So What’s This About a Private NSA Document Reading Room?

I know, I know you’re tired of hearing about Snowden and Greenwald and Omidyar and First Look and I feel your pain, I really do. I want an end to this as much as you do, but see we’re in the final, definitive stages of this most historic event, the country’s first neoliberal whistleblowing. Yes, that’s right! I mean, look, here we have a public resource in the form of government documents affecting everyone on earth and paid for by the good people of the United States, the only complete cache of which has been effectively privatized by a bunch of rich white people, mostly dudes, who are also touting the private sector as the vessel of our deliverance from state surveillance evil. Yay Apple! Yay Google! Yay Whisper Systems! All of it wrapped in a tightly controlled, corporate mediated, relentlessly commodified narrative that is as much, if not more, about the self-actualization of the whistleblower and members of his inner circle as the global violation of human rights by the United States government. If that’s not neoliberal, I’m Augusto Pinochet! To make matters even more disquieting, this is being presented as a grand act of disobedience, a leftist act of disobedience. Can you believe it?

Yes, apparently many of you can!

But sorry, I can’t. You know me! Purist. I expect words to mean things. Words like “left”, for instance. In my world, left presupposes a politics that is at least a little communal and doesn’t extol oligarchs, corporations and Magic Dads. This ain’t that. This is the opposite of that. To be honest, I don’t think I have seen anything defended as ardently by the anglophonic internet Left this year as Mr. Glenn Greenwald’s right to squeeze every last dime and every last ounce of social capital out of these leaks, unimpeded by questions or criticism. Nevertheless, as grimly interesting as I find this ingenius neoliberal colonizing of left imaginations, I would happily quit blogging about it if something remotely like journalism were happening on the left in regard to it.

But of course, that is the great paradox of this renaissance in transparency and investigatish journalistics we are so lucky to be witnessing: its own exemption from transparency and near-complete immunity from investigative journalism!!! Even Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting can’t be bothered to raise any questions, let alone hard ones. Hell, FAIR’s Peter Hart even applauded Ryan Devereaux’s awful hit piece on Gary Webb. So as long as Team Omidyar keeps inadvertently trolling me with newsworthy bullshit, and people like Peter Hart still aren’t taking it up, I will struggle somewhat unsuccessfully to ignore it.

Which brings me around to the inspiration for this post. You will recall that the recent New York Magazine piece on Omidyar’s “insurgency”, contained this enticing detail:

Greenwald says [The Intercept] also plans to share [the leaks] with outside reporters and is building a secure “reading room” in its Fifth Avenue headquarters building, where it is currently renovating three floors.

How exciting, for those who still give a shit what’s in the leaks anyway. (Hint: Not me) But as I mentioned at the time and I’ll mention again — over a year ago I asked Greenwald why he didn’t make the leaks available to other journalists, while publicly observing — much to the Greenwald crew’s apparently eternal chagrin — that the fewer people had the leaks, certainly the higher their value. In the foamy, intentionally fallacious comment that launched a thousand trolls, this was Greenwald’s response:

As for why we don’t just hand out the documents like lolipops [sic] around the world, the answer is simple: we can’t legally. If we were to do that, we’d become distributors or sources, not journalists. We can only publish the documents journalistically, which means we have to work in partnership with those media outlets as journalists.

At the time I felt this explanation didn’t square with The Guardian providing a copy of their trove to The New York Times which, in turn, gave access to Pro Publica. This planned Intercept reading room seems to contradict Greenwald’s prior explanation in the same way.  So my question is, what’s changed? Why couldn’t this arrangement or something similar have been made before, especially since Snowden himself seemingly intended wider distribution early on:

If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.

In the absence of an explanation, I’m going to assume Greenwald lied, as he often does, and assume that my original inference — that he was hoarding leaks to keep their value high or and/or temper their impact — was possibly correct. I was going to let this pass when it first came up in New York Magazine, but it came up again today, when Jillian York asked Greenwald about who would get to use the repository:

This really seems to make it clear who owns these leaks –indefinitely — and who will continue to shape the narrative.  The irony is that as the grip on the leaks is about be loosened, if only slightly, I’ve stopped caring myself about what’s in them. I think we’re getting diminishing returns.  But it looks like we were lied to, and I think it’s reasonable to seek an explanation. I also think that further privatization of the leaks should be resisted on principle.

UPDATE

@ggreenwald @bbhorne How does this room square with your previous statement that “distributing” documents would legally make you a source?

