The New “CIA”

Glick-alternative

A new CIA (the Cowboy and Indian Alliance) recently completed six days of an encampment on the National Mall in Washington, DC.  Throughout the week, indigenous people from Canada, Idaho, South Dakota, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and elsewhere joined with ranchers and farmers from Nebraska to dramatize and bring to public consciousness their historic alliance to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. They and their supporters have had meals together, have prayed together, have taken action every day together and have built connections and relationships that are a source of hope for our wounded earth and all of its life forms.

Several thousand people rallied and marched in DC in support of this alliance. We marched for a clean energy revolution away from fossil fuels to a renewables and efficiency-based economy, and we marched in support of the historic righting of the great wrongs to indigenous people that have been done over the last five centuries. We also marched in support of ranchers and farmers up and down the planned route of KXL whose homes and lands will be put in danger if tar sands oil is carried over their property. For many of us, this historic coming together of seemingly unlikely allies may look like a once-a-century type of thing, but it isn’t. Zoltan Grossman, organizer and writer, tells of the examples in U.S. history of European Americans standing with Native Americans in support of their rights and lives: “The Cowboy Indian Alliance is part of a long, proud tradition that has been conveniently covered up in American history. Our history books present Manifest Destiny as inevitable and uncontested in the 19th Century, so we never read about the white Wisconsin settlers who opposed the forced removal of Ho-Chunk and Ojibwe, the Washington settlers put on trial for sympathizing with Coast Salish resistance or other atypical stories that highlight the ‘paths not followed’ of cooperation rather than conflict.”

glick-2The moral and political power of the new CIA was demonstrated, in part, by the media coverage that it garnered. On the first day of the encampment on April 22, Earth Day, the opening ceremony brought out so many media cameras that it was difficult for non-media people to see and hear the interactions between representatives from different indigenous nations and Nebraska farmers and ranchers as they spoke with and presented gifts to indigenous leaders from the DC  area. Though KXL is the way-of-life-threatening issue that brought this alliance together, there is no question that the participants in DC were about more than just winning a victory over TransCanada and the oil industry. In the speeches and talks throughout the week, people were clearly thinking longer-term. I was struck by some consistent messages. All of the speakers talked about the importance of love, about the joining of the spiritual and physical into an organic whole and about the importance of the land and its protection.

I happened to be reading, for a second time, Thomas Berry’s The Dream of the Earth during this Alliance week. If felt like more than a coincidence when I came to the chapter, “Historical Role of the American Indian.” Among the insightful things he says are these words addressed to white people: “Our first duty is to see that the Indians dwelling here have the land, the resources, and the independence they need to be themselves. This involves radical abandonment of the policy of assimilation. To do this requires much of us because of our compulsive savior instincts. We take up the burden of saving others even when, in fact, we destroy them.

“The art of communion with the earth we can relearn from the Indians. Thus, a reverse dependence is established. Survival in the future will likely depend more on our learning from the Indian than the Indian’s learning from us. In some ultimate sense we need their mythic capacity for relating to this continent more than they need our capacity for mechanistic exploitation of the continent.”

I’ve believed for years that the issue of the climate crisis could well be the issue which brings about the alliance and the cultural and political changes, that lead to new ways of organizing society in the future that are much more just, much more loving, much more democratic, than what exists today. For a week on the National Mall, I saw concrete evidence of this belief.

Z


Ted Glick is the National Campaign Coordinator of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. He can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jtglick.

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Cornel West: We are Calling for Fundamental Transformation of U.S. Capitalist Society

The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System
by George Monbiot

“Market moralities and mentalities– fueled by economic imperatives to make a profit at nearly any cost– yield unprecedented levels of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. And our public life lies in shambles, shot through with icy cynicism and paralyzing pessimism. To put it bluntly, beneath the record-breaking stock markets on Wall Street and bipartisan budget-balancing deals in the White House lurk ominous clouds of despair across this nation.”

