Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

The Ultra-Right Wing Views of Eddie the Friendly Spook and Citizen Assange

Fast Eddie Snowden's Presidential candidate of choice

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT:  In our ongoing analysis of “Snowden’s Ride,” (U-2 Incident, II) we take note of Fast Eddie’s far-right political philosophy, manifested as support for crypto-Nazi Ron Paul. We will also briefly revisit the social Darwinism and reflexive anti-Semitism of Citizen Assange, whose far-right, Nazi-linked WikiLeaks infrastructure has melded with Eddie the Friendly Spook’s “op.”  

Snowden’s supporters have conceptualized him as some sort of idealist, embracing political martyrdom in order to expose encroachment to America’s civil liberties. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Snowden left a fairly large internet footprint while posted to Switzerland by the CIA. His musings are important and very revealing.

Not only is Citizen Snowden no crusader on behalf of humanity and civil liberty, he is a cynical, self-righteous ultra-right winger. (Be sure to examine the text excerpts below.)

Fast Eddie is a believer in:

  • the rectitude of short-selling, in which he engaged.
  • the elimination of Social Security.
  • returning to the Gold Standard.
  • high unemployment as a natural and good part of capitalism.
  • the right-wing Republican view that Obama was debasing the currency with his economic policies.
  • John McCain.

Fast Eddie characterized anyone who disagreed with these extreme right-wing views as a “retard.”

What a swell guy.

It should come as no surprise that someone with an antediluvian political outlook such as that would fall in behind Nazi pied piper Ron Paul, who himself is joined at the hip with Mitt Romney.

Note that Eddie the Friendly Spook decamped first to China and then to Russia, obviously to politically and diplomatically damage both Obama and the United States. Neither China nor Russia is a bastion of civil liberties or internet freedom.

Again, this guy is no idealist and friend of the citizenry.

Neither, for that matter, is his benefactor and ally Julian Assange. As discussed in FTR #745,  Assange believes in a social-Darwinist philosophy, very possibly deriving from the fascist mind control cult the Santikitenan Park Association, to which he appears to have belonged. (See text excerpts below.)

As soon as his professional balloon began to deflate, Citizen Assange also screeched about being the victim of an “international Jewish conspiracy” involving the BBC and the Guardian, no less! That Assange  would behave in that manner should come as no surprise, given his strong links to Holocaust denier Joran Jermas (aka “Israel Shamir.”) (See text excerpts below.)

It was Jermas who arranged for WikiLeaks to set up operations at the Pirate Bay’s servers, financed by fascist financial angel Carl Lundstrom (who arranged a Scandinavian speaking tour for David Duke, himself one of the many unsavory associates of Ron Paul).

Assange himself has endorsed both Ron Paul and Rand Paul. (See text excerpts below.)

Citizen Assange’s Australian WikiLeaks Party has deliberately betrayed its Green supporters in favor of far-right, fascist parties Down Under. (See text excerpts below.)

Assange’s reflexive anti-Semitism is more than a little revealing about his real political make-up.

QUICK: What is the difference between NSA/GCHQ’s warrantless surveillance and what WikiLeaks/Anonymous does? What kind of oversight does WikiLeaks have? What kind of oversight do the Anonymous folks have? What court, judicial or constitutional authority gives official sanction to what they do?

Former Assange associate Daniel Domscheit-Berg has also noted that Assange has adopted the philosophy and lexicon he professes to oppose. He has used verbiage identical to that in the American Espionage Act of 1917, under which Citizen Snowden has been charged. (See text excerpts below.)

Our previous posts on the subject of Eddie the Friendly Spook are: Part IPart IIPart IIIPart IVPart V. Please examine them at length and follow the links.

“In 2009, Ed Snow­den Said Leak­ers “Should Be Shot.” Then He Became One” by Joe Mullin; Ars Technica; 6/26/2013.

. . . . Hired by the CIA and granted a diplo­matic cover, he was a reg­u­lar old IT guy whose life was ele­vated by a hint of inter­na­tional intrigue. . . .

. . . . But as his first spring dawned in Switzer­land, it must have felt cold, for­eign, and expen­sive. Two days after his arrival in Switzer­land, Snow­den logged onto #arsi­fi­cial, a chan­nel on Ars Technica’s pub­lic Inter­net Relay Chat (IRC) server. He’d been fre­quent­ing this space for a few months, chat­ting with whomever hap­pened to be hang­ing out. . . .

