Monday, August 12, 2013

If You're Gonna Do It, Do It Right -- UPDATE

If you're gonna hype it, hype it with the facts.

As this tweet shows, the spate of apparently uncontrollable lying which seized Mr. Greenwald last week was not a one-off or the result of sleep deprivation.  

Quite the contrary: instead of gently walking back his overwrought falsehoods -- an act of factual correction which once upon a time any reputable publisher would have demand of any reputable journalist -- Mr. Greenwald is sticking to his story that America whistleblowers are automatically tossed incommunicado into supermax hellholes forever.

Except, of course, that under the Obama Administration this has never happened, and in every case involving civilian contractors (like Mr. Snowden) and not active-duty military (who are subject to an entirely different legal system) it has super-duper never happened.

Now to be 100% fair, there do exist some American leakers who are living out at least part of the scenario which Glenn Greenwald repeatedly and publicly insists is the automatic fate of every whistleblower who crosses the nefarious Obama Administration. None of them charged or convicted during the nefarious Obama Administration, but while exceedingly rare, such people do exist (all reference material from Wikipedia):

For example, there's this guy:
Robert Philip Hanssen (born April 18, 1944) is an American former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for 22 years from 1979 to 2001. He is serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. Hanssen was arrested on February 18, 2001 at Foxstone Park near his home in Vienna, Virginia, and was charged with selling American secrets to the USSR and subsequently Russia for more than US$1.4 million in cash and diamonds over a 22-year period. On July 6, 2001, he pleaded guilty to 13 counts of espionage in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He was then sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His activities have been described by the U.S. Department of Justice's Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history."
And this guy:
Aldrich Hazen Ames (born May 26, 1941) is a former Central Intelligence Agency counterintelligence officer and analyst, who in 1994 was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Russia. So far as is known, Ames compromised the second-largest number of CIA assets—second only to those betrayed by Robert Hanssen.

While spending nine years working in CIA counter-intelligence, he declared an annual income of $60,000 but his credit card spending of up to $30,000 a month funded a lifestyle that included a new Jaguar and a $540,000 house (2012 value: $810,000) paid for in cash.
Ames is Federal Bureau of Prisons prisoner #40087-083, serving his sentence in the high-security Allenwood U.S. Penitentiary near Allenwood, Pennsylvania.

The CIA was criticized for not focusing on Ames sooner, given the obvious increase in his standard of living; and there was a "huge uproar" in Congress when CIA director James Woolsey decided that no one in the CIA would be dismissed or demoted at the agency. "Some have clamored for heads to roll in order that we could say that heads have rolled," Woolsey declared. "Sorry, that's not my way." Woolsey was forced to resign.
And this guy:
Harold James Nicholson (born 1950) is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer and a twice-convicted spy for Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). His recruitment to the SVR appears to have occurred in the wake of a much publicized arrest of senior CIA officer and Moscow mole Aldrich Ames in February 1994, which, in the words of CIA veteran and author Tennent Bagley, had "exposed extraordinary slackness of CIA security procedures."

Harold Nicholson was convicted of selling U.S. intelligence to Russia for $300,000 and was sentenced to 23 years 7 months of imprisonment on June 5, 1997. He did not get a life without parole or death sentence as prosecutors said he had cooperated fully with them after his arrest. Prosecutors believed that he had sold the identities of all the U.S. intelligence officers stationed in Russia, as well as the identities of his trainees at the CIA school. He told the court that he had intended for the money he received from the Russians to benefit his children.
However since these are the only American leakers who can reasonably be described as having been tossed into a hole for "decades" (incommunicado or not) I am compelled to wonder; are these the people Mr. Greenwald keeps alluding to?  

If they are, he needs to say so.  Clearly.

If not -- if  Nicholson and Ames and Hanssen are not the leakers Mr. Greenwald is referring to -- then the tale he is spinning about whistle-blowers languishing incommunicado in hellholes for decades is just straight-up lying.