— George Bell (@gbelljnr) (locked account)

*crickets

UPDATE 2

*crickets

Related

Take Your Drip and Stick It

My Reply to Greenwald’s Comments

The Pejorative Use of Dumping

A Heat Vampire in Search of a Movie Deal

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54 Responses to So What’s This About a Private NSA Document Reading Room?

  1. b-psycho says:

    A special reading room, so they can assure that the information comes out as slowly as possible. Sure looks like a lot of fear & compliance on their part…

    Eh, I figure if whatever was left of it really meant anything, the government would Bigfoot all over their self imposed restraint anyway. The structure around it all assumes boundaries that don’t actually exist for state action.

  2. but it does take some trust that we need to see.

    That’s one of the most awkward sentences that I’ve ever read. Trust as some sort of intransitive object that needs to be seen by a nebulous we. Did GG clarify this at all? Actually laying out who gets to access the Snowden stash seems like it could be a rubicon that may entail more risk for GG than he’s been willing to accept thus far, which may account for the odd language. What are the chances that anyone but the most narrow, circumscribed group get to see any even remotely significant portion of the docs?

    • Tarzie says:

      Yeah. And they’re still building it. Seems like maybe a show of greater openness that’s not ever going to materialize.

      I don’t think risk aversion has anything to do with it.

    • thombrogan says:

      To me, that read as a call for shameless prostration before and veneration of the father (GG), son (ES), and holy spirit (PO). If the going gets too tough, the journalist would need to ritually scar a likeness of David Miranda being interrogated by British police on her or his forehead.

  3. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    In typical neoliberal fashion, these grifters privatized the gains and are now ready to throw the remains overboard.

    Maybe they’ll offer the peasants guided tours of the Edward Snowden Memorial NSA Safe House Bunker Reading Room. They can brag about how their “interested parties” (vetted imperialists) now have a “safe space” to read overly technical outdated documents whose cache has dried up faster than tofu left out overnight.

    If anything sounds like a straight-up lie, it’s dropping big money building “document safe houses” for a journalism outfit that doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground. More money promised by PO for shit that won’t come to fruition. These self-serving greedy fucks must know they’re being played. But hey what’s a journalism outfit without a safe house bunker so you can read boring day-old documents even during a nuclear blast? Or an Occupy protest, which would scare these capitalist shit stains more than a nuke.

    I predict First Look will have folded by this time next year.

    • AmishRakeFight says:

      “In typical neoliberal fashion, these grifters privatized the gains and are now ready to throw the remains overboard.” – Well said. I’d add that also in typical neoliberal fashion, they took a lot of supposedly anti-authoritarian leftists for a ride in the process.

      I, too, couldn’t care less about what’s left in the trove. If Greenwald and The Intercept actually follow through with this limited-access reading room, I’ll take it as evidence that they also don’t mind much about what’s left, considering their past behavior of so carefully hoarding the documents and releasing them drop by drop.

      I do agree that it’s reasonable to seek an explanation for yet another flagrant lie from Greenwald and Co. So although I am completely over the whole damn Snowden spectacle, I still like to see criticism like this – especially when it vindicates things radicals have been saying since the beginning.

  4. Hooker Jay says:

    The irony there is if First Look last 20+ years, we’ll be comparing Omidyar to Reverend Moon …

  5. Dirty says:

    Does anyone else see the special circle Children’s Tree House dynamic for certain friends here(oh how the NSA is laughing)? Except children do it to, in most cases, keep out assholes(adults and bullies), not give them a safe perch. I imagine the royal “We” GG incorporates(meant in every sense) is headed by the Duke of Monetizing Charity and Responsible Dissent von Harmless Pissing in the Wind, Pierre Omidyar.

  6. Umfuld says:

    Peter Hart, from Fairness and Accuracy in Fellating Corporate Media Shills…

    • Steve says:

      Just saw you over on Pando commenting on the Ames craigslist-eBay spat piece. Nice. Buckmaster and Newmark appear to been awfully naive. Be nice to see one these humanitarian billionaires fly a little too close to the sun.

  7. Peter says:

    Wealth can buy anything… and it often buys mercenaries. Doesn’t matter whether they’re armed with a rifle or a reporter’s notebook. GG can keep greasing that ass till he’s sure we’ll all want to jump it, but it doesn’t alter the fact: in a presumed democratic society the lack of transparency is corruption on-its-face, period.

