Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 30, 2013

NSA Taps Google - But What About Economic Spying?

As I once told a company I consult: "I urge you not to use ANY of those cloud based service. You are giving control of your data into many unknown hands." Using cloud services is a stupid rage. How can the New York Times expect any privacy in its news gathering when it outsources its email systems to Google? It can't.

Barton Gellman reports for the Washington Post: NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.

By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

I doubt that this scheme is restricted to inter-data-center-traffic of Google and Yahoo. It is likely that such traffic from other large cloud services - Apple, Microsoft, Amazon etc - is also sniffed off by some NSA system.

Immediately after Gellman's report came out today the NSA head Alexander was asked about it during a Congress hearing:

National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander was forced to respond to the latest bombshell report on the agency’s surveillance activities on Wednesday, first saying he hadn’t heard of the story and then denying the substance of the story.
“I don’t know what the report is,” Alexander said. When asked if the NSA tapped the data centers, he replied “Not to my knowledge, that’s never happened.”
The transcripts of the hearing are not out yet and it may well be that Alexander is literary right - the NSA may not tap into individual data centers - while factual incorrect. In a cloud based service multiple data centers are from a system point of view seen as one. That is also what the above NSA graphic shows. Tapping into traffic between them is no different than tapping into one of them. Alexander knows that and that makes his above statement a non-denial denial commonly also known as a lie.

It is all about 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 claim the NSA talking points (pdf) prepared for its officials and now FOIAed by AlJazeerah. The talking points are also full of lies about oversight over the NSA. Effectively there is none. None at all. The NSA is the deep state.

NSA spying is of course not about 9/11. It is in its ends about control of individuals and companies, societies and economies.

That last item is missing from all the recent reports though we can be sure that economic spying is one of the major NSA tasks. Back in 1995 an NYT piece explained:

Spying on allies for economic advantage is a crucial new assignment for the C.I.A. now that American foreign policy is focused on commercial interests abroad. President Clinton made economic intelligence a high priority of his Administration, specifically information to protect and defend American competitiveness, technology and financial security in a world where an economic crisis can spread across global markets in minutes.
At the Treasury Department, the trade representative's office and the Commerce Department, officials say they now receive a torrent of information from the C.I.A.

Economic spying is likely the major reason why the NSA keeps taps on militarily allied heads of states like chancellor Merkel. Knowing her likely decisions on economic issues allows the United States and NSA connected U.S. banks to take advantages before those decisions are made public. One wonders how many billions per day U.S. companies steal through these schemes.

One also wonders how much longer it will take for other countries, and people like my customer, to wake up to this fact and to enforce a much stricter security regime over all their information. What about the NSA's "access it all" attitude have they yet to understand?

Posted by b on October 30, 2013 at 18:27 UTC | Permalink

next page »

It doesn't take too much brain to figure out that the "system" has been set up in way which fit Deep State, from Kennedy's murder to now. A nationalism and chauvinism (a mind of your client, ask G. Orwell ) which, eventually, in any liberal-capitalist society evolve into fascism is something that you can't fight against i.e. you customer doesn't see its government as a oppressive and fascistic. Very few people does. IT sector is about a politics not technology or service(s) itself.

As for a spying, the best statement what I've seen so far is coming from Sergei Lavrov:

"I find it a little bit boring to comment on the issue. I am sure that everyone knew or at least suspected. And all that fuss being made about that now is because the things that normally aren’t said in public, have been said openly," Lavrov told reporters in Athens when asked about the Russian leaders’ attitude to reports that many world leaders had been wiretapped.


Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 30 2013 19:16 utc | 1

Read today that Germany's Green Party, Linke, and Social Democrats have all called for Snowden to testify before the inquiry into spying in the Bundestag. With Gregor Gysi of Die Linke even suggesting Snowden be placed in German Witness Protection.

But why I'm linking to the article is that it includes a quote from Glenn Greenwald that backs up B's concerns.

“It’s definitely just about the industrial and economic advantage,” said Mr Greenwald. “It has nothing to do with national security and definitely nothing to do with terrorism.”

After all who better to know than the man who has spent the last few months examining the documents.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 30 2013 19:45 utc | 2

Well, Russia presumably is in no position to be sanctimonious on spying. Putin was close to calling Snowden a traitor.

b. there is no use to be nationalistic about it. German companies (as far as they still exist, most of them are multinational) gave up control of their data 20 years ago when they outsourced their IT departments - to as far as India.
It is clear that what can be done will be done.
We know that Snowden had access to the NSA data - who else? Probably everybody who cared enough to spend some effort and buy the stuff. Plus, it is not only the NSA that can access data points.

Privacy is gone. People have to wise up that for privacy they have to leave their mobile at home, keep away from computers and have to go for a walk. And make sure their neighbor is not flying his hobby drone over them. Or anybody videoing with a mobile. It is as "simple" as that.

I talked to a women who got stalked by a computer expert working for a telecommunications company. She had to go underground ie out of every database with all that meant for her own legality/ease of move to shake him off.

The only action that makes sense to me politically is to force complete transparency. Everybody's knowledge will stop having any value. Another one would be legislation to make data sharing between government organizations and businesses illegal. Good luck.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 30 2013 19:55 utc | 3

That statement from celebrity journo G.G. is dilettantish, to say at least. As if an industry and economy aren't of strategic importance of any nation!?

Okay. So what would be from the sphere of "industry and economy" that the U.S. might be interested for and Germans and French are hiding? BMW, MB, VW which are already produced in the U.S., Airbus is flying with Pratt & Whitney or GE engines on it.

I am glad to see little of storm in the Western camp, I assume it is going to get worse by time.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 30 2013 20:09 utc | 4


"German companies (as far as they still exist, most of them are multinational) gave up control of their data 20 years ago when they outsourced their IT departments - to as far as India."

You are obviously out of time and space.

29. August 2013

In this article a German Gov. warns its agencies not to use Windows 8 which has build-in backdoor to the NSA.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 30 2013 20:21 utc | 5

'It is all about 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 claim the NSA talking points (pdf) prepared for its officials and now FOIAed by AlJazeerah. The talking points are also full of lies about oversight over the NSA. Effectively there is none. None at all. The NSA is the deep state.

NSA spying is of course not about 9/11. It is in its ends about control of individuals and companies, societies and economies. '

however 9-11 like the israeli 'Holocaust'(REGD TM) is used to gain moral ascendency to justify dodgy if not criminal policies

Posted by: brian | Oct 30 2013 20:43 utc | 6

2) yeah, as a matter of fact the NSA gave up control of their data to Booz Allen Hamiltion where Snowden was employed and got access. Booz Allen Hamilton is part of the Carlyle Group.

In Fahrenheit 911, Moore makes nine allegations concerning the Carlyle Group, including: That the Bin Laden and Bush families were both connected to the Group; that following the attacks on September 11, the bin Laden family’s investments in the Carlyle Group became an embarrassment to the Carlyle Group and the family was forced to liquidate their assets with the firm; that the Carlyle group was, in essence, the 11th largest defense contractor in the United States.[70] Moore focused on Carlyle's connections with George H. W. Bush and his Secretary of State James A. Baker III, both of whom had at times served as advisers to the firm.

The movie quotes author Dan Briody claiming that the Carlyle Group "gained" from September 11 because it owned United Defense, a military contractor, although the firm’s $11 billion Crusader artillery rocket system developed for the U.S. Army is one of the few weapons systems canceled by the Bush administration.[19] A Carlyle spokesman noted in 2003 that its 7% interest in defense industries was far less than several other Private equity firms.[71] Carlyle also has provided detail on its links with the Bin Laden family, specifically the relatively minor investments by an estranged half brother.[20]

In his documentary The World According to Bush (May 2004), William Karel interviewed Frank Carlucci to discuss the presence of Shafiq bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's estranged brother, at Carlyle's annual investor conference while the September 11 attacks were occurring.[20][72]

Zeitgeist The Movie makes similar claims that The Carlyle Group may have played a part in 9/11.[citation needed]

The Iron Triangle also talks about links with the Bin Laden family; the documentary makes claims that Carlyle bought political favor to get investment dollars and arms sales to the middle east.[

5) Neretva, Windows has never been "safe" XP, Vista, 7 whatever. This has nothing to do with Germany's large businesses being multinational and shipping their data to India. German government now pretends to be active. A real move would be to force the BND to open up on what they know. Or to force the US to remove their NSA communication center in Bad Aibling and to stop BND cooperation.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 30 2013 20:53 utc | 7

@ neretva

That statement from celebrity journo G.G. is dilettantish, to say at least.

Jesus Christ... celebrity journo? It's not like the guy is hiding in the trees outside Britney Spears house with a telescopic camera and its not like he is some Fox News bimbo reading a telepromter. As for "dilettantish", I still remember when he was lowly blogger at Salon writing on the same subject he is investigating now. Glenn Greenwald has spent most of the last decade reporting Civil Liberties breaches and online leaks. It's the reason Snowden likely went to Greenwald to begin with... he knew the guy was honest and knew the subject matter was his speciality.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 30 2013 20:54 utc | 8

Not by any means wishing to come to nsa's defense, I want to mention a factor that usually doesn't receive much attention and that b did mention, albeit somewhat between the lines:

Greed and idiocy.

