than theyre doing noweven if it hurt economic growth. Nearly half, you guessed it, neither agree nor disagree. (Come on kids, Rock the Vote!)

More Millennials identify as liberals than conservatives. Hardly any of them (10 percent) support the libertarian-embraced Tea Party. About three-quarters say they despise congressional Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds voted for Obama in 2008. Slightly over half approve of him now. Nearly three-quarters of Millennials hate congressional Republicans. 55% trust in the U.S. military, one of the largest state-socialist programs in the entire world, also responsible for, you know, those wars that libertarians supposedly hate.

Over a quarter put their faith in the federal government all or most of the time, and 55% some of the time. Only 17% answered never. And despite all their supposed Ron Paul love, they trust the globalist United Nations even more than they do the feds.

A little nibble here with only 36% approving of Obamas handling of the budget deficit, but then again, thats actually better than his rating on the deficit with Americans of all ages. Plus, worrying about the budget deficit is how dumb people have tried to sound smart since the days of FDR. And most people are dumb.

And when we finally get down to a hypothetical libertarian match-up between Obama and Ron Paul41 percent pick Obama and only 27 percent pick Paul.

Oh, but the kiddies are cool with gay marriage and tired of bombing brown people overseas? No shit. That just makes them normal people living in the 21st century. Im for single-payer health care and cant stand Barney Frank. Does that mean I sip the Kool-Aid at the Lyndon LaRouche compound?

None of this should be too surprising. For almost two decades, roughly two-thirds of the American public have supported what wed call a moderate European welfare stateputting the average U.S. citizen significantly to the left of the Democratic party, a center/center-right organization saddled, much to their dismay, with a perpetually-disappointed center-left constituency.

But hey, our ruling class would shit a brick if any of that wealth redistribution stuff happened over here. Which is why this is a center-right nation has been a favorite Fox News talking point for over ten years. Its only nowafter Occupy Wall Street forced their handthat the media is finally willing to admit that it might be bullshit.

But libertarianism? Our ruling class is totally fine with that. Smoke your reefer and sodomize whomever you please, just keep your mouth shut and hand over your Social Security account.


Never trust a hippietarian

I get the appeal. The states been sticking it to working folks for decades. It seems almost unimaginable that Big Government could ever be run by us and not the One Percent.

But child labor laws, the Civil Rights act, federal income tax, minimum wage laws, Social Security, Medicare, food safetylibertarians have accused all of them as infringements upon the free market that would lead to economic ruin. And over and over again, theyve been proven wrong. Life goes ona little less gruesomelyand society prospers.

There is no such thing as a free-market, economist Ha-Joon Chang has said repeatedly. A market looks free only because we so unconditionally accept its underlying restrictions that we fail to see them.

In other words, markets are social institutions, just as much under the thumb of politics and government as everything else. Which means theyre subject to democratic pressures, as they should be.

And what you earn from said markets? Chang: All our wages are, at root, politically determined. Despite what Ron Pauls trolls might have you believe, gold Krugerrands dont spray out your asshole every time you type up a spreadsheet or pour a Grande mochachino for your next customer.

Capitalism has always been a product of Big Government. Ever since the railroads of the nineteenth century, to Silicon Valley, Big Pharma and the banks, the Nanny State has been there all along, passing subsidies and tax breaks, and eating the costs the private sector doesnt want.

So whenever a libertarian says that capitalism is at odds with the state, laugh at him. Its like saying that the NFL is at war with football fields. To be a libertarian is to say that God or the universe marked up that field, squirted out the pigskins from the bowels of the earth and handed down the playbooks from Mt. Sinai.


When a Red like me wants to argue for something like universal health care or free college tuition, we can point to dozens of wealthy democratic societies doing just that. The Stalinist left is nothing more than a faint memory. But where are the libertarian Utopias?

General Pinochets Chile was a longtime favorite. But seeing as how it relied on a fascist coupwith a big assist from Nixon and KissingerChiles lost a bit of that Cold War luster. So these days, for the slightly more with-it libertarian, we get Singapore as the model of choice.

Hey, isnt that where the Facebook guy lives these days? Thats pretty hip!

Ah, Singapore: a city-state near the very top in the world when it comes to number of police and execution rate per capita. Its a charming little one-party state where soft-core pornography is outlawed, labor rights are almost nonexistent and gay sex is banned. Expect a caning if you break a window. And death for a baggie of cocaine.

But hey: no capital gains tax! (Freedom!)

Singapore: Libertarian Paradise

Its not like any of this will make it through the glassy eyes of the true-believers. Ludwig von Mises, another libertarian pin-up boy, wrote in 1927 that, Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization.

Lately, Ron Pauls economic advisor has been claiming that Communist Party-ruled China has a freer market than the U.S.s.


So lets talk a little about this freedom theyre always going on about. Or, to paraphrase Lenin, the libertarians ultimate nemesis: freedom for who to do what?

Most American adults spend about half their waking hours at a job. And during that time, libertarians do not give a flying fuck about your liberty. Instead, they condone the most brutal of tyrannies all in the name of a private employers freedom.

