Monday, August 05, 2013

This Week In "Do As I Say, Not As I Do", Ctd. -- UPDATE

Mr. Greenwald continues his tireless campaign to keep the narrative focused tightly on NSA surveillance and the FISA court (and NOT on distracting side-issues) by continuing to do the exact opposite:

Because in Greenworld...
Every leaker is a noble whistleblower and every whistleblower is the Man in the Iron Mask.

Every journalist who agrees with me is Edward R. Murrow.  

Every  journalist who doesn't is a fascist dupe.

Every President is Bush.   Or worse.

Every trial is a fraud.

Every sentence is a crucifixion.

Every court is a conspiracy.

Every judge is in on it.

Every law is a joke.

Every country is vastly less evil than this one and no other country spies.

Every other issue is a deliberate distraction.

Every other concern is trivial

And everyone who thinks otherwise is a jackbootlicking stooge of Empire.
Unfortunately once you zoom down the off-ramp from the cartoonishly Manichean poppy fields of Greenworld, you run smack into a lot of complicating facts, such as the case of John Kiriakou; one of the seven actual whistleblowers who have been prosecuted by the Obama DOJ:
John Kiriakou is waiting for a phone call. When it comes, he'll pack – say goodbye to his wife and five children. And then he'll go to jail for the next two and a half years.

The sentence was already agreed even before he made his final appearance in court. It was part of a plea deal. He said he was guilty and in return the government would propose a 30 month jail term.
Yet in the US, he's best known as one of the first former or current CIA officers to acknowledge that so called enhanced interrogation techniques were being used against "terror suspects". In one interview in 2007, he detailed the use of 'waterboarding'; essentially restraining a suspect, turning him upside down and pouring water over his face to simulate drowning.

Initially it appeared he was backing the use of such methods as a way to gain valuable information, particularly in the troubling months after the September 2001 attacks on the US. But then he became a more vocal critic of the practice. He made it clear he had never participated in such interviews. Sitting in his rented him[home?] in Northern Virginia, feeding his infant son lunch, he told me:
"Ever since I first heard the CIA had begun torturing prisoners I had a problem with it. I had a moral problem, an ethical problem with it. It's not something we were ever trained in. It's not something we were ever asked to do before September 11, indeed before we started capturing prisoners in 2002. I didn't think it was necessary".
But his high public profile was enough to make him a magnet for journalists who looked for his insight and advice, particularly on the work of the CIA.

One journalist asked him if he knew a man, Deuce Martinez, who had worked as an interrogator. John Kiriakou had worked with him, but was sure he'd retired, had never worked under cover and had placed a lot of his past on a public website. He passed on his details.

And then is when he broke the law. He told me: "Did I commit that crime? Yes, I did. I didn't have any intent to commit a crime. I didn't have any intent to harm this individual".
John Kiriakou knows he'll miss some important events over the next 30 months, christenings, birthdays, graduations. And he'll miss his wife and children. He's likely to spend time in a low security prison. He's not looking forward to jail, but he doesn't fear the phone call that will come summoning him to begin his sentence.

"I'm adaptable. The CIA taught me to be adaptable and I've lived in a lot worse places."
It is a fact that Mr. Kiriakou broke the law.  A fact which Mr. Kiriakou readily admits.

It is also a fact that his motives were honorable and that his 30 month sentence in no way detracts from his bravery or from the importance of the public service he performed.

Furthermore, it is also a fact that the people who authorized and ran the torture program he exposed are criminals who should have been tried and convicted and tossed into a hole long ago.  The evidence of their crimes is overwhelming
The 577-page report was two years in the making and found the highest officials in the George W. Bush administration were responsible. It was conducted by the Task Force on Detainee Treatment, an 11-member panel convened by The Constitution Project after President Obama chose not to support a national commission to investigate the counterterrorism programs. The authors of the report wrote that never before in U.S. history had there been, quote, "the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody."
and the fact that they walk around free is an obscenity and a tragedy.

It is also a fact that Mr. Kiriakou is serving the longest sentence the courts have meted out for whistle-blowing -- 30  months.  And that he will likely serve that sentence in a "low security prison".

It is also a fact that half of the whistleblowing cases referenced in the article are carried over from the Bush Administration.