Let me follow B's example in also mentioning a company. Formertimes they had a small pbx ("telephone central"), one of those boxes where all the phones plug in. When they changed to a new headquarters some "smart" salesman advised them a "very practical way" to save on phone costs by outsourcing the pbx and having it handled (as a virtual pbx) by his company. As an added teaser he mentioned minute prices somewhat below the incumbent telecoms.

They took it with line and sinker.

Meanwhile they have learned the hard way. They are completely dependent on that "virtual pbx" provider, they have bad quality (voip) telephony with customers complaining, absolutely no privacy or security whatsoever and they pay hefty prices for international calls (which they have to make a lot of).

Of course, they made similar deals with their email system and web site. And *of course* they run windows.

Pretty much the same on the private side. Quite everyone uses dropbox, facebook, google, etc.

Now the interesting issue (for me) is: They do *not* stop using those! Actually they simply are shocked and expect the government to do something about it.

Put differently: (In particular) the western world will continue to be abused, victimized, and milked for a simple reason: They are stupid and greedy.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Oct 30 2013 20:55 utc | 9

I tend to agree with somebody @ 3, "Privacy is gone." The extent to which people, from all across the ideological spectrum, feel as if we live in a dystopian state has a lot to do, I think, with IT runamok. I ride a light rail commuter train to and from work each day. It's about an hour trip. Almost no one reads a newspaper or magazine or book. Everyone stares at a smart phone or plays one of those handheld video game devices. As this trend continues, businesses might make the wise decision to maintain their own servers, but everyone else will be up in the cloud looking at his or her handheld.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Oct 30 2013 21:09 utc | 10

@4, the implication is that Reptilian concerns for Terror© are bogus.

Posted by: ruralito | Oct 30 2013 21:11 utc | 11

I remember Glenn Greenwald covering the same civil liberties issues even in his pre-Salon days, on his own independent Unclaimed Territory blog.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 30 2013 21:14 utc | 12

I have never used Facebook, and I have never had a cellphone, precisely because, as a veteran of several years service in military signals intelligence, I saw how the government might misuse them.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 30 2013 21:16 utc | 13

Civil Liberties, Sex Gender and Race policies, so-called Trade Unions and etc. narratives are obfuscations, and throwing the dust into public eyes - into eyes of those who are "Governed by the Consent".

Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 30 2013 21:27 utc | 14

lysias at #13: thank the noodly one that you never post comments on politically questionable blog sites!

Posted by: jonku | Oct 30 2013 21:31 utc | 15

Mike at #10 -- Enjoyed checking out your blog and thanks for the NYC mayoral race post. (I didn't get very far, so there might be more....)

Posted by: jawbone | Oct 30 2013 22:53 utc | 16

Can't recall where I heard this or from whom, but it was from either WBAI or WNYC:

"The United States is rapidly becoming an undeveloping nation."

And the NSA is working to sink the US IT internet companies, eh?

Posted by: jawbone | Oct 30 2013 22:55 utc | 17

Industrial espionage and knowing what Political leaders are thinking [Hillary Clinton bugged UN envoys]are the main reasons, terrorism and the ease Americans can be frightened into compliance with governments dictats is a convenient excuse, I think some of these NSA types would like a camera in every bedroom in the US,I think I could agree to that, since if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of, after all some sexual practices are still forbidden in certain states. As for myself they can watch me all night and all they will see is an old geezer snoring his head off.

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 30 2013 23:04 utc | 18

@17 "And the NSA is working to sink the US IT internet companies, eh?"

I suspect very much that the NSA is in the process of throttling the goose that lays such golden eggs.

Sooner - rather than later - European companies are going to realize that putting their data on Amazon Cloud, or Google Cloud, or whatever, is tantamount tying a bright red ribbon around that data and handing it over with a little card that reads: To The Worlds Biggest Industrial Espionage Outfit, Hope You Find Something Of Interest.

Those European companies (if they had any brains which, apparently, they don't) will demand that the EU create an alternative "EU Cloud" whose main job will be To Keep The NSA Out Of Their Stuff.

The various governments of Europe will resist, of course, since they are all bending over for Uncle Sam, but how long can they resist when the Captains of Industry insist?

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 30 2013 23:45 utc | 19

"Celebrity Journo"? ffs.

I guess that's the perils of cracking the story of the century. Right wingers can now question your credibility by pointing to your "celebrity".

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 31 2013 0:10 utc | 20

The idea that Obama "doesn't know" about the spying is ridiculous.

If true, then who is the information destined for if not for "the decider" himself?

Anyway, I still don't think we've gotten the big picture yet. Things are still very abstract at this point - we are finding out information is being gathered, but we haven't gotten info on what the purpose is yet. That is waiting, I think, to still emerge in some great scandal where a specific bad action based on this intelligence can be pointed to. I have no idea what it could be.

I hope it comes in the form of a scandal regarding its use in either a domestic criminal case. The fact that it has been glossed over that some info was passed to the DEA for use in domestic drugs cases and then covered up by prosecutors is a huge scandal that needs to come out in a real case. When a face is put with all of this spying, then I think people will really get what the danger here is.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 31 2013 0:25 utc | 21

"I guess that's the perils of cracking the story of the century."

Holy crap, exaggerate much?! Story of the century?!! You mean 100 years or 13? But I thought Assange was the "story of the century"? But I thought Manning was the "story of the century"? What about all of the other whistleblowers the media did not pay attention too? Y'know, the ones that didn't get a media spokesman/journo to do the media rounds for him/her? Tough titties, you gotta know how to work it in "the biz", I guess, right?

"Right wingers can now question your credibility by pointing to your "celebrity"."

In this you're backhandedly correct as I see no "lefties" doing any questioning of a person's celebrity status and this has been going back decades. Nope, the bigger a somewhat left-leaning celebrity is - no matter how rich or famous - they are treated like Cesar Chavez reanimated. Hey, everyone, zombie Chavez is doing a TED talk next week!!! Awesome, when's he gonna be on "Rachel"?

From what I've seen it's not just right-wingers but many on the left who don't see fit to treat media personages as if they were freakin' related to them or something especially when someone - even casually - points out that said fawned over celebrities and heroes many times happen to reside in the same social strata as the very people they supposedly are confronting/taking issue with.

Greenwald and others are well-paid media personages, yes, even celebrities, what is so very difficult for the people on the left to comprehend about this? One person drops the word "celebrity" and four posters jump to defend a millionaire celebrity - excuse me, journalist - they've never met and who's new job is working for a BILLIONAIRE that we're all supposed to believe - once again - is just one of those "good" billionaires we're all grown so accustomed to over the years? And this all coming from people supposedly on THE LEFT?!

Where's zombie Karl Marx when you need him?

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 31 2013 1:21 utc | 22

@22 Gee JS you're worse than me! Are you saying EVERYBODY is jumping on the bandwagon?

Posted by: dh | Oct 31 2013 1:27 utc | 23


What I'm saying is that it amazes me that people seemingly need to be reminded 1) to not trust people who are rich/famous/powerful and who they don't know and 2) that after witnessing the spectacle of murderous media lockstep and incessant neoliberal propaganda over the last 30+ years, the common person's default stance towards the entirety of what the MIMC tells us should be one of outright disbelief and incredulity. The left which historically once harbored an animosity and disdain for their "class betters" and the capitalist superstructure now seems to have become completely unmoored - not unMichael-Moored, though, badoomtis - and turned into a fanclub for people with whom they share no social/class connection but who at least don't openly want them all to be immediately killed off like those mean right-wing Koch Brothers(boo hiss).

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 31 2013 2:04 utc | 24

@ 24 I share your confusion. It seems one can make a career out of just about anything on the internet these days. Only b has yet to be monetized. (smiley)

Posted by: dh | Oct 31 2013 2:12 utc | 25

JSorrentine, you are making a big fuss about a bagatelle. Nobody is suggesting that anything that anyone publishes should be accepted uncritically. Certainly nobody, including Greenwald I suspect, would advise taking his stories as gospel.

But, because most of them have been instantly denounced as either lies or malicious treachery-by spokespeople for the State- they have been tested and found to be sound and honest. And that, rather than 'celebrity' status, accounts for the respect paid to Greenwald by most posting on these threads: it is not that we are dazzled by his persona but that we are impressed by his record of accuracy and his proven integrity. And personal courage.

To drag his "class" into this matter, like a dead cat found by the roadside is to discredit real class analysis. Our regard for Greenwald certainly has class aspects, namely that he is defiant of the ruling class and is promoting the interests of the masses. The size of his salary and the furnishings of his apartment are as of little interest, as the sexual proclivities of which other "critics" make so much.

