Monday, June 10, 2013

Another Peculiar Detail

When did "Mindless" and "Indiscriminate"...
“We’re not engaged in a mindless, indiscriminate document dump, and our source didn’t want us to be,” said Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian writer, in an email to BuzzFeed Saturday. “We’re engaged in the standard journalistic assessment of whether the public value to publication outweighs any harms.” 
“We’re applying the standard judgment test that journalists apply every day: first, is it newsworthy and relevant, ie, is there public interest in knowing this?” Greenwald told BuzzFeed. “If so: is there genuine harm that comes from publication? And if there is harm, does the public value outweigh/justify the harm?” 
He said he didn’t think there was “even a conceivable argument that anything we’ve published thus far causes any harm.
...get to be bad things (via Bmaz at Emptywheel)?

Daniel Davis may have a bit of a rough ride in spots with his military career from here on out because, well, they often just do not take well to the type of challenge from within the service he has made. But there is little to no chance that he will be busted out of the Army or rank, much less arrested, charged, subjected to an Article 32 Investigation and court-martialed. Davis made a good faith attempt to conduct himself within the scope of the Military Whistleblower’s Protection Act and honored his service and country in doing so.
That is not, however, how Army Pfc. Bradley Manning conducted himself (assuming arguendo that Manning indeed did what he is accused of, and the evidence to date, and reasonable inferences thereon, suggest he did). Although Manning appears to have released several classified items intentionally and specifically (for instance the “Collateral Murder video”), nearly all of the well over 250,000 classified documents, including the State Department cables, look to have been indiscriminately hoovered up and released just because they were there and he could. There is no evidence, nor reasonable view, by which Manning could have reviewed and understood exactly what the vast majority of documents were or what effect they may have.
Manning did not carefully prepare the material as Davis did, using only that which is necessary and taking precaution that classified information was protected and disseminated through legal avenues to Congress and the DOD IG pursuant to the Military Whistleblower’s Act. No, Bradley Manning impetuously and indiscriminately dumped the lot of it...
This is another item that just seems very odd to me.

Back when Bradley Manning was a main topic of conversation, I do not recall Mr. Greenwald taking any pains to discuss the importance of doing "standard journalistic assessment" or parsing the need to weight the value of a leak against possible harm to the public.  He certainly never looked down his nose at the idea of a "mindless, indiscriminate document dump".

Quite the contrary, such nuanced positions were dismissed by Mr. Greenwald as the tawdry excuses of hypocrites who refused to see Bradley Manning in Mr. Greenwald's black-and-white terms: PFC Manning's indiscriminate dump of a quarter of a million government documents was nothing but Heroic.

What we see here is how even many of the most liberal precincts in America are now the leading spokespeople for and loyalists to state power as a result of their loyalty to President Obama. Thus do we have the President of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade sounding exactly like the Chairman of the Joints Chief, or Sarah Palin, or gay war-loving neocons, in depicting any meaningful opposition to the National Security State as the supreme sin. I'd be willing to bet large amounts of money that Williams has never condemned the Obama administration's abuse of Manning in detention or its dangerously radical prosecution of him for "aiding the enemy". I have no doubt that the people who did all of that would be showered with gratitude by Parade officials if they attended. In so many liberal precincts in the Age of Obama - even now including the SF Gay Pride parade - the federal government, its military, and its federal prosecutors are to be revered and celebrated but not criticized; only those who oppose them are villains.

I will gladly stipulate that nuggets of vital, valuable disclosures did come out of PFC. Manning's document dump, that his motives were sincere and that while his status as a member of the military meant his incarceration and trial were inevitable, the harshness of his treatment at the hands of the military appears to have been cruel and unnecessary.  

I also appreciate Mr. Greenwald's statement embracing the need to apply a "standard journalistic assessment" in order to strike a public-interest balance
between the horde of documents to which he suggests has has access, and the small number which he has published.  

What I do not understand is when exactly Mr. Greenwald's position on the criticality of that "standard journalistic assessment" flipped 180 degrees.  


Swede said...

He took your advice and got a editor?

Demian said...

Looks like Glenn Greenwald is back on the menu.

Eric said...

When it is his own ass on the line?

mahakal said...

What Eric said.

Anonymous said...

This story has nothing to do with Greenwald, his motivations, his changing/inconsistent opinions about journalistic practices or document dumps.

This is a story about the US government and its expanding surveillance state, the desirability of said surveillance state, and how said surveillance state can be reduced in scope and scale if the majority of Americans deem said surveillance state to be undesirable. There are also questions about the constitutionality of the current practices of the surveillance state.

