Another Snowden News Story. Another Lesson in Proper Whistleblowing.

Among the many things I have grown to detest about the Snowden Leaks spectacle is that for every heavily redacted page that’s been revealed — a meager ~300 pages in five months according to Cryptome.org — we rubes seem to get at least twenty, sometimes very stern, lessons in proper whistleblowing from the the Leaker, the Leak Keepers, the Leak Keeper inner circle, and soldiers in the sycophant army that doltishly parrot and hype everything these people say. The lesson is as follows:

1. Don’t ever just dump your leaks on the internet.
2. Make sure your leaks are properly vetted and mediated by proper mainstream journalists. 

This lesson is often, perhaps even usually, stated as, or with, some variation of the following:

Don’t be like Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks, that is, indiscriminate, reckless and dangerous to both national security and human life.

We first received this lesson on day number one, when The Guardian introduced us to new, improved, ever-so-meticulous document leaker Snowden — just as Manning went to trial — and we have been hearing it ever since.

Yesterday, while the Leaknoscenti were breathlessly insisting on how horrible and ever-so-important it is that European leaders are under the same surveillance regime as everyone else on earth, the Washington Post announced:

U.S. officials are alerting some foreign intelligence services that documents detailing their secret cooperation with the United States have been obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to government officials.

This seems like a trumped-up warning to people like German Chancellor Angela Merkel to dial back the righteous indignation just a bit lest subsequent disclosures implicate them as both collaborators and hypocrites. But since elite vs. elite NSA hijinx don’t interest me at all, let’s fast forward to the obligatory, and in this case, quite long lesson the same article provided in proper whistleblowing:

“[Snowden] made it quite clear that he was not going to compromise legitimate national intelligence and national security operations,” said Thomas Drake, a former NSA executive.

Indeed, Drake said, Snowden made clear in their conversation that he had learned the lessons of prior disclosures, including those by an Army private who passed hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks, which posted them in bulk online. “It’s telling,” Drake said, “that he did not give anything to WikiLeaks.”

I sometimes wonder, does Snowden ever have a conversation where he does not remark upon the crucial differences between himself and Manning? That is, when he is not imparting his truly bizarre and toxic understanding of democracy and human rights, which summarizes as secrecy about mass surveillance is a greater evil than mass surveillance? I also wonder if, when he does this, is he also the one imparting the equally mandatory mischaracterization of what Manning and Wikileaks actually did with the cables — here stated as ‘posted them in bulk online’  — or are his intermediaries ladling that in on top?

For emphasis, WaPo trots out the Guardian article where this lengthy lesson first began and quotes it at length:

Snowden has instructed the reporters with whom he has shared records to use their judgment to avoid publishing anything that would cause harm. “I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest,” he told the Guardian newspaper. “There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn’t turn over, because harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.”

Yes Ed is such a good whistleblower — so very un-Manningly responsible! — and as such has received the endorsement of no less an expert on proper surveillance state undermining than WaPo’s own Richard Cohen, who, prior to jumping on board the whistleblowing train, was a living parody of power worshiping shitbaggery. In his recent ‘Edward Snowden is No Traitor’ column, Cohen recanted his prior excoriation of Snowden, writing:

He has been careful with his info, doling it out to responsible news organizations — The Post, the New York Times, the Guardian, etc. — and not tossing it up in the air, WikiLeaks style, and echoing the silly mantra “Information wants to be free.” (No. Information, like most of us, wants a home in the Hamptons.)

And now this latest article in WaPo shows that approval for Snowden’s  methods goes to the highest level, to the surveillance apparatus itself:

It is those documents that may not be subject to journalistic vetting or may be breached by hackers that worry some intelligence officials.

Fans of Drip Drip Drippery, please do read that again and then savor this, from the same article, which exaggerators, both pro and con, of the awesome disruptive power of Wikileaks are encouraged to ruminate on also:

In the case of WikiLeaks, the State Department had a number of months to assess the potential impact of the cables’ release and devise a strategy, former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.

To review, working backwards: The State Department,  intelligence officials, and the living embodiment of everything vile in the Washington press establishment are in agreement that slow leaking to a small array of news sources featuring multiple layers of responsible vetting is just peachy.  Well then, haven’t we formed a most powerful alliance against the surveillance apparatus, when even officials from that apparatus and their flacks agree with our methods? This is some serious 11-dimensional chess kinda leaking going on right here.

So now that the  credibility Snowden and co have so assiduously sought pursuant to The Debate™ is a fait accompli, can we at last pull back the veil of silence on these Manning comparisons? Specifically can we talk about how they rest on a lie? Can we then also insist more loudly on how objectionable they are, not simply because they smear Manning and distort her legacy, but because they preemptively smear and distort future whistleblowing that doesn’t pass muster with insider douchebags like Richard Cohen and various intelligence officials?

