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Spy vs. Spy: Journalists honored as target pilloried
Apr 12th, 2014 by Warren Swil

 Reporters win award

for Snowden revelations

as spy agency blasted

Glenn Greenwald, at the center of reporting on the spying scandal revealed by Edward Snowden, was one of four reporters honored Friday with a Polk Award.

In an interesting (if twisted) irony, the reporters who blew the lid off the government spying scandal received one of journalism’s top awards the same day their target – the secretive NSA – was blasted over the internet’s biggest security flaw ever.
Criticism directed at the National Security Agency ricocheted around cyberspace after an anonymously sourced Bloomberg story said the agency “exploited” the Heartbleed security bug for years.
Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras – the journalists who first obtained documents from Edward Snowden revealing the NSA’s massive spying operations – visited the US for the first time since their blockbuster reporting to receive the prestigious Polk Award in a ceremony on Friday.

UPDATE: The Pulitzer prize for Public Service journalism was awarded April 14 to The Guardian US and The Washington Post for their reporting on the revelations contained in the Snowden documents.


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UKRAINE CONUNDRUM: For the US, the ultimate irony

With the world on tenterhooks as the old cold war foes face down over Ukraine, the US is caught in a bind.
Almost everyone knows about the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses. This week we were treated to the international spectacle Secretary of State John Kerry accusing Russia of doing the same in Ukraine.
What is a poor superpower to do when it no longer has any moral authority?


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The great unraveling of Middle East nation-states

NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS BECOMING INCREASINGLY IRRELEVANT
Recent events in Iraq and its neighbors have once again put the focus on the diminishing role of nation states in the turbulent region.
With diminishing influence, the center will not hold.
The world is witnessing the disintegration of the nation-states born out of the remnants of Ottoman Empire a century ago.
Nowhere is there the political will to intervene. It is a calamity of gargantuan proportions, but the west is just an observer. Until, of course, we are drawn into the conflagration because of the inevitable global fallout.


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WAR ON DRUGS: Could beginning of the end be at hand?

COLORADO POT LEGALIZATION MAY BE STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION
The beginning of legal cultivation and sales of marijuana in Colorado may be the most hopeful sign in America.
Many national initiatives begin at the state and local level (the minimum wage is another current example) and eventually work their way up to become federal law.
If the Colorado experiment proves to be a success, it may lead the way to a more sober view of drug policy first in other states and then, perhaps many years from now, at the federal level.
It is way past time to end the 40-year-old “war on drugs.”


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As new year nears, a word for our times: surveillance

PRIVACY MOVES TO TOP OF AGENDA, LIKELY TO REMAIN THERE
As the clock ticks down to a Gregorian-calendar new year, we can look back and see the term “surveillance” as the most discussed and analyzed during the past 12 months.
As we ponder what’s ahead for the new year, one of the items at the top of our list should be our notion of privacy. The line between public and private has become blurred beyond recognition. Most are only subliminally aware of this.
This is a vitally important topic for each and every one of us as we enter a new calendar year.
Let us hope it is a happy new year.


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Those less fortunate: time for reflection

’TIS THE SEASON TO COUNT OUR BLESSINGS
As we endure the long mid-winter nights approaching the start of a new year, for many it’s useful to reflect on those less fortunate and count our blessings.
After all, isn’t that the true spirit of the seasonal holidays, however one celebrates them?
It is man’s inhumanity to man that is the cause of so much needless suffering. It’s time for us to focus on the more uplifting side of the human spirit, so we can renew our commitments to improve it rather than degrade it further.


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Spying on friends, charities doesn’t deter terrorism

LATEST DISCLOSURES WEAKEN CASE FOR MASS SURVEILLANCE
Through his disclosures, Edward Snowden has not only gotten the attention of President Obama, but other world leaders and countless millions who use electronic communications.
He has attained what he said he wanted: a major public discussion at the highest levels about a hugely important issue.
Congratulations.
He deserves to be heralded as the most influential person of 2013.


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Spying panel recommendations: a matter of trust

REPORT FURTHER ERODES FAITH IN ELECTRONIC PRIVACY
While the recommendations of a presidential panel on government spying have been mostly welcomed, they could be seen as a confession that the revelations of Edward Snowden are accurate, and that everyone for years has been monitored on a massive scale unprecedented in its scope and size.
The key issue is one of trust. It has been seriously damaged.
Reform is urgently needed. The longer it is delayed, the more trust will erode.


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Humanitarian crisis spreads beyond Middle East

REFUGEES FROM SYRIAN STRIFE STRAINING RESOURCES IN MANY COUNTRIES
The continuing bloody battle in Syria has spawned an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that is spreading across the region.
It was brought into the spotlight this week by the United Nations refugee agency.
We simply cannot close our eyes and ears to the plight of so many millions.
What began as an internal conflict has become one with global ramifications. We hope the international response is commensurate with the urgency of the problem.


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Despite tragedies, gun violence remains rampant in US

PERSONAL USE OF WEAPONS DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN CULTURE
More than a year after the shocking schoolhouse shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, little has changed in the picture of gun violence in the US.
It is a national embarrassment that so little of real consequence has changed in the US since the Newtown massacre.
The culture of gun violence runs deep the American psyche.
It is little wonder so many in the US feel it is acceptable to draw a gun at the slightest provocation, and settle even minor disputes this way.


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