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Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs

Silicon Valley now can be renamed to Surveillance Valley
Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism with the classic slogan of Third Reich
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian

News National Security State Recommended Links Big Uncle is Watching You Nephophobia: avoiding clouds to reclaim bits of your privacy Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Is Google evil? "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia
Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Facebook as Giant Database about Users Blocking Facebook Email security MTA Log Analyzers HTTP Servers Log Analyses Cookie Cutting
Potemkin Villages of Computer Security Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Cyberstalking Search engines privacy How to collect and analyze your own Web activity metadata Steganography Anomaly detection Notes on Search Engines and Google
Malware Spearphishing Podesta emails hack Cyberwarfare Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Google Toolbar
Nation under attack meme Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Search engines privacy Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Nineteen Eighty-Four Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Prism-related humor Etc
Version 1.2, November 20, 2013

Introduction

"As a totalitarian society, the Soviet Union valued eavesdropping and thus developed ingenious methods to accomplish it."

This NSA document

J. Edgar Hoover - Wikipedia

Americans live in Russia, but think they live in Sweden

Chrystia Freeland

You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide

--Joseph Goebbels

I was always suspicious about the success of "cloud" Web mail services starting with Hotmail. There was something fishy here including the purchase of Hotmail by Microsoft. The problem is that if your emails are being stored "in the cloud" each single email is exposed as if it is permanently "in transit".

Moreover the collection of email in your Inbox and, especially, your email address book constitute a more valuable set of information than any single email and tells much more about you that any single intercepted email can.  Now you see why the future won’t be like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Mechanisms were invented that provoke people voluntary spy on themselves.  Pretty ingenious mechanism I would say. The elevates the importance of denial of snooping  ( Hide the Real ) and misrepresentation ("Show the False") practices  to thwart over-intrusive collection capabilities.

This brief examination of the internet reaction on Snowden revelations suggests that we should cultivate the heresies of secrets and silence. May people had been promoting the idea of lean email usage for a while. It's about recognizing both that emails are valuable and that it is a dangerous thing to put sensitive information in it or to overuse it. No email should be send, when phone call suffice. Extending this to "lean data principles" forces you to clarify the data you want to store and think hard about the minimal set of information you need. Do you really need to use email as often as you currently do? Probably not.  If you can accomplish anything without sending email, then do not send email.

Do you need to have your cellphone switched on all the day? Probably not. You should have "off hours" during the day when no cell phone calls are allowed. 

Facebook  ("Facebook "like" button is watching you ) along with Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo are kings of "passive surveillance".  That means that they are able to keep a pretty detailed, day-to-day dossier on your actions and (in case Google and Android phones) your movements by just analyzing data that are automatically streaming into their databases due to the fact that you have an account.  That's pretty embarrassing to be snooped 24 x7.  And it is plain vanilla stupid to enhance their capabilities by buying products that  can easily be abused like Amazon Echo (which should be put in a box when you do not use it, if you consider this device useful)

Report Amazon hires employees to listen to customers through products

If you have an Amazon Echo product, you aren't the only person privy to your private conversations

Thousands of people across the globe are employed by Amazon.com to listen to Echo recordings, transcribe and annotate them and feed them back to the software so that Alexa can better grasp human speech, according to a report from Bloomberg.

... ... ...

An Amazon spokesperson responded to USA TODAY with a statement that reads, "By default, Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).”

Critics of Amazon's Echo products have pointed to potential privacy violations. In 2015, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to conduct a “comprehensive investigation" into Alexa and other home-listening devices, according to Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of EPIC.

Integration of those activities is NSA domain, but Facebook is pretty nasty in a sense that it tried to get more information about you then you wish to provide.

“I don't want to live in a world where everything I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity and love or friendship is recorded.”

~Edward Snowden

While Amazon connection to intelligence agencies is very well known (and only a complete idiot can assume that history of your purchases on Amazon or using any credit card is not goes directly to NSA, Langley, and several other places), the extent of Facebook and Google connections became known only after Snowden revelations.  The fact that your mail is readily assessable to NSA and their contractors via PRISM program was a real bomb.

But from purely technical standpoint PRISM program is only logical and just utilized available technological capabilities for surveillance. The dream of total surveillance was always present in any state apparatus, democratic or totalitarian.  Moreover PRISM is an improvement over dystopia of 1984. After all, Big Brother needed electroshock, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, drugs and propaganda broadcasts to keep power. Now confessions obtained by force has been replaced by voluntary disclosure due to new technologies available. And crushing of dissent became more sophistically and utilizes much less brute force (look how effectively Occupy Wall Street movement was suppressed).  All you need is the cooperation of several large Internet  companies with intelligence agencies, control of MSM and infiltration. 

Returning to the issue of email. Contrarily to widespread myth, it not exactly necessary to read your email to understand who you are and what views you are holding. Just the set of headers of your email messages (along with the content of your address book) constitute something revealing (and from the point of view of your privacy more dangerous) collection of information. Please take into account that all email you ever wrote are stored somewhere forever (or at least for your lifetime.)  Rephrasing well known quote we can say: "Give me access to your email headers,  and I will say who you are". This technology, which was initially developed during Iraq war proved to be very powerful method of surveillance.

 "Give me access to your email headers, and I will say who you are"

All this talk about NSA or CIA ability to listen to your smartphone microphone or via microphones in your laptop, TV or other  devices looks like grossly exaggerated threat. Those are intrusive and expensive options and those agencies actually they do not need them, except is cases when the "suspect" needs 24 x 7 surveillance.  Other then pursuing "real suspects" this measure clearly is an overkill. Passive surveillance via data provided by big four (Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo) and your smartphone (along with information from your credit card companies) is enough so that you have no secrets from the government ;-).

At any day of the  year government can tell what are your interests, political views and the circle of fiends probably better then your close relatives.  STASI operatives would die to have this capability.  In other words just due to technology progress we are all now living in the "national security state", which as you can guess is governed by intelligence agencies brass. The latter along with financial oligarchy and top CEOs represents  what Orwell called "inner party".  And its existence was clearly revealed during Russiagate color revolution, launched after the election of Trump. With the explicit goal to depose of at least neuter elements of his election program that represent deviation from neocon/neolib policies (the latter goal was quickly achieved; Trump folded in just three months). 

It not accidental that some prominent politicians have their career interlinked or even managed by intelligence agencies (George H. W. Bush,  Vladimir Putin, Theresa MayBarak Obama, Mike Pompeo, Hillary Clinton). There is even term "CIA democrats" which has dual meaning.  With the second one more menacing then the first. To a certain extent, politicians who fight and win or lose election are just figureheads or puppets of the Deep State because since the time of J. Edgar Hoover there is enough dirt of each of them to keep them in check (think about Lolita Express).  And if not, it can be fabricated, as was the case with Steele dossier.

In other words, the emergence of powerful intelligence agencies after WWII (as well as technological progress, especially in the areas of computers and  communications) make transition to the national security state the "natural" path of the Western societies  evolution. Whether we can talk about democracy in such a state is an interesting question, but it is clearly beyond the scope of this  page.

Please note that your purchases history, the collection of just email headers and other information that which can be collected automatically and inexpensively is probably  stored "for the duration of your life."   And that includes all your emails not only those voluntarily stored by you on your "cloud" provider. The latter is the place over which you've absolutely no control (and as such you should have no expectation of privacy) . 

The same is true about your phone calls. The ability to listen to your phone calls in most cases is immaterial. The list of your connections is enough to tell everything about you, sometimes even better then the content of your conversations via phone.  And I doubt that the work of transcribing and analyzing your calls is done without some serious reason, just for completeness. On the current level of technology correct transcribing of a phone call costs serious money and I doubt that NSA if far ahead of Google, Apple and  similar companies in this technological area. For a very limited vocabulary ( specific subject area), huge distributed array or computers the progress probably is more impressive (think about IBM win of IBM Watson Final Jeopardy!, which probably was partially staged by heavy tuning of Big Blue toward the particular game, but still)

The key probably for NSA now is that those guys who suspect that their phones are listened behave more carefully. Actually most of us no longer view smartphone as a device suitable for communicating anything really private. At the same time rumors about phone converted into a listening device against your will looks like paranoia. This is not simple, as you need to wake up your phone to do that and running phone consumes battery life; which allows detection of such activity. also microphone in your jeans is not a good place to conduct the recording which you need to transcribe.  You can access the resulting quality by switching on smartphone recorder and putting the phone into the pocket and reading a couple of pages of some book.  Also if your fully changed phone that was on 100% and was switched off all the time had shown 80% of change when you switch if on, you would instantly understand that something is wrong. Moreover putting a cell phone into a metal box or a metal mesh, or metalized plastic envelope used for computer parts,  completely disables the communication with the tower (recoding still can be conducted if it was initiated before that, but transmission of recoding is possible only after the phone is extracted from the mesh).  Foam lining pretty much disables sound too. Both those materials are cheap and widely available.  Keeping phone is a closed zipped padded container (often used for camera ), lady pouch or waistpack kills microphone sensitivity and is a useful method if you have some concerns. In this case your phone still can get external calls and this does not goes as far as Faraday cage.  But in most cases switching phone off is more then enough. 

The same is true about your usage of internet: as soon as you switch off your home router there is no way to spy on you at home via Internet, no matter how many computers that are connected to your home network. Of course theoretically there is a possibility of using Wi-Fi from hacked router of your neighbor, but that's complex and costly path which is justified only for very valuable targets.

So the main danger is your own Internet activity. But here the situation is a little bit more complex as from now on the life of intelligence agencies is not that easy -- there is no guarantee that after Snowden revelation people do not try to distort their browsing profiles. In other words NSA now does not know whether visiting particular site is a prank (possibly automated to distort your browsing profile) or a real activity. 

Usage of your Amazon account by other members of family distort you profile enough to make making conclusion from it more difficult.  Sharing a single Amazon account for a family blurs your purchasing activity with "noise" as it is difficult automatically distinguish between your activities and activities of individual members of the family. You can see how confused are automatic algorisms from the advertisements that are presented to you.  Actually you can easily "change your gender" for advertising purposes by clicking several wrong "targets" on Amazon and this change is pretty sticky.   In a way, experimenting on Amazon and seeing the advertizing for the particular set of browsing behaviors (for example, pretend that you are interesting in particular type of books, or jewelry, or fragrance )  gives you same level of understanding how your Amazon browsing activity is interpreted by NSA.

In this sense Snowden revelations were a severe hit, almost a knockdown for NSA. Because is very easy to inject fake activity on your browsing profile, less so in your email and purchases profile. The simplest way for Internet is to use any programmable keyboard, or a scripting language with the Expect-like module (Perl, Python, etc).  You can visit arbitrarily website at your will, but you can't just call random people (actually you can, but the result will be disappointing ;-). As it's easy imitate "fake visits to sites"  analyzing web activity in "after-Snowden" world became more involved and complex task. You need to use additional more complex metrics to separate signal from noise.

I can see why Brazil and Germany are now concerned about NSA activities. What I can't understand is why they are not concerned about stupidity of their citizens opening accounts on Gmail or Facebook and putting confidential information on the Webmail systems such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail  (all three are mentioned in Prism slide above ;-). Is not this a new mass form of masochism?   Or this is the case when they are more afraid of their own government.

I would like to repeat that fundamental "After Snowden" rule again and again. Do not write email when something can be accomplished via phone call, and do not use phone, if something can be accomplished by personal contact.  Limit your Internet activity -- in most cases this is just a waste of time and electrons anyways. For example if you can purchase something for cash just do it (for example, alcoholic beverages). In no way use Amazon for trivial things that can be purchased locally, which is actually both expensive and counterproductive.  This is just a new  form  of exhibitionism.

If you can purchase something for cash just do it (for example, alcoholic beverages). In no way use Amazon for trivial things that can be purchased locally, which is actually both expensive and counterproductive.  This is just a new form of exhibitionism.

Trust in cloud providers is completely misplaced

As we have all found out, that trust in cloud providers is completely misplaced, as "cloud" services were systematically abused.  So when I read that some high level honcho emails were infiltrated (directly via  broken password, or indirectly or special interface in software) and published  the only reaction is -- Ohh God, yet another  idiot was caught in  this net and now will pay for his  transgressions. 

Accounts in Hotmail or Gmail has their value, but they are most useful as "spam folders." Do not behave like this highly placed idiot Podesta, who later of course regretted about his own stupidity, but it was too late.  Or another highly placed idiot  --  David Petraeus who decided that that internet mail is secure enough to communicate with his mistress.

You can direct all emails from your subscriptions on newspapers, sites and magazines to Gmail or Hotmail, but that's about  it. For any valuable email you need to buy your own domain and account on one of dozens reputable ISPs with ssh access. If you are more or less knowledgeable in computers there is no excuse for you to use services like Gmail (which is a very bad email client in any case; Google proved to be mediocre developer in this  particular case).

If you are knowledgeable about computers, the account you use for private emails should always be the account at one of small ISP on your own domain, and possibly using special DNS server. 

People who still remember what POP3 is, can download email to their laptops, which does not store any emails on the server.  Only the last week of email or even less should be stored on Web accessible storage, because sometimes it is vital to access email from your smartphone. Storing older emails on Internet servers is recommended only, if those emails do not represent any value to you. In this case why to store them at all? 

No "private mail" should not be stored in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or similar accounts if you are concerned about consequences of leaking them. The simplest example is what a person has mistress like  General David Petraeus. and if you are unable to get rid of bad habit of using Google or similar "intelligence friendly" outlets, you at least should use dual authentication and systematically delete all emails older then a week.

Links in email as the source of troubles and the possibility of braking into your cloud-based email account

Email is a very old (it predates TCP/IP) and inherently insecure protocol that allow spearphishing -- sending you plausible emails with links with the text that entice you to click on them (for example spoofed Google information about attempt to access your account, say, from Ukraine  and request to change your password immediately). Links generally should be displayed with both name and actual URL (not only as the name as on Webpages), and clicking on them should be blocked automatically in your email client, like this is done in Thunderbird. But Microsoft Outlook pretends  to be "user-friendly".  At your expense.  Also additional NSA money for keeping Windows "less secure" (or adding obviously suicidal from security standpoint features are automatic scanning of USB drives, making them a new generation of floppy disks with theirs boot viruses; I doubt that Microsoft developers were that stupid, it was probably a request from NSA or similar organization ) does not hurt.

In case  Podesta emails hack  the most amazing fact is not only his stupidity of using Google mail for pretty sensitive communications, but that he failed to purchase $15 key for two factor authentication for Gmail.  Also Podesta  made a very common and stupid mistake -- clicking on the link in email, especially a email with the security alerts is really reckless.  It is undesirable even if you can verify that the URL used is not spoofed.

Anyway this is very surprising that such person was Bill Clinton Chief of Staff (1998-2001) -- essentially former Grey Cardinal of the USA with the power comparable with the President (and in certain areas exceeding it).  Such a  person is as close to trained in computer security professional as one can get, taking into account the  sensitively of his position: Podesta at one time has access to highest level of US security clearness and needed to listens to all respective briefing and signing documents that his understands what he was told.  Is not this a sign of degeneration of the USA neoliberal elite?  As a result of this  blunder on October 7, 2016, WikiLeaks started to publish thousands of emails reportedly retrieved from Podesta's private Gmail account, some of which contained controversial material regarding Clinton's positions or campaign strategy.

If publishing of your email box can cause you even slight embarrassment never keep it on Internet even if you use two factor authentication (may be outside the recent week or two). Use an encrypted thumb drive that is inserted in your laptop/desktop strictly for the period of your working with your email archive.

If publishing of your email box can cause you embarrassment or more serious harm the only place to keep this mailbox (may be outside the recent week or two) in encrypted thumb drive that is inserted in your laptop/desktop strictly for the period of your working with your email.

Similarly it is stupid to purchase anything that can compromise you with the credit cards, like was the case in Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal

The investigation of Spitzer was initiated after North Fork Bank[2] reported the suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as required by the Bank Secrecy Act, which was enhanced by Patriot Act provisions, enacted to combat terrorist activity such as money laundering.[3] Spitzer had at least seven liaisons with prostitutes from the agency over six months, and paid more than $15,000 for their services. Federal agents had him under surveillance twice in 2008.[4][5][6] According to published reports, investigators believe Spitzer paid up to $80,000 for prostitutes over a period of several years – first while he was attorney general, and later as governor. Governor Spitzer, referred to as "Client 9" in an affidavit filed in US Federal Court,[10] arranged to meet at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on February 13, 2008 with a prostitute named "Kristen". "Kristen" was later identified as 22-year-old Ashley Dupré.[11][12] She intended to travel from New York City for the planned tryst and Spitzer agreed in advance that he "would be paying for everything—train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini-bar or room service, travel time and hotel".[13] After the meeting on February 13, 2008, Spitzer paid her $4,300 in cash.[14] The payment included $1,100 as a deposit with the agency toward future services.[15]

See also Zipper, a 2015 political thriller film, is a thinly veiled dramatization of the Spitzer scandal.

The newly acquired value of Aesop language

People have nation aversion to invasions to their privacy and  invented  various methods to evade snooping even in "tightly controlled" environments. One of the simplest and proven method is to use Aesop language. 

The Soviet-era writer Lev Loseff noted that the use of Aesopian language remained a favorite technique of writers (including himself) under Soviet censorship.[2] Maliheh Tyrell defines the term in the Soviet context and observes that the use of Aesopian language extended to other national literatures under Soviet rule:

"In short, this form of literature, like Aesop's animal fables, veils itself in allegorical suggestions, hints, and euphemisms so as to elude political censorship. 'Aesopian language' or literature is a technical term used by Sovietologists to define allegorical language used by Russian or nationality [that is: non-Russian] nonconformist publicists to conceal antiregime sentiments. Under Soviet rule, this 'Aesopian' literature intended to confuse the Soviet authorities, yet illuminate the truth for native readers."[3]

According to one critic, "Censorship... had a positive, formative impact upon the Aesopian writers' style by obliging them to sharpen their thoughts."[4]

In a way after Snowden revelations we all now need to learn Aesop language (slang is actually almost in-penetratable to computer analysis; unless they are specifically programmed for the particular one) and be more careful.  Many people now understand why after Snowden revelation Facebook users should be very concerned. Facebook is nothing but an intelligence database about their users. That's their primary business model -- collect and sell the data about you to advertisers, and not only advertisers. 

The users data is what Facebook actually sells

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google are no different.

Strangely enough, even after Snowden revelations the usage of Facebook/Yahoo/Gmail was not affected and the number of active accounts continued to grow. Nothing changes even after several high profile email leaks happened after Snowden revelations. So it looks like in cyberspace a large number of people is more reckless then they behave in a "normal" environment. 

So now it make sense to use context that is understandable only to you and your counterpart in particular electronic communication -- making is less understandable to outsiders. Please always use nicknames instead of real names in the first step. Mapping your organization to some film of novel is another simple step.

While it is stupid to try to guess how NSA pick up "interesting posts" it might make sense do not abuse words in your posts that might trigger surveillance  without necessity. Such as "attack", "epidemic" and like. 

Social sites as promoters of "exhibitionism orgy"

Social sites, especially "Fecebook" skillfully promote what can be called "exhibitionism orgy"  People affected generally get what they deserve, but some teenagers paid with their life for this blunder. Not to say that feeling like each and every your "wall" post is like scrolled on NYC Times square is not very comfortable feeling for anybody except status hungry adolescent girls. 

To say nothing that due to ubiquity of electronic communications all your life is watched anyway, as if East Germany STASI now became a universal world-wide phenomenon. Actually some details now available via electronic communications (your relocation data via your smartphone) were unavailable to STASI. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect, See Big Uncle is Watching You.

In a current NSA-inspired debate about the moral consequences of digital technologies, it is important to realize the danger of seamless integration of services under Google (especially within Android) as well as other Internet Oligopolies (I doubt that Microsoft with its Windows 10 is much better).  Everyone using an Android smartphone is forced to wear Google's digital straitjacket. This  can be a very bad thing. Why we should tell everything about yourself to Google? That's humiliating.

From this point of view a combination of a "regular phone" (and  and a 7 inch tablet that accepts the same simcard (in rare case when  WiFi is not available; you can also use it as navigator, if necessary) is much more attractive then a smartphone and available at a fraction of the cost: $30 (for example Alcatel Go flip)  + $150 Samsung tablet instead of $300 or more for a decent smartphone).

Android smartphones with GPS essentially invites snooping on you, especially government snooping as the less is the number of types of devices the government need to deal with, the cheaper is such mass collection of information on each citizen.

Smartphones essentially invites snooping on you, especially government snooping as the less type of devices the government need to deal with, the cheaper is such mass collection of information on each citizen

Whether this is done in the name of fighting terrorism, communist agents, or infiltration of Martians does not matter. As long as access to such data is extremely cheap, as is the case with both Android and Apple smartphones,  it will be abused by the government and some activities will be done without any court orders. In other words if technical means of snooping are cheap they will be  abused. It is a duty of concerned citizens who object this practice to make them more expensive and less effective.

If technical means of snooping are cheap they will be  abused. It is a duty of concerned citizens who object this practice to make them more expensive and less effective.

First of all we must fight against this strange "self-exposure" mania under which people have become enslaved to and endangered by the "cloud" sites they use. Again this nothing more nothing less then digital masochism.

First of all we must fight against this strange "self-exposure" mania under which people have become enslaved to and endangered by the "cloud" sites they use. Again this nothing more nothing less then digital masochism. But there is another important aspect of this problem which is different from the problem of unhealthy self-revelation zeal that large part of Facebook users demonstrates on the Net.

This second problem is often discussed under the meme Is Google evil ? and it is connected with inevitable corruption of Internet by large Internet oligopolies such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc. And they become oligopolies because we agree to use them as primary sources, for example Google for search, independently whether it is good for all types of searches or not.  Actually if you compare the quality of retuned results Google is not good for all searches. Bing often beats Google on searches connected with Windows (and even some pure Linux topics) and  duckduckgo.com while not bad in most categories really excels if you search information about Eastern Europe, as well on several political themes (I suspect some searches in Google are censored).

In any case after Snowden revelations it does not make sense to use a single search engine and in no way the default search engine should Google. You need  to spread your searches over several

After Snowden revelations it does not make sense to use a single search engine. You need  to spread your searches over several  with your primary/default search engine being anything but Google. The diversification (including diversification of search engines) is now a duty of concerned Internet users.

 IMHO if you did not put several search providers like say, duckduckgo.com in your browser and don't rotate them periodically, you are making a mistake. First of all you deprive yourself from the possibility to learn strong and weak point of different search engines. The second Google stores all searches, possibly indefinitely despite your ability to delete them from your personal history, so you potentially expose yourself to a larger extent by using a single provider.

And according to PRISM NSA is only one of possibly several agencies that can access your data.  Using three search engines you create the need to merge and correlate for example three sets of your activities (if you separates searches between different engine by topics), which slightly complicates the task. Also at least according to advertizing  duckduckgo.com does not store the history of your searches at all. Also if you use VPN there is no guarantee that those activities represent actions of a single person or a group of persons (especially, if you use a local proxy).  See Alternative Search Engines to Google

“Internet solutionism” exemplified by Google and push to the cloud services is the dangerous romantic utopia of our age. Google-style "cloud uber alles" push is often counter-productive, even dangerous

As Eugeny Morozov argued in The Net Delusion The Dark Side of Internet Freedom Internet solutionism” exemplified by Google, is the dangerous romantic utopia of our age. He regards Google-style "cloud uber alles" push as counter-productive, even dangerous:

...Wouldn’t it be nice if one day, told that Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we would finally read between the lines and discover its true meaning: “to monetize all of the world’s information and make it universally inaccessible and profitable”? With this act of subversive interpretation, we might eventually hit upon the greatest emancipatory insight of all: Letting Google organize all of the world’s information makes as much sense as letting Halliburton organize all of the world’s oil.

The reason why the digital debate feels so empty and toothless is simple: framed as a debate over “the digital” rather than “the political” and “the economic,” it’s conducted on terms that are already beneficial to technology companies. Unbeknownst to most of us, the seemingly exceptional nature of commodities in question – from “information” to “networks” to “the Internet” – is coded into our language.

 It’s this hidden exceptionalism that allows Silicon Valley to dismiss its critics as Luddites who, by opposing “technology,” “information” or “the Internet”-- they don’t do plurals in Silicon Valley, for the nuance risks overwhelming their brains – must also be opposed to “progress.”

Internet started as a network of decentralized servers, able to withstand a nuclear attack. Now it probably will eventually return to a similar model on a new level as the danger to privacy of cloud providers exceed their usefulness. And from the point of view of enterprise cloud providers are not cheap, even calculating in additional cost of manpower (which is more loyal, if they are local) for administration of such servers. 

In any case now it looks like anybody who is greedy enough to use "free" (as in "The only free cheese is in the mouse trap") Gmail instead of getting webmail account via ISP with your own (let it call vanity, but it's your own :-) domain and the website which is used instead of Facebook is playing with fire. Even if they are nothing to hide, if they use Hotmail of Gmail for anything but spam (aka registrations, newsletters, etc) they are living in a virtual room with multiple hidden camera that record and store information including all their emails and address book forever. Private emails (if it is necessary to send email, often phone is enough)  should probably now be limited to regular SMTP accounts with client like Thunderbird (which actually is tremendously better then Gmail Web mail client with its Google+ perversions).  Of course, you can use pictures with handwriting instead of text , but this is too little too late as for your privacy concerns. In any case on Samsung tablets with  pen (like Tab A, Galaxy Tab S4, etc) this is very convenient  way to communicate, although images in email send to PC are generally a source of danger, as Microsoft Windows executes malicious attachment masquerading as images.

For personal, private information, you need to have your own servers and keep nothing in the "cloud". The network was originally designed to be "peer-to-peer" and the only hold back has been the cost of local infrastructure to do it and the availability of local technical talent to keep those services running. Now cost of hardware is trivial and services are so well known that running them is not a big problem even at home, especially a pre-configured virtual machines with "business" cable ISP account ( $29 per month from Cablevision).

Maybe the huge centralized services like Google and Yahoo have really been temporary anomalies of the adolescence of the Internet and given the breach of trust by governments and by these large corporations the next step will be return on a new level to Internet decentralized roots. Maybe local services can still be no less viable then cloud services. Even email, one of the most popular "in the cloud" services can be split into a small part of pure SMTP delivery (important mails) and bulk mail which can stay on Webmail (but preferably at your private ISP, not those monsters like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft). That does not exclude using "free" emails of this troika for storing spam :-). In short we actually don't have to be on Gmail to send or read email. And again, Google search is not the best search engine for everything. Moreover it is not wise to put all eggs in one basket. Microsoft Bing might be as bad and duckduckgo.com claims that they provide additional privacy and do not store your searches, but spreading your searches makes perfect sense. TCP connection to small ISP is as good as to Google or Yahoo and if you do not trust ISP you can use you home server with cable provider ISP account.

Where I have concern is if the network itself got partitioned along national borders as a result of NSA snooping, large portions of the net can become unreachable. That would be a balkanization we would end up regretting. It would be far better if we take a preemptive action against this abuse and limit the use of our Gmail, hotmail, Yahoo accounts for "non essential" correspondence, if we spread our search activities among multiple search engines and have our web pages, if any on personal ISP account. We need to enforce some level of privacy ourselves and don't behave like lemmings. Years ago there was similar situation with telephones wiretaps, and before laws preventing abuse of this capability were eventually passed people often used public phones for important calls they wanted to keep private.

Legally, if you join Google or Facebook you should have no expectations
 of privacy for any information you share on those sites

In Australia any expectations of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once people voluntarily offered data to the third party. And I think Australians are right. Here is a relevant Slashdot post:

General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Robert S. Litt explained that our expectation of privacy isn't legally recognized by the Supreme Court once we've offered it to a third party.

Thus, sifting through third party data doesn't qualify 'on a constitutional level' as invasive to our personal privacy. This he brought to an interesting point about volunteered personal data, and social media habits. Our willingness to give our information to companies and social networking websites is baffling to the ODNI.

'Why is it that people are willing to expose large quantities of information to private parties but don't want the Government to have the same information?,' he asked."

... ... ...

While Snowden's leaks have provoked Jimmy Carter into labeling this government a sham, and void of a functioning democracy, Litt presented how these wide data collection programs are in fact valued by our government, have legal justification, and all the necessary parameters.

Litt, echoing the president and his boss James Clapper, explained thusly:

"We do not use our foreign intelligence collection capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies in order to give American companies a competitive advantage. We do not indiscriminately sweep up and store the contents of the communications of Americans, or of the citizenry of any country. We do not use our intelligence collection for the purpose of repressing the citizens of any country because of their political, religious or other beliefs. We collect metadata—information about communications—more broadly than we collect the actual content of communications, because it is less intrusive than collecting content and in fact can provide us information that helps us more narrowly focus our collection of content on appropriate targets. But it simply is not true that the United States Government is listening to everything said by every citizen of any country."

It's great that the U.S. government behaves better than corporations on privacy—too bad it trusts/subcontracts corporations to deal with that privacy—but it's an uncomfortable thing to even be in a position of having to compare the two. This is the point Litt misses, and it's not a fine one.

Loss of privacy as a side effect of cloud-based Internet technologies

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

Technology development create new types of communications and simultaneously with those new types of communication, new types of government surveillance mechanisms emerge sooner  or later (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance using the fact that owner smartphones are connected to Internet all the time, unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. The same, but to a lesser extent is true about Microsoft Windows, especially Windows 10.

A crucial element of such the national security state is that blanket data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover the majority (or all)  citizens. With special attention to foreigners and cross-border communications (which actually is a part of protection of state sovereignty). Those activities are little known, little understood and are seldom exposed.  In this sense Snowden revelations represent a huge  anomaly.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" on third party servers have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails or all your SMS. They can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address book is a bonus ;-). This is a huge saving of computational efforts.

It means two things:

Not only the USA government with its Prism program is involved in this activity. British security services are probably even more intrusive. Most governments probably try to do some subset of the above. Two important conclusions we can get are:

It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of your communications, especially emails.

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. I do not think you can do much here.

I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)

The centralization of searches on Google (and to lesser extent on Bing) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit. Other then that and generally limited your time behind the computer I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. Search engines are now an integral part of our civilization whether we want it or not.

Collection of your searches for the last several years can pretty precisely outline sphere of your interests. And again technical constrains on storage of data no longer exists: how we can talk about privacy at the age of 3 TB harddrives for $99. There are approximately 314 million of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just 400 petabytes. For comparison

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

Facebook has nothing without people
silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing

The key problem with social sites is that many people voluntarily post excessive amount of personal data about themselves, including keeping their photo archives online, etc. So while East Germany analog of the Department of Homeland Security called Ministry for State Security (Stasi) needed to recruit people to spy about you, now you yourself serves as a informer voluntarily providing all the tracking information about your activities ;-).

Scientella, palo alto

...Facebook always had a very low opinion of peoples intelligence - and rightly so!

I can tell you Silicon Valley is scared. Facebook's very existence depends upon trusting young persons, their celebrity wannabee parents and other inconsequential people being prepared to give up their private information to Facebook.

Google, now that SOCIAL IS DEAD, at least has their day job also, of paid referral advertising where someone can without divulging their "social" identity, and not linking their accounts, can look for a product on line and see next to it some useful ads.

But Facebook has nothing without people silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing.

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

Cook, Brin, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al most certainly have lawyers and public relations hacks that have taught them the role of "plausible deniability."

Just as in the government, eventually some low or mid-level flunkie will likely be hung out to dry, when it becomes evident that the institution knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to oppose it. To believe any of these companies care about their users as anything other than cash cows is to believe in the tooth fairy.

The amount of personal data which users of site like Facebook put voluntarily on the Web is truly astonishing. Now anybody using just Google search can get quit substantial information about anybody who actively using social sites and post messages in discussion he/she particulates under his/her own name instead of a nickname. Just try to see what is available about you and most probably your jaw would drop...

Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves. We all should became more aware about the risks involved as well as real implications of the catch phase Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves.

As Peter Ludlow noted in NYT (The Real War on Reality):

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

Citizens of foreign countries have accounts at Facebook and mail accounts in Gmail, hotmail and Yahoo mail are even in less enviable position then the US citizens. They are legitimate prey. No legal protection for them exists, if they use those services. That means that they voluntarily open all the information they posted about themselves to the US government in addition to their own government. And the net is probably more wide then information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests. For any large company, especially a telecom corporation, operating is the USA it might be dangerous to refuse to cooperate (Qwest case).

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[13] Nacchio surrendered April 14, 2009 to a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania to begin serving a six-year sentence for the insider trading conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied bail pending appeal the same day.[15]

It is not the case of some special evilness of the US government. It simply is more agile to understand and capitalize on those new technical opportunities. It is also conveniently located at the center of Internet universe with most traffic is flowing via US owned or controlled routers (67% or more). But it goes without saying that several other national governments and a bunch of large corporations also try to mine this new gold throve of private information on citizens. Probably with less sophistication and having less financial resources.

In many cases corporations themselves are interested in partnership with the government. Here is one telling comment:

jrs says on June 8, 2013

Yea in my experience that’s how “public/private partnerships” really work:

  1. Companies DO need protection FROM the government. An ill-conceived piece of legislation can put a perfectly decent out of business. Building ties with the government is protection.
  2. Government represents a huge market and eventually becomes one of the top customers for I think most businesses (of course the very fact that a government agency is a main customer is often kept hush hush even within the company and something you are not supposed to speak of as an employee even though you are aware of it)
  3. Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government but ..

That means that not only Chinese citizens already operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy. Even if you live outside the USA the chances are high that you automatically profiled by the USA in addition to your own government. Kind of neoliberalism in overdrive mode: looks like we all are already citizens of a global empire (Let's call it "Empire of Peace"  in best 1984 tradition ;-) with the capital in Washington.

It is reasonable to assume that a massive eavesdropping apparatus now tracks at least an "envelope" of every electronic communication you made during your lifetime. No need for somebody reporting about you like in "old" totalitarian state like East Germany with its analog of the Department of Homeland Security called the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). So in this new environment, you are like Russians used to say about dissidents who got under KGB surveillance is always "under the dome". In this sense this is just an old vine in a new bottles. But the global scope and lifetime storage of huge amount of personal information for each and every citizen is something new and was made possible the first time in world history by new technologies.

It goes without saying that records about time, sender and receiver of all your phone calls, emails, Amazon purchases, credit card transactions, and Web activities for the last decade are stored somewhere in a database and not necessary only government computers. And that means that your social circle (the set of people you associate with), books and films that you bought, your favorite websites, etc can be easily deducted from those records.

That brings us to an important question about whether we as consumers should support such ventures as Facebook and Google++ which profile you and after several years have a huge amount of pretty private and pretty damaging information about you, information which can get into wrong hands.

Recent discoveries about Prism program highlight additional possibilities of what Google and Facebook can do with our data

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view it as a large government bureaucracy that expanded their snooping activities due to new technological possibilities to the extent that "quantity turned into quality."  -- the state was converted into national security state.  Expansion of power on intelligence agencies since Truman is the key for understanding the evolution of the USA and other countries. Very soon (in the USA in early 60th with JFK assassination) they became political players. Latest saga of spying on Trump just confirms this by providing fascinating details of false flag operation  attempted in order  to enhance the scope of surveillance such  as DNC email break-in and Steele dossier.

Any large bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own power (and, closely related to power, the level of financing), no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps with this noble goal, they will do it.

Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA is open to review. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and the US constitution. But we do know the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the extent that sometimes it really looks like a shadow government (with three branches NSA, CIA and FBI). And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. It is an Intelligence Church of sorts and like any religious organization they do not need facts to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is a high level of infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, typically with cards hold close the west and limited or not awareness about those turf battles of the outsiders. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, or military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balances. And this already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is very flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime" (any "dissident" n soviet terms). While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top 0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation measure which allow the neoliberal elite to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest in pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope for establishing democratic governance for all mankind ;-). As Ron Paul noted:

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

And while revealed sources of NSA Prism program include Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and others major Internet players, that's probably just a tip of the iceberg. Ask yourself a question, why Amazon and VISA and MasterCard are not on the list? According to The Guardian:

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called Prism, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

... ... ...

Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007. It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks

... ... ...

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.

Questions that arise

To be aware about a situation you need to be able to formulate and answer key questions about it. The first and the most important question is whether the government is engaged in cyberstalking of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately the answer is definite yes, as oligarchy needs total control of prols. As a result National Security State rise to prominence as a dominant social organization of neoliberal societies, the societies which characterized by very high level of inequality.

But there are some additional, albeit less important questions. The answers to them determine utility or futility of small changes of our own behavior in view of uncovered evidence. Among possible set of such question I would list the following:

There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:

The other part of understand the threat is understanding is what data are collected. The short answer is all your phone records and Internet activity (RT USA):

The National Security Agency is collecting information on the Internet habits of millions of innocent Americans never suspected of criminal involvement, new NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden suggest.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that top-secret documents included in the trove of files supplied by the NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden reveal that the US intelligence community obtains and keeps information on American citizens accumulated off the Internet without ever issuing a search warrant or opening an investigation into that person.

The information is obtained using a program codenamed Marina, the documents suggest, and is kept by the government for up to a full year without investigators ever having to explain why the subject is being surveilled.

“Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection,” the Guardian’s James Ball quotes from the documents.

According to a guide for intelligence analysts supplied by Mr. Snowden, “The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target.”

"This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development,” it continues.

Ball writes that the program collects “almost anything” a Web user does online, “from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords.”

Only days earlier, separate disclosures attributed to Snowden revealed that the NSA was using a massive collection of metadata to create complex graphs of social connections for foreign intelligence purposes, although that program had pulled in intelligence about Americans as well.

After the New York Times broke news of that program, a NSA spokesperson said that “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.” As Snowden documents continue to surface, however, it’s becoming clear that personal information pertaining to millions of US citizens is routinely raked in by the NSA and other agencies as the intelligence community collects as much data as possible.

In June, a top-secret document also attributed to Mr. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting the telephony metadata for millions of Americans from their telecom providers. The government has defended this practice by saying that the metadata — rough information that does not include the content of communications — is not protected by the US Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

“Metadata can be very revealing,” George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr told the Times this week. “Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.”

According to the Guardian’s Ball, Internet metadata picked up by the NSA is routed to the Marina database, which is kept separate from the servers where telephony metadata is stored.

Only moments after the Guardian wrote of its latest leak on Monday, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project read a statement before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs penned by none other than Snowden himself.

When I began my work, it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body,” Snowden said.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with espionage in the US, said through Raddack that “The cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile.”

Infoglut and the limits to spying via data collected about you

If the NSA's mining of data traffic is so effective, why weren't Tsarnaev's family's overseas calls predictive of a bombing at the Boston Marathon?

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" used. First of all Snowden revelations constitute a blow (but not a knockout) for all NSA activities against really serious opponents. Now they are forewarned and that mean forearmed. That simply means that they might start feeding NSA disinformation and that's a tremendous danger for NSA that far outweigh the value of any real information collected.

The main danger for NSA is the deliberate feeding of false information into the collection stream

There is another side of this story. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives taking into account that they are drinking from a fire hose. Especially now when people will try to bury useful signal in noise. And it is not that difficult to replay somebody else Web logs on a periodic basis -- that means that the task of analysis of web logs became not only more complex. It changed. The assumption that that the set of visited sites represents real activity of a particular user is now just a plausible hypothesis. Not  more then that. 

Inefficiency is another problem. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they were collecting far more information than anyone can comprehend (aka "drowning is a sea of data"):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases"

Such volume along creates a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut).  And this is insolvable problem, which became only worse with the availability of more information. In this  sense Prism program which deals with already filtered by user information is a great help to NSA (and that  means that Goggle, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and fiends are very valuable for NSA partners and will remain partners despite all claims of their top honchos).

Unless special care is exercised by collection everything from the "line" NSA is like drinking from  the firehose:  

...Infoglut raises disturbing questions regarding new operations of power and control in a world of algorithms." —Jodi Dean, author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

...Andrejevic argues that people prioritize correlation over comprehension - "what" and facts are more important than "why" and reasons.

As Washington Post noted:

Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large that many are routinely ignored

In plain English that means that analysts produce reports, lion share of which is never read. The enormity of the database exacerbate the problems. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and where processing required is so much less than for the same information intercepted from the wire. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic info (pictures), sound and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Which means that  switch to hieroglyphs in communication theoretically creates serious problems in intercepting the data stream.  Deciphering a meaning of pictograms used is not that easy. Classic captcha methods can be used to make direct conversion to text impossible. This method was actually widely used in letters in the past (when some words were deliberately replaced by hand written pictures. ). For one thing  that approach make it more difficult "keyword-based" searches for relevant information in email as "trigger-words" can be replaced by pictograms.  Add to this that the meaning of pictograms can be individualized and you can see that this is an approach close to stenography.