I have gone over elsewhere how the reported size of Edward Snowden’s document trove keeps changing. But I fear I have crunched the numbers too little out loud to make my point plain. Let’s say the trove consists only of the 50,000+ Snowden documents the New York Times recently said it received from The Guardian. Since these documents are only the documents about the GCHQ, no doubt the entire Snowden collection spread across the Times, The Guardian, Gellman, and Greenwald/Poitras is many tens of thousands of documents bigger than that.

But for arguments sake, let’s restrict ourselves to the Times’ trove. And also for the sake of argument, let’s assume that by some weird good fortune, each document Snowden selected for review passed his test for inclusion, despite how completely unlikely this is. By most accounts, Snowden began downloading documents in 2012, his last year at Dell but, for the sake of argument, let’s be really generous and assume that  Snowden has been gathering documents since first going to work for Dell in 2009.

If you assume that Snowden spent every working day of four 50-week years meticulously selecting documents, and that each document he looked at ended up in the trove, he would have had to review 50-60 documents per working day. Remember, we are talking about ‘documents’ not pages, and that they are, in Greenwald’s words, ‘very, very complete and very long.‘  It is not simply unlikely that Snowden vetted each of these documents. It is impossible. Which means that, from the standpoint of selecting documents, he is not different from Manning at all. So how about everyone stop saying that he is, ok, starting with Snowden himself.

I have been saying things along these lines for a while now, and have been fascinated by the number of people who privately share a lot of my concerns – shock and disappointment about the Manning comparisons started immediately – while also disclosing their misgivings about airing their concerns publicly. Isn’t that extraordinary? We are having a debate about transparency, in which people who have concerns about how that debate is being mediated are literally afraid to speak up, for fear of how it might impact their social capital or their credibility.  Clearly this is not really a debate at all. By design. Which is all the more reason for people to speak up.

Update

I am glad that this post has provoked people who have so far pretty much stood down on the Leak Keepers’ incessant Good Whistleblower/Bad Whistleblower lesson to take it up more vocally. However,  if this post has inspired you to insist on how well Manning/Wikileaks meet the Edward Snowden/Richard Cohen benchmarks for proper whistleblowing, you have missed my point entirely. To the extent that Wikileaks meets this standard — and they do, to a point, mostly by way of withholding so much information or delaying its release — they are problematic in my view, and certainly the appreciation shown them by the State Department’s P. J. Crowley for delaying Cablegate (cited above) makes my point.

The point of this post is to draw attention to the Leak Keepers’ incessant and toxic campaign to promote a standard for proper whistleblowing and their shamelessness in building this campaign on what appears to be an obvious lie. It’s hard to point out this lie without at the same time implicitly, and quite wrongly conceding that the accusation contained in the lie — that Manning and WL just dumped unfiltered, unredacted data  — is genuinely damning. But if you are accepting that the State and  its media lackeys are within their rights to set or ratify standards for dissent, and you are arguing for how your dissidence meets the State’s standard,  you’ve already lost the argument. It was ok that Manning didn’t review every single document and it’s ok that clearly Snowden didn’t either.

Related

Edward Snowden’s Incredible Mutating Document Trove

Take Your Drip and Stick It

My Reply to Glenn Greenwald’s Comments on Take Your Drip and Stick It

Reader x7o on ‘The Debate’

A Harbinger of Journalism Saved

A Heat Vampire in Search of a Movie Deal

On the Pejorative Use of ‘Dumping’

Oligarchs Approve The NSA Debate. I Guess We’re #Winning

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103 Responses to Another Snowden News Story. Another Lesson in Proper Whistleblowing.

  1. Tarzie says:

    So what? Everyone who’s been throwing Manning under the bus for the past five months says nice things about her.

    Also: NOT ABOUT MANNING

    • mspbwatch says:

      So why does someone who had said the following:

      “An informed citizenry is the bedrock of democracy. Absent transparency in government operations, the executive increasingly rules through secrecy and propaganda, shielding its conduct from the press and public accountability. By condemning and vilifying Bradley so extremely, the prosecuting authority Gen. Karl Horst, and others in the Pentagon and State Department have merely highlighted their misplaced priorities. The aggressive persecution and prosecution that Bradley has experienced are not the result of his connection to WikiLeaks; it is part of a larger pattern, and increasingly the norm for how our government reacts to whistleblowers and truth tellers. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism — and for that, I salute Bradley.”

      feel compelled to make distinctions so as to contribute to the lesson in proper whistleblowing, and what motivated this change?

      • Tarzie says:

        I have no idea. I don’t speculate. I just simply observe that he did it.

        Why do any of them do it? These are side questions. I don’t really give a fuck.

      • mspbwatch says:

        What I’m suggesting is that Manning is of diminishing utility to professional whistleblower groups, whereas Snowden is headlining-from-afar a rally tomorrow. That might explain the change in rhetoric, and it fits with a pattern of exploiting/commodifying whistleblowers, even by other whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are the lifeblood of these groups.

      • Tarzie says:

        And I am saying I don’t care.

