Tag: government

Snowden’s Memoir Reignites Controversy Over Gov. Surveillance

Six years ago, Edward Snowden shocked the world when he revealed the U.S. government was secretly implementing a plan to collect and monitor every phone call, text message, and email. Now, he’s telling how he helped create this system of mass surveillance and why he chose to expose it in his memoir, Permanent Record. 

 

Image via Amazon.com

 

The book’s release is not without its controversies, though. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit Tuesday, Sep. 18, alleging that the whistleblower’s memoir violates a non-disclosure agreement he signed while working for the CIA and NSA. Strangely, the lawsuit does not seek to prevent distribution of the Permanent Record. Rather, the DOJ asks the court to seize the financial proceeds from the book. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement:

 

Intelligence information should protect our nation, not provide personal profit.

 

 

Typically, government employees with access to sensitive information have to submit any published work to their agency for review. Permanent Record contains no secrets that haven’t already been published by other news organizations. Snowden did not submit the book to the government for review prior to publication, preferring to publish his uncensored story. Ben Wizner, an attorney for Mr. Snowden who runs the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech, privacy and technology project commented on the circumstances of the lawsuit:

 

Had Mr. Snowden believed that the government would review his book in good faith, he would have submitted it for review. But the government continues to insist that facts that are known and discussed throughout the world are still somehow classified.

 

 

It’s understandable why the U.S. government might want to stifle Permanent Record‘s release seizing its profits. The story he leaked in 2013—of the government’s vast surveillance network capable of monitoring the activity of every person on the Internet—is still shocking today. In a section of the book describing the XKEYSCORE system which is “perhaps best understood as a search engine that lets an analyst search through the records of your life,” Snowden writes:

 

It was, simply put, the closest thing to science fiction I’ve ever seen in science fact.

 

But perhaps the lawsuit will have the opposite effect, driving more attention to it than it originally attracted. Anyway, Permanent Record is set to be one of the most important political books of the year. Still living in exile in Russia, this is Snowden’s chance to tell his story truthfully.

 

 

Featured image via Getty Images, Justin Sullivan 

Fill Your Ever-Expanding Bookshelf With Bookstr’s Nonfiction Recommendations!

 

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are bestsellers, and showcase what’s resonating with audiences right now! Pick these up to see what everyone is talking about!

 

Image via Amazon

 

5. Hungry by Jeff Gordinier 

Hungry by Jeff Gordinier is a story for any food lover to wet your appetite for meals and adventure. Feeling stuck in a dead-end work life, Gordinier happens into a fateful meeting with a Danish chef Rene Redzepi. The two begin the adventure of a lifetime, to set off across the world to find new flavors, new meals, and new food together. Across the world, they begin this road trip. In Sydney, they forage for sea rocket and sandpaper figs in suburban parks and on surf-lashed beaches. On a boat in the Arctic Circle, a lone fisherman guides them to what may or may not be his secret cache of the world’s finest sea urchins. And back in Copenhagen, the quiet canal-lined city where Redzepi started it all, he plans the resurrection of his restaurant on the unlikely site of a garbage-filled lot. Along the way, readers meet Redzepi’s merry band of friends and collaborators, including acclaimed chefs such as Danny Bowien, Kylie Kwong, Rosio Sánchez, David Chang, and Enrique Olvera.

 

 

Image via Amazon

 

4. Nuking the Moon by Vince Houghton 

Nuking the Moon by Vince Houghton is a funny, hilarious book on so called ‘intelligence’ schemes the military left on the drawing board. Among them are attempts to use cats as listening devices, make aircraft carriers out of icebergs, psyche out Japanese soldiers by dropping foxes onto beaches, and yes…nuking the moon in order to shift hurricane trajectories. Obviously, none of these insane ideas came to reality but you’d be surprised how close them each came in this hidden history of government antics.

 

 

Image via Amazon

 

3. They bled blue by Jason Turbow

They Bled Blue by sportswriter Jason Turbow captures the Los Angeles Dodgers’ thrilling, improbable 1981 championship season, highlighting the behind the scenes antics of the edgy and cast of colorful characters of the team. Eventually, this team went on to defeat the New York Yankees. This is a summer treat for fans of sports, mad tales of excess, and the quirkiness that is the rollicking, crazy ride of the 1981 baseball season.

 

 

image via Amazon 

 

2. The Vinyl Frontier by Jonathan Scott 

The Vinyl Frontier by Jonathan Scott is an unlikely story of the 1977 NASA team attempting to craft the perfect playlist to place on the Voyager probe. Led by the great Carl Sagan, the music was intended not just to represent humanity but also to advertise our world to any intelligent alien forms of life. This book tells of how the record, The Sounds of Earth, was created. The final playlist contains music written and performed by well-known names such as Bach, Beethoven, Glenn Gould, Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson, as well as music from China, India and more remote cultures such as a community in Small Malaita in the Solomon Islands. It also contained a message of peace from US president Jimmy Carter, a variety of scientific figures and dimensions, and instructions on how to use it for a variety of alien lifeforms. This is a fascinating book showcasing the creation of one of humanity’s greatest achievements.

