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Lavabit, Email Service Reportedly Used by Snowden, Shuts Down August 9, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Constitution, Criminal Justice, Dick Cheney, Whistle-blowing.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


by Abby Zimet

Offering the elusive explanation that he wanted to avoid “being complicit in crimes against the American people,” Lavabit founder Ladar Levison has suspended operations, evidently the first time a service provider has publicly closed down rather than cooperate with court-ordered government surveillance. In a statement on his site, Levison notes, “I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot….the First Amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise.” He also suggests he is preparing a legal fight, offers a link to a legal defense fund – “Defending the Constitution is expensive!” – and ends with a warning. More on the implications for other possible NSA targets here.

“This experience has taught me one very important lesson: Without Congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”



  • galen066

    Hurrah for Mr. Levinson and his principled stand.

    Now the thousands of other Lavabit E-mail users know to blame the NSA for screwing them over.

  • yohocoma

    “…I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

    I strongly recommend against anyone having a physical tie to the United States, especially with their body.

  • drone1

    hat tip to mr. levison for doing the hard, but right, thing. one of the few examples of an ethical business decision in an unethical time. and most importantly, he’s right. there’s no safe info provider in the US or with ties to the US.

  • minitrue

    “I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot….the First Amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise.”

    What he is telling us (without telling us) is that he, or his company received a Nazional Security Letter which tells you to do something, turn over documents or records, allow surveillance, etc. The other thing these letters do is forbid you to tell anyone that the letter even exists let alone what it orders you to do. Huge fines and imprisonment for breaking this Fascistic dictum.

    Many people have gotten these things. The Nazional Surveillance Aparat hands them out like popcorn at a county fair. Likewise Homeland (In)Security and the FBI. When you get one of these damned things, you are to do whatever it tells you to, then are not supposed to ever admit you got it, or that it exists, anywhere.

    The Fourth Reich is certainly trying to sew things up before we get too restive.

    • VinnyThunder minitrue

      Handed down by the FISA court, we know they are objective

    • readytotransform minitrue

      Is that the same as a ‘gag’ order?

      • minitrue readytotransform

        I think it is more insidious. A gag order is issued forbidding one to discuss, for instance, a court case in progress. the Nazional Security Letter orders you to do something (usually unconstitutional) regarding someone, or some group. It also orders you to tell no one that the letter exists, or what you are ordered to do, under horrific penalties should you do so.

        • readytotransform minitrue

          Thanks minitrue. I had heard the other day about a gag order on a family somewhere in PA regarding their poisoned water and illnesses due to fracking nearby.


          I knew it was probably on a whole other level. But the gag order, including the kids…..I realized once again that americans have been sheltered, in certain ways, from the corporate criminality done in the name of u.s. foreign policy in other countries the world over. But the big shift is that the U.S. is now no different.

          That is major blowback in my book. Well, not blowback. Maybe instant karma is more like it, because anyone living here has been compliant. Even those of us who have been activists. But that is just my own thought.

          Sorry for going a bit off topic. But actually, the whole spying issue is actually part of it coming to the ‘homeland’.

    • RedRavenSounds minitrue

      That is patently vile and illegal – but then who needs laws when you have super dee dooper State secret courts, and letters which you do not have a say in which gags you………This is where we are ladies and gentlemen. Again, I ask everyone to please watch “Good Night and Good Luck” This is the precise tactic used against Milo Radulovich (who was this man? I ask you to find out. ) – See it Now (before its to late). Steve, I suspect you know who he was.

      • gardenernorcal RedRavenSounds

        Did anyone ever get a look at the contents of that manila envelope that was used to smear Milo Radulovich? I’d be interested to know what was inside it. You’d think it would be available under the Freedom of Information Act.

        • RedRavenSounds gardenernorcal

          That is a very good question. Its a possibility (because no one ever saw it, that there was nothing in it.) I should follow up on that. Mr. Radulovich passed not too many years ago. An equally terrifying case was what they did to poor Annie Mae Potts. Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy would not even let her lawyer speak for her, she had to defend herself by herself against McCarthy and his minions. Imagine how terrifying that would be to this woman. But that was what McCarthy and his hideous HUAC was all about terrorizing anyone he wished, that was either in his sights and he could increase his fame (infamy) or too weak to fight back. That is what the enabling (oh sorry spit take – hate-riot act) is all about. This is the HUAC writ large – Joe would be very happy that his hate and his lies were not in vain Are we next to sign loyalty oaths???? Why in the name of Dog are we doing this again???

  • Tom Carberry

    Congratulations to Ladar Levinson for sticking to his principles. Things should work out for him. I expect most of the other email providers will shut down, unless of course the government forgets to ask them for our stuff.

    Don’t worry. Every thing will work out. Just because the 1% has almost everything, doesn’t mean they want more. They wouldn’t want absolute control of all electronic communications. Who really would want something like that? Full spectrum dominance can’t really mean that.