        What I care about is as follows:

        1. The toxic effects of all the anti-Manning bullshit
        2. The fact that it is predicated on a lie
        3. People’s fear of taking issue with any of this bullshit

        I do not wish to be part of a knowing knowers club of understanding all the wheels within wheels that brought us to this point. I am interested in the point we are at.

  2. Pingback: Confronting Edward Snowden’s Remarks on Bradley Manning | The Rancid Honeytrap

  3. mspbwatch says:

    It’s not just about how we got here but creating space for the next Manning. If her treatment now, based on various groups’ shifting standards and interests, deters other whistleblowers from coming forward (in whatever way that is necessary for the truth to emerge), then the public loses out. To me that means exposing certain groups who exploit whistleblowers and asking why they do so. If that doesn’t interest you, okay. Thank you for letting me speak out.

    • Tarzie says:

      I just think that your analysis is both speculative and also potentially underestimates the scope of the problem.

      With or without your explanation, there is no doubt that this discourse has a toxic effect on whistleblowing. So we agree on that.

    • Tarzie says:

      On reflection, there could be merit in documenting the pattern these people seem to be following. Your thesis definitely fits with how this dialogue gets shaped to serve power and to temper whistleblowing. However, right now, I am more interested in getting the fucking chickenshits who aren’t part of that establishment to speak up.

      • mspbwatch says:

        I write about what I can observe and know, which is NGOs who stake a claim of protecting whistleblowers but then engage in a variety of methods to suppress dissent and impede reform. What isn’t seen are the corporate foundations that fund these NGOs, and the foundations’ ties to the political, financial, and media elite. It’s all very much a rigged game to placate the public and suppress a genuine left movement from arising. You don’t trust Omidyar’s new venture because of his ties to ebay and paypal, but it’s speculation to say that his venture would not be hard hitting because of it, or if GG pulled punches in six months on some story. What I am raising–Thomas Drake backpedalling on CM–ties into his beneficial association with GAP, which is funded by Ford/Soros/Rockefeller, which has ties to the elite. It’s just another head of the same hydra.

      • Tarzie says:

        Gotcha. You have a worthy point. It makes sense to see who benefits always.

  4. BRUCE TYLER WICK says:

    We have ‘Establishment Journalism.” Why not ‘Establishment Whistleblowing’? Snowden’s revelations continue to amaze many, including myself, and may yet do much good. Manning, I suspect, is as rare a bird, as a conscious-stricken drone “pilot,” and is too good for us.

    • Tarzie says:

      We have ‘Establishment Journalism.” Why not ‘Establishment Whistleblowing’?

      Yes why not! The whole point is to be amazed after all. The spectacle’s the thing!

      Manning, I suspect, is as rare a bird, as a conscious-stricken drone “pilot,” and is too good for us

      Yes, surely, so why not just keep lying about her! And surely there is nothing between Snowden and Manning. It’s wonderfully black and white!

      I do so enjoy when you pragmatic surveillance state topplers stop by.

      • Jay says:

        Tarzie I’m pretty sure this guy agrees with you. Stop being so defensive dude.

      • Tarzie says:

        Tarzie I’m pretty sure this guy agrees with you. Stop being so defensive dude.

        I would have thought he was being facetious but for “Snowden’s revelations continue to amaze many, including myself, and may yet do much good”; the suggestion that Manning represented some terribly unworkable ideal; and the past five months of people applying the same crackpot realist lens to Snowden’s whistleblowing that they applied to Obama in 2008. This topic has made the easy discernment of the facetious from the genuinely idiotic entirely impossible.

        I was simply objecting, not being defensive. In any event, I trust he can defend himself. So you can lose the condescending tone-trolling you insistently bring to these comments and maybe actually add something interesting.

      • BRUCE TYLER WICK says:

        Sorry I missed Tarzie’s response to what was my first Comment here, ever. And I would have continued to miss it, but for Jay’s response to Tarzie. I must say tact doesn’t seem to be our host’s strong suit, when as with any host, it should be. Can anyone get used to being attacked for what he or she DIDN’T say? What I didn’t say or do (i.e., “lie about Manning”) was then used to infer my support, hidden or otherwise, for the “surveilance state”! I do believe Manning was betrayed–by people, and by a people, more loyal to “government,” to “their” government, than they are to any individual, including intimates.

      • Tarzie says:

        What I didn’t say or do (i.e., “lie about Manning”) was then used to infer my support, hidden or otherwise, for the “surveilance state”!

        Uh, what the fuck are you talking about?

        I never said you supported the surveillance state. What’s being contended is whether or not your endorsement of ‘Establishment Whistleblowing’ was earnest or facetious. If earnest, then it would follow that you endorse what ‘Establishment Whistleblowing’ in this case does: lies about Manning.

        And after so many exchanges, what you actually intended by your weirdly mixed message is still an open question. How about just clearing it up instead of whining about your rough treatment, which I am regretting less and less.

        As for tact, no, it’s not my strong suit, and I am quite unrepentant about that. This is a blog, not a dinner party. You don’t have to bring wine and you can leave whenever you want.

        And I would have continued to miss it, but for Jay’s response to Tarzie.

