The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Surveillance States and the End of Freedom

The detention of David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald’s husband has led to much hand wringing.  He was forced to give up the passwords to his phone and his computer, was threatened with jail, and was only allowed to have a lawyer if he chose one of the police’s list.  He was not, of course, allowed to be silent.  This is the law, nothing illegal was done.

But of more interest to me is an article by Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian.  He details the threats made by the government if he did not destroy or hand over the files, including the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian’s basement.  The most telling graph is this one:

The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like “when”.

We are not there yet, but it may not be long before it will be impossible for journalists to have confidential sources. Most reporting – indeed, most human life in 2013 – leaves too much of a digital fingerprint.

It’s not just digital in the sense of online.  Again the endgame is this: recognition software linked to cameras, drones, even spy satellites.  Facial recognition, gait recognition, IR signatures and more.  This stuff is pretty reliable.  You will be tracked 24/7.  You will go nowhere without it being possible to know where you have gone.  You will do nothing online without it being tracked.  The hysteria over online bullying will be used to make online anonymity (as limited as it already is), straight up illegal.

Everything you do will be tracked.  Audio is being added to many cameras now, as well, so they won’t just see what you do, they will hear it.  Fools will dismiss this as paranoia, it is simply fact, this is the end game, this is where the surveillance web leads, when you add the telecom revolution on top of this.  This is more intrusive than what Orwell had in Big Brother, because they didn’t record, if someone wasn’t listening at the time, you were ok.

I have long said that I will know people are serious about change when it is a public ethic that a surveillance camera is evil, and the moment one is put up, it is destroyed.  If you want to stop this short of that, you will need draconian laws.

1) No audio surveillance.  Period.

2) The government cannot use surveillance to follow, watch or listen to anyone without a court warrant.  That court warrant expires in X years (probably 3), and once it expires, the person is given all records gained.  Furthermore there can be no blanket court orders, every one must be individual.

3) No public cameras.  If you need a place watched, hire someone to do it.  We have an unemployment problem anyway.

4) Private surveillance cameras in private places only, no transmission of those records off-site, no linking of those records to anything else (the standard practice in many stores is to photograph you as you pay and link that to your credit card) and all records are destroyed after 24 hours.  This applies not just to customers, but to employees, who should have rights as well.  As a business the results of their work are your business, the second by second record of how they do the job is rarely your business and if it is, hire a supervisor.

5) A right to privacy.  The current laws assume that if you are in a public place you have no reasonable expectation of privacy.  Those laws were not made with blanket surveillance and the telecom revolution in mind.  To put it in vulgar terms, regular photography is ok, but you cannot be stalked.  Someone cannot follow you around, photographing you, whether in person or remotely, without your permission, the above mentioned court-order or perhaps,  reasonable suspicion you are about to commit a crime.  I”m leery of the last, simply because of the abuse of such clauses we’ve seen from the police.  (ie. good laws cannot protect bad people, see Machiavelli.)

All of the above laws must be backed up with criminal sentences, not fines, or they will not be obeyed.

As I have said repeatedly, individuals have the right to know what their government is doing, and government has no right to know what citizens are doing except under very prescribed circumstances.

If you want some form of surveillance, the only good form would be making sure that every police officer has a camera on them at all times.  Even that I have doubts about, since sometimes it actually is best to let someone off with a warning.

A working society requires people to have discretion and use it.  No set of laws works in all circumstances.  But as with children, if they won’t use their discretion, if they won’t behave properly, then draconian laws are necessary. It is clear that our lords and masters think they have a right to track us 24/7.  That can’t be allowed, and what will happen if it occurs (and it’s close) is far worse than a few criminals getting away because there wasn’t a camera nearby.


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The Real Reason the US and UK will attack Syria


  1. Idiot journalists who looked the other way while all these abuses have been piling up for the past many years — will they finally wake up?

    Don’t bet on it.

    I interviewed Erik Larson years ago — holy shit, 21 years ago — about one of his books, THE NAKED CONSUMER (Henry Holt, 1992). It’s about privacy and data collection. Everything he predicted 21 years ago has come true, in spades. From p. 14 (fingers crossed the HTML comes out okay; if not, Ian, you can fix it):

    My research for this book convinced me there are four universal laws governing the flow of data collected about individuals, which I call the “laws of data dynamics”:
    1. Data must seek and merge with complementary data.
    2. Data always will be used for purposes other than originally intended.
    3. Data collected about individuals will be used to cause harm to one or more members of the group who provided the information or about whom it was collected, be it minor (the short-term aggravation of a ‘junk call’ during dinner) or major (the sorrow of getting a free sample of formula just after your miscarriage).
    4. Confidential information is confidential only until someone decides it’s not.

    Obviously, this was before the digital age. The opportunities for abuse have only expanded.

  2. Celsius 233

    Excellent post Ian, however;
    You are speaking to a nation of sheep who think they are wolves…

  3. S Brennan

    Funny how those who want to pry into private lives demand that public office be hidden behind a veil of secrecy…here we have a rather bizarrely public display of hypocrisy…the electrons haven’t had a chance to cool. Note Some tiny edits to add missing words

    August 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I don’t know how Barry gets from a satirical and sarcastic comment about Assange to Obama’s being tough on whistle blowers and the a “war on journalism.”

    Assange is NOT a whistle blower. Diplomacy can’t be conducted in public. Sure we /want/ our officials to be transparent, but who would talk to our diplomats if there conversations were made public. Answer: nobody.
    I repeat, releasing private diplomatic cables is NOT whistle blowing, it’s treason.

    S Brennan
    August 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    “but who would talk to our diplomats if there conversations were made public. Answer: nobody.”

    Thanks for being a spokesman for me [and billions of others around the globe]. But you are wrong in your dictatorial supposition, I for one wish those who trade in human lives did have to speak openly…let’s see…hmmm, imagine if NAFTA was negotiated publicly.

    Mexican Official: Yes, ambassador, the oligarchs of our country would like to move peasants off their land grants by using cheap US corn to make their crops worthless. Then they’ll be forced to leave their families and migrate north to stop US modernization and help break-up the remaining unions who have resisted your roll-back and other programs to destroy your country…plus they make excellent maids and gardeners for political and high-end media types who don’t feel they should pay minimum wage.

    American Official: Yes, Yes that sounds great, but don’t let it get out…because legally, both of us are engaged in high treason to our respective countries…stupid oaths of office and all that. Thank God in a few years few most Americans will become so brainwashed that they will demand that conversations where officials engage in treason should never be made public, no matter how villainous. But between now and when we have completely extinguished freedom…let’s keep this treason between you me..okay?

    Mexican Official: Of Course…now let’s drink to the thought of hearing the bells of tyranny ringing throughout our respective lands!

    American Official: Yes, Yes…until that day ambassador…a day when all Americans yearned to be yoked as beast of burden!