Which is a big problem; big enough to potentially dwarf Dan Rather's screw-up over using allegedly falsified data to report on a true story which triggered a series of events that effectively ended his career and, much more to the point, destroyed the story he was trying to report:
By all rights, Rather, who turns 81 this year, should be enjoying a few victory laps at the close of a remarkable career. And he would be, except for one report that he will never forget, because no one will ever let him: the botched 60 Minutes segment in 2004 on George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service. The report, which lasted fifteen minutes, forever damaged Rather’s reputation and ended his network TV career after forty years. Its claims were potentially explosive—that Bush had received preferential treatment to enter the National Guard in 1968 in order to avoid the Vietnam draft and that he had then shirked his duty without repercussion. As evidence, Rather produced six documents that described the alleged political pressure Bush’s commanding officer was under to “sugarcoat” possibly embarrassing moments in Bush’s record, specifically his failure to show up for a flight physical and his loss of flight status. In a presidential campaign that had become a referendum on who had the credibility to take control of the quagmire in Iraq, Rather’s report could have seriously damaged Bush’s reelection effort. But he went at the king—and he missed. 
Almost as soon as the broadcast aired, a swarm of right-wing blogs assailed Rather’s documents, claiming their typeface and spacing was inconsistent with any known typewriter of the early seventies. Within days CBS was reeling as Bush allies accused Rather and his longtime producer, Mary Mapes, of using forgeries to tip a presidential election in favor of the Democrats. Twelve days after the story aired, CBS backed down, forced Rather to apologize, and established a special panel to investigate what went wrong. Forty-three days later, Bush was reelected, beating Senator John Kerry by a two-point margin in the pivotal swing state of Ohio. By the time Mapes and three other producers were ousted by CBS, the Bush National Guard story was dead and buried, with Rather’s reputation as the tombstone.
Of course, Mr. Greenwald's hyperbole and his fairy tales would fall well within the parameters of the perfectly acceptable tools of activism were he merely acting as Mr. Snowden's very-aggressive defense attorney.  Hell, every activists I have ever known (including me), in addition to using logic, cajoling, pleading and threatening, always has an Apocalyptic Scenario on tap should that turn out to be what the situation calls for.  In the Apocalyptic Scenario, all intermediate opinions are burned to the ground and the world is reduced to two-and-only-two alternatives: your position -- a blasted hellscape fit only for zombies and cannibals where the survivors envy the dead -- or my position, which you much accept entirely and immediately!

Which Will You Choose!?!

Using this Manichean sledgehammer to pound out your paragraphs just fine for the advocate, but Mr. Greenwald has instead chosen to position himself as an activist/journalist.  And while the currency of activism is passion and tireless commitment to The Cause (Please help me stop childhood hunger!) the currency of journalism is credibility (You can trust that I am telling you the truth and giving you the whole story.)

I want to be perfectly clear that there nothing wrong with doing both but if you choose to marry the two -- as Mr, Greenwald has -- you are obliged to bear the burdens of both.  And that means, when it comes to the facts of the story, you had damn well better be as pure as Caesar's wife.

Which is why, whether or not his followers can stand to acknowledge it, Mr. Greenwald's on-the-record lies are such a disaster.

Because when a journalist lies, they blow the story.

But when an activist/journalist lies, they sabotage their cause.

If Mr. Greenwald wants to tell whoppers about his Grandma's haunted root cellar or spout off wild tales about the Cubs winning the World Series or take on the entire rap community and declare that
Kendrick Lamar's lyrics were not genuinely "nuclear" but merely HE, fine.

Go with God and be well.

But the fact is, he didn't choose to do any of those things.

Instead, he went on national teevee in his role as principal reporter in the NSA surveillance story and lied about a critical aspect of his own own story.


Before he lied on national teevee, he lied about this critical aspect of his own story on Twitter.

After he lied on national teevee, he lied about this critical aspect of his own story on Twitter again.

You are free to dress this fact up any way you like, but for a person who is shepherding such a genuinely important and consequential story -- arguably the most visible story in the world at the moment -- this was a colossally reckless thing to do.

But it gets so much worse.

This could have been fixed with a retraction and a correction.  But retractions and corrections are not  in Mr. Greenwald's natural.  Grabbing the nearest "Fascism!" hammer and bashing the crap out of anyone who disagrees with him to the smallest degree is Mr. Greenwald's nature and "Supermax! Hellhole For life! Incommunicado!" is such a perfectly Greenwaldian cudgel with which to pound the hell out of his critics that he simply cannot put it down.

