Let’s follow the bouncing ball on this one as it takes some unpredictable rebounds.
On Friday, PandoDaily’s Mark Ames revealed that Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire funding Glenn Greenwald’s new journalistic effort, First Look, had helped fund efforts to bolster the opposition groups in Ukraine responsible for ousting President Viktor Yanukovych. Ames wondered about Greenwald and documentarian Laura Poitras, two people with access to the full cache of Snowden documents, working for a billionaire who was using his money to affect global politics.
On Saturday, Greenwald fired back, ridiculing Ames for suggesting that Greenwald wouldn’t act completely independently as a journalist, regardless of who was writing his paychecks. In fact, he said, he didn’t even particularly care about Omidyar’s political activities: “Prior to creating The Intercept with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, I did not research Omidyar’s political views or donations.”
On Monday, PandoDaily’s Paul Carr pointed out that in 2007, Greenwald had a very different attitude about the political ambitions of media owners when he lambasted The Politico because its president and CEO was a longtime Reaganite. Wrote Greenwald then: “There is nothing wrong per se with hard-core political operatives running a news organization. Long-time Republican strategist Roger Ailes oversees Fox News, of course. But it seems rather self-evident that a news organization run by someone with such clear-cut political biases ought to have a hard time holding itself out as some sort of politically unbiased source of news.” (Emphasis ours.)
Then, Tuesday morning, Greenwald seemed to be addressing this squabble when he celebrated RT anchor Abby Martin for her views on Putin’s invasion of Crimea.
Last June, Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian revealed that Edward Snowden was the NSA insider behind “one of the most significant leaks in US political history.” Snowden explained his motivations through Greenwald by saying, “There are more important things than money…. harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.” Such altruistic motivations were welcome news at the time but have come into question recently given that only a tiny fraction of the documents have been released nearly a year after Snowden started working with Greenwald. Perhaps more importantly, billionaire Pierre Omidyar is funding Greenwald’s slow release of those documents and Omidyar’s Paypal colleagues have highly suspicious links to NSA spying and other dangers to civil rights.
It was originally reported that the number of documents Snowden had stolen was in the thousands. Today, however, that number is said to be nearly two million. This calls into question Snowden’s early statement, as reported by Greenwald, that he “carefully evaluated every single document to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest.” The huge, new number also reveals that less than one tenth of one percent of the documents (only about 900) have actually been released to the public.
How could Snowden have “carefully evaluated every single” one of what is now being said to be nearly two million documents? He only worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for a few months. According to NSA Director Keith Alexander, Snowden also worked directly for NSA for twelve months prior to that, which is interesting. But still, that would require carefully evaluating thousands of documents a day during that entire time. Didn’t he have a job apart from that?
Once the government is able to monitor everything we do and say, we will be unable to fight back.
July 4, 2012 |
Editor's note: The following is a transcript of a speech delivered by Glenn Greenwald at this month's Socialism 2012 conference, on the massive growth of government and corporate surveillance and their chilling effects on Americans' rights.
Last year was my maiden trip to the Socialism 2012 world. I started off by standing up and saying -- I was actually surprised by this, pleasantly surprised, because I didn’t know what to expect -- how amazingly inspirational I actually found this conference to be. The energy of activism and the sophisticated level of the conversation and the commitment that people displayed and the diversity of the attendees, really is unlike any other conference. And so when I was asked back this year, I was super excited to come back and accept. Not only because of that, but also because the conference organizers asked if I could speak about challenging the Surveillance State.
The reason that I was so eager to come and do that is because I really think that this topic is central to all of the other activism that’s being discussed here this weekend.
The Surveillance State hovers over any attacks that meaningfully challenge state-appropriated power. It doesn’t just hover over it. It impedes it, it deters it and kills it. That’s its intent. It does that by design.
And so, understanding what the Surveillance State, how it operates -- most importantly, figuring out how to challenge it and undermine it, and subvert it -- really is, I think, an absolute prerequisite to any sort of meaningful activism, to developing strategies and tactics for how to challenge state and corporate power.
