Monday, June 2, 2014

One Man's Spy is Another Woman's Whistleblower

The recent interview with Edward Snowden by Brian Williams on NBC only serves to highlight what the late Michael Ruppert described as the "complete psychotic disconnect" between the American people and their leaders.  By leaders, of course, I'm referring to the Radical Establishment Media (REM).  This interview, viewed by almost 6 million people when broadcast last week, was framed within the binary logic of choosing whether Snowden was a #Traitor or #Patriot.  No similar questions were asked whether viewers thought the NSA was a #Traitor or #Patriot or whether the US government itself was a #Traitor or #Patriot.  Did NBC think Twitter couldn't handle such introspection by the public?  No, it's because they can't handle the scrutiny, our wonderful Military-Industrial-Media-Intelligence Complex, Our Orwellian National Security State.

So they have to make it all about him.  They have to pretend Edward Snowden is the issue, that he has jeopardized our national security, that unless we can get him out of Russia and bring him back to stand trial, there is no justice.  Pretending that Snowden is the only one, we should forget that Russell Tice blew the whistile on the NSA back in 2004 to journalist James Risen, whose employer The New York Times conveniently sat on the story until 2005, so that the revelations would have no chance of effecting the outcome of the Presidential election.  And we should most certainly forget about this jailbird:

WASHINGTON - In an unprecedented move, the Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said.
Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman.
The request was the first ever made by a transgender military inmate and set up a dilemma for the Defense Department: How to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy. Transgenders are not allowed to serve in the U.S. military and the Defense Department does not provide such treatment, but Manning can't be discharged from the service while serving his 35-year prison sentence.
Some officials have said privately that keeping the soldier in a military prison and unable to have treatment could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Image: Bradley Manning in wig and make-up. US Army via AFP - Getty Images
This undated photo courtesy of the U.S. Army shows a photo of Bradley Manning in wig and make-up.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month gave the Army approval to try to work out a transfer plan with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which does provide such treatment, two Pentagon officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
"No decision to transfer Pvt. Manning to a civilian detention facility has been made, and any such decision will, of course, properly balance the soldier's medical needs with our obligation to ensure she remains behind bars," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
The two agencies are just starting discussions about prospects for a transfer, the two officials said.
The Army has a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Prisons for use of several hundred beds and has sent an average of 15 to 20 prisoners a year to civilian prisons. But circumstances are different in Manning's case. The Army normally transfers some prisoners to federal prisons after all military appeals have been exhausted and discharge from military service has been executed. Cases of national security interest are not normally approved for transfer from military custody to the federal prison system.
The former intelligence analyst was sentenced in August for six Espionage Act violations and 14 other offenses for giving WikiLeaks more than 700,000 secret military and U.S. State Department documents, along with battlefield video, while working in Iraq in 2009 and 2010. An Army general later upheld the convictions, clearing the way for an appeal at the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.
After the conviction, Manning announced the desire to live as a woman and to be called Chelsea, a name change that was approved last month by a Leavenworth County District Judge and that the military did not oppose.
The soldier has been diagnosed by military doctors multiple times — including last fall after arriving at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, prison — with gender dysphoria, the sense of being a woman in a man's body.
By November, a military doctor there had approved a treatment plan, including hormone therapy, but it was sent higher up the chain of command for consideration, according to a complaint filed by Manning in March over the delay in getting treatment.
The plan the military was considering has not been publicly released, but Manning said in the complaint that she had specifically asked that the treatment "plan consider ... three types of treatment."
Those were "real life experience" — a regimen in which the person tries dressing and living as the sex they want to transition to (something not possible in the Leavenworth men's facility); hormone therapy, which changes some physical traits such as breast and hair growth; and sex reassignnment surgery. Manning has not been specific about possible surgery, but experts in transgender health say it can include any of a large number of procedures such as chest reconstruction, genital reconstruction and plastic surgery such as facial reconstruction.
- The Associated Press
First published May 13th 2014, 11:34 pm

Once we forget that multiple whistleblowers have come forth to protest the abuses of our government in the name of national security, we won't be able to question why we're being "protected" in the first place and what real motives might lie behind the terror that has occurred.  While NBC did air some questions about 9/11 that Snowden answered, some more controversial material didn't make it to broadcast:

NBC Censors Snowden’s Critical 9/11 Comments From Prime Time Audience

"They found that we had all of the information we needed as an intelligence community... to detect this plot"

Global Research, May 30, 2014
Statements made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden regarding the 9/11 terror attacks were edited out of his NBC Nightly News interview with Brian Williams Wednesday in what appears to be an attempt to bolster legitimacy for the agency’s controversial surveillance programs.