. . . . Snow­den logged on to the pub­lic IRC chat room with the same user­name he used across the Web: TheTrue­HOOHA. The chat room was a place he would return to on dozens of occa­sions over his years in Switzer­land, and his writ­ings fill in details about the man who may go down as the most famous leaker in US his­tory. Over the years that he hung out in #arsi­fi­cial, Snow­den went from being a fairly insu­lated Amer­i­can to being a man of the world. He would wax philo­soph­i­cal about money, pol­i­tics, and in one notable exchange, about his uncom­pro­mis­ing views about gov­ern­ment leakers.

Four years later, Snow­den took a job with a gov­ern­ment con­trac­tor for the spe­cific pur­pose of gath­er­ing secret infor­ma­tion on domes­tic spy­ing being done by the National Secu­rity Agency (NSA). In May, he hopped a plane to Hong Kong before the NSA knew where he was going. Once there, Snow­den began a process of leak­ing top-secret doc­u­ments to jour­nal­ists. Snowden’s first leak con­firmed what activists had sus­pected but couldn’t prove: there was a drag­net gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­gram col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion on every American’s phone calls. . . .

. . . . And he could be abra­sive. Snow­den didn’t short stocks just to make money—he did it because it was the right thing to do. He saw him­self as a pal­adin of the mar­kets, bring­ing “liq­uid­ity” to all. As for those who didn’t agree with him about the right­ness of the gold stan­dard or the need to elim­i­nate Social Secu­rity, they weren’t just mistaken—they were “retards.” . . .

. . . . A Ron Paul man and a short-seller

If Snow­den was get­ting com­fort­able in Geneva, he was fully at home in #arsi­fi­cial. In a depar­ture from his nearly 800 posts in other Ars forums, here he spoke bluntly on mat­ters of state. In the months fol­low­ing the 2008 elec­tion, he dis­cussed his embrace of a return to the gold stan­dard and his admi­ra­tion of its highest-profile champion.

In his more hyper­bolic moments, Snow­den spoke about the fall of the dol­lar in near-apocalyptic terms. “It seems like the USD and GBP are both likely to go the way of the zim­babwe dol­lar,” he sug­gested in March 2009. “Espe­cially with that cock­bag bernanke decid­ing to mag­i­cally print 1.2T more dollars.” . . .

. . . . The high unem­ploy­ment rate that was on the way for the US didn’t phase Snow­den; those wring­ing their hands and seek­ing con­ven­tional Key­ne­sian solu­tions seemed soft­headed to him. Obama was “plan­ning to devalue the cur­rency absolutely as fast as the­o­ret­i­cally pos­si­ble,” he wrote. Ris­ing unem­ploy­ment was a mere “cor­rec­tion,” a “nec­es­sary part of capitalism.” . . .

“Report Says Assange Complains of Jewish Smear Campaign” by Ravi Somaiya; The New York Times; 3/1/2011.

EXCERPT: . . . .He [Assange] was especially angry about a Private Eye report that Israel Shamir, an Assange associate in Russia, was a Holocaust denier. Mr. Assange complained that the article was part of a campaign by Jewish reporters in London to smear WikiLeaks.

A lawyer for Mr. Assange could not immediately be reached for comment, but in a statement later released on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed, Mr. Assange said Mr. Hislop had “distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase.”

The Private Eye article quoted Mr. Assange as saying the conspiracy was led by The Guardian and included the newspaper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, and investigations editor, David Leigh, as well as John Kampfner, a prominent London journalist who recently reviewed two books about WikiLeaks for The Sunday Times of London.

When Mr. Hislop pointed out that Mr. Rusbridger was not Jewish, Mr. Assange countered that The Guardian’s editor was “sort of Jewish” because he and Mr. Leigh, who is Jewish, were brothers-in-law. . . .

“BBC Producer Says Assange ‘Ridiculous’ over ‘Zionist Wife’ Claims”; Jewish Chronicle; 3/17/2011.