        That’s the great thing about tone-trolling busy bodies like Jay. How they elevate the conversation.

        *still confused about Bruce Tyler Wick’s first comment*

  5. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    @mspbwatch

    Rallies aren’t going to do shit to change anything. Unless those people stay out there 24/7 and back it with something that actually threatens the capitalist elites. And I think you know what I mean. Pacifism poses no credible threat to the elites; pacifists are nothing but useful lackeys of the ruling class.

    • Tarzie says:

      I wouldn’t go that far.

      If there weren’t merit in peaceful resistance, there wouldn’t be such a campaign against hacking and whistleblowing. Violence/Policy reform is a false dichotomy.

      I am not a pacifist, but considering the the awesome firepower of that state, from militarized local police on up, I think advocating violence is tactically imprudent.

    • mspbwatch says:

      Not rallies on there own, and certainly not ones with every cause under the sun present, but a variety of tactics and engagements. http://www.popularresistance.org does a good job of showing the different methods available. It’s a long-term struggle.

      • Tarzie says:

        The violence vs pacificism discussion is normally as entertaining as the voting/not voting discussion, except the latter invites less posturing.

        Can we stay on topic? Thanks.

  6. mspbwatch says:

    Just responding to a direct comment. Not sure if that’s allowed here yet.

    • Tarzie says:

      Everything is allowed, including my own input into what I think is boring or off-topic on my blog.

      I don’t delete comments except by really obnoxious trolls. You are at liberty to have any lengthy off-topic discussion you wish. I won’t stand in your way. And if it’s off-topic and boring, I will comment accordingly.

  7. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Manning was a true whistleblower who acted on her conscience. Her forgivable mistake was thinking the American public at large would give a damn about a bunch of Iraqi kids mowed down by Apache warriors. Manning has no illusions as she disappears into the federal penitentiary system just how much the public was interested in debating anything. Snowden and Greenwald’s egos won’t allow them to admit that…they think the public is waiting with bated breath on their every word like they are the next episode of Breaking Bad. I am a teacher and work with fairly educated colleagues and let me tell you (rhetorical you) that I haven’t met one person (well, maybe one) person who has shown the slightest interest in debating the pros and cons of the surveillance program. And these are people who love to compare and contrast things for a living. Heck, most teachers I know aren’t even aware that their fellow teachers in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Mexico have been on the streets en masse protesting austerity cuts. Or that Detroit is bankrupt and Chicago kids have to walk through gang zones because their neighborhood has been shut down by Rahm Emanuel. Now, if Snowden and Greenwald were planning on leaking who has been predetermined by the NFL/ESPN/US Army to win the next Super Bowl, then we’d have some serious debates raging from sea to shining sea.

    • Tarzie says:

      I dunno, I shy away from this kind of thing. I think people’s apathy is somewhat warranted, considering what happens when we do something else. I think there is a class of people interested in debating this, and that’s why it’s being debated.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        What exactly happens when we do something else? Because apathy doesn’t seem to be working out so well for us (rhetorical us).

      • Tarzie says:

        See Occupy. See Manning. See Barrett Brown. See Jeremy Hammond.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        I grok your point but was referring more to low level awareness than actual actions.

      • Tarzie says:

        Oh yeah. But the two aren’t separate. I dunno. I get really sick of so much disproportionate blaming of indoctrinated, surveilled, overworked people for the shit we’re in, though I have those moments myself. It underestimates the scope of the problem I think. I do not fault people at all for just wanting to live their lives, which are hard enough.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Stockholm syndrome is a bitch and I’m not about blaming the victim. But there’s plenty of time to blame gays, immigrants and any other straw man that fits the narrative. It’s time to make time. I want people to be free, from the physical manifestations of oppression, sure. But I’m more interested in mental emancipation. I just wan to live my live too, my wife has a chronic illness and my son has special needs. I’ve been poor and I’ve been not as poor. My freedom is no longer dependent on my income, social class or status. Because I sympathize with the struggle it is for so many people to live and make ends meet, I at least want the attention focused where it belongs. As fascism has risen in Europe and people look for someone, anyone, to blame, the only way we will make it is together. But that won;t happen if we continue to allow ourselves to be divided much less conquered.

      • Tarzie says:

        True, and eloquently put, as usual. The least we can expect is for people to try to open their eyes.

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        Keep poking the gorillas in our midst. Somebody’s got to.

  8. Clyde says:

    Great great piece. Especially that last bit is so right…Thanks.

  9. Chad Austin says:

    Every time I see people talking about how awesome “debate” is I imagine “debate” as a pair of male peacocks engaged in a competitive, circular dance trying to out strut each other for the affection of their chosen mate. “My ideas are like my feathers, so bright and beautiful!”
    (I have no idea if that’s how peacocks mate and I’m not taking the time to google it.)

  10. Chad Austin says:

    Just in case it wasn’t clear, I was paraphrasing people who seem to always control or benefit from the debate, and love talking about how great debate is without ever wanting a real one.