Presence of noise in the channel also makes signal much more difficult to detect. Now you can be sure that any serious opponent will try to disguise the traffic by all means available. So getting a "clean" stream of data for a given IP is now a pipe dream.

Problems typical for large bureaucracies also place limits of effective large scale data collection

Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is a mess with a lot of incompetents at the helm. Which is typical for large government agencies and large corporations. Still the level of logs collection and monitoring proved to be surprisingly weak, and those are indirect signs of other rot. It looks like the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. Unless this is a very clever insider operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. The fact that he was able to bypass logs tells that the whole place is a complete  mess. In other words "The shoemaker’s children go barefoot."

the level of logs collection and monitoring proved to be surprisingly weak, and those are indirect signs of other rot. It looks like the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands.

 Here is one relevant comment from The Guardian

carlitoontour

Oh NSA......that´s fine that you cannot find something......what did you tell us, the World and the US Congress about the "intelligence" of Edward Snowden and the low access he had?

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-24-09-41-24

On the other hand government agencies were never too good in making huge and complex software projects work. And any large software project is a very difficult undertaking in any case, which require talented and dedicated manager at the helm. In large bureaucracies such people are filtered out long before that get to the necessary position. Mostly sycophants, "yes men", or people who can well mask their real identities,  prosper. 

Even in industry 50% of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). The Conway law also suggest that the structure of software product reflect communication channels in the organization.

With pretty bizarre communication channels in a large hierarchical organization like NSA you can expect huge problems on architectural level. There are also counterexamples to that. Google Earth was initially a project of three letter agencies, which was "donated" to Google.  And this is a very good software product. Still it is given that large projects will be over budget. Possibly several times over. But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs can fly").

Any large software project is a very difficult undertaking in any case, which require talented and dedicated manager at the helm. In large bureaucracies such people are filtered out long before that get to the necessary position. Mostly sycophants, "yes men", or people who can well mask their real identities,  prosper.

Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of such government project. Now when this activity come under fire some "ad hoc" adjustments might be especially badly thought out and could potentially cripple even the existing functionality. As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed. There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire} to actually perform the mission".

See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J. Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):

... ... ...

In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental warfare.

In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal" course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy with its strict hierarchy, multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.

In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught hackers and/or "grow on the job" type of personnel. Such people often have difficulties seeing "the bigger picture".  Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint warriors." They can be very shred managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.  Death by PowerPoint  of good ideas in large bureaucracies is a fact of life.

This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross recollection of his service as a naval officer (The Tipping Point) that illustrate the problems:

A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly – the one and only chief engineer.

Little did he know that Ensign Gross had slept through his classes at Philadelphia’s damage control school and had no idea what he was talking about. I could hardly find the oil dipstick on my car back in San Diego, let alone conceive of emergency ballast procedures in 50 foot seas.

And so…the ship rolled to starboard, the ship rolled to port, the ship heeled at the extreme to 36 degrees (within 1 degree, as I later read in the ship’s manual, of the ultimate tipping point). One hundred sailors at risk, because of one twenty-three-year-old mechanically challenged officer, and a Captain who should have known better than to trust him.

Huge part of this work is outsourced to various contractors and this is where corruption really creeps in. So the system might be not as powerful as many people automatically assume when they hear the abbreviation of NSA. So in a way when news about such system reaches public it might serve not weakening but strengthening of the capabilities of the system. Moreover, nobody would question the ability of such system to store huge amount of raw or semi-processed data including all metadata for your transactions on the Internet.

Also while it is a large agency with a lot of top mathematic talent, NSA is not NASA and motivation of the people (and probably quality of architectural thinking about software projects involved) is different despite much better financing. While they do have high quality people, like most US agencies in general, large bureaucracies usually are unable to utilize their talent. Mediocrities with sharp elbows, political talent, as well as sociopaths typically rule the show.

That means two things:

So even with huge amount of subcontractors they can chase mostly "big fish". Although one nasty question is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders. So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish can suggest one of two things:

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

Mass collection of data represent dangers outside activities of three letter agencies. Data collected about you by Google, Facebook, etc are also very dangerous. And they are for sell. Errors in algorithms and bugs in data mining programs can bite some people in a different way then branding them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc.

In no way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo / Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely intimate knowledge about you such as your medical history.

Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all of us.

Then there can be cases when you can be targeted just because you are critical to the particular area of government policy, for example the US foreign policy. This is "Back in the USSR" situation in full swing, with its prosecution of dissidents. Labeling you as a "disloyal/suspicious element" in one of government "terrorism tracking" databases can have drastic result to your career and you never even realize whats happened. Kind of Internet era McCarthyism .

Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is an interested party in this discussion. In a way all governments over the world are pushed into this shady area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making correlations.

That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well as avoid getting into some traps. As we already mentioned several times before, one typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say, 80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important" and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems. Personal emails is completely another matter.

Email privacy

I do not like when stranger is reading my mail,
overlooking over my shoulder

Famous Russian bard Vladimir Vissotsky,
Also on YouTube

Email security is a large and complex subject. It is a typical "bullet vs. armor" type of topic. In this respect the fact the US government were highly alarmed by Snowden revelations is understandable as this shift the balance from dominance of "bullet" by stimulating the development of various "armor" style methods to enhance email privacy. It also undermines/discredits cloud-based email services, especially large one such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo mail, which are the most important providers of emails.

You can't hide your correspondents so recreation of network of your email correspondents is a fact of life that you can do nothing about. But you can make searching emails for keywords and snooping of the text of your email considerably more difficult. And those methods not necessary means using PGP (actually from NSA point of view using PGP is warning sign that you has something to hide and that increase interest to your mailbox; and this is a pretty logical assumption).

First of all using traditional POP3 account now makes much more sense (although on most ISPs undelivered mail is available via Web interface). In case of email security those who know Linux/Unix have a distinct advantage. Those OSes provide the ability to have a home server that performs most functions of the cloud services at a very moderate cost (essentially the cost of web connection, or an ISP Web account; sometime you need to convert you cable Internet account to "business" to open ports). Open source software for running Webmail on your own server is readily available and while it has its security holes at least they are not as evident as those in Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail. And what is the most important you escape aggregation of your emails on a large provider.

IMHO putting content in attachment, be it gif of a handwritten letter in DOC document, or MP3 file presents serious technical problems for snoopers. First of all any multimedia attachment, such a gif of your handwriting (plus a jpeg of your favorite cat ;-), dramatically increase the necessary storage and thus processing time. Samsung Note 10.1 and Microsoft Surface PRO tablets provide opportunity to add both audio and handwriting files to your letter with minimal effort. If you have those device, use them. Actually this is one of few areas when tablets are really useful. Sending content as a multimedia file makes snooping more difficult for several reasons:

Another important privacy enhancing feature of emails is related to a classic "noise vs. useful signal" problem. In this respect the existence of spam looks like a blessing. In case of mimicry filtering "signal from noise" became a complex problem. That's why NSA prefers accessing mail at final destination as we saw from slides published in Guardian. But using local delivery and Thunderbird or any other mail client make this avenue of snooping easily defeatable. Intercepted on the router, spam can clog arteries of automatic processing really fast. It also might slightly distort your "network of contacts" So if you switch off ISP provided spam filter and filter spam locally on your computer, the problem of "useful sig   le border="2" width="90%" bgcolor="#FFFF00">   " is offloaded to those who try to snoop your mail. And there are ways to ensure that they will filter out wrong emails ;-). Here is a one day sample of spam:

Subject: Hello!
Subject: Gold Watches
Subject: Cufflinks
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!
Subject: New private social network for Ukrainian available ladies and foreign men.
Subject: Fresh closed social network for Russian attractive girls and foreigners.
Subject: hoy!
Subject: Daily Market Movers Digest
h=Content-Transfer-Encoding:Content-Type:MIME-Version:Subject:To:Message-ID:From:Date; bh=rabQUxPZjHIp1RwoC7c+cj41NudW37VFkMlmNcq4yig=;
Subject: =?utf-8?Q?=E1=B9=BD=E2=80=8D=C7=8F=E2=80=8D=E1=BE=B6=E2=80=8D=C4=A0=E2=80=8D=E1=B9=99=E2=80=8D=E1=BE=B6?=
Subject: IMPORTANT - WellsFargo
Subject: =?Windows-1251?B?z29j8nBv5e3o5SBj6GPyZez7IO7v62Hy+yDvbyBwZefz6/zy4PLz?=
Subject: New private social network for beautiful Ukrainian women and foreign men.
Subject: Fresh closed social network for Russian sexy women and foreign men.
Subject: Cufflinks
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0558932870_06112013
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0690671601_06112013
Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details
Subject: Bothered with censorship restrictions on Social networks?
Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure) - [AKO Content Violation - SPAM]Are
Subject: (SECURE)Electronic Account Statement 0355009837_06112013
Subject: You need Ukrainian with large breasts that Madame ready to correspond to intimate topics?
Subject: =?Windows-1251?B?wfPy/CDjb/Lu4iDqIO/wb+Ll8Org7A==?=
Subject: You need a Russian woman with beautiful eyes is ready to correspond to private theme?
Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
Subject: Are you bored with censorship limits at Social networks?
Subject: =?windows-1254?B?U0VSVN1G3UtBTEkgWUFOR0lOIEXQ3VTdTd0gSEVNRU4gQkHeVlVSVU4=?=
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!
Subject: Important Activation needed
Subject: Hi!
Subject: WebSayt Sadece 35 Azn
Subject: Join us and Lose 8-12 lbs. in Only 7-10 Days!

Note the line "Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender". That means that in the spam filter you need to fight with the impersonalization (fake sender) as well. While typically this is easy based on content of "Received:" headers, there are some complex cases, especially with bounced mails and "onetime" identities (when the sender each time assumes a different identity at the same large provider). See also Using “impersonalization” in your email campaigns.

BTW fake erotic spam provides tremendous steganography opportunities. Here is a very simplistic example.

Subject: Do you want a Ukrainian girl with large breasts ready to chat with you on intimate topics?

New closed social network with hot Ukrainian ladies is open. If you want to talk on erotic themes, with sweet women then this is for you!

I dropped my previous girlfriend. Things deteriorates dramatically here and all my plans are now on hold.

So I decided to find a lady friend for regular erotic conversations! And I am now completely satisfied customer.

Give it is try. "http://t.co/FP8AnKQOyV" Free Registration and first three sessions !!!

Does the second paragraph starting with the phrase "I dropped my previous girlfriend..." in the email below contain real information masked in erotic spam, or the message is a regular junk?

Typical spam filter would filter this message out as spam, especially with such a subject line ;-).

You can also play a practical joke imitating spammer activity. Inform a couple of your friends about it and then send similar letter from one of your Gmail account to your friends. Enjoy change in advertisements ;-).

In many cases what you want to send via email, can be done more securely using phone. Avoid unnecessary emails like a plague. And not only because of NSA existence. Snooping into your mailbox is not limited to three-letter agencies.

Facebook Problem

I always wondered why Facebook -- a cluelessly designed site which imitates AOL, the hack written in PHP which provide no, or very little value to users, other then a poorly integrated environment for personal Web page (simple "vanity fair" pages), blog and email. It is definitely oriented on the most clueless or at least less sophisticated users and that's probably why it has such a level of popularity. They boast almost billion customers, although I suspect that half of those customers check their account only once a month or so. Kind of electronic tombstone to people's vanity...

The interface is second rate and just attests a very mediocre level of software engineering. It is difficult to imagine that serious guys are using Facebook. And those who do use it, usually are of no interest to three letter agencies. Due to this ability of the government to mine Facebook might be a less of a problem then people assume, much less of a problem than mining Hotmail or Gmail.

But that does not mean that Facebook does not have value. Just those entities for whom it provides tremendous value are not users ;-) Like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated Facebook, Google, and Yahoo are actually extremely powerful tools for centralized information gathering that can used by advertisers, merchants, government, financial institutions and other powerful/wealthy players.

Such sites are also very valuable tools for advertisers who try to capitalize of the information about your Facebook or Google profile, Gmail messages content, network of fiends and activities. And this is pretty deep pool of information.

"Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented," Assange said in the interview, which was videotaped and published on the site. "Here we have the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible ..."

That's why Google, who also lives and dies by advertising revenue put so much efforts at Google+. And promotes so heavily +1 button. They sense the opportunity for additional advertising revenue due to more precise targeting and try to replicate Facebook success on a better technological platform (Facebook is a hack written in PHP -- and writing in PHP tells a lot about real technological level of Mark Zuckerberg and friends).

But government is one think, advertisers is another. The magnitude of online information Facebook has available about each of us for targeted marketing is stunning. In Europe, laws give people the right to know what data companies have about them, but that is not the case in the United States. Here is what Wikipedia writes about Facebook data mining efforts:

There have been some concerns expressed regarding the use of Facebook as a means of surveillance and data mining. The Facebook privacy policy once stated,

"We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile."[23]

However, the policy was later updated and now states: "We may use information about you that we collect from other Facebook users to supplement your profile (such as when you are tagged in a photo or mentioned in a status update). In such cases we generally give you the ability to remove the content (such as allowing you to remove a photo tag of you) or limit its visibility on your profile."[23] The terminology regarding the use of collecting information from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, and instant messaging services, has been removed.

The possibility of data mining by private individuals unaffiliated with Facebook has been a concern, as evidenced by the fact that two Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students were able to download, using an automated script, over 70,000 Facebook profiles from four schools (MIT, NYU, the University of Oklahoma, and Harvard University) as part of a research project on Facebook privacy published on December 14, 2005.[24] Since then, Facebook has bolstered security protection for users, responding: "We’ve built numerous defenses to combat phishing and malware, including complex automated systems that work behind the scenes to detect and flag Facebook accounts that are likely to be compromised (based on anomalous activity like lots of messages sent in a short period of time, or messages with links that are known to be bad)."[25]

A second clause that brought criticism from some users allowed Facebook the right to sell users' data to private companies, stating "We may share your information with third parties, including responsible companies with which we have a relationship." This concern was addressed by spokesman Chris Hughes, who said "Simply put, we have never provided our users' information to third party companies, nor do we intend to."[26] Facebook eventually removed this clause from its privacy policy.[27]

Previously, third party applications had access to almost all user information. Facebook's privacy policy previously stated: "Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information."[28] However, that language has since been removed. Regarding use of user data by third party applications, the ‘Pre-Approved Third-Party Websites and Applications’ section of the Facebook privacy policy now states:

In order to provide you with useful social experiences off of Facebook, we occasionally need to provide General Information about you to pre-approved third party websites and applications that use Platform at the time you visit them (if you are still logged in to Facebook). Similarly, when one of your friends visits a pre-approved website or application, it will receive General Information about you so you and your friend can be connected on that website as well (if you also have an account with that website). In these cases we require these websites and applications to go through an approval process, and to enter into separate agreements designed to protect your privacy…You can disable instant personalization on all pre-approved websites and applications using your Applications and Websites privacy setting. You can also block a particular pre-approved website or application by clicking "No Thanks" in the blue bar when you visit that application or website. In addition, if you log out of Facebook before visiting a pre-approved application or website, it will not be able to access your information.

In the United Kingdom, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has encouraged employers to allow their staff to access Facebook and other social-networking sites from work, provided they proceed with caution.[29]

In September 2007, Facebook drew a fresh round of criticism after it began allowing non-members to search for users, with the intent of opening limited "public profiles" up to search engines such as Google in the following months.[30] Facebook's privacy settings, however, allow users to block their profiles from search engines.

Concerns were also raised on the BBC's Watchdog programme in October 2007 when Facebook was shown to be an easy way in which to collect an individual's personal information in order to facilitate identity theft.[31] However, there is barely any personal information presented to non-friends - if users leave the privacy controls on their default settings, the only personal information visible to a non-friend is the user's name, gender, profile picture, networks, and user name.[32]

In addition, a New York Times article in February 2008 pointed out that Facebook does not actually provide a mechanism for users to close their accounts, and thus raised the concern that private user data would remain indefinitely on Facebook's servers.[33] However, Facebook now gives users the options to deactivate or delete their accounts, according to the Facebook Privacy Policy. "When you deactivate an account, no user will be able to see it, but it will not be deleted. We save your profile information (connections, photos, etc.) in case you later decide to reactivate your account." The policy further states: "When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook."[23]

A third party site, USocial, was involved in a controversy surrounding the sale of fans and friends. USocial received a cease-and-desist letter from Facebook and has stopped selling friends.[34]

Inability to voluntarily terminate accounts

Facebook had allowed users to deactivate their accounts but not actually remove account content from its servers. A Facebook representative explained to a student from the University of British Columbia that users had to clear their own accounts by manually deleting all of the content including wall posts, friends, and groups. A New York Times article noted the issue, and also raised a concern that emails and other private user data remain indefinitely on Facebook's servers.[35]

Facebook subsequently began allowing users to permanently delete their accounts in 2010. Facebook's Privacy Policy now states: "When you delete an account, it is permanently deleted from Facebook."[23]

... ... ...

Quit Facebook Day

Quit Facebook Day was an online event which took place on May 31, 2010 (coinciding with Memorial Day), in which Facebook users stated that they would quit the social network, due to privacy concerns.[54] It was estimated that 2% of Facebook users coming from the United States would delete their accounts.[55] However, only 33,000 users quit the site.[56]

... ... ...

Tracking cookies

Facebook has been criticized heavily for 'tracking' users, even when logged out of the site. Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic discovered that when a user logs out of Facebook, the cookies from that login are still kept in the browser, allowing Facebook to track users on websites that include "social widgets" distributed by the social network. Facebook has denied the claims, saying they have 'no interest' in tracking users or their activity. They also promised after the discovery of the cookies that they would remove them, saying they will no longer have them on the site. A group of users in the United States have sued Facebook for breaching privacy laws.[citation needed]

Read more at Facebook as Giant Database about Users

Google search monopoly

Google wants to be a sole intermediary between you and Internet. As Rebecca Solnit pointed out (Google eats the world):

Google, the company with the motto "Don't be evil", is rapidly becoming an empire. Not an empire of territory, as was Rome or the Soviet Union, but an empire controlling our access to data and our data itself. Antitrust lawsuits proliferating around the company demonstrate its quest for monopoly control over information in the information age.

Its search engine has become indispensable for most of us, and as Google critic and media professor Siva Vaidhyanathan puts it in his 2012 book The Googlization of Everything,

"[W]e now allow Google to determine what is important, relevant, and true on the Web and in the world. We trust and believe that Google acts in our best interest. But we have surrendered control over the values, methods, and processes that make sense of our information ecosystem."

And that's just the search engine. About three-quarters of a billion people use Gmail, which conveniently gives Google access to the content of their communications (scanned in such a way that they can target ads at you).

Now with Prism-related revelations, those guys are on the defensive as they sense a threat to their franchise. And the threat is quite real: if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo all work for NSA, why not feed them only a proportionate amount of your searches. And why not feed them with "search spam"?

Now with Prism-related revelations, those guys are on the defensive as they sense a threat to their franchise. And the threat is quite real: if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo all work for NSA, why not feed them only a proportionate amount of your searches. And why not feed them with "search spam"?

One third to Google and one third to Bing with the rest to https://duckduckgo.com/ (Yahoo uses Bing internally). You can rotate days and hope that the level of integration of searches from multiple providers is a weak point of the program ;-). After all while Google is still better on some searches, Bing comes close on typical searches and is superior in searches about Microsoft Windows and similar Microsoft related themes. It is only fair to diversify providers.

Here is one take from Is Google a threat to privacy from Digital Freedoms

Google’s motto may be ‘don’t be evil’ but people are increasingly unconvinced that it is as good as it says it is. The Guardian is currently running a poll asking users ‘Does Google ‘do evil’?’ and currently the Guardian reading public seems to think yes it does. This is partially about Google's attempt to minimize taxes in the UK but there are other concerns that are much more integral to what Google is about. At its core Google is an information business, so accusations that it is a threat to privacy strike at what it does rather than just its profits.

Google recently got a slap on the wrist by Germany for its intrusion of privacy through its street view and received a $189,225 fine. This was followed in April with several European privacy regulators criticizing the company for how it changed its privacy policy in 2012. Google attempted to simplify its privacy policy by having one that would operate across its services rather than the 70 different ones it had. Unfortunately it was not transparent in how it implemented the changes bringing the ire of the European regulators. This was followed by not implementing their suggested changes leading to the regulators considering more fines.

Facebook’s inventory of data and its revenue from advertising are small potatoes compared to Google. Google took in more than 10 times as much, with an estimated $36.5 billion in advertising revenue in 2011, by analyzing what people sent over Gmail and what they searched on the Web, and then using that data to sell ads. Hundreds of other companies (Yahoo, Microsoft, Amazon to name a few) have also staked claims on people’s online data by depositing cookies or other tracking mechanisms on people’s browsers. If you’ve mentioned anxiety in an e-mail, done a Google search for “stress” or started using an online medical diary that lets you monitor your mood, expect ads for medications and services to treat your anxiety.

In other words stereotyping rules in data aggregation. Your application for credit could be declined not on the basis of your own finances or credit history, but on the basis of aggregate data — what other people whose likes and dislikes are similar to yours have done. If guitar players or divorcing couples are more likely to renege on their credit-card bills, then the fact that you’ve looked at guitar ads or sent an e-mail to a divorce lawyer might cause a data aggregator to classify you as less credit-worthy. When an Atlanta man returned from his honeymoon, he found that his credit limit had been lowered to $3,800 from $10,800. The switch was not based on anything he had done but on aggregate data. A letter from the company told him, “Other customers who have used their card at establishments where you recently shopped have a poor repayment history with American Express.”

Even though laws allow people to challenge false information in credit reports, there are no laws that require data aggregators to reveal what they know about you. If I’ve Googled “diabetes” for my mother or “date rape drugs” for a mystery I’m writing, data aggregators assume those searches reflect my own health and proclivities. Because no laws regulate what types of data these aggregators can collect, they make their own rules.

In another post Frank Schaeffer (Google, Microsoft and Facebook Are More of a Threat to Privacy Than the US Government, June 7, 2013) thinks the Google and other companies actually represent a different threat then the government due to viewing themselves as a special privileged caste:

It’s amazing that there are naive people who worry about government intrusion into our privacy when we already gave away our civil rights to the billionaires in Silicon Valley. The NSA is taking note of our calls and emails, but anyone – me included! — who uses the internet and social media has already sold out our privacy rights to the trillion dollar multinational companies now dominating our lives and – literally – buying and selling us.

The NSA isn’t our biggest worry when it comes to who is using our calls, emails and records for purposes we didn’t intend. We are going to pay forever for trusting Google, Facebook. Microsoft, AOL and all the rest. They and the companies that follow them are the real threat to liberty and privacy.

The government may be wrong in how it is trying to protect us but at least it isn’t literally selling us. Google’s and Facebook’s et al highest purpose is to control our lives, what we buy, sell, like and do for money. Broken as our democracy is we citizens at least still have a voice and ultimately decide on who runs Congress. Google and company answer to no one. They see themselves as an elite and superior to everyone else.

In fact they are part of a business culture that sees itself not only above the law but believes it’s run by superior beings. Google even has its own bus line, closed to the public, so its “genius” employees don’t have to be bothered mingling with us regular folk. A top internet exec just ruined the America’s Cup race by making it so exclusive that so far only four groups have been able to sign up for the next race to be held in San Francisco because all but billionaires are now excluded because this internet genius changed the rules to favor his kind of elite.

Google and Facebook have done little-to-nothing to curb human trafficking pleading free speech as the reason their search engines and social networks have become the new slave ships “carrying” child rape victims to their new masters internationally. That’s just who and what these internet profiteers are.

Face it: the big tech companies aren’t run by nice people even if they do make it pleasant for their workers by letting them skateboard in the hallways and offering them free sushi. They aren’t smarter than anyone else, just lucky to be riding a new tech wave. That wave is cresting.

Lots of us lesser mortals are wondering just what we get from people storing all our private data. For a start we have a generation hooked on a mediated reality. They look at the world through a screen.

In other words these profiteers are selling reality back to us, packaged by them into entertainment. And they want to put a computer on every desk to make sure that no child ever develops an attention span long enough so that they might actually read a book or look up from whatever tech device they are holding. These are the billionaires determined to make real life so boring that you won’t be able to concentrate long enough pee without using an app that makes bodily functions more entertaining.

These guys are also the world’s biggest hypocrites. The New York Times published a story about how some of the top executives in Silicon Valley send their own children to a school that does not allow computers. In “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute” (October 22, 2011) the Times revealed that the leaders who run the computer business demand a computer-free, hands-on approach to education for their own children.

Usage of home Web Proxy is a must

This new situation makes usage of Web proxy at home a must. Not to protect yourself ( this is still impossible ), but to control what information you release and to whom. See Squid. It provides powerful means to analyze your Web traffic as well as Web site blocking techniques:

In my experience, Squid’s built-in blocking mechanism or access control is the easiest method to use for implementing web site blocking policy. All you need to do is modify the Squid configuration file.

Before you can implement web site blocking policy, you have to make sure that you have already installed Squid and that it works. You can consult the Squid web site to get the latest version of Squid and a guide for installing it.

To deploy the web-site blocking mechanism in Squid, add the following entries to your Squid configuration file (in my system, it’s called squid.conf and it’s located in the /etc/squid directory):

acl bad url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-block.acl"
http_access deny bad

The file /etc/squid/squid-block.acl contains web sites or words you want to block. You can name the file whatever you like. If a site has the URL or word listed in squid-block.acl file, it won’t be accessible to your users. The entries below are found in squid-block.acl file used by my clients:

.oracle.com
.playboy.com.br
sex
...

With the squid-block.acl file in action, internet users cannot access the following sites:

You should beware that by blocking sites containing the word “sex”, you will also block sites such as Middlesex University, Sussex University, etc. To resolve this problem, you can put those sites in a special file called squid-noblock.acl:

^http://www.middlesex.ac.uk
^http://www.sussex.ac.uk 

You must also put the “no-block” rule before the “block” rule in the Squid configuration file:

...
acl special_urls url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-noblock.acl"
http_access allow admin_ips special_urls

acl bad url_regex "/etc/squid/squid-block.acl"
http_access deny bad
...

Sometimes you also need to add a no-block file to allow access to useful sites

After editing the ACL files (squid-block.acl and squid-noblock.acl), you need to restart Squid. If you install the RPM version, usually there is a script in the /etc/rc.d/init.d directory to help you manage Squid:

# /etc/rc.d/init.d/squid reload

To test to see if your Squid blocking mechanism has worked, you can use your browser. Just enter a site whose address is listed on the squid-block.acl file in the URL address.

In the example above, I block .oracle.com, and when I try to access oracle.com, the browser returns an error page.

Limiting your activity on social sites

Vanity fair posting should probably now be severely limited. Self-exposure entails dangers that can became evident only in retrospect. The key problem is that nothing that you post is ever erased. Ever. Limiting your activity in social network to few things that are of real value, or what is necessary for business or professional development, not just vanity fair staff or, God forbid, shady activities is now a must.

And remember that those days information about your searches, books that you bought on Amazon, your friends in Facebook, your connections in LinkedIn, etc are public. If you want to buy a used book without it getting into your database, go to the major city and buy with cash.

Also getting you own email address and simple web site at any hosting site is easy and does not require extraordinary technical sophistication. Prices are starting from $3 per month. Storing your data on Facebook servers might cost you more. See Guide for selecting Web hosting provider with SSH access for some ideas for programmers and system administrators.

Conclusions: Death of Privacy

In a way the situation with cloud sites providing feeds to spy on the users is a version of autoimmune disease: defense systems are attacking other critical systems instead of rogue agents.

As we mentioned before, technological development has their set of externalities. One side effect of internet technologies and, especially, cloud technologies as well as wide proliferation of smartphones is that they greatly simplify "total surveillance." Previously total surveillance was a very expensive proposition, now it became vey cheap. In a way technological genie is out of the bottle. And it is impossible to put him back. Youtube (funny, it's another site targeted by NSA) contains several informative talks about this issue. From the talk:

“This is the current state of affairs. There is no more sense of privacy. Not because it’s been ripped away from you in some Orwellian way, but because you flushed it down the toilet”.

All-in-all on Internet on one hand provides excellent, unique capability of searching information (and search sites are really amplifiers of human intelligence) , but on the other put you like a bug under microscope. Of course, as so many Internet users exists, the time to store all the information about you is probably less then your lifespan, but considerable part of it can be stored for a long time (measured in years, not months, or days) and some part is stored forever. In other words both government and several large companies and first of all Facebook and Google are constantly profiling you. That's why we can talk about death of privacy.

Add to this a real possibility that malware is installed on your PC (and Google Bar and similar applications are as close to spyware as one can get) and situation became really interesting.

Looking at the headlines about the government’s documents on how to use social networking and it’s surprising that anyone thinks this is a big deal. Undercover Feds on Facebook? Gasp! IRS using social networking to piece together a few facts that illustrate you lied about your taxes? Oooh.

Give me a break. Why wouldn’t the Feds use these tools? They’d be idiots if they didn’t. Repeat after me:

Let’s face it; folks are broadcasting everything from the breakfast they eat to their bowel movements to when and where they are on vacation. They use services that track every movement they make (willingly!) on Foursquare and Google Latitude. Why wouldn’t an FBI agent chasing a perp get into some idiot’s network so he can track him everywhere? It’s called efficiency people.

Here are some simple measures that might help, although they can't change the situation:

Again, none of those measures change the situation dramatically, but each of them slightly increase the level of your privacy.


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For details of NSA collection of Internet traffic and major cloud provider data see Big Brother is Watching You

[Apr 21, 2019] Escobar The Deep State Vs. WikiLeaks by Pepe Escobar

Notable quotes:
"... John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch. ..."
"... But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire. ..."
"... This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart. ..."
"... The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically. ..."
"... The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why. ..."
"... Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak. ..."
"... Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel. ..."
"... he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking." ..."
"... No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency" ..."
"... Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange. ..."
"... George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s ..."
"... Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it. ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Made-by-FBI indictment of Julian Assange does look like a dead man walking. No evidence. No documents. No surefire testimony. Just a crossfire of conditionals...

But never underestimate the legalese contortionism of US government (USG) functionaries. As much as Assange may not be characterized as a journalist and publisher, the thrust of the affidavit is to accuse him of conspiring to commit espionage.

In fact the charge is not even that Assange hacked a USG computer and obtained classified information; it's that he may have discussed it with Chelsea Manning and may have had the intention to go for a hack. Orwellian-style thought crime charges don't get any better than that. Now the only thing missing is an AI software to detect them.

https://www.rt.com/shows/going-underground/456414-assange-wkileaks-asylum-london/video/5cb1c797dda4c822558b463f

Assange legal adviser Geoffrey Robertson – who also happens to represent another stellar political prisoner, Brazil's Lula – cut straight to the chase (at 19:22 minutes);

"The justice he is facing is justice, or injustice, in America I would hope the British judges would have enough belief in freedom of information to throw out the extradition request."

That's far from a done deal. Thus the inevitable consequence; Assange's legal team is getting ready to prove, no holds barred, in a British court, that this USG indictment for conspiracy to commit computer hacking is just an hors d'oeuvre for subsequent espionage charges, in case Assange is extradited to US soil.

All about Vault 7

John Pilger, among few others, has already stressed how a plan to destroy WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was laid out as far back as 2008 – at the tail end of the Cheney regime – concocted by the Pentagon's shady Cyber Counter-Intelligence Assessments Branch.

It was all about criminalizing WikiLeaks and personally smearing Assange, using "shock troops enlisted in the media -- those who are meant to keep the record straight and tell us the truth."

This plan remains more than active – considering how Assange's arrest has been covered by the bulk of US/UK mainstream media.

By 2012, already in the Obama era, WikiLeaks detailed the astonishing "scale of the US Grand Jury Investigation" of itself. The USG always denied such a grand jury existed.

"The US Government has stood up and coordinated a joint interagency criminal investigation of Wikileaks comprised of a partnership between the Department of Defense (DOD) including: CENTCOM; SOUTHCOM; the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA); US Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for USFI (US Forces Iraq) and 1st Armored Division (AD); US Army Computer Crimes Investigative Unit (CCIU); 2nd Army (US Army Cyber Command); Within that or in addition, three military intelligence investigations were conducted. Department of Justice (DOJ) Grand Jury and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State (DOS) and Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). In addition, Wikileaks has been investigated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Office of the National CounterIntelligence Executive (ONCIX), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); the House Oversight Committee; the National Security Staff Interagency Committee, and the PIAB (President's Intelligence Advisory Board)."

But it was only in 2017, in the Trump era, that the Deep State went totally ballistic; that's when WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 files – detailing the CIA's vast hacking/cyber espionage repertoire.

This was the CIA as a Naked Emperor like never before – including the dodgy overseeing ops of the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an ultra-secret NSA counterpart.

WikiLeaks got Vault 7 in early 2017. At the time WikiLeaks had already published the DNC files – which the unimpeachable Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) systematically proved was a leak, not a hack.

The monolithic narrative by the Deep State faction aligned with the Clinton machine was that "the Russians" hacked the DNC servers. Assange was always adamant; that was not the work of a state actor – and he could prove it technically.

There was some movement towards a deal, brokered by one of Assange's lawyers; WikiLeaks would not publish the most damning Vault 7 information in exchange for Assange's safe passage to be interviewed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The DoJ wanted a deal – and they did make an offer to WikiLeaks. But then FBI director James Comey killed it. The question is why.

It's a leak, not a hack

Some theoretically sound reconstructions of Comey's move are available. But the key fact is Comey already knew – via his close connections to the top of the DNC – that this was not a hack; it was a leak.

Ambassador Craig Murray has stressed, over and over again (see here ) how the DNC/Podesta files published by WikiLeaks came from two different US sources; one from within the DNC and the other from within US intel.

There was nothing for Comey to "investigate". Or there would have, if Comey had ordered the FBI to examine the DNC servers. So why talk to Julian Assange?

T he release by WikiLeaks in April 2017 of the malware mechanisms inbuilt in "Grasshopper" and the "Marble Framework" were indeed a bombshell. This is how the CIA inserts foreign language strings in source code to disguise them as originating from Russia, from Iran, or from China. The inestimable Ray McGovern, a VIPS member, stressed how Marble Framework "destroys this story about Russian hacking."

No wonder then CIA director Mike Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of being a "non-state hostile intelligence agency", usually manipulated by Russia.

Joshua Schulte, the alleged leaker of Vault 7, has not faced a US court yet. There's no question he will be offered a deal by the USG if he aggress to testify against Julian Assange.

It's a long and winding road, to be traversed in at least two years, if Julian Assange is ever to be extradited to the US. Two things for the moment are already crystal clear. The USG is obsessed to shut down WikiLeaks once and for all. And because of that, Julian Assange will never get a fair trial in the "so-called 'Espionage Court'" of the Eastern District of Virginia, as detailed by former CIA counterterrorism officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou.

Meanwhile, the non-stop demonization of Julian Assange will proceed unabated, faithful to guidelines established over a decade ago. Assange is even accused of being a US intel op, and WikiLeaks a splinter Deep State deep cover op.

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood. It's all ultra-high-stakes shadow play – and the show has not even begun.


JailBanksters , 40 minutes ago link

Not to mention the Pentagram has silenced 100,000 whistleblower complaints by Intimidation, threats, money or accidents over 5 years . A Whistleblower only does this when know there is something seriously wrong. Just Imagine how many knew something was wrong but looked the other way.

ExPat2018 , 47 minutes ago link

George Galloway has a guest who explains it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VvPFMyPvHM&t=8s

Betrayed , 2 hours ago link

Maybe President Trump will maneuver the hegemonic Deep State into having Assange testify against the corruption of the DNC; or maybe Trump caved in completely to "hostile intelligence agency" Pompeo and his CIA gang baying for blood.

Escobar is brain dead if he can't figure out that Trumpenstein is totally on board with destroying Assange. As if bringing on pukes like PompAss, BoltON, and Abrams doesn't scream it.

besnook , 2 hours ago link

assange and wikileaks are the real criminals despite being crimeless. the **** is a sanctioned criminal, allowed to be criminal with the system because the rest of the sanctioned criminals would be exposed if she was investigated.

this is not the rule of laws. this is the law of rulers.

_triplesix_ , 2 hours ago link

Anyone seen Imran Awan lately?

Four chan , 34 minutes ago link

yeah those ***** go free because they got everything on the stupid dems and they are muslim.

assange exposes the podesta dws and clinton fraud against bernie voters+++ and hes the bad guy. yeah right

hillary clinton murdered seth rich sure as **** too.

[Apr 21, 2019] Is the CIA Reformable by Melvin A. Goodman

Notable quotes:
"... The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes. ..."
"... According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration. ..."
"... Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!" ..."
"... My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA ..."
"... The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. ..."
"... In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized." ..."
"... In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | www.truth-out.org

The CIA's mission has gone dangerously and lethally astray, argues Melvin A. Goodman, former CIA intelligence analyst.

Whistleblower at the CIA tells the story of the corruption Melvin A. Goodman observed within the intelligence agency and what he did to expose it. NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says this book "serves in the public interest as a warning and wake-up call for what's at stake and why we cannot trust the CIA or the intelligence establishment to do the right thing." Click here to order a copy today by making a donation to Truthout!

In this excerpt, , former CIA intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman ponders the meanings of the words whistleblower, dissident and contrarian, how they apply to himself and others, and whether the CIA can ever be repaired or rebuilt.

Whistleblowers. Dissidents. Contrarians.

The terms are used synonymously by pundits and the public, and I've been all three at one time or another in order to expose improprieties and illegalities in the secret government, and to inform the American public of policies that compromise the freedom and security of US citizens and weaken US standing in the global community.

I have never liked the terms contrarian or dissident. I've always believed that my criticism should be conventional wisdom. The term whistleblower is more complex because it often raises questions of patriotism or sedition. Chelsea Manning received commutation from her 35-year prison sentence for revealing so-called secrets that documented the terror and violence of the baseless US war in Iraq. Members of the Bush administration who launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are considered honorable members of our society, although their acts involved the corruption of intelligence; caused the death of thousands of US soldiers and foreign civilians; terrorized civilian populations; perpetrated the criminal use of torture and abuse; sanctioned use of secret prisons and extraordinary rendition; and caused the destabilization of the region that has set the stage for strategic advances by Al Qaeda and ISIS.

Edward Snowden, if he had remained in the United States, would have faced an even longer prison sentence because he revealed the massive NSA surveillance program that was illegal and immoral, and that violated the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal seizures and searches. Manning and Snowden admit to breaking US laws, but their actions were never as serious as the law-breaking, including massive violations of privacy, that they exposed.

The debate over whether Snowden was a traitor is fatuous. As a result of Snowden's revelations, we learned that the National Security Agency logged domestic phone calls and emails for years, recorded the metadata of correspondence between Americans, and, in some cases, exploited the content of emails. The case against Private Manning was similarly fatuous. Manning provided evidence of the US cover-up of torture by our Iraqi allies; a US Army helicopter opening fire on a group of civilians, including two Reuters journalists; and the use of an air strike to cover up the execution of civilians. Some of these acts were war crimes.

There is no more compelling evidence of the unconscionable behavior of US personnel in Iraq than the callous dialogue between the crew members of the helicopter regarding the civilian deaths and particularly the firing on those Iraqis who came to recover the dead bodies of Iraqi civilians. Manning's documents exposed this behavior, but her efforts were ridiculed by former secretary of defense Robert Gates, who described it as examining war by "looking through a straw."

To make matters worse, American journalists have criticized their colleagues (Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald [then of The Guardian]) who brought the Snowden-Manning revelations to the attention of the public. David Gregory, then host of the venerable "Meet the Press" on NBC, asked Greenwald "to the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden ... why shouldn't you ... be charged with a crime?"

Jeffrey Toobin, a lawyer who labors for CNN and The New Yorker, called Snowden a "grandiose narcissist who belongs in prison" and referred to Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, who was detained by British authorities for nine hours under anti-terror laws, the equivalent of a "drug mule."

The king of calumny is Michael Grunwald, a senior correspondent for Time, who wrote on Twitter that he couldn't "wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange." The New York Times also targeted Assange, although the paper cooperated with WikiLeaks in 2010 in publishing reams of information from Private Manning's revelations. Of course, if Time or the New York Times had broken these stories, they would have built new shelves to hold their Pulitzer Prizes.

Their hypocrisy was exposed by David Carr of the New York Times, who expressed shock at finding Assange and Greenwald "under attack, not just from a government bent on keeping its secrets, but from friendly fire by fellow journalists."

I didn't reveal abuses as great as those revealed by Manning and Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg, but I do claim status as a whistleblower because of my revelations before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during confirmation hearings for Bob Gates, who was nominated by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 to be director of central intelligence.

According to US law, the term "whistleblower" applies to anyone who "reasonably believes" he or she is disclosing a violation of law or gross mismanagement, gross waste, or abuse of authority. My testimony documented for the first time the intentional distortion of intelligence by CIA director William Casey and Deputy Director Gates in order to serve the agenda of Ronald Reagan and his administration.