  4. someofparts

    It’s a heartbreaking time to be alive.

  5. Ian Welsh

    Good one Brennan.

  6. S Brennan

    Thanks Ian, not much of a weapon,’s what I got.

  7. John Puma

    We need something more basic and profound than another list of proposed laws, which, under current conditions, would never be introduced much less passed/enforced.

    The system, as evolved, IS their power. And what Douglass said about voluntary concession of said power becomes more horrifically true seemingly by the minute.

  8. It gets worse. Did you see what the security spooks did at the Guardian? Right there in the offices? I just put up a post about it.

  9. Celsius 233

    @ Lisa Simeone

    I just wonder when that will happen in the U.S.
    If it does, it should, but won’t be, the last straw.
    A nation of sheep who think they’re wolves; best description I ever heard…

  10. Celsius 233

    Addendum; the real beauty of the Guardian “incident” is; the morons didn’t get it! They totally lacked understanding of the irrelevance of what they did.
    It’s a perfect picture of government gone fascist in an instant of stupidity.
    Gods be good; with leaders that fucking stupid; it shouldn’t be too difficult to out think them at every turn; blessings in disguise…

  11. Celsius, well, if you count Laura Poitras, Davis House, Jacob Applebaum, et. al, it already has happened (destruction of journalists’ property).

    As for animals, my favorite is still by Bertrand de Jouvenel: “A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”

  12. Shit, David House, not Davis House. My god, the typos I make on-line.

  13. Celsius, yes, and stupidity of security goons duly noted.

  14. ed moloney

    Rusbridger should not have allowed the Brits to destroy his hard drives. He justified this on the grounds that the NSA material was outside the UK where most of the reporting was being done. But in doing so he has conceded the principle that the authorities have the right to do this when the story in question is being produced in home office. What happens when the Guardian gets a domestic story that the British state wants to suppress? They cannot now be resisted by the Guardian. As I understand it Rusbridger also justified this by saying that otherwise the authorities would have moved in the courts to prevent publication, i.e. the Brits would have imposed censorship. Fine. Let’s get it all out in the open and start the fight for public opinion. Obliging the Cameron government to silence a newspaper makes the issues underlying the NSA scandal clear and obliges us all to take sides in a fight for essential liberties. He missed an opportunity to take this matter to a higher level on favorable terms. The governments, UK & US, will not be so shy if conditions change in their favor.

  15. Ed Moloney,

    Agreed. I can’t fathom what Rusbridger was thinking. Unless it was that he knew this exercise was a waste of time, that there was nothing important on those hard drives, or certainly nothing that wasn’t also available somewhere else, so he knew he could write about it and make them look the fools they are. But even then, he allowed them to destroy Guardian property.

  16. RJ Meyers

    I’ve been trying to think of something along the lines of police officers with cameras, but for politicians instead–anyone holding an elected office must be recorded at all times, or at least at all times when they discuss or act on anything relevant to their office, with severe penalties for not doing so.

    The problem is that political work is not well-defined shift work as with police. There’s no clear time when they’re on or off the clock, so enforcement is very hard. Money and bribes could come in via campaign managers and support staff, with the politician kept mostly out of the loop. The fix for that is to mandate that everyone working as a staffer, etc. must also be recorded, but I suspect that the corruption will probably move just outside the boundary and new functionaries will arise out there to interface with it. I’ll need to think of a rule that cuts through the organizational hierarchy differently…

    Plus, I’m willing to concede that a few–very few–things do need to be kept secret for periods of time, so there would have to be some delineation of topics that can go off the record. And that opens the whole system up for abuse.

    Additionally, recording where politicians go every day leaves them vulnerable to physical attack and could make them more paranoid than they likely already are. The solution to that seems to be to minimize the odds of anyone attacking them, which goes directly to your point about our society needing to be kinder, more compassionate, and more cognizant of our common humanity.

  17. Celsius 233

    @ Lisa Simeone

    Oh, for Christ’s sake; it was very clear and stated; this was a bullshit action!
    Jaysus fucking Christ; it was clearly a statement, the information was not on the hard drives only! It was in the cloud!
    Can anybody fucking read?
    This was an exercise in government hubris, control, and it was an impotent action!
    They proved themselves fools! Got it?
    Rusbridger did exactly the right thing. Fuck me, you all just don’t fucking get the point!

  18. I have sometimes been in reporter’s/publisher’s shoes, and if this happened to me I would think, “What a story!” He might have fought it in the courts, and he might have lost. So instead he told us. The ball is in our court now (yes, pun).

  19. Celsius 233

    I see in the link (above) that Rusbridger is not mentioned; my link is an interview with Rusbridger about this whole shitstorm!
    It is worth a listen! It’s really worth a listen!!!!

  20. What things-very few-things need to be kept secret? I keep reading this kind of sentiment, but I really don’t know what should be secret. We really aren’t at war with anybody and shouldn’t be. This whole spying thing has blown up into an industry after WWII. If you read books like Tim Weiner’s “Legacy of Ashes” the whole CIA history is one of bungling and thuggery. A bunch of James Bond wannabees. Watch De Niro’s movie “The Good Shepherd” and tell me why we need the CIA or the NSA. The way to stop terror is to stop terrorizing, not spying.
    I learned in books that the only way to have a democratic process was through total transparency. The only way a representative government like ours can work is if all the issues are debated in public; all the different views expressed and then disinterested representatives make the decisions. For example, the health care debate should have included single payer and national health care advocates who could lay out how these systems work. But deals were cut behind closed doors. No transparency. No democracy. System fail.
    I do deals for a living. It’s pretty transparent. Most of the people I deal with do not lie about how much money they have to work with to pay my clients for their services. Some do though. They usually don’t last in the business. I find lying a complete waste of time. And secrecy is a bother. Privacy, on the other hand, is somewhat different although some people have no problem with peeing in front of each other or playing nude volleyball. Maybe the better word is intimacy. Some things should be intimate and not subject to viewing by others and then judged.
    Need help here.

  21. Ed Moloney

    Hotflash inadvertently raises an issue I had neglected to mention. He/she says that Rusbridger could have fought this matter in the courts but instead published it. Leaving aside the fact that going to court is often a very good way of getting a story into circulation, Rusbridger’s decision to go public on the destruction of his hard drives raises a couple of questions I have not seen answered elsewhere in the coverage: Just when did this destruction take place? Was it recently or some time ago and if the latter why has it taken so long to get the story out? If David Miranda had not been arrested would we ever have heard of this incident? One last point, Hotflash says that if Rusbridger had taken the matter to court he might have lost. What would he/she call allowing the government to smash a newspaper’s hard drives with sledgehammers?

  22. Celsius, no need to get so angry. We get it.

  23. Ed Moloney:

    Just when did this destruction take place? Was it recently or some time ago and if the latter why has it taken so long to get the story out? If David Miranda had not been arrested would we ever have heard of this incident?