    • Tarzie says:

      Chad —

      I admit I hadn’t quite understood what you meant, but I did enjoy the imagery, and I was also distracted by the delight of seeing you here.

      Yes, people who hate actual debates — at least the ones where they themselves are challenged — are always the ones extolling their virtues, preeningly, as you suggest. Greenwald now argues with Tarzie parody accounts to make his crucial debate points and creates social conditions where people are afraid to defend Chelsea Manning from these incessant libels. The Rancid Historical District is abuzz with debate of this kind, I hear.

      I hope you are enjoying a good beer right now. I am.

      Lovely to see you. Please drop by again.

  11. Trish says:

    Well I sure GG is proud of himself. In order to present Snowden as “the whistleblower’s guide to the galaxy” he had to kick Manning to the ground. Now he even has Cohen and the State singing his praises.

    Snowden’s claim that he vetted every document so as to be the anti Manning is ludicrous given the volume of material. Why did he lie and create a false narrative? and why did GG double down on what had to be an obvious lie – given the volume of documents. While GG hides behind his claim that he was Manning’s biggest supporter, with friends like that who needs them? What is even more sick is he did this while Manning was on trial. While it would have made no difference Manning’s legal case, GG has to know his countless appearances on MSM talking about Manning (bad) Snowden (good) whistleblower shaped and impacted public perception.

    I think we all know the “drip, drip” narrative is complete BS. GG has not written a story on US/UK in months, and I think it is pretty clear that those stories are being held back till he launches his new venture. After all to drive traffic and sell goggle ads he is going to need to launch with some “explosive” material. BTW, the reason his new venture will cover soft topics is not as Pierre stated – to pull in other audiences, but because companies will be wary about advertising on a site that focuses on whistle blowing, but will advertise if the site has more “soft” sections. Ask the Guardian.

    Great piece. Yes, how ironic we are having a debate about transparency, and people are to afraid to speak up about how the whistle blowers have become the gatekeepers, and instead of opening the floodgates to more whistle blowers they have now created a “good vs bad” whistle blower meme through which all will be judged.

    • BRUCE TYLER WICK says:

      I must respectfully disagree that Glen Greenwald’s public support of Manning would have made “no difference” to the outcome of Manning’s court-martial, verdict and sentence. Philosphically, Trish cannot know this. Practically speaking, all cases are tried, and decided, in a context. As part of their support, both Messrs. Greenwald AND Snowden could have publicly offered to testify at Manning’s court-martial–via deposition or video hook-up, if either or both could not risk appearing in person. The failure of the supposed “whistleblowers” to support each other is the single best indication Messrs Greenwald and Snowden are not what they seem–or all that they seem.

      • Tarzie says:

        Since Manning was the object of a show trial, I am inclined to agree with Trish on outcomes. I am also not sure what good polarizing figures like Greenwald and Snowden giving testimony — if they could have offered it — would have done in the larger sense, though I don’t feel I know the lay of the land enough to discount it for sure.

        I think the most important aspect of the Manning distortions is the aggressive shaping of opinion on whistleblowing as a whole. It has been incessant, and I don’t think any credibility was gained by it that wasn’t already obtained by The Guardian’s and Glenn’s showboaty gatekeeping. Also, while The Leak Keepers like to think of themselves as deftly working a hostile system, apart from the diehard reactionaries and NSA executives, they have been shown the greenest of lights.

        I also find it interesting that Thomas Drake, an ex-whistleblower, is following suit with the mandatory Manning/WL theme in the WaPo article, which as reader @mspbwatch showed above, signifies a change in attitude.

      • mspbwatch says:

        Whistleblowers don’t support each other whatsoever. Take the usual base emotions–pettiness, envy, anger, etc.–and add in dysfunction and lack of communication and then raise the stakes for having been publicly humiliated and lost a family and life savings… they/we are victims of a kind of crime, just not that’s recognized under any criminal statute. And the handlers exploit this ripe situation for publicity, information commodity, donations, funding, etc.

      • Tarzie says:

        That’s fascinating. Can you direct my readers and me to anything that lays this out as a whole. Particularly interested in what you said earlier about whistleblowing org funding sources and how this tempers whistleblowing.

      • mspbwatch says:

        Sure, I cover this stuff at http://www.mspbwatch.org/category/ngo-accountability. I know FBI/911 whistleblower Sibel Edmonds covers this too at http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/tag/pogo. Others know and keep quiet about it out of politeness or whatever, but we’re fractured. For anyone interested, I compiled news articles about whistleblower rights from the late 1980s to almost the present, at http://mspbwatcharchive.wordpress.com/category/dont-sue-publicize/. I’m up to 2008 these days. That was when the community really began dividing, when the White House got involved and co-opted some groups and objected to national security whistleblower protections, and some groups went along (the ones standing behind Snowden and Drake, by the way). The fallout from that left a lot of resentment. I’ve started airing this stuff since about 2011 and i’m still at it, so I’m not where things stand right now but I think it allowed people in the community to at least quietly revoke their blind support for some of these groups.