Racial discrimination, verbal abuse, random drug testing, body-searches, sexual harassment, illegal termination, email monitoring, union busting, even withholding piss-breaksask any libertarian how they feel about workplace unfreedom and theyll tell you: Hey man, if you dont like it, you have the freedom to get another job. If folks are hiring. But with four-and-a-half applicants for every job, theyre probably not.

Heres another thing libertarians always forget to mention: a free-market capitalist society has never and by definition can never lead to full-employment. It has to be made to byyou guessed itthe Nanny State. Free market capitalism actually requires a huge mass of the unemployedits not just a side effect.

And make no mistake: corporate America loves a high unemployment rate.

When most everyone has a job, workers are less likely to take shit. They do nutty things like join unions, demand better wages and refuse to work off-the-clock. They start to stand up to real power: not to the EPA, and not the King of England, but to their bosses.

But with a real unemployment rate close to 20 percent, that aint happening. Well, fuck. Better sign up for that Big Government welfare state theyre always whining about. Hey, dont worry. You could always sell a little crack and turn a few tricks. Libertarians totally support that.

After all, thats your freedom, dude!


Libertarianism isnt some cutting-edge political philosophy that somehow transcends the traditional left to right spectrum. Its a radical, hard-right economic doctrine promoted by wealthy people who always end up backing Republican candidates, no matter how often they talk about civil liberties, ending the wars and legalizing pot. Funny how that works.

Its the third way for a society in which turning against capitalism or even taking your foot off the pedal is not an option. Thanks to our shitty constitution and the most violent labor history in the West, we never even got a social-democratic party like the rest of the developed world.

So what do we get? The libertarian line: No, no: the problem isnt that were too capitalist. Its that were not capitalist enough!


At a time in which our society has never been more interdependent in every possible way, libertarians think theyre John fucking Wayne looking out over his ranch with an Apache scalp in his belt, or John fucking Galt doingwhatever it is he does. (Collect vintage desk toys from the Sharper Image?)

Their whole ideology is like a big game of Dungeons & Dragons. Its all make-believe, except for the chain-mailthey brought that from home. Elves, dwarves and fair maidens for capital. Even with the supposedly good onesanti-war libertarianswere still talking about people who think Medicares going to lead to Stalinism.

So my advice is to call them out.

Ask them what their beef really is with the welfare state. First, theyll talk about the deficit and say we just cant afford entitlement programs. Well, thats obviously a joke, so move on. Then theyll say that it gives the government tyrannical power. Okay. Let me know when the Danes open a Guantnamo Bay in Greenland.

Heres the real reason libertarians hate the idea. The welfare state is a check against servility towards the rich. A strong welfare state would give us the power to say Fuck You to our bossesthis is the power to say Im gonna work odd jobs for twenty hours a week while I work on my driftwood sculptures and play keyboards in my chillwave band. And Ill still be able to go to the doctor and make rent.

Sounds like freedom to me.

Connor Kilpatrick is the managing editor of Jacobin magazine.

Would you like to know more? Read Thirty More Years of Hell and Silent Majority Millennials by Connor Kilpatrick.

Read more: child labor laws, deficit, democratic party, fascism, fdr, george will, ha-joon chang, libertarian, ludwig von mises, lyndon larouche, medicare, millennials, nick gillespie, pinochet, reason, ron paul, Singapore, social security, socialism, Tea Party, Connor Kilpatrick, Class War For Idiots, Libertards

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Its Hip! Its Cool! Its Libertarianism! – By Connor …

The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …
Sep 212015

Millions of people have a queasy feeling that something is not right in the global economy but they struggle to put their fingers on what exactly the problem is. Treasure Islands at last tells the real story of where it all went wrong. This is the great untold story of globalisation.

Tax havens are not exotic, murky sideshows at the fringes of the world economy: they lie at its centre. Half of world trade flows, at least on paper, through tax havens. Every multinational corporation uses them routinely. The biggest users of tax havens by far are not terrorists, spivs, celebrities or Mafiosi but banks.

Tax havens are the ultimate source of strength for our global elites. Just as European nobles once consolidated their unaccountable powers in fortified castles, to better subjugate and extract tribute from the surrounding peasantry, so financial capital has coalesced in their modern equivalent today: the tax havens. In these fortified nodes of secret, unaccountable political and economic power, financial and criminal interests have come together to capture local political systems and turn the havens into their own private law-making factories, protected against outside interference by the worlds most powerful countries most especially Britain. Treasure Islands will, for the first time, show the blood and guts of just how they do it.

Tax havens arent just about tax. They are about escape escape from criminal laws, escape from creditors, escape from tax, escape from prudent financial regulation above all, escape from democratic scrutiny and accountability. Tax havens get rich by taking fees for providing these escape routes. This is their core line of business. It is what they do.

