Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Give It Away. Give It Away. Give It Away.


As it has been explained to me now roughly 700 times by far, far better and purer Liberals than I, the story of Edward Snowden exposing NSA snoopers to help US citizens (like me) better guard our privacy is the only "real" story to which I should pay any attention.  Whatever else said by whoever -- even remarks made by Mr. Snowden himself that pre-date this story -- are completely irrelevant, or so I am told by my minders and by a veritable army of people on Twitter.

OK, for the sake of argument if we accept that to be true, imagine how confused and bungled I got up when Edward Snowden -- the storyteller himself -- who was telling me that story stopped in the middle of it to tell me a whole 'nother, different story that appears at first blush to have nothing whatsoever to do with the mass surveillance of US citizens.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has confirmed that the Stuxnet malware used to attack Iranian nuclear facilities was created as part of a joint operation between the Israelis and the NSA's Foreign Affairs Directorate.

"The NSA and Israel cowrote it," he told Der Spiegel in an email interview conducted before he publicly outed himself as the NSA mole. Snowden is currently in Russia and a "free man" according to Vladimir Putin – as long as there are no further NSA leaks.

The Stuxnet code, which has been deployed since 2005, is thought to be the first malware aimed specifically at damaging specific physical infrastructure*, and was inserted into the computer networks of the Iranian nuclear fuel factory in Natanz shortly after it opened.
Jesus, this is getting longer than the remarkable story of Jim Blaine's grandfather's old ram.

So even though I suppose I'm going to be in even bigger trouble with the Liberal Central Command than I already am for even asking this, will some clever person explain to me what spilling the beans (or confirming the beans) on Stuxnet has to do with exposing NSA snoopers to help me keep my privacy?

And because I am slow and dim, will an even cleverer person than that explain how Mr. Snowden's latest revelation does not pulverize the central pillar of his own defense -- a defense based entirely on the contention that he in no way "aided our enemies" because he had carefully confining his leaks to nothing but "reveal[ing] information that points out mass surveillance systems":
"I think the government's going to launch an investigation. I think they're going to say I've committed grave crimes, I've violated the Espionage Act. They're gonna say I've aided our enemies in making them aware of these systems," Snowden said. "But that argument can be made against anybody who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems..."
Most of the rest of article makes for interesting reading: a lot about spying in the UK, what assholes US multinational corporations are (Boy howdy!), and Mr. Snowden's Libertarian dream that capitalist free markets will eventually sort that problem out.
Interviewer: Are there companies that refuse to cooperate with the NSA?

Snowden: Also yes, but I'm not aware of any list. This category will get a lot larger if the collaborators are punished by consumers in the market, which should be considered Priority One for anyone who believes in freedom of thought.
Which is certainly adorable, but again, simple creature that I am, I have no idea what it has to do with helping me to understand how exactly the NSA is going through the panty drawers of average Americans, or what exactly they're snatching when they do it.


RossK said...

Hal Holbrook telling tall tales...

Ironically deep don't you think?


RossK said...

Hal Holbrook telling tall tales...

Deeply ironic don't you think?


Anonymous said...

Because doing so is an act of war against a soverign nation and it's something people in America should know about before the drums of war beegin to beat again.

Stop playing dumb driftglass. Obama doesn't know who you are, doesn't care, and only consults the rich and powerful when making policy. Please remember that next time you forget to check your biases at the door of your next entry.

jazzidiot said...

As Rick Perry would say, oops! I left my comment that should be here at the Andrew Sullivan post. I hope it isn't lost in the ether.

Tom T. Piperson said...

Since you asked, and have you heard of this handy Google thingy? Snowden is only confirming what the N.Y. Times reported in June of 2012 re: Stuxnet. Friend,
you're in a deep hole--quit fuckin' digging! Yer diluting your brand.

Anonymous said...

To everyone in particular,
I sat around tonight slowly getting drunk and listening to old vinyl. I came across a great one and thought I’d share. Also, I drunkenly decided I won’t be commenting here in the future.