    Also, What exactly is a “secure” reading room? Does it include a full body scan or perhaps, joy of joys, an anal probe? Does the NYT have a “secure reading room”, or do they now maybe feel they’ll have to run out and get one just to keep up? Theatre.

  8. Michael says:

    Tarzie! Love the tone of this post–those first two paragraphs are funny and cutting. This whole bullshit Intercept/Greenwald/Snowden nonsense is such a parody of journalism.

  9. Maybe they can set up a little studio kind of thing in there and bring Assange over from England to live in it. He must be pretty used to captivity by now.
    Could be an extra feature/attraction. Read the trove, chat with the man.
    Course we’re talking two entirely different archives of documents, maybe the mix would be too discordant. Have to clarify that.
    5th Avenue Glenn versus Julian of the Embassy. Who’s got the real moral high ground?
    Or oh, hey, Chelsea Manning gets released into house arrest under the patronage of Pierre’s truth-bringers, welcome to Castle Intercept.
    What the hell bring Snowden and Brown and Hammond too. A whole cluster of captive residentials.
    The Zoo of Dissidents.
    With Greenwald as tour guide/impresario.
    “This way to the Egress.”

    • Goldfish Training Institute says:

      You just know they’re going to roll the journos to get in there and do the “viewing.” Not for nothing did PO drop a million or whatever on “reimagining” a “reading space.” Wonder what they’ll charge and sorry indie bloggers and journos, you can’t afford it! Oh well.

      Maybe they won’t get any takers. Who in their right mind would fly to NYC to view this shit when someone could just encrypt and email it? That isn’t even XX century journalism, it’s XIX century – it’s like having to go to a library and use one of those old machines (can’t even remember what they’re called) to read archived newspaper articles.

      It just gets weirder and weirder with every news item that comes out about this outfit. PO and GG really have no shame.

    • Tarzie says:

      You just know they’re going to roll the journos to get in there

      I dunno, they’re shameless, but I can’t imagine them charging. This is to make their dicks bigger and to give the appearance of openness while still keeping a tight grip on the secrets.

      • What if he is doing this to leave the documents out in the open while at the same time not be accused of being a “distributor”? There must be many differences, as far as legal definition goes, between spreading documents and making them available at a library where people can consult them. The fact that you don’t consider legal implications and self-preservation as legitimate concerns makes this discussion much less serious.

      • Tarzie says:

        What if he is doing this to leave the documents out in the open while at the same time not be accused of being a “distributor”…?

        If that’s the case he should explain. Since the reading room will still be under private auspices, this doesn’t at first glance make sense to the lay person, and the idea that he can keep the Feds off based on some technicality seems implausible. In any event, it still doesn’t answer why he didn’t make a similar arrangement to enhance distribution a year ago. Now here we are with less than 5% of the docs reported on, and Glenn cleaning up on deals and prizes in the competition-free conditions. Shame Luke Harding got the deal with Oliver Stone, though.

        The fact that you don’t consider legal implications and self-preservation as legitimate concerns makes this discussion much less serious.

        If by “less serious” you mean I’m not a worm slithering selflessly behind him, taking his word for things and witlessly insulting people who don’t, then, yeah, guilty. Thanks for bringing the gravitas.

        There is zero evidence that GG is in any danger at all, and why would he be when the most conspicuous outcomes over a year down the road are his vast personal enrichment and the opening of markets for encryption providers.

        Have you been in a coma? You’re over a year late with this bullshit.

      • AmishRakeFight says:

        Paula, if you still give Greenwald the benefit of the doubt, you haven’t been paying attention and you obviously haven’t read Tarzie’s extensive analysis prior to this post. So please, fuck off.

        And on the contrary, I think we are all very aware of Greenwald’s dedication to his self-preservation and self interest.

  10. diane says:

    the simple answer is that as long as the breaking news requires funding, the amount of which can only come from those who have deeply compromised their morals about what constitutes kindness as opposed to cruelty – in order to get by – it will always be rotted to the core.

    (pando, is a good example ….when the misogyny delayedly hit Sarah (of stunningly misogynist TechCrunch ‘token [sap] female’ origin$, origins which, for decades now have used the words: break, disrupt, crunch, as commonplace verbs which know no bounds, as compared to those who only use them in emergencies?), ‘all hell broke loose,’ but, prior to that, Sarah appeared absolutely oblivious, and many times antagonistic to the hideous history which in fact lured her into being such a disposable token.