What people need to be reminded is not to trust either liars or persons promoting policies that contradict their interests. As to reactionaries they have been talking about "champagne socialists" and "envy" for ages, it is part of their playbook to split burgeoning coalitions by singling out individuals for slanders and casting doubt on the good faith of comrades.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 31 2013 4:07 utc | 26

Very helpful post, thanks b.
Cloud computing sounded like an accident waiting to happen BEFORE the unrestrained criminality of the 1%'s majority-owned subsidiary, the NSA, was exposed.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 31 2013 4:23 utc | 27

Nations having been spying on each other for decades. Not one of the major countries from US to Germany to Russia to France to UK and China are not doing it. So the "pretense" from the leadership across the globe that they are "surprised" is well plain dishonest.

The most troubling aspect of the revelations by Snowden is the Orwellian state where all citizens communications and the metadata around those communications are collected and stored for future use. This is nothing but tyranny. And this is happening practically everywhere from the US, UK, continental Europe, India & China among others. And in the US it's a clear violation of the constitution. But the people don't seem to be too concerned with many saying if you haven't done anything wrong why worry.

Posted by: ab initio | Oct 31 2013 4:37 utc | 28

Well, this is the state of affairs in Germany - what German industrialists are thinking

a) They want "no industrial espionage agreements" and want to make it a UN issue
b) They want the US Europe free trade zone ie deregulation

German Social Democrats are against the US Europe free trade zone

So ...

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31 2013 7:23 utc | 29

10) Using this blog as a matter of fact is a sand grain in the desert of deliberately handing personal data to global surveillance.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31 2013 7:46 utc | 30

The Irish Times article makes Greenwald sound possibly naïve. re: testimony:

"...“It makes sense to question Snowden: he is very courageous and wants to talk about what he knows about [US] spying on allies and innocent citizens,” said Mr Greenwald to German public broadcaster ARD."


"...won’t do it for nothing, not unless the German government acts to protect his fundamental rights.”

Germany’s Social Democratic, Green and Left Parties have backed requests to call Mr Snowden as a witness in a parliamentary inquiry. Left Party floor leader Gregor Gysi suggested the 30-year-old, currently living in an undisclosed location in Russia, should be placed in Germany’s witness protection programme..."

Snowden would be a fool to go to Germany under any circumstances. Witness protection? are you kidding me, the Germans would render Snowden to US custody instantly on his arrival. WhyTF didn't Greenwald suggest Snowden testify by Skype?

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 31 2013 8:54 utc | 31

31) I have been wondering the same. Germans would not hand him over officially, but the CIA would have no problem to snatch him.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31 2013 9:03 utc | 32

australias embassies being used to spy for US

'The ‘Five Eyes’ is an alliance for intelligence cooperation that includes the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The document released by Der Spiegel, codenamed ‘STATEROOM,’ indicates the outfits “are small in size and in number of personnel staffing them...They are covert, and their true mission is not known by the majority of the diplomatic staff at the facility where they are assigned.”

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs refused comment on the story, saying it is against government policy to speak on intelligence activity. '

these covert ops are not in the interest of the australian people and have otjig to do with terrorism...not when US is involved

Posted by: brian | Oct 31 2013 9:06 utc | 33

People bitching about Greenwald's imagined social status and/or wealth make me sick. There is a low point in blogging, namely picking up second- or third-hand smear jobs from establishment journos and pretending to have discovered a new left-liberal conspiracy against Da Peeple, that undermines blogging itself. The first person I saw doing this was a certain Arthur Silber, who is still doing it. And now, as with Assange, there are hordes of them.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 31 2013 9:36 utc | 34

australia is up to its eyeballs in fukus espionage n drone murders...

Posted by: denk | Oct 31 2013 9:54 utc | 35

Any of could explain the power of data-mining?. I read about billions of data in hands of the spyes. But what can the obtain of those data?.

Any suggestion using internet?

Posted by: anonymous | Oct 31 2013 11:14 utc | 36

36) Indira Singh explains some of it in her 9/11 testimony - basically what she was employed to do for P Morgan Chase risk analysis and what Saudi funded Ptech offered to US government agencies and banks.

You observe the noise of the world's/your company's/your country's events in real time and get warned when anything unusual takes place, like two cars bumping into each other in continuous traffic noise.

The answers you get depend how and for what you scale the system. Placing bets in the stock exchange based on company noise or asking for the sexual habits as proven by internet activity, credit card receipts and travel of your personal enemy xy, or comparing bank accounts to tax collection - whatever.

Data collection is also a great tool to do dragnet controls - you might get singled out because you share the habits and characteristics of known criminals - without having done anything.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31 2013 11:48 utc | 37

Nations having been spying on each other for decades. Not one of the major countries from US to Germany to Russia to France to UK and China are not doing it. So the "pretense" from the leadership across the globe that they are "surprised" is well plain dishonest.

We keep forgetting that the nutters in Zion get all the NSA wiretapping data unfiltered and unprocessed. The use of this data by the USA is not so malicious as the use by the Israel's. Why no outrage against Israel. Why no investigation about Israel use of this data.

Posted by: hans | Oct 31 2013 12:17 utc | 38

@ Hans

Nations having been spying on each other for decades.

I've been hearing this line everywhere, must be one of the NSA talking points that people picked up. Shows a real ignorance to the difference between legitimate spying and massive surveillance.

Spying is following/investigating/monitoring, some Ambassador or General or Diplomat or "Terrorist" or another person of interest, to find out specific information. When people take a job in the espionage community they willingly sign away some of there freedoms and civil liberties. If you are an diplomat stationed in Russia you will assume people will try and find out what you know. That's legitimate spying.

Monitoring 70 Million French or Spanish or German phone calls (per month) is not spying. It's mass surveillance of a population. The only reason you would start a program like that is population control and economic thievery. It certainly is not to stop terrorism. Mr Random Guy who lives down the road has no legitimate information that Intelligence Agencies would need.

So to answer your "every country spies" line. Every country spies, but only fascists practice Mass Surveillance.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 31 2013 13:20 utc | 39

Colm O'Toole @39: Agreed.
It is time that the public stopped giving any credit to the threadbare apology that this Panopticon has been built to protect them. Whether from "terrorists", "rogue states" or imperial rivals, the threat is largely imaginary.
The objects of this surveillance are people who will or might think for themselves and put up resistance, not physical but intellectual, to the coming of totalitarianism.
I have very little doubt, for example, that the NSA is currently collecting massive amounts of data from Detroit's population where an unholy alliance of Michigan, the Federal government and Wall St are intent on making an example of Motown so that it may serve as a model for de-democratisation and asset stripping.
The real story in the "west" today is not the war on terror but the war against the 99%: throughout the NATO countries and well beyond the capitalist class is using the state to plunder the vulnerable. Unemployment rates are rising, living standards are falling, social services, from education to medical care, are being turned into the means of profiting from consumers who are driven deeper into dependence and debt.
And the government is watching nervously, using every means at its disposal to anticipate the inevitable resistance, to nip in the bud, to crush any emerging organisation and to smear any popular resistance as irrational and terrorist inspired.

" Every country spies, but only fascists practice Mass Surveillance." In a nutshell.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 31 2013 14:18 utc | 40


"People bitching about Greenwald's imagined social status and/or wealth make me sick."

Leave Britney ALONE!!!

Why won't they just give us the effing documents then already? Why was this not done in the first place? Why has it not been done yet? Are you trying to say that the slow leaking of this stuff doesn't aggrandize Mr. Greenwald financially? Doesn't boost ratings for the media outlets? Oh, but I'm sure it's all just a cleverly crafted plan to use the power of the media against itself, right? I wonder how much Mr. Greenwald gets per TV appearance? Maybe someone will leak that? But in the absence of said documents I shouldn't begin to wonder about such things, huh? Let's place some bets: will the common person be able to view all of the Snowden documents BEFORE Greenwald's book about the Snowden affair is published? Care to place a wager?

Give us the effing documents and let us - as you so tritely put it "DA Peeple" - see them so that all of the intermediaries - don't mention their class! - can retire. I thought we the people were the ones who were getting screwed by all of this stuff? BTW, how did the Washington Post become a certified Snowden outlet? I must have missed the part where he gave some of the documents to Greenwald and some to the Washington Post? So, let's review: establishment outlets like The Guardian, The Washington Post and others(?) get the documents but we the people only get to see them - kinda - after they've figured out what they're going to tell us they contain, huh? Sounds on the up and up to me.

And don't give us the whole "but Snowden has the interests of the US intelligence agencies at heart" argument because telling the world that the NSA routinely taps the communications of every foreign leader (although already known by most I'm sure) and has the capacity to tap the data of millions of foreign citizens at a pop just might have put a damper on some of those intelligence operations, don't you think? Now that THAT cat's out of the bag - so to speak - what is the delay?

Lastly, so what was the issue roiling the EU democracies in the days leading up to the Snowden affair? Hmmmm, that's a tough one. Could it have been the 5+ year economic depression that was driving a stake into the heart of the EU and calling into question the legitimacy of those neoliberal governments who in the face of unprecedented unemployment and deprivation have done absolutely nothing to assuage said problems? But now - lucky devils - everyone wants their formerly unstable governments to protect them from the big bad NSA. Again, I'm sure this is all smacks of terrible speculation in your eyes but how fortuitous a distraction, huh? Especially as it most directly affects the younger generations of Europeans, y'know, the ones most unemployed and the ones most online. It's a twofer.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 31 2013 14:40 utc | 41

bevin @40: "The real story in the "west" today is not the war on terror but the war against the 99%."