And while seeing their leader swinging that big, bone club down on the heretical skulls of the nonbelievers may delight his horde, 
outside the Greenwald Bubble people will  inevitably ask, "If Mr. Greenwald cannot stop lying about this critical part of his story what other critical parts of this story is he lying about?"


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

a blasted hellscape fit only for zombies and cannibals where the survivors envy the dead

sigh. sounds lovely.

Anonymous said...

I hope you turn out to be wrong about this, Driftglass, because I don't think the problems Greenwald has brought to the forefront are going to mend themselves via presidential election.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that despite your continued attempts to discredit Mr. Greenwald by pointing out various;

a. Outright lies and misleading statements he makes on a daily basis regarding the story.

b. Inconsistencies and misleading aspects of the story itself being re-reported over and over again as breathless newly discovered revelations.

c. Mr. Greenwald's past statements regarding his intense dislike of the current office holder at the White House and the political party to which he belongs.

I will continue to defend him and his story because I am a really strange misanthrope who has apparently chosen this particular other strange misanthrope as my personal god. And since I have no real understanding of the story or its implications or much of anything for that matter...
I do also insist that you are a hypocrite, lackey, and or stooge who is blinded by your authoritarian mindset and unnatural love for this particular President.

Signed: The Troll Collective

Yardley said...

what happened to you?

amspirnational said...

Funny you should use this against the brilliant Greenwald when Russia
is the adult in the Middle East -and the US ruling class destructive to the core.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

the brilliant Greenwald

I just wanted to highlight this little bit of whimsy.

Anonymous said...


Yep, from the same group who likes calling people bootlickers no less.

He's not wrong about Putin having a better handle on certain ongoing conflicts in the ME though. It is quite a leap going from respecting Putin's grasp of reality to assuming the Russians are above the kind of fuckery they castigate the US for.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

I wonder whether a charitable interpretation may be given, that Glenn may wear two hats, the activist and the journalist, in different contexts. Thus to find him engaged in serial exaggerations and factually defective statements on his Twitter is just him being his Douchosaurus self without any obligation to uphold any sort of journalistic ethic.

A more serious matter would be to discover lies in the Guardian's print if he has misstated anything there. Indeed, that would be a serious matter for their editorial staff to attend to.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

that Glenn may wear two hats, the activist and the journalist, in different contexts.

Of course, if you had read the whole post, you would see that driftglass has expressly said why wearing both hats is possible, but then you take on the responsibilities of both.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Yep, from the same group who likes calling people bootlickers no less.

It's precious.

Unknown said...

With respect, I must point out that you have conflated leakers and spies with whistleblowers. Entirely different species.

Unknown said...

and, please, let's not get so wrapped up in Snowdenfreude that we start calling the fucking Russians the fucking ``adults'' in this little story. get a grip.

mahakal said...

I know what Driftglass said, ZLM. That does not mean one must necessarily agree that one must wear both hats at once at all times.

Compound F said...

I am personally delighted that you are a complete dick, having zero ability to even comprehend your your shortcomings. Your ratification of my worldview gratifies me beyond belief. I feel such the nubile bitch waiting to be fucked by the knowing man, I can't even wait for your ditto-headed commentary.

Compound F said...

really, there's so much wrong with your arguments, it's hard to know where to begin pointing, but we keep on trying; Dear God on Heaven Help us!

You, not Greenwald, are the horror-show. I repeat: You are the horror-show.

kfreed said...

That's right up there with "How often do you beat your wife?"

Glenzilla is obviously referring to Manning who will be imprisoned for the rest of his natural life, though not "incommunicado."

"What % of people attacking Snowden for 'fleeing' would be defending him if he were rotting for decades in a US prison..."

I imagine 0%. The man took the job at Booz Allen (after having been in contact with Greenwald) with the intention of committing a premeditated crime, fled the country, then handed state secrets to foreign nationals. Cry me a river. Greenwald should be in the same boat as Snowden as far as I'm concerned.

kfreed said...