    (pando, is a good example ….when the misogyny (not to even mention the racism and classism …take a look at Pando’s journalists) delayedly hit Sarah (of stunningly mysoginist TechCrunch ‘token [sap] female’ origin$, origins which, for decades now have used the words: break, disrupt, crunch, as commonplace verbs which know no bounds, as compared to those who only use them in emergencies?), ‘all hell broke loose,’ but, prior to that, Sarah appeared absolutely oblivious, and many times antagonistic to the hideous history which in fact lured her into being such a disposable token.

    • diane says:

      (many, many hugs out to sarah: all of us, older and been around longer folks may very well have done the same thing you did, wanting to believe that things were not so gruesome as you, in turn wanted to believe. Hugs to you sweetie! hang in.)

      • diane says:

        find that comfort where love dwells. honey, in your human family … the scent … the vocal timbre … that physical human embrace ….when the world you relied on to pay that mortgage …was up ended in the blink of a cold blooded reptile’s ‘smile’ … ……

    • diane says:

      Oh lord, and speaking of pando employee writers versus uber, thank you Mark Ames (despite your major blind spot, which we all have at one time or another), wish I could say I was surprised (and where is First Intercept on this, Pierre le Peu?)

      11/21/14 Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is joining Uber

      According to ABC, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will take a voluntary role as chairman of Uber Military [WHAT THE FUCK??????? A Pwogwessive Taxi service??????] Gates says he is “proud to be a part of this unprecedented effort by a single company to ensure that tens of thousands of our nation’s military members, veterans and spouses have access to a unique entrepreneurial opportunity.” [Source: ABC]

      Yep, all those PTSD/near suicidal young rust belt, et al -…was the only paying job they could get without hooked up parents, and if they had known what was to come …..they would not have done it – [suckered and bled off of, …. drier than dry ,…paler than pale (human leaches $ allowed to go wild with no contraints whatsoever)] Warriors! [en$laved by the thoroughly venal beings running things] MIC grunt labor/killing force; after their hideous experience killing innocent people ….. are more than welcome to “come back home” and be force dicked by Uber in order to – maybe somehow survive without decades of living in fear, probably not – live forever in poverty, horror and well earned rage against the monsters running things.

      VENAL AND EVIL MOTHERFUCKERS

      (thank you much for the link, Geronimo)

      • diane says:

        Speaking of thatGeronimo twitter ‘account’ … just caught up on the fact that he was mercilessly outed as to his real name and employer (which anyone sane realizes to be a death threat when a person is doing everything they can to reveal that the economic/political/now thoroughly militarized system all are forced to live under – in order to not be homeless in the most hideous sense of that word – is absolutely lethal).

        What to say, except: how stunningly venal.

  11. Lorenzo says:

    “Investigatish journalist,” “indy-poodle-ence” and “adverseriously” from a few weeks ago; the wordplay’s been top-notch recently.

  12. puscatel whineo says:

    How exciting, for those who still give a shit what’s in the leaks anyway. (Hint: Not me)

    Again our host hopes nobody remembers 3 months ago, or 6 months, or 9 months or 12.

    Used to be good old Tarzie was lodging as his main complaint the great power of the Snowden documents and the issue was, leak/drip vs mass emission.

    You can pretend it wasn’t so, Tarzie. After all, you stand for nothing but pretending to have known all along.

    • Tarzie says:

      You can pretend it wasn’t so, Tarzie.

      I’m not pretending anything. The post makes clear I’ve changed my mind, but for the record, “leak/drip vs mass emission” was Greenwald’s framing, not mine. Cool how you still let him think for you, though, despite how my varied objections to Greenwald’s custodianship are in plain sight on this blog. I backed off of “mass emission” very early on, and the slow drip was only one of many concerns I shared over the leaks, which anyone who actually reads me — as opposed to scanning for trolling opportunities — well knows. This is from a post I wrote over a year ago on his movie deal:

      Which brings us back round to Greenwald, who by virtue of having, in just four months, remade the following as credibly left tactics for contending with a massive surveillance apparatus, is some kind of Terminator 2 of heat vampirism, the likes of which I have never seen before:

      • Intellectual property monopoly
      • The concealment of vastly more state secrets than are disclosed
      • The safeguarding of ‘national security’
      • Control by US/UK media elites of state secrets affecting everyone in the world
      • An overwhelming focus on policy change in the US
      • A campaign against unmediated leaking that began with the disparagement of Chelsea Manning
      • Authoritarian beatdowns of criticism from the left

      This post also from last year, elaborates on concerns that go well beyond the speed of dislosure.