“You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public”― Cornel West

Moyers: 10 Disgustingly Rich Companies That Will Do Anything To Avoid Paying Taxes

Bank of America runs its business through more than 300 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries. It reported $17.2 billion in accumulated offshore profits in 2012. It would owe $4.3 billion in U.S. taxes if these funds were brought back to the U.S.

Citigroup had $42.6 billion in foreign profits parked offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. It reported that it would owe $11.5 billion if it brings these funds back to the U.S. A significant chunk is being held in tax-haven countries.

ExxonMobil had a three-year federal income tax rate of just 15 percent. This gave the company a tax subsidy worth $6.2 billion from 2010-2012. It had $43 billion in offshore profits at the end of 2012, on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

FedEx made $6 billion over the last three years and didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes, in part because the tax code subsidized its purchase of new planes. This gave FedEx a huge tax subsidy worth $2.1 billion.

General Electric received a tax subsidy of nearly $29 billion over the last 11 years. While dodging paying its fair share of federal income taxes, GE pocketed $21.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

Honeywell had profits of $5 billion from 2009 to 2012. Yet it paid only $50 million in federal income taxes for the period. Its tax rate was just 1 percent over the last four years. This gave it a huge tax subsidy worth $1.7 billion.

Merck had profits of $13.6 billion and paid $2.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2012. While dodging its fair share of federal income taxes, it pocketed $8.7 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

Microsoft saved $4.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2011 by transferring profits to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Puerto Rico. It had $60.8 billion in profits stashed offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

Pfizer paid no U.S. income taxes from 2010 to 2012 while earning $43 billion worldwide. It did this in part by performing accounting acrobatics to shift its U.S. profits offshore. It received $2.2 billion in federal tax refunds.

Verizon made $19.3 billion in U.S. pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Economists Discover Inequality (But Have Yet To Explain It)
By Jack Rasmus

Dandelion Salad

Dandelion Salad

Cornel West at Calvin College 5 Image by James Stewart via Flickr

strugglevideomedia on May 30, 2014

Full remarks of Cornel West at the Left Forum 5/30/2014. Cornel West is an American philosopher, academic, activist, author, public intellectual, and prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America. He has taught at Harvard and Princeton and teaches at the Union Theological Seminary.

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Open letter to my best friend in Palestine (that I’ll never get to see)

by 

THERE IS REALLY NOTHING SECRET about the road. Alaa and I have mapped the way from al-Bireh in Ramallah and through the villages of Birzeit to Ein Yabroud, around and under the bypass road at the edge of the Ofra Israeli Settlement and Silwad, through the villages of Deir Jarir and Taibe. And we know precisely when we are leaving ‘Area A,’ those areas within the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority, and when we are entering ‘Area C,’ those areas of the deeply divided territory under full Israeli control — although all roads, regardless of area classification, are Area C. It’s important for you to understand, because there exists no road in all of Palestine where we ever really feel free.

But beyond Taibe, our road of legend. So sinuous, that we follow only the sky. So dangerous are its curves, that we feel safe here. So lost beyond the confines, that we feel found. Alaa is behind the wheel, and he gently heavies the weight of his foot against the gas pedal. We are not scared; it feels like flying, and I want to fly above our confines, given to us, placed on us, forced upon us. I release the buckle of my seatbelt and soar from the open window, arms stretched like magnificent wings. “Nobody can hear us,” I shout to him as he drives — and we are laughing, and alive. “Alaa, I want to scream to the sky!”

“Haifa, be careful!” — one last glance. The poet Mahmoud Darwish wrote of Palestine:Do not describe what I can see of your wounds. And scream that you may hear yourself, and scream that you may know you’re still alive. Alaa has this way of looking at me as though his heart is in his big brown eyes.

And so the cool night air takes my hair, and I scream to the desert valley before us, “CAN YOU HEAR US! I WISH FOR LOVE!”

Hysterical laughter, and I fling my body back inside and take his hand into mine — eidy fi eidek, Alaa. This is our sacred place. When I take the wheel from him, Alaa shouts from the window, “GIVE US A FUCKING BREAK!”

