Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Three Tenors

Here we see three prominent American whistleblowers sitting around a desk at the offices of USA Today having a very insightful conversation about privacy and the NSA and how we got to where we are.

Did you notice what's missing?

No one is in shackles.  No one is being muzzled.  There is not an iron bar or cell door or fluorescent jumpsuit or a jailer in sight.

Which is weird because as of today, Glenn Greenwald has still refused to retract his remarkable assertion that spending the rest of one's life being held incommunicado in a supermax hellhole is the fate of American whistleblowers.  This remains a lie.  Mr. Greenwald knows its a lie.  And yet he keeps asserting it over and over again, and his friends in the media keep letting him slide.

From Truthout:
My understanding from the start is that [Edward Snowden] believed that the US is not a safe place for whistle-blowers, that whistle-blowers cannot get a fair trial in the United States and that he wanted to participate in the debate that he helped to prompt rather than spending the rest of his life in a cage or incommunicado.
All three of the gentlemen you see in the video were investigated.

One the three -- Thomas Drake -- faced charges that stemmed from his leaking materials to reporters and which were A) bullshit and, B) dropped.
(This is where a Comedy Central video used to be.
But ever since President Worse Than Boosh and John Oliver broke The Daily Show, Comedy Central videos have been autoplaying for no explicable reason.
So no more Comedy Central videos for now.
Thanks a lot Obama!)
None of them have been "disappeared".
None have been rendered incommunicado.
None of them have been dumped into a supermax hellhole for decades.

And speaking of reporters riding hobbyhorses instead of reporting facts, if you happened to read about the Drake case in Salon, at some point you hit this paragraph in which the journalist widens the specific and unfair things that happened to Thomas Drake way out into an all-encompassing indictment of the entire system:
Not only did going through proper channels provide no meaningful redress to the five whistleblowers’ complaints, it gravely injured them. Drake lost his job, security clearance, and income stream, while simultaneously incurring half a million dollars in legal debt. And that was just during the investigatory phase. By the time of his indictment, he was declared indigent. Today, he works as a wage-grade employee at an Apple computer store, a far cry from his six-figure job at NSA.
Drake’s story puts the lie to the notion that internal channels serve as anything other than a trap for unwitting whistleblowers. What is so revealing is that if Snowden had gone through internal channels, the outcome would have been worse: the United States would have charged him with espionage and he’d be in jail for, in essence, spying on his own country on behalf of the public. It should not require martyrdom for a free citizen to challenge government abuses of power. It should not require choosing one’s conscience over one’s career, citizenship, or freedom.
First, let's stipulate that based on the few factual details that an averagely-bright layman such as myself can get hold of, what happened to Mr. Drake was awful.  Simply awful.

Second, precisely because I am an averagely-bright layman and not an intel tech or analyst or civil rights attorney, if you are a journalist and you want to win me to your point of view, you have to do it with the facts.  You can't just make shit up.  You can't conflate one story with another.  You can't just make gigantic leaps from what is true to what-you-want-me-to-believe-is-true or blindly assert that such-and-such is obviously untrue because you, personally, don't want it to be true.

You can't, for example, just claim -- as this reporter does -- that Mr. Drake was indicted for "going through proper channels".  He wasn't. That's a lie.  He was indicted for leaking information to the press. But strangely the reporter doesn't mention those leaks at all, choosing instead to part company with the actual facts in order to pursue her wider, ideological agenda.

And what is this "reporter's" agenda?

Well, that might be easier to suss that out if, before you started reading this column, the editors at Salon bothered to tell you that the reporter -- Ms. Jesselyn Radack -- is not a reporter at all but is, in fact, Thomas Drake's attorney.

Weird how they thought that wasn't important enough to mention.


Lumpy Lang said...

Another pathetic Droneglass smokescreen.

The fact remains - those who commit the empire's crimes are rewarded; those who expose them are punished.

Free Chelsea Manning!
Hands off Assange, Snowden!

bowtiejack said...

Read JFK and The Unspeakable and get back to me.

We are witnessing the consolidation of a long-term project.

Geese Howard said...


For fucks sake, Manning was uniformed military. Uniformed military are held to different standards than federal agents, which are held to different standards than federal employees, which are held to different standards that contractors. Assange is a civilian of another country so that's a completely different ballgame.

Regardless of the nobility of Manning's actions she was tried under the UCMJ and convicted properly. The UCMJ isn't civilian court. However in both the UCMJ and civilian court you can still do something you thought was right and break a ton of laws.

So far we have people who are not uniformed military and did targeted leaks about specific concerns... A-OK here. The one CIA agent who got prison time didn't get much and isn't going to be ruined. However a uniformed soldier who did a full leak of all sorts of junk to a foreign national with no regard to the impact got... tried and convicted under the UCMJ.

There is not horrible evil here, there is no attacking of honest whistle blowers. There is just the system working properly.

Oh, and I can argue Manning is pro war and pro killing Muslims. Because her actions have helped make diplomacy which is used to stop that much harder and impossible in some cases. So Manning and all her supporters are nothing more than blood thirsty monsters who want to invade, kill, bomb, and murder instead of using diplomacy. The blood is on their war mongering hands.

Kathleen said...

@bowtiwjack: I've read many books on JFK's murder and "deep politics", but JFK and the Unspeakable was one of the best books I've read on the subject. I came to a much greater appreciation of JFK (who most of the emos dismiss as a war monger) and his actions during the Cuban Missle Crisis. When I heard Obama's speech about reconsidering how the US should approach the Global War On Terror I knew the feces would be flying from the fan. I felt the Snowden op was an attempted takedown of Obama. Now if I've misinterepreted the intent of your comment and you think I'm a raving loon, you are free to do so.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Hmmm... Ms. Jesselyn Radack, where have I heard that name before?

Got it!

She's one of the principle shit stirrers over at - the hysterical ninnies worship the ground she floats over.

Pay a visit and check out users "boswern" and "Ray Pensador" if you are ever in need of a good chuckle: COINTELPRO was never disbanded, it went to ground until service was needed again in the campaign against remergent hippies.

Damian, Pink No More said...

I'm now convinced LL isn't serious. Nobody could be this shit-all stupid, unable to post anything relevant, AND entirely self-aware of it.

Either that or he's a goddamn script.

Compound F said...

I was having lunch today at a local market in Omelas, listening to some CEO fella deriding other CEOs (e.g., Yahoo) for being afraid that the NSA would imprison them for treason if they did not comply with data sharing. He said, "Fuck those idiots. We'll do it right."

When he walked by my table, I said, "Sticking it to the NSA, are we?"

He said, "yer goddamed right!"

Now I agree more with corporate CEOs than driftglass.

Horace Boothroyd III said...


Friend Lumpy is real all right, there is a positive termite nest of gibbering trolls just like him over at - where they talk like that even amongst themselves, so we can be confident that it's for real.

This one guy, JesseCW, keeps insisting that NSA spying is OK because it's being done by white guys - and has this grizzly bear like ability to ignore the consequent gnawing upon his ankles by the emoprogs.

TheStone said...

It may be a useful exercise to ask the person in line next to you at the grocery store who any of these people are. Then ask them if they know who Manning and Snowden are.