Yes, welcome to the coming "Global Plantation".

Posted by: ben | Oct 31 2013 15:04 utc | 42

ok the fun has started ... walking into a US China Germany trade war

The United States reprimanded Germany on Wednesday, saying its exporting prowess was hampering economic stability in Europe and hurting the global economy.

The Obama administration has long called for countries with trade surpluses, such as Germany and China, to do more to spur domestic demand.

But in a semiannual report to Congress on international economic policies, the criticism of Germany stood out for its stark language and prominent placement.

"Germany's anemic pace of domestic demand growth and dependence on exports have hampered" efforts to make the euro zone economy more stable, the Treasury said in the report.

"The net result has been a deflationary bias for the euro area, as well as for the world economy."

Deflation is a persistent drop in wages and prices that can create a self-feeding cycle of economic weakness.

The criticism comes at tricky juncture in relations between Washington and Berlin. German envoys met the White House national security adviser in Washington on Wednesday following reports the United States monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone

Social Democrats kind of agree with the US in this case. However, there is no deflation in Germany i.e. sinking wages/prices versus higher value of the Euro, Germany's inflation rate will be something like 1.2 percent this year.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31 2013 15:08 utc | 43

JSorrentine, your whole moan (apart speculation about how much Greenwald gets to live on, and the utter irrelevancies like 'don't give us the whole "but Snowden has the interests of the US intelligence agencies at heart" argument,' which is literally the last thing on my mind), is based on the very patronising idea that Greenwald is distracting Da Sheeple from more important issues, because Da Poor Sheeple can't think about more than one thing at a time, right? So let me give you something else to think about. All the Jewish papers are reporting that the Israeli Air Force just blasted another Syrian missile base, as usual from the sea, with precision targeted air to ground missiles of their own. Now, this is the third time. The previous two times I said, Syria better not retaliate because if they do Israel will take that as a declaration of war, and launch some truly massive air assault. But this time, I shall say, I think it's time Syria counter-attacked in some militarily significant way. This has gone on long enough. So you see, I can think about two things at the same time. I can walk, chew gum, and think of two things too, all at once. I suspect that Da Sheeple can also do this. So taking an interest in the diplomatic demolition of the USA does not preclude thinking about the evil doings of the Zionist Entity. You see?


Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 31 2013 16:53 utc | 44

Yeah,the anti GG angle is being spewed by alleged allies,like Silber and Chris Floyd.
Jealousy?Did GG ever say he was a commie?WTF;It's his line of work,and if successful you get a payoff.That's America.In that perfect world we might get to in say 2525,altruism might have its own monetary reward.This new guy,Omidyar?is an Iranian.A distinct ethnic opposite of our predominate Zionist MSM.Hallelujah.And releasing info serially,instead of all at once,where as it has been shown that the info is soon made irrelevant by MSM miseducation and diversion,will keep the public aware of the immensity of the criminal behavior of our govt.And maybe GG is leaving that bastion of probity(hah)the Guardian because they restrict his reporting.Wouldn't surprise me.
And the cellphones;My wife just told me I have to upgrade my old one so I can be a twit. No thanks dearie,leave me out of the self absorbed loop.The only time I value the CP is when I'm stuck out in the boat.So you can call sea tow and get charged 480 dollars to be towed in.What a world.I put in oarlocks.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 31 2013 17:49 utc | 46

Yes, G. G. and Co. is a distraction.

Ruling class like people like him, they love academic clap-trap about constitutional and civil right. Anything, but concrete steps in direction of real reform of the current medieval system.

But more about "distraction" in this article:

Posted by: neretva'43 | Oct 31 2013 19:16 utc | 47

I don't believe any mainstream operating system, microsoft, linux, etc
is free from government spying, and I also believe that this is not new,
nor merely a post 9/11 development.

Microsoft is and has since it's inception been a U.S. gov't sponsored
operating system, in the guise of a commercial software package. But
who would buy U.S. Gov't Operating System (tm). That level of software
spying needed a private commercial face.

Bill G. is not some technology savant who became a billionaire out
of nothing, he was well placed to reap the benefits of privatized
efforts to improve electronic intelligence gathering.

Most common internet services are and have been very compromised.

Attempts to obfuscate network services through complex encryption
technologies only draw attention to the effort to hide.

If you are providing technology advice to parties truly wanting
electronic privacy, they pretty much need to build their own hardware
and operating systems in order to keep NSA level spying out.

That effort itself would likely draw so much attention, it would
pretty much defeat the purpose.

Posted by: phildem | Oct 31 2013 19:34 utc | 48

Does it make any difference whether it's Google, Yahoo, Amazon, or the NSA that's got complete access to your data?

The NSA is just the one that can break the law with impunity, and steal your data from the other TNCs you have so foolishly given it to.

Google, Yahoo, Amazon and the rest are every bit as evil and dangerous as the NSA.

Well, I take that back. They cannot order drone strikes on you ... yet.

Posted by: john francis lee | Oct 31 2013 22:21 utc | 49

@somebody #33 - what do you mean there's no deflation in Germany? prices and wages are "sticky", but the pressure downwards is relentless, and the trajectory quite evident by now; the only difference between Germany and PIIGS is that Germany is accumulating credit because it's deflating less than the others, which instead accumulate debt, in a general downward spiral;

neoliberal policies, forced on the EU through an alliance of international finance (IMF, etc) and German establishment, are the mean through which the crisis is nurtured, instead of fought, so that lenders can plunder borrowers; what will happen afterwards is nobody's concern, it seems;

German socialdemocrats, just like the political and social left in the rest of Europe, just sit by and watch, paralyzed, as the incomes of the people constantly shrink as a percentage of the GDP

Posted by: claudio | Oct 31 2013 22:24 utc | 50

ops, sorry; in #47 I meant: "Germany accumulated credit because it deflated more than the others since the Hartz labor reforms" (implied: it was a "competitive deflation" which bettered its exports thanks to the Euro, leaving the other "partners" no other choice but to try to deflate more in their turn, unsuccessfully, btw)

Posted by: claudio | Oct 31 2013 22:29 utc | 51

48) Well, as the Euro is no national currency, Germany has no monetary policy of its own. For deflation, prices/wages would have to sink in Germany as well as the money supply. They don't. Prices and wages do rise. And credit is cheap. There is a small inflation just now. Basically, the rest of Europe saves Germany from austerity.

Hartz IV is a transfer, equivalent to Social Security but with a focus to get people to take up work, any work even if the pay is not enough to make a living. Hartz IV basically subsidizes these jobs/low paying industries. You are right, Germany can compete this way on the world market though they specialize in high end technology where skilled workers are paid well. It is done by transfer, though. German tax collectors do an efficient job, and the rate of cronyism and bribery in the economy is low.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 31 2013 22:55 utc | 52

@somebody - "Well, as the Euro is no national currency, Germany has no monetary policy of its own"

yes it does: it's the deflationary policy of the German-dominated ECB;

Posted by: claudio | Oct 31 2013 23:35 utc | 53

or, better: half German-dominated, half IMF-dominated ECB
(addendum to #50)

Posted by: claudio | Oct 31 2013 23:39 utc | 54

Hope that b can follow this up ...

Human Rights Attorneys Have Been Working with German Politicians on Asylum for Snowden

Posted by: john francis lee | Oct 31 2013 23:41 utc | 55

Ruling class people like Glenn Greenwald? On what basis is he part of the ruling class? By no definition does he fit - unless you're just spouting right wing horseshit.

I remember not so long ago n'43 had trouble pinning down an imagined conspiracy going on here in the comments section here at MoA, so don't mind me if I don't take your analysis seriously.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 1 2013 0:30 utc | 56

I'm not particularly surprised that people would hate Greenwald, especially right wing trolls as seem to have been crawling out of the woodwork in the MoA post-Syria breathing space. It is just funny to see the arguments you all come up with.

Glenn Greenwald is ruling class? He should have put Snowden's documents in a bit torrent? He's Britney Spears?

I mean, what does one have to do aside form cracking one of the biggest stories of government malfeasance - possibly ever - to earn the respect of you nitwits?

I suppose he should have done a document dump and taken a vow of poverty? I mean, it is ridiculous that people are second guessing this while the information is having huge effects with this methodical method of delivery. Should he have mailed us each a copy and then killed himself? I mean, what the fuck are you all looking for here?

There will always be haters of course. I guess we who actually appreciate what is being done to dismantle the American Empire are just lucky that you all come off as so completely clownish.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 1 2013 0:47 utc | 57

Re Neretva, comment 45: This is certainly interesting, but it's totally speculative. It's entirely composed of inferences regarding what Omidyar should be expected to do, given his capitalist embedments. It does contain many of the standard, right-wing character smears against Greenwald, such as that he is a disbarred lawyer and a homosexual pornographer, which it describes as 'unsavory'. Well, we're not asking you to eat it, ladies and gentlemen. Let us see whether Greenwald 'shuts up', as the article predicts that he will, or whether he fails to shut up and is consequently 'rubbed out', as the article predicts would be the alternative.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 1 2013 4:36 utc | 58

51) The ECB has an interest rate close to nil ie. 0.5. That is not deflationary policy but offering money for - hardly anything.