Snowden’s comments surrounding the failure of dragnet surveillance in stopping the 9/11 attacks were censored from the prime time broadcast and instead buried in an hour long clip on NBC’s website.

“You know this is a key question that the 9/11 commission considered, and what they found in the postmortem when they looked at all the classified intelligence from all the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed as an intelligence community, as a classified sector, as the national defense of the United States, to detect this plot,” Snowden said.

“We actually had records of the phone calls from the United States and out. The CIA knew who these guys were. The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we had.”

NBC’s decision to bury Snowden’s comments are unsurprising given the fact that the 9/11 attacks are exhaustively used by the federal government as the prime justification for surveilling millions of innocent Americans. Snowden remarked on the government’s prior knowledge of the accused Boston bombers as well, also cut from the prime time interview.

‘If we’re missing things like the Boston Marathon bombings where all of these mass-surveillance systems, every domestic dragnet in the world, didn’t reveal guys that the Russian intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country or are we trying to throw money at a magic solution that’s actually not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life,” Snowden said.

Despite countless government officials pointing to 9/11 foreknowledge, whether missed or ignored, establishment media outlets have continually worked to keep such voices out of relevant reporting.

Former NSA senior executive turned whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed unconstitutional surveillance programs targeting Americans in 2005, has repeatedly commented on NSA intelligence that would have “undoubtedly” stopped the 9/11 attacks.

“The NSA had critical intelligence about Al Qaeda and associated movements in particular that had never been properly shared outside of NSA,” Drake said in a recent interview. “They simply did not share critical intelligence although they had it.”

In a January letter to President Obama, Drake and fellow whistleblowers William Binney, Edward Loomis, and Kirk Wiebe not only detailed the agency’s foreknowledge, but the ensuing cover-up as well.

“The sadder reality, Mr. President, is that NSA itself had enough information to prevent 9/11, but chose to sit on it rather than share it with the FBI or CIA. We know; we were there,” the letter reads. “We were witness to the many bureaucratic indignities that made NSA at least as culpable for pre-9/11 failures as are other U.S. intelligence agencies.”

Outside of the NSA, countless intelligence officials have also commented on 9/11 foreknowledge and the federal government’s attempts to stifle any investigation into negligence and wrongdoing.

Former senior intelligence officer Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer, who attempted to inform the government after identifying the two terrorist cells later charged for the 9/11 attacks in 2000 during Operation Able Danger, was attacked and demonized by the Defense Intelligence Agency after informing Congress of the agency’s refusal to act.

“I had no intention of joining the ranks of ‘whistle blowers,’” Shaffer said in 2009. “When I made my disclosure to the 9/11 commission regarding the existence of a pre 9/11 offensive counter-terrorism operation that had discovered several of the 9/11 terrorists a full year before the 9/11 attacks my intention was to simply tell the truth, and fulfill my oath of office.”

Former FBI wiretap translator Sibel Edmonds, who had access to top-secret communications, told reporters in 2004 that the FBI had detailed 9/11 foreknowledge that specifically mentioned a terrorist attack involving airplanes.

“We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001. There was that much information available,” Edmonds told Salon. “There was specific information about use of airplanes, that an attack was on the way two or three months beforehand and that several people were already in the country by May of 2001. They should’ve alerted the people to the threat we’re facing.”

According to Edmonds, after the 9/11 attacks, FBI supervisors ordered translators to “work slowly” in order to ensure that the agency would get larger funding the next year.

The vast number of whistleblowers in the intelligence community not only gives credence to Snowden’s comments, but also exemplifies the NSA’s illegitimate growth since 9/11.

In a desperate attempt to gain the moral high ground, Secretary of State John Kerry claimedSnowden had aided terrorists during an interview on “Good Morning America” Wednesday despite having absolutely no evidence to support his accusation.

Despite the fact that the NSA leaks have proven the agency to be involved in issues unrelated to national security, such as economic espionage, the claim of using mass surveillance to stop terrorism deteriorates even further in light of recent decisions by the Obama Administration.

In 2013, President Obama waived a federal law designed to prevent the US from arming terrorists in order to provide military support to the “Syrian rebels.” Even with Syrian Revolutionary Front leader Jamal Maarouf admitting that his fighters work alongside the Al-Qaeda aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, the Obama Administration has continued its unflinching support.

The president’s support of Al-Qaeda was so transparent during the Libyan overthrow that former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich publicly questioned why the US-backed “Libyan rebels” had placed an Al Qaeda flag over the top of the courthouse in Benghazi.