      • mspbwatch says:

        There’s no one place that’s organized all of the information. With blogging I cover things that come up, but a review of the NGO Accountability posts would give a good overview, one post at a time, I guess. I intend to look into the foundational ties but as a side project I haven’t made much progress yet.

      • Tarzie says:

        I tried to look into foundational ties to nonprofit left media. That is hard going. The funders don’t talk and the recipients don’t talk.

      • mspbwatch says:

        Here’s The Nation on the Center for American Progress and a run-around by them:

        Interesting stuff but you’re right, there isn’t enough of it.

      • Tarzie says:

        I am sure the Nation has secrets of its own. Surprising to see them going after CAP.

      • mspbwatch says:

        Sure. For non-profits, IRS laws don’t require disclosure of donors, but credit where due, Soros discloses some amounts, which can be instructive: here’s $500k for GAP in 2012: http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/about/programs/us-programs/grantees/government-accountability-project-1. The program director worked on Obama’s transition team. So how’s that for government accountability? And this is a group that was spun off from the Institute for Policy Studies. Just look at their origins in the anti-war movement: http://www.ips-dc.org/about/history.

        This is where we’ve come: left-wing groups get their funding from billionaires who hire Obama acolytes. Obama says no to protecting the Drakes and Snowdens, and these groups suppress outrage among the grassroots and then turn around to promote Snowden from Russia and Drake after being almost destitute, who now probably gets some money from them for participating in a GAP college tour and being an Obedient Whistleblower.

      • Tarzie says:

        It’s pretty shameful that political media are so opaque about their funding. Commercial media are inherently more transparent in this regard.

  12. parink says:

    The trouble with a home in the Hamptons is that you have to live around Hamptonians.

  13. diane says:

    Of course I can’t prove it, but the Snowden bit seems to be directly related to a highly ugly punitive notice which AT&T enclosed in their last statement, which (reading between the lines) threatens AT&T customers about illegally recording conversations (While AT&T has been privy to, and a more than willing Profiteer party to the fact that corporations and the Government have been allowed, legally (let alone the illegal part), via loopholes written into The Law to record every complaint and outraged comment ‘the populace’ utters. This, …. from AT&T, which “illegally” wiretapped all of its “customers.”

    And bleakly hilarious that one, as our continually Progressing!!!!!! technology, has pretty much obsolesced recording devices which are not ultimately fed to The Cloud. I have two tape recorders which I’ve attempted to record abuse by Corporations/Employers/ and Corrupt Politicians conversations on, neither of them work anymore, and they aren’t even old.

    I remember calling AT&T a few years back and opting for the I don’t want this call recorded option, to see what would result. A young fucker, who sounded like the worse sort of sadistic cop (certainly didn’t sound like the representative of a company I was paying good money to in order to communicate with those I care for) wanted to know my driver’s license number and told me I would have to call a different phone number.

    So let’s get this straight, the recent revelations have our wire tappers feeling even more Aggressive about any attempt to counter act Corporate and Political Abusers?

    (And yeah, Glenn’s Omidyar connection should be ominous to anyone who is not brain dead.)

    • Tarzie says:

      Diane,

      Since you know a lot about SilVal, can you give me some tips on getting any back story on Omidyar? Google leaves the indication that he doesn’t even have friends. Everything is very superficial: founded Ebay. Got rich. Philanthropy. The End. Most damning thing is his political contributions, like the boatload he gave to Dianne Feinstein.

      • diane says:

        I’ll think on it honey, unfortunately there are some pressing issues I’m needing to deal with so it may take a bit. Also, as you’ve likely become aware, there is much that has been swept, or highly obscured, from internet searches. Further, one can’t necessarily rely on Sly Con Valley Libraries (a bleakly depressing story in and of itself.), which would, presumably, contain historic info.

      • Tarzie says:

        Tell me this: are both the NSA and CIA equally involved in SilVal? My gut sense is that the NSA is not as deeply involved out there, except in the way of mining data. CIA seems more involved in shaping products.

      • diane says:

        (oh, and don’t get me started on that nasty ass bitch and her despicable husband’s [Namaste! Dick Blum!!!!!] human suffering profiteering.)

      • Tarzie says:

        I know, Omidyar’s support for Feinstein is the most glaring contradiction re his great gushing interest in transparency and accountable government.

      • diane says:

        indeed Tarzie. And they must be really sweating that there are more of us than them.

      • diane says:

        Another Erasable:

        check at this CALI Based Cesspool Site [FIRE DOG [Huh?] LAKE [PIT] !!!!!!!! piece, from yesterday: Scahill, Greenwald, Poitras and Omidyar: the New Media Venture for potential ‘outliers’ who might provide something to look into . I ended up falling down the OMIDYAR MICROFINAN$$$$$E PIT, for just one example of “bunny” holes to pursue……….

  14. diane says:

    I can’t answer the NSA versus CIA questions, because I have no clue as to how they overlap behind closed doors.