Only the US Fed has a lower interest rate ie 0.25 percent. The US arguing for inflation, and the IMF presumably dominated by the US, if the ECB should be dominated by Germany/IMF they must be at loggerheads. Reality is, I suppose, that Italy and France have a large say in it.

Greek "debt crisis" and the "debt crisis" of other countries was/is a big artificial drama where people got lied to for the profit of politicians - Merkel enjoyed popularity for refusing spending "German" money - which is a silly concept economically and in Europe - and Greek politicians made a national issue out of their inability to tax the Greek rich (they exist and they are tax exempted).

Truth is common EU monetary policy is useless without common economic policy (and a common labor fight).

Posted by: somebody | Nov 1 2013 7:20 utc | 59

@somebody - the ECB's interest rate doesn't matter, since national governments can't finance themselves through it: public debt must be financed on private international markets; and the ECB aid is based on conditions, that is: implementing austerity and neoliberal predatory policies, which crush the national economies, so that banks don't lend money to families and enterprises anymore because there aren't prospects of growth;

it's called deflationary policy because it leads towards deflation: that's the trajectory for all; and the rest of the world is rightly worried

Posted by: claudio | Nov 1 2013 11:24 utc | 60

What do you make of this, b? NSA files – Edward Snowden’s letter to Angela Merkel – live coverage

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 1 2013 13:10 utc | 61


Beside that you like to write about "hate", "conspiracy" and you use similar terms (are you follower of Bush's family or Tea Party?) I'll say that your comments are pure drivel. Work on yourself (and your nickname, as well!) to substantiate your claim and/or opinion, not to imply or assume what one's had not said.

P.S. Is Sergei Lavrov also conspiracy theorist?

@Rowan Berkeley

That's your interpretation of that article, and as such it is just YOURS, needlessly to say you are fully entitled to it.

That text is quite coherent to me, logical throughout, some parts are questionable, but nobody is perfect. There is no sensationalism in it, bit of esoteric and romantic. What the author essentially is saying all this is hot air and fog and nothing, nothing, has been discovered. Pax Americana has lost all its battles, and now trying to asserts itself on the only ground that's left: media, more precisely the Internet. But that's slipping away too, thanks to RT, Press TV, CCTV.

Maybe you are not accustomed to read such articles? Since you grew-up and raised in imperial "culture", therefore, it is difficult to grasp (new) reality.

It is old scenario and easily recognized choreography. Only, only what is needed is to read...and more importantly, have a long MEMORY.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 1 2013 13:55 utc | 62

Re Neretva, comment 45.

This argument is premissed on the assumption that consumers of the media are uncritical victims of any line fed to them and that people reading the "news" do so in a vacuum into which their real life experiences never penetrate.
If this were true these increasingly complex explanations of Greenwald's perfidy and Snowden's naivete-to-the-point-of-idiocy might be of interest. But they are not.

The received explanations are perfectly rational: why should not Snowden have acted as he claims to have done? He says that he was shocked and angered by what he discovered of the illegality and irresponsibility of the NSA's programmes. And that he decided to do something to reveal them to the world.
What is incredible about any of that? That a man can do the right thing? That a former volunteer patriot should still retain the idea that the US Constitution is something more than a scrap of waste paper?

And why should not Greenwald, who has been denouncing creeping authoritarianism in the US for more than a decade, occupying increasingly powerful platforms-his own blog, often aggregated and increasingly widely read; Salon: The Guardian- take up Snowden's invitation to meet him and publish his revelations?
Are we to assume that his entire career, previous to the NSA stories, has been a means of taking deep cover, positioning himself to do the maximum damage to that portion of public opinion that doesn't believe that nothing is as it appears, that all who seem to be friends are enemies and enemies are too?
The sensible response is to take Snowden and Greenwald at their own valuation but to filter everything that they-and any other journalistic source- reveal critically.
Unless we are ready to evaluate information for ourselves we will be bound to accept the evaluations of others, such as 5th estate or Neretva'43.
And that, the widespread refusal by individuals to think critically, to test information against their life experiences and to believe what they see, rather than what they are told, is the source of most of our problems.
It is not Greenwald of whom we should be wary, so much as those who, for no apparent reason (always suspicious) go to such lengths to deny his integrity and thus, by implication, defend those he charges with wrongdoing.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 1 2013 15:37 utc | 63

How could the NSA (and their sister orgs. elsewhere) accept that private Cos. had literally almost all the data that they wished to collect for a Total Information Awareness scheme? No... These kinds of collaboration, infiltration, quarrels, court orders, fights, etc. were on the cards.

“Using cloud services is a stupid rage.” - b.

A rage because cos. prefer to outsource, probably for cost / expertise reasons, and of course because for many it is the no-brain solution.

Now in CH - as banking secrecy is in tatters - when Snowden came on the scene (the previous NSA whistleblowers such as Tyce were splendidly ignored) there were for sure ppl with wide eyes deeply gazing at each other with that are you thinking what I’m thinking look, and silently cheering, Go Eddy Go.

Big Biz. CH had 30 plus data centers in early 2012 and now it has 55. More and more biz (Swiss, US, some other) want their data in a secure place. Since 2 months (from press) demand has been so high it can’t be met. One study shows that in 2014, 70% of biz. world, of some size, will have their data outsourced. .. - .. -?

Data is better protected here, for now.... E.g. there are no legal restrictions to encryption for ex., other legal points. Then there is the geography - mountains, lakes, lots of cold water - and the enduring Swiss folklore, ppl imagine bunkers with data centers in the mountains, cooled by majestic glaciers, defended by stalwart, muscular, blue-eyed guards.

Good luck to all these people / end sarcasm.

--> Storage > computation > access > transmission ?? Huh??

Huge market. Sharp rivalry. Protection of various industries. Not good for US employment, say. Say that again.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 1 2013 18:13 utc | 64

This from Emptywheel about a subject that I generally ignore, Chinese cyber-hacking of US businesses, has so much meat in it in terms of mutual accusations between US and China about trade war, that many of you should get a lot from it relative to your own interests:

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 2 2013 7:45 utc | 65

Edward Snowden ready to provide testimony in Germany

Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden says he is ready to provide testimony to the German authorities about the espionage activities of the American intelligence agencies. The prerequisite, however, is that he be allowed to stay in Germany or another country that is prepared to guarantee his security.

Snowden’s decision was announced Friday by Green Party parliamentary deputy Hans-Christian Ströbele at a press conference in Berlin.

He said he was confident that “with the support of the international community, the government of the United States will abandon this harmful behavior.” He was willing to participate in a “responsible finding of fact regarding reports in the media,” especially with regard to the truth and authenticity of the documents “as appropriate and in accordance with the law.”

At the conclusion of his letter, Snowden spoke directly to the German government, writing: “I look forward to speaking with you in your country when the situation is resolved, and thank you for your efforts in upholding the international laws that protect us all.”

[T]hose advocating such an approach are growing in number in the media and in political circles. The head of the internal affairs department of the Süddeutsche Zeitung is committed to bringing Snowden to Germany.

“Germany needs clarity about US eavesdropping,” wrote Heribert Prantl. And Snowden needs protection from extradition to the United States. Both can be reconciled well: Germany should provide the whistleblower with protection. The law provides the opportunity to assure him safe conduct and protection from deportation.”

The Scientific Service of the Bundestag has advised that Germany could assure Snowden safe passage. Since the withdrawal of his American passport, Snowden is regarded as stateless and the US authorities have no automatic right to extradition. The Federal Republic could provide a residence permit based on international law and for humanitarian reasons, the service advised.

Even Federal Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar has called on the German authorities to help Snowden. Speaking on Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk, Schaar said, “Snowden has done a good thing. We also have a moral responsibility to protect him. Should a committee of inquiry be convened, Snowden should be provided an environment where he can reveal his findings safe from deportation to the United States.”

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 2 2013 12:04 utc | 66

There will always be haters of course. I guess we who actually appreciate what is being done to dismantle the American Empire are just lucky that you all come off as so completely clownish.

Right, because GG and Snowden have TPTB shaking in their boots, huh? Yeah, as an American should I rattle off the litany of scandals/events that were going to bring down the system over the last 20 years? 30? 40? Somehow those in power have found a way to remain in power and - here's a secret - they're not going anywhere soon. Sorry to be a Debby Downer -reality sucks don't ya know - but with only 51% of Americans thinking Mr. Snowden is a hero, with local police forces armed like Special Forces units and with most people working their a$$ses into the ground just to stay alive this is all bourgeois theater for those civically-minded upper middle class folk who still have - from TPTB p.o.v - too much time and money on their hands. Wouldn't want those do-gooders rallying the poor, let's keep them busy with a scandal involving their precious techno-toys, huh? Because, as we all know, TPTB wouldn't be experts at manipulating the HOPES people have for CHANGE would they? Nah...