Bob Gates was an old friend, but the friendship ended when he routinely distorted intelligence throughout the 1980s as deputy director for intelligence and deputy director of the CIA In destroying the political culture of the CIA, he created a toxic and corrupt environment at the Agency, and the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA detention and torture reminds us that the Agency hasn't recovered.

Being a contrarian was easy and natural for me. In fact, no one should think about entering the intelligence profession without good contrarian instincts. Such instincts would include an innate skepticism, the doubting of conventional wisdom and a willingness to challenge authority, which translates to an ability to tell truth to power. These contrarian instincts are essential to the success of any intelligence organization. As Rogers and Hammerstein would have it, it was "doing what comes naturally!"

My book The Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA was the first insider account from an intelligence analyst regarding the skewed and politicized assessments of the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence -- the Agency's analytic arm. I also exposed the strategic failure of covert actions that were never intended to be a part of President Harry Truman's CIA

I wrote the book for many reasons, including the need to describe the inability of journalists to take into account, let alone understand, the dangers of politicization and the actions of CIA directors such as Casey, Gates, and more recently Goss and Tenet. The political pliancy of these directors fully compromised the intelligence mission of the CIA, and it was political pliancy that made directors such as Gates and Tenet so attractive to Presidents Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II.

Truthout Progressive Pick
Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider's Account of the Politics of Intelligence

"Urgent, timely, and deeply recommended." -- Daniel Ellsberg. Click here now to get the book!


For the past quarter century, my testimony and writings have exposed the failure to honor President Truman's purpose in creating a CIA to provide policymakers with accurate, unbiased accounts of international developments, and have highlighted the CIA's readiness to cater to the White House. This view is not original with me; in fact, it was President Truman who first acknowledged that the CIA he created in 1947 had gotten off the tracks under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy in the 1950s and early 1960s.

In December 1963, less than a month after the assassination of President Kennedy, Truman wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post to document the wrongs of the CIA He concluded that his efforts to "create the quiet intelligence arm of the Presidency" had been subverted by a "sinister" and "mysterious" agency that was conducting far too many clandestine activities in peacetime. I lectured at the Truman Library in the summer of 2014, and found a note in Truman's hand that stated the CIA was not designed to "initiate policy or to act as a spy organization. That was never the intention when it was organized."

In The Failure of Intelligence , I documented the CIA's resistance to reform and the corruption in both the analytical and operational directorates. I made a case for starting over at the CIA, not dissimilar from the case made by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan 25 years ago as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Not every agency or department of government can be reformed, and it is possible that the intricate web of habits, procedures, and culture places the CIA in the non-reformable category. Once the political culture of an institution such as the CIA has been broken, it is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to rebuild or repair it.

Copyright (2017) by Melvin A. Goodman. Not be reprinted without permission of the publisher, City Lights Books. Melvin A. Goodman Melvin A. Goodman served as a senior analyst and Division Chief at the CIA from 1966 to 1990. An expert on US relations with Russia, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper's and many others. He is author of six books on US intelligence and international security. Related Stories CIA Asked to Release Documents Related to Massacre in El Salvador By Carmen Rodriguez, CIP Americas Program | Report CIA Watchdog "Mistakenly" Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet | News Analysis CIA Cables Detail Its New Deputy Director's Role in Torture By Raymond Bonner, ProPublica | Report

[Apr 21, 2019] Whenever someone inconveniences the neoliberal oligarchy, the entire neoliberal MSM mafia tells us 24 x7 how evil and disgusting that person is. It's true of the leader of every nation which rejects neoliberal globalization as well as for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It's true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it's true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it's true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they'll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they'll be far more likely to consent to Assange's imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you're suspicious of him you won't believe anything he's saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it's as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I'm going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

[Apr 20, 2019] Did Assange lied about Seth Rich?

Assange actually undermined the key pre-condition of the Deep state existence -- secrecy.
Notable quotes:
"... Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. ..."
"... The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire. ..."
"... HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

I'm just going to toss this one here at the end because I'm seeing it go around a lot in the wake of the Mueller report.

Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich.

This claim is unsubstantiated because, as we discussed in Smear 4, the public has not seen a shred of evidence proving who was or was not WikiLeaks' source, so there's no way to know there was any deception happening there. We've never seen any hard proof, nor indeed anything besides official narrative, connecting the Russian government to Guccifer 2.0 and Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, and Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller's timeline. Longtime Assange friend and WikiLeaks ally Craig Murray maintains that he knows the source of the DNC Leaks and Podesta Emails were two different Americans, not Russians, and hints that one of them was a DNC insider. There is exactly as much publicly available evidence for Murray's claim as there is for Mueller's.

Mainstream media has been blaring day after day for years that it is an absolute known fact that the Russian government was WikiLeaks' source, and the only reason people scoff and roll their eyes at anyone who makes the indisputably factual claim that we've seen no evidence for this is because the illusory truth effect causes the human brain to mistake repetition for fact.

The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire.

And I guess that's it for now. Again, this article is an ongoing project, so I'll be updating it and adding to it regularly as new information comes in and new smears need refutation. If I missed something or got something wrong, or even if you spotted a typo, please email me at admin@caitlinjohnstone.com and let me know. I'm trying to create the best possible tool for people to refute Assange smears, so I'll keep sharpening this baby to make sure it cuts like a razor. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who helped! Phew! That was long.


motherjones , 52 minutes ago link

We don't have to like Julian Assange, but the release of the "Collateral Damage" video alone is enough to justify defending Assange and the freedom of the press.

Ozymandiasssss , 1 hour ago link

She really didn't debunk the thing about Seth Rich very well. Basically just said that whatever Mueller said wasn't true, which doesn't go very far for me. He definitely did imply that he got at least some of his info from Rich so if there is some sort of proof of that, it needs to be supplied; otherwise Mueller's story is the only one.

bh2 , 1 hour ago link

HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

beemasters , 2 hours ago link

I have recently seen a political cartoon with Dotard then saying: "I love Wikileaks" + " I will throw her in jail" and now saying: "I know nothing about Wikileaks" + "I will throw him in jail"

It summed up perfectly that swine's lack of integrity.

Downtoolong , 2 hours ago link

It's so simple. Assange and Wikileaks exposed Hillary, Podesta, and the entire DNC to be lying, deceiving, hypocritical, disingenuous, elitist bastards. His crimes are miniscule compared to that, and all who attempt to condemn Assange only show us that they are members of that foul group.

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

Yet Dotard didn't push hard at all to get Killary, Podesta & friends charged...not even tweets calling for it since he got elected.

TotalMachineFail , 3 hours ago link

Excellent thorough content. And Kim Schmitz pointed out they'll drag things on for as long as possible and try to add additional things as they go. Such a bunch of sad, pathetic control freaks. Covering up their own failures, crimes and short comings with a highly publicized distraction putting the screws to a single journalist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBs1dgYL-7w

When the next world leader is Kashoggied nobody is going to care.

freedommusic , 3 hours ago link

“ Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange .

And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files , 32 pages , but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.”

—Bill Binney (NSA 30 year vet)

( source )

RussianSniper , 3 hours ago link

Long story!

Important topic!!

Assange and Snowden are freedom fighters, exposing the duplicitous, corrupt, and criminals to the entire world.

The hundreds of millions of mindless zombies are so brainwashed by the fake news industry, that if Assange and Snowden are not spies, they are criminal in some capacity.

I have liberal, conservative, and libertarian leaning friends, and virtually every one of them believe Assange and Snowden are traitors to America, got innocent people killed, are rapists, or too cowardly to stand trial in the USA.

What has happened to common sense and some necessary cynicism?

Dugald , 2 hours ago link

The trouble with Common Sense is it's not all that common.....

LetThemEatRand , 3 hours ago link

Why even bother arguing with these people. Assange gave up his liberty to reveal the truth, and the American public said in essence "so what." No one except the leakers and whistle-blowers faced any punishment, and I can't think of a single national politician who even talks about doing anything about the misconduct that was revealed. Yeah, a small percentage of the population is outraged at what was revealed, but the vast majority literally don't give a ****.

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Hehe... I guess you will find out how wrong you are in 2020 :-) His release of Hillary's emails gave Trump 2016... and him turning his back on Assange took away his chances in 2020

chunga , 3 hours ago link

Most regular readers on ZH know but this is an echo chamber for "Always Trumpers" so there won't be many commenters on this article. Rather than defend his DOJ's extradition attempts with implausible theories they'll be chattering back and forth about the Mueller Report.

/winning

LetThemEatRand , 2 hours ago link

Agreed. It's amazing to me that people who claim to be believers of the MAGA message don't see the harm associated with the arrest of Assange, and all of the other uniparty **** Trump is perpetuating. A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

ZENDOG , 3 hours ago link

Whole lot of yadda yadda yadda about someone 99.9% of Americans don't know.

And even less who give a ****.

Hillary dead yet?

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Yeah and yet.... everyone seemed to credit Hillary's loss to the release of her emails on wikileaks... Hmm that narrative that seems to be trying to minimize the impact on Trumps chances in 2020 really breaks down in the face of that fact doesn't it?? Trump has no hope... just stop... get behind a republican that has a chance... Trump doesn't... he lost half of his base... get over it...

[Apr 20, 2019] Caitlin Johnstone Debunks All The Assange Smears

Assange actually undermined the key pre-condition of the Deep state existence -- secrecy.
Notable quotes:
"... Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It's true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it's true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it's true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. ..."
"... Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. ..."
"... I  --  Familiarize yourself with common logical fallacies. ..."
"... As an additional point, it cannot be denied that governments around the world have an extensive and well-documented history of using sex to advance strategic agendas in various ways, and there's no valid reason to rule this out as a possibility on any level. ..."
"... The only way to make it feel true for oneself that Assange stands a chance at receiving a fair trial in America is to believe that the US is a just nation with a fair judicial system, especially in the Eastern District of Virginia when trying the cases of people who expose incriminating information about the US war machine. Anyone who believes this has packing foam for brains ..."
"... "No national security defendant has ever won a case in the EDVA [Eastern District of Virginia]," Kiriakou told RT upon Assange's arrest. "In my case, I asked Judge Brinkema to declassify 70 documents that I needed to defend myself. She denied all 70 documents. And so I had literally no defense for myself and was forced to take a plea." ..."
"... HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." ..."
Apr 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It's true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it's true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it's true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they'll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they'll be far more likely to consent to Assange's imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you're suspicious of him you won't believe anything he's saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it's as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I'm going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1efOs0BsE0g

Here's a numbered list of each subject I'll be covering in this article for ease of reference:

How to argue against Assange smears.

  1. "He's not a journalist."
  2. "He's a rapist."
  3. "He was hiding from rape charges in the embassy."
  4. "He's a Russian agent."
  5. "He's being prosecuted for hacking crimes, not journalism."
  6. "He should just go to America and face the music. If he's innocent he's got nothing to fear."
  7. "Well he jumped bail! Of course the UK had to arrest him."
  8. "He's a narcissist/megalomaniac/jerk."
  9. "He's a horrible awful monster for reasons X, Y and Z but I don't think he should be extradited."
  10. "Trump is going to rescue him and they'll work together to end the Deep State. Relax and wait and see."
  11. "He put poop on the walls. Poop poop poopie."
  12. "He's stinky."
  13. "He was a bad houseguest."
  14. "He conspired with Don Jr."
  15. "He only publishes leaks about America."
  16. "He's an antisemite."
  17. "He's a fascist."
  18. "He was a Trump supporter."
  19. "I used to like him until he ruined the 2016 election" / "I used to hate him until he saved the 2016 election."
  20. "He's got blood on his hands."
  21. "He published the details of millions of Turkish women voters."
  22. "He supported right-wing political parties in Australia."
  23. "He endangered the lives of gay Saudis."
  24. "He's a CIA agent/limited hangout."
  25. "He mistreated his cat."
  26. "He's a pedophile."
  27. "He lied about Seth Rich."

Wow! That's a lot! Looking at that list you can only see two possibilities:

  1. Julian Assange, who published many inconvenient facts about the powerful and provoked the wrath of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, is literally the worst person in the whole entire world, OR
  2. Julian Assange, who published many inconvenient facts about the powerful and provoked the wrath of opaque and unaccountable government agencies, is the target of a massive, deliberate disinformation campaign designed to kill the public's trust in him.

As it happens, historian Vijay Prashad noted in a recent interview with Chris Hedges that in 2008 a branch of the US Defense Department did indeed set out to "build a campaign to eradicate 'the feeling of trust of WikiLeaks and their center of gravity' and to destroy Assange's reputation."

Let's begin.

How to argue against Assange smears

Before we get into refuting the specific points of disinformation, I'd like to share a few tips which I've found useful in my own experience with engaging people online who are circulating smears against Julian Assange.

A  --  Be clear that your goal is to fight against a disinformation campaign, not to "win" or to change the mind of the person you're arguing with.

If our interest is in advancing the cause of truth, we're not trying to get into arguments with people for egoic gratification, nor are we trying to change the mind of the smearer. Our first and foremost goal is to spread the truth to the people who are witnessing the interaction, who are always the target audience for the smear. Doesn't matter if it's an argument at the Thanksgiving dinner table or a Twitter thread witnessed by thousands: your goal is to disinfect the smear with truth and solid argumentation so everyone witnessing is inoculated from infection.

So perform for that audience like a lawyer for the jury. When the smearer refuses to respond to your challenges, when they share false information, when they use a logical fallacy, when they are intellectually dishonest, call it out and draw attention to what they're doing. When it comes to other subjects there are a wide range of opinions that may be considered right or wrong depending on how you look at them, but when it comes to the whether or not it's acceptable for Assange to be imprisoned for his publishing activities you can feel confident that you'll always have truth on your side. So use facts and good argumentation to make the smearer look worse than they're trying to make Assange look, thereby letting everyone know that this person isn't an honest and trustworthy source of information.

B  --  Remember that whoever you're debating probably doesn't really know much about the claim they're making.

Last night I had a guy confidently assuring me that Assange and Chelsea Manning had teamed up to get Donald Trump elected in 2016. Most people just bleat whatever they think they've heard people they trust and people around them saying; when they make a claim about Assange, it's not usually because they've done a ton of research on the subject and examined possible counter-arguments, it's because it's an unquestioned doctrine within their echo chamber, and it may never have even occurred to them that someone might question it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jS-sxJFn6O0

For a perfect example of this, check out the New York Times ' Bari Weiss experiencing an existential meltdown on The Joe Rogan Experience when the host simply asked her to substantiate her claim that Tulsi Gabbard is an "Assad toadie". Weiss only ever operates within a tight establishment echo chamber, so when challenged on a claim she'd clearly only picked up secondhand from other people she turned into a sputtering mess.

Most people you'll encounter who smear Assange online are pulling a Bari Weiss to some extent, so point out the obvious gaps in their knowledge for the audience when they make nonsensical claims, and make it clear to everyone that they have no idea what they're talking about.

C  --  Remember that they're only ever running from their own cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance is the psychological discomfort we experience when we try to hold two strongly contradictory ideas as true at the same time, like the idea that we live in a free liberal democracy and the idea that a journalist is being imprisoned for publishing facts about the US government right in front of us.

Rank-and-file citizens generally help the mass media propagandists smear Assange not to help protect the world from the influence of a dangerous individual, but to protect themselves from cognitive dissonance. People find themselves eager to believe smears about Assange because the raw facts revealed by WikiLeaks publications punch giant holes in the stories about the kind of world, nation and society that most people have been taught to believe they live in since school age. These kinds of beliefs are interwoven with people's entire egoic structures, with their sense of self and who they are as a person, so narratives which threaten to tear them apart can feel the same as a personal attack. This is why you'll hear ordinary citizens talking about Assange with extreme emotion as though he'd attacked them personally; all he did was publish facts about the powerful , but since those facts conflict with tightly held identity constructs, the cognitive dissonance he caused them to experience can be interpreted as feeling like he'd slapped them in the face.

Ordinary citizens often find themselves eager to believe the smear campaigns against Assange because it's easier than believing that their government would participate in the deliberate silencing and imprisoning of a journalist for publishing facts. The fact that Assange's persecution is now exposing the ugly face of imperial tyranny presents them with even more to defend.

It might look like they're playing offense, but they're playing defense. They're attacking Assange because they feel the need to defend themselves from cognitive dissonance.

If people are acting strangely emotional and triggered when it comes to the issue of imprisoning Assange, it's got very little to do with facts and everything to do with the dynamics of psychological identity structures. There's not necessarily any benefit in pointing this out during a debate, but it helps to understand where people are coming from and why they're acting that way. Keep pointing out that people's feelings have no bearing on the threats that are posed to all of us by Assange's prosecution.

D  --  Remember that the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.

"Prove your claim." Use this phrase early and often. It's amazing how frequently I see people blurting out assertions about Assange that I know for a fact they have no way of proving: that he's a Russian agent, that he's a rapist, that he's a CIA asset, etc, which ties in with Point B above. The burden of proof is always on the party making the claim , so if they refuse to do this you can publicly dismiss their argument. If someone comes in making a specific claim about Assange, make them present the specific information they're basing their claim on so that you can refute it. If they refuse, call them out on it publicly. Never let them get away with the fallacious tactic of shifting the burden of proof onto you, and remember that anything which has been asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence .

E  --  Never let them trick you into expending more energy than they're expending.

This one's important. The internet is full of genuinely trollish individuals who spend their time acting out their inner pain by trying to suck the life out of other people, and political discussion is certainly no exception to this. A common tactic is to use short phrases, half-thoughts, or word salads which contain few facts and no actual arguments, but contain just enough of a jab to suck you into wasting energy making thorough, well-sourced arguments while they just lean back and continue making weak, low-energy responses to keep you going. This enables them to waste your time and frustrate you while expending little energy themselves, while also not having to reveal the fact that they don't know much about the subject at hand and don't really have an argument.

Don't let them lean back. Force them to lean in. If someone makes an unsubstantiated assertion, a brief quip, or a vague insinuation, tell them "Make an actual argument using complete thoughts or go away." If they throw an unintelligible word salad at you (a tactic that is also common in abusers with narcissistic personality disorder because it tricks the abusee into falling all over themselves guessing how to respond appropriately, thereby giving the abuser power), tell them "That's gibberish. Articulate yourself using clear arguments or go away."

This often enrages them, partly because they've generally been getting away with this tactic their entire lives so they feel entitled to demand compliance with it from you, and partly because you're forcing a very unconscious and unattractive part of themselves into attention and consciousness. But if they're interested in having a real and intellectually honest debate they'll do it; if they're not they won't. If they refuse to provide you with lucid, complete arguments that meet their burden of proof, make a show of dismissing them for their refusal to do so, and say you're doing it because they're too dishonest to have a real debate.

Never chase them. Make them chase you. Never let them lead the dance chasing them around trying to correct their straw man reframing of your actual words or guessing what their word salads are trying to articulate. Make them do the work they're trying to make you do. Force them to either extend themselves into the light where their arguments can be properly scrutinized, or to disqualify themselves by refusing to.

F  --  When attacking disinformation on Twitter, use this tactic:

If you see a high-profile Twitter account sharing disinformation about Assange, debunk their disinfo as clearly and concisely as possible, then retweet your response to your followers. Your followers will like and retweet your response, sending it further up the thread so that casual viewers of the disinfo tweet will often also see your response debunking it. If your response is text-only, include a screenshot or the URL of the tweet you're responding to before retweeting your response so that your followers can see the awful post you're responding to. It comes out looking like this:

This serves the dual function of offsetting the damage done by their smear and alerting your followers to come and help fight the disinfo.

G  --  Point out at every opportunity that they are advancing a smear.

Never miss an opportunity to point out to everyone witnessing the exchange that the other party is advancing a smear that is being promulgated by the mass media to manufacture consent for the imprisonment of a journalist who exposed US war crimes. Keep the conversation in context for everyone: this isn't just two people having a difference of opinion, this is one person circulating disinformation which facilitates the agendas of the most powerful people in the world (including the Trump administration, which you should always point out repeatedly if you know they hate Trump), and the other person trying to stop the flow of disinfo. Every time you expose a hole in one of their arguments, add in the fact that this is a dishonest smear designed to benefit the powerful, and that they are helping to advance it.

H  --  Make it about Assange's imprisonment and extradition.

One of the very few advantages to Assange being behind bars in the UK's version of Guantanamo Bay instead of holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy is that the arguments are so much clearer and more honest now. You can no longer get away with claiming that Assange is just a coward hiding from justice who can "leave whenever he wants" and present yourself as merely a casual observer who just happens to want to share his opinion that the WikiLeaks founder is a fascist Russian spy rapist who smells bad and mistreats his cat, because you will always be entering a discussion involving the fact that Assange is in prison awaiting extradition to the United States. You are therefore always necessarily either supporting the extradition or distracting from the conversation about it.

So make that clear to everyone watching. Make them own it. They either support the imprisonment and extradition of Assange for his role in the Manning leaks, or they're interrupting grown-ups who are trying to have an adult conversation about it. If they support Assange's imprisonment and extradition to the United States, that clarifies your line of argumentation, and it makes them look like the bootlicking empire sycophants they are. Keep the fact that they support the extradition and imprisonment of a journalist for publishing facts on the front burner of the conversation, and keep making them own it.

I  --  Familiarize yourself with common logical fallacies.

It's fascinating how often people resort to fallacious debate tactics when arguing about Assange. One of the most interesting things to me right now is how the unconscious behaviors of our civilization is mirrored in the unconsciousness of the individuals who support those behaviors. Those who support Assange's persecution are generally very averse to an intellectually honest relationship with their own position, and with the arguments against their position that they encounter.

So get familiar with basic fallacious debate tactics like straw man arguments (claiming that you have a position that is different from the one you've actually put forth and then attacking that fake position they invented, e.g. "You're defending Assange because you worship him and think he's perfect"), ad hominems (using personal attacks instead of an argument, e.g. "Assange is stinky and smeared poo on the embassy walls"), and appeals to emotion (using emotionally charged statements as a substitute for facts and reason, e.g. "You're defending Assange because you're a rape apologist"). These will give you a conceptual framework for those situations where it feels like the person you're arguing with is being squirmy and disingenuous, but you can't really put your finger on how.

J  --  Rely as much on fact and as little on opinion as possible.

Don't get sucked into emotional exchanges about opinions. Facts are what matter here, and, as you will see throughout the rest of this article, the facts are on your side. Make sure you're familiar with them.

And now for the smears:

Smear 1: "He is not a journalist."

Yes he is . Publishing relevant information so the public can inform themselves about what's going on in their world is the thing that journalism is. Which is why Assange was just awarded the GUE/NGL Award for "Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information" the other day, why the WikiLeaks team has racked up many prestigious awards for journalism, and why Assange is a member of Australia's media union . Only when people started seriously stressing about the very real threats that his arrest poses to press freedoms did it become fashionable to go around bleating "Assange is not a journalist."

The argument, if you can call it that, is that since Assange doesn't practice journalism in a conventional way, there's no way his bogus prosecution for his role in the Manning leaks could possibly constitute a threat to other journalists around the world who might want to publish leaked documents exposing US government malfeasance. This argument is a reprisal of a statement made by Trump's then-CIA director Mike Pompeo, who proclaimed that WikiLeaks is not a journalistic outlet at all but a "hostile non-state intelligence service", a designation he made up out of thin air the same way the Trump administration designated Juan Guaido the president of Venezuela, the Golan Heights a part of Israel, and Iran's military a terrorist organization. Pompeo argued that since WikiLeaks was now this label he made up, it enjoys no free press protections and shall therefore be eliminated.

So they're already regurgitating propaganda narratives straight from the lips of the Trump administration, but more importantly, their argument is nonsense. As I discuss in the essay hyperlinked here , once the Assange precedent has been set by the US government, the US government isn't going to be relying on your personal definition of what journalism is; they're going to be using their own, based on their own interests. The next time they want to prosecute someone for doing anything similar to what Assange did, they're just going to do it, regardless of whether you believe that next person to have been a journalist or not. It's like these people imagine that the US government is going to show up at their doorstep saying "Yes, hello, we wanted to imprison this journalist based on the precedent we set with the prosecution of Julian Assange, but before doing so we wanted to find out how you feel about whether or not they're a journalist."

Pure arrogance and myopia.

Smear 2: "He's a rapist."

... ... ...

"Sources in Swedish intelligence told me at the time that they believed the U.S. had encouraged Sweden to pursue the case," The Intercept 's Charles Glass reported .

Sometimes smearers will try to falsely claim that Assange or his lawyers admitted that Assange committed rape or pushed its boundaries during the legal proceedings, citing mass media reports on a strategy employed by Assange's legal team of arguing that what Assange was accused of wouldn't constitute rape even if true . This conventional legal strategy was employed as a means of avoiding extradition and in no way constituted an admission that events happened in the way alleged, yet mass media reports like this one deliberately twisted it to appear that way. Neither Assange nor his lawyers have ever made any such admission.

For more information on the details of the rape accusation, check out this 2012 4 Corners segment titled "Sex, Lies, and Julian Assange", this 2016 Observer article titled "Exclusive New Docs Throw Doubt on Julian Assange Rape Charges in Stockholm", this John Pilger article titled "Getting Julian Assange: The Untold Story", this Justice Integrity Report article titled "Assange Rape Defense Underscores Shameful Swedish, U.S. Tactics", and the aforementioned ten minute Youtube video .

So there's a lot fishy going on there. From the sounds of it, Wilen privately complained to Ardin that she'd had some unpleasant sexual experiences with Assange, then Ardin and her associates twisted those complaints in the most severe way possible, and when Wilen refused to accuse Assange Ardin began claiming that she had also been criminally violated using an assertion about a condom which DNA evidence contradicts.

I see a lot of well-meaning Assange defenders using some very weak and unhelpful arguments against this smear, suggesting for example that having unprotected sex without the woman's permission shouldn't qualify as sexual assault or that if Ardin had been assaulted she would necessarily have conducted herself differently afterward. Any line of argumentation like that is going to look very cringey to people like myself who believe rape culture is a ubiquitous societal illness that needs to be rolled back far beyond the conventional understanding of rape as a stranger in a dark alley forcibly penetrating some man's wife or daughter at knifepoint. Don't try to justify what Assange is accused of having done, just point out that there's no actual evidence that he is guilty of rape and that very powerful people have clearly been pulling some strings behind the scenes of this narrative.

As an additional point, it cannot be denied that governments around the world have an extensive and well-documented history of using sex to advance strategic agendas in various ways, and there's no valid reason to rule this out as a possibility on any level.

Finally, the fact remains that even if Assange were somehow to be proven guilty of rape, the argument "he's a rapist" is not a legitimate reason to support a US extradition and prosecution which would set a precedent that poses a threat to press freedoms everywhere. "He's a rapist" and "It's okay that the western legal system is funneling him into the Eastern District of Virginia for his publishing activities" are two completely different thoughts that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, so anyone attempting to associate the two in any way has made a bad argument and should feel bad.

Smear 3: "He was hiding from rape charges in the embassy."

No he wasn't, he was hiding from US extradition. And his arrest this month under a US extradition warrant proved that he was right to do so.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KU2gDGY43Zg

People who claim Assange was "hiding from rape charges" are necessarily implicitly making two transparently absurd claims: one, that Assange had no reason to fear US extradition, and two, that Ecuador was lying about its official reasons for granting him asylum  --  that in fact the Correa government was just in the business of protecting people from rape charges for some weird reason.

For its part, the Ecuadorian government was crystal clear in its official statement about the reasons it was providing Assange asylum, saying that "there are serious indications of retaliation by the country or countries that produced the information disclosed by Mr. Assange, retaliation that can put at risk his safety, integrity and even his life," and that "the judicial evidence shows clearly that, given an extradition to the United States, Mr. Assange would not have a fair trial, he could be judged by a special or military court, and it is not unlikely that he would receive a cruel and demeaning treatment and he would be condemned to a life sentence or the death penalty, which would not respect his human rights."

... ... ...

Smear 4: "He's a Russian agent."

Not even the US government alleges that WikiLeaks knowingly coordinated with the Kremlin in the 2016 publication of Democratic Party emails; the Robert Mueller Special Counsel alleged only that Guccifer 2.0 was the source of those emails and that Guccifer 2.0 was a persona covertly operated by Russian conspirators. The narrative that Assange worked for or knowingly conspired with the Russian government is a hallucination of the demented Russia hysteria which has infected all corners of mainstream political discourse. There is no evidence for it whatsoever, and anyone making this claim should be corrected and dismissed.

But we don't even need to concede that much. To this day we have been presented with exactly zero hard evidence of the US government's narrative about Russian hackers, and in a post-Iraq invasion world there's no good reason to accept that. We've seen assertions from opaque government agencies and their allied firms within the US-centralized power alliance, but assertions are not evidence. We've seen indictments from Mueller, but indictments are assertions and assertions are not evidence. We've seen claims in the Mueller report, but the timeline is riddled with plot holes , and even if it wasn't, claims in the Mueller report are not evidence. This doesn't mean that Russia would never use hackers to interfere in world political affairs or that Vladimir Putin is some sort of virtuous girl scout, it just means that in a post-Iraq invasion world, only herd-minded human livestock believe the unsubstantiated assertions of opaque and unaccountable government agencies about governments who are oppositional to those same agencies.

If the public can't see the evidence, then as far as the public is concerned there is no evidence. Invisible evidence is not evidence, no matter how many government officials assure us it exists.

The only reason the majority believes that Russia is known to have interfered in America's 2016 election is because news outlets have been repeatedly referring to this narrative as an established and proven fact, over and over and over again, day after day, for years. People take this repetition as a substitute for proof due to a glitch in human psychology known as the illusory truth effect , a phenomenon which causes our brains to tend to interpret things we've heard before as known truths. But repetitive assertions are not the same as known truths.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/uyCOy25GdjQ

For his part, Julian Assange has stated unequivocally that he knows for a fact that the Russian government was not WikiLeaks' source for the emails, telling Fox News in January 2017 that "our source is not the Russian government or any state party." You may be as skeptical or as trusting of his claim as you like, but the fact of the matter is that no evidence has ever been made public which contradicts him. Any claim that he's lying is therefore unsubstantiated.

This is the best argument there is. A lot of people like to bring up the fact that there are many experts who dispute the Russian hacking narrative, saying there's evidence that the DNC download happened via local thumb drive and not remote exfiltration, but in my opinion that's generally poor argumentation when you're disputing the narrative about WikiLeaks' source. It's a poor tactic because it shifts the burden of proof onto you, making yourself into the claimant and then forcing you to defend complicated claims about data transfer rates and so on which most people viewing the argument won't understand, even if you do. There's no reason to self-own like that and put yourself in a position of playing defense when you can just go on the offense with anyone claiming to know that Russia was WikiLeaks' source and just say "Prove your claim," then poke holes in their arguments.

There is no evidence that Assange ever provided any assistance to the Russian government, knowingly or unknowingly. In fact, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents pertaining to Russia, has made critical comments about the Russian government and defended dissident Russian activists, and in 2017 published an entire trove called the Spy Files Russia exposing Russian surveillance practices.

Of course, the only reason this smear is coming up lately is because people want to believe that the recent imprisonment of Julian Assange has anything to do with the 2016 WikiLeaks email publications. It isn't just the propagandized rank-and-file who are making this false claim all over the internet, but Democratic Party leaders like House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden . As we should all be aware by now, Assange's completely illegitimate arrest in fact had nothing whatsoever to do with 2016 or Russia, but with the 2010 Manning leaks exposing US war crimes. Anyone claiming otherwise is simply informing you that they are brainwashed by Russia conspiracy theories and have no interest in changing that character flaw.

The smearer may claim "Well, he toes the Kremlin line!" When you ask them to explain what that means, they'll tell you it means that WikiLeaks speaks out against western interventionist and war propaganda narratives like Trump's bombing of Syria, or their criticism of the establishment Russia narrative which tries to incriminate WikiLeaks itself. That's not "toeing the Kremlin line," that's being anti-interventionist and defending yourself from evidence-free smears. Nobody who's viewed their 2010 video Collateral Murder will doubt that criticism of the US war machine is built into the DNA of WikiLeaks, and is central to its need to exist in the first place.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5rXPrfnU3G0

In reality, anyone who opposes western interventionism will see themselves tarred as Russian agents if they achieve a high enough profile, and right-wing empire sycophants were fond of doing so years before the brainwashed Maddow Muppets joined them. Russia, like many sovereign nations, opposes western interventionism for its own reasons, so anyone sufficiently dedicated to their own mental contortions can point at a critic of western imperialism and say "Look! They oppose this subject, and so does Russia! They're the same thing!" In reality a westerner opposing western interventionism is highly unlikely to have any particular loyalty to Russia, and opposes western interventionism not to protect their own geostrategic agendas as Moscow does, but because western interventionism is consistently evil, deceitful and disastrous.

The smearer may claim, "Well he had a show on RT in 2012!" So? What other network would air a TV program hosted by Julian Assange? Name one. I'll wait. If you can't name one, consider the possibility that Assange's appearances on RT were due to the fact that western mass media have completely deplatformed all antiwar voices and all criticism of the political status quo, a fact they could choose to change any time and steal RT's entire audience and all their talent. The fact that they choose not to shows that they're not worried about RT, they're worried about dissident thinkers like Assange.

In reality, Assange's 2012 show "The World Tomorrow" was produced separately from RT and only picked up for airing by that network, in exactly the same way as Larry King's show has been picked up and aired by RT. Nobody who isn't wearing a tinfoil pussyhat believes that Larry King is a Russian agent, and indeed King is adamant and vocal about the fact that he doesn't work for RT and takes no instruction from them.

The only people claiming that Assange is a Russian agent are those who are unhappy with the things that WikiLeaks publications have exposed, whether that be US war crimes or the corrupt manipulations of Democratic Party leaders. It's a completely unfounded smear and should be treated as such.

Smear 5: "He's being prosecuted for hacking crimes, not journalism."

No, he's being prosecuted for journalism. Assange is being prosecuted based on the exact same evidence that the Obama administration had access to when it was investigated him to see if he could be prosecuted for his role in the Manning leaks, but the Obama administration ruled it was impossible to prosecute him based on that evidence because it would endanger press freedoms. This is because, as explained by The Intercept 's Micah Lee and Glenn Greenwald, the things Assange is accused of doing are things journalists do all the time: attempting to help a source avoid detection, taking steps to try to hide their communications, and encouraging Manning to provide more material. This is all Assange is accused of; there is no "hacking" alleged in the indictment itself.

Joe Emersberger of Fair.org notes the following :

Now Assange could be punished even more brutally if the UK extradites him to the US, where he is charged with a "conspiracy" to help Manning crack a password that "would have" allowed her to cover her tracks more effectively. In other words, the alleged help with password-cracking didn't work, and is not what resulted in the information being disclosed. It has also not been shown that it was Assange who offered the help, according to Kevin Gosztola ( Shadowproof , 4/11/19 ). The government's lack of proof of its charges might explain why Manning is in jail again.
The indictment goes even further, criminalizing the use of an electronic "drop box" and other tactics that investigative journalists routinely use in the computer age to work with a confidential source "for the purpose of publicly disclosing" information.

The only thing that changed between the Obama administration and the Trump administration is an increased willingness to attack journalism. Assange is being prosecuted for journalism.

Furthermore, there's every reason to believe that this new charge which the Trump administration pulled out of thin air is only a ploy to get Assange onto US soil, where he can be smashed with far more serious charges including espionage . Pentagon Papers lawyer James Goodale writes the following :

Under the U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty, one cannot be extradited from the United Kingdom if the extradition is for "political purposes." This explains why the indictment does not contain any charges alleging that Assange conspired with the Russians to impact the 2016 presidential election. It may also explain why the indictment focuses on hacking government computers rather than on leaking stolen government information, in as much as leaking could be characterized as being done for political purposes.
When Assange arrives in the United States through extradition, as many expect he will, the government will then be able to indict him for his participation in that election. It is not out of the question that the government will come up with additional charges against Assange.

If that happens, Assange will not be spending the five years behind bars for computer offenses that his current charge allows, he'll be spending decades.

"I don't think Julian is looking at five years in prison, I think he's probably looking at 50 years in prison," said CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who was the first person tried in the US for leaking classified materials to a journalist under Obama's crackdown on whistleblowers.

"I think that there are many more charges to be considered for Julian," Kiriakou added. "I would expect a superseding indictment, possibly to include espionage charges."

There is no legitimate reason to feel confident that this won't happen, and there are many reasons to believe that it will. All for publishing truthful documents about the powerful. Assange is being prosecuted for journalism.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/d46FKzTmfNg

It's also worth noting here that President Executive Order 13526, section 1.7 explicitly forbids the classification of material in order to hide government malfeasance, meaning it's perfectly reasonable to argue that Manning did not in fact break a legitimate law, and that those prosecuting her did.

"In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency," the section reads, while Manning's lawyer has argued the following :

"The information released by PFC Manning, while certainly greater in scope than most leaks, did not contain any Top Secret or compartmentalized information. The leaked information also did not discuss any current or ongoing military missions. Instead, the Significant Activity Reports (SIGACTs, Guantanamo detainee assessments, Apache Aircrew video, diplomatic cables, and other released documents dealt with events that were either publicly known or certainly no longer sensitive at the time of release."

There was no legitimate reason for what Manning leaked to have been classified; it was only kept so to avoid US government embarrassment. Which was illegal. To quote Assange : "The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security."

Smear 6: "He should just go to America and face the music. If he's innocent he's got nothing to fear."

This is the new "He can leave the embassy whenever he wants." Except this one's also being bleated by Trump supporters.

The only way to make it feel true for oneself that Assange stands a chance at receiving a fair trial in America is to believe that the US is a just nation with a fair judicial system, especially in the Eastern District of Virginia when trying the cases of people who expose incriminating information about the US war machine. Anyone who believes this has packing foam for brains.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/oU9_P9ufKpE

"No national security defendant has ever won a case in the EDVA [Eastern District of Virginia]," Kiriakou told RT upon Assange's arrest. "In my case, I asked Judge Brinkema to declassify 70 documents that I needed to defend myself. She denied all 70 documents. And so I had literally no defense for myself and was forced to take a plea."

"He will not, he cannot get a fair trial," Kiriakou said on a Unity4J vigil when Assange was still at the embassy. "It's impossible, because the deck is stacked. And everybody knows what's gonna happen if he comes back to the Eastern District of Virginia. This is the same advice I gave Ed Snowden: don't come home, because you can't get a fair trial here. Julian doesn't have the choice, and that's what frightens me even more."

Assange is indeed being extradited to face trial in the Eastern District of Virginia . Manning herself did not get a fair trial according to her lawyer . Anyone who thinks Assange can expect anything resembling justice upon arrival on US soil has their head in something. Power doesn't work that way. Grow up.

Smear 7: "Well he jumped bail! Of course the UK had to arrest him."

Never in my life have I seen so many people so deeply, deeply concerned about the proper adherence to the subtle technicalities of bail protocol as when Sweden dropped its rape investigation, leaving only a bail violation warrant standing between Assange and freedom. All of a sudden I had establishment loyalists telling me how very, very important it is that Assange answer for his horrible, horrible crime of taking political asylum from persecution at the hands of the most violent government on the planet to the mild inconvenience of whoever had to fill out the paperwork.

This smear is soundly refuted in this lucid article by Simon Floth, which was endorsed by the Defend Assange Campaign. Froth explains that under British law bail is only breached if there's a failure to meet bail "without reasonable cause", which the human right to seek asylum certainly is. The UK was so deeply concerned about this bail technicality that it waited a full nine days before issuing an arrest warrant.

After the Swedish government decided to drop its sexual assault investigation without issuing any charges, Assange's legal team attempted last year to get the warrant dropped. The judge in that case, Emma Arbuthnot, just happens to be married to former Tory junior Defence Minister and government whip James Arbuthnot, who served as director of Security Intelligence Consultancy SC Strategy Ltd with a former head of MI6. Lady Arbuthnot denied Assange's request with extreme vitriol, despite his argument that British law does have provisions which allow for the time he'd already served under house arrest to count toward far more time than would be served for violating bail. The British government kept police stationed outside the embassy at taxpayers' expense with orders to arrest Assange on sight.

This, like America's tweaking the law in such a way that allows it to prosecute him for journalism and Ecuador's tweaking its asylum laws in such a way that allowed it to justify revoking Assange's asylum, was another way a government tweaked the law in such a way that allowed it to facilitate Assange's capture and imprisonment. These three governments all tweaked the law in unison in such a way that when looked at individually don't look totalitarian, but when taken together just so happen to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for publishing inconvenient truths.

Smear 8: "He's a narcissist/megalomaniac/jerk."

Assange has been enduring hardships far worse than most people ever have to go through in their lifetime because of his dedication to the lost art of using journalism to hold power to account. If that's what a narcissist/megalomaniac/jerk looks like to you, then whatever I guess.