    Rusbridger said (in his column in the Guardian) that this happened “just over a month ago.”

  24. Ed Moloney

    Thank you Lisa. I had missed that. So, a month of silence on the issue. Why? My other question still stands: if David Miranda had not been arrested would Rusbridger ever have told us this? He should have gone public about the govt pressure, forced them into court and widened the battle. His behavior sends the message to govt, in UK as well as US, that sufficient pressure will force a climbdown. I noticed in one of Greenwald’s accounts of the background to the story that at one point he was considering posting Snowden’s material on a separate blog. That suggests that Rusbridger was getting cold feet and Greenwald was casting about for an alternative outlet. All that flack about giving Wikileaks a platform may well have worked. If government senses weaknesses in its media adversary the pressure will intensify. That’s why stories like the destruction of hard drives should never be hidden away. Openness and defiance should be the guiding rules. Don’t get me wrong. I am glad we have the Guardian because otherwise there would be nothing. Just don’t expect too much from it.

  25. Benedict@Large

    This isn’t about surveillance. It’s simply too clumsy for that. The NSA higher-ups have been running a corporate espionage racket out of their (our?) digital surveillance program, and they have to stop that from bubbling up out of the rest of this. If it ever can be established that these ex-GI Joe clowns have misappropriated government systems for fun and [HUGE] profit like this, they’re be spend out their days in zebra stripes, and they know it. This is rich people’s money they’ve been stealing.

  26. Dan Henry

    Just trying to pin down exactly how corrupt the rules are: A detainee is now legally obliged to provide the passwords to his electronics? Is this justified on the basis of a sort of omnipotence on who is detained?

  27. Dan Henry PERMALINK
    August 20, 2013
    Just trying to pin down exactly how corrupt the rules are: A detainee is now legally obliged to provide the passwords to his electronics? Is this justified on the basis of a sort of omnipotence on who is detained?

    I have no idea what the legal requirements are (and it looks like legal requirements are getting kicked to the curb left and right anyway), but I do know that in the never-never land of border crossings, including the U.S., you have no rights. They can do whatever they want with you. Okay, maybe you have the right not to be murdered. But in general, Americans give up their rights at the borders, and this was true long before 9/11 and all the National Security State nonsense that followed; don’t know about Brits, but I’m guessing it’s the same.

    The ACLU has brought several class-action lawsuits on behalf of Americans who were abused at the borders (for example, black women traveling alone who were strip-searched for no reason, other than the jollies of the sadists doing the strip-searching).

    Also in Israel, as people should know by now. People, including Americans, have had their electronics confiscated, been forced to reveal their passwords, been roughed up strip-searched, and then denied entry to the country.

    Though god knows I’m in favor of defiance in general, when I travel abroad and come back into the U.S., I’m always “yes, sir,” “no, sir” with the Customs and Border Protection people. I take those guys deadly seriously. They can totally fuck you up.

  28. RJ Meyers


    What things-very few-things need to be kept secret? I keep reading this kind of sentiment, but I really don’t know what should be secret.

    I’m really just exploring my own thoughts here–my base, ideal position is 100% transparency, like you, but I think there are certain things that must be temporarily kept opaque such as details of ongoing criminal investigations or information on active security development/work. I think its good to emphasize the following though:

    1) It should be temporary, meaning the secrecy should never be permanent or “effectively permanent.” No decades-long secrets, maybe cap it at one year or less and establish a high bar for making anything secret.
    2) All processes and established systems must be known and transparent. Some actions taken by those systems may be initially opaque but must become transparent once accomplished. Note that I’m thinking of things more in the FBI/police realm here. Congress and other legislative bodies should always be transparent, both systematically and in terms of actions taken. (One further concern I have here: A sufficiently complex system may be made 100% transparent, but its inner workings may defy analysis by most people unless they carefully go back over archives to tease out the significant details. Solution here is to not design such complex systems…)
    3) We live in a world full of other, non-transparent and powerful entities (e.g. other countries). Solving the problem of becoming 100% information transparent while still maintaining relations with these countries appears non-trivial to me. I don’t want diplomatic cables and scheming to remain hidden, but how do we transition to a world where they’re open to the public that doesn’t involve nation states moving to some other medium? Granted the US is a/the major player in this area, so if it led the way then perhaps a genuine transformation could happen.
    4) I have a general fear that there are situations where releasing information immediately could harm innocent people or cause major problems. I can’t be more specific here, and I admit this really isn’t a point to argue based on a gut feeling.

    The real problem here is that secrecy and opacity is a very strong tendency in power hierarchies, since they preserve power at the top. Humans tends to form hierarchies pretty naturally. It can be discouraged, but it must be constantly worked against.

    Dan Henry:

    Just trying to pin down exactly how corrupt the rules are: A detainee is now legally obliged to provide the passwords to his electronics? Is this justified on the basis of a sort of omnipotence on who is detained?

    It may be even worse, though I have no grounding in the actual legal requirements. It appears that a detainee is now legally obliged to cooperate with the demands of authorities, period. Providing passwords to electronics is just a specific case of that.

  29. Eureka Springs

    Well I appreciate it when Ian lists specific changes/suggestions.

    There are alternatives.

    Maven, Bravo! You need no help…)

  30. By the way, just came across this — I’m lucky I can turn my computer on, so I have no idea how this stuff works, but maybe those of you who are more technically proficient do:

    Creating An Alternative Internet To Keep The NSA Out

  31. S Brennan

    Providing today’s black comedy; Kevin Drum, who has been wrong on just about every major issue of our time, tosses this one in…as usual, long after it mattered.

    “…if you criticize the NSA’s surveillance programs, O-Bots [proclaim] that you hate Obama, you’ve always hated Obama, and you’re probably a racist swine who’s been waiting ever since 2009 for a chance to take down the nation’s first black president…I’ve long been skeptical of the idea that Obama has a core group of supporters from 2008 who really do consider him The One, a shining beacon of light who could do no wrong. But I’m the one who was wrong. I don’t know how many there are, but they’re definitely out there.”

    -Kevin Drum

    Thanks Kevin, now you can get back to repackaging conventional thinking into received wisdom…and may I advise you to read Ezra Klein’s latest book “Careerist Moves You Can Use”.

    Here’s a gushing review: Ezra Klein’s latest book “Careerist Moves You Can Use” is the quintessential bible for those trying to climb the ladder over the bodies of those who have more talent, worked harder and longer. It outlines how to gain advantage through the use of hipster overtones to obscure your grovelling before influential people…and the importance of knowing when to “pivot” back to a sensible moral position once a disastrous policy has been firmly cemented into place…

  32. S Brennan,

    Love it!

  33. Ian Welsh

    I mentioned the hard drive destruction in the first paragraph. I’d be more impressed if he named names.

    As for lists of proposed laws, of course they won’t be enacted, but they need to be out there so people know what a just society would look like.