In one of the least surprising developments imaginable, President Obama – after spending months threatening to veto the Levin/McCain detention bill – yesterday announced that he would instead sign it into law (this is the same individual, of course, who unequivocally vowed when seeking the Democratic nomination to support a filibuster of “any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecom[s],” only to turn around – once he had the nomination secure — and not only vote against such a filibuster, but to vote in favor of the underlying bill itself, so this is perfectly consistent with his past conduct). As a result, the final version of the Levin/McCain bill will be enshrined as law this week as part of the the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I wrote about the primary provisions and implications of this bill last week, and won’t repeat those points here.
The ACLU said last night that the bill contains “harmful provisions that some legislators have said could authorize the U.S. military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians, including American citizens, anywhere in the world” and added: “if President Obama signs this bill, it will damage his legacy.” Human Rights Watch said that Obama’s decision “does enormous damage to the rule of law both in the US and abroad” and that “President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.”
Posted on 08.30.11
By David Edwards
The former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged Tuesday to testify against former Vice President Dick Cheney if he is ever tried for war crimes.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman that he would participate in a trial even if it meant personal repercussions.
“I, unfortunately — and I’ve admitted to this a number of times, publicly and privately — was the person who put together Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations Security Council on 5 February, 2003,” Wilkerson said. “It was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I regret it to this day. I regret not having resigned over it.”
In an interview that aired on NBC Monday, Cheney told Jamie Gangel that unlike President George W. Bush, he did not have a “sickening feeling” when they discovered there were no weapons of mass destruction after the invasion of Iraq.
“I think we did the right thing,” Cheney said.
The decade's biggest scam By Glenn Greenwald
The Los Angeles Times examines the staggering sums of money expended on patently absurd domestic "homeland security" projects: $75 billion per year for things such as a Zodiac boat with side-scan sonar to respond to a potential attack on a lake in tiny Keith County, Nebraska, and hundreds of "9-ton BearCat armored vehicles, complete with turret" to guard against things like an attack on DreamWorks in Los Angeles. All of that -- which is independent of the exponentially greater sums spent on foreign wars, occupations, bombings, and the vast array of weaponry and private contractors to support it all -- is in response to this mammoth, existential, the-single-greatest-challenge-of-our-generation threat:
"The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, Al Qaeda wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It's basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University professor who has written extensively about the balance between threat and expenditures in fighting terrorism.
By Glenn Greenwald
Monday, May 2, 2011
The killing of Osama bin Laden is one of those events which, especially in the immediate aftermath, is not susceptible to reasoned discussion. It's already a Litmus Test event: all Decent People -- by definition -- express unadulterated ecstacy at his death, and all Good Americans chant "USA! USA!" in a celebration of this proof of our national greatness and Goodness (and that of our President). Nothing that deviates from that emotional script will be heard, other than by those on the lookout for heretics to hold up and punish. Prematurely interrupting a national emotional consensus with unwanted rational truths accomplishes nothing but harming the heretic (ask Bill Maher about how that works).
(updated below - Update II)
Few issues highlight Barack Obama's extreme hypocrisy the way that Bagram does. As everyone knows, one of George Bush’s most extreme policies was abducting people from all over the world -- far away from any battlefield -- and then detaining them at Guantanamo with no legal rights of any kind, not even the most minimal right to a habeas review in a federal court. Back in the day, this was called "Bush's legal black hole." In 2006, Congress codified that policy by enacting the Military Commissions Act, but in 2008, the Supreme Court, in Boumediene v. Bush, ruled that provision unconstitutional, holding that the Constitution grants habeas corpus rights even to foreign nationals held at Guantanamo. Since then, detainees havewon 35 out of 48 habeas hearings brought pursuant to Boumediene, on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to justify their detention.
posted in full for posterity; hyperlinks, images and video at source - loose nuke:
The war on WikiLeaks and why it matters
BY GLENN GREENWALD
A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France -- in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan. The Report celebrates the fact that the governments of those two nations continue to fight the war in defiance of overwhelming public opinion which opposes it -- so much for all the recent veneration of "consent of the governed" -- and it notes that this is possible due to lack of interest among their citizenry: "Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters," proclaims the title of one section.