EXCERPT: . . . A BBC producer accused by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange of trying to influence his extradition hearing because he had a “Zionist wife” has said the claim was “absolutely ridiculous”. Last month Mr Assange, fighting extradition to Sweden for alleged sexual assault, told Agoravox, a French news site: “Our relationships [with UK media] are not that great, particularly with the BBC. They are going to broadcast a show…and try to influence the judges. We finally found out that the producer’s wife for this show was part of the Zionist movement in London.”

He was referring to the Panorama programme, Wikileaks: The Secret Story.

Its producer, Jim Booth, said this week: “I was the producer on the programme so he can only be talking about me. I have got no idea why he said that. My wife is not Jewish, has nothing to do with Zionism or the Jewish community.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous and insulting for me as a producer. I do not set out with an agenda and he gave the sense there was a Jewish agenda. . . .

Is this Julian Assange?

 Unseen, Unheard,Unknown by Sarah Moore.

EXCERPT: . . . . I suspect perhaps that there were more sinister motives than these alone. Some of us had multiple birth certificates and passports, and citizenship of more than one country. Only she knows why this was and why we were also all dressed alike, why most of us even had our hair dyed identically blond.

I can only conjecture because I will never know for sure. However I suspect that she went to such great lengths in order to enable her to move children around, in and out of the country. Perhaps even to be sold overseas. I’m sure there is a market somewhere in the world for small blond children with no traceable identities. If she did it, it was a perfect scam.

any ex-sect members have said that they were aware that Anne was creating children by a “breeding program” in the late 1960s. These were ‘invisible’ kids, because they had no papers and there is no proof that they ever existed. Yet we Hamilton-Byrne children had multiple identities. These identities could perhaps have been loaned to other children and the similarity of our appearance used to cover up their absence. One little blond kid looks very like another in a passport photo. . .

. . . We were to be the ones who would carry on the work of the sect – we were a direct reflection on her – so she was intimately concerned about our appearances. She used to talk a lot about “breeding” and talk about us being from the “right stock”. . . .

 Inside WikiLeaks by Daniel Domscheit-Berg; p. 211.

EXCERPT: . . . We often discussed the theory of evolution. If he did have faith in anything, it was the theory of evolution. Julian thought that the stronger members of the species not only prevailed, but produced heirs who were better able to survive. Naturally, in his view, his genes particularly deserved to be reproduced.

Often, I sat in larger groups and listened to Julian boast about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world. He seemed to enjoy the idea of lots and lots of little Julians, one on every continent. Whether he took care of any of these alleged children, or whether they existed at all, was another question. . . .

Ibid.; p. 200.

EXCERPT: . . . . The result of the pressure was that we made more and more mistakes and could no longer live up to the immense responsibility we had piled upon ourselves. For Julian, this was an opportunity to spout his new favorite slogan: “Do not challenge leadership in times of crisis.”

It was almost funny. Julian Assange, chief revealer of secrets and unshakable military critic on his global peace mission, had adopted the language of the powermongers he claimed to be combating. The extremely curt, soulless language of our documents, with their absurd acronyms and code words, increasingly appealed to him.

For some time, he had begun describing people as “assets,” not unlike a businessman talking about “human resources” or a military man referring to his troops. Julian did not mean the word in a nice way. It showed that he saw our people as mere cannon fodder.

Later, when he tried to kick me out of WikiLeaks, he said the reason was “Disloyalty, Insubordination and Destabilization in Times of Crisis.” These concepts taken from the Espionage Act of 1917, which came into force just after the United States entered World War i. They were military designations for the word “traitor.” . . .

“Julian Assange: I’m A ‘Big Admirer’ Of Ron Paul, Rand Paul” by Nick Wing; The Huffington Post; 8/16/2013.

EXCERPT: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gave a strong endorsement to the libertarian wing of the GOP on Thursday, praising Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), for their political views.
“[I] am a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues,” Assange said during a forum hosted by Campus Reform and transparency organization OurSay.org. “They have been the strongest supporters of the fight against the U.S. attack on WikiLeaks and on me in the U.S. Congress.

Similarly, they have been the strongest opponents of drone warfare and extrajudicial executions.”
Assange went on to commend the libertarian ideal of “non-violence” with regards to military engagements, the draft and tax collection. He then put forth an argument against both established political parties in Washington, claiming that nearly all Democrats had been “co-opted” by President Barack Obama’s administration, while Republicans were almost entirely “in bed with the war industry.”