    Customs have always been dangerous, I learned as a child, from my Dad, to take them deadly serious in every country. There is now, however, in the US, I believe, a law that removes a lot of rights within 100 miles of the border.

  34. Ian, yes. The ACLU has published a map showing that most of us in the U.S. are living in a Constitution-free zone:

  35. Alcuin

    @Lisa – your link to the alternative network describes a wi-fi network. All wi-fi is is a wireless (radio) means of connecting to the Internet. The Internet that the NSA is monitoring. I fail to see how using a wi-fi connection to the Internet protects anyone from anybody. Now, if someone comes up with a radio connection between computers, that’s a different story. But until that happens, don’t delude yourself that using wi-fi is keeping the NSA at bay.

  36. Alcuin, yes, that’s the impression I got; but since I know nothing about this stuff, I figured maybe I was missing something.

  37. Z

    I don’t know David Miranda … or Glenn Greenwald … but if I was Greenwald, I’d have some healthy concerns/suspicions about my partner. Greenwald is extremely intelligent, but lovers are our weak spots and I’d imagine that our rulers have at least probed Miranda … i.e. offered large bribes to him … to turn on Greenwald and betray him by acting as a spy inside. This was a very heavily publicized … and ham-handed … detention of Miranda and when Greenwald’s laptop(s) were allegedly stolen from him in Brazil, he was not home at the time, only Miranda was.

    Again, I don’t know the people involved and have absolutely no idea as to if Miranda would turn on Greenwald, but there’s almost no doubt that our rulers would approach Miranda to try to make that happen – Miranda would be very valuable to them – and one can only imagine the amount of cash they would offer for his assistance. If I was Greenwald, I’d ask Miranda one question: since the Snowden nsa stories have broken, have you ever been approached and offered money to betray me. If Miranda says no, it’s almost guaranteed that he’s lying.

    It’s damn likely that our rulers don’t know what Snowden all got his hands on considering their reactions to the nsa revelations – despite some of the bullshit they have planted in their media claiming that they do. They probably have given up on trying to stop the Greenwald/Snowden revelations, but they want to get in front of it. Becoz when you are basically in the business of controlling people, you don’t like being on your heels – you want to dictate – and they have been getting counter-punched by Greenwald every time they come out with a new lie to assuage the public’s concerns.


  38. Jeff W

    Dan Henry

    Just trying to pin down exactly how corrupt the rules are

    Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 entitled Port and Border Controls (the provision under which David Miranda was detained) says in paragraph 5:

    5 A person who is questioned under paragraph 2 or 3 must—
    (a)give the examining officer any information in his possession which the officer requests;

    (b)give the examining officer on request either a valid passport which includes a photograph or another document which establishes his identity;

    (c)declare whether he has with him documents of a kind specified by the examining officer;

    (d)give the examining officer on request any document which he has with him and which is of a kind specified by the officer.

    Paragraph 2 says

    2 (1) An examining officer may question a person to whom this paragraph applies for the purpose of determining whether he appears to be a person falling within section 40(1)(b).

    (4) An examining officer may exercise his powers under this paragraph whether or not he has grounds for suspecting that a person falls within section 40(1)(b).

    (Paragraph 3, having to do with Northern Ireland, appears not to apply.)

    Section 40(1)(b) says

    40 Terrorist: interpretation.
    (1) In this Part “terrorist” means a person who—

    (b) is or has been concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

    So, basically, it seems that an examining officer can “stop, question, or detain” anyone for the purpose of determining if that person “appears to be” a terrorist, without any grounds for suspicion, and ask that person for any information or documents the person has.

  39. Celsius 233

    @ Z
    August 20, 2013


    You bring up some salient points re: relationships. However, Snowden heavily encrypted all of the files and it’s my understanding this encryption cannot be broken at this time.
    Miranda, as a go between, would not/does not, have the encryption codes and there by wouldn’t be a particularly effective spy.
    Greenwald is nobodies fool and knows the full force of the powers that be are focused on himself, Poitras, and Snowden.
    Greenwald has addressed all of this at various times. He has, in so many words, already said Miranda is not part of this (other than being a courier).

  40. Z


    I hope you’re right. I probably shouldn’t have even brought up the possibility, because, again, I have no clue about any of this. But, I would extremely surprised if Miranda hasn’t been approached by our rulers to betray Greenwald … if nothing else just to get revenge on Greenwald. I don’t think our rulers have given up on finding out what Snowden all turned over to Greenwald … even if it was encrypted or not.


  41. Dan Henry

    So, utterly corrupt, and you had better hope the officer had a good breakfast. Thanks for the particulars, Jeff W…though given how ridiculous that is I know long for the bliss of my prior ignorance.

  42. Jeff W

    You’re welcome, Dan—yes, the law is shocking in its breadth. There is a “border search exception” in the US that allows for “routine searches” without probable cause or suspicion but, even given the parlous state of civil liberties in the US, it’s not like Schedule 7 under the Terrorism Act 2000. Ian’s completely right, of course—there is very little David Miranda could have done under those circumstances, except “comply” and, as you say, hope that the examining officer had a good breakfast.

  43. From grok law : “Anyway, one resource was excerpts from a book by Janna Malamud Smith,”Private Matters: In Defense of the Personal Life”, and I encourage you to read it. I encourage the President and the NSA to read it too. I know. They aren’t listening to me. Not that way, anyhow. But it’s important, because the point of the book is that privacy is vital to being human, which is why one of the worst punishments there is is total surveillance.”

    From ms smith :
    But if we describe a standard for treating people humanely, why does stripping privacy violate it? And what is privacy? In his landmark book, Privacy and Freedom, Alan Westin names four states of privacy: solitude, anonymity, reserve, and intimacy. The reasons for valuing privacy become more apparent as we explore these states….

    The essence of solitude, and all privacy, is a sense of choice and control. You control who watches or learns about you. You choose to leave and return. …

    Intimacy is a private state because in it people relax their public front either physically or emotionally or, occasionally, both. They tell personal stories, exchange looks, or touch privately. They may ignore each other without offending. They may have sex. They may speak frankly using words they would not use in front of others, expressing ideas and feelings — positive or negative — that are unacceptable in public. (I don’t think I ever got over his death. She seems unable to stop lying to her mother. He looks flabby in those running shorts. I feel horny. In spite of everything, I still long to see them. I am so angry at you I could scream. That joke is disgusting, but it’s really funny.) Shielded from forced exposure, a person often feels more able to expose himself.

  44. g3

    Celsius 233,
    Please let us not insult sheeps and wolves by comparing with us – the meanies in the USA/West. They are honorable creatures who do just what nature intends them to do.