 

 

Image via Amazon

 

 

1. Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz 

Spying on the South by Tony Horwitz is a tale of one man’s journey across the American South. Tony Horwitz recounts the experience of an American journalist who was sent to explore the South prior to the Civil War as an assignment. The book follows this journalist’s journey, as the South proved to be an alien, hostile environment. He traveled for fourteen months on stagecoach, horseback, and by boat, becoming America’s first renowned landscape architect. In the modern day, Tony Horwitz tries to follow the journey undertaken over a century ago, seeking context for the divide between the South and the rest of America.

 

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

 

merlin

The Fault in Our Government – James Comey Is Secretly a John Green Fan

During an interview with the New York Times in which James Comey was asked what books readers would be surprised to find on his shelf, he responded with “The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.” 

 

yay

Via Gify

 

The YA author is known for the bestsellers The Fault In Our Stars and his newest novel, Turtles All The Way Down

 

Twitter was *shook* when they found out that Comey reads Green’s books, but John Green was the most surprised of them all.

 

omg

Via Gify

 

He tweeted a photo of the article, an arrow pointing to his mention with the caption, “James @Comey thinks people might be surprised to see The Fault In Our Stars on his bookshelf. INDEED, I AM SURPRISED.”  

 

 

Featured Image Via Yahoo

Curtis Dawkins

This Ex-Con Made $150,000 for Writing a Book…and He Might Have to Fork It Over

Apparently breaking the law could be your greatest muse! At least, that’s the case for Curtis Dawkins. Dawkins was sent to prison after being involved in a botched robbery that lead to a murder in 2004, for which he’s expressed deep remorse. Now he has become a successful author, and state wants a piece of the action.

 

'The Graybar Hotel'

 Image Via Amazon

 
In his debut book of short stories, The Graybar Hotel, Dawkins tells the real stories of his life behind bars which has drawn in hundreds of readers. Scribner published the collection in July and Dawkins has since earned $150,000, but the state of Michigan ain’t having it. Michigan’s Department of Treasury has filed a court complaint demanding the author/convict hand over ninety percent of his earnings as a cost of his imprisonment.

 

When the robbery victim’s brother spoke out about what he saw as the injustice, the state’s attorney general made the case. They explained that Dawkins shouldn’t be entitled to the money nor should he be able transfer it to his family. 

 

Curtis Dawkins

 Image Via Fox61

 
However, according to Fox61, Dawkins is said to be making the argument that the same law the attorney general is referring to also takes into consideration the obligation of the convict to provide for their family. Michigan is one of forty states in which the government is allowed to charge inmates for incarceration.

 

It’s tough to say, but it seems like a lose-lose situation. Whose side are you on?

 

Feature Image Via Bedlam Farm Journal

queen elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth’s Bra-Fitter Fired After Writing Hands-On Exposé

As is normal with the everyday tribulations of employees, June Kenton decided to share her day-to-day working experiences with the world. Kenton happened to share her experiences in her new book, Storm in a D-Cup. She also happened to be the former employee of Britain’s royal family (i.e. Queen Elizabeth). Like many employee-boss relationships end, Kenton found herself unemployed when word got out. 

 

Word to the wise, if you happen to be working for renowned, powerful, and filthy rich individuals, it may be best to avoid exploiting them in a tell-all book. Kenton learned this lesson the hard way.

 

The self-proclaimed “leading boobologist” of the U.K. and owner of Rigby & Peller lingerie has serviced members of the British royal family for years—fifty-seven to be exact.

 

Though one would assume that a boss-employee relationship spanning decades would be a pretty tight bond, Kenton’s contract was terminated shortly after the book was published in March 2016.

 

june

Image Via Clara Molden

 

In her autobiography tracing her successful career, Kenton disclosed some behind-the-scenes bra fittings with royal figures, including Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana. One such experience reportedly detailed fitting the Queen in front of her corgis. While that may not be particularly revealing or shocking, the lack of privacy and respect was enough to earn Kenton the boot.

 

Kenton told The Telegraph that it wasn’t her intention to upset anyone and expressed “shock” at the disapproval she has received from the royal family.

 

“It is very sad for me that they didn’t like it and I’m finding that very difficult to accept. It’s horrible and a real shock,” Kenton said.

 

june kenton

Image Via Clara Molden

 

“I never ever thought when I was writing the book that it would upset anyone. I’ve had the royal warrant for so long I never imagined that this would happen.”

 

Part of Kenton’s shock is the lack of “naughty” accounts in her book, she said. “I have never discussed anything of a personal nature with any of my clients, and I never would. The book doesn’t contain anything naughty,” Kenton told The Telegraph. “But it’s a fact I have done work for the Queen, there would be a gaping hole in my autobiography if I didn’t mention it.

 

“I can’t even begin to explain, I didn’t do it with the intention of upsetting anyone. I’m proud of my life and what I’ve achieved and I simply wanted to share that,” Kenton added.

 

To make the wound deeper, Storm in a D Cup received a single review on Amazon that was pretty bad to say the least. The one-star review read:

 

book

 

While Kenton may have exposed her majesty in an unwanted light, it may be Queen Elizabeth who has the last laugh in the end.

 

But for real, poor Kenton. | via GIPHY

 

Featured Image Via The Pinsta