The current libertarian strain of political thought in the Republican Party was the “the only hope” for American electoral politics, Assange concluded. . . .

“Wik­iLeaks Party’s ‘Admin­is­tra­tive Errors’ Incense Greens” by Bernard Keane;  Crikey.com.au; 8/19/2013.

EXCERPT: A deci­sion by the Wik­iLeaks Party to direct pref­er­ences away from Julian Assange’s strongest polit­i­cal sup­porter has incensed sup­port­ers. They should have known better.

The fledg­ling Wik­iLeaks Party has inflicted major dam­age on itself after a dis­as­trous pref­er­ence allo­ca­tion that saw it pref­er­enc­ing far-right par­ties, apol­o­gis­ing for an “admin­is­tra­tive error” and pref­er­enc­ing the WA Nation­als ahead of Julian Assange’s strongest polit­i­cal sup­porter, Greens Sen­a­tor Scott Ludlam.

The Sen­ate pref­er­ence allo­ca­tions revealed yes­ter­day showed, in New South Wales, Wik­iLeaks had pref­er­enced the right-wing Shoot­ers and Fish­ers Party and the extreme-right Aus­tralia First Party, run by con­victed crim­i­nal and for­mer neo-Nazi Jim Saleam, ahead of the Greens and the major par­ties. Aus­tralia First wants to end all immi­gra­tion and to restore the death penalty.

Soon after the release of the pref­er­ences and a firestorm of crit­i­cism erupted on social media, the party issued a state­ment on its Face­book page blam­ing the pref­er­enc­ing on “some admin­is­tra­tive errors”.

The “error”, the exact nature of which remains unex­plained, appears to have par­tic­u­larly incensed pro­gres­sive vot­ers who had assumed Wik­iLeaks would be a left-wing, Greens-style party. How­ever, Julian Assange has already crit­i­cised the Greens’ totemic asy­lum seeker pol­icy as “sim­plis­tic and fool­ish” dur­ing the cam­paign and backed off­shore pro­cess­ing, while crit­i­cis­ing both the major par­ties on the issue. On the week­end, Assange said he admired US lib­er­tar­ian Repub­li­cans Ron and Rand Paul, though he expressed con­cern about their posi­tion on issues like abor­tion. Swap­ping pref­er­ences with minor par­ties of very dif­fer­ent ori­en­ta­tions is also stan­dard prac­tice for all par­ties. One party source told Crikey the “admin­is­tra­tive error” in NSW was quite inten­tional and aimed at the Greens. . . .

. . . . Lud­lam has been Assange’s strongest sup­porter inside fed­eral Par­lia­ment, hound­ing the gov­ern­ment over its lack of sup­port for him and its deal­ings with the US over its cam­paign against Assange and Wik­iLeaks. Lud­lam trav­elled to Europe at his own expense in 2011 to talk to Swedish author­i­ties and Aus­tralian offi­cials in the UK about the case.

The deci­sion to pref­er­ence the Nation­als’ David Wirrpanda ahead of Lud­lam, strength­en­ing the chances of the Nation­als snar­ing the sixth Sen­ate spot ahead of the Greens, is thus an extra­or­di­nary betrayal. . . .

 “Wik­ileaks Party Sen­ate Can­di­date: NSW Pref­er­ences a ‘Poor Judge­ment Call’, not Admin Error” by Ter­ence Huynh; Techgeek.com;  8/26/2013.

EXCERPT: Gerry Geor­gatos, the num­ber one Sen­ate can­di­date for the Wik­ileaks Party in West­ern Aus­tralia, has said that the Wik­ileaks Party’s New South Wales pref­er­ences fiasco was a “poor judge­ment call” and not an admin­is­tra­tive error.

It was not an admin­is­tra­tive error, it was a poor judge­ment call. I’m not [going to come out] here and bull­shit the audi­ence,” he told the Indy­media pro­gramme (24 min­utes into the pro­gramme) on Perth’s RTR yes­ter­day. His state­ment appears to con­tra­dicts the offi­cial posi­tion given by the Wik­ileaks Party that the pref­er­ences were an “admin­is­tra­tive error”.