  45. Jeff W

    The essence of solitude, and all privacy, is a sense of choice and control. You control who watches or learns about you. You choose to leave and return. …

    Exactly. It’s why the “nothing-to-hide, nothing-to-fear” mantra has always struck me as so clueless (as well as wrong). Privacy isn’t (just) about keeping things “hidden,” it’s about being able to disclose what you want, to whom, when and where, and under what terms, or not—as the piece says, “a sense of choice and control.”

    Meanwhile, right on cue, not that Ian’s argument needed more proof, in today’s New York Times:

    Facial Scanning Is Making Gains in Surveillance

    The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, raising concerns among some privacy advocates.

    (with the requisite Times framing—those pesky “concerns” of “some” “privacy advocates”—regular human beings with their own autonomy and dignity don’t enter into it).

  46. Just got back from the sentencing at Ft. Meade. 35 years for Bradley Manning, minus 1,294 days already served. Plus demotion to lesser rank of private, plus dishonorable discharge, plus reduction of whatever measly pay they were giving him.

    Press conference with Manning’s lawyer David Coombs at 1 o’clock. I’m going back for that.

    Rally and march at White House tonight. Those of you in the DC area, join us.

  47. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Lisa Simeone

    Another martyr to power was also hung out to dry, their name resounds down the corridors of history – Spartacus. Few indeed recall the tormenting perpetrators of that atrocity, their power long dissipated, their very world dissolved.

    Bradley Manning’s incarceration is likely to place him in that firmament of history and remembered far longer than the thugs responsible. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange will likely join as well given their stands against the ravages of unconstrained power. Integrity is not gone missing amongst the three.

  48. S Brennan


    Bradley Manning sentenced to 35 years for theft of government property.

    A few undisputed facts:

    Manning witnessed war crimes. Manning, as was his duty*, reported these crimes properly..through his chain of command. His Superior officers, in dereliction of their duty* did nothing. Manning, in what was then his duty* went above/around his chain of command to flag officers, who, in dereliction of their duty*, did nothing. Only then, did Manning selectively release data to a media outlet…which in turn, contradicted official reports as to the conduct of the US. No charges have been brought against those officers who did not perform their duty…which led to Manning’s theft of government property.

    Second, the government claimed under oath that hundreds of soldiers would be killed as a result of Manning’s action and yet could not show ONE example of how this was possible…not one. “Trust me this guy is guilty” is the sum total of evidence for the disposition of 35 years of a man’s life.

    Anybody who [and isn’t well connected**], gets caught stealing government property is going to do time.

    My opinion:

    The theft of government property would not have occurred had senior officers performed their duty. It is those officers who are they proximate cause in this case and they should be charged accordingly.

    “Trust me this guy is guilty” is the kinda crap Stalin used to throw around, when the UCMJ has been degraded to the point where lawyers for the US military sound like commie thugs, we need a time out and a serious rethink.

    This case is more about a set of wars that have failed to meet ANY of the stated goals and in fact, have weakened the United States by handing control of Iraq Libya & Afghanistan into the hands of our sworn enemies. These wars have failed, not through soldering, but by 13 years of a Presidential administration whose singular foreign policy can best be as grossly incompetent. Revealing details of the incompetence of the Bush/Obama administration is not treason…embarrassing perhaps, but that’s what happens when you spend your time strolling naked through a crowd of fawning sycophants. If anybody is committing treason here, it is our political “leadership”.

    35 years for a guy whose crime is akin to Daniel Ellsburg’s “Pentagon Papers” is capricious and is manifestly unjust. This sentence is making an example of somebody who embarrassed our nation’s “leaders”, part of Bush/Obama’s war on whistleblowers who reveal their collective idiocy. It’s serious theft, but 5 years with credit for time served would be an harsh sentence for this crime.

    * Uniform Code of Military Justice – UCMJ
    ** With his buddies stealin TRILLIONS, Eric Holder has yet to bag one thief on his own, clearly, we are governed by men, not laws.

  49. Formerly T-Bear and S Brennan,

    Thank you. Yes to all.

    35 years is practically a life sentence. I thought he was going to get life; an activist friend, a lawyer, kept saying, no, 20 years. I kept saying no way. There are appeals and clemency hearings and all kinds of stuff in the works. Including a petition for pardon to Obama. Yeah, that’ll work.

    Press conference was great. Coombs is fantastic. So eloquent. And Manning’s public statement — oh my god. Profound. Profound. There was tons of press there. I’m hoping the public statement will be widely disseminated and on-line shortly.

    Here’s where you can sign the pardon petition. Yes, I know it won’t work. We all know Obama doesn’t give a shit. In fact, Mr. Constitutional Law Scholar already said, publicly, that Manning “broke the law.” (Don’t know if that will be grounds for an appeal.) But this is for Bradley, this is to show we support him. That’s all; it’s a show of support. So it’s important for that reason. Here’s the link:

  50. amspirnational

    “This case is more about a set of wars that have failed to meet ANY of the stated goals and in fact, have weakened the United States by handing control of Iraq Libya & Afghanistan into the hands of our sworn enemies.”

    Sworn enemies by imperialists, even liberal imperialists. Not by non-interventionists of both left and right.

  51. atcooper


    Mesh networks such as described in the article would allow impromptu networks. Think walkie talkies rather than cell phones.

    As Alcuin states, it is just a wireless connection, but he failed to follow through with the implications. We would be replacing the wires in the ground with a pure wireless technology. This destroys the global nature of the Internet in favor of a smaller, more easily secured, private networks. In effect, messages to one another would be contained in an alternate Internet.

    All the mechanics that make the Internet work would be available in such an instance. You’d need volunteers or some grass roots level organizational effort to supply the servers required to get the web as people currently know it though. This is not nearly as out of reach as people think it is. For instance, OSX, the operating system for Macs, supplies as standard the Apache web server as part of its services. This is as easy as a switch to flip, and then I could host web pages to serve to others on the mesh network. A common example of the kind of thing at work here would be a file sharing system that works in an office, with or without a connection to the Internet.

    The weakness in such a network would be global reach as outlined in the article. Additionally, if any one point in the network is opened to the Internet, the prime Internet I’ll call it, then the whole thing could be compromised.

    In short, consider the difference between a conventional army and the asymmetric armies as embodied by the ‘terrorists’. The Internet as we know it has well known choke points, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), backbone nodes, and the like that are easily monitored. In a mesh network not connected to the Prime Internet, messages to one another would remain contained, and not bouncing around in a global manner. Authorities would need to put feet on the ground to intercept. So while not fool-proof, we are talking about a return to a more amenable balance of power.

    These could be set up in an ad-hoc fashion as well. For instance, when BART and the authorities shut down the cell towers, one of these mesh networks could run irregardless as they do not depend on centralized control. In fact, the centralized nature of Twitter and Facebook, as well as the telcos ownership of the wires, makes it all too easy to control by the few. This mesh network scheme is the sphere to the Internet’s pyramid.

    PS: This is the first time I’ve felt more than a cheerleader here, and it was a pleasure. Please, please, please feel free to ask me any questions you might have.