It is also a fact that Mr. Kiriakou -- who was tried in a civilian court because, y'know, he's a civilian -- did not disappear into a "super-max hellhole" as Mr. Greenwald recklessly implies is the inexorable destiny of all whistleblowers.

It is also a fact that Mr. Kiriakou has not been sentenced to "life-long solitary confinement" as Mr. Greenwald malignantly infers is the mandatory sentence for all whistleblowers.

It is also a fact that Mr. Kiriakou is quite able to participate in the debate he began and to interact with the outside world and is not being held incommunicado as  Mr. Greenwald has repeatedly and fraudulently implied is the inescapable fate of whistleblowers.  Such as he does here, on Friday, August 2, 2013 on MSNBC (h/t to Mr. Bob Cesca for locating the quotes I was looking for and writing a very good post in the same theme):
“[Snowden is] doing very well, he’s obviously very happy for the obvious reason that he’s not going to be subjected to the standard whistleblower treatment that the United States government gives to people, which is to put them in a cage for decades and render them incommunicado.”
 And again, Mr. Greenwald lying while a guest at the Sunday Gasbag Conclave on ABC on August 4, 2013 here:
“Well I think the concern is that whistle blowers in the United States have become the number one public enemy of the United States government, which is incredibly disturbing. McClatchy has been reporting great things about how the Obama administration equates whistleblowing with treason, with all kinds of programs. [...] Whistleblowers in the United States are put into prison for decades and basically disappeared, as we just saw with Bradley Manning…”
I understand how Mr. Greenwald's incessant and often hilariously apocalyptic conflations, exaggerations and character assassinations feed his gargantuan ego and titillate the ganglia of the Spleenwald horde.

What I do not understand is how it in any way advances his stated goal of ignoring all extraneous issues and maintaining a laser-like focus on stimulating open, rancor-free public debate on the important and consequential subjects of NSA surveillance and the FISA court.


A reminder that the word for what Mr. Greenwald is doing isn't "exaggerating".  It is "lying".  Mr. Greenwald is lying.  Repeatedly. About big, important, life-or-death things that can be easily fact-checked.

On another topic entirely, remember Mr Greenwald's righteous delight over Howie Kurtz's well-deserved thumping when he fucked up on a much smaller scale about a much less important story?

Remember him cheering on the brutal, week-long filleting Mr. Kurtz's got from fellow journalists?
Accountability bitches!

Hey, remember how Tina Brown held Howie Kurtz accountable for his fuck-up by burning his career at Newsweek to the ground?

I supposed its just lucky for Glenn Greenwald circa August, 2013 that the Guardian's standards of journalistic integrity appear to be so much lower than Glenn Greenwald's circa May, 2013.

UPDATE the Second:

Welcome Esquire readers
Welcome First Draft readers


marindenver said...

Didn't you know? The absence of any actual data showing that whistle blowers are being disappeared into cages for decades is simply proof that there is a massive cover-up in place. If it's good enough for right wing conspiracy nuts it certainly should be good enough for the left.

blader said...

Which also, btw, pretty much proves Greenwald is no journalist in any honest definition of what is journalism.

Unsalted Sinner said...

Those decades Manning has been disappeared sure flew by! But I guess Greenwald follows Stephen Colbert's example: He feels the news at you.

Lit3Bolt said...

As someone who has read him since his Google Blogger days at Unclaimed Territory, followed him to Salon, and then to the Guardian, and now to the Sunday Morning Talkshow Circuit, I can safely conclude Glenn Greenwald's goal is Glenn Greenwald.

Civil liberties? Tyrannical presidencies? That's just dog and pony show talk, which detracts from the real work of the journalist, which is smearing opponents and hemorrhaging bile onto everyone and everything, tainting every issue and alienating every potential supporter or ally. And also talking about yourself. A lot.

He's not just Glenn Greenwald, now. He's "Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who broke the NSA story." Edward Snowden, the chump, is left running for his life to the Russians after Greenwald talked him into spilling his guts in an interview. Glenn gleefully goes on to reap the benefits, protected by his "journalistic credintials," while Snowden has to make love to Putin in order to get any support whatsoever.

Glenn Greenwald's treatment of Snowden is revealing, but as usual, Glenn's fans are blind to the self-serving wolf in their midst who cares only for himself and how far he can take his gig of writing the same damn article over and over again for 7 years.