These escape routes transform the merely powerful into the untouchable. Dont tax or regulate us or we will flee offshore! the financiers cry, and elected politicians around the world crawl on their bellies and capitulate. And so tax havens lead a global race to the bottom to offer deeper secrecy, ever laxer financial regulations, and ever more sophisticated tax loopholes. They have become the silent battering rams of financial deregulation, forcing countries to remove financial regulations, to cut taxes and restraints on the wealthy, and to shift all the risks, costs and taxes onto the backs of the rest of us. In the process democracy unravels and the offshore system pushes ever further onshore. The worlds two most important tax havens today are United States and Britain.

Without understanding offshore, we will never understand the history of the modern world.

Poverty in Africa? Offshore is at the heart of the matter. Industrial-scale corruption and the wholesale subversion of governments by criminalised interests, across the developing world? Offshore is central to the story, every time. The systematic looting of the former Soviet Union and the merging of the nuclear-armed countrys intelligence apparatus with organized crime, is a story that unfolds substantially in London and its offshore satellites. Saddam Hussein used tax havens to buttress his power, as does North Koreas Kim Jong-Il today. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconis strange hold over Italian politics is very much an offshore tale. The Elf Affair, Europes biggest ever corruption scandal, had secrecy jurisdictions at its core. Arms smuggling to terrorist organisations? The growth of mafia empires? Offshore. You can only fit about $1 million into a briefcase: without offshore, the illegal drugs trade would be a fraction of its size.

Private equity and hedge funds? Goldman Sachs? Citigroup? These are all creatures of offshore. The scandals of Enron, Parmalat, Long Term Capital Management, Lehman Brothers, AIG and many more? Tax havens lay behind them all. The rise of multinationals, the explosion of debt in advanced economies since the 1970s is substantially an offshore tale. Complex monopolies, frauds, insider trading rings these corruptions of free markets always have tax havens at their heart. As Treasure Islands explains in vivid, thrilling, horrifying detail, every big financial crisis since the 1970s including the great global crisis that erupted in 2007 has been a creature of the tax havens.

These problems all have other explanations too. Tax havens are never the only story, because offshore exists only in relation to elsewhere. That is why it is called offshore. Without understanding the tax havens, or the secrecy jurisdictions as I often prefer to call them, we cannot understand the world. Treasure Islands at last starts to fill this gigantic hole in modern history.

In short, it is the most important expos of tax havens ever published.

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The Book | Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the men who …

News |

 Astronomy  Comments Off on News |
Sep 132015

Your online destination for news articles on planets, cosmology, NASA, space missions, and more. Youll also find information on how to observe upcoming visible sky events such as meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, key planetary appearances, comets, and asteroids.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Astronomers have discovered a rare beast of a galaxy cluster whose heart is bursting with new stars. The unexpected find, made with the help of NASAs Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, suggests that behemoth galaxies at the cores of these ma…

A Canadian student has discovered a unique object two massive stars with magnetic fields in a binary system. Matt Shultz of Queens University in Ontario, Canada, found the system Epsilon Lupi. Around one-third of stars in our …

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New close-up images of Pluto from NASAs New Horizons spacecraft reveal a bewildering variety of surface features that have scientists reeling because of their range and complexity. Pluto is showing us a diversity of landforms and compl…

The first measurements of Mercurys movements from a spacecraft orbiting the planet reveal new insights about the makeup of the solar systems innermost world and its interactions with other planetary bodies. Mercury does not rotate on i…

Astronomers from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and Baltimores Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have generated the most accurate statistical description yet of faint early galaxies as they existed in the universe 500 mill…

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A nearby dwarf galaxy poses an intriguing mystery: How is it able to form brilliant star clusters without the dusty gas-rich environments found in larger galaxies? The answer, astronomers believe, lies in densely packed and previously unrecognized nu…

The brightest spots on the dwarf planet Ceres gleam with mystery in new views delivered by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. These closest-yet views of Occator Crater, with a resolution of 450 feet (140 meters) per pixel, give scientists a deeper perspective o…

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

If you liked the first historic images of Pluto from NASAs New Horizons spacecraft, youll love whats to come. Seven weeks after New Horizons sped past the Pluto system to study Pluto and its moons previously unexplored w…

Friday, September 4, 2015

In a survey of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope images of 2,753 young blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda Galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass. By nailing down…

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Scientists may be closer to solving the mystery of how Mars changed from a world with surface water billions of years ago to the arid Red Planet of today. A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the or…

When the Sun set on Saturn’s rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA’s Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox one of two times in the saturnian year when the Sun illuminates the planet’s enormous ring system edge-on. The e…

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn’t easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids and comets, which have…

Dominating this image is part of the gigantic nebula Gum 56, illuminated by the hot bright young stars that were born within it. For millions of years, stars have been created out of the gas in this nebula, material that is later returned to the stel…

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

LISA Pathfinder, the European Space Agenys (ESA) demonstrator for spaceborne observations of gravitational waves, is ready to leave for Europes Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Scheduled for launch on a Vega rocket later this year, …

Monday, August 31, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits nearly a billion miles bey…

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has granted Gold-Tier International Dark-Sky Park status to Canyonlands National Park, an honor reserved for the darkest of dark skies and the most stunning of starscapes. It is truly a pleasure to…

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News |

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’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)

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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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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

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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]


Genetic engineering – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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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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Nanotechnology – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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