But really the primary response to this smear is a simple, so what? So what if the guy's got a personality you don't like? What the hell does that have to do with anything? What bearing does that have on the fact that a journalist is being prosecuted in a legal agenda which threatens to set a precedent which is destructive to press freedoms around the world?

So many of the most common Assange smears boil down to simple ad hominem fallacy , in which the person is attacked because the smearer has no real argument. Pointing out the absence of an actual argument is a more effective weapon against this smear than trying to argue that Assange is a nice person or whatever. Plenty of people say Assange has a pleasant personality, but that's ultimately got nothing to do with anything. It's no more material to meaningful discourse than arguing over his physical appearance.

Smear 9: "He's a horrible awful monster for reasons X, Y and Z but I don't think he should be extradited."

I always mentally translate this one into "I'm going to keep advancing the same propaganda narratives which manufactured public consent for Assange's current predicament but I don't want people to see my name on the end result."

Even if you hate Assange as a man and as a public figure with every fiber of your being, there is no legitimate reason to turn yourself into a pro bono propagandist for the CIA and the US State Department. If you actually do sincerely oppose his extradition, then you should be responsible with the narratives you choose to circulate about him, because smears kill public support and public demand is what can prevent his extradition. If you're just pretending to truly oppose his extradition in order to maintain your public wokeness cred and you really just wanted to throw in a few more smears, then you're a twat.

When looked at in its proper context, what we are witnessing is the slow-motion assassination of Assange via narrative/lawfare, so by couching your support in smears it's just like you're helping put a few bullets in the gun but loudly letting everyone know that you hope they shoot the blank.

Smear 10: "Trump is going to rescue him and they'll work together to end the Deep State. Relax and wait and see."

Make no mistake, this is a smear, and it's just as pernicious as any of the others. People who circulate this hogwash are hurting Assange just as much as the MSNBC mainliners who hate him overtly, even if they claim to support him. At a time when we should all be shaking the earth and demanding freedom for Assange, a certain strain of Trump supporter is going around telling everyone, "Relax, Trump has a plan. Wait and see."

I've been told to calm down and "wait and see" many times since Assange's arrest. What "wait and see" really means is "do nothing." Don't do anything. Trust that this same Trump administration which issued an arrest warrant for Assange in December 2017 , whose CIA director labeled WikiLeaks a "hostile non-state intelligence service" and pledged to destroy it, trust them to do the right thing instead of the wrong thing. Do absolutely nothing in the meantime, and especially don't help put political pressure on Trump to end Assange's persecution.

This strategy benefits someone, and that someone ain't Assange.

Please stop doing this. If you support Assange, stop doing this. Even if you're still chugging the Q-laid and still believe the reality TV star who hired John Bolton as his National Security Advisor is actually a brilliant strategist making incomprehensibly complex 8-D chess moves to thwart the Deep State, even if you believe all that, surely you'll concede that there's no harm in people pressuring Trump to do the right thing and end the persecution of Assange? If he really is a beneficent wizard, there'd surely be no harm in making a lot of noise telling him he'd better pardon Assange, right? Then why spend your energy running around telling everyone to relax and stop protesting?

One argument I keep encountering is that Trump is bringing Assange to America for trial because he can only pardon him after he's been convicted. This is false. A US president can pardon anyone at any time of any crime against the United States, without their having been convicted and without their even having been charged. After leaving office Richard Nixon was issued a full presidential pardon by Gerald Ford for "all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9,1974." Nixon had never been charged with anything. If Trump were going to pardon Assange he could have done it at any time since taking office, instead of issuing a warrant for his arrest in December 2017 and executing it on Thursday after a series of international legal manipulations . A pardon is not in the plans.

Another common belief I keep encountering is that Trump is bringing Assange to America to get him to testify about his source for the 2016 Democratic Party emails in exchange for a pardon, thereby revealing the truth about Russiagate's origins and bringing down Clinton and Obama. This is false. Everyone who knows anything about Assange (including the Trump administration) knows that he will never, ever reveal a source under any circumstances whatsoever. It would be a cardinal journalistic sin, a violation of every promise WikiLeaks has ever made, and a betrayal of his entire life's work. More importantly, imprisoning a journalist and threatening him with a heavy sentence to coerce him into giving up information against his will is evil.

But that isn't what Trump is doing. Trump is pursuing the imprisonment of a journalist for exposing US war crimes, so that he can scare off future leak publishers and set a legal precedent for their prosecution.

Smear 11: "He put poop on the walls. Poop poop poopie."

Of all the Assange smears I've encountered, I think this one best epitomizes the entire overarching establishment narrative churn on the subject. Like the rest of the smear campaign, it's a completely unsubstantiated claim designed not to advance a logical argument about the current facts of Assange's situation but to provoke disgust and revulsion towards him, so that when you think of Julian Assange you don't think about press freedoms and government transparency, you think about poo. In a way it's actually more honest than some of the other smears, just because it's so obvious about what it is and what it's trying to do.

People who advance this smear are literally always acting in very bad faith. As of this writing I've never even bothered trying to engage anyone in debate on the matter, because they're too gross and too internally tormented to make interacting with them anything but unpleasant, so I have no advice to give on how to argue with such creatures. Personally I just block them.

There is no reason to believe that this smear is true (his lawyer flatly denies it ), and the Ecuadorian government would have had every incentive to lie in order to try and justify its revocation of asylum which WikiLeaks says is "in violation of international law." However, it's worth taking a minute to consider the fact that if this smear were true, the people running around mocking Assange and making poop jokes about him on social media today would be even more depraved. Because what would it mean if Assange really were spreading feces on the wall? It would mean that he'd cracked under the pressure of his embassy imprisonment and lost his mind. Which would mean that these people are running around mocking a man who's been driven to psychosis by his abusive circumstances. Which would be despicable.

Smear 12: "He's stinky."

It's amazing how many mainstream media publications have thought it newsworthy to write articles about Assange's body odor. Try advocating for him on any public forum, however, and you'll immediately understand the intention behind this smear. Try to argue against the extradition of a journalist for publishing inconvenient facts about the powerful, and you'll be swarmed by people making scoffing comments about how stinky and disgusting he is. As though that has anything to do with anything whatsoever.

For the record, people who visit Assange commonly report that he's clean and smells normal, but that's really beside the point. Trying to turn a discussion about a journalist who is being prosecuted by the US empire for publishing truth into a discussion about personal hygiene is despicable, and anyone who does it should feel bad.

Smear 13: "He was a bad houseguest."

What he actually was was a target of the US war machine. The "bad houseguest" narrative serves only to distract from Ecuador's role in turning Assange over to the Metropolitan police instead of holding to the reasons it granted Assange asylum in the first place, and to seed disgust as in Smear 11 and Smear 12.

What actually happened was that Ecuador's new president Lenin Moreno quickly found himself being courted by the US government after taking office, meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and reportedly discussing Assange after US Democratic senators petitioned Pence to push for Moreno to revoke political asylum. The New York Times reported last year that in 2017 Trump's sleazy goon Paul Manafort met with Moreno and offered to broker a deal where Ecuador could receive debt relief aid in exchange for handing Assange over, and just last month Ecuador ended up receiving a 4.2 billion dollar loan from the Washington-based IMF. And then, lo and behold, we just so happen to see Ecuador justifying the revocation of political asylum under the absurd claim that Assange had violated conditions that were only recently invented , using narratives that were based on wild distortions and outright lies .

Smear 14: "He conspired with Don Jr."

No he didn't. The email exchanges between Donald Trump Jr and the WikiLeaks Twitter account reveal nothing other than two parties trying to extract favors from each other, unsuccessfully. Here's what the WikiLeaks account sent:

The password to the website is getting a lot of attention as of this writing since the release of the Mueller report, with Slate going so far as to argue that Don Jr may be guilty of violating "the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which makes it illegal to access a computer using a stolen password without authorization" since he did use the password. This is nonsense. WikiLeaks didn't send Trump a password which enabled him to "access a computer", or do anything other than preview a website that was actively being publicized and viewed by many people using the same password.

The password WikiLeaks gave him was a press pass to preview a Russiagate website which was about to launch. Here's a hyperlink to an archive of a ( now missing ) article which discussed the website's launch at the time. The article shares an email that was being passed around clearly showing that many people were being invited to look at the site in the hopes that they'd write articles promoting it. The picture that's being painted of WikiLeaks hacking into the back end of a website is completely inaccurate; there was a password to preview a website whose owners wanted people to look at it, lots of people had that password, and one of them reportedly gave it to WikiLeaks.

Beyond that, what is there? WikiLeaks trying unsuccessfully to get Don Jr to advance its agendas like giving them Trump's tax return (i.e. soliciting a potential source for leaks), challenging America's broken electoral system , trying to get more eyes on their material, and a Hail Mary suggestion that the Trump administration shake things up by making Assange the Australian ambassador with a full acknowledgement that this will never happen. None of these things occurred, and WikiLeaks never responded to Don Jr's request for information about an upcoming leak drop.

Assange has agendas. Whoop dee doo. I have agendas too, otherwise I wouldn't be doing this. All journalists have agendas, it just happens that most of them have the agenda to become rich and famous by any means necessary, which generally means cozying up to the rulers of the establishment and manufacturing consent for the status quo. Assange's agenda is infinitely more noble and infinitely more reviled by the servants of power: to upset the status quo that demands war, corruption and oppression in order to exist. His communications with Don Jr are geared toward this end, as is the rest of his life's work.

Smear 15: "He only publishes leaks about America."

This is just wrong and stupid. Do thirty seconds of research for God's sake.

Smear 16: "He's an antisemite."

Yes, yes, we all know by now that everyone who opposes the imperial war machine in any way is both a Russian agent and an antisemite. Jeremy Corbyn knows it , Ilhan Omar knows it , we all know it.

This one's been around a while, ever since headlines blared in 2011 that Assange had complained of a "Jewish conspiracy" against him after an account of a conversation by Private Eye editor Ian Hislop. Assange responded to this claim as follows:

"Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, 'Jewish conspiracy' is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting. Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has attempted, perhaps not surprisingly, to justify one smear with another in the same direction. That he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist as a result, does not mean that it is right. WikiLeaks promotes the ideal of 'scientific journalism'  --  where the underlaying evidence of all articles is available to the reader precisely in order to avoid these type of distortions. We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support from pan-Arab democracy activists and others who share our hope for a just world."

"We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff." Man, what a Nazi.

But that wasn't what cemented this smear into public consciousness. Two related events punched that ticket, and bear with me here:

The first event was the WikiLeaks account tweeting and then quickly deleting the following in July 2016: "Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses. Bizarre." The triple brackets are what's known as echoes , which are a symbol that antisemites often put around words and names to hatefully indicate Jewishness in online discourse. In 2016 some Jewish people began putting the triple brackets around their own names on social media as a way of pushing back against this behavior, so if you really want to it's possible for you to interpret the tweet as saying 'All our critics are Jewish. Bizarre.'

But does that make sense? Does it make sense for the guy who announced "We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff" to then go making openly antisemitic comments? And if he really did suddenly decide to let the world know that he believes there's a Jewish conspiracy against WikiLeaks, why would he delete it? What's the theory there? That he was like "Oh, I just wanted to let everyone know about my Jewish conspiracy theory, but it turns out people get offended when an account with millions of followers says things like that"? That makes no sense.

If you look at the account's other tweets at the time, it becomes clear that its operator was actually just trying to communicate an obscure, subtle point that was completely unsuitable for a massive international audience and 140 characters. When a user responded to the tweet before it was deleted explaining that some Jewish people now put triple brackets around their names to push back against antisemitism, the account responded , "Yes, but it seems to have been repurposed for something else entirely  --  a wanna be establishment in-group designator." When accused of antisemitism by another account, WikiLeaks responded , "The opposite. We criticised the misappropriation of anti-Nazi critiques by social climbers. Like Ice Bucket Challenge & ALS."

It looks clear to me that whoever was running the WikiLeaks Twitter account that day was clumsily trying to communicate an overly complicated idea about "social climbers" and establishment loyalism, then deleted the tweet when they realized they'd screwed up and stumbled into a social media land mine.

Now, I say "whoever was running the WikiLeaks Twitter account that day" because it's been public knowledge for years that @WikiLeaks is a staff account shared by multiple people. Here's a tweet of the account saying "this is a staff account, not Assange." Here's a tweet of the account saying "@WikiLeaks is a shared staff account." This became self-evidently true for all to see when Assange's internet access was cut off by the Ecuadorian embassy for the first time in October 2016, but the WikiLeaks Twitter account kept making posts during that time without interruption. This takes us to the second event which helped cement the antisemitism smear.

The second event occurred in February 2018 when The Intercept 's Micah Lee, who has had a personal beef with WikiLeaks and Assange for years, published a ghastly article which made the following assertion :

"Throughout this article, The Intercept assumes that the WikiLeaks account is controlled by Julian Assange himself, as is widely understood, and that he is the author of the messages, referring to himself in the third person majestic plural, as he often does."

There is absolutely no reason for Lee to have made this assumption, and the fact that this remains uncorrected in his original article is journalistic malpractice.

The article reveals Twitter DMs from a group chat of which the WikiLeaks account was a member. One of the other accounts in the group chat shared a tweet by journalist Raphael Satter, who was posting a smear piece he'd written about WikiLeaks. The WikiLeaks account responded as follows:

"He's always ben [sic] a rat."
"But he's jewish and engaged with the ((())) issue."

When I first read about this exchange as written down by Micah Lee, I read it as "He's always been a rat, but then, he is Jewish, and engaged with the ((())) issue." Which would of course be gross. Calling someone a rat because they're Jewish would obviously be antisemitic. But if you read the DMs , whoever was running the account didn't do that; they said "He's always ben a rat," followed by a full stop, then beginning a new thought.

Now if you look at the date on that exchange and compare it to the date on the deleted ((())) tweet , you'll see that this was one month after the infamous ((())) tweet that had caused such a tizzy. It appears likely to me that the operator of the account (who again could have been any of the WikiLeaks staff who had access to it) was saying that Satter was mad about "the ((())) issue", meaning the tweet so many people were so recently enraged about and were still discussing, hence his attacking them with a smear piece.

There are also claims about an association between Assange and the controversial Israel Shamir, which WikiLeaks denies unequivocally , saying in a statement:

Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever. He has never written for WikiLeaks or any associated organization, under any name and we have no plan that he do so. He is not an 'agent' of WikiLeaks. He has never been an employee of WikiLeaks and has never received monies from WikiLeaks or given monies to WikiLeaks or any related organization or individual. However, he has worked for the BBC, Haaretz, and many other reputable organizations.
It is false that Shamir is 'an Assange intimate'. He interviewed Assange (on behalf of Russian media), as have many journalists. He took a photo at that time and has only met with WikiLeaks staff (including Asssange) twice. It is false that 'he was trusted with selecting the 250,000 US State Department cables for the Russian media' or that he has had access to such at any time.
Shamir was able to search through a limited portion of the cables with a view to writing articles for a range of Russian media. The media that subsequently employed him did so of their own accord and with no intervention or instruction by WikiLeaks.

Now, we're on Smear #16. There's still a ways to go. If you've been reading this article straight through it should be obvious to you by now that there's a campaign to paint Assange as literally the worst person in the world by calling him all the worst things you can possibly call someone. Is it possible that he's some kind of secret Jew hater? Sure, theoretically, but there's certainly no good argument to be made for that based on the facts at hand, and given the extent the narrative shapers are going to to paint him in a negative light, it's a mighty big stretch in my opinion.

Smear 17: "He's a fascist."

Unlike most Assange smears this one is more common on the political left than the center, and it totally baffles me. Demanding that governments be transparent and powerful people held to account is not at all compatible with fascism. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

Italian investigative journalist and longtime WikiLeaks collaborator Stephania Maurizi told Micah Lee the following on Twitter last year:

"I've worked as a media partner since 2009, I can bring my experience: I've NEVER EVER seen misoginy or fascism, rape apology, anti-semitism. I've anti-fascism deep in my DNA, due to the consequences for my family during Fascism."

I really don't know how people make this one work in their minds. "You guys know who the real fascist is? It's the guy who's locked behind bars by the most violent and oppressive government on the planet for standing up against the war crimes of that government." I mean, come on.

When I question what's behind this belief I get variations on Smear 18 and Smear 22, and the occasional reference to one odd tweet about birth rates and changing demographics that could look like a white nationalist talking point if you squint at it just right and ignore the fact that it appears on its own surrounded by a total absence of anything resembling a white nationalist worldview, and ignore the tweet immediately following it criticizing "emotional imperialism" and the theft of caregivers from less powerful nations. You have to connect a whole lot of dots with a whole lot of imaginary red yarn and ignore a huge mountain of evidence to the contrary in order to believe that Assange is a fascist.

Smear 18: "He was a Trump supporter."

No he wasn't. He hated Hillary " Can't we just drone this guy? " Clinton for her horrible record and her efforts as Secretary of State to shut down WikiLeaks, but that's not the same as supporting Trump. His hatred of Clinton was personal, responding to a complaint by a lead Clinton staffer about his role in her defeat with the words "Next time, don't imprison and kill my friends, deprive my children of their father, corrupt judicial processes, bully allies into doing the same, and run a seven year unconstitutional grand jury against me and my staff."

And he wanted her to lose. Desiring the loss of the woman who campaigned on a promise to create a no-fly zone in the same region that Russian military planes were conducting operations is perfectly reasonable for someone with Assange's worldview, and it doesn't mean he wanted Trump to be president or believed he'd make a good one. Preferring to be stabbed over shot doesn't mean you want to be stabbed.

In July 2016 Assange compared the choice between Clinton and Trump to a choice between cholera and gonorrhea , saying, "Personally, I would prefer neither." When a Twitter user suggested to Assange in 2017 that he start sucking up to Trump in order to secure a pardon, Assange replied , "I'd rather eat my own intestines." Could not possibly be more unequivocal.

Assange saw Trump as clearly as anyone at the time, and now he's behind bars at the behest of that depraved administration. Clinton voters still haven't found a way to make this work in their minds; they need to hate Assange because he helped Hillary lose, but when they cheerlead for his arrest they're cheering for a Trump administration agenda. These same people who claim to oppose Trump and support the free press are cheerleading for a Trump administration agenda which constitutes the greatest threat to the free press we've seen in our lifetimes. When I encounter them online I've taken to photoshopping a MAGA hat onto their profile pics.

Assange has never been a Trump supporter. But, in a very real way, those who support his imprisonment are.

Smear 19: "I used to like him until he ruined the 2016 election" / "I used to hate him until he saved the 2016 election."

That's just you admitting that you have no values beyond blind partisan loyalty. Only liking truth when it serves you is the same as hating truth.

Smear 20: "He's got blood on his hands."

No he doesn't. There's no evidence anywhere that WikiLeaks helped cause anyone's death anywhere in the world. This smear has been enjoying renewed popularity since it became public knowledge that he's being prosecuted for the Manning leaks, the argument being that the leaks got US troops killed.

This argument is stupid. In 2013 the Pentagon, who had every incentive to dig up evidence that WikiLeaks had gotten people killed, ruled that no such instances have been discovered.

Smear 21: "He published the details of millions of Turkish women voters."

No he didn't. The WikiLeaks website reports the following:

"Reports that WikiLeaks published data on Turkish women are false. WikiLeaks didn't publish the database. Someone else did. What WikiLeaks released were emails from Turkey's ruling party, the Justice & Development Party or AKP, which is the political force behind the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is currently purging Turkey's judiciary, educational sector and press."

That "someone else" was Emma Best, then known as Michael Best, who also happens to be the one who published the controversial Twitter DMs used in Micah Lee's aforementioned Assange smear piece. Best wrote an article clarifying that the information about Turkish women was published not by WikiLeaks, but by her.

Smear 22: "He supported right-wing political parties in Australia."

No he didn't. In 2013 Australia's WikiLeaks Party ended up inadvertently giving preferential votes to right-wing parties in New South Wales as a result of an administrative error.

In 2012, WikiLeaks announced on Twitter that Assange was running for the Australian senate, and in 2013 the WikiLeaks Party was formally registered with the Australian Electoral Commission and fielded candidates in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. The other candidates in the party included a human rights lawyer, an ethicist, a former Greens candidate, a former diplomat, a law professor and a former president of the Ethnic Communities council in WA. It was a very left-wing offering with unusual political ads .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/w0oI_8r5nXk

In Australia we have preferential voting, which is also known in the US as ranked-choice voting. You are given two ballots, a small one for the house of representatives and an arm's-length one for the senate, which you number the candidates in order of your preference, number one being your first preference. Voting for the senate is an epic task so you are given the ability to number every single candidate in order of preference (which is called "voting below the line"), or back in 2013 you could simply nominate the party who you want to win "above the line" and if they were knocked out in the first round, their preferences were applied to your vote.

These preferences make up what's called a "How To Vote" card. Have a look at an example here . It's a pamphlet given to voters on the day that suggests how to number your preferences to support your party, but it's also submitted to the electoral commission so that they can assign your chosen flow of preferences in the senate vote.

Every election there is a shit-storm over the How To Vote cards as parties bargain with each other and play each other off to try and get the flow of preferences to go their way. To make things even more complex, you have to create these cards for every state and seat you are putting up candidates for. The WikiLeaks Party preferences statement in one of the states, New South Wales, somehow wound up having two right wing parties preferenced before the three major parties. The WikiLeaks Party said it was an administrative error and issued this statement in August 2013:

Preferences Statement: The WikiLeaks Party isn't aligned with any other political group. We'd rather not allocate preferences at all but allocating preferences is compulsory if your name is to go above the line.

In allocating preferences between 53 other parties or groups in NSW some administrative errors occurred, as has been the case with some other parties. The overall decision as to preferences was a democratically made decision of the full National Council of the party. According to the National Council decision The Shooters & Fishers and the Australia First Party should have been below Greens, Labor, Liberal. As we said, we aren't aligned with anyone and the only policies we promote are our own. We will support and oppose the policies of other parties or groups according to our stated principles.

So, in short, the entirety of the WikiLeaks Party gathered and voted to put those right wing parties down the ballot below Greens, Labor and Liberal parties but someone fucked up the form. All How To Vote cards are public and heavily scrutinized so there was never any suggestion that the WL Party had tried to get away with something on the sly, just that they had made a monumental fuckup. The WikiLeaks Party ended up getting 0.66 percent of the vote and in NSW those preferences went to those right wing parties who also failed to get the numbers required to win a seat. Was there mismanagement? Yes. Was it deliberate? There's no reason to believe that it was.

This was all happening at the same time Chelsea Manning's case was wrapping up and Assange was busy helping Edward Snowden.

"I made a decision two months ago to spend a lot of my time on dealing with the Edward Snowden asylum situation, and trying to save the life of a young man," Assange told Australian TV at the time. "The result is over-delegation. I admit and I accept full responsibility for over-delegating functions to the Australian party while I try to take care of that situation."

Smear 23: "He endangered the lives of gay Saudis."

No he didn't. The Saudi Cables were KSA government documents, i.e. information the government already had, so there was no danger of legal retaliation based on Saudi Arabia's laws against homosexuality. There is no evidence that anyone was ever endangered by the Saudi cables.

... ... ...

Smear 24: "He's a CIA agent/limited hangout."

I'm probably going to have to revisit this one because it's so all over the place that it's hard for me to even say exactly what it is. It only exists in fringey conspiracy circles, so there's no organized thought around it and when I ask people why they're so sure Assange is a CIA/Mossad agent/asset I get a bunch of different answers, many of them contradictory and none of them comprised of linear, complete thoughts. Mostly I just get an answer that goes something like "Well he spent some time in Egypt and he criticized 9/11 truthers, and he's a few degrees of separation from this one shady person, so, you know, you connect the dots."

No, you connect the dots. You're the one making the claim.

None of them ever do.

You'd think this smear would have subsided since Assange was imprisoned at the behest of the US government, but I'm actually encountering it way more often now. Every day I'm getting conspiracy types telling me Assange isn't what I think he is, right at the time when the MSM has converged to smear him with more aggression than ever before and right when he needs support more than ever.

I've never encountered anyone who can present a convincing (or even coherent) argument that Assange is working for any intelligence agency, so I generally just declare the burden of proof unmet and move on. If there's anyone out there who believes this and would like to take a stab at proving their claim, I have a few questions for you:

Why is a CIA/Mossad agent/asset/limited hangout/whatever being rewarded for his loyal service with a stay in Belmarsh Prison awaiting US extradition? How does that work, specifically? Are you claiming that he was an asset that got "burned"? If so, when did this happen? Was he still an asset while he was languishing in the embassy in failing health and chronic pain? Or was it before then? His persecution began in 2010 and the US government was working on sabotaging him back in 2008 , so are you claiming he hasn't been on their side since then? And if you're claiming that he used to be an asset but got burned, why are you spending your energy running around telling people on the internet he's an asset when he isn't one anymore, and now his prosecution threatens press freedoms everywhere? If you oppose his extradition, why are you engaged in this behavior? Are you just interrupting an adult conversation that grownups are trying to have about an urgent matter, or is it something else? Did you run around telling everyone that Saddam used to be a CIA asset instead of protesting the Iraq invasion? Or do you believe this whole US prosecution is fake? If so, what is Assange getting out of it? What's incentivizing him to comply at this point? What specifically is your claim about what's happening?

My past experiences when engaging these types tells me not to expect any solid and thorough answers to my questions.

I've been at this commentary gig for about two and a half years, and during that time I've had people show up in my inbox and social media notifications warning me that everyone in anti-establishment circles is a CIA limited hangout. Literally everyone; you name a high-profile anti-establishment figure, and at one time or another I've received warnings from people that they are actually controlled opposition for a government agency.

This happens because for some people, paranoia is their only compass. They wind up in the same circles as WikiLeaks supporters because the lens of paranoia through which they perceive the world causes them to distrust the same power establishment and mass media that WikiLeaks supporters distrust, but beyond that the two groups are actually quite different. That same paranoia which causes them to view all the wrongdoers with suspicion causes them to view everyone else with suspicion as well.

Paranoia happens for a number of reasons, one of them being that people who aren't clear on the reasons our society acts so crazy will start making up reasons, like the belief that everyone with a high profile is a covert CIA agent. If you can't see clearly what's going on you start making things up, which can cause paranoia to become your only guidance system.

Smear 25: "He mistreated his cat."

There's just no limit to the garbage these smear merchants will cook up. Concern for the embassy cat picked up when the Moreno government began cooking up excuses to oust Assange from the embassy, the most highly publicized of them being a demand that he clean up after his cat. From that point on the narrative became that not only is Assange a stinky Nazi rapist Russian spy who smears poo on the walls he also mistreats his cat. Ridiculous.

A bunch of "Where is Assange's cat??" news stories emerged after his arrest, because that's where people's minds go when a civilization-threatening lawfare agenda is being carried out. The Guardian 's James Ball, who last year authored an article humiliatingly arguing that the US will never try to extradite Assange titled "The only barrier to Julian Assange leaving Ecuador's embassy is pride", told his Twitter followers , "For the record: Julian Assange's cat was reportedly given to a shelter by the Ecuadorian embassy ages ago, so don't expect a feline extradition in the next few hours. (I genuinely offered to adopt it)."

Assange's cat is fine. It wasn't given to a "shelter"; the WikiLeaks Twitter account posted a video of the cat watching Assange's arrest on TV with the caption, "We can confirm that Assange's cat is safe. Assange asked his lawyers to rescue him from embassy threats in mid-October. They will be reunited in freedom."

Smear 26: "He's a pedophile."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/0FVpcaaa1X4

Yes, of course they tried this one too, and I still run into people online from time to time who regurgitate it. CNN has had on guests who asserted that Assange is a pedophile, not once but twice. In January 2017 former CIA official Phil Mudd said live on air that Assange is "a pedophile who lives in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London," and instead of correcting him on the spot CNN did nothing and shared the video on Twitter , leaving the tweet up until WikiLeaks threatened to sue . On what appears to have been right around the same day, Congressman Mike Rogers claimed on CNN that Assange "is wanted for rape of a minor."

These claims are of course false, designed to paint Assange as literally the worst person in the world with all the very worst qualities you can imagine in a human being.

These claims came months after an alarming narrative control operation working behind the bogus dating website toddandclare.com persuaded a UN body called the Global Compact to grant it status as a participant, then used its platform to publicly accuse Assange, with whom it was communicating, of "pedophile crimes". McClatchy reports the following :

"Whoever is behind the dating site has marshaled significant resources to target Assange, enough to gain entry into a United Nations body, operate in countries in Europe, North America and the Caribbean, conduct surveillance on Assange's lawyer in London, obtain the fax number of Canada's prime minister and seek to prod a police inquiry in the Bahamas."

So that's a thing.

Smear 27: "He lied about Seth Rich."

I'm just going to toss this one here at the end because I'm seeing it go around a lot in the wake of the Mueller report.

Robert Mueller, who helped the Bush administration deceive the world about WMD in Iraq, has claimed that the GRU was the source of WikiLeaks' 2016 drops, and claimed in his report that WikiLeaks deceived its audience by implying that its source was the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. This claim is unsubstantiated because, as we discussed in Smear 4, the public has not seen a shred of evidence proving who was or was not WikiLeaks' source, so there's no way to know there was any deception happening there. We've never seen any hard proof, nor indeed anything besides official narrative, connecting the Russian government to Guccifer 2.0 and Guccifer 2.0 to WikiLeaks, and Daniel Lazare for Consortium News documents that there are in fact some major plot holes in Mueller's timeline. Longtime Assange friend and WikiLeaks ally Craig Murray maintains that he knows the source of the DNC Leaks and Podesta Emails were two different Americans, not Russians, and hints that one of them was a DNC insider. There is exactly as much publicly available evidence for Murray's claim as there is for Mueller's.

Mainstream media has been blaring day after day for years that it is an absolute known fact that the Russian government was WikiLeaks' source, and the only reason people scoff and roll their eyes at anyone who makes the indisputably factual claim that we've seen no evidence for this is because the illusory truth effect causes the human brain to mistake repetition for fact.

The smear is that Assange knew his source was actually the Russian government, and he implied it was Seth Rich to throw people off the scent. Mueller asserted that something happened, and it's interpreted as hard fact instead of assertion. There's no evidence for any of this, and there's no reason to go believing the WMD guy on faith about a narrative which incriminates yet another government which refuses to obey the dictates of the US empire.

And I guess that's it for now. Again, this article is an ongoing project, so I'll be updating it and adding to it regularly as new information comes in and new smears need refutation. If I missed something or got something wrong, or even if you spotted a typo, please email me at admin@caitlinjohnstone.com and let me know. I'm trying to create the best possible tool for people to refute Assange smears, so I'll keep sharpening this baby to make sure it cuts like a razor. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who helped! Phew! That was long.

* * *

Everyone has my unconditional permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here .

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motherjones , 52 minutes ago link

We don't have to like Julian Assange, but the release of the "Collateral Damage" video alone is enough to justify defending Assange and the freedom of the press.

Ozymandiasssss , 1 hour ago link

She really didn't debunk the thing about Seth Rich very well. Basically just said that whatever Mueller said wasn't true, which doesn't go very far for me. He definitely did imply that he got at least some of his info from Rich so if there is some sort of proof of that, it needs to be supplied; otherwise Mueller's story is the only one.

bh2 , 1 hour ago link

HItchen's Razor: "what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

beemasters , 2 hours ago link

I have recently seen a political cartoon with Dotard then saying: "I love Wikileaks" + " I will throw her in jail" and now saying: "I know nothing about Wikileaks" + "I will throw him in jail"

It summed up perfectly that swine's lack of integrity.

Downtoolong , 2 hours ago link

It's so simple. Assange and Wikileaks exposed Hillary, Podesta, and the entire DNC to be lying, deceiving, hypocritical, disingenuous, elitist bastards. His crimes are miniscule compared to that, and all who attempt to condemn Assange only show us that they are members of that foul group.

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

Yet Dotard didn't push hard at all to get Killary, Podesta & friends charged...not even tweets calling for it since he got elected.

TotalMachineFail , 3 hours ago link

Excellent thorough content. And Kim Schmitz pointed out they'll drag things on for as long as possible and try to add additional things as they go. Such a bunch of sad, pathetic control freaks. Covering up their own failures, crimes and short comings with a highly publicized distraction putting the screws to a single journalist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBs1dgYL-7w

When the next world leader is Kashoggied nobody is going to care.

freedommusic , 3 hours ago link

“ Ty Clevenger has FOIAed information from NSA asking for any data that involved both Seth Rich and also Julian Assange .

And they responded by saying we’ve got 15 files , 32 pages , but they’re all classified in accordance with executive order 13526 covering classification, and therefore you can’t have them.

That says that NSA has records of communications between Seth Rich and Julian Assange. I mean, that’s the only business that NSA is in — copying communications between people and devices.”

—Bill Binney (NSA 30 year vet)

( source )

RussianSniper , 3 hours ago link

Long story!

Important topic!!

Assange and Snowden are freedom fighters, exposing the duplicitous, corrupt, and criminals to the entire world.

The hundreds of millions of mindless zombies are so brainwashed by the fake news industry, that if Assange and Snowden are not spies, they are criminal in some capacity.

I have liberal, conservative, and libertarian leaning friends, and virtually every one of them believe Assange and Snowden are traitors to America, got innocent people killed, are rapists, or too cowardly to stand trial in the USA.

What has happened to common sense and some necessary cynicism?

Dugald , 2 hours ago link

The trouble with Common Sense is it's not all that common.....

LetThemEatRand , 3 hours ago link

Why even bother arguing with these people. Assange gave up his liberty to reveal the truth, and the American public said in essence "so what." No one except the leakers and whistle-blowers faced any punishment, and I can't think of a single national politician who even talks about doing anything about the misconduct that was revealed. Yeah, a small percentage of the population is outraged at what was revealed, but the vast majority literally don't give a ****.

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Hehe... I guess you will find out how wrong you are in 2020 :-) His release of Hillary's emails gave Trump 2016... and him turning his back on Assange took away his chances in 2020

chunga , 3 hours ago link

Most regular readers on ZH know but this is an echo chamber for "Always Trumpers" so there won't be many commenters on this article. Rather than defend his DOJ's extradition attempts with implausible theories they'll be chattering back and forth about the Mueller Report.

/winning

LetThemEatRand , 2 hours ago link

Agreed. It's amazing to me that people who claim to be believers of the MAGA message don't see the harm associated with the arrest of Assange, and all of the other uniparty **** Trump is perpetuating. A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.

ZENDOG , 3 hours ago link

Whole lot of yadda yadda yadda about someone 99.9% of Americans don't know.

And even less who give a ****.

Hillary dead yet?

fezline , 3 hours ago link

Yeah and yet.... everyone seemed to credit Hillary's loss to the release of her emails on wikileaks... Hmm that narrative that seems to be trying to minimize the impact on Trumps chances in 2020 really breaks down in the face of that fact doesn't it?? Trump has no hope... just stop... get behind a republican that has a chance... Trump doesn't... he lost half of his base... get over it...

[Apr 20, 2019] The Guccifer 2.0 Gaps in Mueller s Full Report undermine the validity of findings

Apr 10, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: The 'Guccifer 2.0' Gaps in Mueller's Full Report April 18, 2019 • 12 Commentsave

Like Team Mueller's indictment last July of Russian agents, the full report reveals questions about Wikileaks' role that much of the media has been ignoring, writes Daniel Lazare.

By Daniel Lazare
Special to Consortium News

<img src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Daniel-Lazare-150x150.jpg" alt="" width="100" height="100" /> A s official Washington pores over the Gospel According to Saint Robert, an all-important fact about the Mueller report has gotten lost in the shuffle. Just as the Christian gospels were filled with holes , the latest version is too – particularly with regard to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

The five pages that the special prosecutor's report devotes to WikiLeaks are essentially lifted from Mueller's indictment last July of 12 members of the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU. It charges that after hacking the Democratic National Committee, the GRU used a specially-created online persona known as Guccifer 2.0 to transfer a gigabyte's worth of stolen emails to WikiLeaks just as the 2016 Democratic National Convention was approaching. Four days after opening the encrypted file, the indictment says, "Organization 1 [i.e. WikiLeaks] released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators [i.e. the GRU]."

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35305" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM.png" alt="Barr holding press conference on full Mueller report, April 18, 2019. (YouTube)" width="1248" height="612" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM.png 848w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-400x196.png 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-768x377.png 768w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-700x343.png 700w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-5.00.53-PM-160x78.png 160w" sizes="(max-width: 1248px) 100vw, 1248px" />

Attorney General William Barr holding press conference on full Mueller report, April 18, 2019. (YouTube)

Mueller's report says the same thing, but with the added twist that Assange then tried to cover up the GRU's role by suggesting that murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich may have been the source and by telling a congressman that the DNC email heist was an "inside job" and that he had "physical proof" that the material was not from Russian.

All of which is manna from heaven for corporate news outlets eager to pile on Assange, now behind bars in London. An April 11, 2019, New York Times news analysis , for instance, declared that "[c]ourt documents have revealed that it was Russian intelligence – using the Guccifer persona – that provided Mr. Assange thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee," while another Times article published shortly after his arrest accuses the WikiLeaks founder of "promoting a false cover story about the source of the leaks."

But there's a problem: it ain't necessarily so. The official story that the GRU is the source doesn't hold water, as a timeline from mid-2016 shows. Here are the key events based on the GRU indictment and the Mueller report:

June 12: Assange tells Britain's ITV that another round of Democratic Party disclosures is on the way: "We have upcoming leaks in relation to Hillary Clinton, which is great. WikiLeaks is having a very big year." June 14: The Democratic National Committee accuses Russia of hacking its computers. June 15: Guccifer 2.0 claims credit for the hack. "The main part of the papers, thousands of files and mails, I gave to WikiLeaks ," he brags . "They will publish them soon." June 22: WikiLeaks tells Guccifer via email: "Send any new material here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing." July 6: WikiLeaks sends Guccifer another email: "if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [ sic ] days prefable [ sic ] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after."Replies Guccifer: "ok . . . i " July 14: Guccifer sends WikiLeaks an encrypted file titled "wk dnc link1.txt.gpg." July 18: WikiLeaks confirms it has opened "the 1Gb or so archive" and will release documents "this week." July 22: WikiLeaks releases more than 20,000 DNC emails and 8,000 other attachments.

According to Mueller and obsequious news outlets like the Times , the sequence is clear: Guccifer sends archive, WikiLeaks receives archive, WikiLeaks accesses archive, WikiLeaks publishes archive. Donald Trump may not have colluded with Russia, but Julian Assange plainly did. [Attorney General Will Barr, significantly calling WikiLeaks a publisher, said at his Thursday press conference: " Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy."]

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35300" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM.png" alt="Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing in 2018 a grand jury indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Wikimedia Commons) " width="1236" height="611" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM.png 973w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-400x198.png 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-768x380.png 768w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-700x346.png 700w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Screen-Shot-2019-04-18-at-4.24.13-PM-160x79.png 160w" sizes="(max-width: 1236px) 100vw, 1236px" />

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announcing in 2018 the grand jury indictment of 12 GRU agents. (Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Questions

The narrative raises questions that the press studiously avoids. Why, for instance, would Assange announce on June 12 that a big disclosure is on the way before hearing from the supposed source? Was there a prior communication that Mueller has not disclosed? What about the reference to "new material" on June 22 – does that mean Assange already had other material in hand? After opening the Guccifer file on July 18, why would he publish it just four days later? Would that give WikiLeaks enough time to review some 28,000 documents to insure they're genuine?

Honor Bob Parry's legacy by donating to our Spring Fund Drive.

"If a single one of those emails had been shown to be maliciously altered," blogger Mark F. McCarty observes , "Wikileaks' reputation would have been in tatters." There's also the question that an investigator known as Adam Carter poses in Disobedient Media : why would Guccifer brag about giving WikiLeaks "thousands of files" that he wouldn't send for another month?

The narrative doesn't make sense – a fact that is crucially important now that Assange is fighting for his freedom in the U.K. New Yorker staff writer Raffi Khatchadourian sounded a rare note of caution last summer when he warned that little about Guccifer 2.0 adds up. While claiming to be the source for some of WikiLeaks ' most explosive emails, the material he released on his own had proved mostly worthless – 20 documents that he "said were from the DNC but which were almost surely not," as Khatchadourian puts it, a purported Hillary Clinton dossier that "was nothing of the sort," screenshots of emails so blurry as to be "unreadable," and so forth.

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35303" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image.jpg" alt="John Podesta at the spin room of the second presidential debate of 2016. (Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons)" width="500" height="341" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image.jpg 650w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image-400x273.jpg 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/John_Podesta_at_2nd_debate_full_image-160x109.jpg 160w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />

John Podesta: Target of a phishing expedition. (Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons)

While insisting that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party, Assange told Khatchadourian that the source was not Guccifer either. "We received quite a lot of submissions of material that was already published in the rest of the press, and people seemingly submitted the Guccifer archives," he said somewhat cryptically. "We didn't publish them. They were already published." When Khatchadourian asked why he didn't put the material out regardless, he replied that "the material from Guccifer 2.0 – or on WordPress – we didn't have the resources to independently verify."

No Time for Vetting

So four days was indeed too short a time to subject the Guccifer file to proper vetting. Of course, Mueller no doubt regards this as more "dissembling," as his report describes it. Yet WikiLeaks has never been caught in a lie for the simple reason that honesty and credibility are all-important for a group that promises to protect anonymous leakers who supply it with official secrets. (See "Inside WikiLeaks : Working with the Publisher that Changed the World," Consortium News , July 19, 2018.) Mueller, by contrast, has a rich history of mendacity going back to his days as FBI director when he sought to cover up the Saudi role in 9/11 and assured Congress on the eve of the 2003 invasion that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction pose "a clear threat to our national security."

<img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-35301" src="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage.jpg" alt="Mueller with President George W. Bush on July 5, 2001, as he is being appointed FBI director. (White House)" width="501" height="373" srcset="https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage.jpg 600w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage-400x298.jpg 400w, https://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/MuellerBushImage-160x119.jpg 160w" sizes="(max-width: 501px) 100vw, 501px" />

Mueller with President George W. Bush on July 5, 2001, as he is being appointed FBI director. (White House)

So if the Mueller narrative doesn't hold up, the charge of dissembling doesn't either. Indeed , as ex-federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy observes in The National Review , the fact that the feds have charged Assange with unauthorized access to a government computer rather than conspiring with the Kremlin could be a sign that Team Mueller is less than confident it can prove collusion beyond a reasonable doubt. As he puts it, the GRU indictment "was more like a press release than a charging instrument" because the special prosecutor knew that the chances were zero that Russian intelligence agents would surrender to a U.S. court.

Indeed, when Mueller charged 13 employees and three companies owned by Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin with interfering in the 2016 election, he clearly didn't expect them to surrender either. Thus , his team seemed taken aback when one of the alleged " troll farms " showed up in Washington asking to be heard. The prosecution's initial response, as McCarthy put it , was to seek a delay "on the astonishing ground that the defendant has not been properly served – notwithstanding that the defendant has shown up in court and asked to be arraigned." When that didn't work, prosecutors tried to limit Concord's access to some 3.2 million pieces of evidence on the grounds that the documents are too " sensitive " for Russian eyes to see. If they are again unsuccessful, they may have no choice but to drop the charges entirely, resulting in yet another " public relations disaster " for the Russia-gate investigation.

None of which bodes well for Mueller or the news organizations that worship at his shrine. After blowing the Russia-gate story all these years, why does the Times continue to slander the one news organization that tells the truth?

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .

[Apr 19, 2019] Early Assange quote

Apr 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

somebody , Apr 18, 2019 10:41:06 AM | link

Add to 80

Early Assange :

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.

[Apr 19, 2019] The connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Notable quotes:
"... Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state. ..."
"... Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , April 18, 2019 at 23:23

Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of the pro-Israel Lobby

Max Blumenthal's article and his 2019 book, The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (2019), is an impressive exercise in burying the lede.

Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel."

[Apr 18, 2019] LIVE Wikileaks editor-in-chief holds presser on new criminal case involving Julian Assange

Notable quotes:
"... Assange has exposed so much of the Obama and Clinton cabal that they and their henchman would try any means possible to not have him extradited. ..."
"... Bit hard to spy on corrupt world leaders without the internet. Pretty sure Moreno has his own set of enemies, since he's blackmailing or bankrolling everyone in his sight with the backing of Goldman Sachs. Also black kettle, that's the most surveilled building in the world inside and out. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Angelor Not , 1 week ago

Assange has exposed so much of the Obama and Clinton cabal that they and their henchman would try any means possible to not have him extradited.

fionnualaable , 1 week ago

(From a horrified and disgusted Brit) My highest regard for: - the 3 dedicated panelists; - those among the honest Spanish police mentioned; - the brave Ecuadorian journalists pursuing presidential corruption charges; and: - elements of the UN not yet become toothless tigers re basic human rights. I have little if any hope such moral fibre will prevail (or be ALLOWED to do so) in the UK. Corruption and blind stupidity seem to have gone too far here, as they have in the USA, and possibly also even in the remaining "5 eyes" countries. Iberia (Portuguese Guteras at UN) has a chance to triumph in justice over degenerate Anglo-Saxon increasingly dictatorship regimes. Will they triumph? We'll see. The whole world will see. And the world has many many more than a mere 5 eyes.

Driver Driver , 3 days ago (edited)

The new president of Ecuador is a real thief. A real crook.

A M , 6 days ago

It's disgusting how the governments behave as we've seen the truth in Wikileaks which remains correct and truth 100% of the time...that's what the governments are scared of..... the truth and transparency..... it shows them for what they are hypocrites and lairs......!!!

Hoomanna Dee , 1 week ago

Bit hard to spy on corrupt world leaders without the internet. Pretty sure Moreno has his own set of enemies, since he's blackmailing or bankrolling everyone in his sight with the backing of Goldman Sachs. Also black kettle, that's the most surveilled building in the world inside and out.

Asylees are not supposed to be treated like criminals, he's without charge. The US, Ecuador's current government and the UK are violating international law. And the press is an anemic mess. Our message to them: you're next.

All journalism utilises sources and those sources are entitled to protection. Not a grand jury. Not a supermax. Not torture.

ishant 7 , 4 days ago

In India we call these so called journalisfs as PRESSTITUTES

nick f , 1 day ago

The cockroaches dont like when the rock is lifted and we see them for what they are. Assange lifted the rock and now the cockroaches are out to get him.

Nassau Events , 2 days ago

It is not surprising that Equodoreian leader has failed the integrity of the country and the people of Equodoreian. The fact that Julian Assange had full asylum was granted to him with full protection, it proved the government before protected the souverign country and its citizens as a country which is respected and free from any kind of being a puppet or slave and master position. Assange' s case is extremely important but in the meantime the position of Equodoreian people are let down on the world platform of shame. The day the new leader left Equodoreian naked.

Needful Things Company , 6 days ago

This is so wrong! He needs to be protected. Unless they are bringing him to USA to testify against the Clinton/Obama crimes. We never would have found out anything of the corruption and take down of the USA if it were not for his investigating reporting! Because the crooks got caught and exposed they are trying to destroy him. He acted like a reporter or what they use to be like. Just like the Nixon days but they broke into files. Assange was given information. He was not the spy from what I can gather! They should be thanking him for exposing the crimes that have been going on!

[Apr 18, 2019] Wikileaks started as a Chinese dissident project which certainly had the support of the US military-intelligence complex. It quickly became something else,

Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

somebody , Apr 18, 2019 6:52:44 AM | link

@wisdombody | Apr 18, 2019 3:09:38 AM | 71

They are the hacker/security blackhat/whitehead scene.
Another example where the actions of the empire bite back.

To understand where they are coming from read Yasha Levine's Surveillance Valley

US Tech Companies have an extremely nice "inclusive" "open" "transparent" company culture. People who don't drink the kool aid can deal with it, people who are on the Asperger/Authism range can't. And these are the people extremely gifted for tech.

Basically US military and secret services believed that Western "Freedom" (TM) was such a powerful advantage in global competition that open anonymous systems connecting dissidents would work to their advantage. They forgot that some people can't do double think.

Wikileaks started as a Chinese dissident project which certainly had the support of the US military-intelligence complex. It quickly became something else, simply because the people working in the project believed the ideology behind it and could not see that what is right for a Chinese dissident against the Chinese state was not right for a US dissident against the US state.

With Julian Assange in Belmarsh prison, everything about "open society" "transparency" "free media" "supporting dissidents" is in dispute.

[Apr 18, 2019] Honest Government Ad on Julian Assange (hilarious video!)

Notable quotes:
"... "Authorized by the united bitches of america. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1efOs0BsE0g


worldblee on April 16, 2019 , · at 3:56 pm EST/EDT

That video is on fire! Good stuff!
Павел (Paul) on April 17, 2019 , · at 9:43 am EST/EDT
It is funny but the problem remains... I want to see serious hard hitting justice whatever it takes.
vot tak on April 17, 2019 , · at 8:28 pm EST/EDT
Oops, wrong "button".

Kruto.

"Authorized by the united bitches of america." Yeah, israel's bitches.

[Apr 17, 2019] Ecuador sells off Assange to US Ron Paul

It is unclear what danger WikiLeaks represents naw, as it probably was infiltrated. But publishing of Podesta emails and DNC files was really damaging to the Dems during 2016 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... "We have two foreign policies. We tell people what to do. And if they do it, we reward them. We give them a lot of money. If they don't, they're in for big trouble, they're liable to get bombed; we invade them, and there will be a coup," Dr. Paul said. ..."
"... "We find that Moreno, the president of Ecuador, did not do badly. He's been playing footsies with us, and gaining some money and he delivered, you know, after he became president – it's shame because the previous president the one that allowed or at least would at least Assange could be 'protected' to some degree," he stated. ..."
"... "The IMF has already delivered $4.2 billion to [Ecuador], and there's another six billion dollars in the pipeline for that," he said. ..."
Apr 17, 2019 | www.presstv.com

Dr. Paul, the founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, made the remarks on Monday while discussing the violent arrest of Assange by UK Metropolitan Police last week at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after the Moreno government cancelled his asylum.

The Australian whistleblower was arrested on behalf of the US on Thursday at the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he had been granted asylum since 2012.

Assange, 47, is wanted by the US government for publishing classified documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that were leaked by American whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Assange spent seven years at the Ecuadorian embassy before his arrest.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/HqPAwI4EmsU?rel=0

"We have two foreign policies. We tell people what to do. And if they do it, we reward them. We give them a lot of money. If they don't, they're in for big trouble, they're liable to get bombed; we invade them, and there will be a coup," Dr. Paul said.

"We find that Moreno, the president of Ecuador, did not do badly. He's been playing footsies with us, and gaining some money and he delivered, you know, after he became president – it's shame because the previous president the one that allowed or at least would at least Assange could be 'protected' to some degree," he stated.

"But he (Moreno) evidently is out form and now of course he has delivered him. And this might not be even all of that. This probably is official tool of ours to provide these funds," the analyst noted.

"The IMF has already delivered $4.2 billion to [Ecuador], and there's another six billion dollars in the pipeline for that," he said.

PressTV-Moreno: Assange used Ecuador's London Embassy for spying President Moreno claims the WikiLeaks founder tried to use Ecuador's Embassy in London for spying activities during his almost seven-year stay.

Moreno on Sunday accused Assange of trying to use Ecuador's embassy in London as a "center for spying," and said that the decision to strip the whistleblower of his political asylum followed "violations" of that status.

In an interview with The Guardian , Moreno defended his decision on the Assange case.

"It is unfortunate that, from our territory and with the permission of authorities of the previous government, facilities have been provided within the Ecuadoran Embassy in London to interfere in processes of other states," the president said.

[Apr 16, 2019] Ray on Why the Deep State Hates Julian Assange

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Saoirse , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT

http://raymcgovern.com/

Ray on Why the Deep State Hates Julian Assange

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump as a useful idiot of the Deep State

Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

If Trump pardoned Assange, I would consider that draining the swamp. But Orange Jewlius is a Deep State **** socket, so the swamp has grown to a lagoon

Anunnaki , 11 hours ago link

Jimmy Dore and Tucker Carlson nail it

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SnwC_1Pf9VQ

rtb61 , 12 hours ago link

Clearly the US government has zero respect for Australia, Australian Law or Australian citizens. The case is shite, else they would allow Assange to be deported to Australia and the extradition hearing to be heard there. They refuse because they know their case is shite and they would have to prove it in Australia before they could get extradition.

The USA is not an ally of Australia because it does not respect Australian law, not in the least. Prove US respect of Australians by deporting Assange to Australia and holding the extradition hearings there, else look as guilty as shite and never ever to be trusted by Australians.

OZZIDOWNUNDER , 9 hours ago link

The US Govt respects NOBODY but its own Interests. It's the Australian Govt that's complicit in this travesty of Nil justice. The Gutless Australian Govt has NO interest in helping Julian Assange because they were persuaded NOT to by their American masters. It hurts that your own Govt are total A$$holes & follow USA into Crimes with out question. The Australian Govt has a History of lip service only when assistance Overseas is required. **** them !

NYC80 , 13 hours ago link

Assange probably is a narcissist. So what? All the people criticizing him are, too. At least he's an honest narcissist. In everything he's published, not a single item has even been allegedly false. Can any of these other so-called "journalists" demonstrate that level of accuracy?

Ms No , 14 hours ago link

Here is a good article on Assange. Explains the cat. Things were okay for him under the real elected president of Ecuador, except no sunlight thanks to US spooks.

https://www.sott.net/article/411173-My-friend-Julian-Assange-Alicia-Castro-former-ambassador-for-Argentina

[Apr 16, 2019] Andrew O'Hagan Ghosting Julian Assange LRB 6 March 2014

Apr 16, 2019 | lrb.co.uk

There were two last visits. During the first I was led in by a new young assistant, Ethan, who was keen to agree with everything being said. Our conversation was mainly about Edward Snowden. There are few subjects on which Julian would be reluctant to take what you might call a paternalistic position, but over Snowden, whom he's never met but has chatted with and feels largely responsible for, he expressed a kind of irritable admiration. 'Just how good is he?' I asked.

'He's number nine,' he said.

'In the world? Among computer hackers? And where are you?'

'I'm number three.' He went on to say that he wondered whether Snowden was calm enough, intelligent enough, and added that he should have come to them for advice before fleeing to Hong Kong.

A fair reading of the situation might conclude, without prejudice, that Assange, like an ageing movie star, was a little put out by the global superstardom of Snowden. He has always cared too much about the fame and too much about the credit, while real relationships and real action often fade to nothing. Snowden was now the central hub and Julian was keen to help him and keen to be seen to be helping him. It's how the ego works and the ego always comes first. Snowden, while grateful for the advice and the comradeship, was meanwhile playing a cannier game than Julian. He was eager for credit, too, but behaving more subtly, more amiably, and playing with bigger secrets. Julian said he hoped that others, I took him to mean the Guardian and Glenn Greenwald, didn't claim too much credit for the flow of secrets. He said he wanted me to help him get a film going, an account of what actually happened in Hong Kong, how he helped Snowden. He said he had all the inside information and connections and it would make a fantastic thriller. We discussed it at length and I told him the way to get movie interest in such a thing was to get behind a big piece in Vanity Fair . He agreed and said he would set aside time to get down to it. But I knew he wouldn't. It was odd the way he spoke about Snowden, almost jealously, as if the younger man didn't quite understand what he was about, needing much more from Julian than he knew how to ask for. I recognised the familiar anxiety about non-influence: 'Snowden should have been with us from the beginning,' he said. 'He's flailing.' But they were now making up for lost time. As we spoke, Sarah was in Moscow Airport, where Snowden was being held without a passport. 'I sent Sarah over,' said Julian in his favourite mode. All he needed at that point was a white cat to stroke.

Snowden was everywhere in the news the last time I decided to drop in on Julian after I'd been out in his neighbourhood. The embassy was quiet. I brought a couple of bottles of beer up from the street and we sat in the dark room. It was a Friday night and Julian had never seemed more alone. We laughed a lot and then he went very deeply into himself. He drank his beer and then lifted mine and drank that. 'We've got some really historic things going on,' he said. Then he opened his laptop and the blue screen lit his face and he hardly noticed me leaving.

[Apr 15, 2019] 4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED Zero Hedge

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Myth #2: Assange Will Get a Fair Trial In the U.S.

14-year CIA officer John Kiriakou notes :

Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia -- the so-called "Espionage Court." That is just what many of us have feared. Remember, no national security defendant has ever been found not guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia . The Eastern District is also known as the "rocket docket" for the swiftness with which cases are heard and decided. Not ready to mount a defense? Need more time? Haven't received all of your discovery? Tough luck. See you in court.

I have long predicted that Assange would face Judge Leonie Brinkema were he to be charged in the Eastern District. Brinkema handled my case, as well as CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling's. She also has reserved the Ed Snowden case for herself. Brinkema is a hanging judge .

***

Brinkema gave me literally no chance to defend myself . At one point, while approaching trial, my attorneys filed 70 motions, asking that 70 classified documents be declassified so that I could use them to defend myself. I had no defense without them. We blocked off three days for the hearings. When we got to the courtroom, Brinkema said, "Let me save everybody a lot of time. I'm going to deny all 70 of these motions. You don't need any of this information to be declassified." The entire process took a minute. On the way out of the courtroom, I asked my lead attorney what had just happened. "We just lost the case. That's what happened. Now we talk about a plea."

My attorneys eventually negotiated a plea for 30 months in prison -- significantly below the 45 years that the Justice Department had initially sought. The plea was something called an 11-C1C plea; it was written in stone and could not be changed by the judge. She could either take it or leave it. She took it, but not after telling me to rise, pointing her finger at me, and saying, "Mr. Kiriakou, I hate this plea. I've been a judge since 1986 and I've never had an 11C1C. If I could, I would give you ten years." Her comments were inappropriate and my attorneys filed an ethics complaint against her. But that's Brinkema. That's who she is.

Julian Assange doesn't have a prayer of a fair trial in the Eastern District of Virginia.

[Apr 15, 2019] Julian Assange Is Guilty Of Only One Thing: Revealing The Evil Soul Of US Imperialism

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Assange's arrest represents an abuse of power, highlighting not only how true journalism has now been banished in the West, but also how politicians, journalists, news agencies and think-tanks collude with each other to silence people

[Apr 15, 2019] We have confirmation of" Obama's administration supporting, not fighting terrorism, Patrushev explained. Changing this policy is essential for improving Russian/US relations.

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Justin Case , 50 minutes ago link

Washington recklessly accuses Russia and China of hacking while providing no evidence backing its claims.

At the same time, it's silent about most Internet servers located in America, facilitating its espionage, including hacking to obtain unauthorized data. Washington rules mandate doing what "we" say, not what "we" do.

Russian Security Council secretary explained the problem, saying "(w)e have been fixing growing attempts from external forces to damage Russian information systems. Those are cases of hacking, and also unauthorized collection of data."

"This is done with active involvement of global operators and providers, and the methods used are constantly evolving."

"For example, the Obama administration groundlessly accuses Russia of hacking attacks, deliberately ignoring the fact that most Internet servers are located inside the US, and are used by Washington for spying and other purposes aimed at protecting that country's dominant position in the world."

Patrushev hopes Trump will change things responsibly, Moscow and Washington cooperating in combating terrorism instead of pursuing opposite objectives for so long.

"We have confirmation of" Obama's administration supporting, not fighting terrorism, Patrushev explained. Changing this policy is essential for improving Russian/US relations.

If Trump governs responsibly, Moscow welcomes an ally in counterterrorism activities, information security, trade and other areas of mutual interest.

If Trump wants improved ties, "we will be ready to resume full-format consultations with US partners of the Russian Security Council," Patrushev explained.

"The Obama administration sought domina(nce) (internationally, its policies amounting to) reckless schemes."

"Unfriendly actions (violating) international law resulted in a frenzy of terrorism (causing) humanitarian disasters in certain states and regions."

Does Trump intend changing things or continuing Obama's reckless agenda? Will he wage endless wars or responsibly work with Russia and other nations in resolving ongoing ones?

Aussiestirrer , 1 hour ago link

The headline sums up western hypocricy aptly

Justin Case , 50 minutes ago link

Exactly. " keep democracy safe" while supporting the erection of a Gov't by coup for Venezuelans. He's talking out of both sides of his mouth the hypocrite.

Russian interference in elections. LOL

pinkfloyd , 44 minutes ago link

you said erection...tee hee,

Fluff The Cat , 1 hour ago link

Wait, let me guess... another pro-Zionist sell-out harping on about how evil Russia is. Am I right?

[Apr 14, 2019] You could not get a more sinister confluence of political fraudsters by Michael Tracey

Notable quotes:
"... Assange accomplished more in 2010 alone than any of his preening media antagonists will in their entire lifetime, combined. Your feelings about him as a person do not matter. He could be the scummiest human on the face of Earth, and it would not detract from the fact that he has brought revelatory information to public that would otherwise have been concealed. He has shone light on some of the most powerful political factions not just in the US, but around the world. This will remain true regardless of whether Trump capitulates to the 'Deep State' and goes along with this utterly chilling, free speech-undermining prosecution. ..."
"... My support was based on the fact that Assange had devised a novel way to hold powerful figures to account, whose nefarious conduct would otherwise go unexamined but for the methods he pioneered. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | spectator.us

The nine-year gap – long after Manning had been charged, found guilty, and released from prison – suggests that there is something ulterior going on here. The offenses outlined in the indictment are on extraordinarily weak legal footing. Part of the criminal 'conspiracy,' prosecutors allege, is that Assange sought to protect Manning as a source and encouraged her to provide government records in the public interest.

This is standard journalistic practice.

And it is now being criminalized by the Trump DoJ, while liberals celebrate from the sidelines – eager to join hands with the likes of Mike Pompeo and Lindsey Graham. You could not get a more sinister confluence of political fraudsters.

They – meaning most Democrats – will never get over their grudge against Assange for having dared to expose the corruption of America's ruling party in 2016, which they believed help deprive their beloved Hillary of her rightful ascension to the presidential throne. Once again, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is among the few exceptions.

The DNC and Podesta email releases, now distilled reductively into the term 'Russian interference,' contained multitudinous newsworthy revelations, as evidenced by the fact that virtually the entire US media reported on them. (Here, feel free to refresh your memory on this as well.) But for no reason other than pure partisan score-settling, elite liberals are willing to toss aside any consideration for the dire First Amendment implications of Assange's arrest and cry out with joy that this man they regard as innately evil has finally been ensnared by the punitive might of the American carceral state.

Trump supporters and Trump himself also look downright foolish. It takes about two seconds to Google all the instances in which Trump glowingly touted WikiLeaks on the 2016 campaign trail. 'I love WikiLeaks!' he famously proclaimed on October 10, 2016 in Wilkes-Barre, Penn.

Presumably this expression of 'love' was indication that Trump viewed WikiLeaks as providing a public service. If not, perhaps some intrepid reporter can ask precisely what his 'love' entailed. He can pretend all he wants now that he's totally oblivious to WikiLeaks, but it was Trump himself who relayed that he was contemporaneously reading the Podesta emails in October 2016, and reveling in all their newsworthiness. If he wanted, he could obviously intercede and prevent any unjust prosecution of Assange. Trump has certainly seen fit to complain publicly about all matter of other inconvenient Justice Department activity, especially as it pertained to him or his family members and associates. But now he's acting as though he's never heard of WikiLeaks, which is just pitiful: not a soul believes it, even his most ardent supporters.

Sean Hannity became one of Assange's biggest fans in 2016 and 2017, effusively lavishing him with praise and even visiting him in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for an exclusive interview. One wonders whether Hannity, who reportedly speaks to his best buddy Trump every night before bedtime, will counsel a different course on this matter. There's also the question of whether Trump's most vehement online advocates, who largely have become stalwart defenders of WikiLeaks, will put their money where their mouth is and condition their continued support on Assange not being depredated by the American prison system.

Assange accomplished more in 2010 alone than any of his preening media antagonists will in their entire lifetime, combined. Your feelings about him as a person do not matter. He could be the scummiest human on the face of Earth, and it would not detract from the fact that he has brought revelatory information to public that would otherwise have been concealed. He has shone light on some of the most powerful political factions not just in the US, but around the world. This will remain true regardless of whether Trump capitulates to the 'Deep State' and goes along with this utterly chilling, free speech-undermining prosecution.

I personally have supported Assange since I started in journalism, nine years ago, not because I had any special affinity for the man himself (although the radical transparency philosophy he espoused was definitely compelling). My support was based on the fact that Assange had devised a novel way to hold powerful figures to account, whose nefarious conduct would otherwise go unexamined but for the methods he pioneered. As thanks, he was holed up in a tiny embassy for nearly seven years – until yesterday, when they hauled him out ignominiously to face charges in what will likely turn out to be a political show trial. Donald Trump has the ability to stop this, but almost certainly won't. And that's all you need to know about him.

[Apr 14, 2019] Edward Snowden: Surveillance Is About Power

Now a lot of unpleasant question arise for Trump administration. Assange case is rather difficult to handle without spilling the beans.
Apr 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

wayfarer , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:47 pm GMT

"Edward Snowden: Surveillance Is About Power."
https://www.youtube.com/embed/RSc_IlFBWkw?feature=oembed
jim jones , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:54 pm GMT
The Assange arrest has strengthened my resolve never to vote Conservative again
Agent76 , says: April 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm GMT
@wayfarer Good share wayfarer. January 10, 2014 *500* Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent *It's Never to Protect Us From Bad Guys*

No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/500-years-of-history-shows-that-mass-spying-is-always-aimed-at-crushing-dissent/5364462

[Apr 14, 2019] Assange rendition might backfire for Trump administration

Vindictiveness not always play in the vindictive party favour.
You may love Assange you may hate Assange for his WikiLeaks revelation (And Vault 7 was a real bombshell), but it is clear that it will cost Trump some reputation out of tini share that still left, especially in view of Trump declaration "I love Wikileaks"
Apr 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

For seven years, we have had to listen to a chorus of journalists, politicians and "experts" telling us that Assange was nothing more than a fugitive from justice, and that the British and Swedish legal systems could be relied on to handle his case in full accordance with the law. Barely a "mainstream" voice was raised in his defence in all that time.

... ... ...

The political and media establishment ignored the mounting evidence of a secret grand jury in Virginia formulating charges against Assange, and ridiculed Wikileaks' concerns that the Swedish case might be cover for a more sinister attempt by the US to extradite Assange and lock him away in a high-security prison, as had happened to whistleblower Chelsea Manning.

... ... ...

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No "mainstream" journalist or politician thought this significant either.

... ... ...

They turned a blind eye to the news that, after refusing to question Assange in the UK, Swedish prosecutors had decided to quietly drop the case against him in 2015. Sweden had kept the decision under wraps for more than two years.

... ... ...

Most of the other documents relating to these conversations were unavailable. They had been destroyed by the UK's Crown Prosecution Service in violation of protocol. But no one in the political and media establishment cared, of course.

Similarly, they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden. They told us -- apparently in all seriousness -- that he had to be arrested for his bail infraction, something that would normally be dealt with by a fine.

... ... ...

This was never about Sweden or bail violations, or even about the discredited Russiagate narrative, as anyone who was paying the vaguest attention should have been able to work out. It was about the US Deep State doing everything in its power to crush Wikileaks and make an example of its founder.

It was about making sure there would never again be a leak like that of Collateral Murder, the military video released by Wikileaks in 2007 that showed US soldiers celebrating as they murdered Iraqi civilians. It was about making sure there would never again be a dump of US diplomatic cables, like those released in 2010 that revealed the secret machinations of the US empire to dominate the planet whatever the cost in human rights violations.

Now the pretence is over. The British police invaded the diplomatic territory of Ecuador -- invited in by Ecuador after it tore up Assange's asylum status -- to smuggle him off to jail. Two vassal states cooperating to do the bidding of the US empire. The arrest was not to help two women in Sweden or to enforce a minor bail infraction.

No, the British authorities were acting on an extradition warrant from the US. And the charges the US authorities have concocted relate to Wikileaks' earliest work exposing the US military's war crimes in Iraq -- the stuff that we all once agreed was in the public interest, that British and US media clamoured to publish themselves.

Still the media and political class is turning a blind eye. Where is the outrage at the lies we have been served up for these past seven years? Where is the contrition at having been gulled for so long? Where is the fury at the most basic press freedom -- the right to publish -- being trashed to silence Assange? Where is the willingness finally to speak up in Assange's defence?

It's not there. There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive -- even gently mocking -- reporting of Assange's fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn't care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today's kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don't care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don't want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Now they will spin us a whole new set of deceptions and distractions about Assange to keep us anaesthetised, to keep us from being incensed as our rights are whittled away, and to prevent us from realising that Assange's rights and our own are indivisible. We stand or fall together.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net .


anonymous [340] • Disclaimer , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:41 am GMT

Thank you.

This should be an uncomfortable time for the “journalists” of the Establishment. Very few will speak up as does Mr. Cook. Watch how little is said about the recent Manning re-imprisonment to sweat out grand jury testimony. Things may have grown so craven that we’ll even see efforts to revoke Mr. Assange’s awards.

This is also a good column for us to share with those people who just might want not to play along with the lies that define Exceptionalia.

Digital Samizdat , says: April 12, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT

… from the moment Julian Assange first sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, they have been telling us we were wrong, that we were paranoid conspiracy theorists. We were told there was no real threat of Assange’s extradition to the United States, that it was all in our fevered imaginations.

It all reminds me of Rod Dreher’s Law of Merited Impossibility: “That’ll never happen. And when it does , boy won’t you deserve it!”

Equally, they ignored the fact that Assange had been given diplomatic status by Ecuador, as well as Ecuadorean citizenship. Britain was obligated to allow him to leave the embassy, using his diplomatic immunity, to travel unhindered to Ecuador. No “mainstream” journalist or politician thought this significant either.

Why would they? They don’t even recognize diplomatic status for heads of state who get in their way! Remember what they did to President Evo Morales of Bolivia back when he was threatening to grant asylum to Ed Snowden? Here’s a refresher:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales_grounding_incident

Any way you slice, this is a sad for liberty.

Carlton Meyer , says: • Website April 13, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
From my blog:

Apr 13, 2019 – Julian Assange

People who just watch corporate media think Julian Assange is a bad guy who deserves life in prison, except those who watch the great Tucker Carlson. Watch his recent show where he explains why our corporate media and political class hate Assange.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZE7OfU71Sbk?feature=oembed

He is charged with encouraging Army Private Chelsea Manning to send him embarrassing information, specifically this video of a US Army Apache helicopter gunning down civilians in broad daylight in Baghdad.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/25EWUUBjPMo?feature=oembed

But there is no proof of this, and Manning has repeatedly said he never communicated to Assange about anything. Manning got eight years in prison for this crime; the Apache pilots were never charged. and now they want to hang Assange for exposing a war crime. I have recommend this great 2016 interview twice, where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the “Clinton Crime Family.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

The Alarmist , says: April 13, 2019 at 5:01 am GMT

“… they ignored the fact that Assange was forced to hole up for years in the embassy, under the most intense form of house arrest, even though he no longer had a case to answer in Sweden.”

Meh! Assange should have walked out the door of the embassy years ago. He might have ended up in the same place, but he could have seized the moral high ground by seeking asylum in Britain for fear of the death penalty in the US, which was a credible fear given public comments by various US officials. By rotting away in the Ecuadorian embassy, be greatly diminished any credibility he might have had to turn the UK judicial system inside out to his favour. Now he’s just a creepy looking bail jumper who flung faeces against the wall, rather than being a persecuted journalist.

Endgame Napoleon , says: April 13, 2019 at 6:14 am GMT
@Johnny Rottenborough Millionaire politicians on both sides of the political fence get very emotional about anything that impacts their own privacy & safety and the privacy & safety of their kin, while ignoring the issues that jeopardize the privacy & safety of ordinary voters. While corporate-owned politicians get a lot out of this game, ordinary voters who have never had less in the way of Fourth Amendment privacy rights, and whose First Amendment rights are quickly shrinking to the size of Assange’s, do not get the consolation of riches without risk granted to bought-off politicians in this era’s pay-to-play version of democracy. It’s a lose / lose for average voters.
Tom Welsh , says: April 13, 2019 at 9:31 am GMT
Mr Cook’s criticism of the mainstream media (MSM) is absolutely justified.

It seems to me that their hatred of Mr Assange reflects the unfortunate fact that, while he is a real journalist, they actually aren’t. Instead, they are stenographers for power: what Paul Craig Roberts calls “presstitutes” (a very happy coinage which exactly hits the bull’s eye).

The difference is that real journalists, like Mr Assange, Mr Roberts and Mr Cook, are mainly motivated by the search for objective truth – which they then publish, as far as they are able.

Whereas those people who go by the spurious names of “journalist”, “reporter”, “editor”, etc. are motivated by the desire to go on earning their salaries, and to gain promotion and “distinction” in society. (Sad but true: social distinction is often gained by performing acts of dishonesty and downright wickedness).

Here are some interesting quotations that cast some light on this disheartening state of affairs. If you look carefully at their dates you may be surprised to find that nothing has changed very much since the mid-19th century.

‘Marr: “How can you know that I’m self-censoring? How can you know that journalists are…”

‘Chomsky: “I’m not saying you’re self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believed something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting”’.

– Transcript of interview between Noam Chomsky and Andrew Marr (Feb. 14, 1996) https://scratchindog.blogspot.com/2015/07/transcript-of-interview-between-noam.html

‘If something goes wrong with the government, a free press will ferret it out and it will get fixed. But if something goes wrong with our free press, the country will go straight to hell’.

– I. F. Stone (as reported by his son Dr Jeremy J Stone) http://russia-insider.com/en/media-criticism/hey-corporate-media-glenn-greenwald-video-can-teach-you-what-real-journalism/ri6669

‘There is no such a thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You are all slaves. You know it, and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express an honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, I would be like Othello before twenty-four hours: my occupation would be gone. The man who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting for another job. The business of a New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread, or for what is about the same — his salary. You know this, and I know it; and what foolery to be toasting an “Independent Press”! We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping-jacks. They pull the string and we dance. Our time, our talents, our lives, our possibilities, are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes’.

– John Swinton (1829–1901), Scottish-American journalist, newspaper publisher, and orator. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Swinton http://www.rense.com/general20/yes.htm

‘The press today is an army with carefully organized arms and branches, with journalists as officers, and readers as soldiers. But here, as in every army, the soldier obeys blindly, and war-aims and operation-plans change without his knowledge. The reader neither knows, nor is allowed to know, the purposes for which he is used, nor even the role that he is to play. A more appalling caricature of freedom of thought cannot be imagined. Formerly a man did not dare to think freely. Now he dares, but cannot; his will to think is only a willingness to think to order, and this is what he feels as his liberty’.

– Oswald Spengler, “The Decline of the West” Vol. II, trans. C.F. Atkinson (1928), p. 462

‘How do wars start? Wars start when politicians lie to journalists, then believe what they read in the press’.

– Karl Kraus, “Through Western Eyes – Russia Misconstrued” http://www.hellevig.net/ebook/Putin’s%20new%20Russia.pdf

And finally, two quotations from classic novels which go to the heart of the matter.

‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it’.

– Upton Sinclair

‘Sometimes a man wants to be stupid if it lets him do a thing his cleverness forbids’.

– John Steinbeck (“East of Eden”)

UncommonGround , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:13 am GMT
Very good article. There is one point that I would like to make: Assange asked for asyl before he went to the embassy of Ecuador and Ecuador gave him asylum. This meant that they had an obligation to protect him. It’s really unbeliavable that a country gives asylum to someone and half way tells that they have changed their mind and will let the person be arrested. ” We told you you would be safe with us, but now we just changed our mind”. Assange also became a citizen of Ecuador and this possibly means that Ecuador couldn’t have let him been arrested in their embassy by the police of another country without a process against him in Ecuador and without him having the right to defend himself in a court. Many countries don’t extradit their citizens to other countries.

Another remark. For years there were uncountable articles about Assange in The Guardian. Those articles were read by many people and got really many comments. There were very fierce discussions about him with thousends of comments. With time The Guardian turned decisively against him and published articles againt him. There were people there who seemed to hate him. In the last days there were again many articles about him. They pronounce themselves discretely against his extradition to the US even if showing themselves to be critical of him as if trying to justify their years of attacks against him. But one detail: I didn’t find even one article in The Guardian where you can comment the case. Today for instance you can comment an article by Gaby Hinsliff about Kim Kardashian. Marina Hyde talks in an article about washing her hair (whatever else she wants to say, with 2831 comments at this moment). But you don’t find any article about Assange that you can comment. 10 or 8 or 5 years ago there were hundreds of articles about him that you could comment.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 13, 2019 at 10:59 am GMT
The game afoot here is obvious.

https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/04/03/ecuador-next-venezuela/

Pressure relief

Tsar Nicholas , says: April 13, 2019 at 11:38 am GMT
@Art

UK PM May said about Assange – “no one is above the law” – proving she is a weak sister without a clue.

No one is above the law except the British government, which ignored the provisions of the EU Withdrawal Act requiring us to leave on March 29th.

No one is above the law except for the US and the UK which have illegally deployed forces to Syria against the wishes of the government in Damascus.

And Tony Blair, a million dead thanks to his corruption. He should be doing time in a Gulag for his evil crimes.

And of course, the black MP for Peterborough – Fiona Onasanya – served a mere three weeks in jail for perverting the course of justice, normally regarded as a very serious offence. But she was out in time – electronic tag and curfew notwithstanding – to vote in the House of Commons against leaving the EU.

[Apr 12, 2019] Did Max Boot and Commentary Magazine Lie About Edward Snowden You Decide by Glenn Greenwald

Notable quotes:
"... It is literally the supreme act of projection for Max Boot to accuse anyone of lacking courage, as this particular think tank warmonger is the living, breathing personification of the unique strain of American neocon cowardice . Unlike Snowden -- who sacrificed his liberty and unraveled his life in pursuit of his beliefs -- the 45-year-old Boot has spent most of his adult life advocating for one war after the next, but always wanting to send his fellow citizens of his generation to die in them, while he hides in the comfort of Washington think tanks, never fighting them himself. ..."
"... All of that is just garden-variety neocon cowardice, and it's of course grotesque to watch someone like this call someone else a coward. ..."
"... It's not surprising that someone whose entire adult life is shaped by extreme cowardice would want to accuse others of lacking courage, as it distracts attention away from oneself and provides the comfort of company. Nor is it surprising that government-loyal journalists spew outright falsehoods to smear whistleblowers. But even neocon rags like Commentary shouldn't be able to get away with this level of blatant lying. ..."
"... Being a neocon coward means never having to admit error. ..."
Jun 05, 2015 | theintercept.com

In the neocon journal Commentary , Max Boot today complains that the New York Times published an op-ed by Edward Snowden . Boot's objection rests on his accusation that the NSA whistleblower is actually a "traitor." In objecting, Boot made these claims:

Oddly enough nowhere in his article -- which is datelined Moscow -- does he mention the surveillance apparatus of his host, Vladimir Putin , which far exceeds in scope anything created by any Western country. . . .That would be the same FSB that has taken Snowden into its bosom as it has previously done (in its earlier incarnation as the KGB) with previous turncoats such as Kim Philby. . . .

But of course Ed Snowden is not courageous enough, or stupid enough, to criticize the dictatorship that he has defected to. It's much easier and safer to criticize the country he betrayed from behind the protection provided by the FSB's thugs. The only mystery is why the Times is giving this traitor a platform.

It is literally the supreme act of projection for Max Boot to accuse anyone of lacking courage, as this particular think tank warmonger is the living, breathing personification of the unique strain of American neocon cowardice . Unlike Snowden -- who sacrificed his liberty and unraveled his life in pursuit of his beliefs -- the 45-year-old Boot has spent most of his adult life advocating for one war after the next, but always wanting to send his fellow citizens of his generation to die in them, while he hides in the comfort of Washington think tanks, never fighting them himself.

All of that is just garden-variety neocon cowardice, and it's of course grotesque to watch someone like this call someone else a coward. But it's so much worse if he lies when doing so. Did he do so here? You decide. From Snowden's NYT op-ed today:

Basic technical safeguards such as encryption -- once considered esoteric and unnecessary -- are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private. Such structural technological changes can ensure access to basic privacies beyond borders, insulating ordinary citizens from the arbitrary passage of anti­ privacy laws, such as those now descending upon Russia.

The meaning of that passage -- criticisms of Russia's attack on privacy -- is so clear and glaring that it caused even Time magazine to publish this today :

The first sentence of Time 's article: "Former CIA officer and NSA contractor Ed Snowden has taken a surprising swing at his new home, accusing Russia of 'arbitrarily passing' new anti-privacy laws ." In other words, in the very op-ed to which Boot objects, Snowden did exactly that which Boot accused him of lacking the courage to do: "criticize" the country that has given him asylum.

This is far from the first time Snowden has done exactly that which the Tough and Swaggering Think Tank Warrior proclaimed Snowden would never do. In April, 2014, Snowden wrote an op-ed in The Guardian under this headline:

With Max Boot's above-printed accusations in mind, just re-read that. Did Boot lie? To pose the question is to answer it. Here's part of what Snowden wrote in that op-ed:

On Thursday, I questioned Russia's involvement in mass surveillance on live television. . . . I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified. . . . In his response, Putin denied the first part of the question and dodged on the latter. There are serious inconsistencies in his denial.

In countless speeches, Snowden has said much the same thing: that Russian spying is a serious problem that needs investigation and reform, and that Putin's denials are not credible. Boot simply lied about Snowden.

It's not surprising that someone whose entire adult life is shaped by extreme cowardice would want to accuse others of lacking courage, as it distracts attention away from oneself and provides the comfort of company. Nor is it surprising that government-loyal journalists spew outright falsehoods to smear whistleblowers. But even neocon rags like Commentary shouldn't be able to get away with this level of blatant lying.

UPDATE : In typical neocon fashion, Boot first replies by minimizing his own error to a mere innocent oversight, and implying that only hysteria could cause anyone to find what he did to be problematic. Even then, the facts negate his self-justification. But then he says he was actually right all along and his "point stands":

Being a neocon coward means never having to admit error.

[Apr 12, 2019] Met Police Arrests Julian Assange

Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

SteveK9 , Apr 11, 2019 8:29:52 AM | link

With Bolsanaro in charge in Brazil, Glenn Greenwald could be next. Something I am sure he is very aware. It's also curious that no more of Snowden's documents have been published. I've wondered if they have threatened Greenwald and he is withholding the information, to keep himself out of some dungeon somewhere.

Russ , Apr 11, 2019 8:37:22 AM | link

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 11, 2019 8:29:52 AM | 33

"I've wondered if they have threatened Greenwald and he is withholding the information, to keep himself out of some dungeon somewhere."

No one needs to threaten Greenwald to get him to withhold information. He withholds out of elitist conviction. In his way he's just as much of an elite gatekeeper as anyone at any MSM outlet. (And really an outfit like the Intercept is just a thinly veiled extension of the MSM.)

It's amazing how for many people, even going to work for a predatory billionaire as Greenwald has, or collaborating as part of that billionaire's project as Snowden has, doesn't automatically peg one as a system stooge.

Cynica , Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

vk , Apr 11, 2019 8:39:08 AM | link
The best Assange can hope for, after the judicial process ran its course, is a pardon by the president of the United States.

Which, whoever will be, will be the smart thing to do if he/she wants to keep America's soft power from continuing to bleed out.

GeorgeSmiley , Apr 11, 2019 8:46:18 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

Posted by: Cynica | Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | 35


This WILL NOT happen. Greenwald, his billionaire backer (who owns the docs technically as crazy as that sounds) and his website are all an example of the "acceptable" counter narrative. Greenwald should deserve no respect, he chose money and fame over integrity. That much has become clear. I think the same of Scahill and a few others, though I hear little from him now.

Sad days. Money will buy a LOT of people. Even those we believe it won't as they are "principled" or once carried conviction . Hell, I imagine most of us are vulnerable to that as well.

Cynica , Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

vk , Apr 11, 2019 8:39:08 AM | link
The best Assange can hope for, after the judicial process ran its course, is a pardon by the president of the United States.

Which, whoever will be, will be the smart thing to do if he/she wants to keep America's soft power from continuing to bleed out.

GeorgeSmiley , Apr 11, 2019 8:46:18 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

Posted by: Cynica | Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | 35


This WILL NOT happen. Greenwald, his billionaire backer (who owns the docs technically as crazy as that sounds) and his website are all an example of the "acceptable" counter narrative. Greenwald should deserve no respect, he chose money and fame over integrity. That much has become clear. I think the same of Scahill and a few others, though I hear little from him now.

Sad days. Money will buy a LOT of people. Even those we believe it won't as they are "principled" or once carried conviction . Hell, I imagine most of us are vulnerable to that as well.

arby , Apr 11, 2019 8:47:14 AM | link
It's amazing how for many people, even going to work for a predatory billionaire as Greenwald has, or collaborating as part of that billionaire's project as Snowden has, doesn't automatically peg one as a system stooge.

Posted by: Russ | Apr 11, 2019 8:37:22 AM | 34

I don't know. I still read Greenwald on twitter. You just have to pick through where he is dancing on a thin line and in some places openly speaking truth.
Pretty hard to live on next to nothing and get heard and also enjoy a bit of life as well.
Obviously he is getting paid very well but I don't see him as a MSM stooge and propagandist.
I don't bother with the intercept.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 11, 2019 8:49:21 AM | link
I doubt that Trump will have to intervene. If we cast our minds back to David Hicks and Chelsea Manning, the Yanks wanted both of them to rot in jail for Eternity but 'time served' for both was considerably less. There was also a swarthy, savvy, well-educated bespectacled Brit picked up about the same time as Hicks. I've forgotten his name but he was released in response to strident demands from UK.gov. Ozzies were very pissed off with the Liberal Govt for not following UK.gov's example re David Hicks.

Superficially, at least, it seems that the US is happy to 'prove' its relentless invincibility, to as wide an audience as possible, when pursuing The AmeriKKKan Way regarding certain 'evildoers' and then going back to sleep.

If there's a short-term bright note to this story it's the fact that Scum Mo announced the start of Oz Federal Election campaign yesterday and Assange will become an election issue. Scum Mo's Liberals are already in deep doodoo with the electorate for delaying the Banking Royal Commission for almost 2 years. The RC found that all of the big banks and other financial institutions had been engaged in widespread deception, theft and fraudulent behavior. The Royal Commission was given a limited time to produce a report and did NOT set up a compensation body or procedure for the tens of thousands of victims of bank malfeasance.
So Scum Mo will be tempted to grow a pair and demand that Trump send Assange back to Oz because the Libs were going to be toast anyway and Saving Julian might help some people to forget what greedy dishonest assholes the Libs are.

Ghost Ship , Apr 11, 2019 8:53:04 AM | link
I'm not sure Assange will end up in solitary in a U.S. Supermax prison as many so-called progressive Clintonists are hoping and gloating over. From memory the ECHR regards solitary as torture particularly over long periods and the United Kingdom judiciary (who will make the decision) have an established policy of not extraditing prisoners who will be tortured. So, my assessment is, he will be extradited once the US DoJ has given assurances he will not be held in solitary, but it will be a very sad day for press freedom in the United Kingdom.
Russ , Apr 11, 2019 8:58:29 AM | link
Posted by: arby | Apr 11, 2019 8:47:14 AM | 38

"Pretty hard to live on next to nothing and get heard and also enjoy a bit of life as well."

I've heard about the lavish "next to nothing" Greenwald lives on. Doesn't quite sound the same as my next-to-nothing. As for getting heard, that's mathematical: There's an direct relationship between one's utility to the empire and how much one "gets heard".

In this case, Greenwald collaborated with the NYT, WaPo and Guardian to curate Snowden's alleged trove (which stopped appearing at all long before it was supposed to be exhausted), in order to release heavily censored portions in a form these MSM elitists judged was suitable for the people to see.

The basic message, which Snowden himself also has spewed in many speeches, is that the Deep State is basically good, and certainly necessary, it just has committed some abuses and needs "reform" and "oversight".

That's Greenwald's #1 service for the empire so far, to be the lead man in co-opting the whole Wikileaks-whistleblower movement, since so many people are so interested in "leaks" (even though they never tell us anything we didn't already know from plain sight).

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 9:11:08 AM | link
There we have it! Extradition will (most likely) occur..

Assange indicted over 'conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in 2010' – DOJ statement
https://www.rt.com/usa/456244-assange-manning-us-indictment/

Josh , Apr 11, 2019 9:18:26 AM | link
We do all hope that Assange's arrest will motivate all those with access to other incriminating data to release those, via Wikileaks or other. The first comment here accurately describes it: (the UK and) the US - and let's add the whole silly 'five eyes' and western front - has become the new Soviet Union. Roles have reversed; it's not about ideology but about power structure.
Here's for Assange to become the Sakharov of our time. However, that would mean we foster the hope or expect that our western hemisphere could birth a Gorbachev-type idealist who can attain power long enough to destroy the power base.
Christian J Chuba , Apr 11, 2019 9:57:12 AM | link
Reading the user comments on Assange's arrest in the 'Washington Post' story, all I can say is that we in the U.S. are a bunch of jingoistic morons. We are exceptionally narcissistic and small minded.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/wikileakss-julian-assange-evicted-from-ecuador-embassy-in-london/2019/04/11/1bd87b58-8f5f-11e8-ae59-01880eac5f1d_story.html?utm_term=.82cc871b70df

Barovsky , Apr 11, 2019 10:22:46 AM | link
I had a feeling this would be the tack the USG would take. Stops them getting tangled up with issues around the 1st Amendment:

WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy
https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/wikileaks-founder-charged-computer-hacking-conspiracy

WJ , Apr 11, 2019 10:23:00 AM | link
Russ @43,

Indeed. It's almost as if the Snowden--Greenwald affair were an intended or at least foreseen and allowed limited hangout operation one aim of which was to discredit the "irresponsible" leaking of Assange while establishing Greenwald as paradigm for all correct left-libertarian critiques of the US.

On the other hand, if the Snowden--Greenwald *were* simply a limited hangout thing, then it was far more successfully and realistically contrived than most of our current very mediocre intelligence agency operations have been. The rush to apprehend Snowden en route to Central America, the forced detainment of Greenwald's partner in the UK, the MI5-6 destruction of the Guardian servers and subsequent takeover of the newspaper...all these events really happened and clearly were much more serious endeavors than the obvious staged operations like Steele, Russiagate, Skripal which followed after.

So I think that the Snowden--gGreenwald---Poitras thing started as genuine and then was subsequently coopted and controlled via Greenwald and Omidar's Intercept. What I don't know is whether Greenwald entered the Snowden affair already coopted or whether he became so willingly sometime later. For lots of people like Greenwald--achievement oriented, desirous of public fame and respect, interested in obtaining personal wealth and stability--a very "soft" touch is all that's needed by our intelligence ops to arrive at an understanding between them.

Walter , Apr 11, 2019 10:43:37 AM | link
If one were to change the calendar to 1938 or so, and the names to Goebbels et al, one would recognize the character of the criminals.
This is a typical nazi "action" against people who have failed to conceal evidence of major war crimes. Their "crime" is reporting crime.

One sees clearly where the heart of the nazi has always been> and an interesting paper on this @ http://katehon.com/article/hub-world-evil-british-deep-state

The German nazis were curated by CoL and Wall-Street bankers to ruin USSR and loot Russia. As we see this remains a basic, essential, nazi goal of the Anglo-Saxon nazi heartland, er. "Heimat" - England and their servile willing US accomplices.


WJ , Apr 11, 2019 10:50:43 AM | link
apanaz @63,

Alas, states use propaganda for a reason. It works.

Jackrabbit , Apr 11, 2019 11:03:31 AM | link
The real Iraq War criminals are free.

- Madeline Albright: "We think it's worth it" to kill 500,000 children.
- Bush Admin and neocons lied to start the war a war that cost trillions of dollars wasted; thousands of deaths
- Multiple grievous human rights abuses now engraved in memory: Abu Grave; Faluja; Rendition and Torture; Guantanamo, etc.

And the same lousy criminal asshats brought us the Afghanistan debacle, color revolutions, and the Syrian Jihadi proxy war.

As long as the real criminals walk free, they will continue to drive their criminal agenda.

Circe , Apr 11, 2019 11:09:57 AM | link
In the indictment, the government alleges that Assange worked with Chelsea Manning to obtain classified documents. Prosecutors say that Manning accessed classified government files, provided them to Assange, and later worked with Assange in an attempt to crack the password of a classified government network.

The indictment outlines communications between Manning and Assange from the spring of 2010. WikiLeaks later released a major cache of State Department cables, and

Prosecutors also argue that Assange actively encouraged Manning to access files, at one point saying, "curious eyes never run dry in my experience."

Currently, the only charge Assange faces is one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. The maximum penalty for the violation is five years in prison, but the government could bring additional charges against Assange at a later date.

Assange indictment hacking conspiracy

Trump was pissed Obama commuted Manning's sentence. Now he's after two birds with one stone.

bSirius , Apr 11, 2019 11:25:02 AM | link
A friend of mine is a retired intelligence asset. What he has to say may upset lots of you. So be it. Everyone wants heroes but others say no more heroes anymore.

WikiLeaks is accused of releasing the DNC mails via a Russian hack but the Wikileaks organization denies Russia was the source yet declines to offer proof, allowing the false perception to persevere. Why does Wikileaks persevere in concealing the otherwise well known fact it was the assassinated Seth Rich leaked the DNC mails? Is it because Assange's currency as an intelligence agency asset isn't yet entirely exhausted?

Possibility 1) As stated at this website previously, the point of charging Assange with an older crime could be to bury the prime witness (Assange) in maximum security where any testimony threatening John Brennan's CIA invented DNC 'hack' narrative will never come to light.

Possibility 2) This is part of a staged event by the USA's neocon/Christian Zionist alliance in the CIA, working with MOSSAD (recalling Assange's MOSSAD connections attested to by former CIA clandestine services officer Robert Steele) to sink the neoliberal element of the USA's intelligence establishment; where Trump will pardon Assange for Assange's cooperation with the Justice Department in sinking the Obama/Clinton/John Brennan clique behind 'Russiagate' (finally resolving the DNC mails.)

Consider this: certain alternative media stars either fail to realize or selectively black out the fact Julian Assange was a critical gear in the intelligence agency (primarily CIA & MOSSAD) information operations responsible for the so-called 'Arab Spring' leading to not only revolution and counter-revolution in Egypt but also the overthrow of Gaddafi and the Syrian 'civil war.' How do alternative media stars Glen Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Caitlin Johnstone, Vanessa Beeley and Raul Ilargi Meijer (among others), when defending their perception of Assange as a hero, drive that square peg into the round hole of Wikileaks supported the intelligence agency geopolitical engineering called the Arab Spring?

Babyl-on , Apr 11, 2019 11:32:21 AM | link
Many readers here will be hearing from Glenn Greenwald about the arrest of Assange as if He(Greenwald)just loves Julian so much and is just so upset by his arrest. DO NOT BELIEVE HIM. Take the time to look back at what Greenwald has said - such as claiming that Assange is not a journalist because he does ont "curate" the material he receives for anything other than authenticity.

According to Snowden and Greenwald if a journalist does not contact the government in advance and agreed to censor the material for "sources and methods" then they are not journalists.

Glenn Greenwald has made a fortune off Snowden - including $250 million from Pierre Omidyar an oligarch for The Intercept which clearly supports the oligarchy and its interests. Greenwald has stated clearly in the past that he does not consider Wikileaks a journalistic operation. Greenwald still has perhaps thousands of Snowden documents which he refuses to release - then he gets $250 million from the oligarchy. Sure there is "journalism" as long as the CIA can review what you publish first. One of the founders of the Intercept is Laura Pordris who produced a psyco-hit piece on Assange.

In this environment if you Trust these people without question you are risking being mislead. Like a good propagandist Greenwald is out now singing the tune which will gain him trust so he can slip in the propaganda effectively when the time comes.

[Apr 12, 2019] It appears Assange was able to trigger the kill switch. There's been a massive data dump at Wikileaks

Apr 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Anon [417] Disclaimer , says: April 12, 2019 at 7:56 pm GMT

Just for the record, it appears Assange was able to trigger the kill switch. There's been a massive data dump at Wikileaks:

https://file.wikileaks.org/file/

Sparkon , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:29 pm GMT
@Anon J ust for a more important record -- no surprise here -- my quick scan of the index of file names of that "massive data dump at Wikileaks" found quite a few files about Scientology, one about tuition increase at "uofa," another concerning Hawaii's announcement about Obama's birth certificate, and a "yes-we-can mp4," but nothing at all about the World Trade Center or 9/11 that I could find.

[Apr 12, 2019] Assange, Snowden and Greenwald

The arrest probably means that WikiLeaks was thoroughly infiltrated and the US authorities are sure that there are no "unexploded bombs" in their arsenal.
Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
WJ , Apr 11, 2019 10:23:00 AM | link

Russ @43,

Indeed. It's almost as if the Snowden--Greenwald affair were an intended or at least foreseen and allowed limited hangout operation one aim of which was to discredit the "irresponsible" leaking of Assange while establishing Greenwald as paradigm for all correct left-libertarian critiques of the US.

On the other hand, if the Snowden--Greenwald *were* simply a limited hangout thing, then it was far more successfully and realistically contrived than most of our current very mediocre intelligence agency operations have been. The rush to apprehend Snowden en route to Central America, the forced detainment of Greenwald's partner in the UK, the MI5-6 destruction of the Guardian servers and subsequent takeover of the newspaper...all these events really happened and clearly were much more serious endeavors than the obvious staged operations like Steele, Russiagate, Skripal which followed after.

So I think that the Snowden--gGreenwald---Poitras thing started as genuine and then was subsequently coopted and controlled via Greenwald and Omidar's Intercept. What I don't know is whether Greenwald entered the Snowden affair already coopted or whether he became so willingly sometime later. For lots of people like Greenwald--achievement oriented, desirous of public fame and respect, interested in obtaining personal wealth and stability--a very "soft" touch is all that's needed by our intelligence ops to arrive at an understanding between them.


Russ , Apr 11, 2019 8:37:22 AM | link

Posted by: SteveK9 | Apr 11, 2019 8:29:52 AM | 33

"I've wondered if they have threatened Greenwald and he is withholding the information, to keep himself out of some dungeon somewhere."

No one needs to threaten Greenwald to get him to withhold information. He withholds out of elitist conviction. In his way he's just as much of an elite gatekeeper as anyone at any MSM outlet. (And really an outfit like the Intercept is just a thinly veiled extension of the MSM.)

It's amazing how for many people, even going to work for a predatory billionaire as Greenwald has, or collaborating as part of that billionaire's project as Snowden has, doesn't automatically peg one as a system stooge.

GeorgeSmiley , Apr 11, 2019 8:46:18 AM | link
@SteveK9 #33

1. Information "piracy" may have to take to the high seas.
2. Maybe it would be best to release the rest of Snowden's documents now. Tit for tat.

Posted by: Cynica | Apr 11, 2019 8:38:05 AM | 35


This WILL NOT happen. Greenwald, his billionaire backer (who owns the docs technically as crazy as that sounds) and his website are all an example of the "acceptable" counter narrative. Greenwald should deserve no respect, he chose money and fame over integrity. That much has become clear. I think the same of Scahill and a few others, though I hear little from him now.

Sad days. Money will buy a LOT of people. Even those we believe it won't as they are "principled" or once carried conviction . Hell, I imagine most of us are vulnerable to that as well.

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 9:11:08 AM | link
There we have it! Extradition will (most likely) occur..

Assange indicted over 'conspiracy with Chelsea Manning in 2010' – DOJ statement
https://www.rt.com/usa/456244-assange-manning-us-indictment/

Josh , Apr 11, 2019 9:18:26 AM | link
We do all hope that Assange's arrest will motivate all those with access to other incriminating data to release those, via Wikileaks or other. The first comment here accurately describes it: (the UK and) the US - and let's add the whole silly 'five eyes' and western front - has become the new Soviet Union. Roles have reversed; it's not about ideology but about power structure.
Here's for Assange to become the Sakharov of our time. However, that would mean we foster the hope or expect that our western hemisphere could birth a Gorbachev-type idealist who can attain power long enough to destroy the power base.
Jackrabbit , Apr 11, 2019 11:03:31 AM | link
The real Iraq War criminals are free.

- Madeline Albright: "We think it's worth it" to kill 500,000 children.
- Bush Admin and neocons lied to start the war a war that cost trillions of dollars wasted; thousands of deaths
- Multiple grievous human rights abuses now engraved in memory: Abu Grave; Faluja; Rendition and Torture; Guantanamo, etc.

And the same lousy criminal asshats brought us the Afghanistan debacle, color revolutions, and the Syrian Jihadi proxy war.

As long as the real criminals walk free, they will continue to drive their criminal agenda.

Babyl-on , Apr 11, 2019 11:32:21 AM | link
Many readers here will be hearing from Glenn Greenwald about the arrest of Assange as if He(Greenwald)just loves Julian so much and is just so upset by his arrest. DO NOT BELIEVE HIM. Take the time to look back at what Greenwald has said - such as claiming that Assange is not a journalist because he does ont "curate" the material he receives for anything other than authenticity.

According to Snowden and Greenwald if a journalist does not contact the government in advance and agreed to censor the material for "sources and methods" then they are not journalists.

Glenn Greenwald has made a fortune off Snowden - including $250 million from Pierre Omidyar an oligarch for The Intercept which clearly supports the oligarchy and its interests. Greenwald has stated clearly in the past that he does not consider Wikileaks a journalistic operation. Greenwald still has perhaps thousands of Snowden documents which he refuses to release - then he gets $250 million from the oligarchy. Sure there is "journalism" as long as the CIA can review what you publish first. One of the founders of the Intercept is Laura Pordris who produced a psyco-hit piece on Assange.

In this environment if you Trust these people without question you are risking being mislead. Like a good propagandist Greenwald is out now singing the tune which will gain him trust so he can slip in the propaganda effectively when the time comes.

George Lane , Apr 11, 2019 12:00:09 PM | link
Kevin Gosztola and Aaron Mate have good twitter threads analysing the indictment:

https://twitter.com/kgosztola/status/1116341233289396225

https://twitter.com/aaronjmate/status/1116330261321527299

john , Apr 11, 2019 12:59:00 PM | link
But the case against Assange is not about justice. His publication of state secrets was obviously an act of journalism and free speech. But the deep state was embarrassed and demands revenge

Assange gave us graphic video of the US Army shredding a couple of unarmed Iraqi journalists (and others) with 30mm canon fire. memory that can't be deleted.

...

hey, ready for another sclerotic investigation?

Circe , Apr 11, 2019 1:01:58 PM | link
Here it is:

Wikileaks veteran cooperates with grand jury

AriusArmenian , Apr 11, 2019 1:57:51 PM | link
I will repeat what others here have already said:

The US == USSR.

As a US citizen I loath the mendacity and actions of the elites that have left us with nothing to hope for or believe in for some decent future with the US striding across the world sowing fear, hatred, and war. The reality of the depraved elites is such that I am usually right to first assume they are lying whatever they say. This all applies to the UK as well.

John Smith , Apr 11, 2019 2:05:58 PM | link
Trump Says WikiLeaks 141 Times On The Campaign Trail
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H26hVPoCO-o

Did Trump really mention WikiLeaks over 160 times in the last month of the election cycle?
https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2017/apr/21/jackie-speier/did-trump-really-mention-wikileaks-over-160-times-/
-------------------------

Christina Wilkie :

Trump just now: "I know nothing about Wikileaks. It's not my thing."

Trump Oct 2016: "WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks."

Trump Oct 2016: "This WikiLeaks is like a treasure trove,"

Trump Nov 2016: "Boy, I love reading those WikiLeaks."

psychohistorian , Apr 11, 2019 2:26:31 PM | link Circe , Apr 11, 2019 2:29:22 PM | link
Here's the REAL Donald Trump on Wikileaks.:

https://youtu.be/V-pv_3i-dOs

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 2:32:23 PM | link
'UK, you are America's bitch': Pamela Anderson launches scathing tweetstorm following Assange arrest
https://www.rt.com/news/456243-pamela-anderson-assange-arrest-betrayal/

Damn right but its not only UK but the whole of the western world that have been silent if not supportive of the arrest!

SlapHappy , Apr 11, 2019 2:46:20 PM | link
Here's the guy I was referring to, Circe:

WikiLeaks Editor goes missing in Norway

Zanon , Apr 11, 2019 3:28:40 PM | link
A bit off topic, or is it...

2016: Pompeo wants to execute Snowden
https://youtu.be/DZxu73OJHkI?t=26

karlof1 , Apr 11, 2019 3:55:53 PM | link
Corbyn breaks silence on Assange :

"The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government."

Interesting comments in thread. I think a few here owe mea culpas.

karlof1 , Apr 11, 2019 4:10:06 PM | link
AOC on Assange only went as far as retweeting this:

"This is a real test for the American media. Can they separate their personals feelings toward Assange from the question of whether it is okay to prosecute a publisher for publishing? Matt is right, this is extremely dangerous."

The above was made in reply to Matthew Yglesias who clearly hates Assange:

"Assange sucks but prosecuting publishers seems extremely dangerous and troubling to me." And he calls himself a journalist. He has as much honor as Moreno. The resulting threads are educational and revelatory. Lots of very confused, screwed up minds showing few morals mixed in with a few good eggs.

karlof1 , Apr 11, 2019 4:27:01 PM | link
Senator Mike Gravel & 2020 candidate on Assaange :

"Today, I stand with Julian Assange and Wikileaks."

Please see tweet for entire statement. As with other threads on this topic, the comments are educational and revelatory. It's rather amazing how many utterly weak minds are in positions of responsibility. Some have lapped up so much propaganda Koolaid that they're now delusional.

jayc , Apr 11, 2019 5:30:56 PM | link
Wired has a piece working through the indictment:
https://www.wired.com/story/julian-assange-arrest-indictment-hacking-cfaa/amp

The statute of limitation is overcome by referring this as a "terrorism" case.

The indictment is perhaps selected to ensure the extradition, with further charges waiting once Assange is in possession of the USA.

teri , Apr 11, 2019 5:49:11 PM | link
To those posting about Glenn Greenwald; I don't know what Greenwald really stands for any more and no longer read his stuff, but you might be interested in this pathetic and predictable end to the Greenwald/Omidyar conservatorship of the Snowden documents. A month ago, Greenwald announced via twitter that The Intercept/First Look was now officially shutting down access to the Snowden archives and has laid off the group of employees that secured and curated the cache. (It cost First Look $400,000/year to maintain the files, which is 1.5% of its 2019 budget.)

Greenwald did not even consult Snowden on this decision. So, without much fanfare, the cache is simply disappeared, without ever being fully opened to the public, although Greenwald claims in his tweet that he's looking for the "right partner – an academic institution or research facility – that has the funds to robustly publish." (Which, one might have supposed, would be the sort of funds that a news site such as The Intercept might enjoy given that they have the resources of their own billionaire founder behind them.)

They did not allow Poitras to attend the company meeting held on the subject after they made this announcement, and kept her in the dark until the announcement was rolled out. Poitras, recall, also has a copy of the archives and was one of the founding editors of Intercept. She is objecting to the move. Although given that the Intercept has merely sat on the cache for so long, it hardly matters now.

I thought from the beginning of the Intercept/First Look/Omidyar site that the eventual disappearance of the files was the very purpose behind Omidyar buying off Greenwald (and his valuable Snowden material along with him) in the first place.
Anyway, poof go the Snowden files, without most of the material ever being released to the public.

Two articles on this:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-intercept-shuts-down-access-to-snowden-trove

https://www.thedailybeast.com/laura-poitras-co-founder-of-the-intercept-barred-from-company-meeting-after-snowden-archive-shutdown

Zachary Smith , Apr 11, 2019 6:42:29 PM | link
Jonathan Cook: " The 7 years of lies about Assange won't stop now"
There will be no indignation at the BBC, or the Guardian, or CNN. Just curious, impassive reporting of Assange's fate.

And that is because these journalists, politicians and experts never really believed anything they said. They knew all along that the US wanted to silence Assange and to crush Wikileaks. They knew that all along and they didn't care. In fact, they happily conspired in paving the way for today's kidnapping of Assange.

They did so because they are not there to represent the truth, or to stand up for ordinary people, or to protect a free press, or even to enforce the rule of law. They don't care about any of that. They are there to protect their careers, and the system that rewards them with money and influence. They don't want an upstart like Assange kicking over their applecart.

Razor , Apr 11, 2019 6:49:15 PM | link
@bSirius 80

In fact it seems to me the reason he is being changed with conspiracy is so that they can avoid defence claims that his publishing information is covered by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution. Any worthwhile lawyer would paste it on thick for the jury that convicting Assange for publication would be a deep betrayal of their much beloved Constitution. It also means that the information on war crimes in the famous video would be once more broadcast to the world, and more importantly to the jury. Imagine what a fiasco and embarrassment US Govt would face if after all the fuss, Assange was acquitted by a US Jury?

Furthermore,in common law countries, such as the UK, a typical court condition of agreement to extradite is that the accused will only be charged with crimes exhibited in the extradition warrant. That being the case, the maximum sentence he would face is 5 and a half years I believe.

arby , Apr 11, 2019 7:27:21 PM | link
Chris Hedges has a good rant on this affair-

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-martyrdom-of-julian-assange/

ADKC , Apr 11, 2019 7:41:25 PM | link
Some posters here criticise Asssange/Wikileaks for not being critical of Israel or supporting Catalonia independence but the Wikileaks website isn't really like that.

Wikileaks is a non-redacted searchable database of documents that have been leaked. Most of these documents are dry and it really depends on what you a looking for and what you find. It is rare to find a single document that by itself clearly reveals a scandal or a plot of some sort. Also, there is no editorial from Wikileaks. It is up to the user to search, find and interpret.

For instance, I just did a search and found a US cable dated 30th Jan 2008 which describes Erdogan's concerns about an armed deep state extra-legal grouping which has a suspected overlap with a cold war Gladio group and which is protected by the Turkish judiciary. So, obviously, subversion was an issue long before the attempted coup in 2016, but it's up to me to make a story out of it.

There is plenty of stuff about Israel, for instance there seems to be quite a number of incidents concerning Obama and/or Clinton trying to get Netanyahu to apologise for something that matters very little and Netanyahu invariable refusing.

The easiest way for a body, such as the CIA, to manipulate Wikileaks is just be selective about what information is leaked.

If you're looking for dirt on Israel, Clinton, Trump, Erdogan, Putin, Catalonia, etc. just go and look for it.

Jezabeel , Apr 11, 2019 8:58:48 PM | link
Wikileaks came up with quat on 9/11. Why?
haze , Apr 11, 2019 9:01:04 PM | link
Bravo Tulsi Gabbard!

"Today's arrest and indictment of Julian Assange undermines freedom of the press, and seeks to silence whistleblowers and the journalists who publish their information. This sets a dangerous precedent of criminal prosecution of journalists or news organizations who publish information the government doesn't like, while also opening the door for other countries to extradite US journalists who publish their country's secrets," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. "We must protect whistleblowers and freedom of the press, and exercise oversight over our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to ensure our Constitutional rights are upheld."

https://gabbard.house.gov/news/press-releases/rep-tulsi-gabbard-assange-arrest-sets-dangerous-precedent-threatens-freedom

Piotr Berman , Apr 11, 2019 11:29:04 PM | link
Dear Sacha,

"why do you think Assange supported the invasion and destruction of Syria"

This is very simple. Back at the time of Arab Spring, most of the Western opinion, be it left or right, supported overthrowing a dictator. Assange, for better or worse, was in the lopsided majority, hardly strange.

"how do you explain Assange´s strong support for the Independence of Catalonia...."

This was not a majority opinion, but not rare. More importantly, tracing it to the needs of "deep state" is very speculative. On the other hand, the rage of established political circles against the very idea of Wikileaks was palpable, and what Wikileaks did was perceived as "very damaging". Even if independence of Catalonia were in some mysterious ways a priority of the sinister and hardly known deep state that you postulate, Assange had scant influence on that happening. So the putative plan of using leaks to Wikileaks to build up its stature and to use that to further the causes of fragmenting Syria and Spain would be weird indeed: huge losses for speculative gains.

One has to understand the nature of the rage against Wikileaks. Any conceivable deep stater depends on secrecy. To them, secrecy is like air for birds and water for fish -- a necessary element that makes their ecological niche habitable. An organization that facilitates dissemination of secret is, to them, a blasphemous existence.

One has to understand that what we call "deep state" is hardly secret in the outline. Its member go back and forth from private sector (corporations, think tanks, media, academic gig etc.) and the government leaving a large visible trail that is in the public view. That said, they need many secrets because the wide public in democratic countries needs to have pure, trusting, uncomplicated minds. Like making children, implementation of most of policies requires some f...ng activity

imo , Apr 12, 2019 2:08:58 AM | link
Remember George Orwell's "1984" describes a dismal future when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and media propaganda. Interesting that Orwell's arch protagonist (Emmanuel Goldstein) and his "Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" sees the three "opposing" ideologies as functionally identical and each superstate being powerful enough that even shifting alliances (of two against one) only results in a continuing stalemate dynamic.

Are we there yet? I think Julian Assange might be feeling it so and this latest saga looks like an ominous tipping point indicator for those who think they live in a western democracy with press freedom to hold government (by the people) accountable.

truth seeker , Apr 12, 2019 2:23:44 AM | link
Moral to all the truth-seekers of the planet - if you look for salvation, then only in Russia.....

[Apr 12, 2019] Edward Snowden and Julian Assange Betrayed

Feb 24, 2014 | homment.com
Correspondence with Edward Snowden, and the key to freedom for Julian Assange

A member of our Belgian Jewish community is in touch with Edward Snowden in Russia, both sharing the role of being significant global dissidents who used to live in the USA.

We are publishing here a copy of some of that correspondence between those two figures, as it discusses the likelihood of how both Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are being betrayed and actively harmed by the American lawyers and US-UK media companies claiming to 'represent' them, including America's ACLU (America's Civil Liberties Union), the UK Guardian and New York Times newspapers, and Glenn Greenwald.

All these groups and journalists, are apparently hiding thousands of pages of legal files, about the corruption and bribery of US federal (national) judges who are the same judges who would put Julian Assange or Edward Snowden on trial ... even though these lawyers and journalists all know that exposing the crimes of the bribed US judges, is the quick key to releasing Julian Assange from threats that confine him to his refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, and key to more safety and freedom for Snowden as well.

US Attorney General Eric Holder is accused of sponsoring criminal acts of deception against the UK, Sweden, Russia and other countries, hiding 'smoking gun' evidence of US judge bribery, in order to harm and destroy both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Google Inc has agreed to censor and hoax the internet and hide dozens of web pages about this.

This bribery is said to be funded by Britain's Pearson plc, with the Guardian and New York Times accused of accepting Pearson-funded bribes to print fake 'news' to obstruct and pervert justice so that the UK will not prosecute Pearson's bribery of US high judges and government.

Mr Snowden is also facing the terrifying possibility that his name is being abused by these parties, New York Times, Guardian and Greenwald, for the sake of entrapping other dissidents and whistleblowers into 'trusting' these journalists, who might then convey dissident names to the US regime in order to silence and murder them. It seems possible the Guardian and New York Times have already given Snowden files back to the US regime.

The correspondence with Edward Snowden makes reference to the police file with several EU countries, who are beginning investigations and prosecutions, starting in Finland, of the CIA-tied Wikipedia website, for fundraising fraud ... that police file significantly discusses the evidence of bribery of US federal judges who are the same judges who would put Edward Snowden and Julian Assange on trial in America, and how Wikipedia, actually an American CIA-controlled 'Trojan horse' for inserting lies on targeted topics, has been used to plant lies about that judicial bribery - the police dossier text is here:

'CIA Wikipedia fraud Finland police report'
http://homment.com/FB3PjBQ2DF

Here is a screenshot of a Google Inc 'search results' page, with tiny text at the bottom admitting that Google is censoring a large number of search results, about Edward Snowden's correspondent, a major witness to the crimes involving the same US judges who would put Edward Snowden or Julian Assange on trial:

'Live Photo: Google Inc. Caught Censoring EU Search Results on US corruption'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/22325431@N05/6100668211/in/photostream

- Jewish Community of Flanders

[Apr 07, 2019] When you couple the voice of the Washington Post with a company so deeply involved with discovering and archiving detailed files and information about individuals and politicians across America you command a great deal of muscle and clout

Apr 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Let it Go , 13 hours ago link

Amazon is rotten to the core. Already no stranger to sweetheart deals, Amazon which has lined the pockets of its CEO Jeff Bezos at taxpayer expense is quietly moving in a direction that is destined to create even more controversy. Amazon through its lobbying efforts is on the verge of winning a multibillion-dollar advantage over rivals by taking over large swaths of federal procurement.

When you couple the voice of the Washington Post with a company so deeply involved with discovering and archiving detailed files and information about individuals and politicians across America you command a great deal of muscle and clout. The article below delves into why it is time to face the fact Amazon needs to be curtailed.

http://Amazon Has Become A Threat To Our Democracy And Capitalism html

[Apr 04, 2019] The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012

Apr 04, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012. Prism Photograph: Guardian

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the Prism program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in Prism will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.

Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.

[Apr 02, 2019] Shadowbanning

See also Shadow banning - Wikipedia
Shadow banning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting[1]) is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.
By making a user's contributions invisible or less prominent to other members of the service, the hope may be that in the absence of reactions to their comments, the problematic or otherwise out-of-favour user will become bored or frustrated and leave the site.
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lozion , Mar 31, 2019 4:33:21 PM | link

< More and more "resistance" type Twitteratti get shadowbanned, that is, their posts dont appear in the Twitter feed though they are visible on their profiles. Find out if you are shadowbanned here:>

https://shadowban.eu/

Zachary Smith , Mar 31, 2019 5:24:53 PM | link

@ Lozion #12

Until recently I didn't know the word "shadowbanning", but that was what happened to me several years ago. The managers of the Indianapolis Star had given their forum to the tender care of a mix of Libertarians, rightwingnuts, and devoted followers of the Holy Cesspool south of Syria. Gradually I realized nobody was responding to my posts, and only by accident did I learn those posts were invisible to everybody else. Only when I was logged in could I see them myself.

So that's why I have gone cold turkey on the only Indianapolis newspaper. I'd recommend it only for folks whose parakeets need a lining for the bottom of the bird's cage. Their editorial page works best for that application.

Lozion , Mar 31, 2019 7:55:34 PM | link
@12 Zachary.

Yeah I first encountered the phenom during the last days of the 2014 Euromaidan while reposting info on Facebook about sniper fire coming from opp held rooftops. I couldnt understand why interaction on the subject stopped until someone confirmed via the chat that none of my posts with the word "Ukraine" appeared in the feed. They must've triggered FBs early filter algorithm. I have since left the Ministry of Truth..

[Mar 31, 2019] How Google Tracks Your Personal Information – Featured Stories – Medium

Notable quotes:
"... Patrick Berlinquette Founder of a NY digital marketing agency (like we need another). Finding humor in marketing tech's depravity. Send vitriol: patrickberlinsem[at]gmail[dot]com ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | medium.com

Once you click on an ad, your information passes through to search engine marketers, where it's forever stored in an AdWords account, never to be erased.

In case you were starting to feel a semblance of happiness, what with the holidays around the corner, here is a complete checklist of everything Google knows about you -- thereby all the ways you're tracked -- as of December 2018:

* The above targeting methods are made available to search engine marketers by Google within marketers' Ads UI. Info is also freely available here .

For as long as you've been using Google, Google has been building a "citizen profile" on you. This profile contains:


In 2019, we will be coming close to realizing the Holy Grail of search engine marketing: multidevice attribution. When this tech is realized, ads will follow searchers seamlessly -- not only across channels (e.g., social, organic, and email) but across devices (e.g., from mobile to tablet to laptop to TV to desktop).

Depending on your brand loyalty, for example, your TV will emit a hyper-frequency during certain commercials. Undetectable by your obsolete human ear, this signal can only be picked up by a nearby cell phone . If a Nike commercial plays on your TV, and then you pick up your phone and Google "Nike shoes," your conversion path has been linked from TV to phone. Nice.

Despite the surveillance bleeding into nearly every aspect of our lives, there's little information available to the public about what's really going on.

Marketers already know if you're a daily commuter. And they show you ads for products that daily commuters would be interested in buying, like headphones, pre-worn leather laptop bags, and handkerchiefs to hoarsely sob into. How do marketers know you're a commuter? Easy: The frequency your cell phone pings passing cell towers. If the pings occur close together, a marketer can conclude that you're standing in an object moving at a great rate of speed, with infrequent interruptions -- also known as a train. (If it's the Long Island Rail Road you're riding, interruptions might be frequent. Heh.)

Search for a product on your phone and then physically walk into a store. Do that, in that order, and chances are Google used your phone's GPS data to connect your ad click and your in-store purchase.

In order to provide marketers with further detail about your in-store (offline) purchases, Google has acquired ( paid millions for ) Mastercard credit card data. The company has acknowledged it has access to about 70 percent of U.S. credit and debit card sales through "third-party partnerships." We will look back on this number and consider it quaint.


B ack in December 2008, Hal Roberts, a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, spoke about Google Ads as a form of "gray surveillance." Roberts described Google as "a system of collective intelligence" that, along with marketers, hoarded and exploited your data.

But unlike other forms of surveillance, Google couldn't kill you with it or throw you in jail.

Google Ads was gray surveillance because the exploitation, Roberts said, was hard to detect on the individual level. But, he said, it was already playing "a central role in the creation of social discourse online." And 10 years later, the exploitation on Google Ads is even harder to detect. Despite the surveillance bleeding into nearly every aspect of our lives, there's little information available to the public about what's really going on.

In 2019, I'd like to change that.

People tell Google things they confess nowhere else  --  not to their spouses, doctors, or shrinks.

Through this series, I will reveal everything I know about the dark side of search engine marketing. I will explain, in everyday language, how Google and Google Ads work "under the hood" to track your data.

Then I will expose, from an insider's perspective, what the vast majority of the public doesn't know: how Google Ads is abused by search engine marketers and how people are essentially bought and sold through this platform. I will cover what Google has tried to do to fix Google Ads. Finally, I will provide readers with all the steps they need to protect themselves from exploitation on Google -- including how to take back control of their data from insidious advertisers and those search engine marketers who rig the game.

