Thursday, July 3, 2014

Glenn Greenwald's Big NSA Story Gets Squashed


On Monday, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald let the news slip via Twitterthat his long-awaited NSA story was to be published on The Intercept at midnight. By Tuesday morning, much to the dismay of myself and many others it appeared that the site - which since its rollout has been disappointly devoid of new material - has caved to government pressure tactics did not post the story. According to a rather cryptic Tweet by Greenwald later on Monday, "After 3 months working on our story, USG today suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing". Might any of those claims be based on trumped up charges that publication would play right into the hands of the "terrorists" and could a permanent delay be in the works?

While I have remained a skeptic to the allegations that the new First Look Media venture that lured Greenwald with the siren song of creating a new and uncompromising investigative journalism forum that was an alternative to the entrenched corrupt state-corporate media the pulling of the big story only serves to bolster them. When you throw in with the billionaire wolves you will sooner or later being devoured and EBay founder Pierre Omidyar's agenda has already been found by some, for example journalist Chris Floyd to be suspect with support to both the coup government in Kiev as well as the right-wing regime of the newly elected Narendra Modi of India. The problem is that at the end of the day all of these one-percenter elite pigs stick together and Greenwald should have been far more judicious in his association with one of them.

It would have been a brilliant touch were the story of NSA surveillance of domestic political dissidents and well known figures were to have broken during the week of the orgy of flag-sucking excess that is the Fourth of July and Greenwald may have ill-advisedly tipped his hand during that interview with GQ "The Man Who Knows Too Much" when he alluded to fireworks:
I think we will end the big stories in about three months or so [June or July 2014]. I like to think of it as a fireworks show: You want to save your best for last. There's a story that from the beginning I thought would be our biggest, and I'm saving that. The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicolored hues. This will be the finale, a big missing piece. Snowden knows about it and is excited about it.

For now at least the fireworks show has been postponed, with the incessant fear-mongering that has now overtaken the USA!, USA!, USA! over the new Islamic caliphate and Obama sending more American troops back into Iraq it is probably better than even money that it will be cancelled altogether in the interests of national security.

Greenwald should have stayed at The Guardian.


"I chose a half measure, when I should have gone all the way... I'll never make that mistake again. No more half measures"

- Mike Ehrmantraut

After that cryptic tweet it is time to consider seriously that the "imminent" game-changing story on NSA surveillance targets and other acts of wanton state criminality has been sunk by the US government. Whatever it is that those "new last-minute claims" that preempted the publication by The Intercept at midnight last night consisted of, they must have been of the gravest nature to derail the biggest story of Greenwald's career. As to what exactly they were may never be known, perhaps a sealed indictment against Greenwald, the shutdown of The Intercept or threats to Omidyar's other business interests under some trumped up bullshit interpretation of a terrorist law or even a death threat, all could have done the trick. There may have been a mole inside of Greenwald's operation -- it is no secret that The Intercept was hiring -- providing leaked information to the government or maybe Omidyar just lost his nerve but the fact is that the story has for the moment been effectively killed.

Greenwald's work on the Snowden documents has been extraordinary and has made him many an enemy within both the corrupt state-corporate US media as well as within the US power structure and political class alike which is truly a badge of honor for the man considering the criminality of the scum that he has exposed. The wrath of the United States government and national security state and their relentless drive to keep the big story under wraps and therefore censored could be expected. I have no doubts towards Greenwald's integrity but his one major blind spot over the last year was his decision to cast his lot with moneybags Omidyar. Given his support of of neo-Nazis in Ukraine and murderous fascists in India along with the need to expand his eBay empire globally would seemingly make him a strange bedfellow to a crusading journalist like Greenwald. The halting of the publication of the story will only give the doubters, as well as many fence-sitters more reason to question this relationship and they would be right to do so.

Again, it is easily understood why Greenwald would jump at the opportunity to build a new media platform that would challenge the contaminated electronic and print media in The Homeland but he should have done his homework. When the blog Pando came out with a story breaking Omidyar's dabbling in foreign dictatorships, Greenwald rapidly offered up a lengthy defense of his boss but it now appears that he was hoodwinked and maybe it was a honey trap all along.
Not only was Greenwald lured by Omidyar's money but also Jeremy Scahill (Dirty Wars) and perhaps the greatest of the new generation of muck-raking financial writers Matt Taibbi whose departure from Rolling Stone magazine was as much the end of an era as was the passing of Hunter S. Thompson. Taibbi was brilliant in his scathing attacks on the depravity of Wall Street and crony capitalism and the hijacking of democracy by the greedy gamblers who are able to operate with impunity and his finale at Rolling Stone on Goldman Sachs commodities trading scams along with Greenwald's work on the NSA looked like First Look had an unbeatable pair of cops on the beat.

Taibbi really pushed the envelope in "The Vampire Squid Strikes Again", turning up the heat on Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder who has presided over the Justice Department's passing out of 'get out of jail free' cards since Barack the transparent took office. Back during the days when the entire scam was being set up, the infamous global swindler and friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the now deceased Marc Rich was instrumental in establishing the conditions for the ongoing commodities con. I excerpt the following from Taibbi:

Goldman and Chase -- along with Glencore and Trafigura, a pair of giant Swiss-based conglomerates that were offshoots of a firm founded by notorious deceased commodities trader and known market manipulator Marc Rich -- all made notably coincidental purchases of metals-warehousing companies in 2010.

The presence of these Marc Rich entities is particularly noteworthy. According to famed Forbes reporter Paul Klebnikov, who was assassinated in 2004 after years of reports on Russian corruption, Rich made a fortune in the early Nineties striking crooked deals with the Soviet bosses who controlled the U.S.S.R.'s supplies of raw materials -- in particular commodities like zinc and aluminum. These deals helped create a fledgling class of profiteers among the bosses of the crumbling Soviet empire, a class that would go on years later to help push Russia out of its communist past into its kleptocratic present.