  52. S Brennan

    Quite a statement for a man about to do 35 years to make our naked emperor feel fashionable:

    “The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We’ve been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we’ve had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

    I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

    In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

    Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

    Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps — to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

    As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

    I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

    If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

  53. Back to Ian’s original topic of surveillance, I offer this excerpt from a longer post called “Fuck the Guardian, Part 1” by The Rancid Honeytrap:

    Even if Snowden’s files are so widely distributed at this point that government seizure is completely impossible no matter how repressive, ruthless and wide-ranging the surveillance apparatus becomes, a syndicate with even unwarranted confidence can wreak quite a lot of havoc. Isn’t it a side benefit, if not the the main point of mass surveillance, that people get driven offline into the kind of small, marginalized groupings that can be harassed, stolen from, jailed and murdered the old fashion way? Isn’t that exactly what happened when David Miranda, in lieu of an upload, wandered under Guardian auspices into the stateless zone of Heathrow, where the only thing protecting him really was the extent to which Anglo-American media elites would find his persecution problematic? And isn’t each of these events an opportunity for the global surveillance state to both sharpen and show its fangs and to make these spectacles seem increasingly normal, especially when ostensibly serious people like Rusbridger brush them off as a pre-digital age anachronism, while idiotically beating their chests?

    Before we continue further down this rabbit hole, it’s appropriate to ask how much of this repression/defiance theatre is necessary to getting Snowden’s disclosures to the people and to what extent it’s getting in the way. Greenwald and his Guardian colleagues would like you to savor these David and Goliath spectacles without considering that what’s being fought over here is not so much people’s access to Snowden’s disclosures as Greenwald and co’s right to own and profit by them. If Rusbridge thinks government destruction of files in the digital age is anachronistic, how, then, in reflective moments can he rationalize the mediation of whistleblowing by media elites like himself?

  54. By the way, I offered that Rancid Honeypot post as food for thought. I don’t necessarily agree that the “drip-drip method” of releasing information is being done by the Guardian and Greenwald for their own “profit.” I think it’s a tremendously complicated issue, and there are many people who vehemently disagree with each other who are trying to do the right thing. The discussion thread at that post bears that out.

  55. Jesus Effing Christ. Have you heard the latest?

    “I am Chelsea Manning.”

  56. alyosha

    “I am Chelsea Manning”

    In the poorly-named movie about wiki-leaks, We Steal Secrets, an episode is recounted, where Manning, while on leave in US, rides a train from I believe Boston to New York or Washington, dressed as a woman – apparently his first full blown try at living as a woman in public. He plainly states in the film, that he would rather die if he could not live out the rest of his life as a woman.

    And so this has always lurked in the back of my mind as this trial and its conclusion has gone forth – how he was going to manage being locked away in prison as a man. I kept thinking “suicide” if he had to live the rest of his life as a male.

    The movie is fascinating for several reasons, not the least of which is how Bradley Manning’s gender confusion and ultimate resolution figured into his actions. He was under incredible stress to say the least.

  57. Alyosha, yes, Gibney’s film. I won’t go see it. It sounds like a hatchet job.

    Regardless, that incident you recount is also in the play “Bradass87” by Claire Lebowitz, which I saw performed just the other night.

    This is obviously a bigger subject than can be addressed in a single comment, but I, for one, have always been troubled by the notion that one can “feel like a woman” or “feel like a man.” Yes, I know it’s complicated. That’s what I’m saying. How do you know what it “feels” like to be a woman if you haven’t been one?

    I remember a woman last year telling me she “feels Jewish.” What the fuck does that mean?? (And no, she’s not Jewish.) She couldn’t say; she just claimed she “felt” it.

    Can I “feel” black, even though I’m not?? Can I “feel” American Indian. Hey, I love Celtic culture and Celtic music, but I’m not a Celt. I’m sorry, but I believe there are psychological problems involved in these cases; and I don’t believe it’s as simple as, bingo, have hormone therapy, have an operation, and Bob’s your uncle! Frankly, having surgery strikes me as a violent way to fix what’s in your head. It seems to me you can be whatever you want to be without hormone therapy or surgery.

    And there’s more to womanhood than putting on a dress, a wig, and lipstick (though god knows I do love all of the above).

    Regardless, this will overshadow everything Manning has done, including his courageous, powerful public statement yesterday, which is what everyone should be talking about but they won’t be.

  58. alyosha

    Lisa – you raise a number of points that are beyond the bandwidth of a blog to discuss. I have my opinions about them, but it would take this thread way off course, and it’s not important anyway. What’s important is how Bradley Manning felt, and what he did about it.

    This is fascinating to me – how Manning’s confusion over gender drove him to find someone to talk to about it, which led to Manning revealing what he was doing with national secrets, which led to his outing and trial.

    Imagine being in something as regimented as the Army, in a war zone, and having these kinds of things going on in your head. Nobody around you will understand or be sympathetic. Manning turned to the internet and found someone to talk to about it, and he also shared what he was doing, and this is what got him into trouble. Had he been able to be more discrete, he’d probably still be a free man/woman.

    Regardless of Bradley/Chelsea, I don’t think his powerful statement will be forgotten. When something rings so true, it has a way of lasting a long time.

  59. Given what he was charged with, found guilty of, and the ferocity with which the prosecution pressed charges it’s amazing that the sentence is so light.

    35 years minus time spent and time deducted + Reduction in rank + DD.

    He’ll be allowed to petition for parole once one third of his sentence has been served. This is also surprisingly lenient. My hunch had been that it would be at least twenty years before he would be allowed petition for parole.

    Civilians never understand why military people place such importance on discipline, command and control. The information that Manning leaked was not quite of picayune importance but not far above that. That’s not why I’m surprised at the leniency of his sentence. I’m surprised because by his behaviour he spurned the chain of command and the obligations he undertook. That he did so in a war zone makes his behaviour an order of magnitude worse as far as the American military are concerned.

    The sentence he’s received has been surprisingly light.


  60. @ Celsius 233 Off topic and thus my apologies to Ian and the others. I very belatedly left you a comment with some information and resources about Qur’anic translations and guides on Ian’s “Bin Laden” posting. (Bin Laden’s insights and the Egyptian Coup )


  61. “I’m surprised because by his behaviour he spurned the chain of command and the obligations he undertook.”

    Yeah, going up the chain of command worked real well for Thomas Drake.

    As for the sentence, David Coombs, who was in the military, doesn’t think it’s light. He said he’s represented hundreds of people, including for murder and child molestation. And he said he has never seen a sentence this severe.

  62. Thank you for so clearly demonstrating my point Lisa. Coombs’ comparison is invidious. How many people has Coombs represented for bypassing the chain of command and releasing classified information while serving in a war zone?