    Of course the only open doors are those of us commenting on the Web, SIIIGHHHHHH, [Fruitlessly] Calling our Reps!!! [Whose Lines Are Tapped] , Writing [Ignored] Letters to the Fourth E$tate!!!!!!!!!! [Who insist on DNA before Publication] Calling Talk Radio [which refuses to respond to caller id blocking]!!!!!!]

    (In otherwords, the populace is not generally afforded a surprise attack against the powers that be.)

    :0(

    • diane says:

      (Further, with all of the “can no longer afford my apartment, despite being able to afford it previously, and for years” evictions; illegal foreclosures; FORCED TRANSIENCE – across the UZ[$] – much of the populace has lost any communications value (and comfort) they might have in knowing whether to trust their ‘physical, ‘ ‘geographic’ neighbors ….. a “creature, not a bug” (thank you “jb”).)

  15. Jay says:

    The “he dumped without knowing what was in them” whine is a stupid distinction that was actually used by Good Democrats to distinguish Chelsea from Daniel Ellsberg as well. Ellsberg didn’t carefully comb through every page of the 18,000 pentagon papers and pick and choose stuff…. he released it all, same as Chelsea, same as Snowden.

    • Tarzie says:

      That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about Ellsberg. I don’t know anything about his methodology. No real whistleblowing can take place if the benchmarks are a layer of vetting by the whistleblower and a second layer by a small gaggle of select journalists. That’s why this constant drumbeat is so pernicious.

  16. Bill Wolfe says:

    I agree with you and raised these same issues from there start in comments on Greenwald’s site:

    Publican commented on Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations.11 Jun 2013 5:48pm 2

    A few more things that are troublesome.

    Snowden – as Glenn himself noted when he contrasted Snowden with Manning and Assange on TV – actually UNDERMINES Manning and Assange and the Wikileaks model.

    Snowden is said to have “carefully reviewed” his disclosures to avoid harm. Manning to said not to have done that.

    Snowden is said to have given the carefully reviewed documents to responsible journalists, instead of simply “dumping” them by uploading them to the internet, like Wikileaks and Manning are accused of.

    In this way, Snowden hurts both Manning and Wikileaks by legitimizing their critics.

    Snowden is portrayed as “brave”, while Manning and Wikileaks are cowards who hide behind the anonymity of the internet.”

  17. Ned Ludd says:

    As a side note, in regards to your update, when Wikileaks started, all documents were going to published on their website for anybody to read. According to their 2009 “About” page, Wikileaks was originally “an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis.”

    “Wikileaks opens leaked documents up to stronger scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency can provide. Wikileaks provides a forum for the entire global community to relentlessly examine any document for its credibility, plausibility, veracity and validity.

    […]

    “In an important sense, Wikileaks is the first intelligence agency of the people.”

    • Tarzie says:

      That’s helpful, and it’s on those aspirations that both proponents and detractors make their case. But by the time Cablegate rolled around they had morphed into something else, with redactions, offers for vetting by government officials and partnerships with mainstream news outlets, and that ‘s after having simply sat on the diplomatic cables for what, 7 months, as PJ Crowley fondly recalls. One lesson that keeps being learned over and over again is that the State loves delays in leaking, and they love vetting by mainstream media, which is what any intelligent person, in the absence of a campaign by beloved whistleblowers and journalists, would certainly assume. So any outfit or journalist who is just sitting on them, on the grounds that this is absolute torture for government officials, is pulling a con.

  18. davidly says:

    Not entirely off topic, the following demonstrates a strategy through which our enforcers might establish a proper way to illegally wiretap:

    Federal Prosecutors, in Policy Shift, Cite Warrantless Wiretaps As Evidence

    • Jay says:

      This is frightening. Illegal wiretapping soon to be legal when the right wing sickos on the supreme court get their say.

  19. trish anderson says:

    Really glad I stumbled upon this post- a lot of interesting points I hadn’t really considered. Points to how we can- unwittingly- get complacent in and erect borders on our thinking, if that makes any sense…

    And I think the Snowden the Acceptable Leaker message succeeded so well partly because the government’s and their media sycophant’s initial attacks on Snowden/Greenwald successfully put their defenders on the defensive…Shows yet again just how effective and insidious the govt/beltway spin/propaganda is, even for those who consider themselves aware.

    Anyway, good post. Thanks.

    • Tarzie says:

      the government’s and their media sycophant’s initial attacks on Snowden/Greenwald successfully put their defenders on the defensive

      Might explain why people gave it a pass, but Greenwald/Snowden started with this shit out of the gate — on the very day Snowden was introduced to the public — a preemptive supplication that was not obviously required in the least, and they could have certainly made the (fabricated) point of Snowden’s meticulousness without throwing Manning under the bus. Greenwald has further played his broken record about dumping over and over, not simply to prove his obedience to the state’s ideas about proper whistleblowing, but to silence critics on the left who accuse him of leaking too little.