      Here’s a comment I left on the Cats Not War blog, where Greenwald’s framing of my concerns was also accepted as fact.

      When I did advocate wider distribution — via distribution to other journalists, not dumping — I thought more highly of Snowden and had more faith in the disruptive power of his leaks. Even if I hadn’t revised my opinion on Snowden, the leaks and on the value of whistleblowing generally, I’d still believe that the slow drip had killed any disruptive power the leaks might have once had, and wouldn’t give a shit what happens now.

      How depressing that over a year since social psychosis descended on you morons and you decided to go to war over shit most of you don’t even read — Why read? It’s enough to know I don’t like Greenwald! — you are still ignoring merits and failing to catch me — again — in some stupid gotcha, predicated on Glenn’s deliberate, self-serving narrowing of the terms. When you guys set yourselves on this course was the goal to prove to me Greenwald’s unique attraction to infantile, self-satisfied, conformist dolts? If so, you succeeded in spades, but at nothing else. Is there a timeline for when you idiots recognize you lost this argument and move on? Here’s an idea: try reading me, carefully, so you understand what arrogant, stupid asses you’ve been and why I regard you with unconcealed disgust.

      • Twoair S. Menti-Roso says:

        http://www.ianwelsh.net/surveillance-states-and-the-end-of-freedom/

        good job on the invective
        keep slinging the poop
        you always knew, didn’t you?

        that’s why all those historic endorsements of Greenwald and the continuing non-criticism of Greenwald that offers itself as criticism but really only offers catty one-liners and pretenses that Tarzie is the better — well we don’t know what, exactly. a better Greenwald, more deserving of the Omidyar money? no, Tarzie needs no money, the trust fund is flush for decades.

        seethe and fume some more, you little fraud

      • Tarzie says:

        Doh. I shoulda known it was you Oxy, but the bot-like acceptance of GG’s framing threw me off. I suppose you linked to that Ian Welsh post because you think the quote from me in comments contradicts me, but, of course it doesn’t. You really should try reading your own evidence some time, at a pace suited to the slower processing of the older brain. I’m quite happy with that passage, btw, and ratify most of it now. As catty one-liners go it’s very well-written and time has only vindicated me. The way people bought the entirely counterintuitive drip/drip bullshit, such that Lisa Simeone felt compelled to qualify her inclusion of the quote from this blog, suggests mass psychosis, and demonstrates the pernicious power of celebrity liars like Greenwald in a conformist culture.

        I wish you’d convince Greenwald of how I’ve really been flattering him all this time. Maybe he’d call off the robotic trolls that have harassed me every day for over a year now. I also wish I had that trust fund everyone keeps talking about. It seems to me that people who think the independently wealthy waste time blogging and tweeting have very stunted imaginations, but then when all stimuli get filtered through narcissism and a bad education, imagination is the least of the casualties.

        Imagine you, denigrating my “seething and fuming.” Of all the ways trolls comically betray their complete self unawareness, the lessons on being more pleasant are my absolute favorite.

  13. Hieroglyph says:

    I’m wondering what a ‘secure reading room’ looks like. If I’m not mistaken, such a thing doesn’t exist, because basically nothing is secure. It’s hardware, software, and encryption standards that have been compromised. So, you know, good luck with that secure room.

    I’m also vaguely wondering if The Intercept have a business model to monetize the docs. Neoliberals, famously, believe everything can – should – be monetized, after all. That would be something: little Snowden franchises, all over the world, licensed like McDonalds. Ghastly – and entirely in line with Pierre’s thinking.

  14. teri says:

    I’m still stuck on the idea that these documents rightfully and morally belong to the public. Not to Greenwald or Omidyar or some “journalists” who have the jack and the time to travel to a NY “reading room”. Where, I might ask, who, exactly, will then be able to ascertain that they are “journalists” and not some FBI/NSA/CIA/Academi fuckheads pretending to be journalists? Greenwald is going to vet these people, make sure the documents are secure and used properly? Oh, give me a fucking and well-deserved break. Greenwald hired himself out (and along with himself, the Snowden cache – the whole set of documents, you savvy?) to a man he never even met in person.

