4th and 1st Amendments Under Fire; 'Everyone Spies' a Favorite Cry of US Apologists; War Against Journalists; 'We Hit the Jackpot'
The way to stop media reporting of NSA is simple: Shut down the agency entirely. It is too big, too bloated, and too useless. It spies on friends and foes alike. And when you tap the phones of 35 heads of state, including Angela Merkel, it's pretty damn had to make the case this that spying is about terrorism.
Please consider the Guardian article NSA Chief Says Government Must Stop Media Reporting by Glenn Greenwald.
The most under-discussed aspect of the NSA story has long been its international scope. That all changed this week as both Germany and France exploded with anger over new revelations about pervasive NSA surveillance on their population and democratically elected leaders.
As was true for Brazil previously, reports about surveillance aimed at leaders are receiving most of the media attention, but what really originally drove the story there were revelations that the NSA is bulk-spying on millions and millions of innocent citizens in all of those nations. The favorite cry of US government apologists -- everyone spies! - falls impotent in the face of this sort of ubiquitous, suspicionless spying that is the sole province of the US and its four English-speaking surveillance allies (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
There are three points worth making about these latest developments.
First, note how leaders such as Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted with basic indifference when it was revealed months ago that the NSA was bulk-spying on all German citizens, but suddenly found her indignation only when it turned out that she personally was also targeted. That reaction gives potent insight into the true mindset of many western leaders.
Second, all of these governments keep saying how newsworthy these revelations are, how profound are the violations they expose, how happy they are to learn of all this, how devoted they are to reform. If that's true, why are they allowing the person who enabled all these disclosures - Edward Snowden - to be targeted for persecution by the US government for the "crime" of blowing the whistle on all of this?
Third, is there any doubt at all that the US government repeatedly tried to mislead the world when insisting that this system of suspicionless surveillance was motivated by an attempt to protect Americans from The Terrorists?
Speaking of an inability to maintain claims with a straight face, how are American and British officials, in light of their conduct in all of this, going to maintain the pretense that they are defenders of press freedoms and are in a position to lecture and condemn others for violations? In what might be the most explicit hostility to such freedoms yet - as well as the most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic - the NSA's director, General Keith Alexander, actually demanded Thursday that the reporting being done by newspapers around the world on this secret surveillance system be halted.
Recall that it was Glenn Greenwald who broke broke the NSA spy story episode with leaks from Edward Snowden.
As one might expect from criminal agencies, the NSA is fighting back, with an attack on constitutional rights.
4th and 1st Amendments Under Fire
Apparently not satisfied with just setting fire to the 4th Amendment, NSA boss Keith Alexander's next target is the 1st Amendment. In an interview with the Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog, it appears that Alexander felt he'd have a friendly audience, so he let loose with some insane claims, including suggesting that the government needs to find a way to "stop" journalists from reporting on the Snowden leaks.
Please click on the above link to see TechDirt's rebuttal to blatant lies by the NSA chief.
Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill to Setup Independent News Agency
Jeremy Scahill, National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine, author of the international bestseller Blackwater, and also the author of Dirty Wars, is starting his own independent news agency along with Glenn Greenwald.
Pierre Omidyar, founder of online auction site eBay, said Wednesday he is teaming up with journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has led reporting on secret U.S. surveillance programs, to create a new online mass media venture.
Greenwald announced late Tuesday that he was quitting The Guardian for "a once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity" but said he was not ready to give more details.
Now Omidyar has confirmed to CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he is behind the new media venture, which includes Greenwald and others -- and that he will personally fund it.
Greenwald has been at the forefront of a series of high-profile reports based on leaks from former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Journalist Jeremy Scahill and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras will also be joining the venture, Omidyar said.
Greenwald has been working with Poitras, based in Berlin, on NSA-related stories. Scahill is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army."
U.K. government and press collide in bullying of reporter's partner
The Guardian has come under fire in recent days from figures in the UK intelligence community who suggest its reporting has undermined efforts to keep the country safe in the face of terror threats.
Both Greenwald and The Guardian have accused UK authorities of using heavy-handed tactics to try to silence legitimate reporting.
Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained for hours by UK authorities at London's Heathrow Airport in mid-August, as he was changing planes en route to the couple's Rio de Janeiro home. Items including a laptop, a hard drive and USB memory sticks were confiscated from him and are the subject of a legal challenge.
Greenwald said the episode was designed to deter him and other investigative journalists from using classified information and digging into stories critical of the British and allied governments -- but vowed to continue regardless.
"We Hit the Jackpot"
Finally, please consider the following video on the formation of the new independent news agency. In the video, Jeremy Scahill discusses his partnership with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras:
"We Hit the Jackpot" says Scahill.
Link if video does not play: "We Hit the Jackpot"
War Against Journalists
Says Scahill: "The Role of journalists is to hold those in power accountable... We are incredibly excited by this project because all three of us are journalists to the core ... There is a war against journalism around the world. Journalists are missing, beaten and imprisoned around the world ... And in the United States we have a president who won the Noble Peace Prize, who is a constitutional lawyer by training, and he is prosecuting whistleblowers in record numbers. They are monitoring the metadata of journalists, trying to figure out who they are talking to ... and we have a media culture that is totally morally bankrupt."
Indeed. And I wish Greenwald, Scahill, and Poitras huge success in their new venture.