  20. I linked to this article on my blog’s FB-page, along with 3 of your whistleblower commandments, and this morning a commenter shared this from a thread on cpunks.org, where Jacob Appelbaum may or may not know, that he is responding to something from a Tarzie-post:

    “coderman: Don’t be like Chelsea Manning and Wikileaks, that is, indiscriminate, reckless and dangerous to both national security and human life…”

    “This is total horse shit. It is completely inaccurate and completely
    insulting to Manning, WikiLeaks and many many others.

    All the best,
    Jacob”

    https://cpunks.org//pipermail/cypherpunks/2013-October/001835.html

    H/T Jens

    • Tarzie says:

      Very strange how Applebaum decontextualizes a quote and then begins trashing but then Applebaum has been distinguished the past several months by the extent to which he hypes the NSA story and runs interference for Greenwald. He’s becoming an increasingly weird, dishonest creep.

      There’s a whole lotta stupid on that thread, but the person named Jen takes the cake for misreading and then idiotically posturing. Greenwald and Snowden have an incomparable capacity for making people ridiculous.

      • Right, we will have to see if Appelbaum takes a job at eBay News, too. He obviously means what he says here, though, which is good.

        It’s pretty scary to see highly intelligent people from the Greenwald Comment Section Elite Group and others suddenly behaving like Obamabots. I’ve seen them on a daily basis debate and ridicule Obama fans for their inability all of a sudden to read, comprehend, criticize, be open-minded, be rational and so on. And then the same thing happens to them, and they can’t see it. It’s like a scene out of From Dusk till Dawn. Come on, Sex Machine!

      • Tarzie says:

        They’re worse than Obamabots because a lot of them are angling for jobs, and the level of dishonesty and authority-worship is particularly unbecoming considering what they all ostensibly stand for. It’s disgusting.

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  23. diane says:

    As to Markos’ CATO piece, which I referenced/linked to above: to cut to the chase and avoid anyone being won over by the abundant ‘weasle’ wordings (and out and out falsehoods as to what Markos’ CIA FanBoy ideology really is), I probably should have highlighted the following stunning lie (just ask the remaining and dwindling community of African American descendents, chronically and deliberately unemployed and now blocked in a teeny square (never need an ambulance at Ru$h Hour when trapped there) by high commerce traffic (which provides them absolutely no benefit ) between the Face Fiend Corpse Headquarters, and Highway 101; females; any youth who doesn’t have a $$$$$$$ied Background/or Engineering Degree at an Ivy League School; or, anyone with no financial backing who is over 35 and who is not a ‘Reputable!’ Politician/Academic/Engineer …. as to the following bold faced lies, regarding equality and hard work trumping the DOD MONIED ROT and Corruption in $ly Con Valley):

    My libertarian tendencies have always found a welcome home in the Silicon Valley culture (and in all of the nation’s great technology centers). It is a place where hard work and good ideas trump pedigree, money, the color of one’s skin, nationality, sex, or any of the artificial barriers to entry in most of the rest of the world. It is a techno-utopia that, while oft-criticized for a streak of self-important narcissism, still today produces the greatest innovations in technology in the world. Where else could such a motley collection of school dropouts, nerds, brown people (mostly Indian), and non-Native English speakers (mostly Chinese), not just rise to the top of their game, but dominate it?

  24. diane says:

    just touching down (wish I had the time to spit out more), there was something (not to mention that Ob$cene Wealth, which is never, ever, come upon by caring for the rest of humanity) that really niggled at me re Omidyar in that Omidyar first hit my consciousness in re: the Sunlight Foundation, which was heavily funded by both Dick Blum’s (DIFI’$ Hubby) bud bud Michael Klein – at the same time that DIFI’$ Ob$cene Amoral Profiteering, via her Power on the Appropriations Committee, was being exposed – and Omidyar.

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  27. Michael Griffin says:

    Also in Kos – which I haven’t read at all since 2004 – news:Ted Rall’s forced to scrape accusational dog shit off his artistic shoes, because Obama is not to be portrayed as a “gorilla” even when he’s not being so portrayed by Rall, who, whatever the consensus here or there about his efficacy or insight or aesthetic strengths or radical cred, is clearly not even close to slightly racially biased. The whole episode’s molto disgusting, and would be disheartening if the motherfuckers weren’t so obviously terrified of the near future’s impending changes.
    There’s dust from circling wagons in the air.

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  32. Omidyar is simply coming from a wealthy Iranian family. His parents were sent to Paris to study where he was born. When very many iranians could not read or did not have running water, sending a child to study in Paris indicates good bickies. A relative of mine was in Teheran in 1970 and saw people brushing teeth in the gutter. The best description of Iranian society before 1979 is in ‘Daughter of Persia” by Sattareh F.

    Curious that his name does not end with i, like with most Shiites. Sometimes people adopt a variation of their name when changing country (and alphabet).

    And a point on the whistleblowers: It is often criticised that the focus is on the US, but that has to do with language. Neither Snowden, nor Assange or Manning could check out ‘dirt files’ on other countries. And unfortunately in other language environments people do not blow whistles. I know from my own experience that in Germany corruption is swept under the carpet.

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