You heard it here first. Glenn Greenwald used Edward Snowden for his own gain, cozening him and encouraging him to "do it for your libertarian principles, son! No, I promise I won't rat you out to the world for my own career advancement! I swear! Pinky promise!"

I hope poor Edward learned a lesson about trusting a libertarian.

Anonymous said...

Glenn: "Well I think the concern is that whistleblowers in the United States have become the number one public enemy of the United States government, which is incredibly disturbing."

Man who is afraid of BJ's:
"Well yes Glenn, that would be quite disturbing, if it were in any way true.. however..."

So thats not how it went? Oh well...

sblefty said...

First of all, I'm not some kind of Greenwald fanboy or something, I consider myself to be very objective here.

I think Bradley Manning's situation is a much more realistic comparison for Snowden than Kiriakou's. From what I've gathered Manning IS being seriously screwed over, maybe even psycologically tortured, and is in a lot of very bad legal trouble.

Maybe Snowden would've gotten off lightly...relatively, like Kirikaou, and maybe NOT. Pretty risky stuff. He could have just kept his mouth shut and lived it up in Hawaii too.

Also, Kirikaou's story HAS been buried in the media pretty much, compared with Snowden's especially. Right? The average person has no idea who Kirikaou is, but everyone knows about Snowden.

Anonymous said...

"I hope poor Edward learned a lesson about trusting a libertarian."

- I'm not saying GG isn't a careerist. I'm not saying that a lot of this publicity isn't about GG declaring himself awesome. I'm not saying he didn't use Snowden (although it appears Snowden went to him at first).

But I am asking how, and in what conceivable way, is GG a libertarian? He's been an enthusiastic speaker at the US Socialism Conference for several years running now. He compared Occupy to the Arab Spring (as both being favorable things), and shows up periodically on radical lefty podcasts like Citizen Radio, in-between Socialism Conferences and speaking to Muslim-American groups. You can say a lot of things about GG and his motives, but none of this is the behavior of a libertarian.


Demian said...

True. Further, given the order of known events, Greenwald may even have accomplice / coconspiritor liability. Greenwald has been directly involved here to a surpriding degree. The Gov't would need to talk to Snowden first, and so far that doesn't look likely, but Greenwald may find that he has more than one reason to stay in Belize or wherever. And his tweets about hellholes and solitary, etc., may not be based entirely on his selfless concern for Snowden.

Anonymous said...


I think Snowden had good enough reason, with or without Manning as an example, to fear suffering harsh treatment from the authorities for his disclosures. The executive branch has been pursuing whistleblowers aggressively and violations of sensitive information are punished somewhat... inconsistently. The assholes who outed Valerie Plame all those years ago are not in exile in Russia, for example.

That said, Manning is *not* the more realistic comparison. They did similar things but Manning was a member of the military, a position that has vastly different responsibilities and constraints than a civilian. Manning's punishment was much more severe than what a civilian would suffer because he was subjected to military law, not civilian law.

Don't take my word for it though. I will provide links to a few military bloggers who know something about intelligence work.

A conservative one:

A liberal one:

(Just cut and paste the links into the address bar if my url tags don't work.)

Both of the above are not pleased with the trajectory of the US security state. Both are very different people personally. Both are in complete agreement that Manning is a traitor not a whistleblower.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...


I personally think Glenn is more of a "pox on both of their houses"-type who devotes more attention to attacking Dems because the Reps are such fish in a barrel, but Greenwald as a libertarian is received wisdom in some circles.

I like the handle incidentally.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Nonny Mouse,

As usual, Mr. Kettles take on Snow-Mann is spot on.
...and this is the place for the same treatment of GG.
There is a video at the Reid Report of GG speaking at a Ron Paul event that pretty much shows what camp he thinks he belongs in....and it is most assuredly not the Dems.

Anonymous said...

Found it:

mahakal said...

Can't really defend Greenwald's exaggerations, but I agree with sblefty that the comparison with Kiriakou may not be the right one, and the treatment of Bradley Manning remains instructive and concerning. Furthermore, even the idea that Kiriakou is being punished with 30 months imprisonment for his service of informing the public while the malefactors go on without so much as an unkind word demonstrates nothing resembling justice.

Compound F said...

"rancor-free debate"

That's what you said. "Rancor-free debate" between people having "honest disagreements," I suppose.

You've gone full-Reagan, dude.

That's totally bitchin' of you.

driftglass said...

Citing your hero.


Probably should have footnoted that to helped you avoid shitting yourself in such a magnificently public way.


Cliff said...

Funny, I read Greenwald's initial tweet as a comment on the quality of life in the United States in general.

Shows where my mind's at.

Compound F said...

Greenwald is my hero in your 4-way, dough-cube mind alone. Fuck off on that.

Above all, you missed the fucking point fucking entirely, because of your fucked-in-the-head obsession with Greenwald.

Fuck Greenwald and fuck you. A rancorous-free debate about the state of the fucking world?

I'm not a huge fan of Freud, but your defensive projections (e.g., "shitting yourself publicly") force some reconsideration of his views.

Malcolm is your perfect self-fucking avatar.

"Rancor-free debate," you fucking twat, and your adventitious, principle-free demagoguery.


I'm playing your game, not mine.

Anonymous said...

Any site that pushes the right wing narrative is not a site I will patronize...So long driftglass, I will now delete you.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

"Right wing narrative"?


Anonymous said...

The Cescafication of your once proud and irreverent blog is complete. Welcome to the Obot world of stupid incompetent distraction. You should really take that byline by Ray Bradbury down and replace it with:

“When something really bad is going on in a culture, the average guy doesn’t see it. He can’t. He’s average. And is surrounded by and immersed in the cant and discourse of the status quo.”
― George Saunders

Au revoir Daftglass, it was nice knowing ya.

Anonymous said...

Compound Fuckwit said (translated):

Greenwald is my hero.
Fuck off on that.

Above all, I missed the fucking point fucking entirely, because of my fucked-in-the-head obsession with Greenwald.

I'm a huge fan of Freud, but my defensive projections (e.g., "shitting myself publicly") may force some reconsideration of his views.

"Rancor-free debate," I am a fucking twat, and a fan of my own adventitious, principle-free demagoguery.

I'm playing my game, not yours.

I fucking hate myself.

driftglass said...

As LBJ said, "When you've lost the respect of anonymous sock puppets who actually think 'pushing back on a reckless lie about Obama' = 'pushing the RW agenda''ve lost America."

Compound F said...


Your "i'm rubber, you're glue" comment makes me sadder than you can even imagine. Then the bone-chilling stupidity takes hold.

Anonymous said...

driftglass said...

As LBJ said, "When you've lost the respect of anonymous sock puppets who actually think 'pushing back on a reckless lie about Obama' = 'pushing the RW agenda''ve lost America."

Yup, keep telling yourself that, while the world at large reels at the shitastic state of affairs that O is presiding over (after gleefully receiving that baton from the smirking chimp:"Look forward!"). Nothing good will come of this and your obsession with GG whilst ignoring the much larger picture will relegate you to the sad little corner of discarded tools you're intent on joining. It's really too bad, I kind of liked you.

Pinkamena Panic said...

So the litmus test for being a liberal is whether or not one falls for the lies of ADMITTED RIGHT-WINGER Saint Glennie of Rio.

Just remember, one day before beginning his endless me-me-me with Shanghai Eddie Snowden, Saint Glennie of Rio was on Bill Maher's program, shilling every right-wing fake scandal.

But please, Greenrubes, tell me how truly, TRULY liberal Saint Glennie of Rio is.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Well, you have to say one thing for Anonymous: When he goes GBCW, it's not very permanent.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Anon 8:18 PM,

I hear you.

I'd note that just because Glenn prefers a third party candidate over the Dems doesn't necessarily mean he's a Libertarian.

I kinda find it pointless anyhow. How he's labelled or labels himself isn't all that relevant to evaluating the pros, cons, and consequences of his preferences.

So I guess I'm nitpicking.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...


What's the use of flouncing if you can't get the last word?

Silly me, I didn't realize it was a right-wing trope to prefer hating on Obama for the things he's done (or allowed), rather than the mice running around in the skulls of paranoid people.

It seems like it might be the other way around, but what do I know.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that, Mahakal. Manning looks like more the exception than the rule, with the key difference being that he was detained by military authorities rather than civilian.

That this is cold comfort bit of speculation is why I don't fault Snowden for fleeing.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

You know, ordinarily when people argue their points over and over again they get more sharp, coherent, and to the point.