Still, check this one out:

Debris (Ronnie Lane)
There’s more trouble at the depot,
With the general workers union.
And you said, "They'll never change a thing…
Well, they won't fight and their not working."

Also, too,

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

To put all of this in context, you're whining that purer liberals are focusing on their own rights and ignoring irrelevant facts that doesn't fit their concerns.

So Snowden leaked other things, why is that relevant? Is it important to make war against libertarian when there's an issue a lot of people can easily agree with?

How i see the issue with Snowden is how i see a lot of issue with the Obama administration, excessive and counter-productive force against the powerless.

If people want to turn it into a single issue, they should because for the most part they're right.

Personally, when any politician talk about terrorism, the enemy, or any external threat to america. I'm going to be incline to believe it's a lie.

Overclock speedy said...

This just keeps getting crazier and crazier.

It was also pointed out that Snowden said he joined the military right after 9/11 before Iraq was a mess, turned out he joined after the mission accomplished fiasco.

The more that comes out about this, the less his story and motivations seem true.

Anonymous said...

Jesus H Christ on a drone, I used to come here for the biting satire and great writing (typos and all) but now I come to gawk at the obsessive self immolation of one Drifty as he continues to goad his former supporters to trash the place. This is Cesca territory you're cultivating now Drifty - and I wrote that fool off a long time ago. So be it. Now I only come here to see what new baited trap Drifty has left to further enrage his flagging supporters. Everyone watches when there's a train wreck in progress, but maybe that's the point.

Fritz Strand said...

I hear an interview with Matt Taibbi, I believe with Sam Seder, talking about whistle blowers. Taibbi said he was constantly being petitioned by them to get their story out. He said, to paraphrase, almost all of them had lots of personality ticks.

It's complete predictable that someone with Snowden apparent naivete would say something stupid, start coloring outside the lines.

On the other hand few of us are willing to go stand in front of the tanks.

gratuitous said...

Yes, our precious intelligence information is so precious, it should be doled out only with an eyedropper by those with the authority to do so. The general public does not need to know what's being done with their tax dollars in their name. Even though Stuxnet is at best an open secret, that shadowy terrorist group wethepeople must be kept ignorant, lest a policy debate break out or something. The horror. The horror.

And, when the righteous retribution of our victims is visited on the citizenry, it's so much easier to turn the shock and dismay into murderous anger, floating on a platitude of "they hate us for our freedom" rather than any analysis into what we might have done to invite such violence.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I get it now. Exposing the fact that……
Working in cooperation with one of our allies and creating a program that causes a malfunction in a control system part, that when inserted into the main system, through a carefully (discarded) placed thumb drive, causes a centrifuge or series of centrifuges, used to enrich uranium into usable explosive material, to spin wildly out of control, (while simultaneously showing no problem to the operator) in a theocratic dictatorship….is far more heinous act then say…..
….bombing the facilities and the surrounding areas and civilian populations back in to the Stone Age.
….or launching another “boots on the ground” clusterfuck in the middle east, in a country with a much larger population, much more technology, and a massive amount of oil money…..
Because the first option is obviously the work of power mad, constitution shredding, shoot first drone crazy socialist, and the following options were the result of a thoughtful, planned espionage strategy that accomplishes the goal of delaying the program, until diplomatic results can be obtained without a huge country devastating war……or massive collateral civilian categories.
…….because that’s what Ayn would have recommended.
Maybe we should just give everyone over there a stockpile of nukes, and let the market sort it out!

……..or maybe some plucky youngster will just steal detailed plans for building them, flee to some despotic hell hole….and give them away on the street corner!


Anonymous said...

Anon 9.00 a.m.sez...

"So be it. Now I only come here to see what new baited trap Drifty has left to further enrage his flagging supporters. Everyone watches when there's a train wreck in progress, but maybe that's the point."

Then just fucking go away? So we wont have to watch your train wreck....

Lumpy Lang said...

Notice how Droneglass consistently avoids explaining who he means be 'we' and 'ours'.

Liberal lackeys like DG clearly feel it's THEIR Boeing, their Blackwater, their Goldman Sachs, their military industrial complex etc that have been 'threatened' by Manning, Assange and Snowden et al.