    Trust Barack Obama. Has he ever lied to you?

  • Aneesia

    You Sir are a hero. The rest of the media are cowards.They would sell out their mother to a rapist…the best analogy of what they are doing and the type of human feces that the media moguls are.

    • Caleb Abell Aneesia

      You may have unwittingly provided us all with a time-saving efficiency tip. Instead of taking the time and energy to type out “Professional Main Stream Media News Journalists” we can use the more efficient term “feces.”

  • Daedalus Trust

    For anyone watching and following the obliteration of freedom of speech, the Constitution and freedom in general in the US, it shouldn’t be surprising that Levison issued an “elusive explanation” – Given the recent turn of events with WikiLeaks, Manning, Snowden and the other whistleblowers, anyone with a half an ounce of brain can understand why.

    Coincidentally, Tor will be next. Our gracious defenders at the FBI have devised a program to specifically attack Tor and have been relentlessly at it. Still, the USG has the Chutzpah to criticize China. I guess it’s the competition they hate and the threat to their hegemony as the world’s foremost hackers…next to ISreal that is.

    “Feds Are Suspects in New Malware That Attacks Tor Anonymity”


    • winston Daedalus Trust

      Considering the internet is a product of ARPA (now DARPA) and the most commonly used os’ have back doors written right into them (Windows and OSX), and Tor was created by US Naval Intelligence. I think, to a large degree the whole notion of online privacy is a bit of a pipe dream.

    • RedRavenSounds Daedalus Trust

      I have heard rumours in the tech security world that they are building our very own great firewall of China – modeled after the the PRC. All comms in and out of the US will first have to pass through this virtual iron curtain. All traffic decrypted, all VPN tunnels penetrated. We the awake citizens of the US – many of us who gave up our rights to stop this (lied upon lies told to us during the ‘cold war”, our brothers who died for the lie in Vietnam, parents who died at Normandy, and Iwo Jima, who froze to death in B-17’s – the doughboys who died in the Argonne …….. all for naught. Fools we were, but fools no more.

  • Cangle

    This sounds so sane, so very sane, thank you Mr. Levison.

  • 0utof0rder

    And today on NPR, about a minute and a half was spent on the NSA spying revelations. It went something like this:

    Interviewer, “So are we to expect now that most or all Internet activity and emails are monitored by the NSA? Are they collecting and reading everyone’s email?”

    New York Times Reporter, “No that would be illegal. The government can not read Amercians email without a warrant. There is no proof of of that.”


    Then the next 30 something minutes were spent discussing the resurgence of Al Queda all across the middle east and how many plots we have foiled so far.

    It was incredible.

    • WhiteRoses 0utof0rder

      During the Bush’s’ “Iraq War”, NPR’s obsequious reporting earned it the moniker “National Pentagon Radio”. It seems that NPR’s development goals included becoming a propaganda mouthpiece just like the mainstream media. I wouldn’t be surprised if certain people in the top management at NPR have some sort of connection to the state surveillance/security apparatus of the US.

    • RedRavenSounds 0utof0rder

      “No, that would be illegal” Holy spit take Batman!!!
      I watched “Good Night and Good Luck” again last night…. I recommend everyone get a copy NOW before it goes on the States banned list. Edward R. Murrow fought and helped bring down McCarthy. McCarthy and his witch hunts are back. Only NOW McCarthy is on the inside working within the media (Mockingbird). They co-opted ever newspaper, television station (R.F. and cable) (almost) every radio station, and of course “the interwebs” The fascists learned their lessons well in the early 50’s……… NPR???? Bah!

      Also please read his speech given to the RTNDA in 1958
      These are excerpts from that speech, but I ask you to read it in its entirety:

      * We are currently wealthy, fat, comfortable and complacent. We have currently a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information. Our mass media reflect this. But unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late.

      * We are to a large extent an imitative society.
      This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and even it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it’s nothing but wires and lights in a box.

      *There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.

      *Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, “When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.” The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival.

      …if what I say is responsible, I alone am responsible for the saying of it… Good Night and Good Luck……..

      see more

    • Magellan 0utof0rder

      That’s what you get when the Koch brothers are on various NPR boards …

    • readytotransform 0utof0rder

      I wrote WHYY two insulting letters last week for the same kind of b.s. They are worse than CNN, which I just read somewhere that some CIA type agency ended up buying. I think it was back when they made it big showing all that war porn during the ‘first Gulf war’.

      As I recall, I also thought it was a big ad campaign to the world for certain weapons companies. They got to show their latest high tech wares in the attacks and it got televised internationally.

  • Ferdinand Artego

    I hope this is the beginning of the end to the US government spy operation.

  • Harley Burton

    The more effective evil at work, right before our very eyes.

    Can anyone honestly see the Democrats reacting so meekly to stuff like this if Romney were in charge?

    • ErnestineBass Harley Burton

      They meekly rolled over for the Shrub, didn’t they?