My best friend, my twin soul. I have not seen you in nearly a year, and I don’t know for sure when I will see you again. But we’ve bared this uncertainty, always. I know you are reading this, and so I can say: One day you and I will drive from Ramallah to Jaffa and to Haifa, and I will show you the land you have never seen — although its blood courses through your veins as the olive’s oil courses through your hundreds year old trees, rooted to this place. We will swim in the Gaza seas. We will dig our toes into the sand by which I once wrote your name, and could take only a picture to show you. One day you will see the city by the sea where the golden sunsets ignite Jaffa’s looming mosque ablaze in fiery hues. We will take one of the fishing boats and with our tabla drum make music into the Mediterranean night. One day we will walk and feel the sand from the Sinai to Egypt.

I am sorry that sometimes entire countries have to be shattered and entire families torn apart, but one day the suffering and your longing will end. One day, we will drive along the coast and across old borders to Tyre and to Saida, and to Beirut. I am from there. There will be no more camps, because nobody is a refugee — Ein al-Hilwe will no longer be splintered cement, but literally the beautiful springs it was meant to be. One day we will walk the ruins of great empires, inside the Saidon Sea Castle built by Crusaders in 1228 AD, now crumbling into the Mediterranean Sea; the shattered remnants of the Phoenician city in Tyre; the Roman ruins of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley — the fallen mosque amidst the Great Court and temples to the gods Jupiter and Bacchus. As a child I’d played hide and seek and ran barefoot at the pillars of their civilizations.

Do you remember walking once along Hamra Street in Beirut, and the way we danced in the dimly lit jazz club with no name, its walls of brick and smoke, hidden away from the glaring car lights, blaring horns, and the glamorous Lebanese nightlife? And they played oud instead of jazz, and sang to Ziad Rahbani instead of Frank Sinatra. The night we sat on the jagged rocks beyond the walls of the corniche — the very rocks from which my grandfather used to fish and my uncles used to jump; the rocks from which my mother and her sisters used to swim — and we watched the smiling moon setting over the black water as we prepared to say one of our many goodbyes, and talk about the next time. We will do that again, one day. One day, we will not be greeted by mothers and women and children coming from Syria now with sad eyes, and open hands. You are from there.

So one day we will climb to the top of the Golan Heights and reach Syria. Where Yarmouk Camp was once a nebula of sprawling cement and stone block homes along narrow streets, alleys, and motorways — a densely packed .81 square mile radius, home to over 100,000 Palestinian refugees in the heart of Damascus — one day it will be rebuilt beyond the walls that once defined it as a camp, and you will return to the place that was once home. One day you will take me to your family’s farm in Damascus, and we will run and play and eat beneath the trees you last saw as a child. Your mother will meet her mother again, and your cousins will be beautiful women. I am sorry that sometimes entire countries have to be shattered and entire families torn apart, but one day the suffering and your longing will end.

And one day again in Palestine, we will dance to Hotel California on the bare stone floor of my kitchen in Birzeit. And you will stand behind me, holding the ropes of the swing you built next to my lemon trees. And we will watch Ramallah’s twinkling lights and argue about how far it all really is. And in the morning we will share a taxi back to al-Manara, where all roads lead, connecting the city of the heights of God with Nablus and Jerusalem. And we will walk to your home in al-Bireh once again, and I will throw my arms around your mother, father, and brother. We will dance on the balcony, Fly Me to the Moon. One day, these things will never change.

One day we will not be Arabs or Muslims or Israelis or Jews. We will not be enemies or others — we all come from there, and we will all return. One day we will not be bound to the manipulated ideologies of states and politicized faiths, but to our common humanity and the faith in each of our beings. One day we will not tolerate but embrace. One day when we are not divided by walls and borders and barriers and checkpoints.

One day we will not be realists, but idealists. Concerned not for what is, but what ought to be. And there are no words to describe us, Alaa. There is really nothing secret about the road, except you and I.