P.S. What % of people trying mightily not to notice Greenwald's compulsive lying still think he's a "journalist"?

See how that works?

Lumpy Lang said...

Jeebus this is disgusting.

Droneglass' rightward drift has brought him to a place that can't be reached by ordinary contempt...

On the bright side his example provides greater insight into scumbags like Albert Shanker.

kfreed said...

@Nonny Mouse (really?)

"I don't think the problems Greenwald has brought to the forefront are going to mend themselves via presidential election."

Um... so we're not #StandingWithRand???

I know, "no leakers imprisoned for decades under Obama" (minus Mannings military trial/sentencing) is just too complicated to follow, apparently.

Lumpy Lang said...

The amusement value - or what little is left of it - is in the ludicrous contortions Droneglass has to adopt to maintain his laughable concern trolling posture... 'truly caring about the story, blah blah blah'

Droneglass viscerally HATES Assange, Manning, Snowden et al - and Greenwald for reporting their stories. Simple as that.

Their courageous ACTIONS (subjective motivations, ideologies are irrelevant), in exposing the workings of the state to public scrutiny, obliterate the illusion the Democrats are any less dedicated than the Republicans to preserving this putrid SYSTEM, and the repressive apparatus which maintains it.

Anonymous said...


It *is* precious isn't it.

Compound F is also in this thread haranguing DG for not being able to comprehend his own shortcomings, so my day is now complete.

-- Nonny Mouse

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

as well as mahakal again demonstrating his inability to comprehend what he reads, Nonny.

He hand waves the GG hypocrisy by saying "in different contexts" without noticing that there is only one context.

Meanwhile, Lumpifer and CF validate driftglass' posts without noticing they are doing so.

Anonymous said...


I think you've mistaken my post for a rebuttal of Drifty's argument. It is not.

What I hope Driftglass is wrong about is the possibility that Greenwald might sabotage himself. As annoying as I find Glenn personally, I would still prefer he get traction on the FSA issue. Keeping the story alive in the brain dead 24 Hour News makes congressional action more likely.

Given that any president is going to have a vested interest in preserving the powers we're talking about, I do think it is optimistic to hope that a change of administrations will "fix" things. Nevertheless, if this story dies, then that is the only hope the American people will be left with.

-- Nonny Mouse (really)

mahakal said...

I don't know how Zombie Liar McDonald and Compound Fracture still show their faces here. It's like watching Carlos Danger continuing his run for Mayor.

Anonymous said...


God knows I have my own problems with Mahakal's apologia, but he has I think he has a point in this case. Glenn is noticeably less disciplined on certain media, Twitter especially. Putting on the journalist hat when on big boy news organs and the vitriolic jackhole hat when on new media may be a valid strategy in our media saturated, attention deficit era--who knows? The risks DG is talking about are real though and Glenn is depending on his various forms of public output remaining segregated. Why he takes the risk at all is an open question.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

This week in "Compound Projection"(translated):

"I am personally delighted that I am a complete dick, having zero ability to even comprehend my shortcomings.

My ratification of my worldview gratifies me beyond belief.

I feel such I am the nubile bitch waiting to be fucked by the knowing man, I can't even wait for my own ditto-headed commentary!

I, not Driftglass, am the horror-show.

I repeat: I am the horror-show.

I still fucking hate myself.

Anonymous said...

la la la

n1ck said...

Shorter Concern Troll:

Droneglass hates 'Murrica and your freedom because Glenn Greenwald tells me exactly what to think.

Keep it up, concern trolls. The man you worship (one p!) needs you now, more than ever.

marindenver said...

"la la la"

Have to confess I'm not seeing your point here. Are you trying to imply that Lynne Stewart has been locked away in a cage for decades or something? She's serving a 28 month sentence for actually aiding and abetting convicted terrorists. As for her request, I don't think anyone should have to die of cancer in prison. I hope they will let her die at home as she is asking. But I don't see any equivalency here to GG, Snowden or Manning.

KaJo said...

I don't suppose it'd do any good to point out that in the statement "President Obama has prosecuted twice as many leakers under his watch than all other presidents combined", the number is SIX by Obama, and only three previously.