Similarly this story is not about whether Snowden:
is a Randite
has seen a psychiatrist
has "questions" about his sexuality
gets accused of rape
has left his pregnant girlfriend
has broken a secrecy contract he signed with the government
calls his mother enough.

We will surely hear a great deal in the coming days about the character flaws and/or lack of professionalism of Greenwald, Snowden and The Gaurdian.

It's a side show.

wagonjak said...

I really don't understand why you have such a bug up your ass about Greenwald tg...I think he's doing this country a service by releasing the Snowden stuff.

Anonymous said...

"I really don't understand why you have such a bug up your ass about Greenwald tg...I think he's doing this country a service by releasing the Snowden stuff."

A. The story has literally been unravelling since the day GG "exploded" it on to the world.

B. The "story" wasn't really a "story" at all since all of the major components of it have been public knowledge for the better part of a decade.

The way in which he has presented the "not a story" suggests it serves no purpose other than to elevate his career and or inflict as much damage as possible on this administration (which seems to be his only real job of late)..which makes the real story;

The short attention span of the media at large and the naked opportunistic exploitation of that by the poster boy for "bug up his ass" GG

"I can assure you that this isn’t about spying on the American people. This is about having the data available so that if there are suspicions about foreign persons or persons that have connections with terrorist organizations that we can connect the dots."
-Al Frankin
Senator. Senate Judiciary Committee

Lumpy Lang said...

Yes... to a normal person informing the citizens - at great personal risk - of the activities of 'their' government is a service to country.

But 'country' for Droneglass and Co has a different meaning.

Like Obama they define 'country' as the STATE's interests above those of the citizens. This echoes the rulers' ever more explicit nostalgia for the days before the bourgeois democratic revolutions. 'Subjects' of the crown, after all, always seemed so much easier to manage than 'citizens.'

El Cid said...

I think GG thought a lot more about journalistic responsibility in this manner when he was one of the persons contacted in his role as employee-of-a-newspaper (i.e., 'journalist' enough) as potential recipient of sensitive and at-that-time secret government information.

Anonymous said...

I for one do not want America to be "protected" by a massive, expensive and ever growing surveillance apparatus.

Freedom isn't free. If my right to a jury trial and my right to privacy and my right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures are to be protected, then some guilty people will go free in our court system and there will be more successful terrorist attacks on the "homeland".

These are some of the costs that living in a free State with constitutional guarantees impose on all of us as citizens. They are costs I'll gladly pay to keep my constitutionally guaranteed rights intact.

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

Anon at 3:46 pm is correct. The USA will suffer terrorist attacks as long as the US government is the primary instrument of enforcing plutocracy on the planet Earth.

Terrorism, quite simply, is violent resistance to the perpetual imperialism of the Malefactors Of Great Wealth, who own the US government, and use that govt. as the primary instrument of their imperialism.

Such resistance is not always effective, however. Assuming that Al-Qaida bears sole responsibility for the 9/11 attacks--I am not sure of that--they did not kill any of their enemies. They killed a few thousand of the slaves of their enemies.

Their enemies can find millions, indeed billions, more slaves where they found those few thousand.

With Islamic fundamentalism, as with Communism before it, plutocracy is once again lucky to be faced with an adversary even more repugnantly authoritarian than plutocracy.

However, let us not forget that the adversarial ideology is merely a framework for ideas. The driving passion behind both Communism and Islamism is the passion not to be ruled and robbed by foreigners, or by the bought native agents of foreigners--plain old nationalism.


Alex Malecki said...

His standard didn't change. The documents given to GG by Snowden were classified Top Secret, one of the most restricted forms of classification. The documents Bradley Manning leaked were all of the lowest form of secret classification; in fact, most, if not all, of the documents Manning leaked should have been declassified.

Anonymous said...

C'mon. See this from December 2010:

More significant is the “correction” itself. It applies to Time‘s clearly false claim of “a distinction between WikiLeaks’ indiscriminate posting of the cables . . . and the more careful vetting evidenced by The New York Times.” That is false because WikiLeaks’ release of cables had not been “indiscriminate” in any sense of the word. As this AP article documents — and as a casual review of its site independently proves — WikiLeaks has done very little other than publish the specific cables that have been first released by newspapers around the world, including with the redactions applied by those papers.

Notice: Wikileaks is the leaking agent in this scenario, not Manning. Wikileaks is doing the job of the journalist. Even if GG hadn't supported deliberate, careful release of the materials gleaned by Manning, one can imagine he would use the added factor of "standard journalistic assessment" in this recent situation to shed favorable light on the Guardian.

Lumpy Lang said...

