A lawsuit brought by Wikimedia, the organization behind Wikipedia, was dismissed by a judge on the grounds that it was overly speculative, and that there was no way for Wikimedia to prove whether or not they were being spied upon.
Wikimedia is just one of the organizations represented by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) which has claimed to be subject to unlawful upstream surveillance by the NSA. Others include Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA.
Amnesty International had a similar case dismissed in 2013, the case of Clapper V Amnesty International, in which it was again determined that the organization could not prove for sure that their communications were being placed under unlawful surveillance.
US District Judge Richard D. Bennett gave a 30 page long ruling, finding in favor of the NSA. In this ruling, he said that it was impossible to be able to “plausibly establish that the NSA is using upstream surveillance.”
He stated in the document that the plaintiffs claims that they were being spied upon were ‘unpersuasive’, ‘riddled with assumptions’, and ‘incomplete’. While it could be proven that the NSA use upstream surveillance on certain chokepoints in internet communications, Bennett ruled that Wikimedia were unable to plausibly demonstrate that the NSA was copying their communications, and that this meant the case was based purely on speculation.
He also argued that Wikimedia’s statement that their internet communications, which stand at about three trillion a year, were a ‘significant volume’ was not valid, because there was no context to quantify it against. He said that while three trillion is obviously a big number, without context it is meaningless – three trillion dollars is significant, but three trillion grains of sand is “but a small patch of beach”, being the analogy he used.
A lawyer for the ACLU, Patrick Tooney, said that the ruling by Judge Bennett ‘turns a blind eye’ to unlawful surveillance, and that there was in fact plenty of public evidence that the NSA was spying on the plaintiffs without warrant.
Jimmy Wales, one of the co-founders of Wikimedia, had stated in the spring that the Snowden documents had shown that the NSA’s actions were impacting his organization, and that he believed he had a strong case on his hands. This of course refers to the documentation leaked by the famous NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former contractor with the agency.
The use of upstream surveillance to copy and monitor Wikimedia’s internet communications could be seen as being against both the first and fourth amendments – the first guaranteeing freedom of speech and the fourth protecting citizens from seizure and search without reason or warrant.
This case shows that it is clearly very difficult to prove sufficiently that an organization is being watched by the NSA, even if they have plenty of reason to believe that this is the case.
Sometimes these leaked stories can cause a real mess and scandals. There are numerous affairs which are made this way. One of the most popular affairs is Edward Snowden affair about mass surveillance. He exposed some of the confidential information and documents to news agencies. He was threatened with prison and he had to leave the United States. He is granted temporary asylum in Russia.
WikiLeaks is the most important site on the web where you can find out about all sorts of leaks. This is non-profit journalist organization and it has been founded by Australian journalist and programmer Julian Assange. Leaks on this site contain all sorts of information of mostly illegal acts committed by the United States military, but you can also find tips for investor fraud recovery. There are leaks of millions of confidential documents about the Afghan War then bombing of Baghdad and some secret files about detained prisoners in Guantanamo Bay prisoner camp. Assange was threatened with investigation and prosecution by the United States and then he asked for asylum in Embassies around the world. He was granted political asylum by Embassy of Ecuador in London.
There are many considerations when it comes to moral aspects of their statements. All of this leaking is based on some person attitude to his government and the specific problem. These people want a free and honest world to live in and not just hiding information from everybody. Snowden’s statements on global surveillance have opened lots of questions about the Unites States policies and function in the world. More people are aware every day that United States are trying to set up their own sphere of influence and to make themselves absolute power in the world and they are thing this through intelligence and amoral acts of murder and conviction of innocent people who just seek truth. Lives of many journalists are on the line because of their writings and their knowledge about real policies of the United States.
These things aren’t just presented in the US. There are many cases of whistle blowers all over the world. There are some really tyrannical reports when it comes to treating them in prisons and other facilities. One CIA whistle-blower described the methods of torturing prisoners with so called “waterboarding”. This is carefully devised system to torture the prisoner with the drowning methods and bringing him to collapse.
Whistle-blowers of today should be considered a real heroes and fighters for humanity and its primary ideals. They are Robin Hoods of the modern era. We should all be thankful for their work and their publishing of the information’s which would in all other cases remain hidden from us.
Millions of people are happy with the current status quo and believe everything they hear on TV, radio and in the press. However throughout history there are certain individuals who feel obliged to unmask the ugly side of politics, business and other areas that affect all of our lives. The truth may be staring people in the face but most ignore it or don’t want to rock the boat.
In recent years Truth campaigns have gathered momentum as more scandals and cover ups are revealed. Much of this is caused by the close and often secret relationship between governments and corporations who operate in the modern, globalized world.
Security concerns and the lack of trust between nations came to a head in recent years, with allegations of NSA-BND spying programs aimed at leaders of European governments. This and other events have led to the creation of reports like the Draft Report on Improving the Protection of Whistle Blowers by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Right for the Council of Europe and Scandinavian leaders.
The importance of whistle blowers has been welcomed in countries that would normally be recognised as allies of the US. Norway for example awarded Edward Snowden the 2015 Bjørnson Prize in recognition of his efforts to highlight the dangers of illegal surveillance and the invasion of privacy of some government agencies.
Sweden is also following in the footsteps of Norway in its approach to whistle blowers like Snowden and their ‘Alternative Nobel Prize was awarded to him in 2014. Many Swedish groups want their government to give Edward Snowden the freedom to travel to Sweden to collect this award.
Some of the earliest whistle blowers are household names and people most of us have been taught to respect as past leaders of the United States. Benjamin Franklin is one example of an original whistle blower who helped shape the United States. He was one of the first Americans to question corruption and repression that existed in public life in the 1700’s, which later resulted in the American Revolution.
At the time Benjamin Franklin was treated like many modern day whistle blowers and had to withstand allegations of being a spy and other accusations. These included being called a liar, thief, dishonest and a possible leader of an insurrection that took place in Massachusetts.
These events led to Franklin’s quest to promote liberty and human rights in the United States. Like Franklin in the past, modern whistle blowers have re-ignited discussions about public life and more people are asking questions about how our world is being run. This is of particular interest to leaders in European countries like Germany who have been spied upon by agencies from other countries.
Since 9-11, the truth has been hidden behind US government propaganda and lies. The truth can only come out when people are brave enough to say what’s right and wrong. This was true in Benjamin Franklin’s time and is still true today.