 

How Wealthy Elites Are Hijacking Democracy All Over the World

Thai army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha at a media conference at army headquarters in Bangkok on Monday. AFP: Pornchai Kittiwongsakul

Mass street protests are usually seen as a hallmark of democratic aspirations. And elections are meant to be a culmination of such aspirations, affording people the opportunity to choose their own leaders and system of government. But in country after country these days, the hallmarks of democracy are being dangerously subverted and co-opted by powerful elites. The question is, are we recognizing what is happening under our noses? Three examples unfolding right now are indicators of this trend: Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt.

Thailand has just witnessed its 19th coup in 82 years. Although coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha has promised “genuine democracy,” he has given no timetable for an end to martial law. The U.S. State Department initially refused to call the takeover a coup, insisting that martial law is consistent with Thailand’s constitution. It then changed its tune to issue a strongly worded condemnation.

In Ukraine, voters elected a pro-Western leader after President Viktor Yanukovych fled following mass protests over his refusal to sign an accord with the European Union. Although the incoming president, Petro Poroshenko, has promised democratic development, the U.S. has openly sided with pro-Western forces inside Ukraine and raised the tensions of the conflict to near Cold War era levels, rendering any promises of true democracy ineffectual at best.

In Egypt, an army general is in the process of being “elected” following a period of violent military rule after post-revolution elections yielded a leader from the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S. quietly condoned the army’s overthrow of the Brotherhood leadership and has made only lukewarm criticisms of violent repression under Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, employing a dangerous wait-and-see approach while Egyptian lives hang in the balance. Once the election is over, Sisi will likely be viewed by the U.S. government as a democratically elected leader.

In Thailand, Ukraine and Egypt, wealthy elites, whether native born or foreign, have used popular movements and elections to ratify decisions in their favor. In an interviewon Uprising, filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek, who has traveled recently to all three countries in question, explained that in Thailand in particular, Thaksin Shinawatra, the business-tycoon-turned-prime-minister who was driven from power in 2006, “was trying to bring the country to modern capitalism.” He introduced medical care that is much better than the system in the United States, with “heavily subsidized medicines.” Additionally Thailand now has 15 years of basic education free for all citizens, and according to Vltchek, Thaksin gave citizenship to a population of millions in the north who were disenfranchised. Thaksin’s supporters called themselves the Red Shirt Movement, and consisted primarily of rural Thai farmers and left-wing activists.

To be fair, Thaksin’s rule had several serious problems that Vltchek acknowledged as “terrible mistakes,” including a brutal “war on drugs” and a war against a Muslim minority in the south of Thailand. But it was his progressive social programs for which he was “hated by the elites—the monarchy and the military, because in Thailand it is not just money but the gap between the elites and the majority” that matters.

What most of us viewed from the outside as a major people’s revolution occupying government buildings to oust a corrupt leader—the so-called Yellow Shirt movement—consists in fact of forces allied to the Thai royal family and military. The movement has ironically adopted the name People’s Alliance for Democracy. I asked Vltchek whether its supporters were really in favor of democracy. “No, they were not,” he pointedly replied. In fact, “they have nothing to do with democracy”; rather, “they were against democracy,” said Vltchek, who met with many of the Yellow Shirt protest leaders and heard the “rumors that there were ‘very powerful forces’ behind the protests,” which meant “the monarchy and the military.” Vltchek maintained that Thai elites are afraid of true democracy, as the opposition ran in multiple elections after Thaksin was pushed out and lost time and again.

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In Bloomberg internal news memos, ‘there is no such country’ as Palestine..

Last week Michael Bloomberg, the former NY mayor who owns a media empire, visited Israel to accept a prize, and met with an old friend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu later described Bloomberg’s devotion to Israel, funding medical facilities in memory of his parents, though he also hinted that the two men had privately disagreed.

According to New York Times coverage on the weekend, Bloomberg “called the growing international movement for a boycott against Israel ‘an outrage’ that is ‘totally misplaced,’ but ducked a question about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Maybe because Bloomberg’s operation in Dubai is a cash cow.

