How to undermine your own credibility with a silly conspiracy theory: the Glenn Greenwald edition.
Raw Story: Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald on Monday suggested that President Barack Obama had ordered 19 U.S. embassies in the Middle Easy closed not because of a legitimate terror threat, but to silence a debate on recently-revealed details of National Security Agency (NSA) data collection programs.
In a Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that the embassies had been temporarily closed after the NSA learned of a terrorist plot.
“Here we are in the midst of one the most intense debates and sustain debates that we’ve had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance, and suddenly an administration that has spent two claiming that it has decimated Al-Qaeda decides that there is this massive threat that involves the closing of embassies and consulates throughout the world,” Greenwald told Goodman. “And within literally an amount of hours, the likes of Saxby Chambliss and Lindsey Graham join with the White House and Democrats in Congress — who, remember, are the leading defenders of the NSA at this point — to exploit that terrorist threat, and to insist that it shows that the NSA and these programs are necessary.”
Except al Qaeda just staged a massive prison break in Iraq, which has increased their numbers in the middle east — including senior leadership who engage in planning the sort of thing the Obama administration say is going on. Besides, Greenwald wishes that “we are in the midst of one the most intense debates and sustain debates that we’ve had in a very long time in this country over the dangers of excess surveillance” — as do I — but the fact is that we’re not. While the continuing revelations about NSA snooping should be big, earthshaking news, they’re not — thanks in part to the people who broke the story in the first place.
Edward Snowden should never have come out as the whistleblower. When he did, he gave the media a chance to change a complex story about civil rights, privacy, government overreach, the rapid expansion of police powers following 9/11, and Constitutional law into a one-word headline: “MANHUNT!" Of course they took that opportunity, because the easier to understand story always gets more coverage. The Obama administration didn’t need to cook up some conspiracy to change the subject, Greenwald’s source already did that for them.
It’s still an important story and there’s still a chance to have the serious national conversation we so desperately need — but Glenn’s not helping by giving the press yet another simpleminded angle to distract from the story. Talk about the substance, not silly speculation that plays right to the media’s sensationalist tendencies.
Following NSA revelations, Army blocks access to The Guardian.
Montery Herald: The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday’s Herald, but Armywide.
Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since The Guardian broke stories on data collection by the National Security Agency.
Gordon Van Vleet, an Arizona-based spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email the Army is filtering “some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks.”
He wrote it is routine for the Department of Defense to take preventative “network hygiene” measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
“We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security,” he wrote, “however, there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information.”
In a later phone call, Van Vleet said the filter of classified information on public websites was “Armywide” and did not originate at the Presidio.
Presidio employees described how they could access the U.S. site, www.guardiannews.com, but were blocked from articles, such as those about the NSA, that redirected to the British site.
Seems kind of pointless, unless they’re also blocking cable and broadcast news. Kind of a case of locking the barn door after the horse got out. It’s like trying to patch a leak in cheesecloth. It really is quite futile. It’s not going to limit the spread of the info, it just makes the Army look pissy and like it’s punishing The Guardian by denying it web traffic.
Stories to Watch: 9/30/11
Went out and saw a show last night, which was fun. But man, was it ever windy. And cold. Outside sucked. Inside with beer was great. Now here’s the news…
US-born al Qaeda figure Anwar al-Awlaki is killed by a drone strike in Yemen. Both Glenn Greenwald and Ron Paul aren’t fans of the move, while the rightwing blogosphere seems split. At least one wingnut makes an ill-advised parallel that suggests they aren’t aware that Hitler committed suicide.
Steve Benen uses al-Awlaki’s death to point out that President Obama has had a substantial winning streak when it comes to foreign policy.
Why I hate pundits, example 3,462,091,483-A: Michael Kinsley argues that Chris Christie can’t be president because “he is just too fat.” And Michael Kinsley is just too shallow.
Contrary to lazy reporting, Warren Buffett did not oppose the Buffet Rule.
Alabama is enjoying success in their efforts to produce some of the nation’s stupidest kids.
Finally, Sarah Palin’s coquettishness continues. Sooner or later, the media will wise up and stop taking her calls.
News Roundup for 2/25/11
-Headline of the day-
"Ex-AG sees violations by Walker in stunt call."
Remember that phone call that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took a little while back? You know, the one where he thought his boss was calling him? Yeah, that one. Turns out that Scooter may have confessed to breaking a law or three while trying to convince “David Koch” that he was being really successful in doing away with unions and please god pleasepleaseplease don’t shut off the money tap to his campaign coffers.
Former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager reviewed the recording — like everyone else under the sun — and concluded that Walker’s probably a tad bit outside the law. “There clearly are potential ethics violations, and there are potential election law violations and there are a lot of what look to me like labor law violations,” she said in an interview. “I think that the ethics violations are something the (state) Government Accountability Board should look into because they are considerable. He is on tape talking with someone who he thinks is the funder of an independent political action committee to purchase advertising to benefit Republican legislators who are nervous about taking votes on legislation he sees as critical to his political success… One of the things I find most problematic in all of this is the governor’s casual talk about using outside troublemakers to stir up trouble on the streets, and the fact that he only dismissed the idea because it might cause a political problem for him.”
Part of the problem with the “troublemakers” thing is that, even if he finally decided against it, he says “we” thought about it. Discussing how to commit a crime is conspiracy to commit that crime — even if you eventually decide not to. It just has to be a serious consideration, even if it’s just one of many options.
"For a governor even to consider a strategy that could unnecessarily threaten the safety of peaceful demonstrators — which the governor acknowledged he did — is something that simply amazes me," Peg says.
So, are we going to see Scooter behind bars soon? We’ve got a Republican Governor, a Republican Assembly, a Republican Senate, and a Republican Attorney General.
What do you think? (Capital Times)
Last night, Stephen Colbert interviewed journalist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald on the story of Wikileaks, Anonymous, HBGary, the Obama administration, Bank of America, and Greenwald himself. It’s this whole big, complicated thing, which Colbert did a great job of condensing here:
So, Colbert goes on from this to interview Greenwald. A redditor watched the interview and noticed a strange flash on Colbert’s face for a moment, so a look at a slowed down clip of the flash was in order. This was what further investigation revealed:
That’s a Guy Fawkes mask, a symbol of Anonymous and a reference to the movie V for Vendetta. Colbert is clearly showing support for Anon.
Or maybe he just doesn’t want his World of Warcraft character messed with. (Washington Post)
"Witnesses: Republican Laughed When Asked ‘Who’s Gonna Shoot Obama?’"
Georgia Rep. Paul Broun is a douche. Proven fact. (Talking Points Memo)