    And why is the job description of journalist the only criteria? The journalists who have written articles about the documents admit they can’t understand the stuff without their teams of IT techno-wizards poring over them for months and generating Cliff Notes for them. Do they get to bring their pet geeks with them? And, wait, I thought he had to be careful that all this stuff was oh-so carefully handled for the sake of national security? In his own articles, he redacts shit, and he has furthermore admitted he leaves parts out at the behest of the government, but now he seems to be saying that none of that matters any more. Or maybe he is going to make certain that only “safe to publish” items are available for perusal. Pre-redaction, if you will. (Sounds like a sexual dysfunction, doesn’t it? Heh.)

    Greenwald is going (or has just gone) to a meeting with a bunch of really rich CEOs and Important News People [the list of attendees is secret, for the most part], where he gets to meet Omidyar for the first time. Ironic that you can get so seriously fucked by and/or fuck around with someone that you haven’t met face-to-face yet, and I’d like to segue into a discussion of fucking in general and the issue of who is fucking whom here, but I will forebear. The meeting is to decide about the Future of How News Will Be Presented to the Public. It is sponsored by fucking GOOGLE, for God’s sake. If that doesn’t tell you who Greenwald is, nothing will.

  15. Pingback: Blog Postmortem: learning from the billionaire journalism model | Nathan L. Fuller

  16. Dissent Now says:

    The crickets, and I’m assuming that’s the only sound we’re still hearing, boggle me, even if they should not. I can only presume no one respectable enough (not to knock whomever already has) has asked Greenwald to expand on this. This was such a linchpin of his defense in the early days, and now I am truly curious as to how the reading room squares with that earlier shelter. Plus, I can’t imagine it would even take that many words to explain the thing. And yet, apparently, crickets, still.

    I suppose that’s the larger story, really, that no one of enough (apparent) import HAS asked the question.

    • Tarzie says:

      Plus, I can’t imagine it would even take that many words to explain the thing. And yet, apparently, crickets, still.

      Maybe the earlier business about being a source was just bullshit. That seems like the simplest, most plausible explanation.

      I agree entirely on the larger story being how Greenwald is never pressed to explain this or anything else, while he whines that he’s damned no matter what he does.

  17. Bitman says:

    It’s not good enough, his silence. His two primary explanations for not sharing the documents more widely were:

    1. I am strictly following Snowden’s requests, and thus criticizing my media strategy is really an implicit criticism of him; and

    2. Wider disclosure would risk making me a source, which I won’t do.

    Both explanation have been exposed as utter bullshit. For one thing, Snowden’s concerns over media strategy were vague, confused, and largely procedural. Greenwald clearly and self-servingly took full advantage of the vagueness to enrich himself. Good luck trying to parse Snowden’s high-school level musings about the “free press” in this recent Q&A with Lawrence Lessig at Harvard:

    http://www.openculture.com/2014/10/edward-snowden-explains-why-he-blew-the-whistle-on-nsa.html

    btw, the Racket has closed up shop for good before it ever published a story. FLM looks more and more like a well-plotted cul-de-sac of diversion for journalistic talent:

    Since Matt Taibbi’s departure, we’ve been working with the team he hired to consider various options for launching a project without him. After multiple explorations, we’ve decided not to pursue the project. Unfortunately, this means that the team Matt hired will be let go. Though their tenure was brief, we appreciate the passion and energy each member of the team brought to the workplace, not to mention their hard work on behalf of Matt’s original project. We wish them all the best.

    Don’t you love the “we”?

    • wendyedavis says:

      I’d forgotten the ‘the Racket’ was the name of Taibbi’s stillborn magazine. By way of a Modest Proposal: ‘The Intercept’ might be rechristened ‘the Racket’.

      What was the general reaction from the commentariat to this news by the Royal We fellow?

      Thanks for this piece, Tarzie. Once I’d seen the reading room notion brought, along with Matt’s departure, *and* that another journalist is ‘now on board’ who will do something or other with the Snowden docs, I’d begun to picture those under-sized-for-the-drivers cartoon jalopies belching smoke and leaving parts along the road. Pluto may have been driving one that I remember.

  18. Goldfish Training Institute says:

    All power to the people of Ferguson and those standing against white supremacy, killer cops, and the violence of capitalism.

    Blackout: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year —

  19. Goldfish Training Institute says:

  20. goatsing says:

    Hello Tarzie,

    I know we’ve never been particularly fond of each other and I know you dislike off-topic posts. I hope you won’t take offense with my use of your comment section. I tried to create a new twitter account to post this myself, but twitter now requires a cell-phone number to create an account, and I am against giving twitter information that serves no purpose other than to profile/identify me. Here’s goatsing’s final post and my 2 cents about @jbjabroni10’s witch hunt, for what it’s worth:

    http://pastebin.ca/2879608

    P.S. Goatsing was never meant to be anonymous. I’m pretty sure there are some people out there who must know who I am. Perhaps they’d like to doxx me as well…in the interest of fighting against the USG’s dragnet surveillance…cowards.