Just one more point and I'll leave you fanboys to your hero-worship as I know it takes up much of your time: would you care to tell all of us HOW you will really know if the NSA ever stops surveillance on you?

I mean, if Obama/Congress don't know about its extent then how will these "leaders" be able to tell if it's stopped? Even if they "command" it?

Because the NSA says so? Because some new Edward Snowden will inevitably arise to take this Edward Snowden's place and spill the beans? A SEQUEL?!!! Awesome! Think of the ratings!

Nah, you probably believe that defunding the intelligence agencies or passing laws will do the trick, right? That after decades/billions spent secretly and illegally constructing the most massive surveillance apparatus the world has even seen the elite are just going to shut it down because the political puppets tell them to, huh? Those same elite who publicly committed war crime after war crime and bragged about it over the last decade? The political puppets who to this day to a person parrot word for word the 9/11 fairy tale? THOSE elite and THOSE puppets? You're right I should be hopeful! Hillary will probably run her historic 2016 campaign on the issue! Get your bumper stickers now!

And all the while you fanboys - now that you have your heroes who are going the political/media route of nonviolently "changing the system from within" - will be glued to your iPads and tablets for the latest Snowden et al news which will inevitably drag on for years and years and which, as mentioned above, will lead to absolutely ZERO real change in the system because that's what it's meant to do: keep you busy and focused on something except drawing upon/organizing the one strength - hello, NUMBERS - that the common people have against the elite and of which they are really afraid. Have fun blowing off some steam in a pre-approved manner. Maybe you'll get laid at one of the parties celebrating passage of the "No More NSA" bill that's sure to become enforceable law - in what? - 2068? I can hardly wait.

Hillary Clinton 2016: It Takes A Village of Hope and Change to Shut Down the NSA!! Will she don the Snowden mask in the primaries or only during the general election?

And please don't ever again confuse cynicism with "hating", mkay?

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 2 2013 17:58 utc | 67

great rant from JSorrentine! at 67.

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 2 2013 19:28 utc | 68

so the g.g.fanbois tossed out the "hater" card just because someone dared link direct to g.g. and let him speak for himself - no interpretation = no opportunity for a fanboi to falsely claim misinterpretation, and no excerpting leaves no fanboi with an opportunity to falsely claim "out of context"

All you're then left with are the words of Mr Greenwald himself, straight from his own website, and . . . . . well, it's wasn't very pretty, was it?

Guess one would have to come up with something fast, or people might notice how Mr Greenwald's 2005 "rebel-persona" looks somewhat different from his 2013 "rebel-persona" .

Couldn't use "He hates NAZI's and is therefore a REBEL-Hero" as they'd already tried that to defend their newest minted Hero, the even-more-ridiculous-than-they-are Russell Shag-Monster Brand (of all people), so "hater" I guess was the best he could think of without ending up looking too mentally imbalanced in the process.

2 self-Godwins in 24 hrs or so, wouldn't do the "Mr Reasonable" image any good, now would it?

Posted by: foff | Nov 2 2013 19:36 utc | 69

a wounded elephant takes time to fold.
time the conspiratologists can luxuriate within.
there's difference between objective cynicism by the way, and that of the predictable defeatist.

Posted by: truthbetold | Nov 2 2013 20:06 utc | 70

great rant from JSorrentine! at 67.

No doubt straw men everywhere feel deeply chastened.
I see the "rant" as a total waste of energy unless it is directed at persons who have not contributed to this thread.
It is however, by orders of magnitude, superior to foff's frenetic attempts to start a quarrel.
The point was long ago reached at which it became apparent that there were differing opinions on the importance of Greenwald's channeling of Snowden's documents.
Fair enough.
What is destructive is the attempt to link those optimistic about the utility of The Guardian articles with the practice of hero worship. The only evidence for which is s refusal to sneer at Snowden or hint at Greenwald's personal greed.
In fact what JSorrentine seems to be telling us is that resistance is pointless, the ruling class is in complete control and the end is nigh.
Please don't confuse surrendering with realism.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 2 2013 21:09 utc | 71

there's difference between objective cynicism by the way, and that of the predictable defeatist.

And I'm sure you said trite things like that back in the day to your acquaintances in the USSR/Eastern Bloc, huh? Pip pip!! Cheer up, old chap, it's always darkest before the dawn, turn that frown upside down and all the rest, huh? Never mind the thousands and thousands of crimes - domestic and international - your government has been responsible for and continues to commit with impunity, whatever you do don't be a "predictable defeatist"!! Everyone hates a pawty-pooper! Happy days are here again!! Hillary is gonna run!!!

You think such pabulum would've gone over well?

I know many people who did live through the worst of those times in the USSR and to a person they are some of if not THE most cynical people I've ever met. Hey, you think that said cynicism might have had something to do with the fact that they don't live under those overtly totalitarian regimes anymore? That once the crystal clarity of how truly dark things were settled into their collective consciousness they could finally begin to actually start to do something worthwhile about it because they were finally confronting reality instead of continuously wasting their time on government/media sponsored fairy tales that inspired just so...much...hope? Too bad their cynicism wasn't fully prepared for the "hopeful" dagger of the neoliberal West aimed at their throats, huh? Then again, Obama was re-elected so what's a person to do?

Nah, to think along those lines - or so say the neoliberal cheerleaders - is just "defeatism", "nihilism" and any other -ism that diverts people's attention away from the fact that the biggest product the American propaganda machine pushes - and has always pushed - into the minds of the people it reaches is one of false "hope": that by staying WITHIN the system the common person can always hope to be wealthy, successful, free, noble, democratic, good-looking, famous etc etc etc. The system is their only hope for hope and that message is masterfully and incessantly reinforced by the creation of conspicuous heroes, moguls and other assorted "winners" who no matter how bad it gets will always be there - nightly or online - for the common peon - no matter how savvy - to adulate and envy.

It is time for people to stop buying what the US has been selling and that is false "hope" that keeps people from seeing and thinking clearly. Some people here would argue that this is already happening but - like the movie vampire who's been staked but still has his head - I don't believe it because it's the same false hope that keeps seemingly intelligent people from realizing this time is NOT different. That this WON'T be the straw that breaks the camel's back. That Hillary is NOT going to change things. That the Snowden leaks are NOT the beginning of the end. That even though US power may diminish in the coming years it by no stretch of the imagination means its malevolent influence on the world will appreciably wane. To keep hoping otherwise is defeatist because it means TPTB still have their hooks into you. Every minute they can keep everyone "hopefully" subdued is another crime they can commit and get away with, another billion they can stash away. Until it really starts to get better, I see no reason whatsoever to abandon one jot of cynicism because until that time it's just "hope-speak".

Now excuse me I must go and buy my lottery ticket...

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 2 2013 22:10 utc | 72

The opening line was reference to #70. /rant

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 2 2013 22:11 utc | 73

Declare it to be far more constructive to selectively "interpret" Mr Greenwald on behalf of all the dumb hoi-polloi rather than to present them with an opportunity to read G.G. being allowed to speak for himself, unfiltered by the P.R-Fanboi's ever more desperate attempts to run interference for him. Wrap it all up in a cloak of ridiculously fake-moral indignation at anyone pointing out the completely transparent hero-worship the fanbois have been engaged in for most of the last week, and you have #71 above

Posted by: foff | Nov 2 2013 22:18 utc | 74

You know if you weren't so god-damned defeatist, maybe you too could grow up to be just like Glenn

"we can be greenwald,
Just for one day

Posted by: foff | Nov 2 2013 22:31 utc | 75

What is destructive is the attempt to link those optimistic about the utility of The Guardian articles with the practice of hero worship.

I should have just copied and pasted your quote into my rant as the epitome of what I meant to say. Much more pithy.

Keep feeling optimistic!!! Keep believing!!! Keep hope alive!!! There are still heroes!!But don't call them heroes!!!They're just regular people!!Like you and me!!Like the lottery winners!!Like the people on "Survivor"!!!Like Obama!!!Stay tuned to GG!!! Stay tuned to the Guardian!!! Stay in the loop!! Wait for exciting updates!! Hope is around the corner!!!This is it!!Get in on the ground floor!!!Be the first!!!

I think it's the height of chutzpah and arrogance to attempt to deny people - and especially those who live in the belly of the sh!tehole beast aka the US - the cynicism they so richly deserve and which has been purchased at such a dear price.

Yup, nothing like "liberal/progressive" scolds telling you that the thoughts/feelings that you've cultivated over decades of betrayal etc are "destructive" and invalid because somehow the "rational" response to all we've experienced is a dog-like enthusiasm for the latest hero/scandal du jour our friends in the media say is really gonna shake things up. This time. No really. Just wait. The future's so bright. You gotta wear shades.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 2 2013 22:35 utc | 76

So unimportant is the work of whistleblowers such as Snowden and Greenwald, Assange and Manning that the US government has thrown off all pretense of obeying the Constitution or even the Emergency Laws it enacted after 9/11. It has instituted a system of surveillance unprecedented in history and is now openly defending its Police state.