Glenn Greenwald: "Obama Confidant's Spine-Chilling Proposal" (cognitive infiltration’ of 9/11 conspiracy groups)
Glenn Greenwald has written a scathing indictedment of Cass Sunstein's odious proposal.
From the article:
"What is most odious and revealing about Sunstein's worldview is his condescending, self-loving belief that "false conspiracy theories" are largely the province of fringe, ignorant Internet masses and the Muslim world. That, he claims, is where these conspiracy theories thrive most vibrantly, and he focuses on various 9/11 theories -- both domestically and in Muslim countries -- as his prime example.
It's certainly true that one can easily find irrational conspiracy theories in those venues, but some of the most destructive "false conspiracy theories" have emanated from the very entity Sunstein wants to endow with covert propaganda power: namely, the U.S. Government itself, along with its elite media defenders. Moreover, "crazy conspiracy theorist" has long been the favorite epithet of those same parties to discredit people trying to expose elite wrongdoing and corruption.
Glenn Greenwald: "Self-righteous innocence" in War on Terror belies mass casualties in Muslim countries
Published on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 by Salon.com
Cause and Effect in the 'Terror War'
by Glenn Greenwald
"In all their alleged allegedness, this Administration has an allergy to the concept of war, and thus to the tools of war, including strategy and war aims" -- Supreme Tough Guy Warrior Mark Steyn, National Review, yesterday.
"The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.'s drone program in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president's decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan" -- New York Times, December 4, 2009.
"In the midst of two unfinished major wars, the United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against Al Qaeda in Yemen" -- New York Times, yesterday.
See the original for links.
Published on Friday, November 20, 2009 by Salon.com
The Administration Guts Its Own Argument for 9/11 Trials
by Glenn Greenwald
"What I'm absolutely clear about is that I have complete confidence in the American people and our legal traditions and the prosecutors, the tough prosecutors from New York who specialize in terrorism" -- Barack Obama, yesterday.
"Holder said five other Guantanamo detainees would be tried by military tribunals. The five include Abd al-Rahim al Nashiri, who is accused of masterminding the 2000 attack on the USS Cole warship in Yemen; and Canadian Omar Khadr, accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan" -- NPR, yesterday.
An emerging progressive consensus on Obama's executive power and secrecy abuses - Glenn Greenwald
"In the last week alone, the Obama DOJ (a) attempted to shield Bush's illegal spying programs from judicial review by (yet again) invoking the very "state secrets" argument that Democrats spent years condemning and by inventing a brand new "sovereign immunity" claim that not even the Bush administration espoused, and (b) argued that individuals abducted outside of Afghanistan by the U.S. and then "rendered" to and imprisoned in Bagram have no rights of any kind -- not even to have a hearing to contest the accusations against them -- even if they are not Afghans and were captured far away from any "battlefield." These were merely the latest -- and among the most disturbing -- in a string of episodes in which the Obama administration has explicitly claimed to possess the very presidential powers that Bush critics spent years condemning as radical, lawless and authoritarian.
I posted a link to my article on Glenn Greenwald's blog on Salon last night, and Greenwald has replied with this comment:
"None of what you wrote or accuse me of has anything to do with what I think. I never said I know who perpetrated the anthrax attacks because . . . I don't know, because . . . I haven't seen the evidence. What I have seen is unconvincing, but I find people like you who just invent theories without facts and then think you've discovered Truth to be exactly the same as those who blindly believe whatever the Government says."
All I want from him is an explanation, as I said here:
On August 3, 2008, Glen Greenwald wrote in Salon:
"It is so vital to emphasize that not a shred of evidence has yet been presented that the now-deceased Bruce Ivins played any role in the anthrax attacks, let alone that he was the sole or even primary culprit."
Now, in his retraction, er, update from yesterday, he writes: