Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Damage Caused By Fragile Egos

Daily Banter editor Bob Cesca covers last week's Twitter e-peen slap fight between Double G and Julian Assange over who was the most ideologically pure when it came to "no more secrets".  Why should you care?  Because the end result is that people's lives are in danger.  Cesca:

It all began Monday morning when The Intercept posted a new Snowden revelation with the cutesy headline: “Data Pirates of the Caribbean: The NSA Is Recording Every Cell Phone Call in the Bahamas.” Get it? Pirates! The article exhaustively describes an operation called MYSTIC and another called SOMALGET in which NSA gathers audio and metadata of cellphone calls in the Bahamas in order to spy on human traffickers and drug cartels. The Bahamas is notorious for both.

Greenwald went on to inflate claims that this was all illegal spying, except at the very end where he admits SOMALGET is legal and the program cannot be used against US citizens, even in the Bahamas.  So yeah, standard Double G tactics.  But that's not the dangerous part:  Wikileaks founder Julian Assange stepped in because Double G didn't go far enough to harm the US.

The article refers to five nations where MYSTIC is used: the Bahamas, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and nation that Greenwald redacted because, to quote the article, “The Intercept is not naming in response to specific, credible concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.”

The redaction didn’t sit well with Julian Assange, who is widely believed to operate the @wikileaks Twitter account.

Assange then threatened to reveal the 5th country, something that Greenwald wouldn't even do.  And sure enough on Thursday, Assange carried through on his threat.

We do not believe it is the place of media to “aid and abet” a state in escaping detection and prosecution for a serious crime against a population.

Consequently WikiLeaks cannot be complicit in the censorship of victim state X. The country in question is Afghanistan.

The Intercept stated that the US government asserted that the publication of this name might lead to a ’rise in violence’. Such claims were also used by the administration of Barack Obama to refuse to release further photos of torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

And that's where we are.  President Obama is in Afghanistan today for a Memorial Day visit to our 32,000 troops and service personnel still there, and an NSA program in use in the area now will have to be scrapped because the bad guys now know the full details.

Both Greenwald and Assange have decided they are the people who get to determine what is a criminal act by the US government, and if they hurt Americans in the process, it doesn't really matter because as Americans, we're all complicit anyway and maybe we deserve it based upon what's being done in our name, because if we were as ideologically pure as these two arbiters of justice, we'd rise up against our government to stop them.  We haven't. so clearly we're just as guilty.

Therefore, some eggs will have to get broken.

So sayeth Assange, and to a lesser extent, Greenwald.

Once again, I question the motives of people who seem to be determined to do as much damage to our national security as possible.


Martin Pollard said...

That's why I can't get on the "ZOMG!! NSA EEEEEEVUL!!!! SNOWDEN GREENWALD ROKK!!!!1!11!!" bandwagon that many on the left (and in the techerati strongholds like Slashdot) are riding. I'm not happy about the NSA's data gathering practices and I wish they would be severely curtailed (or eliminated entirely), but I simply cannot treat Snowden, Assange, and "It's All About Me" Greenwald like heroes who deserve sainthood, for the very reasons you state.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

I am with you all the way on this one. My ire at Pernicious G is not driven by any foofery that he is an unpleasant person, contra Charles Pierce and the sycophantic "woudn't want to invite Glenn to tea" crowd, but is driven by my disgust that his pointless sensationalism and exaggerations have abraded away any popular support that might have gathered to force the politicos to pass real and significant reform legislation. What we got last week was a joke, and it represents the squandering of all hopes for yet another generation at reining in the National Security State.

That said, I do admit to a great deal of amusement at seeing Team Treason being just as pissy, spiteful, and short sighted when swatting away the ankle biters of the technolibertarian "dump all the documents now!" crowd as he is when dealing with normal people.

A Citizen said...

The WH did more damage to our intelligence agencies in Afghanistan by blowing the cover of the CIA station chief in Kabul than Edward Snowden has or ever will have done exposing any document.

That must be hard for all of you to swallow. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald are not the problems here. The NSA is.

A Citizen said...

Oh, and to end this debate once and for all, Greenwald plans to release names of American people and organizations the NSA spied on illegally. There will no longer be any doubt as to who the real victims of the US government really are: its own citizens.

But please tell me again how the real problem here is "fragile egos" of whistleblowers and not a government actively spying against its own people in order to keep them in line.

Zandar said...

And the best part is Greenwald can name any person or organization in America and he wins because of course, nobody can "prove" he's bullshitting us. Just in time for his new book, too!

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Must be hard to talk with your tongue so far up Greenwald's sphincter.

And his butt cheeks must have been covering your ears so you never heard how the Russians were able to spoof our signals intelligence in the run up to the occupation of the Ukraine. Maybe it's a great big dumb coincidence, that the Russian secret services had figured ways to blanket all of our methods and they just happened to spring them on us after Snowden settled in to Moscow, and since you trust Greenwald you are probably dumb enough to believe that fairy tale.

Me, I deal with reality: the facts as they are, not as I would like them to be. The sad fact is that you bubble boys, with your gullibility and your hysteria, have ruined for a generation any chance of meaningful reforms in the National Security State. Bush and Clapper are laughing their asses off at you and your stupid pretenses.

So enjoy your continuing irrelevance. Maybe you can get the old gang together and draft Nader for another spoiler campaign aimed at throwing the elections to the Republicans. It would be just like old times.

Horace Boothroyd III said...

I stand ready to invoke the 24 hour rule that has proven so apt in dealing with Greenwald's sensationalist claims in the past. Past performance may not be a reliable guide to future performance, but Pernicious G has always delivered.

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