Whether it be issuing fake terror alertscreating domestic terror plots or allowing them to take place, the national security state will undoubtedly do whatever it can to continue its unabated growth towards total information awareness.

Despite all their efforts, the American people are not stupid.  Even with the intentionally dumbed down black/white, soft/hard, less filling/tastes great dichotomy of framing Snowden with binary logic, 59% tweeted him a Patriot, a wider percentage of victory than any President ever received in the popular vote.  Why?  Maybe Snowden's personal eloquence in the interview played some part. This particular exchange was quite revealing:

Using Williams' temporary "burner" cell phone as an example, Snowden said, "The NSA, the Russian Intelligence Service, the Chinese Intelligence Service, any intelligence service in the world that has significant funding and a real technological research team, can own that phone the minute it connects to their network. As soon as you turn it on, it can be theirs. They can turn it into a microphone, they can take pictures from it, they can take the data off of it." 

Snowden described how the simple pattern of his phone calls -- not the content of the calls but the time and location of those calls -- could be invaluable to a security service. And how the content of even innocuous Web searches, such as a search for a hockey score, can reveal habits and be used to build a profile of personal information. 

"Do you check it when you travel, do you check it when you're just at home? They'd be able to tell something called your "pattern of life." When are you doing these kind of activities? When do you wake up? When do you go to sleep? What other phones are around you when you wake up and go to sleep? Are you with someone who's not your wife? Are you doing something, are you someplace you shouldn't be, according to the government, which is arbitrary, you know — are you engaged in any kind of activities that we disapprove of, even if they aren't technically illegal?" 

"And all of these things can raise your level of scrutiny, even if it seems entirely innocent to you. Even if you have nothing to hide. Even if you're doing nothing wrong. These activities can be misconstrued, misinterpreted, and used to harm you as an individual, even without the government having any intent to do you wrong. The problem is that the capabilities themselves are unregulated, uncontrolled, and dangerous." 

"All because I Googled the Rangers-Canadiens final score?" Williams asked. 

"Exactly," Snowden said. 

He described how government analysts use electronic tools to watch a person's computer keystrokes, giving an insight into their thought process. "As you write a message, you know, an analyst at the NSA or any other service out there that's using this kind of attack against people can actually see you write sentences and then backspace over your mistakes and then change the words and then kind of pause and — and — and think about what you wanted to say and then change it. And it's this extraordinary intrusion not just into your communications, your finished messages but your actual drafting process, into the way you think."

I think what he explained about Brian Williams's burner is what most Americans understand intuitively: these programs that spy on all of us are not primarily about terrorism.  It is about maximizing profits.  What is our primary value, the citizens of this country, to our government?  If you think it's our votes, think again.  Think about what they call us, the nomenclature directed at us by this behemoth, this interlocking octopus of corporations, banks, intelligence agencies, marketing and advertising firms, media and the bureaucratic bodies of the government proper.  They call us consumers.  We make them money.  So to maximize profits, they must know everything about us right down to how we think.  Once they know that, the secondary objective, controlling terrorism, falls neatly into place as just another tool that they control to keep us in line.

That's why the majority of Americans know Snowden is right.  Because it's not just about him.  It's about all of us.  Our freedom is on the line.


Charles Edward Frith said...

Snowden is COINTEL limited hangout. It's factional warfare between the CIA and the NSA. Not all of his work is bad for us but the real debate is what have the NSA got on people that prompted the CIA to punt him somewhere safe like Russia.

Glen Greenwalds boyfriend running around the planet with the information? Do me a favour...

Robert Paulsen said...

That's an intriguing hypothesis, Charles. I did find what Snowden had to say about his work for the CIA added a new dimension to his story. But again - making his story THE story and ignoring all the other whistleblowers is REM's attempt to minimize and trivialize the invasive criminality of our intelligence community in the name of National Security.

If all this is coming out because of a turf war, that's to our benefit. Snowden wasn't the first and he won't be the last. I'm just not so sure he's all that safe; that may be why he's talking to Brian Williams in the first place. I don't have evidence to support this suspicion. But if you've got any links to support your position, I'd love to see it.

Charles Edward Frith said...

Sure thing.

Robert Paulsen said...

Thanks Charles. That's some fascinating shit there. I think the most honest statement he made through his TheTrueHOOHA moniker was, "I just wanted to be clear. I'm not really an ugly american. I just play one on the intarwebs." There's definitely a lot more to Snowden than meets the eye.