Matt Winkler of Bloomberg News, at Zillow.com

What follows are leaked excerpts of two news memos to Bloomberg writers and reporters on how to treat the Israel/Palestine conflict. You will see that Palestine just doesn’t count in the world of Bloomberg News. “There is no such country.” It’s part of Israel, or it’s Jewish land: “The land historically belonged to the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.”

I am told these notes were sent out by Matt Winkler, a veteran editor who co-founded Bloomberg News, directs the Bloomberg editorial staff, and ghosted Bloomberg’s memoir.

The more recent Bloomberg memo describes the land as historically Jewish and sees the West Bank in part as Israel.

Read more from Mondoweiss

Pope Francis Co-operated with the Military Junta in Argentina

It is claimed that Pope Francis was sued in 2005 for handing leftists to the military death squads, these then became part of the 30,000 ‘disappeared’ in Argentina. A letter is one of several documents that de la Cuadra and other human rights activists say shows that Bergoglio (i.e. Pope Francis), as head of the Jesuits, may have turned a blind eye to some atrocities, then later denied knowing about those atrocities despite his own testimony to the contrary and that ultimately as head of the catholic church in Argentina, he did little to open the church’s archives to reveal the truth about its complicity.

The testimony of Argentine war criminals in tribunals showed that catholic priests and chaplains played a central role in the torture and murder of dissidents by blessing torture chambers and absolving troops of their sins after they had thrown dozens of bound and drugged dissidents from a plane into the 50-mile-wide Rio de la Plata.

The accusations have been around for years, but no official court has accused Bergoglio of wrongdoing. He has argued that he lobbied the junta to free the kidnapped priests and quietly worked to hide or protect many other suspected dissidents.

But Bergoglio has had to make that case amid a stream of revelations about other Catholic leaders’ collaborations with the junta. In a jailhouse interview last year, the former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who is serving a life sentence for human rights abuses, said that some top church officials were aware of the dictatorship’s kidnappings and killings of dissidents.

There were also allegations that Father Bergoglio knew where two of his Jesuit priests were held and tortured for five months by the junta, but did little to help them.

On Friday, Vatican Spokesman Father Federico Lombardi rejected those charges, calling them “slander,” and saying that instead “there have been many declarations of how much he did for many people to protect them from the military dictatorship.”

The main chronicler of the priests’ kidnap case is investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky, a former member of a ’70s-era leftist guerilla group who tends to favour the policies of Kirchner’s populist government. It was Verbitsky’s past and political slant that allowed a Vatican spokesman, shortly after Francis’ election, to dismiss the complaints against the new pope as a campaign by “left-wing, anti-clerical elements.”

But Verbitsky is also highly regarded for shedding light on some of the worst abuses of the dictatorship. He famously established that security forces drugged dissidents and dropped them from airplanes and helicopters into the Rio de la Plata.

Pope Francis has never been implicated directly in any actions, but many in Argentina who support him, including 1980 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, said that “he was not complicit in the dictatorship but he lacked courage to accompany us in our struggle.”

The International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State was formed of survivors of church and state terror in Dublin, Ireland. The event was initiated by Nobel Prize Nominee Reverend Kevin Annett of Canada and members of Irish survivors’ groups and has since charged Pope Francis with child abuse. Via citizens courts by 2013, this group successfully prosecuted and convicted former Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, for Crimes against Humanity in Canada. Pope Benedict subsequently resigned. The first Pope to do so in 600 years.

Reports of any of these accusations in the mainstream media as might be expected are infrequent.

With the knowledge of the United States, Latin American dictators used terrorism to wage their war on terrorism.

Satanic 9th circle murder evidence links Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury

The day I shook hands with the Pope (and the day others could not)

Snowden tells NBC about the technical abilities of the NSA and other Governments

Interestingly, the Guardian’s article appears truncated with some of the important technical information is omitted. The video they included (2 minutes) has been replaced in this article by the full version (already twice brought down by utube). In addition, the video below presents some unseen parts of the interview with Edward Snowden, from Russia, that NBC chose to censor. The truth is rarely as it seems on the mainstream.