Compound F, on the other hand, is getting more like the Brittany Spears girl as time goes on.

I think you should send out discount blood pressure meds with your topics, Driftglass. Maybe you can get corporate sponsorship.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Chumphound Dubya;

"Then the bone-chilling stupidity takes hold."

....and then I post a bunch of comments!

Anonymous said...

The rise of GG is the triumph of Hipster Journalism.

wagonjak said...

I've been a huge fan of your site and articles for a long time, but I really don't know why you have such a bug up your ass about Greenwald.
I DON'T see him trying to make this all about himself.
I think he and the Guardian did us all a huge favor by releasing these cables from Snowden.
It's helped change the perception of the American public about the NRA and it's criminal surveillance techniques.
We now realize we can't trust any or our social media sites to keep our private material private (as if that wasn't obvious before!)
I see dozens of other targets for your ire that would be more helpful to understand the depth of the surveillance horror show in the US.
You really seem to waste a whole lot of your time and energy attacking Greenwald, who I admire and trust.
I apologize for these statements dg, but I'm really mystified by your attacks on Glenn.

wagonjak said...

And dg...could you PLEASE make your identity numbers and letters EASIER to read? I tried your sound stating them and it's horribly distorted and worse than the visuals.

mahakal said...

Compound Fracture.

Anonymous said...

And blogger's standards of integrity? They're about the same as always, right?

Seems to me I first read about the Kiriakou situation you describe at GG's joint. And how delicious the bit about lying versus exaggerating! Bravo, Mr. Exaggerator.

Anonymous said...

I am guessing you are one of the two or three annonomi? who bid your farewells in the comments above?

Is there a door somewhere the rest of us can hold open for you?

Consider that door removed from it's hinges........

Carmelo Clandestine said...

I keep thinking of how the bellicose, pro-imperial, Establishment liberals of the 1960s and 1970s became the neoconservatives of later years.

Molly said...

Read Kiriakou's own account and tell me about the "camp" he's in.

driftglass said...


"Camp" is not at issue.

I'm making a very simple point: Glenn "Hold The Media Accountable!" Greenwald has repeatedly, blatantly and to the detriment of the very important story he is trying to tell lied about this subject and his followers are apparently willing to chew their own arms off rather than admit it.

Anonymous said...

"I keep thinking of how the bellicose, pro-imperial, Establishment liberals of the 1960s and 1970s became the neoconservatives of later years."

Well, if you keep thinking long enough, maybe you will come up with something based in reality, as opposed to that line of bullshit..
..but being familiar with your "work".. I doubt it...hamfist.

Anonymous said...

I don't come here often. After this post it will be never.

Anonymous said...

"I don't come here often. After this post it will be never."


Drifty, would you be interested in a handy little ap that pinpoints the exact I.P. of your commenters?

I almost assume you are already familiar with it, it has been around quite a while.

I know you have apparently made the decision to publish pretty much everything, but wouldn't you just like to know who is where?

Carmelo Clandestine said...

Yes, Drifty has apparently decided to publish pretty much everything.

I think that's the main reason I retain hope for him.

Owl said...

Democracy Now! Aug. 5 In the blinding dust you kick up over Greenwald's style, Mr. Driftglass, you are the one who can't be bothered with the actual content of his work and interviews he's given about it. I personally don't see any difference with how Greenwald punches and how you do it, for example in your very enjoyable caricatures of David Brooks. Yeah, in the transcript I linked, Greenwald did call Dutch Ruppersberger "the embodiment of the rotted soul that has become the Democratic Party." No need to consider the principle discussion about terror theater hype after that bit, eh?

Owl said...

Bear with me once more... I'm listening to this week's very good PL podcast right now. The Greenwald is "lying" riff is way overblown, in my opinion, as it is in this post. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I can't find the term "XKeyscore" referenced in any of your recent posts in this blog. Does that mean you are "lying" when you say you always are writing about how important you regard the story of NSA surveillance which Greenwald has helped us understand? I don't think so. My feeling is that you have the wrong emphasis on this thing.

Snarkeology 101: I Cannot Believe We Forgot The Celebrate The 17th Anniversary Of The Late Robert Novak...

...losing his shit and storming off the CNN set back in 2005. The Dubya Administration was just beginning to come apart at the seams.  ...