And these are the penalties levied so far by the mean ol' Obama administration:

asylum in Russia
sentenced to 30 months in prison
awaiting trial
indicted, case pending
sentenced to one year of probation, plus community service
military court martial
sentenced to 20 months in prison

Boo hoo.

Even the three previous prosecuted leakers gave up very little involuntary incarceration for their deeds:

sentenced to 12 years in prison, reduced to 10 months house arrest, community service
sentenced to 2 years in prison, pardoned by Clinton
prosecuted, case dismissed

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I don't know how Zombie Liar McDonald ... still show (his) face(s) here.

You're a hoot.

But Nonny, I disagree. The fact that Greenwald is more hair-trigger on social media is not exactly playing in his favor. His thin skin and willingness to lie across all platforms kind of dissolves the boundaries here.

If he wants to be an advocate, that's one thing; if he wants to be a journalist, that's another. Even being both isn't beyond possibility.

But the GreenWaldo apologists, trying to stir up chaff and fog by talking about 'contexts' and calling people who disagree names, are not trying to have a conversation; they're trying to obscure the issues being raised and squelch disagreement. even hoping to drive commenters away from the discussion.

It's kind of Blog Disruption Tactics 101.

mahakal said...

Leaving the Twitter to one side.

Driftglass writes: "Instead, he went on national teevee in his role as principal reporter in the NSA surveillance story and lied about a critical aspect of his own own story.


Fair enough. I don't watch the Tee Vee machine, and to keep things straight here, links would help to demonstrate that he made material misstatements of reporting regarding Snowden's NSA spying allegations in a news media context. This also should be of editorial concern to the respective news media organization.

Anonymous said...


I actually missed that GG had been repeating his Twitter pronouncements on MSM, so I really have no grounds to argue anymore. As you know, I've been wondering for some time if Glenn's bombast is tactical in nature; that it might be nothing more than the man's runaway spleen is worrisome.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...


I also notice that you are still persona non grata for disputing Mahakal's magical battery.

I hope you can find the strength to carry on my undead chum.

-- Nonny Mouse

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I hope you can find the strength to carry on my undead chum.

It's what we zombies do.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

it might be nothing more than the man's runaway spleen

That is an amusing image.

mahakal said...

The Nonny Mouse is of course useless, but to help those who may be confused by the odd reference, Zombie Liar McDonald was proven to be a liar in these comments and is the only one who makes reference to magic, other than as advanced technology may seem to the less sophisticated.

Anonymous said...


The fact that you apparently don't understand anything being said in the video link you shoved at us..years ago..repeatedly, should be enough to shame you into not posting any more..
Dragging it out over and over again is like a dog who won't stop dropping the nasty tennis ball on your foot.
Nobody is going to click on any of your slobber covered links either, so just go lay on the towel in the corner and take a nap!

mahakal said...

Personally I don't care whether anonymous sock puppets click on whatever, but proof has been provided.

Anonymous said...

Unless your real name is "mahakal", (it isn't) you are just as "anonymous" as anyone else here not bothering to log in...and apparently you are too stupid to know what a "sock puppet" actually is as well.
I am pretty sure I rip you to shreds on another blog too, where you use another name, and the same butchered syntax. Should I make you a project here as well?

mahakal said...

Oh the Nonny Mouse wants to make me a project. I have been Mahakal for over five or six years since when I used to blog here. Pseudonyms have some currency in the blog world. Driftglass can probably explain it. But my real identity isn't even a secret.

Anonymous said...

You're so damned easy to tease, Mahakal.

With minimal effort I bet I can get you to link your pseudo-science buggery in every thread you feign sanity in.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Have some cheese.

Anonymous said...

@ Nonny Mouse

Don't you love it when pseudonymed insult trolls take offense at being mocked by annons?
They come to a blog, specifically to attack the author and other posters anonymously...and have a sad when they get a taste of their own medicine.
Malalukas special though, because he acts nice every once in awhile, so we should forget all the nasty posts of the past.....

mahakal said...

Here other Nonny Mouse, cheese for you too.