    P.P.S. I hope you’re considering writing about this attempt to get @jbjabroni10 fired from his job. This is cyber bullying must be called out (and some of them have the face to compare themselves with anti-fascist Spanish Civil War fighters. Disgraceful!)

    • Tarzie says:

      Thanks for this.

      I don’t recall what we fell out over and don’t hold a grudge. I greatly appreciated the work you did analyzing First Look’s effect on writer output and have cited it often. You’re welcome here anytime.

      As to off-topic posts, I just require that they be compelling enough to warrant the potential derailment. I also have a fairly expansive view of what on-topic is. Since I do not distinguish between the riff raff orbiting around GG and the riff raff orbiting around TOR, you’re not even off-topic.

      As to writing about the outing, I’ll signal boost people who do, but I’m tired of being one of like five people writing about this co-option by techno-liberal-tarian shitstains. I think you have the right idea by just getting away from it. They won Twitter and it’s not gonna change.

      UPDATE: I read your piece a couple times and I really appreciate it. The last paragraph is particularly powerful. You’re wide awake and it’s contagious. Happy to see lots of people reading it.

      • goatsing says:

        Sorry for the late response. I’ve stayed away from twitter since I wrote that post and until today when curiosity got the best of me and I noticed the attacks had continued against you. I’m sorry to see that happen.

        Thank you for tweeting my piece and thank you for your kind words. I appreciate many of your posts and enjoy your questioning of the ‘acceptable left,’ something that is much needed. After the short time I spent on twitter, I conclude that the possibility of the internet as a platform for real systemic change (if it ever existed) was lost when these kinds of platforms came into existence: for profit ‘malls’ where the ideal of ‘free-speech’ is tweaked to favor the existing power structures. For the most part, the idea that these platforms democratize speech is compatible with the idea that representative democracies really express the will of ‘the people’ (also similarly tweaked, btw). As such, I have come to think of my participation as not much more than an endorsement. Of course, this is just an opinion and as I mentioned at some point earlier I am happy to see others try different paths toward emancipation. For my part — although it might sound clichéd — I’ve come to appreciate the following maxim: Think globally; act locally. I see two main possible paths: radical civil disobedience & exit, finding the later most appealing to my character, disposition and personal situation.

        It seems to me that most of the people attempting quick, massive global changes now-a-days are technocrats with scant (even unethical, and almost always individualistic) political education. I have little respect for these ambitious halfwits that intend to change the world but cannot be bothered to start by examining the steps of some of those who came first. This is the case with most online activism and from my limited experience was the case with the occupy movements. Times like the ones we’re living are ripe for totalitarian thought and desperate, politically ignorant, technically adept people have traditionally been of much use for these kinds of right-wing movements disguised as revolutions.

        Thank you for the invitation to comment on here. I will certainly visit and read your posts. I have not made up my mind whether I will continue to write under the same moniker. If I do, I will do so in your comment section as well.

      • Tarzie says:

        Goatsing —

        Good to hear from you. I think I agree with everything you’ve just written and have very little to add. I like your analogy of these democratized platforms to representative democracy. These social media oligopolies have almost completely eliminated the threat posed by the internet that made Gary Webb such a provocation. Indeed, they seem to provide an additional layer of opinion-monitoring and niche-manipulating, as well as vastly more efficient ostrascism campaigns. They also provide more catharsis. The sense that sharing and consuming information about how fucked we are somehow helps to resolve the problem.

    • diane says:

      I know that comment above was not addressed to me, but just want to say:
      beautiful piece, ‘goatsing’.

      thank you so very much, and yes, it is so very ugly that Geronimo may have been so deliberately crippled by that Outing, that …

      • goatsing says:

        Thank you.

      • diane says:

        You’re so welcome honey, absolutely loved this too:

        I conclude that the possibility of the internet as a platform for real systemic change (if it ever existed) was lost when these kinds of platforms came into existence: for profit ‘malls’ where the ideal of ‘free-speech’ is tweaked to favor the existing power structures. For the most part, the idea that these platforms democratize speech is compatible with the idea that representative democracies really express the will of ‘the people’ …

        I believe there are millions and millions of us with much the same thoughts. …

  21. diane says:

    just read earlier today that Geronimo was/still is taking care of elderly parents.