Today, people tell Google things they confess nowhere else -- not to their spouses, doctors, or shrinks. But Google users would not be so forthright with the search engine if they understood how far down this rabbit hole goes. With the insider information I will provide, I hope readers can return to a place where Google is not the only option available to tell their fears, regrets, hopes, and dreams.

By the end of this series, readers will be equipped with the knowledge to rethink their relationship with Google. And if some readers decide that Google is still their search engine of choice, they'll be able to use the system , instead of the other way around.

Ready for part 2 in the series? It's here .

Patrick Berlinquette Founder of a NY digital marketing agency (like we need another). Finding humor in marketing tech's depravity. Send vitriol: patrickberlinsem[at]gmail[dot]com >

[Mar 26, 2019] When Are We Going To Tackle The For-Profit Monopolies Which Censored RussiaGate Skeptics? by Charles Hugh Smith

Notable quotes:
"... The RussiaGate Narrative has been revealed as a Big Con (a.k.a. Nothing-Burger), but what's dangerously real is the censorship that's being carried out by the for-profit monopolies Facebook and Google on behalf of the status quo's Big Con. ..."
"... The damage to democracy wrought by Facebook and Google is severe: free speech no longer exists except in name, and what individuals see in search and social media feeds is designed to manipulate them without their consent or knowledge--and for a fat profit. Whether Facebook and Google are manipulating users for profit or to buy off Status Quo pressures to start regulating these monopolistic totalitarian regimes or to align what users see with their own virtue-signaling, doesn't matter. ..."
Mar 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

We either take down Facebook and Google and turn them into tightly regulated transparent public utilities available to all or they will destroy what little is left of American democracy.

The RussiaGate Narrative has been revealed as a Big Con (a.k.a. Nothing-Burger), but what's dangerously real is the censorship that's being carried out by the for-profit monopolies Facebook and Google on behalf of the status quo's Big Con.

This site got a taste of Facebook-Google-Big-Media's Orwellian Authoritarian-Totalitarian censorship back in 2016 when a shadowy fake-news site called PropOrNot aggregated every major alt-media site that had published anything remotely skeptical of the coronation of Hillary Clinton as president and labeled us all shills for Russian propaganda.

Without any investigation of the perps running the site or their fake-news methodology, The Washington Post (Jeff Bezos' plaything) saw fit to promote the fake-news on Page One as if it were journalistically legitimate. Why would a newspaper that supposedly values the integrity of its content run with such shameless fake-news propaganda? Because it fit the Post's own political agenda and biases.

This is the essence of Facebook-Google-Big-Media's Orwellian Authoritarian-Totalitarian censorship: sacrifice accepted journalistic practice, free speech and transparency to promote an absurdly obvious political and social agenda.

If there was any real justice in America, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai should be wearing prison jumpsuits for what Facebook and Google have done to American democracy. Both of these monopolies have manipulated news feeds, search results and what individuals are shown in complete secret, with zero public oversight or transparency .

The damage to democracy wrought by Facebook and Google is severe: free speech no longer exists except in name, and what individuals see in search and social media feeds is designed to manipulate them without their consent or knowledge--and for a fat profit. Whether Facebook and Google are manipulating users for profit or to buy off Status Quo pressures to start regulating these monopolistic totalitarian regimes or to align what users see with their own virtue-signaling, doesn't matter.

What matters is that no one can possibly know how Facebook and Google have rigged their algorithms and to what purpose. The typical corporation can buy political influence, but Facebook and Google are manipulating the machinery of democracy itself in three ways:

1. They are secretly censoring alternative media and skeptics of the status quo narratives.

2. They are selling data and ads to anyone interested in manipulating voters and public opinion.

3. They are providing data to the National Security organs of the state which can then use this data to compile dossiers on "enemies of the people," i.e. skeptics and dissenters who question the "approved" context and narrative.

That's a much more dangerous type of power than buying political influence or manipulating public opinion by openly publishing biased "commentary."

We all understand how America's traditional Corporate Media undermines democracy: recall how every time Bernie Sanders won a Democratic primary in 2016, The New York Times and The Washington Post "reported" the news in small typeface in a sidebar, while every Hillary Clinton primary win was trumpeted in large headlines at the top of page one.

But this sort of manipulation is visible; what Google and Facebook do is invisible. What their algorithms do is invisible, and the shadow banning and other forms of invisible censorship cannot be easily traced.

A few of us can trace shadow banning because we have access to our site's server data. Please consider the data of Google searches and direct links from Facebook to oftwominds.com from November 2016 and November 2018:

Nov. 2016: Google Searches: 36,779
Nov. 2016: links from Facebook: 9,888

Nov. 2018: Google Searches: 12,671
Nov. 2018: links from Facebook: 859

Oftwominds.com has been around since 2005 and consistently draws around 250,000 page views monthly (via oftwominds.com and my mirror site on blogspot, which is owned/operated by Google. Interestingly, traffic to that site has been less affected by shadow banning ; Coincidence? You decide....).

Given the consistency of my visitor traffic over the years, it's "interesting" how drastically the site's traffic with Google and Facebook has declined in a mere two years. How is this shadow banning not Orwellian Authoritarian-Totalitarian censorship? It's akin to China's Orwellian Social Credit system but for private profit .

It wouldn't surprise me to find my photo airbrushed out of group photos on Facebook and Google just as the Soviet propaganda organs did when someone fell out of favor in the 1930s.

Fortunately, oftwominds.com isn't dependent on Facebook or Google for its traffic; other content creators who were skeptical of RussiaGate are not so fortunate. One of the implicit goals of shadow banning and filters is to destroy the income of dissenting sites without the content creators knowing why their income plummeted.

Strip dissenters of their income and you strip them of the ability to dissent. Yea for "free speech" controlled by for-profit monopolies!

Where's the "level playing field" of free speech? As long as Facebook and Google are free to censor and filter in secret, there is no free speech in America. All we have is a simulacrum of free speech in which parroting "approved" narratives is promoted and dissent is censored/banned--but without anyone noticing or even being able to tell what's been filtered, censored or banned.

So when are we going to tackle privately held monopolies which are selling user data to the highest bidder, obliterating free speech in secret and manipulating news feeds and search to promote hidden agendas? I've argued (see links below) that the solution is very simple:

1. Regulate Facebook and Google as public utilities. Ban them from collecting and selling user data to anyone, including federal agencies.

2. Allow a modest profit to each firm via display adverts that are shown equally to every user.

3. Require any and all search/content filters and algorithms be made public, i.e. published daily.

4. Any executive or employee of these corporations who violates these statutes will face criminal felony charges and be exposed to civil liability lawsuits from users or content providers who were shadow-banned or their right to free speech was proscribed or limited by filters or algorithms.

There is no intrinsic right for privately held corporations to establish monopolies that can manipulate and filter free speech in secret to maximize profits and secret influence. We either take down Facebook and Google and turn them into tightly regulated transparent public utilities available to all or they will destroy what little is left of American democracy.

I recently addressed these invisible (but oh-so profitable) mechanisms in a series of essays:

* * *

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($6.95 ebook, $12 print, $13.08 audiobook ): Read the first section for free in PDF format. My new mystery The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake is a ridiculously affordable $1.29 (Kindle) or $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF) . My book Money and Work Unchained is now $6.95 for the Kindle ebook and $15 for the print edition. Read the first section for free in PDF format. If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com .

[Mar 17, 2019] Mueller uses the same old false flag scams, just different packaging of his forensics-free findings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians. ..."
"... Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation. ..."
"... What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse? ..."
"... Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation. ..."
"... Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. ..."
"... We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks. ..."
"... This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune. ..."
"... Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020. ..."
"... Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c ..."
"... Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. ..."
"... Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. ..."
"... Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm ..."
"... It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray! ..."
"... Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

O Society , March 16, 2019 at 7:55 am

The Truth is Out There. I Want to Believe!

Same old scams, different packaging. That's New & Improved for you.

http://opensociet.org/2019/03/16/the-return-of-the-hidden-persuaders

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:35 pm

I could not suffer through reading the whole article. This is mainly because I have watched the news daily about Mueller's Investigation and I sincerely believe that Mueller is Champion of the Democrats who are trying to depose President Donald Trump at any cost.

For what Mueller found any decent lawyer with a Degree and a few years of experience could have found what Mueller found for far far less money. Mueller only found common crimes AND NO COLLUSION BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PUTIN!

The Mueller Investigation should be given to an honest broker to review, and Mueller should be paid only what it would cost to produce the commonplace crimes Mueller, The Democrats, and CNN has tried to convince the people that indeed Trump COLLUDED with RUSSIA. Mueller is, a BIG NOTHING BURGER and THE DEMOCRATS AND CNN ARE MUELLER'S SINGING CANARYS! Mueller should be jailed.

Bogdan Miller , March 15, 2019 at 11:04 am

This article explains why the Mueller Report is already highly suspect. For another thing, we know that since before 2016, Democrats have been studying Russian Internet and hacking tactics, and posing as Russian Bots/Trolls on Facebook and other media outlets, all in an effort to harm President Trump.

It appears the FBI, CIA, and NSA have great difficulty in differentiating between Russians and Democrats posing as Russians.

B.J.M. Former Intelligence Analyst and Humint Collector

vinnieoh , March 15, 2019 at 8:17 am

Moving on: the US House yesterday voted UNANIMOUSLY (remember that word, so foreign these days to US governance?) to "urge" the new AG to release the complete Mueller report.

A non-binding resolution, but you would think that the Democrats can't see the diesel locomotive bearing down on their clown car, about to smash it to pieces. The new AG in turn says he will summarize the report and that is what we will see, not the entire report. And taxation without representation takes a new twist.

... ... ...

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:38 pm

What else would you expect from two Political Parties who are really branches of the ONE Party which Represents DEEP STATE".

DWS , March 15, 2019 at 5:58 am

Maybe the VIPS should look into the murder of Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who had the security clearance required to access the DNC servers, and who was murdered in the same week as the emails were taken. In particular, they should ask why the police were told to stand down and close the murder case without further investigation.

Raymond Comeau , March 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

EXACTLY! But, Deep State will not allow that. And, it would ruin the USA' plan to continue to invade more sovereign countries and steal their resources such as oil and Minerals. The people of the USA must be Ostriches or are so terrified that they accept anything their Criminal Governments tell them.

Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost and perhaps the USA voters will ROAST when the crimes of the USA sink the whole country. It is time for a few Brave Men and Women to find their backbones and throw out the warmongers and their leading Oligarchs!

KiwiAntz , March 14, 2019 at 6:44 pm

What a brilliant article, so logical, methodical & a forensic, scientific breakdown of the phony Russiagate project? And there's no doubt, this was a co-ordinated, determined Intelligence project to reverse the results of the 2016 Election by initiating a soft coup or Regime change op on a elected Leader, a very American Coup, something the American Intelligence Agencies specialise in, everywhere else, on a Global scale, too get Trump impeached & removed from the Whitehouse?

If you can't get him out via a Election, try & try again, like Maduro in Venezuela, to forcibly remove the targeted person by setting him up with fake, false accusations & fabricated evidence? How very predictable & how very American of Mueller & the Democratic Party. Absolute American Corruption, corrupts absolutely?

Brian Murphy , March 15, 2019 at 10:33 am

Right. Since its purpose is to destroy Trump politically, the investigation should go on as long as Trump is in office. Alternatively, if at this point Trump has completely sold out, that would be another reason to stop the investigation.

If the investigation wraps up and finds nothing, that means Trump has already completely sold out. If the investigation continues, it means someone important still thinks Trump retains some vestige of his balls.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

By last June or July the Mueller investigation has resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes, and there was a handful of convictions to date. The report did not support the Clinton wing's anti-Russian allegations about the 2016 election, and was largely brushed aside by media. Mueller was then reportedly sent back in to "find something." presumably to support the anti-Russian claims.

mike k , March 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm

From the beginning of the Russia did it story, right after Trump's electoral victory, it was apparent that this was a fraud. The democratic party however has locked onto this preposterous story, and they will go to their graves denying this was a scam to deny their presidential defeat, and somehow reverse the result of Trump's election. My sincere hope is that this blatant lie will be an albatross around the party's neck, that will carry them down into oblivion. They have betrayed those of us who supported them for so many years. They are in many ways now worse than the republican scum they seek to replace.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:26 pm

Trump is almost certain to be re-elected in 2020, and we'll go through this all over again.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

The very fact that the FBI never had access to the servers and took the word of a private company that had a history of being anti-Russian is enough to throw the entire ruse out.

LJ , March 14, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Agreed!!!! and don't forget the FBI/Comey gave Hillary and her Campaign a head's up before they moved to seize the evidence. . So too, Comey said he stopped the Investigation , thereby rendering judgement of innocence, even though by his own words 'gross negligence' had a occurred (which is normally considered grounds for prosecution). In doing so he exceeded the FBI's investigative mandate. He rationalized that decision was appropriate because of the appearance of impropriety that resulted from Attorney General Lynch having a private meeting on a plane on a runway with Bill and Hillary . Where was the logic in that. Who called the meeting? All were Lawyers who had served as President, Senator, Attorney General and knew that the meeting was absolutely inappropriate. . Comey should be prosecuted if they want to prosecute anyone else because of this CRAP. PS Trump is an idiot. Uhinfortunately he is just a symptom of the disease at this point. Look at the cover of Rolling Stone magazine , carry a barf bag.

Jane Christ , March 14, 2019 at 6:51 pm

Exactly. This throws doubt on the ability of the FBI to work independently. They are working for those who want to cover -up the Hillary mess . She evidently has sufficient funds to pay them off. I am disgusted with the level of corruption.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

Nancy Pelosi's announcement two days ago that the Democrats will not seek impeachment for Trump suggests the emptiness of the Mueller investigation on the specific "collusion" issue. If there were something hot and lingering and about to emerge, this decision is highly unlikely, especially with the reasoning she gave at "so as not to divide the American people." Dividing the people hasn't been of much concern throughout this bogus witch hunt on Trump, which has added to his incompetence in leavening a growing hysteria and confusion in this country. If there is something, anything at all, in the Mueller report to support the collusion theory, Pelosi would I'm sure gleefully trot it out to get a lesser candidate like Pence as opposition for 2020.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

We know and Assange has confirmed Seth Rich, assassinated in D.C. for his deed, downloaded the emails and most likely passed them on to former British ambassador Craig Murray in a D.C. park for transport to Wikileaks.

We must also honor Shawn Lucas assassinated for serving DNC with a litigation notice exposing the DNC conspiracy against Sanders.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Where has Assange confirmed this? Assange's long-standing position is NOT to reveal his sources. I believe he has continued to honor this position.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

It has merely been insinuated by the offering of a reward for info on Seth's murder. In one breath he says wikileaks will never divulge a source, and in the next he offers a $20k reward saying that sources take tremendous risk. Doesn't take much of a logical leap to connect A to B.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Are you aware that Democrats split apart their 0wn voting base in the 1990s, middle class vs. poor? The Obama years merely confirmed that this split is permanent. This is particularly relevant for Democrats, as their voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, for the common good. Ignoring this deep split hasn't made it go away.

hetro , March 14, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Even more important is how the Democrats have sold out to an Establishment view favoring neocon theory, since at least Bill Clinton. Pelosi's recent behavior with Ilhan Omar confirms this and the split you're talking about. My point is it is distinctly odd that Pelosi is discouraging impeachment on "dividing the Party" (already divided, of course, as you say), whereas the Russia-gate fantasy was so hot not that long ago. Again it points to a cynical opportunism and manipulation of the electorate. Both parties are a sad excuse to represent ordinary people's interests.

Skip Scott , March 15, 2019 at 7:21 am

She said "dividing the country", not the party. I think she may have concerns over Trump's heavily armed base. That said, the statement may have been a ruse. There are plenty of Republicans that would cross the line in favor of impeachment with the right "conclusions" by Mueller. Pelosi may be setting up for a "bombshell" conclusion by Mueller. One must never forget that we are watching theater, and that Trump was a "mistake" to be controlled or eliminated.

Cindy Haddix , March 14, 2019 at 8:04 am

Mueller should be ashamed that he has made President Trump his main concern!! If all this investigation would stop he could save America millions!!! He needs to quit this witch-hunt and worry about things that really need to be handled!!! If the democrats and Trump haters would stop pushing senseless lies hopefully this would stop ? It's so disgusting that his democrat friend was never really investigated ? stop the witch-hunt and move forward!!!!

torture this , March 14, 2019 at 7:29 am

According to this letter, mistakes might have been made on Rachel Maddow's show. I can't wait to read how she responds. I'd watch her show, myself except that it has the same effect on me as ipecac.

Zhu , March 14, 2019 at 3:37 am

People will cling to "Putin made Trump President!!!" much as many cling "Obama's a Kenyan Muslim! Not a real American!!!". Both nut theories are emotionally satisfying, no matter what the historical facts are. Many Americans just can't admit their mistakes and blaming a scapegoat is a way out.

O Society , March 14, 2019 at 2:03 am

Thank you VIPS for organizing this legit dissent consisting of experts in the field of intelligence and computer forensics.

This so-called "Russiagate" narrative is an illustration of our "freedom of the press" failure in the US due to groupthink and self censorship. He who pays the piper is apt to call the tune.

It is astounding how little skepticism and scientifically-informed reasoning goes on in our media. These folks show themselves to be native advertising rather than authentic journalists at every turn.

DH Fabian , March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

But it has been Democrats and the media that market to middle class Dems, who persist in trying to sell the Russian Tale. They excel at ignoring the evidence that utterly contradicts their claims.

O Society , March 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Oh, we're well beyond your "Blame the middle class Dems" stage.

The WINNING!!! team sports bullshit drowns the entire country now the latrine's sprung a leak. People pretend to live in bubbles made of blue or red quite like the Three Little Pigs, isn't it? Except instead of a house made of bricks saving the day for the littlepiggies, what we've got here is a purple puddle of piss.

Everyone's more than glad to project all our problems on "THEM" though, aren't we?

Meanwhile, the White House smells like a urinal not washed since the 1950s and simpletons still get their rocks off arguing about whether Mickey Mouse can beat up Ronald McDonald.

T'would be comic except what's so tragic is the desperate need Americans have to believe, oh just believe! in something. Never mind the sound of the jackhammer on your skull dear, there's an app for that or is it a pill?

I don't know, don't ask me, I'm busy watching TV. Have a cheeto.

https://opensociet.org/2018/12/18/the-disneyfication-of-america/

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Very good analysis clearly stated, especially adding the FAT timestamps to the transmission speeds.

Minor corrections: "The emails were copied from the network" should be "from the much faster local network" because this is to Contradict the notion that they were copied over the internet network, which most readers will equate with "network." Also "reportedin" should be "reported in."

Michael , March 13, 2019 at 6:25 pm

It is likely that New Knowledge was actually "the Russians", possibly working in concert with Crowdstrike. Once an intelligence agency gets away with something like pretending to be Russian hackers and bots, they tend to re-use their model; it is too tempting to discard an effective model after a one-off accomplishment. New Knowledge was caught interfering/ determining the outcome in the Alabama Senate race on the side of Democrat Doug Jones, and claimed they were merely trying to mimic Russian methods to see if they worked (they did; not sure of their punishment?). Occam's razor would suggest that New Knowledge would be competent to mimic/ pretend to be "Russians" after the fact of wikileaks' publication of emails. New Knowledge has employees from the NSA and State department sympathetic to/ working with(?) Hillary, and were the "outside" agency hired to evaluate and report on the "Russian" hacking of the DNC emails/ servers.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:48 pm

Mueller released report last summer, which resulted in (the last I checked) roughly 150 indictments, a handful of convictions to date, all for perjury/financial (not political) crimes. This wasn't kept secret. It simply wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear, so although it was mentioned in some lib media (which overwhelmingly supported neoliberal Hillary Clinton), it was essentially swept under the carpet.

Billy , March 13, 2019 at 11:11 pm

Barr, Sessions, every congressmen all the corporate MSM war profiteer mouth pieces. They all know that "Russia hacked the DNC" and "Russia meddled" is fabricated garbage. They don't care, because their chosen war beast corporate candidate couldn't beat Donald goofball Trump. So it has to be shown that the war beast only lost because of nefarious reasons. Because they're gonna run another war beast cut from the same cloth as Hillary in 2020.

Realist , March 14, 2019 at 3:22 am

You betcha. Moreover, who but the Russians do these idiots have left to blame? Everybody else is now off limits due to political correctness. Sigh Those Catholics, Jews, "ethnics" and sundry "deviants" used to be such reliable scapegoats, to say nothing of the "undeveloped" world. As Clapper "authoritatively" says, only this vile lineage still carries the genes for the most extremes of human perfidy. Squirrels in your attic? It must be the damned Russkies! The bastards impudently tried to copy our democracy, economic system and free press and only besmirched those institutions, ruining all of Hillary's glorious plans for a worldwide benevolent dictatorship. All this might be humorous if it weren't so funny.

And those Chinese better not get to thinking they are somehow our equals just because all their trillions invested in U.S. Treasury bonds have paid for all our wars of choice and MIC boondoggles since before the turn of the century. Unless they start delivering Trump some "free stuff" the big man is gonna cut off their water. No more affordable manufactured goods for the American public! So there!

As to the article: impeccable research and analysis by the VIPS crew yet again. They've proven to me that, to a near certainty, the Easter Bunny is not likely to exist. Mueller won't read it. Clapper will still prance around a free man, as will Brennan. The Democrats won't care, that is until November of 2020. And Hillary will continue to skate, unhindered in larding up the Clinton Foundation to purposes one can only imagine.

Joe Tedesky , March 14, 2019 at 10:02 pm

Realist,

I have posted this article 'the Russia they Lost' before and from time to time but once again it seems appropriate to add this link to expound upon for what you've been saying. It's an article written by a Russian who in they're youth growing up in the USSR dreamed of living the American lifestyle if Russia were to ever ditch communism. But . Starting with Kosovo this Russian's youthful dream turned nightmarishly ugly and, as time went by with more and yet even more USA aggression this Russian author loss his admiration and desire for all things American to be proudly envied. This is a story where USA hard power destroyed any hope of American soft power for world unity. But hey that unity business was never part of the plan anyway.

https://slavyangrad.org/2014/09/24/the-russia-they-lost/

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm

right you are, joe. if america was smart rather than arrogant, it would have cooperated with china and russia to see the belt and road initiative succeed by perhaps building a bridge or tunnel from siberia to alaska, and by building its own fleet of icebreakers to open up its part of the northwest passage. but no, it only wants to sabotage what others propose. that's not being a leader, it's being a dick.

i'm gonna have to go on the disabled list here until the sudden neurological problem with my right hand clears up–it's like paralysed. too difficult to do this one-handed using hunt and peck. at least the problem was not in the old bean, according to the scans. carry on, sir.

Brian James , March 13, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Mar 4, 2019 Tom Fitton: President Trump a 'Crime Victim' by Illegal Deep State DOJ & FBI Abuses: https://youtu.be/ixWMorWAC7c

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm

Trump is a willing player in this game. The anti-Russian Crusade was, quite simply, a stunningly reckless, short-sighted effort to overturn the 2016 election, removing Trump to install Hillary Clinton in office. Trump and the Republicans continue to win by default, as Democrats only drive more voters away.

Howard , March 13, 2019 at 4:36 pm

Thank you Ray McGovern and the Other 17 VIPS C0-Signers of your National Security Essay for Truth. Along with Craig Murray and Seymour Hirsch, former Sam Adams Award winners for "shining light into dark places", you are national resources for objectivity in critical survival information matters for our country. It is more than a pity that our mainstream media are so beholden to their corporate task masters that they cannot depart from the company line for fear of losing their livelihoods, and in the process we risk losing life on the planet because of unconstrained nuclear war on the part of the two main adversaries facing off in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Let me speak plainly. THEY SHOULD BE TALKING TO YOU AND NOT THE VESTED INTERESTS' MOUTHPIECES. Thank you for your continued leadership!

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:28 am

Roger Ailes founder of FOX news died, "falling down stairs" within a week of FOX news exposing to the world that the assassinated Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails.

DH Fabian , March 13, 2019 at 6:03 pm

Google the Mueller investigation report from last June or July. When it was released, the public response was like a deflated balloon. It did not support the "Russian collusion" allegations -- the only thing Democrats still had left to sell. The report resulted in roughly 150 indictments for perjury/financial crimes (not political), and a handful of convictions to date -- none of which had anything to do with the election results.

Hank , March 13, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Much ado about nothing. All the talk and chatter and media airplay about "Russian meddling" in the 2016 election only tells me that these liars think the American public is that stupid. They are probably right, but the REAL reason that Hillary lost is because there ARE enough informed people now in this nation who are quite aware of the Clinton's sordid history where scandals seem to follow every where they go, but indictments and/or investigations don't. There IS an internet nowadays with lots of FACTUAL DOCUMENTED information. That's a lot more than I can say about the mainstream corporate-controlled media!

I know this won't ever happen, but an HONEST investigation into the Democratic Party and their actions during the 2016 election would make ANY collusion with ANY nation look like a mole hill next to a mountain! One of the problems with living in this nation is if you are truly informed and make an effort 24/7 to be that way by doing your own research, you more-than-likely can be considered an "island in a sea of ignorance".

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

We know that the FBI never had access to the servers and a private company was allowed to handle the evidence. Wasnt it a crime scene? The evidence was tampered with And we will never know what was on the servers.

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:10 pm

As a complement to this excellent analysis, I would like to make 2 further points:

The Mueller indictment of Russian Intelligence for hacking the DNC and transferring their booty to Wikileaks is absurd on its face for this reason: Assange announced on June 12th the impending release of Hillary-related emails. Yet the indictment claims that Guccifer 2.0 did not succeed in transferring the DNC emails to Wikileaks until the time period of July 14-18th – after which they were released online on July 22nd. Are we to suppose that Assange, a publisher of impeccable integrity, publicly announced the publication of emails he had not yet seen, and which he was obtaining from a source of murky provenance? And are we further to suppose that Wikileaks could have processed 20K emails and 20K attachments to insure their genuineness in a period of only several days? As you will recall, Wikileaks subsequently took a number of weeks to process the Podesta emails they released in October.

And another peculiarity merits attention. Assange did not state on June 12th that he was releasing DNC emails – and yet Crowdstrike and the Guccifer 2.0 personna evidently knew that this was in store. A likely resolution of this conundrum is that US intelligence had been monitoring all communications to Wikileaks, and had informed the DNC that their hacked emails had been offered to Wikileaks. A further reasonable prospect is that US intelligence subsequently unmasked the leaker to the DNC; as Assange has strongly hinted, this likely was Seth Rich. This could explain Rich's subsequent murder, as Rich would have been in a position to unmask the Guccifer 2.0 hoax and the entire Russian hacking narrative.

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/muellers-new-indictment-do-the-feds-take-us-for-idiots-5406ef955406

https://medium.com/@markfmccarty/how-did-crowdstrike-guccifer-2-0-know-that-wikileaks-was-planning-to-release-dnc-emails-42e6db334053

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Curious that Assange has Not explicitly stated that the leaker was Seth Rich, if it was, as this would take pressure from himself and incriminate the DNC in the murder of Rich. Perhaps he doesn't know, and has the honor not to take the opportunity, or perhaps he knows that it was not Rich.

James Clooney , March 14, 2019 at 11:40 am

View the Dutch TV interview with Asssange and there is another interview available on youtube in which Assange DOES subtly confirmed it was Seth Rich.

Assange posted a $10,000 reward for Seth Rich's murders capture.

Abby , March 13, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Another mistaken issue with the "Russia hacked the DNC computers on Trump's command" is that he never asked Russia to do that. His words were, "Russia if you 'find' Hillary's missing emails let us know." He said that after she advised congress that she wouldn't be turning in all of the emails they asked for because she deleted 30,000 of them and said that they were personal.

But if Mueller or the FBI wants to look at all of them they can find them at the NYC FBI office because they are on Weiner's laptop. Why? Because Hillary's aid Huma Abedin, Weiner's wife sent them to it. Just another security risk that Hillary had because of her private email server. This is why Comey had to tell congress that more of them had been found 11 days before the election. If Comey hadn't done that then the FBI would have.

But did Comey or McCabe look at her emails there to see if any of them were classified? No they did not do that. And today we find out that Lisa Page told congress that it was Obama's decision not to charge Hillary for being grossly negligent on using her private email server. This has been known by congress for many months and now we know that the fix was always in for her to get off.

robert e williamson jr , March 13, 2019 at 3:26 pm

I want to thank you folks at VIPS. Like I have been saying for years now the relationship between CIA, NSA and DOJ is an incestuous one at best. A perverse corrupted bond to control the masses. A large group of religious fanatics who want things "ONE WAY". They are the facilitators for the rogue government known as the "DEEP STATE"!

Just ask billy barr.

More truth is a very good thing. I believe DOJ is supporting the intelligence community because of blackmail. They can't come clean because they all risk doing lots of time if a new judicial mechanism replaces them. We are in big trouble here.

Apparently the rule of law is not!

You folks that keep claiming we live in the post truth era! Get off me. Demand the truth and nothing else. Best be getting ready for the fight of your lives. The truth is you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning, deny that truth. The claim you are living in the post truth era is an admission your life is a lie. Now grab a hold of yourself pick a dogdamned side and stand for something,.

Thank You VIPS!

Joe Tedesky , March 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Hats off to the VIP's who have investigated this Russian hacking that wasn't a hacking for without them what would we news junkies have otherwise to lift open the hood of Mueller's never ending Russia-gate investigation. Although the one thing this Russia-gate nonsense has accomplished is it has destroyed with our freedom of speech when it comes to how we citizens gather our news. Much like everything else that has been done during these post 9/11 years of continual wars our civil rights have been marginalized down to zero or, a bit above if that's even still an argument to be made for the sake of numbers.

Watching the Manafort sentencing is quite interesting for the fact that Manafort didn't conclude in as much as he played fast and loose with his income. In fact maybe Manafort's case should have been prosecuted by the State Department or, how about the IRS? Also wouldn't it be worth investigating other Geopolitical Rain Makers like Manafort for similar crimes of financial wrongdoing? I mean is it possible Manafort is or was the only one of his type to do such dishonest things? In any case Manafort wasn't charged with concluding with any Russians in regard to the 2016 presidential election and, with that we all fall down.

I guess the best thing (not) that came out of this Russia-gate silliness is Rachel Maddow's tv ratings zoomed upwards. But I hate to tell you that the only ones buying what Ms Maddow is selling are the died in the wool Hillary supporters along with the chicken-hawks who rally to the MIC lobby for more war. It's all a game and yet there are many of us who just don't wish to play it but still we must because no one will listen to the sanity that gets ignored keep up the good work VIP's some of us are listening.

Andrew Thomas , March 13, 2019 at 12:42 pm

The article did not mention something called to my attention for the first time by one of the outstanding members of your commentariat just a couple of days ago- that Ambassador Murray stayed publicly, over two years ago, that he had been given the thumb drive by a go-between in D.C. and had somehow gotten it to Wikileaks. And, that he has NEVER BEEN INTERVIEWED by Mueller &Company. I was blown away by this, and found the original articles just by googling Murray. The excuse given is that Murray "lacks credibility ", or some such, because of his prior relationship with Assange and/or Wikileaks. This is so ludicrous I can't even get my head around it. And now, you have given me a new detail-the meeting with Pompeo, and the complete lack of follow-up thereafter. Here all this time I thought I was the most cynical SOB who existed, and now I feel as naive as when I was 13 and believed what Dean Rusk was saying like it was holy writ. I am in your debt.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 2:33 pm

Andrew Thomas I'm afraid that huge amounts of our History post 1947 is organized and propagandized disinformation. There is an incredible page that John Simpkin has organized over the years that specifically addresses individuals, click on a name and read about them. https://spartacus-educational.com/USAdisinformation.htm

Mark McCarty , March 13, 2019 at 4:18 pm

A small correction: the Daily Mail article regarding Murray claimed that Murray was given a thumbdrive which he subsequently carried back to Wikileaks. On his blog, Murray subsequently disputed this part of the story, indicating that, while he had met with a leaker or confederate of a leaker in Washington DC, the Podesta emails were already in possession of Wikileaks at the time. Murray refused to clarify the reason for his meeting with this source, but he is adamant in maintaining that the DNC and Podesta emails were leaked, not hacked.

And it is indeed ludicrous that Mueller, given the mandate to investigate the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and Podesta, has never attempted to question either Assange or Murray. That in itself is enough for us to conclude that the Mueller investigation is a complete sham.

Ian Brown , March 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

It's pretty astonishing that Mueller was more interested in Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi as credible sources about Wikileaks and the DNC release than Craig Murray!

LJ , March 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

A guy comes in with a pedigree like that, """ former FBI head """ to examine and validate if possible an FBI sting manufactured off a phony FISA indictment based on the Steele Report, It immediately reminded me of the 9-11 Commission with Thomas Kean, former Board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, being appointed by GW Bush the Simple to head an investigation that he had previously said he did not want to authorize( and of course bi partisan yes man Lee Hamilton as #2, lest we forget) . Really this should be seen as another low point in our Democracy. Uncle Sam is the Limbo Man, How low can you go?

After Bill and Hillary and Monica and Paula Jones and Blue Dresses well, Golden Showers in a Moscow luxury hotel, I guess that make it just salacious enough.

Mueller looks just like what he is. He has that same phony self important air as Comey . In 2 years this will be forgotten.. I do not think this hurts Trumps chances at re-election as much as the Democrats are hurting themselves. This has already gone on way too long.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 11:59 am

Mueller has nothing and he well knows it. He was willingly roped into this whole pathetic charade and he's left grasping for anything remotely tied to Trump campaign officials and Russians.

Even the most tenuous connections and weak relationships are splashed across the mass media in breathless headlines. Meanwhile, NONE of the supposed skulduggery unearthed by Mueller has anything to do with the Kremlin "hacking" the election to favor Trump, which was the entire raison d'etre behind Rosenstein, Brennan, Podesta and Mueller's crusade on behalf of the deplorable DNC and Washington militarist-imperialists. It will be fascinating to witness how Mueller and his crew ultimately extricate themselves from this giant fraudulent edifice of deceit. Will they even be able to save the most rudimentary amount of face?

So sickening to see the manner in which many DNC sycophants obsequiously genuflect to their godlike Mueller. A damn prosecutor who was likely in bed with the Winter Hill Gang.

Jack , March 13, 2019 at 12:21 pm

You have failed. An investigation is just that, a finding of the facts. What would Mueller have to extricate himself from? If nothing is found, he has still done his job. You are a divisive idiot.

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Yes, he has done his job. And his job was to bring his royal Orangeness to heel, and to make sure that detente and co-operation with Russia remained impossible. The forever war continues. Mission Accomplished.

Drew Hunkins , March 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

@Jack,
Keep running cover for an out of control prosecutor, who, if he had any integrity, would have hit the bully pulpit mos ago declaring there's nothing of substance to one of the most potentially dangerous accusations in world history: the Kremlin hacking the election. Last I checked it puts two nuclear nation-states on the brink of potential war. And you call me divisive? Mueller's now a willing accomplice to this entire McCarthyite smear and disinformation campaign. It's all so pathetic that folks such as yourself try and mislead and feed half-truths to the people.

You're failing Jack, in more ways than you know.

Gregory Herr , March 13, 2019 at 9:13 pm

https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/scheer-intelligence/liberals-are-digging-their-own-grave-with-russiagate-2019-03-08

Drew, you might enjoy this discussion Robert Scheer has with Stephen Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel.

Realist , March 15, 2019 at 3:38 am

Moreover, as the Saker pointed out in his most recent column in the Unz Review, the entire Deep State conspiracy, in an ad hoc alliance with the embarrassed and embarrassing Democrats, have made an absolute sham of due process in their blatant witch hunt to bag the president. This reached an apex when his personal lawyer, Mr. Cohen, was trotted out before congress to violate Trump's confidentiality in every mortifying way he could even vaguely reconstruct. The man was expected to say anything to mitigate the anticipated tortures to come in the course of this modern day inquisition by our latter day Torquemada. To his credit though, even with his ass in a sling, he could simply not confabulate the smoking gun evidence for the alleged Russian collusion that this whole farce was built around.

Tom , March 14, 2019 at 12:30 pm

Mueller stood with Bush as he lied the world into war based on lies and illegally spied on America and tortured some folks.

George Collins , March 13, 2019 at 2:02 pm

QED: as to the nexus with the Winter Hill gang wasn't there litigation involving the Boston FBI, condonation of murder by the FBI and damages awarded to or on behalf of convicted parties that the FBI had reason to know were innocent? The malfeasance reportedly occurred during Mueller time. Further on the sanctified diligence of Mr. Mueller can be gleaned from the reports of Coleen Rowley, former FBI attorney stationed in Milwaukee??? when the DC FBI office was ignoring warnings sent about 9/11. See also Sibel Edmonds who knew to much and was court order muzzled about FBI mis/malfeasance in the aftermath of 9/11.

I'd say it's game, set, match VIPS and a pox on Clapper and the complicit intelligence folk complicit in the nuclear loaded Russia-gate fibs.

Kiers , March 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

How can we expect the DNC to "hand it " to Trumpf, when, behind the scenes, THEY ARE ONE PARTY. They are throwing faux-scary pillow bombs at each other because they are both complicit in a long chain of corruptions. Business as usual for the "principled" two party system! Democracy! Through the gauze of corporate media! You must be joking!

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 11:28 am

"We believe that there are enough people of integrity in the Department of Justice to prevent the outright manufacture or distortion of "evidence," particularly if they become aware that experienced scientists have completed independent forensic study that yield very different conclusions."

I wish I shared this belief. However, as with Nancy Pelosi's recent statement regarding pursuing impeachment, I smell a rat. I believe with the help of what the late Robert Parry called "the Mighty Wurlitzer", Mueller is going to use coerced false testimony and fabricated forensics to drop a bombshell the size of 911. I think Nancy's statement was just a feint before throwing the knockout punch.

If reason ruled the day, we should have nothing to worry about. But considering all the perfidy that the so-called "Intelligence" Agencies and their MSM lackeys get away with daily, I think we are in for more theater; and I think VIPS will receive a cold shoulder outside of venues like CN.

I pray to God I'm wrong.

Sam F , March 13, 2019 at 7:32 pm

My extensive experience with DOJ and the federal judiciary establishes that at least 98% of them are dedicated career liars, engaged in organized crime to serve political gangs, and make only a fanatical pretense of patriotism or legality. They are loyal to money alone, deeply cynical and opposed to the US Constitution and laws, with no credibility at all beyond any real evidence.

Eric32 , March 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

As near I can see, Federal Govt. careers at the higher levels depend on having dirt on other players, and helping, not hurting, the money/power schemes of the players above you.

The Clintons (through their foundation) apparently have a lot of corruption dirt on CIA, FBI etc. top players, some of whom somehow became multi-millionaires during their civil service careers.

Trump, who was only running for President as a name brand marketing ploy with little desire to actually win, apparently came into the Presidency with no dirt arsenal and little idea of where to go from there.

Bob Van Noy , March 13, 2019 at 11:09 am

I remember reading with dismay how Russians were propagandized by the Soviet Press Management only to find out later the depth of disbelief within the Russian population itself. We now know what that feels like. The good part of this disastrous scenario for America is that for careful readers, disinformation becomes revelatory. For instance, if one reads an editorial that refers to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or continually refers to Russian interference in the last Presidential election, then one can immediately dismiss the article and question the motivation for the presentation. Of course the problem is how to establish truth in reporting

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 10:41 am

Thank you, VIPs. Hopefully, you don't expect this to make a difference. The US has moved into a post truth, post reality existence best characterized by Karl Rove's declaration: "we're an empire now, when we act, we create our own reality." What Mr. Rove in his arrogance fails to appreciate is that it is his reality but not anyone else's. Thus Pompous can claim that Guaido is the democratic leader in Venezuela even though he's never been elected .

Gary Weglarz , March 13, 2019 at 10:21 am

Thank you. The next time one of my friends or family give me that glazed over stare and utters anymore of the "but, RUSSIA" nonsense I will refer them directly to this article. Your collective work and ethical stand on this matter is deeply appreciated by anyone who values the truth.

Russiagate stands with past government propaganda operations that were simply made up out of thin air: i.e. Kuwaiti incubator babies, WMD's, Gaddafi's viagra fueled rape camps, Assad can't sleep at night unless he's gassing his own people, to the latest, "Maduro can't sleep at night unless he's starving his own people."

The complete and utter amorality of the deep state remains on display for all to see with "Russiagate," which is as fact-free a propaganda campaign as any of those just mentioned.

Marc , March 13, 2019 at 10:13 am

I am a computer naif, so I am prepared to accept the VIPS analysis about FAT and transfer rates. However, the presentation here leaves me with several questions. First, do I understand correctly that the FAT rounding to even numbers is introduced by the thumb drive? And if so, does the FAT analysis show only that the DNC data passed through a thumb drive? That is, does the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks? Second, although the transatlantic transfer rate is too slow to fit some time stamps, is it possible that the data were hacked onto a local computer that was under the control of some faraway agent?