"He'd strike a deal with the local party boss, or the director of a state-owned company," Klebnikov said back in 2001. "He'd say, 'OK, you will sell me the [commodity] at five to 10 percent of the world-market price"."."."and in return, I will deposit some of the profit I make by reselling it 10 times higher on the world market, and put the kickback in a Swiss bank account.'"
Rich made these reported deals while in exile from the United States, which he fled in 1983 after the U.S. government charged him with tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering and trading with the enemy after being caught trading with rogue states like Iran, among other things. The state filed enough counts to put him away for life, and he remained a fugitive until January 2001, when a little-known Clinton administration Justice Department official named Eric Holder recommended Rich be pardoned. A report by the House Committee on Government Reform later concluded that Holder had not provided a credible explanation for supporting Rich's pardon and that he must have had "other motivations" that he didn't share with Congress. Among other things, the committee speculated that Holder had designs on the attorney general's office in a potential Al Gore administration.

In any case, in 2010, a decade after the Rich pardon, Holder was attorney general, but under Barack Obama, and two Rich-created firms, along with two banks that have been major donors to the Democratic Party, all made moves to buy up metals warehouses. In near simultaneous fashion, Goldman, Chase, Glencore and Trafigura bought companies that control warehouses all over the world for the LME, or London Metals Exchange. The LME is a privately owned exchange for world metals trading. It's the world's primary hub for determining metals prices and also for trading metals-based futures, options, swaps and other instruments.

With the NSA abuses including names of those who have been spied on (or blackmailed) as well as Taibbi's foray into the crooked financial aspects (NSA ties as well?) it seemed like an awesome and unprecedented run at the Deep State was nigh with some of the revelations coming very close to the domain of the mysterious and legendary "Octopus"which was the subject of work by investigative reporter Danny Casolaro who was found dead under very mysterious circumstances back in 1991.

Casolaro's research came to reach into the upper echelons of US politics at the time and included the use of the sophisticated, ahead of its time software program PROMIS which according to some accounts - notably Guy Lawson's book "Octopus"and Cheri Seymour's "The Last Circle"- was being used to rig financial markets, launder money and facilitate US and foreign espionage by utilizing "back doors" in host computers for spying. In the case of Seymour's research, elements within the US Department of Justice are implicated, particularly Reagan administration figures such as Edwin Meese in using government actions to quash criminal investigations.

Eric Holder has a long history within the DOJ and was also been appointed as a judge of the DC superior court by Reagan in 1988. Having also served during the Reagan, Clinton and Obama presidencies he has an established continuity and his involvement in the Rich pardon doesn't pass the smell test, even more so given the crime spree on Wall Street that has taken place during his watch. 

While most lack the necessary knowledge to recognize these historical linkages they are such that would make the establishment very nervous of the possibility of Snowden's NSA leaks being used as a point of reference for backtracking in order to reconstruct how exactly we got from Reagan's Executive Order 12333 back in 1981 to the NSA surveillance and data-mining colossus of 2014. Were enough talented investigators able to successfully run the trace it would have the potential to blow the lid off of the entire f*cking sewer which is truly what these bastards are afraid of. There are far too many crimes and crimes to cover up those crimes going back decades to risk exposure.

But I digress..

So as it sits now, with Greenwald's story in limbo - the "imminent" scoop is starting to look like it has been squashed like a pesky insect by the red, white and blue jackboot of Leviathan. There is absolutely no way that the government is going to allow it to be published in a form that will challenge the corruption of the entire system - we are not only talking about the NSA here but everything and that will not happen. Greenwald fucked up by allowing himself to be put under the control of one who benefits from the existence of that corrupt system through what is really starting to look like a legacy killer in The Intercept and First Look Media. Perhaps it is hubris, he has been so busy making appearances in an obviously dishonest domestic media conducting his victory tour after the publication of "No Place to Hide" that he never saw it coming. His delay - there have been many calling for the publication of the entire Snowden trove - has only allowed for the government to regroup, plot and bring pressure to kill the story. If the story is halted, substantially delayed or gutted then it represents a major strategic failure on his part and a successful attempt to dilute or halt the story will do immense damage to those who are desperately fighting for justice and the return to accountability.

Greenwald's failed calculus was in believing that the bastards could actually be beaten - they can't, like that classic Dire Straits song puts it "the man's too strong". This is a guerrilla war in which the only victory is in causing them problems with an ongoing series of non-centralized swarm attacks by dedicated activists, bloggers and writers - this is why the Occupy Movement was such a threat and was crushed.

While Greenwald's delay may only be temporary, the cave in to the government that he himself has now acknowledged will make any future revelations suspect. The affiliation with The Intercept and Omidyar which already has suffered a ding in credibility by not publishing that other country involved in the SOMALGET program. This was a transgression that Wikileaks - an organization that helped to save Mr. Snowden's ass from a US torture chamber - immediately decried and revealed what the bosses at First Look Media would not.

The only solution is to PUT IT ALL OUT THERE and let the bloggers and alternative media have at it and if the establishment successfully suppress Greenwald's big "fireworks" show then there is really no other way. If there exists a complete set of the documents (and I suspect it does) then let one who is not subject to coercion by the rogue elements in Washington set off their own extravaganza and truly light up the sky. It would be delightful were this to happen on the Fourth of July as a symbolic gesture to the principles that this once great country was founded upon.

No more half measures.

[This article is a combination of two prior pieces and is also published at OPED NEWS]