None of which is news, least of all to J.Sorrentine who saw it all coming, didn't in fact need any of the information because he already knew it all. He looks upon Snowden and Manning as mere novices in the business: he could have told Greenwald about the NSA and the Five Eyes years ago.
Naturally, he finds it hard to get excited about what Snowden did or Manning purports to have done. Anyone who does is probably, at best, a liberal hero worshipper or at worst an agent intent on distracting the world from the real truth.

I disagree, however, I see this wave of whistleblowing, and the increasing rejection, by the public, of the persecution of those involved as indicative of the rot in the system.

Morale is crumbling. And nowhere more than in the ranks of the young idealists tricked into patriotic sacrifice, after 9/11. There are millions of individuals with the security clearances that Snowden and Manning had and their are tens of millions of bits of evidence that the Empire is criminal, brutal, utterly corrupt and contemptuous of the laws it purports to abide by.

As time passes the torrent of data not about our internet habits, our private conversations or our political opinions but about their bribes, their corruption, their greed, their lies, their unfitness for power and the urgent necessity of unseating them is going to become a tsunami of truths.

In the meantime let us recognise that the sacrifices that Private Manning and Snowden or Assange are making are admirable.

Much more significant though are the facts that, on the one hand the number of those volunteering to take risks on behalf of the truth is growing, while, on the other hand, Obama, Cameron and their cronies become ever more unhinged in their desperation to stamp out whistleblowing and punish everyone involved. In doing so they remind the public of the central secret which is that the Empire is founded on lies, crimes and deceptions: even the Constitution is a joke and laws are made to mean whatever the government chooses.

And all these grounds for cynicism among ordinary people are taking place within a period of economic and social collapse. Throughout the Empire the 99% are facing declining living standards, narrowing horizons, diminishing prospects, insecurity in employment, insecurity of pensions, rising debt levels while wealth is being stripped from every household.

The whistleblowing is taking place before an audience more ready to believe the worst, less able to shrug off the necessity for action and closer to a complete rejection of both electoral politics as a respectable activity and government as a benign or neutral agent.
We are coming into a revolutionary era, which is why it is important that we are not misled by those who tell us that nothing is happening and change is impossible.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 3 2013 3:52 utc | 77

This time JSorrentine actually states the thesis that we stupids can only think of one thing at a time:

And all the while you fanboys - now that you have your heroes who are going the political/media route of nonviolently "changing the system from within" - will be glued to your iPads and tablets for the latest Snowden et al news which will inevitably drag on for years and years and which, as mentioned above, will lead to absolutely ZERO real change in the system because that's what it's meant to do: keep you busy and focused on something except drawing upon/organizing the one strength - hello, NUMBERS - that the common people have against the elite and of which they are really afraid.

Why he assumes that we all have "iPads and tablets" is an interesting question. I suppose it has something to do with his acquired mass-media habit of drawing derisory thumbnail sketches of those he is arguing against. This sort of character smear has a long, long history, with such high points, or low points, as "latte-drinking progressives" and "panty-waisted liberals". But it says more about him, and his inability to get away from his own need to demean other people.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 3 2013 11:25 utc | 78

Germany 'should offer Edward Snowden asylum after NSA revelations'

An increasing number of public figures are calling for Edward Snowden to be offered asylum in Germany, with more than 50 asking Berlin to step up it support of the US whistleblower in the new edition of Der Spiegel magazine

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 3 2013 13:18 utc | 79

Edward Snowden Goldstein has issued his "Manifesto for the Truth", brothers and sisters!!

From the manifesto:

"Instead of causing damage, the usefulness of the new public knowledge for society is now clear because reforms to politics, supervision and laws are being suggested."

Please heed the good hero's words, let him regale you with calls for political reform and oversight. What a revolutionary!!!! What a man!!! Chant it with me, brothers and sisters!! Take up the call!!!! REFORM AND SUPERVISION!!!!REFORM AND SUPERVISION!!!!REFORM AND SUPERVISION!!!!REFORM AND SUPERVISION!!!!

Can't you feel the winds of change, brothers and sisters? Don't you see the light? After all of our toil and hardship, after all of the criminality and wrongdoing, brothers and sisters, we are going to finally get suggestions for laws and conversations amongst our leaders as to how they maybe will monitor themselves - not that anyone has any way of knowing if anything will actually be done in reality (but I digress) - in the future! This is it! We're finally getting somewhere! We are going to finally hear about suggestions on how to reform this system from within!! HOORAY!! Someone is finally looking out for the little guy! For more on how this talk of "reform" is going to lead to a renewed call for and ultimately the passage of the CISPA bill in the US please go here.

Aside: for someone who uses the word "truth" a lot Edward Goldstein sure doesn't talk about that OTHER movement concerned with truth, huh? You know, the one that his buddies Assange and Greenwald have directly and publicly disparaged and called unimportant? Oh well, I guess there are only so many words in the English language. I'm sure his calling for an investigation into the events of 9/11 will be forthcoming in his next manifesto. I can hardly wait. Or maybe not, because if he did that he would be jeopardizing his campaign for suggested laws and oversight standards! Don't do it Edward! Congress won't name the "NSA Oversight To Hinder INformation Gathering Bill" after you if you're not a "serious" person!!!

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 3 2013 19:37 utc | 80


As an American citizen who just witnessed how Obama and assorted fascist minions deftly maneuver growing public outrage over the lack of universal medical care in the US into the legislative abortion known as Obamacare and thus neutered any further calls by the people for further health care reform for AT LEAST 20 years - what, we just GAVE you health care reform, peons! - this Edward Snowden Goldstein storyline sure looks like it's going to follow the exact same route. Due to growing outrage over government surveillance, maybe some band-aid suggestions will be enacted to say they did something - again, but how will anyone really know? - but more than likely a bill like CISPA will be rammed down the throats of the public - a bill that does exaclty the opposite - a la Obamacare - of what the people originally wanted.

Oh, but you said you wanted "reform", boys and girls. You didn't really mean "reform" that helped YOU? Sillies.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 3 2013 19:55 utc | 81

I guess it depends if you see Wallerstein as a defeatist or not. He sure won't be a Hillary supporter.
Now, as the US declines, even as Palestine is liberated into a democracy, even as the Putin Eurasian bloc is solidified, I don't believe anyone here is saying peace will reign over the world.

Posted by: truthbetold | Nov 3 2013 20:11 utc | 82

@ 80.
Smearing Brand was a bit artless. But smearing Snowden sounds like Testicle Envy...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 3 2013 20:18 utc | 83

"Smearing Brand was a bit artless. But smearing Snowden sounds like Testicle Envy..."

J Sorrentine, dash it all man, is nothing sacrosanct? See what you done there, Ol' Hoarsey's had to pull out the "testicles" card.

Two heroes in one week seems to be more than he can bear.
At this rate the fanbois will have nothing left but a hand-full of Godwins to play.

Posted by: foff | Nov 3 2013 20:45 utc | 84

Hoarse makes a mistake when he compares Brand to Snowden. Brand is not seeking political asylum or holed up in a broom closet at the Ecuadorian Embassy. Russell is out making big money and running around with starlets.

Posted by: dh | Nov 3 2013 20:58 utc | 85

With Assange in this mix of folk Heros, I share some of JSorrentine's cynicism.

I can't access this Manifesto - but anyway - wtf - does this guy as well as Assange control the "flow" of leaks. Dump everything he has and I might change my mind.

Posted by: DM | Nov 4 2013 2:13 utc | 86

Things must be getting 'serious' if the whole Peanut Gallery has gathered for a drive-by smearing.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 4 2013 4:03 utc | 87

Putin Spokesman: Snowden free to talk to Germany over NSA Spying

After Edward Snowden, on Saturday said to the German MP and member of Germany´s Select Committee on Intelligence, Hand-Christian Stroeble, that he was prepared to talk with the German government and testify in a German court, eventually from Moscow, Putin spokesman Peskov said:

“He has a temporary refugee status. That status does not foresee any restrictions on his moving around the country or speaking to anyone”.

Snowden might even travel to Germany. Pescov said, that Snowden is free to talk to German prosecutors, or even to travel to Germany. Pescov added:

“No one is keeping him here. He is not being held captive here.. He is free to pack and fly anywhere he wants”.

On 18 November the German Parliament will convene to discuss the scandal, and Snowden´s testimony may be wanted at that of subsequent occasions including eventual German lawsuits against US officials in Germany and international lawsuits against the US government.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 4 2013 10:54 utc | 88

@87 Serious? You mean Brand has started a fund for whistleblowers? Just kidding.

Posted by: dh | Nov 4 2013 14:12 utc | 89

I for one have advocated that Tea Partiers and Occupiers set aside ideological differences and hit the streets together
whenever possible.
Ditto libertarians, traditional conservatives, ethnic nationalists, you name it. On any issue which impedes and weakens the
Empire's ability to wage war and conduct police state activities.
Snowden and Assange and Manning are not impeding this possible coalition. Hidebound activists are. Conspiratologists
and hobbyists are a sideshow.

