“A media blackout on detailing the exact number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay has been put in place because the protest was too successful at generating media attention, a public affairs official has told Al Jazeera,” begins a news report this morning. The National Security Statewins if it can get away with this and convince activists to shut up and go away.
Dean Baker asks this morning “Can’t The New York Times Print a Budget Article Without Editorializing About Cutting Social Security and Medicare?” Mainstream press, en masse, do their best to convince their audience that The Times is somehow leftist, as though it differs from other corporate media, even as it does its very best to always represent the ruling Forces of Greed.
Seymour Hersh tells us this morning it was a mistake for him to think The Washington Post would print his story about the Obama regime fixing the facts to attempt to lead us into war with Syria. The Post is an integral part of the National Security State. Hersh stands by his story.
The State Department is considering sanctions against the Ukraine for its crackdown on protesters. Where was the State Department when Occupy Protesters were being tear gassed, beaten, pepper sprayed and jailed for peacefully assembling, a right guaranteed in the Constitution even as the Obama regime organized police crackdowns in cities from sea to shining sea?
The Russians see the Ukrainian protests as influenced by the USA. A large part of the Ukrainian population are Russian-speaking people who generally want to stay allied with Russia rather than moving to the European Union. The Western press are ignoring this fact in their usual biased coverage, intent as the State Department is on isolating Russia and China, with all mainstream press on board in their essential National Security State role.
“Pope Francis attacked mega-salaries and big bonuses on Thursday, saying in the first peace message of his pontificate that they are symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality,” begins a piece in British news this morning. The Pope also called for more sharing of wealth among people and nations to narrow the gap between the rich and poor.
May we be expecting the Pope to be identified as a terrorist, like Nelson Mandela, or an enemy, like Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro, for taking this socialist position in breaking with modern popes? Will we be sending troops to the Vatican to help give its people freedom and democracy through massive bombing? Stay tuned.
The following letter is signed by former intelligence, military and police officials of the USA and other nations, urging current government officials to blow the whistle on our corrupt government for what it’s doing to destroy democracy –Jack Balkwill
by Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Katharine Gun, Peter Kofod, Ray McGovern, Jesselyn Radack, and Coleen Rowley
At least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.
What’s really remarkable is that we’ve been warned for years that these things were going on: wholesale surveillance of entire populations, militarization of the internet, the end of privacy. All is done in the name of “national security”, which has more or less become a chant to fence off debate and make sure governments aren’t held to account – that they can’t be held to account – because everything is being done in the dark. Secret laws, secret interpretations of secret laws by secret courts and no effective parliamentary oversight whatsoever.
By and large the media have paid scant attention to this, even as more and more courageous, principled whistleblowers stepped forward. The unprecedented persecution of truth-tellers, initiated by the Bush administration and severely accelerated by the Obama administration, has been mostly ignored, while record numbers of well-meaning people are charged with serious felonies simply for letting their fellow citizens know what’s going on.
It’s one of the bitter ironies of our time that while John Kiriakou (ex-CIA) is in prison for blowing the whistle on US torture, the torturers and their enablers walk free.
Likewise WikiLeaks-source Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning was charged with – amongst other serious crimes – aiding the enemy (read: the public). Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison while the people who planned the illegal and disastrous war on Iraq in 2003 are still treated as dignitaries.
Numerous ex-NSA officials have come forward in the past decade, disclosing massive fraud, vast illegalities and abuse of power in said agency, including Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. The response was 100% persecution and 0% accountability by both the NSA and the rest of government. Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but despite the poor track record of western media, whistleblowing remains the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and upholding democracy – that fragile construct which Winston Churchill is quoted as calling “the worst form of government, except all the others”.
Since the summer of 2013, the public has witnessed a shift in debate over these matters. The reason is that one courageous person: Edward Snowden. He not only blew the whistle on the litany of government abuses but made sure to supply an avalanche of supporting documents to a few trustworthy journalists. The echoes of his actions are still heard around the world – and there are still many revelations to come.
For every Daniel Ellsberg, Drake, Binney, Katharine Gun, Manning or Snowden, there are thousands of civil servants who go by their daily job of spying on everybody and feeding cooked or even made-up information to the public and parliament, destroying everything we as a society pretend to care about.
Some of them may feel favourable towards what they’re doing, but many of them are able to hear their inner Jiminy Cricket over the voices of their leaders and crooked politicians – and of the people whose intimate communication they’re tapping.
Hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces are dozens and dozens of people who are very much upset by what our societies are turning into: at the very least, turnkey tyrannies.
One of them is you.
● Undermining democracy and eroding civil liberties isn’t put explicitly in your job contract.
● You grew up in a democratic society and want to keep it that way
● You were taught to respect ordinary people’s right to live a life in privacy
● You don’t really want a system of institutionalized strategic surveillance that would make the dreaded Stasi green with envy – do you?
Still, why bother? What can one person do? Well, Edward Snowden just showed you what one person can do. He stands out as a whistleblower both because of the severity of the crimes and misconduct that he is divulging to the public – and the sheer amount of evidence he has presented us with so far – more is coming. But Snowden shouldn’t have to stand alone, and his revelations shouldn’t be the only ones.
You can be part of the solution; provide trustworthy journalists – either from old media (like this newspaper) or from new media (such as WikiLeaks) with documents that prove what illegal, immoral, wasteful activites are going on where you work.
There IS strength in numbers. You won’t be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what’s being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can’t be stopped. Crooked politicians will be held accountable. It’s in your hands to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process.
Courage is contagious.
Peter Kofod, ex-Human Shield in Iraq (Denmark)
Thomas Drake, whistleblower, former senior executive of the NSA (US)
Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower, former US military analyst (US)
Katharine Gun, whistleblower, former GCHQ (UK)
Jesselyn Radack, whistleblower, former Department of Justice (US)
Ray McGovern, former senior CIA analyst (US)
Coleen Rowley, whistleblower, former FBI agent (US)
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