  63. And while we’re at it Lisa please explain the equivalence of Drake’s case to Manning’s one.


  64. And while we’re at it Lisa please explain the equivalence of Drake’s case to Manning’s one.

    Drake went up the chain of command. It got him nowhere, except having his house raided by a SWAT team and threatened with years in prison.

  65. Something happened to my blockquote HTML. Ian, please restore?

  66. S Brennan

    Hey Markfromireland, it just so happens I was an enlisted soldier.

    Mi Lia and the tactics of village “pacification” [that’s murdering everybody in a village], were also classified…and also revealed to media in what many at the time called treason.

    Many enlisted men refused to murder on command and were given high risk assignments until they were killed or wounded in a failed attempt to intimidate the others. All higher ranking officers denied the nature of and their participation in “pacification” [that’s murdering everybody in a village].

    “That he did so in a war zone makes his behavior an order of magnitude worse as far as the American military are concerned.”

    The idea that the US Army hasn’t handled this differently in the past is simply wrong, the difference now is that the Democratic/Republican party are in complete syncopation when it come to the brutal implementation of wars of aggression. A decent soldier of today can not turn to a sympathetic congressmen as they did in Viet Nam.

    One last thing, Manning did try to go through his chain of command and was rebuffed. Additionally, his chain of command was derelict in it’s duties in not reliving Manning of his post when it was clear he was unfit for duty.

  67. @ Lisa Simeone August 22, 2013

    Are you really trying to claim that there’s an equivalence between Manning and Drake? Really and truly? Starting with the legislation under which they were charged and going on from there? Please please pretty pretty pretty please Lisa. I am absolutely agog with anticipation to read whatever you come up with. Remember that we’re talking about legal proceedings so you’ll need to be specific. “Chapter and verse” to coin a phrase.

    Once you’ve finished providing this entertainment. Perhaps you’d care to address my point that those who think this is a severe sentence don’t have any idea of current US military culture. You’ve ducked replying to that point so far and no Lisa one data point does not establish a trend. I’d also like you to address Coombs’ invidious comparison if you’d be so good. But please do the funny stuff first ok?


  68. @ S Brennan August 22, 2013

    When were you an enlisted soldier and where did you serve?

    And far more importantly what on earth are you trying to say or refute? Be specific please.

    Because neither you nor Simeone are addressing anything that I have said. The point I have made is a very simple and plain one. Which is that given US military culture he has been treated leniently. Or to put it another way given that this is the US military we’re talking about he got off light. I was expecting a far far harsher sentence including the provision that it would be at least twenty years before he could even apply for parole.

    If there is some part of that that you and Simeone are jointly and severally incapable of understanding I will try to express it for you in one words of syllable.


  69. Actually it’s late and I’m tired @ Lisa Simeone and S Brennan:

    Ook I tell you, OOK!

    I’ll come back tomorrow as I’m truly agog with anticipation to see which set of irrelevancies Simeone in particular will introduce next.


  70. Ian Welsh

    I think you’re talking past each other.

    1) Given US army culture as I understand it (and, frankly, political pressure), I expected life.

    2) That doesn’t make US army culture, good, or even non-toxic.

    3) As I understand it, there is an obligation to report certain crimes.

    4) You can go up the chain of command, sure, but we all know how well that works.

    5) Manning released information on war crimes (and much more, of course). I think he did the right thing, ethically.

    6) To expect that the military wouldn’t throw the book at him, is, of course, naive. If you’re going to do something like that, don’t get caught (Snowden understood that, which is why he ran– and yes, I’m aware he’s not military, but the intelligence services aren’t likely to be much more forgiving.)

    If you are in a toxic system, which is doing unethical things (like Collateral Murder) and you don’t believe that going up the chain of command will fix the problem, what do you do? Most people do nothing.

    One of my friends, ex-military, long term in mil-ind said simply that if it were up to him he’d pin a medal on Manning. But he sure didn’t expect that to happen.

    US military culture is sick to the core, and it is concealing far more war crimes than this, as you, MFI, know better than I.

    Was the sentence disproportionate to what I’d expect? No.

    Did Manning do the right thing? I think so.

    Unfortunately for him, he expected to “shock the conscience of a nation” but most Americans don’t give two fucks about murdering a bunch of Iraki civilians or anything else, for that matter.

    Justice and Law aren’t the same thing. What Manning did was a violation of military law and discipline. It was also the ethical thing to do. Too bad for him he sacrificed his life for nothing, since you can’t shock the conscience of people who don’t have one.

  71. Ian Welsh

    Next: Transexuals.

    There is actual brain chemistry and development behind this. Depending on how the brain develops a male or female, anatomically, can wind up with a brain which is, biochemically and structurally (and there are some structural differences between the genders) more or less female or male. This continuum includes same sex attraction. This can be genetic, it can be due to environmental factors. An old book, “Brain Sex” writes about this, I don’t know the current state of the research, I haven’t kept up. It is entirely possible to feel male and have female genitals and vice-versa, and it’s not psychological in some operant conditioning or fantasy sense, it’s psychological as in neurological. Your brain may have literally developed differently than a neurotypical member of your gender. (A woman’s brain might be more sensitive to testosterone, for example.) Extreme cases include women who have XY chromosones.

    So transgender is only “all in the head” in the very broadest of senses. Certainly many people adjust without need for hormones and gender reassignment therapy, but I’ve got nothing against those who want it and they are often much happier once they get it.

  72. jcapan

    “I think you’re talking past each other.”

    I see, is that what they call it when a community of like-minded folks discuss pressing issues of the day in relative comity and one regular gaping arsehole shits all over the blog—latching onto tedious details, sidetracking discussion and making our (transsexual!?) former, favorite nutter Mo-Bama sound sensible when he called him a provocateur?

  73. Celsius 233

    @ markfromireland
    August 22, 2013
    @ Celsius 233 Off topic and thus my apologies to Ian and the others. I very belatedly left you a comment with some information and resources about Qur’anic translations and guides on Ian’s “Bin Laden” posting.
    Duly noted and responded at that thread; thank you.

  74. Ian Welsh

    One more note, Brennan was actually a soldier. You can be a soldier, recognize that the army is corrupt and think that Manning got screwed.

  75. S Brennan

    Thanks Ian, I’d add the US Army is NOT universally corrupt, indeed, many have, many are and many will do the right thing under incredibly difficult circumstances. Here is my personal hero.,_Jr.

    Note that an enlisted guy defied orders, interfered with soldiers carrying out orders, revealed “classified” information to the “enemy” and still ended up a Major…a different Army than the one we have now.

  76. S Brennan

    Let me add one more thing before I sleep:

    I good read for sensible people who want to live in a free society.

  77. Tarzie

    I don’t necessarily agree that the “drip-drip method” of releasing information is being done by the Guardian and Greenwald for their own “profit.”

    Hi Lisa, thanks for citing my post and the lengthy excerpt.

