October 29, 2015

Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald et al vs Mark Ames, Yasha Levine, et al

Mark Aims of Exiled Online had a great post earlier this week about how whistle-blowers don't always have patriotic motives.

He cites the story of Col. Robert McCormick, the quasi-fascist publisher for decades of the Chicago Tribune. Specifically, the day or two after the Battle of Midway, albeit without being too specific, McCormick printed that we won the battle because we'd broken Japanese codes. That said, he was specific enough to say that we knew the attack on the Aleutians was a feint, and to cite anonymous sources in Naval Intelligence.

Before that, he'd printed how Franklin D. Roosevelt planned a 10-million man army, if necessary, to win World War II.

This was three days before Pearl Harbor, when we knew that Japan was likely to attack us if diplomacy on their part failed to ease our stifling economic sanctions. We were already in an undeclared naval war with Germany.

We didn't declare war on Germany on Dec. 8, only on Japan. Germany declared war on us on Dec. 11, in part citing ... the Chicago Trib, Ames notes. Here, we know that America Firster McCormick was trying to prevent war.

So, that's how whistle-blowers aren't always good for the general public.

That brings us to Edward Snowden. And Chelsea Manning under the et al, by Ames.

And, by me, extending the et al to Snowden's leak targets in "independent" media, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.

Ames does note, after describing how Snowden, until at least 2009, favored a hawkish national security state, and had even attempted to join the Special Forces in 2004, may indeed have crossed a Rubicon. But, until then? And, he notes that Manning's politics are even more indecipherable, correctly stating that anybody enlisting in the military in 2007 couldn't be a pacifist. In fact, Manning disavowed that she was, essentially, when claiming "transparency" was her only motive.

First, that's a helluva risk to take for "transparency." Second, Manning wasn't transparent, as far as I know, to about anyone as to wanting to be a transitioned transgender person at this time. Third, to the degree one has sexual identity problems, joining the military isn't a good idea in general, I think.

But, that leads to our other et als, especially as connected to Snowden.

We know he gave the two of them a boatload of shit. But, at times citing national security (and I know this mainly from Greenwald) most of it hasn't been published.

Why not?

Isn't "transparency" so important after all? Ames notes that at the time of the leaks, the word was a sort of shibboleth for Snowden as well as it had been for Manning.

And, if Snowden is as hack-skilled and tech-skilled as he claims, why didn't he set himself up as a personal WikiLeaks? Short of that, why didn't he go to the founder of the actual WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and have him do a full document dump?

Even without Ames quoting Snowden's comments about Russia, I've long been suspicious of him. Indeed, I'm suspicious (as well as laughing at the hypocrisy) of Russia Today, whenever it writes about the U.S. constricting online freedom. Is Snowden feeding it tidbits?

Poitras, having made a documentary about Snowden, is emotionally and intellectually invested in carrying baggage of his mythos. So is Greenwald, who used this to bounce from The Guardian to help start up The Intercept with libertarian payola from Pierre Omidyar.

Ames concludes by cautioning once again against hero-worshipping leakers.

Perhaps he should have also cautioned against hero-worshipping those who turd-polish the myths about leakers.

I just warned you about two of them.

Beyond that, the word "transparency" is, by itself, a word with no larger meaning. As noted above, I can ask Snowden, or Greenwald, to be more transparent and wonder why they're not. Libertarian types (like them, to some degree), usually are slow to ask Big Biz to be more transparent, but have no problems with Big Biz forcing us to be more "transparent" with how much information we give them.

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