Posted by: truthbetold | Nov 4 2013 14:36 utc | 90

German media, political parties debate granting Snowden asylum

By Peter Schwarz
5 November 2013

The issue of how to deal with former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has dominated media and political debate since his offer last week to testify in Germany, if the country grants him asylum.

The question of the basic democratic right of asylum plays an entirely subordinate role in this debate. Instead, the plight of Snowden is being manipulated for different policy objectives: in support of an aggressive German foreign policy, to strengthen the German secret services, and for manoeuvres in ongoing government coalition negotiations in Berlin.

This is despite the fact that Snowden clearly fulfills all the criteria for a political refugee who is entitled to the basic right to asylum. He has exposed criminal surveillance methods of the intelligence agencies of the United States and other countries because, as he writes in the recent issue of Der Spiegel, they are not only "a threat to privacy", but also to "freedom of expression and open societies".

As Snowden correctly noted, “some governments who felt embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance systems have initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution aimed at suppressing this debate.”

The case for offering Snowden asylum is most forcefully argued by Heribert Prantl in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. He has called him a “classic case of a refugee,” calling for his “safe conduct and the written assurance that he will not be deported.” Prantl justifies this demand by saying, “Snowden's actions may be illegal in the US, but what is really criminal are the circumstance and machinations he denounces.”

Two days later, Stefan Kornelius refuted Prantl's argument in the same newspaper. The paper's chief foreign correspondent said that the issue in the Snowden case is not democratic principles, but political interests.

Kornelius does not deny that Snowden “revealed the true dimensions of modern intelligence services.” However, he continues, “Before Germany makes a judgment about his future, it is important to weigh up interests, and consider the consequences for relations with the US.”

Snowden demanded from Germany “a political decision of enormous importance: With the United States or against it?” The answer, Kornelius writes, based “on all historical experience, on all security policy interests and on political common sense, is not difficult.”

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 5 2013 23:35 utc | 91

That's it, wrap it up, Snowden story is AT LEAST limited hangout. Sorry, fanboys.

Instead of being a computer wizard it appears that Snowden just asked 20-25 people working at the NSA facility for their passwords and they gave them to him.

Really. I mean we're supposed to believe that didn't raise any flags? That Snowden engaged in an activity which NO SYS ADMIN at ANY business or organization would do? An admin doesn't asks for passwords because they can reset them if they need to. 20-25 NSA employees were asked for their passwords and this didn't raise a flag? No way. No how.

That's it, this story has finally reached a stink level that it can't shake.

"The sources say 20 to 25 co-workers at the NSA regional operations center in Hawaii gave Snowden their information when he told them they were needed so he could fulfil tasks as a computer systems administrator."

Mark it. November 8th, 2013. Snowden story officially destroyed.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 8 2013 14:39 utc | 92

JSorrentine, don't tell us what to do, or what to think. Do that on your own blog.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 8 2013 16:04 utc | 93

Fine. May I then offer a suggestion to everyone that when the brand spanking new IT guy at your job comes around and asks for your login credentials you just might want to at least tell someone about it in addition to NOT giving him said credentials? That is unless you work for the NSA where that kind of stuff happens all the time I'm sure.

"Snowden worked at the site for around a month last spring, in which he downloaded tens of thousands of classified documents on vast NSA surveillance programs that he would later give to journalists at The Guardian and The Washington Post."

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 8 2013 16:23 utc | 94


Man, you're gullible. That whole story, originally from Reuters smells as a desperate attempt at PR damage control + character assassination by US gov.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 8 2013 23:33 utc | 95

"Man, you're gullible. That whole story, originally from Reuters smells as a desperate attempt at PR damage control + character assassination by US gov."

Let's be fair now Phillipe: Sometimes J.Sorrentine is the very opposite of gullible. He won't believe the most obvious things.

And yet, here, as you point out, he swallows a typically CIA story in one gulp.
If I were J I'd worry about the rapidity with which foff-a tribute to the old partnership between Britain's Public Schools and Military Intelligence (it's one of the areas that Le Carre covers so effortlessly)-seconds these posts of his.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 9 2013 0:04 utc | 96

@ 96 et al. Good points.
Anti-Snowden Rhetoric Maintenance helps deflect attention from NSA's Industrial Espionage potential.
All of the collection and processing routines we're hearing about are much more relevant, appropriate and targeted to I.E. than the anti-Terror bs.

As an example:
How much harder would it be to stumble on a super-duper search term for nailing a Ter'rist plot, than to find a super-duper search term for a business-related process or meeting or patent or person?

NSA is 99% about industrial (and military) espionage. Catching Ter'rists would be a fortuitous accident and an (unlikely) bonus. Even the hi-profile people NSA has recently been exposed for snooping on are far more likely to let commerce-related info slip out than Ter'rist-related info.

And let's not forget that the NSA is circa 70% "privately" bank-rolled. Taxpayers just pick up the day-to-day running costs.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 9 2013 6:48 utc | 97

@96 - bevin

You're right, I should have qualified that “gullible”. This should be more accurate: man, you’re gullible today - [tinfoil hat on] I'll blame the NSA gnome under the tatami for originally suppressing that last word… [/tinfoil hat off].

@97 - Hoarsewhisperer

I’m actually surprised how inept, nearly amateur level, the “official” reactions to those Snowdon papers have been. All we got is transparent lies, badly constructed traitor narratives and so on. The US PR used to do better.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 9 2013 7:56 utc | 98

Oh I get it! I'm gullible b/c I believed that this "unbelievable" story given to us by the MSM/government but you people who are so heavily invested in your fanboy-dom and who have believed/lapped up all of the other completely implausible Snowden stories up till now the ones who are savvy, huh?

Because finally a story comes out which cuts against the grain of the nonsense Edward Snowden hero saga we should all rush to defend our ex(?)-CIA/NSA hero who none of us know, who is effecting absolutely zero change to our present system and who is actually hindering calls for change in that this distraction sure allows the oppressive neoliberal governments and their MSM minions to keep playacting as to "acting shocked/doing something" about this whole fairy tale.

Who are the "optimistic" ones, huh? Y'know the ones following the herd, wearing their Snowden masks as they march around calling for "reform and supervision" - chortle - of a system when the conversation should be about dismantling the system? Who are the scolds telling all of us to believe in the likes of Russel Brand and the other "heroes" the MSM parades in front of us giving them ample time to tell us exactly what some of the more amenable - read: bourgeois - members of the "left" want to hear?

I applaud stories such as the one I mentioned because hopefully it will begin to destroy all of this pre-packaged spectacular nonsense the MSM/government is using to divert everyone's attention from what they should be paying attention about - no money, no jobs, etc.

Yes, yes, people are able to do more than one thing I hear but if that's the case and everyone's such a multi-tasker then why weren't the brilliant multi-taskers able to think about these things concerning Snowden/GG over the last few months:

1) if Snowden stole tens of thousands of documents over the period of a month or so, why did he say that he was able to review each and every one of them when this is obviously a lie as there was just not enough time for him to do so?

2) if Snowden - a former CIA/NSA employee - vetted the documents why was there a need for a non-security professional like Greenwald and the editors of the Guardian, the Post and others to vet them again before we got a peak at them? Just a peak mind you.

3) if this is all such a pressing concern why is the leak rate so very low? At this rate - if there are truly 10,000-50,000 documents - we won't see what they contain for something along the lines of 25 YEARS!!! Nah, that sounds about right?:

4) if Snowden/GG et al were on the up and up, why have they gone to such great lengths to great the "good whistleblower/bad whistleblower" narrative by repeatedly contrasting what Snowden did - good leaker who vets his leaks multiple times - to Manning - bad leaker who just dumped all of this stuff more or less for public consumption?

5) do I need to mention Greenwald's book deal about the whole affair, the possible movie? Forget it.

Apparently unlike some, I don't have some sort of vicarious thrill invested in the Snowden story so when I and many others who very well knew about the malevolent nature of the NSA et al and the extent of its spying for years and who don't think that the "left" - chortle again - should be wasting its time on another implausible media-driven tall tale - what is this like the 300th? - see that the end of the time-wasting fairy tale is nigh we applaud that circumstance.

Oh, boo hoo, the Snowden mini-series is getting even shakier, it would be such a shame if the common person just threw up their hands and said "Y'know what? This is ALL effing nonsense being delivered to me by an elite propaganda system that has in no way, shape or form my best interests at heart and I should stop paying to who and what they tell me to and start getting back to thinking about the depression I'm living in."

What it will finally take for those seemingly savvy members of the "left" to quit paying attention to the stories they're being sold I really don't have an answer for but I can at least applaud - a la Syria - when a narrative begins to collapse, the "heroes" fade away and people realize that they are the ones they've been waiting for.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Nov 9 2013 17:20 utc | 99

I can't be bothered to read things that are written in a tone of schoolboy sarcasm. The only words I have noticed in #99 are "huh?" and "boo hoo," so I have simply not bothered to read the rest. There may be some scintillating data points buried among the sludge, but I don't care.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 9 2013 18:34 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.