    Just to be clear, while I am not a fan of the drip drip method and believe the arguments being made for it are depressingly starry-eyed and stupid, I do not believe the drip drip method is obviously motivated by profit. Drip drip is simply the effect of moving documents through several layers of risk-averse bureaucracy – lawyers, editors, the NSA with whom the editors meet before publishing – and calling this a ‘method’ is simply marketing. The profit comes from the near-monopoly the Guardian and Greenwald have on the documents, which they would still have regardless of what their ‘method’ is.

    Thanks for reading!

  78. Tarzie, hi. Have you seen Greenwald’s latest today, about the Independent publishing a leak that sure looks like it came from the UK govt but which they’re implying is from Snowden? Link:

  79. Have you seen Greenwald’s latest today, about the Independent publishing a leak that sure looks like it came from the UK govt

    Yeah, I did and I’ve written about it.

    Greenwald’s theory is one of several possibilities.

  80. S Brennan

    Well, how TERRIBLY CONVENIENT…huh?

    “Syrian rebels are sharing numerous videos that they claim proves the use of chemical weapons…The series of bombings began just 48 hours after a team of 10 United Nations observers arrived in Damascus. [This] after several months of negotiations with the Syrian government observers were allowed into the country to inspect whether or not chemical weapons were being used.”

    So the Syrian government invites a team of 10 United Nations chemical weapons observers and after a just enough time for them to get their gear set up starts attacking rebels with chemical weapons.

    Now who in their e’ffing right mind would believe this tragic farce? So bad in fact, it reminds of these guys :

    “On the night of August 31, 1939, Nazis selected a concentration camps prisoner, dressed him in a Polish uniform, took him to the of Poland /Germany border and then shot him. The staged scene was supposed to appear as a Polish attack against a German radio station. Hitler used the staged attack as the excuse to invade Poland.”

    Please repost, if our spooks who supported this laughable timing become widely ridiculed, perhaps, the planned “NATO” bombing campaign will have to be delayed.

  81. Ian Welsh

    The drip drip drip isn’t the issue, the selective release is, and I don’t agree with it. But, then, I don’t think the government should have all that many secrets, period.

  82. J. Random Hacker

    The drip, drip, drip method makes sense to me.

    First , it keeps the story live. If Snowden/Greenwald did a big document dump, it’d be one hard to understand story that’d just go away in the next news cycle. Doing lots of little releases keeps people interested, like a good soap opera.

    Secondly, it’s letting the NSA and fellow surveillance agencies make stupid statements that can be later proven as lies- consider the “there have been no abuses ever” to “some inadvertent non-compliance” to “we let employees and contractors stalk people they’re sexually interested in”. This may be coming from Greenwald’s training as a lawyer- if you have video of the cops beating up your client without provocation, don’t release the video until you have a contrary statement on record. It’s to let the other side discredit themselves.

    But Snowden is theater – Western governments aren’t going to stop investing in network and physical (cameras and microphones) surveillance. I don’t see mass protests or even voting incumbents out over this.

    Most people don’t care enough to even use simple encryption that they control. Heck- PGP has been free for years and many people in the infosec field don’t use it. Too many people think someone else should ‘do something about it’. When I tell people that they’re paying to be tracked and monitored (your mobile phone is more effective than an ankle bracelet) they act horrified, then go back to texting their friends.

    As Steve Rambam said, privacy is dead. Get over it.

  83. Ian Welsh

    Missed the point. Greenwald is holding back many things he will never release because he’s using his judgment. I don’t trust his judgment or because the editors and lawyers have told him not to release it, I want it all out there.

    If privacy is dead, then so is freedom. Get over it.

  84. Celsius 233

    If privacy is dead, then so is freedom. Get over it.

    Hear! Hear!

  85. S Brennan, you said repost and so I did. Reposted your comment at Crispin Sartwell’s site. This comment:

    August 23, 2013
    Well, how TERRIBLY CONVENIENT…huh?
    “Syrian rebels are sharing numerous videos that they claim proves the use of chemical weapons…The series of bombings began just 48 hours after a team of 10 United Nations observers arrived in Damascus. [This] after several months of negotiations with the Syrian government observers were allowed into the country to inspect whether or not chemical weapons were being used.”
    So the Syrian government invites a team of 10 United Nations chemical weapons observers and after a just enough time for them to get their gear set up starts attacking rebels with chemical weapons.
    Now who in their e’ffing right mind would believe this tragic farce? So bad in fact, it reminds of these guys :
    “On the night of August 31, 1939, Nazis selected a concentration camps prisoner, dressed him in a Polish uniform, took him to the of Poland /Germany border and then shot him. The staged scene was supposed to appear as a Polish attack against a German radio station. Hitler used the staged attack as the excuse to invade Poland.”
    Please repost, if our spooks who supported this laughable timing become widely ridiculed, perhaps, the planned “NATO” bombing campaign will have to be delayed.

  86. S Brennan

    Thanks Lisa,

    As we prepare to use the US Military in support of a US taxpayer funded uprising where the Administration/NSA arranged arms and intel for Al Qaeda’s “Syrian rebels for hire”, I wish I could raise my countrymen’s conscience from it’s mortal slumber.

    But the “lefts” acquiescence, in:

    The 2009-2012 AF_PAK 18K to 138k troop escalation that ended in needless death…and abysmal failure; Says no.

    The 25,000 bombing missions of Libya to aid Al Qaeda’s “Libyan rebels for hire” and destroy Libyan infrastructure. After supplying of sophisticated/heavy weapons to “Libyan rebels for hire”, who then engaged in a racial “cleansing” of negro peoples in a manner that makes the KKK & neo-NAZI look like girl scouts. FYI, Al Qaeda’s “Libyan rebels for hire” are now destroying UNESCO world heritage sites to make way for “western” investors who will saddle a once debt free country with ruinous usury; Says no.

    So secure is Obama with the “left”, that he could set up concentration camps with gas chambers and crematoriums and in doing so, he could count on Matt Yglesias, Josh Marshall, Ezra Klein, Kevin Drum and assorted other enablers to welcome the move as a much needed “jobs program”…although they may offer some tepid criticism; “it should’ve been fully “privatized” by giving big tax cuts to “incentivise” Halliburton to “privately” fund the camps with Blackwater* to manage the guards”. Obama’s apparatchiks in the media would then explain to the unwashed masses how much better such camps would be if managed by a “Democratic” administration…

    And there would be a small truth in such lies, because when you get down to it, the real difference between Republicans & “Democrats” is: Republicans would try to force you into gas chamber with bayonets and rifle butts, while the “Democrats” would get you in by telling you, ” it’s just a shower”.

    *[yes part of Monsanto nowadays]

  87. S Brennan,


  88. S Brennan

    The White House just released this video on the internal debate that preceded John Kerry’s announcement that the Obama administration is “all but certain” that Dick Cheney had secretly delivered “Niger Yellow Cake” to Syria.

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