The irony is that the whistleblowers, Greenwald&Co. are also liberals - and share the same illusions in their 'democratic' institutions as Droneglass. But it's their courageous actions - not whatever confused ideas happen to be in their heads - that constitute their great public service.

Just as Droneglass' actions constitute his contemptible lackeyism.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Notice how Droneglass consistently avoids explaining who he means be 'we' and 'ours'.

Also notice that when he used the word "our" in the post above, he was actually quoting Snowden. So perhaps the lack of explanation is because driftglass didn't actually use those words?

So perhaps you should take up the meaning of "we" and "ours" with Snowden and Greenwald?

Sheesh. I mean, I am perfectly happy to savage driftglass when he casts aspersions on zombies, or when he screws up a sci-fi reference, but it's when commenters come in with straw-based attacks on imaginary drifties using inferences that weren't actually in the post that is just grating. Look, you don't help convince ANYBODY by making up arguments and using childish nicknames that you think make some idiotic point.

I AM amused by the reference to "former supporters" though. If you look through the comments to these posts, when the topic is DFB or Sully, there are a couple of comments; and it has been that way for quite some time. When the topic is Greenwald or Snowden, the Usual Suspects fly in to throw crap all over the walls and bloat up the comments section.

Overclock speedy said...

Greenwald and Snowden are Libertarians, not Liberals. There is a massive difference. If you aren't a well off, white, christian, male, Libertarianism is more bad than good for you by a long shot.

Sure if they had their way the government would stop some of this stuff, but corporations would be free to do it and the rest of us would have our rights stripped by other people and be starving in the streets.

This is why a lot of people just don't tolerate libertarianism at all. We aren't so privalidged in life it would be anything less than lethal for us.

Kevin Wood said...

Driftglass, you and Tbogg should get together and do a national speaking tour called "I agree with Glenn Greenwald 99 percent of the time". Even at $5 a ticket you could make millions off the nitwits coming to see "history's greatest monsters" since the two of you are clearly worse than a million Hitlers squared or something. Have your people call my people and we'll start booking a tour of health food stores, campus libertarian groups and adult daycare centres. There is $ to be made!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

That droneglass dollar, that's a good dollar.

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, I always wanted to learn glassblowing, and making glass ornaments.

Now, I wish I could, just so I could make a glass drone to send to him.

DG, you have more strength than I.


Cliff said...

For the love of god.

Here's the central point of Snowden's revelation:
The NSA is spying on the American public with no accountability whatsoever.

I know it. The other commenters know it. Driftglass, if the haters would bother to read his posts or listen to the podcast, knows it.

But then Snowden comes tapdancing his happy white ass out onto the stage to talk about how the US is spying on China or how the free market will save us all, or whatever.
And that blows the whole conversation out of the water.

Because we have a media that is entirely too happy to talk about Snowden's stripper girlfriend, because that's a lot simpler than talking about how we might actually need to reign in our surveillance regime.

That's Driftglass' point:
All this extra drama does us a disservice. It's American Idol during the Iraq War. It's Gore's earth tones while Bush ratfucked his way into office.

Dave said...

@Cliff: "Because we have a media that is entirely too happy to talk about Snowden's stripper girlfriend, because that's a lot simpler than talking about how we might actually need to reign in our surveillance regime."

If Snowden didn't talk about the other stuff, we would just go back to his stripper girl friend and how Snowden didn't graduate highschool.

I couldn't get a sense of Driftglass main point. But if the point was the media is broke and doesn't have a foot to stand on, Mr. Snowden being off message doesn't really affect it.

There are conversations regarding to whistle blowers, excessive executive power, and rather or Obama and Bush are war criminals, but those talks will never come up on our media.

Anonymous said...

As another commenter said, this story broke in the NYTimes last month, has already appeared in the print issue of Wired, etc. Maybe Snowdon is a preening ass, and maybe he supposed "confirmation" of a story long since confirmed is evidence of that, but he's hardly harmed the nation.