Just look how trivial are the accusations as levelled against Greenwald (their fellow liberal) by Droneglass and his flock of willing imperial bootlickers.

Contrast their quibbling to the life-and-death issues posed by the state's grab, in broad daylight, for unlimited surveillance/repressive power.

If I were reading in a Sci-fi novel, it would've seemed too far-fetched even a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lumpy..Wally and the Beeve say you are a moron. For once post something to prove them wrong.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to the quote above from GG's Salon piece supporting care in tending leaked documents, and an answer to DG's implicit question: GG never flipped 180 degrees.

wagonjak said...

I guess Daniel Ellsberg is wrong here Anonymous: "In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago."

I'm with Lumpy here...I think Greenwald is doing great work no matter how this shakes out, and whatever details might be wrong, I'm glad he's doing it.

And YOU may have known all these facts years ago (as I did about the AT&T black room) this is a brand new revelation to millions of America and needed to be exposed.

Neo Tuxedo said...

The USA will suffer terrorist attacks as long as the US government is the primary instrument of enforcing plutocracy on the planet Earth. [...]

With Islamic fundamentalism, as with Communism before it, plutocracy is once again lucky to be faced with an adversary even more repugnantly authoritarian than plutocracy.

However, let us not forget that the adversarial ideology is merely a framework for ideas. The driving passion behind both Communism and Islamism is the passion not to be ruled and robbed by foreigners, or by the bought native agents of foreigners--plain old nationalism.

...see, that's the one disadvantage of not being on Facehuggerbook. If this were a Facehuggerbook comment, I could Like it with one press of a button. Possibly quoting John Simon's memorable observation "There is no point in saying less than your predecessors have said."

(The biggest disadvantage of being on Facehuggerbook, of course, is that one's on Facehuggerbook.)

Anonymous said...

Well hooray for you and your lack of knowledge!
I can remember seeing the entire program detailed on "60 Minute" 6 years ago (shame on me for paying attention) back when the the previous administration was not bothering to actually get FISA warrants to actually tap your phone. Oddly enough, the very same program detailed the construction of the very AT&T room you mention yourself.
I can provide you with a list of links to various articles over the past decade detailing the program...or single articles that have several links doing the same thing. ...Oh look, here is one now:

The "hero" analyst was another libertarian dupe, who shopped his classified info around before landing on GG.
So now, it was a bad story, that the Post and the Times both redacted major portions of the day after it's release and it continues to sink like a lead balloon with every passing day.
...and hey look, here is another link to a story explaining why...

Just because you don't know something...doesnt make it a secret!

Hamfast Ruddyneck said...

@Neo Tuxedo (any kin to Tennessee Tuxedo?):

"Facehuggerbook", eh? I'll have to remember that one. I won't touch FHB, either. ^_^

About Snowden: I wouldn't be surprised if he's got a few secrets China's military would want, and is keeping them as a bargaining chip to use if it looks like the US government might pry him out of Hong Kong--permanent asylum in China in exchange for secrets--China being one of the few nations that can tell the USA to go fuck itself and get away with it.


mahakal said...

Once again, what El Cid said. And Alex Malecki.

Limpy Lang can suck it.

I think it's pretty important not to lose sight of the story here in your personal differences with GG, and trying to find unreasonable fault with the messenger will serve no good purpose.

Lumpy Lang said...

Oh but this IS the story for Droneglass...

The issue is Greeeenwaaald, I tell you - why the fellow's a second-rate journalist!!! That's what's important... Greeeeenwaaald is living proof that 'BOTH SIDES DO IT!'...See? Now all you children go back to sleep. Ignore those Dirty Hippies. Their so-called 'warnings' are nothing but old news !

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Wow. LL has flipped out.

Anonymous said...

What is it with all this mealy mouthed hair-splitting nuance, for Christ's sake? See my post at 4:20 p.m. It shows GG promoting journalistic care with leaks. It directly controverts DG's bitch. But what ensues here? A bunch of epistemologically challenged nitwits of the "I wouldn't be surprised if..." variety! Well, gosh, I wouldn't be surprised if such comments were uttered by Snowden himself! OMG...he is a master of confusion!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

See my post at 4:20 p.m


Lumpy Lang said...

As their fixation with Greenwald shows, Droneglass and his cothinkers mark it as a victory each time they manage to redirect attention and discussion to any topic except the rolling coup which is presently underway against democratic rights.

This putrid wing of liberalism has gradually arrived, under Obama (though the roots go much further back), to the point where it identifies its political interests completely with those of the security/surveillance state.

Orwell should be spinning in his grave.

Vada said...

This is cool!