Jeff Harrison , March 13, 2019 at 11:12 am

Not quite. FAT is the crappy storage system developed by Microsoft (and not used by UNIX). The metadata associated with any file gets rewritten when it gets moved. If that movement is to a storage device that uses FAT, the timestamp on the file will end in an even number. If it were moved to a unix server (and most of the major servers run Unix) it would be in the UFS (unix file system) and it would be the actual time from the system clock. Every storage device has a utility that tells it where to write the data and what to write. Since it's writing to a storage device using FAT, it'll round the numbers. To get to your real question, yes, you could hack and then transfer the data to a thumb drive but if you did that the dates wouldn't line up.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 8:05 am

Jeff-

Which dates wouldn't line up? Is there a history of metadata available, or just metadata for the most recent move?

David G , March 13, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Marc asks: "[D]oes the analysis distinguish whether the DNC data were directly transferred to a thumb drive, or whether the data were hacked and then transferred to a thumb drive, eg, to give a copy to Wikileaks?"

I asked that question in comments under a previous CN piece; other people have asked that question elsewhere.

To my knowledge, it hasn't been addressed directly by the VIPS, and I think they should do so. (If they already have, someone please enlighten me.)

Skip Scott , March 13, 2019 at 1:07 pm

I am no computer wiz, but Binney has repeatedly made the point that the NSA scoops up everything. If there had been a hack, they'd know it, and they wouldn't only have had "moderate" confidence in the Jan. assessment. I believe that although farfetched, an argument could be made that a Russian spy got into the DNC, loaded a thumb drive, and gave it to Craig Murray.

David G , March 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

Respectfully, that's a separate point, which may or may not raise issues of its own.

But I think the question Marc posed stands.

Skip Scott , March 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

Hi David-

I don't see how it's separate. If the NSA scoops up everything, they'd have solid evidence of the hack, and wouldn't have only had "moderate" confidence, which Bill Binney says is equivalent to them saying "we don't have squat". They wouldn't even have needed Mueller at all, except to possibly build a "parallel case" due to classification issues. Also, the FBI not demanding direct access to the DNC server tells you something is fishy. They could easily have gotten a warrant to examine the server, but chose not to. They also purposely refuse to get testimony from Craig Murray and Julian Assange, which rings alarm bells on its own.

As for the technical aspect of Marc's question, I agree that I'd like to see Bill Binney directly answer it.

[Mar 09, 2019] Zuckerberg's new 'privacy-focused vision' for Facebook is just PR and damage control by Danielle Ryan

Notable quotes:
"... While it's nice that Zuckerberg has suddenly realized that people value their privacy online, and end-to-end encryption for private conversations is obviously a positive step, his critics aren't entirely buying the new image. One technology writer described the move as "a power grab disguised as an act of contrition." ..."
"... Why? Because the long-winded spiel about the importance of privacy masks the fact that Zuckerberg's real motivation for combining the three services is to stave off efforts by US and EU regulators to force the unbundling of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and introduce new competition to the market. ..."
Mar 09, 2019 | www.rt.com

Mark Zuckerberg is on a mission to rehabilitate Facebook's image. The CEO announced his new "privacy-focused vision" for the social media platform this week – but it looks more like a PR stunt than anything else. "Privacy gives people the freedom to be themselves and connect more naturally, which is why we build social networks," Zuckerberg wrote . Now, is there anyone who really believes Facebook was built to give people "the freedom to be themselves?"

Zuckerberg does understand, however, why people are questioning Facebook's newfound commitment to privacy, "...because frankly we don't currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services." For a company plagued with privacy scandal after privacy scandal, that seems like a bit of an understatement.

Putting "Privacy-focussed" in the headline is a great strategy, but none of the things mentioned stop Facebook knowing who you are, your location, mobile number, who you're connected to, linking this to other data sets, or following you around the web https://t.co/iKhYUtl4CC pic.twitter.com/UeRRpxWzz2

-- Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) March 6, 2019

Still, reading through Zuckerberg's grand vision for a new kind of privacy-focused Facebook, we are given the impression that the company is about to completely revamp itself from top to bottom – but the only real concrete change proposed is one that critics are already saying might not enhance privacy that much and isn't even really motivated by privacy concerns at all. Essentially, Zuckerberg plans to integrate Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram direct messages to build a kind of single, end-to-end messaging system (which we've actually known-about since January). This change is because he now believes "the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure."

*LOL* So @facebook merges all the data from #Instagram , #WhatsApp and #Facebook , while only encrypting the content data (not the meta data) of Facebook messages and sells the package as a #privacy move - a PR masterpiece and the media falls for it.. 😜😂

-- Max Schrems (@maxschrems) March 7, 2019

While it's nice that Zuckerberg has suddenly realized that people value their privacy online, and end-to-end encryption for private conversations is obviously a positive step, his critics aren't entirely buying the new image. One technology writer described the move as "a power grab disguised as an act of contrition."

Why? Because the long-winded spiel about the importance of privacy masks the fact that Zuckerberg's real motivation for combining the three services is to stave off efforts by US and EU regulators to force the unbundling of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and introduce new competition to the market.

Does anybody think that Facebook owning Instagram and WhatsApp is a good thing for America, privacy, journalism, or anything except Zuck & shareholders getting rich?

Breaking up Facebook from Instagram and WhatsApp seems like the least radical idea, and I hope we do it soon.

-- Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) March 7, 2019

Zuckerberg is now firmly on a collision course with regulators around the world. Germany's antitrust body ruled last month that Facebook was abusing its dominant position in the market by combining the three services. Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote, has been "obsessed" with creating an "intimate environment" for WhatsApp users. But an "intimate" feeling "environment" isn't really going to cut it. Facebook has already been fined $122 million by the EU for misleading antitrust regulators when it said its WhatsApp acquisition would not mean user information from the two platforms would be combined (which, of course, it was).

Facebook exists primarily to sell advertisements – and its entire business model rests on mining our data to do just that. So while protecting private conversations is a good thing in and of itself, it doesn't appear that anything else fundamental about Facebook will really be changing. Facebook still has a million other ways to get hold of our data and monitor our online activity – and even with stronger messaging encryption, Facebook can still use metadata to tell who we are talking to and when, which is valuable information in itself.

This wasn't Zuckerberg's first effort to redeem himself and do damage control for Facebook and its multiplying privacy scandals – and it certainly won't be his last. A blog post laying out a blueprint for a "privacy-focused" company that doesn't actually exist doesn't mean much. Zuckerberg has been offering apologies left, right and center for the last year.

He doesn't have a great track record when it comes to keeping his promises, though. Plenty of privacy tools Facebook has promised in the past never came to fruition. Remember that "clear history" button that Zuckerberg promised nearly two years ago and users are still waiting for today?

Anyone who thinks Facebook is really going to put its business model at risk, as it scrambles to shield itself from regulators and maintain its monolithic status is more than likely deluded.

Danielle Ryan, RT

Subscribe to RT newsletter to get stories the mainstream media won't tell you.

See also

[Mar 09, 2019] Government-To-Facebook Pipeline Reveals A Corrupt Mix Of Social Media The State

Mar 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Government-To-Facebook Pipeline Reveals A Corrupt Mix Of Social Media & The State

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2019 - 18:40 525 SHARES Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com,

The next time someone tells you that "Facebook is a private company" ask them if they know about the dozens of government employees who fill its ranks...

As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, the phrase "Facebook is a private company" is not accurate as they have formed a partnership with an insidious neoconservative "think tank" known as the Atlantic Council which is directly funded and made up of groups tied to the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex, and even government itself. The Atlantic Council dictates to Facebook who is allowed on the platform and who is purged.

Because the Atlantic Council is funded in part by the United States government -- and they are making decisions for Facebook -- this negates the claim that the company is private.

Since our six million followers and years of hard work were wiped off the platform during the October purge , TFTP has consistently reported on the Atlantic Council and their ties to the social media giant. This week, however, we've discovered something just as ominous -- the government to Facebook pipeline and revolving door.

It is a telltale sign of a corrupt industry or company when they create a revolving door between themselves and the state. Just like Monsanto has former employees on the Supreme Court and Pharmaceutical industry insiders move back and fourth from the FDA to their companies, we found that Facebook is doing the same thing.

Below are just a few of corrupt connections we've discovered while digging through the list of current and former employees within Facebook.

Facebook's Head of Cybersecurity Policy -- aka, the man who doles out the ban hammer to anyone he wishes -- is Nathaniel Gleicher. Before Gleicher was censoring people at Facebook, he prosecuted cybercrime at the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as Director for Cybersecurity Policy at the National Security Council (NSC) in the Obama White House.

While Facebook may have an interest in seeking out Gleicher's expertise, this man is an outspoken advocate of tyranny.

After deleting the pages of hundreds of antiwar and pro-peace media and activist outlets in October, last month, Facebook made another giant move to silence. This time, they had no problem noting that they went after pages whose specific missions were "anti-corruption" or "protest" movements. And it was all headed up by Gleicher.

"Some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption ," Gleicher wrote in a blog post.

"We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people."

Seems totally legit, right?

The list goes on.

In 2017, as the Russian/Trump propaganda ramped up, Facebook hired Joel Benenson , a former top adviser to President Barack Obama and the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign, as a consultant.

While filling team Zuck with Obama and Clinton advisers, Facebook hired Aneesh Raman , a former Obama speechwriter who now heads up Facebook's "economic impact programming."

Highlighting the revolving door aspect of Facebook and the US government is Sarah Feinberg who left the Obama train in 2011 to join Facebook as the director of corporate and strategic communications. She then moved on after and went back to Obama in 2015 to act as the administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

David Recordon also highlights the revolving door between Facebook and the government. Recordon was the former Director of IT for Obama's White House. He was also Engineering Director at Facebook prior to his role at the White House, and returned to the position after the 2016 election. He is currently Engineering Director for the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative.

Starting to see a pattern of political influence here? You should. But just in case you don't, the list goes on.

Meredith Carden -- who, you guessed, came from the Obama administration -- joined the Facebook clan last year to be a part of Facebook's "News Integrity Team." Now, she's battling fake news on the platform and as we've shown, there is a ridiculous amount of selective enforcement of these so-called "standards."

In fact, there are dozens of former Obama staffers, advisers, and campaign associates who quite literally fill Facebook's ranks. It is no wonder the platform has taken such a political shift over the past few years. David Ploufe, Josh W. Higgins, Lauryn Ogbechie, Danielle Cwirko-Godycki , Sarah Pollack, Ben Forer, Bonnie Calvin , and Juliane Sun , are just some of the many Facebook execs hailing out of the Obama era White House.

But fret not right wingers, Facebook likes their neocons too.

Jamie Fly, who was a top adviser to neocon Florida Senator Marco Rubio and who started his career in US political circles as an adviser to the George W. Bush administration, actually took credit for the massive purge of peaceful antiwar pages that took place last October.

"They can invent stories that get repeated and spread through different sites. So we are just starting to push back. Just this last week Facebook began starting to take down sites. So this is just the beginning," Fly said in December.

Fly backs up his words with the fact that he works with Facebook's arm of the Atlantic Council to ensure those dangerous antiwar folks don't keep pushing their propaganda of peace and community.

And yes, this list goes on.

Joel David Kaplan is Facebook's vice president of global public policy. Prior to his major role within Facebook, Kaplan took the place of neocon extraordinaire Karl Rove as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush. Before that, from 2001 to 2003 he was Special Assistant to the President for Policy within the White House Chief of Staff's office. Then he served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management And Budget (OMB).

Myriah Jordan was a special policy assistant in the Bush White House, who was hired on as a policy manager for Facebook's congressional relations team -- aka, a lobbyist. Jordan has moved back and forth between the private sector and the US government multiple times over his career as he's made millions greasing the skids of the state for his corrupt employers.

So there you have it. Facebook, who claims to be a private entity, is quite literally made up of and advised by dozens of members of government. We're ready for a change, are you?


Jung , 1 hour ago link

As q just posted, FB is backed completely by the CIA, so this is all part of still needs to be drained in this swamp where the CIA calls the shots. A lot of people will have to be replaced, not only in the FBI and DOJ where a lot has already happened.

So far, against my early prejudice against Q, all he posted has come true and it has been a news source where facts have found a place.

StarGate , 3 hours ago link

It's been reported Facebook is the 2nd incarnation of DARPA's (US military intel) program "Lifelog". Lifelog stopped one day and Facebook launched the next on the Lifelog platform. Sort of a friendly way to collect everyone's personal data as they mindlessly volunteer it.

So the govt tech geniuses just moved over too.

FGopher , 5 hours ago link

"It is a telltale sign of a corrupt industry or company when they create a revolving door between themselves and the state."

It is also a sign of a corrupt and fascist government.

wolf pup , 7 hours ago link

The revolving door to and from EvilGoogle and the Obama White House never stopped rotating, either. Far more Wh->EvilGoogle back to WH then again EvilGoogle employees than even Facebook. Even the WaPo and NYT wrote of the "peculiar" nature of those employments. It went on for years.

That was BT; Before Trump. Every so often WaPo etc. could still write a few items in a less than fully politicized tone.

I saved several such items as links, but alas, funny thing happened on the way to viewing them; they've been deleted. It was noteworthy in its numbers. Only several months would pass and the original EvilGoogle or WH employees would have come and gone to and from the other.

uhland62 , 7 hours ago link

Where the Atlantic Council has its finger in, there is propaganda and brainwashing.

Before 1989 they had a right to exist as we did not really want the corruption and militarism from the Warsaw Pact countries. Now we have a worse militarism and corruption under the NATO umbrella.

The Atlantic Council is another tool for fleecing us through NATO and by global companies operating from tax havens. (never been on FB)

[Mar 07, 2019] Are you ready? Here is all the data Facebook and Google have on you by Dylan Curran

Highly recommended!
Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you've been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone. After reading this you might start sympathizing to Ted Kaczynski ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices . ..."
"... Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep. ..."
"... Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic ..."
"... Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic "girl"). ..."
"... The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to. ..."
Mar 28, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look .

A slice of the data that Facebook keeps on the author: 'This information has millions of nefarious uses.' Photograph: Dylan Curran W ant to freak yourself out? I'm going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it. Google knows where you've been

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you've been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices .

Click on this link to see your own data: myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?
Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/settings/ads/

Google knows all the apps you use

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.

Click on this link to see your own data: security.google.com/settings/secur

Google has all of your YouTube history

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you're going to be a parent soon, if you're a conservative, if you're a progressive, if you're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you're feeling depressed or suicidal, if you're anorexic

Click on this link to see your own data: youtube.com/feed/history/s

The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I've requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big , which is roughly 3m Word documents.

Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a diary of everything that person has done

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you've taken on your phone, the businesses you've bought from, the products you've bought through Google

They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you've purchased, the Google groups you're in, the websites you've created, the phones you've owned, the pages you've shared, how many steps you walk in a day

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/takeout

Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message you've ever sent or been sent, every file you've ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you've ever sent or been sent.

Click here to see your data: https://www.facebook.com/help/131112897028467

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'A snapshot of the data Facebook has saved on me.' Photograph: Dylan Curran Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location

Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you've liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic "girl").

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you've ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. It's just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

And they store all the applications you've ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I'm interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.

(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Privacy options in Windows 10. Photograph: Dylan Curran They can access your webcam and microphone

The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Facebook told me it would act swiftly on data misuse – in 2015 | Harry Davies
Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data

I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'My Google Takeout document.' Photograph: Dylan Curran

Here's the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'My search history document has 90,000 different entries.' Photograph: Dylan Curran Google knows which events you attended, and when

Here's my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I've ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Here is my Google calendar showing a job interview I attended.' Photograph: Dylan Curran And Google has information you deleted

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my résumé, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I've ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google can know your workout routine

This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I've ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I've recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I've done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit's permissions).

Facebook Twitter Pinterest And they have years' worth of photos

This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google has every email you ever sent

Every email I've ever sent, that's been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest And there is more

I'll just do a short summary of what's in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.

First, every Google Ad I've ever viewed or clicked on, every app I've ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I've ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I've ever installed or searched for.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'They have every single Google search I've made since 2009.'

They also have every image I've ever searched for and saved, every location I've ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I've ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I've made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I've ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you're not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you're suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone's Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos.

NOTE: A caption was corrected on 28 March 2018 to replace "privacy options in Facebook" with "privacy options in Windows 10".

Dylan Curran is a data consultant and web developer, who does extensive research into spreading technical awareness and improving digital etiquette

[Mar 02, 2019] How do you like the NKVD libruls afraid of Trump bringing fascism who were running a gestapo (the FBI wiring tapping other countrys Ministers) on US citizens of the opposing party?

Feb 19, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm : , February 18, 2017 at 04:45 AM
Vox, what about reporting from a crystal ball requires truth?
Peter K. -> ilsm... , February 18, 2017 at 07:37 AM
The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! Hide under your bed.
ilsm -> Peter K.... , February 18, 2017 at 12:42 PM
Flynn could have said something "inappropriate" by a Clintonista definition of "inappropriate", and he "could" be prosecuted under a law designed to muzzle US citizens, that has never been tried bc a Bill of rights argument would win!

How do you like the NKVD libruls afraid of Trump bringing fascism who were running a gestapo (the FBI wiring tapping other country's Ministers) on US citizens of the opposing party?

If the fascists are coming they would keep Obama's FBI!

[Feb 26, 2019] Banning Huawei in the US will hurt US Huawei dealers more than it will hurt Huawei.

Feb 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Feb 24, 2019 1:29:18 PM | link

I'm watching CGTN ... Huawei are telling the Yanks that they can live without the USA market and will NOT allow back doors in their phones; adding that banning Huawei in the US will hurt US Huawei dealers more than it will hurt Huawei. The report also included an Advertorial for the new Huawei folding smart phone. It looks like a 7" tablet when open and folds down the centre with the screen on the OUTSIDE of the closed phone. It can download a 1 Gb movie in 3 (three) seconds and will cost $2600-00, making it the most expensive smartphone on the market.
Sounds like a great big FU AmeriKKKa to me.

[Feb 23, 2019] Smartphone Apps Sending Intensely Personal Information To Facebook - Whether Or Not You Have An Account

Feb 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Smartphone Apps Sending "Intensely Personal Information" To Facebook - Whether Or Not You Have An Account

by Tyler Durden Fri, 02/22/2019 - 18:05 72 SHARES

Facebook has been collecting "intensely personal information" from millions of people - whether they have Facebook accounts or not, according to testing performed by the Wall Street Journal .

According to tests of more than 70 apps using software to monitor internet communications, the Journal found that "the apps often send the data without any prominent or specific disclosure," and that " Facebook software collects data from many apps even if no Facebook account is used to log in and if the end user isn't a Facebook member. "

Eleven of the apps tested sent Facebook "potentially sensitive information about how users behaved or actual data they entered."

For example, Flo Health Inc.'s "Period & Ovulation Tracker" - which boasts 25 million active users, was sending Facebook information on when women were having their periods - or indicated their desire to get pregnant , according to the tests.

Note: After being contacted by the Journal, Flo said it has 'substantially limited' data sharing with third-party analytics services.

Source: Wall Street Journal testing of the app

Other apps found sending Facebook information include; Instant Heart Rate: HR MOnitor, Realtor.com's app, "at least six of the top 15 health and fitness apps" and BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts"

Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google, which operate the two dominant app stores, don't require apps to disclose all the partners with whom data is shared. Users can decide not to grant permission for an app to access certain types of information, such as their contacts or locations. But these permissions generally don't apply to the information users supply directly to apps, which is sometimes the most personal.

In the Journal's testing, Instant Heart Rate: HR Monitor, the most popular heart-rate app on Apple's iOS, made by California-based Azumio Inc., sent a user's heart rate to Facebook immediately after it was recorded . - Wall Street Journal

Facebook told The Journal that some of the data sharing uncovered by the tests violate its business terms, by which app developers are instructed not to send "health, financial information or other categories of sensitive information." The company has notified app developers identified in the tests to stop sending sensitive information to them, and it may take additional steps if the apps don't adhere to their requests.

""We require app developers to be clear with their users about the information they are sharing with us," said a Facebook spokeswoman. In other words, they're sorry they got caught and are now on a finger-wagging campaign.

Apple and Google had relatively lawyerly responses to the investigation; Apple said its guidelines require apps to seek "prior user consent" before collecting user data, adding "When we hear of any developer violating these strict privacy terms and guidelines, we quickly investigate and, if necessary, take immediate action." Google declined to comment - pointing to the company's policy requiring that apps which handle sensitive data prominently "disclose the type of parties to which any personal or sensitive user data is shared."

Flo initially said in a written statement that it doesn't send "critical user data" and that the data it does send Facebook is "depersonalized" to keep it private and secure.

The Journal's testing, however, showed sensitive information was sent with a unique advertising identifier that can be matched to a device or profile. A Flo spokeswoman subsequently said the company will "substantially limit" its use of external analytics systems while it conducts a privacy audit.

Move, the owner of real-estate app Realtor.com -- which sent information to Facebook about properties that users liked, according to the Journal's tests -- said "we strictly adhere to all local, state and federal requirements," and that its privacy policy "clearly states how user information is collected and shared." The policy says the app collects a variety of information, including content in which users are interested, and may share it with third parties. It doesn't mention Facebook. - Wall Street Journal

"This is a big mess," said Disconnect's chief technology officer Patrick Johnson, who analyzed apps for the Journal analysis. "This is completely independent of the functionality of the app."

While the software used by the Journal wasn't able to decipher specific content sent by Android apps, Defensive Lab Agency's Esther Onfroy found in a separate test that at least one Android app flagged by the Journal - BetterMe: Weight Loss Workouts, shared users' weights and heights with Facebook almost immediately after they were entered.

How is this possible?

Apps often incorporate code known as software-development kits (SDKs) which allow developers to integrate various features or functions across platforms. One of these is Facebook's SDK - which allow apps to collect data for targeted advertising or to allow apps to beter understand user behavior.

Facebook's SDK, which is contained in thousands of apps, includes an analytics service called "App Events" that allows developers to look at trends among their users. Apps can tell the SDK to record a set of standardized actions taken by users, such as when a user completes a purchase. App developers also can define "custom app events" for Facebook to capture -- and that is how the sensitive information the Journal detected was sent.

Facebook says on its website it uses customer data from its SDK, combined with other data it collects, to personalize ads and content, as well as to "improve other experiences on Facebook, including News Feed and Search content ranking capabilities." - Wall Street Journal

A Facebook spokeswoman said that Facebook is now looking into how to search for apps violating its data sharing terms, and will build safeguards to prevent the company from storing any sensitive data which may be provided by apps.

Last year Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that the company would create a "Clear History" feature to allow users to analyze data which had been collected about them from various apps and websites - and then delete it from Facebook.

We're still waiting on that...


Thom Paine , 3 minutes ago link

keep a separate camera. message via Wickr. Use a VPN on phone and PC. Encrypt all personal data immediately (cards, passwords etc) and keep under two factor security (I do this)

If you use your phone as camera disconnect from networks first, then bluetooth to somewhere else, delete - if you are photographing the misstress.

me or you , 14 minutes ago link

Time for all of you to consider an Open Source Android OS.

I've been using /e/ for almost a year already and all my apps are Open Source...I don't need Google for anything.

smacker , 18 minutes ago link

Solution's easy. Shut down Phacephuq and deal with Zuckerslimeberg.

GeezerGeek , 22 seconds ago link

Try Linux. Create multiple user accounts. Use a VPN. If you do wireless, use a few extra cheap wireless USB devices to swap MACs. On a wired (ethernet) connection, see if you can sometimes use wireless, and vice versa. Use different size monitors. It's frightening what your PC tells the rest of the world about your system so web sites know what to send you.

For linux, use Ubuntu because more people use that than any other distro, I think. That is part of what gets sent out when you connect to the internet.

You may want to load up VirtualBox and create a handful of different virtual machines. That, too, can add to the confusion.

Alternate solution: read a book.

Rockwell , 32 minutes ago link

Surveillance Capitalism at its finest. This won't stop until blood is spilt.

itstippy , 1 hour ago link

Some clever hacking group is going to start massively corrupting Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Alphabet data (and thus NSA data) instead of stealing it. It can't be too difficult to submit bogus data if these idiot data collectors are so cavalier about their sources that they accept info from "Flo Health Inc."

Send 'em intel on Maxine Water's preferred brand of cigars, Donald Trump's menstrual cycle, Ralph Crandon's interest in high end Manhattan real estate, Carrot Top's NASCAR obsession, Mitch McConnel's "How To Make A Bomb" searches, that kind of thing, only on a grand scale. Make the databases so corrupted that they're utterly unreliable and useless to advertisers and spooks.

yourlifeisamyth , 1 hour ago link

You are the product... but then do you really care?

Lucky Guesst , 1 hour ago link

My daughter and her husband have this experiment where they pick a random product that they don't own and have never researched online. They start saying the name of that item out loud randomly when they are on the phone with each other. Two out of the three times they started getting ads for that item on FB. I'm still working on getting her to delete FB.

Consuelo , 1 hour ago link

Most of the know-nothings using this waste of time & space don't know what the F they care about, other than that their daily hedonistic rituals of eating, entertaining and cell-phoning aren't interrupted by a bolt of clear thinking.

[Feb 18, 2019] Facebook labelled 'digital gangsters' by report on fake news by David Pegg

Notable quotes:
"... The report accuses Mark Zuckerberg , Facebook's co-founder and chief executive, of contempt for parliament in refusing three separate demands for him to give evidence, instead sending junior employees unable to answer the committee's questions. ..."
Feb 18, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Company broke privacy and competition law and should be regulated urgently, say MPs

Facebook deliberately broke privacy and competition law and should urgently be subject to statutory regulation, according to a devastating parliamentary report denouncing the company and its executives as "digital gangsters".

The final report of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee's 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news accused Facebook of purposefully obstructing its inquiry and failing to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections.

"Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised 'dark adverts' from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use every day," warned the committee's chairman, Damian Collins.

The report accuses Mark Zuckerberg , Facebook's co-founder and chief executive, of contempt for parliament in refusing three separate demands for him to give evidence, instead sending junior employees unable to answer the committee's questions.

Warns British electoral law is unfit for purpose and vulnerable to interference by hostile foreign actors, including agents of the Russian government attempting to discredit democracy.

Calls on the British government to establish an independent investigation into "foreign influence, disinformation, funding, voter manipulation and the sharing of data" in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 general election.

[Feb 12, 2019] Snowden revelations did not chnage thebahviour of JoeUser

Feb 12, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Despite the Snowden revelations of the extent of official data gathering and storage on individuals, the overwhelming majority of citizens have not only resigned themselves to electronic surveillance but are putting themselves in a position to have their habits examined microscopically by bringing eavesdropping digital assistants into their home and buying "smart" home appliances.

[Feb 09, 2019] Facebook The Government's Propaganda Arm

Feb 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jeff Charles via Liberty Nation,

The social media giant has a disturbing number of former Obama officials in key positions of authority over content...

Imagine for a moment what it would look like if the federal government launched its own social media network. Every day, Americans could freely use the platform to express their views on everything from economic theory to the best tips for baking peanut butter cookies. They could even discuss their political views and debate the important issues of the day.

But what if the government were empowered to determine which political views are appropriate and which are too obscene for the American public? Well, it looks like this is already happening. Of course, the state has not created a social media network; they didn't have to. It appears the government is using Facebook – the world's largest social media company – to sway public opinion.

The Government's Fingers In Facebook

The Free Thought Project recently published a report revealing that Facebook has some troubling ties to the federal government and that this connection could be enabling former state officials to influence the content displayed. The social media provider has partnered with various think tanks which receive state funding, while hiring an alarming number of individuals who have held prominent positions in the federal government.

Facebook recently announced their partnership with the Atlantic Council – which is partly funded by tax dollars – to ensure that users are presented with quality news stories. And by "quality," it seems that they mean "progressive." The council is well known for promoting far-left news sources, including the Xinhua News Agency, which was founded by the Communist Party of China. Well, that's reassuring. What red-blooded American capitalist doesn't want to get the news from a communist regime?

But there one aspect of this story is even more troubling: the government-to-Facebook pipeline. The company has employed a significant number of former officials in positions that grant them influence over what content is allowed on the platform.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's Head of Cybersecurity Policy, prosecuted cybercrimes at the Department of Justice under President Obama. Now, he is responsible for determining who gets banned or suspended from the network. But that's not the worst of it. He also spearheaded the company's initiative to scrub anti-war content and "protest" movements. In a blog post, Gleicher wrote: "Some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption." He continued, "We are constantly working to detect and stop this type of activity because we don't want our services to be used to manipulate people."

The company has also hired others who served in key positions in the Obama administration. Some of these include:

To make things more interesting, Facebook has also hired neocons to help them determine the type of content that is being published. So if you happen to be a conservative that isn't too crazy about interventionism, your views are not as welcome on the network as others. After all, how many times have you heard of people being banned for posting pro-war or socialist propaganda?

Are Private Companies Truly Private?

The notion that government officials could be using positions of power in the private industry to advance a statist agenda is disturbing, but the fact that most Americans are unaware of this is far worse. It would be inaccurate to argue that the government is controlling Facebook's content, but the level of the state's involvement in the world's biggest social media company is a disturbing development.

This is not the only case of state officials becoming involved with certain industries. This trend is rampant in the certain industries in which individuals move back and forth between private organizations and the FDA. For example, Monsanto, an agricultural and agrochemical company, has been under scrutiny for its ties to the federal government.

It is not clear if there is anything that can be done to counteract inappropriate relations between the government and certain companies – especially organizations with the level of influence enjoyed by the likes of Facebook. But it essential that the public is made aware of these relations, otherwise the state will continue to exert influence over society – with Americans none the wiser.

[Feb 08, 2019] Amazing that a bunch of academics would "criticize" the CIA and leave out all the real facts about the CIA.

Feb 08, 2019 | www.unz.com

never-anonymous , says: Next New Comment February 8, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT

Edward Curtain writes for the CIA about the CIA. Amazing that a bunch of academics would "criticize" the CIA and leave out all the real facts about the CIA.

ISIS, Al Qaeda, Pornhub, Facebook, Google – or whatever the CIA calls themselves and their weapons isn't in the business of informing you about anything at all.

Read 1984, it will explain it to you, another psychological warfare treatise written by a Government agent.

Agent76 , says: Next New Comment February 8, 2019 at 10:03 pm GMT
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[Feb 08, 2019] The CIA Then and Now Old Wine in New Bottles by Edward Curtin

Intelligence agencies like CIA is a threat to "normal" societies as they tend to acquire power with time and tail start wagging the dog. Mechanism of control are usually subverted and considerable part of their activities is dome without informing "supervisory" structures.
In the USA sometimes CIA monitor Congress communications and tries to coerce them like was the case when the torture program was revealed. In other words intelligence agencies are the core neofascist structures in modern society and as such represent a distinct danger.
Notable quotes:
"... Organizations like the CIA are obviously fallible and have made many mistakes and failed to anticipate world events. But they are also very powerful, having great financial backing, and do the bidding of their masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc. They are the action arm of these financial elites, and are, as Douglass Valentine has written, organized criminals. ..."
"... The corporate mass media take their orders, orders that need not be direct, but sometimes are, because these media are structured to do the bidding of the same elites that formed the CIA and own the media. And while their ostensible raison d'ȇtre is to provide intelligence to the nation's civilian leaders, this is essentially a cover story for their real work that is propaganda, killing, and conducting coups d'états at home and abroad. ..."
"... Because they have deep pockets, they can afford to buy all sorts of people, people who pimp for the elites. Some of these people do work that is usually done by honest academics and independent intellectuals, a dying breed, once called free-floating intellectuals. These pimps analyze political, economic, technological, and cultural trends. They come from different fields: history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science, cultural studies, linguistics, etc. They populate the think tanks and universities. They are often intelligent but live in bad faith, knowing they are working for those who are doing the devil's work. But they collect their pay and go their way straight to the bank, the devil's bank. They often belong to the Council of Foreign Relations or the Heritage Foundation. They are esteemed and esteem themselves. But they are pimps. ..."
"... Infecting minds with such symbols and stories must be done directly and indirectly, as well as short-term and long-term. Long term propaganda is like a slowly leaking water pipe that you are vaguely aware of but that rots the metal from within until the pipe can no longer resist the pressure. Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop -- and the inattentive recipients of the propaganda gradually lose their mettle to resist and don't know it, and then when an event bursts into the news -- e.g. the attacks of September 11, 2001 or Russia-gate -- they have been so softened that their assent is automatically given. They know without hesitation who the devil is and that he must be fought. ..."
"... The purpose of the long-term propaganda is to create certain predispositions and weaknesses that can be exploited when needed. Certain events can be the triggers to induce the victims to react to suggestions. When the time is ripe, all that is needed is a slight suggestion, like a touch on the shoulder, and the hypnotized one acts in a trance. ..."
"... Very entertaining. Now tell us how all this works. And what the CIA gets out of it. I mean they surely don't do it for nothing do they? Does the CIA Director get rich for working for 'masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc'? Or is everyone under a giant Satanic Cult in the sky and the CIA is their headquarters on earth? ..."
Feb 08, 2019 | www.unz.com
Edward Curtin • January 31, 2019 • 3,100 Words • 24 CommentsReply

...The Nazis had a name for their propaganda and mind-control operations: weltanschauungskrieg -- "world view warfare." As good students, they had learned many tricks of the trade from their American teachers, including Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, who had honed his propagandistic skills for the United States during World War I and had subsequently started the public relations industry in New York City, an industry whose raison d'etre from the start was to serve the interests of the elites in manipulating the public mind.

In 1941, U.S. Intelligence translated weltanschauungskrieg as "psychological warfare," a phrase that fails to grasp the full dimensions of the growing power and penetration of U.S. propaganda, then and now. Of course, the American propaganda apparatus was just then getting started on an enterprise that has become the epitome of successful world view warfare programs, a colossal beast whose tentacles have spread to every corner of the globe and whose fabrications have nestled deep within the psyches of many hundreds of millions of Americans and people around the world. And true to form in this circle game of friends helping friends, this propaganda program was ably assisted after WW II by all the Nazis secreted into the U.S. ("Operation Paperclip") by Allen Dulles and his henchmen in the OSS and then the CIA to make sure the U.S. had operatives to carry on the Nazi legacy (see David Talbot's The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, The CIA, and The Rise of America's Secret Government , an extraordinary book that will make your skin crawl with disgust).

This went along quite smoothly until some people started to question the Warren Commission's JFK assassination story. The CIA then went on the offensive in 1967 and put out the word to all its people in the agency and throughout the media and academia to use the phrase "conspiracy theory" to ridicule these skeptics, which they have done up until the present day. This secret document -- CIA Dispatch 1035-960 -- was a propaganda success for many decades, marginalizing those researchers and writers who were uncovering the truth about not just President Kennedy's murder by the national security state, but those of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. Today, the tide is turning on this score, as recently more and more Americans are fed up with the lies and are demanding that the truth be told. Even the Washington Post is noting this, and it is a wave of opposition that will only grow.

The CIA Exposed -- Partially

But back in the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, some covert propaganda programs run by the CIA were "exposed." First, the Agency's sponsorship of the Congress of Cultural Freedom, through which it used magazines, prominent writers, academics, et al. to spread propaganda during the Cold War, was uncovered. This was an era when Americans read serious literary books, writers and intellectuals had a certain cachet, and popular culture had not yet stupefied Americans. The CIA therefore secretly worked to influence American and world opinion through the literary and intellectual elites. Frances Stonor Saunders comprehensively covers this in her 1999 book, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA And The World Of Arts And Letters , and Joel Whitney followed this up in 2016 with Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers, with particular emphasis on the complicity of the CIA and the famous literary journal The Paris Review.

Then in 1975 the Church Committee hearings resulted in the exposure of abuses by the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc. In 1977 Carl Bernstein wrote a long piece for Esquire -- "The CIA and the Media" -- naming names of journalists and publications ( The New York Times, CBS , etc.) that worked with and for the CIA in propagandizing the American people and the rest of the world. (Conveniently, this article can be read on the CIA's website since presumably the agency has come clean, or, if you are the suspicious type, or maybe a conspiracy theorist, it is covering its deeper tracks with a "limited hangout," defined by former CIA agent Victor Marchetti, who went rogue, as "spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting -- sometimes even volunteering -- some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.")

Confess and Move On

By the late 1970s, it seemed as if the CIA had been caught in flagrante delicto and disgraced, had confessed its sins, done penance, and resolved to go and sin no more. Seeming, however, is the nature of the CIA's game. Organized criminals learn to adapt to the changing times, and that is exactly what the intelligence operatives did. Since the major revelations of the late sixties and seventies -- MKUltra, engineered coups all around the world, assassinations of foreign leaders, spying on Americans, etc. -- no major program of propaganda has been exposed in the mainstream media. Revealing books about certain CIA programs have been written -- e.g. Douglas Valentine's important The Phoenix Program being one -- and dissenting writers, journalists, researchers, and whistleblowers (Robert Parry, Gary Webb, Julian Assange, James W. Douglass, David Ray Griffin, Edward Snowden, et al.) have connected the U.S. intelligence services to dirty deeds and specific actions, such as the American engineered coup d'état in Ukraine in 2013-14, electronic spying, and the attacks of September 11, 2001.

But the propaganda has for the most part continued unabated at a powerful and esoteric cultural level, while illegal and criminal actions are carried out throughout the world in the most blatant manner imaginable, as if to say fuck you openly while insidiously infecting the general population through the mass electronic screen culture that has relegated intellectual and literary culture to a tiny minority.

Planning Ahead

Let me explain what I think has been happening.

Organizations like the CIA are obviously fallible and have made many mistakes and failed to anticipate world events. But they are also very powerful, having great financial backing, and do the bidding of their masters in banking, Wall St., finance, etc. They are the action arm of these financial elites, and are, as Douglass Valentine has written, organized criminals. They have their own military, are joined to all the armed forces, and are deeply involved in the drug trade. They control the politicians. They operate their own propaganda network in conjunction with the private mercenaries they hire for their operations. The corporate mass media take their orders, orders that need not be direct, but sometimes are, because these media are structured to do the bidding of the same elites that formed the CIA and own the media. And while their ostensible raison d'ȇtre is to provide intelligence to the nation's civilian leaders, this is essentially a cover story for their real work that is propaganda, killing, and conducting coups d'états at home and abroad.

Because they have deep pockets, they can afford to buy all sorts of people, people who pimp for the elites. Some of these people do work that is usually done by honest academics and independent intellectuals, a dying breed, once called free-floating intellectuals. These pimps analyze political, economic, technological, and cultural trends. They come from different fields: history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, political science, cultural studies, linguistics, etc. They populate the think tanks and universities. They are often intelligent but live in bad faith, knowing they are working for those who are doing the devil's work. But they collect their pay and go their way straight to the bank, the devil's bank. They often belong to the Council of Foreign Relations or the Heritage Foundation. They are esteemed and esteem themselves. But they are pimps.

... ... ...

Methods of Propaganda

Infecting minds with such symbols and stories must be done directly and indirectly, as well as short-term and long-term. Long term propaganda is like a slowly leaking water pipe that you are vaguely aware of but that rots the metal from within until the pipe can no longer resist the pressure. Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop -- and the inattentive recipients of the propaganda gradually lose their mettle to resist and don't know it, and then when an event bursts into the news -- e.g. the attacks of September 11, 2001 or Russia-gate -- they have been so softened that their assent is automatically given. They know without hesitation who the devil is and that he must be fought.

The purpose of the long-term propaganda is to create certain predispositions and weaknesses that can be exploited when needed. Certain events can be the triggers to induce the victims to react to suggestions. When the time is ripe, all that is needed is a slight suggestion, like a touch on the shoulder, and the hypnotized one acts in a trance. The gun goes off, and the entranced one can't remember why (see: Sirhan Sirhan). This is the goal of mass hypnotization through long-term propaganda: confusion, memory loss, and automatic reaction to suggestion.

Intelligence Pimps and Liquid Screen Culture

When the CIA's dirty tricks were made public in the 1970s, it is not hard to imagine that the intellectual pimps who do their long-range thinking were asked to go back to the drawing board and paint a picture of the coming decades and how business as usual could be conducted without further embarrassment. By that time it had become clear that intellectual or high culture was being swallowed by mass culture and the future belonged to electronic screen culture and images, not words. What has come to be called "postmodernity" ensued, or what the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman calls "liquid modernity" and Guy Debord "the society of the spectacle." Such developments, rooted in what Frederic Jameson has termed "the cultural logic of late capitalism," have resulted in the fragmentation of social and personal life into pointillistic moving pictures whose dots form incoherent images that sow mass confusion and do not cohere.

... ... ...

Edward Curtin is a writer whose work has appeared widely. He teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His website is http://edwardcurtin.com/