    I’d like to spit on – then punch in his clearly well [hubris/payoff] filled gut till he can’t catch his breath – that mysterious Guardian Free lancer subhuman who so readily felt free to exponentially multiply –Major [United Kingdom!] Nooz Source Validate! – the vicious and venal attack on Geronimo.

    as to the Misogyny claims, I’m a middle aged female – with, by now, a fine tuned misogyny alert system – who had been checking his links/notes for nearing a year or more now, never once do I recollect being offended by misogyny on his part.

    Am wondering who it was who asked him to write that vile hit piece, among other wonderings about how that mysterious male became an unquestioned, paid Expert Assassin who is stunningly hard to research as to any credentials, or background, on The Web.

    • diane says:

      raconteur.com [“tomb”… and that highly obfuscating “fox” addition too] indeed, you vile, pathetic piece of slime who got paid to terrorize and impoverish [BURY ALIVE] someone clearly trying to care for his parents while also feeling obliged to alert people to ghastly sub humans cloaked as saviours and the, even more devious, faux bot technoctratic responsibility shoes Voter’ flock.’

    • diane says:

      The U$ “contact” number of that large, European Nooz Site which sponsored that lethal assassination piece (of course it’s a Wall Street/Manhattan, New York “contact.” number):

      (917) 261-4904

      The European “contact” number is:

      020 3353 2000

      • diane says:

        You’re welcome, it’s sickening what was done to him; and It would not surprise me (actually I suspect it) if someone[s] fairly high up on the totem pole played a role in it.

      • diane says:

        Yep (and it’s a lethal feature, not a bug), someone commented:

        .. psyops are a thing, and it’s absurd that people can’t speculate without opening themselves up to this shit [as in: previously unknown United Kingdom ‘cyber expert awarded “ free lance journalist”’ who’s likely only known, among a wee wee circle, for promoting The Cloud and the Internet of Things!, destroying an entire family without a thought]

        (Thank you someone else)

      • diane says:

        (not to put words in another’s mouth (as that could likely be lethal too, in the mean horrifyingly $ecurity Gated environment of $ocial Media!), the bracketed commentary was mine alone.)

  22. diane says:

    yep, the most ghastly thing about $ocial Media!™ (Face Book™/BlogSpot!/G Mail™/Twitter™/Tor!™/and who knows what the clearly lost any sense of humility Matt Mullenweg/Wordpress is involved in, et al), is that one will be absolutely buried into obscurity (though not before they are proclaimed dinosaurs of the first order, even while those persons are clearly the only ones in the house using any sort of logic) if they even give a whiff of asking the $ (& it’s most fervent servers) in $ocial Media!™ any obvious (decades old now) questions.

    then, after that questioning person is buried into obscurity, if they start to insist, and really dig in, perhaps call someone a “bitch” … (who the fuck has not?) they are not only buried into obscurity, but, in venal ‘la$t word’: their disabled parents are highlighted in an unspeakably vile threat (not only a threat, but in the current environment, a death knell) to that person and those most important to that person ….

  23. diane says:

    (not able to to post this on your most recent post (I suspect you’ve shut down comments, on that one, for good reason)

    So very sorry, I know how unspeakably horrid it is to discover that someone has literally faked a person’s identity. Oxy-pez candy-threegens (careful newcomers, do read between the lines as to where that site owner has expended its energies), et al did that to me one eve at Michael Smith’s ‘site,’ Stop Me Before I Vote Again by posting as me (after repeatedly claiming that I was one of Michael’s “Sock Puppets,” even though Michael Smith appeared (in my thoughts, though I agreed with enough of Michael’s notes about being human in the U$ to feel okay commenting there) to hold me at arms length … not always understanding of what I was attempting to add to the conversation (I don’t blame Michael for that, we’ve lived different lives) – which of course makes that entity (Oxy-pez candy-threegens), which near immediately started attacking me when I started commenting on your site, the first suspect in my mind as to that BroPair/tarzie.txt acccount; though I don’t also doubt it could have been any number of inter connected and sickening death cult entities, or, persons stirred up -by those same entities – towards attacking someone no better off than themselves). Hang in there dear you have provided many of us presumed to be ‘no ones’ with strength in numbers.

    Do you know if Geronimo is okay? ….hugs to him, his mom , his dad and everyone he has been worried about.

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