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One year after revealing himself as the source of the biggest intelligence leak in US history, Edward Snowden appeared in a long network television interview on Wednesday to describe himself as an American patriot and to make the case that his disclosures were motivated by a desire to help the country.

 

In his most extensive public comments to date Snowden sought to answer critics who have said his actions damaged US national security or that the threat from the secret government surveillance he revealed was overblown. Snowden was interviewed by the NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who travelled to Moscow for the meeting.

Snowden defended his decision to leak documents to the press, instead of making his complaints via internal channels, and explained why he had decided for the moment not to travel back to the United States to face criminal charges.

“If I could go anywhere in the world that place would be home,” Snowden told Williams. “I’ve from day one said that I’m doing this to serve my country … I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home.”

Snowden said he had not second-guessed his decision, however, to release an estimated 1.7m top secret government documents. “My priority is not about myself,” Snowden said. “It’s about making sure that these programs are reformed – and that the family that I left behind, the country that I left behind – can be helped by my actions.”

The interview, which took place at Kempinski Hotel in Moscow last week, followed months of negotiations between the news network and representatives of Snowden. The conversation, which was held in a library and lasted more than four hours, was billed as Snowden’s first interview with a US television network.

Snowden has regularly participated in interviews over the last year, although never on such a large stage, or on one as likely to bring his words – and his argument – into American living rooms. NBC Nightly News, which ran clips from the interview, drew about 8.4m total viewers per night in May.

On Wednesday Snowden, 30, described for the first time his experience of the 9/11 terror attacks and talked about his views on the threat of terrorism.

“I’ve never told anybody this,” he said. “No journalist. But I was on Fort Meade [Maryland] on September 11th. I was right outside the NSA. So I remember – I remember the tension of that day. I remember hearing on the radio the planes hitting. And I remember thinking my grandfather, who worked for the FBI at the time, was in the Pentagon when the plane hit it.

“I take the threat of terrorism seriously. And I think we all do. And I think it’s really disingenuous for the government to invoke and sort of scandalize our memories, to sort of exploit the national trauma that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost us liberties and freedoms that we don’t need to give up and our constitution says we should not give up.”

Snowden said he did not consider himself blameless. “I think the most important idea is to remember that there have been times throughout history where what is right is not the same as what is legal,” he said. “Sometimes to do the right thing, you have to break a law.”

In a Pew Research poll of Americans earlier this year 57% of 18 to 29-year-olds said Snowden’s leaks had served the public interest but respondents 65 and over disagreed. A majority of respondents in older age groups supported prosecuting Snowden, while the 18-29 group split 42-42% on the question.

As much as he wanted to return home, Snowden said, he did not plan “to walk into a jail cell”. He repeated a view explained elsewhere by his legal counsel that the charges he faces under the 1917 Espionage Act would not allow him to mount a defense that he had acted in the public interest.

“These are things that no individual should empower himself to really decide, you know, ‘I’m gonna give myself a parade,’” Snowden said in reply to a question about how he judged his actions. “But neither am I going to walk into a jail cell, to serve as a bad example for other people in government who see something happening, some violation of the constitution, and think they need to say something about it.”

In the year he has lived in Russia as a fugitive from US law, Snowden said, he had not met President Vladimir Putin. “I have no relationship with the Russian government at all,” he said.

NBC News said it had confirmed “with multiple sources” that before he took the story to the press Snowden had raised a concern about possibly illegal surveillance on at least one occasion with intelligence agency superiors. Snowden said he had advanced his concerns on multiple occasions, even sending emails to the office of the NSA general counsel, and that the NSA would have a paper trail. The NSA has denied Snowden took such steps.

Snowden said he remained comfortable with the decision he made.

“I may have lost the ability to travel but I’ve gained the ability to fall asleep at night and know I’ve done the right thing and I’m comfortable with that.”