Edward Snowden is expected to speak via video link at a closed conference held in Israel. The event, which expects to hear Snowden touching upon US spying on Israel, will be joined by a former top Mossad official.
The NSA whistleblower is set to speak through a secure video system from Russia, at a conference organized by the local media consultancy company OH! Orenstein + Hoshen. He is expected to cover the issues “relating specifically to Israel” at the November 6 event, Israeli media report, speculating that this might involve the instances of the US snooping on Israeli officials.
“Snowden is a fascinating figure because his actions are so controversial. We have no intention of expressing support or an opinion on what he did. The audience will hear what he has to say, can ask tough questions and people can work out their own opinions on the matter,” the company said in a statement issued to the media. The participants, including Snowden, have been approved by the Israeli security officials including the military censor, the Israeli news service Arutz Sheva reported.
Snowdens remarks are to be followed by a “response” from Ram Ben-Barak, the former deputy chief of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. Ben-Barak headed the Keshet division, responsible for gathering intelligence data through electronic means, and held the position of the Intelligence Ministry and Strategic Affairs Ministry director general. Some media reports also suggest that the current Mossad leadership will also be present at the closed event.
Snowden, who worked as a private contractor for the NSA, leaked a trove of documents in 2013 that revealed an extensive surveillance program run by the US intelligence, which involved spying on numerous foreign countries – including US allies. He also notably revealed the NSA was collecting sensitive data on hundreds of millions of people, including the US citizens. Ever since getting stuck in Moscow after his passport got revoked, Snowden has been living in Russia, where he was eventually granted a residence permit.
Some of the documents obtained by Snowden revealed that the NSA and the British intelligence service GCHQ have spied on Israel. This provoked an angry reaction in Tel Aviv, as Israels Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time that such things are “unacceptable” and “must not be done” between close allies.
In 2016, another leak showed that the two agencies had been spying on Israeli air forces operations for at least 18 years, while the British secret services have been spying on Israels diplomats, defense firms, and militarary.
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China deploys anti-ship missiles in the desert making them harder to intercept
Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-we..
Beijing has announced it has deployed intermediate ballistic missiles to the country's north-west region, saying the weapons have the capacity to destroy US ships entering disputed waters in the South China Sea.
- The missiles can fire long distances and would be difficult for US ships to shoot down
- Defence strategy expert Dr Malcom Davis said the move means China can back up its threats
- The news came after a US guided missile destroyer passed through the South China Sea
The DF-26 missiles — which have been previously dubbed the 'Guam Killer' or 'Guam Express' by Chinese media and defence experts — are capable of carrying conventional or nuclear warheads.
They have a range of 4,500 kilometres, making them capable of reaching as far as Guam in the east and Indonesia in the south, providing Beijing with a powerful weapon as tensions continue to rise in the South China Sea.
According to Chinese state media publication The Global Times, the DF-26 missiles are now stationed in north-west China's sparse plateau and desert areas, carried on the backs of trucks able to traverse the harsh terrain.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Beijing-based military expert told the Times that positioning the missiles deep in China's mainland made them more difficult to intercept as it allowed the missile to enter its final stages at a high speed.
Footage on CCTV showed trucks carrying the missiles driving through rough terrain and sand dunes.
The missiles were first paraded in 2015 and China confirmed they were now operational in April last year, but this is the first footage of the missiles outside of a parade.
It is unclear when the missiles were moved to the northwest region, the Times reported. (more…)
Melbourne driver who cheated death when sign fell on car in no rush to drive again
Related Story: Dashcam footage shows moment car was crushed by falling freeway sign
The Melbourne ..
The Melbourne driver who cheated death when an overhead road sign fell and crushed her car says she cannot believe such an accident could happen in Australia.
- A second sign on the Tullamarine Freeway has been taken down as a precautionary measure
- An inspection of similar-sized sign and gantries is underway
- VicRoads says an independent investigator has been brought in to determine what happened
Extraordinary dashcam footage shows the moment the five-by-four metre sign fell in front of, and then on top of, Nella Lettieri's car as she was travelling on Melbourne's Tullamarine Freeway earlier this week.
While the 53-year-old was not seriously injured, she is bruised and battered — and wondering how she is still alive.
"It felt like a roller door had slammed shut in front of me," Ms Lettieri said.
"I've gone to swerve, but as I swerved, it just felt like the sign was actually falling on the car.
"And it just kept bouncing, and I felt like it was pushing me to the right, and I'm thinking, 'OK, is it going to stop?'"
She thought the metal object may have been from a plane landing or taking off from the nearby Essendon Airport, or from a truck on the freeway.
But she was shocked to discover it was actually an overhead sign, meant to be directing drivers to their destination. (more…)
In his Brexit speech in Wakefield, Jeremy Corbyn again demanded the impossible
Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit i..
Speaking in Wakefield this morning, Jeremy Corbyn restated his demand for a solution to the Brexit impasse that appears effectively impossible: a general election.
In what is likely to be his last major public statement before MPs vote on the withdrawal agreement next Tuesday, he attempted to redefine the terms of the question facing both the Labour leadership and its MPs – from those that threaten to stretch his fissiparous electoral coalition to breaking point, to those which, on paper, unite it.
That resulted in a speech whose thrust was an appeal to class consciousness from Remainers in Tottenham and Leavers in Mansfield, rather than any meaningful debate over the validity or viability of Brexit itself. “Youre up against it,” Corbyn said, citing austerity, stagnant wages, and the cost of living crisis, “but youre not against each other.”
Accordingly, his cursory repetition of Labours policy – that a second referendum should remain on the table as an option in the event a general election does not happen – came with a caveat so huge that it amounted to an implicit dismissal of a so-called peoples vote. “Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.”
But despite the fact that his attention was more or less exclusively focussed on the question of what sort of future relationship with Europe would negotiate – with the fact of the divorce undisputed – Corbyn categorically ruled out doing anything but whipping his MPs to vote against the withdrawal agreement. The vast majority of them will do so on Thursday, after which point Corbyn said, as expected, that Labour would table a motion of no confidence in the hope of securing an election and with it the chance to renegotiate Brexit (rather than, say, holding a second referendum).
Notably, however, he did not specify a timescale for tabling a confidence vote after Mays deal falls – despite several of his shadow cabinet ministers insisting that he would do so “immediately”. He instead put on the record the more cautious line briefed by his team yesterday: “Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.”
That statement of intent was followed with a caveat seldom offered by shadow cabinet ministers sent out to spin the partys line on Brexit. “Clearly,” Corbyn said, “Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own.” As he himself alluded to when he urged opposition MPs to join Labour in voting against the government, Labours chances remain slim until such time that the ten DUP MPs drop the government. (That every other party will is a racing certainty.) Paradoxically, the defeat of the withdrawal agreement – and with it the backstop Mays sometime coalition partners object to – will make that chance even slimmer.
We know from what Corbyn said this morning that the Labour leadership will not whip its MPs to approve Theresa Mays Brexit, back a second referendum out of choice – both courses threaten its electoral base in different ways – or support any attempt by Downing Street to make the Brexit deal more amenable to Labour MPs by tacking on guarantees on workers rights. That strategy has held until now.
But failure to roll the pitch for any alternative at all – or, indeed, for the inevitable breakdown in party discipline after Mays vote is defeated and Labour has no way to bind MPs who seek mutually exclusive Brexit aims – will make the messy politics of the aftermath of next Tuesday rather more difficult to finesse.
Patrick Maguire is the New Statesman's political correspondent. (more…)
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