      • Harley Burton ErnestineBass

        Sure, when push came to shove, the Democrats funded his wars and corporate welfare policies and protected the SOB from prosecution. The difference then was that a number of Democratic politicians expressed enough disapproval to at least keep other options in the media spotlight and in public view, something that is not happening now.

        That disapproval mostly boiled down to grandstanding and pandering to the base, but it at least brought public exposure to an opposing view. In the D vs R corporate media circus roadshow, if it doesn’t come from one of the major parties, it isn’t covered.

        • wantrealdemocracy Harley Burton

          Yes, under the second bush the Democrats were vocal in disapproval of his programs–to the point of a massive demand for his impeachment—but then came Obama. Obama said he wanted to look forward, not backward and the impeachment movement died. This was just another of Obama’s lies. He sure is looking backward and continuing and expanding the Bush programs.

  • Abigail00

    Levison’s principled action will have economic consequences for the U.S. economy. No individual or company wanting to use like services will ever use a US based provider, thus business moves elsewhere. Were congress ever to concern itself with the issue, it will be because of the risks to the economy, not the people’s rights.

  • revlimid

    The United States is getting more paranoid and dangerous everyday and once again we see that the patriot act does indeed supercede the constitution which Americans claim to love.

  • dogsface

    For what it is worth…here is what I would do. I call it information

    Everyone has to be involved …..just send out emails using the trigger words, bomb, terrorist, plot, murder…. or whatever. Give them so much ‘crap’ the system becomes unmanageable.

    The system is unmanaged now and to make it worse the access to
    the system by the lower echelon minions makes for great nationwide rumor spreading. Stay tuned.

    Then we can always wish for gigantic some Sun spots……or we learn how to generate and aim our very own EMP’s. Electromagnetic pulses. Ta da!

    • RedRavenSounds dogsface

      Our best hope is for a giant super CME that is aimed right at the earth, to shut the whole card game down. It could, if the magnitude was great enough, fry the antiquated power grid, the communication grid, and every car built after about 2005. We are talking the day the Earth stood still. Mama nature cleans house, and stops the Earth destruction machine (humanity) in its tracks. As to sending a DDoS to their (the peeping tom’s) toys – probably not likely. If the legislative would get off their compromised, pwnd buts and repeal the spit-take-hate-riot act, it would stop them, but we can wish for that in one hand and do a doo in the other and see which happens first. No, our best bet is a day the earth stood still CME scenario, where all of nature takes charge. It would be chaos (anyone remember when the lights went out in N.Y.C??) , but it would stop the “manchine”.

    • galen066 dogsface

      “… or we learn how to generate and aim our very own EMP’s….”

      You can make a pretty simple EMP gun from an old microwave oven. Instructions can be found online.

      • RedRavenSounds galen066

        Too deep, and too well shielded to get to the heart of the beast – You would have to be talking Starfish Prime.

        • galen066 RedRavenSounds

          I was thinking perhaps the local bank… or telecom exchange.. Y’know “Think global, act local.”

          • RedRavenSounds galen066

            They would just get new machines and recover from backups. You might want to look at some of the papers and work that Nikola Tesla left us though. An EMP is nothing more than a very fast rise time 500 picosecond to a nanosecond or so pulse with sufficient current and electromotive force to either ionize the atmosphere, or load an antenna. You can really do it with no more than a large bank of capacitors and a very fast switch – a high pressure mercury switch can close very quickly. If you want to see what this takes – check out the trestle facility, in New Mexico (at an AFB within the Albuquerque city limits (used to put an entire B-52 or EF-111 out there and hammer it)). There are certain types of gasses, which in the presence of an alpha emitting source can also do it. But again, you may find the papers of Nikola Tesla quite interesting. No, I think our best hope is the big azz CME with the release from the sun aimed directly at the earth. It would be quite a light show too…. You would have the aurora bright enough you could see it during the day, all the way down to S. America! Bzzzztttt krrrpow…. brrrrtt fry fry fry zzzzzzt – boom boom out go the lights (and the computers and the cars etc etc etc)

  • NC_Tom

    This REALLY sucks. I was a Lavabit user for a few years now. I used that email address in dozens and dozens of places and now I have to find another somewhat secure email service, ( overseas), and change everything to point there.

    Although it will be a pain to do this, it appears it is necessary because, despite what Obomba says, the government really is reading all our emails.

  • bgrbill

    This guy is worthy of respect . Remember murdered, investigative journalist Danny Casolaro. He was looking into the ‘Octopus’ and set to meet a ‘source’ when found in the bathtub of his motel in Martinsburg , WV. The key words are ‘ Inslaw Affair’ and Promis software. This was the precursor of ‘Total Information Awareness’ and today’s N.S.A. revelations. Any search engine will provide the details. In the words of the great Satchell Paige…” Don’t look back…”. It is not paranoia when there are forces out to eliminate all opposition.









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