In New South Wales, the Wik­ileaks Party pref­er­enced the Shoot­ers and Fish­ers and far-right Aus­tralia First party above the Greens – in direct con­tra­dic­tion to the deci­sions made by the National Coun­cil. The fiasco, in addi­tion to the West­ern Aus­tralian pref­er­ences, saw Leslie Can­nold, four National Coun­cil mem­bers and sev­eral vol­un­teers left the party. . . . .

 

Discussion

16 comments for “The Ultra-Right Wing Views of Eddie the Friendly Spook and Citizen Assange”

  1. You did it again, Dave!

    Posted by Jon | June 30, 2013, 1:26 pm
  2. Last week Greenwald reported that Snowden had distributed all of the thousands of documents to multiple parties. But the parties couldn’t access the files because they were encrypted. Snowden made arrangements so that, should anything happen to him, the third parties get full access to the encrypted files. Just yesterday, Julian Assange told the world that all of Snowden’s leaks will be disclosed no matter what happens to him. So while it’s a safe bet that Wikileaks has the encrypted files, you have to wonder if Snowden’s “arrangement” to have the encryption key released should something happen to him involved giving Wikileaks the key to act as the distributor. Unless it’s some sort of automated thing (maybe Snowden has to update something periodically to reset the encryption?). Anyways, it’s looking like all of Snowden’s documents are coming out at some point. It’s now guaranteed:

    Wikileaks founder says Snowden info will keep getting published

    By Deborah Charles

    WASHINGTON | Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:39pm EDT

    (Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Sunday that Edward Snowden made sure that the information he took about U.S. surveillance programs will continue to be published regardless of what happens to the former U.S. spy agency contractor.

    Assange criticized the United States for revoking Snowden’s passport and said it would not stop the classified information taken by the 30-year-old former contractor from getting out.

    “Look, there is no stopping the publishing process at this stage,” Assange said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” television show. “Great care has been taken to make sure that Mr. Snowden can’t be pressured by any state to stop the publication process.”

    He did not directly respond when asked if WikiLeaks was in possession of the files.

    Last week, Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first published the classified information released by Snowden, said Snowden had made encrypted copies of his files and distributed them in case anything happened to him.

    Greenwald told The Daily Beast that the people in possession of these files “cannot access them yet because they are highly encrypted and they do not have the passwords.” But Greenwald said “if anything happens at all to Edward Snowden, he told me he has arranged for them to get access to the full archives.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 30, 2013, 9:04 pm
  3. @Pterrafractyl–

    The torrent is proving more than a little challenging to cover.

    One of the MANY things that seems to have eluded the “guardians of freedom and civil liberty” in the press and blogosphere is how in Hell Assange and company have been able to do what they have done.

    Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in the U.K!

    How is all this being done?

    How did Fast Eddie get around in Hong Kong and then to Moscow?

    Not only Snowden’s activities but WikiLeaks’ actions as well are VERY obviously intelligence operations.

    It is less clear who exactly is zooming who, here, but all of the institutional assignations go the far-right and fascist elements. Is Fast Eddie a BND asset inside CIA and sticking it to NSA, Obama, U.S., U.K for CIA/Underground Reich?

    In future posts, we will be examining this against the background of the BND/Underground Reich.

    Stay tuned!

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | July 1, 2013, 4:20 pm
  4. I would still like to know 2 things. 1) How, after only 4 weeks on the job, Snowden could determine what documents he needed, where they were, and what the documents really covered. I’m sorry, but I’ve had quasi technical positions in which I had to access documents to find answers to my questions about system development, features, etc and it’s a challenge (for many logistical reasons, much less additional security considerations) to find the most recent documents and try to understand the information covered. It has nothing to do with computer savvy. It has to do with organizational “logistics” savvy and experience in a particular job. If he has the most current, complete documentation (which I’m not sure he has) I suspect someone else fed them to him. Does anyone else agree with my logic here? 2)The other question that nags me is why this is suddenly an issue after all these years?

    Posted by Kathleen | July 1, 2013, 4:34 pm
  5. @Kathleen–

    This is a spook operation. That’s how.

    So is WikiLeaks.

    See my response to Pterrafractyl.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | July 1, 2013, 6:19 pm
  6. And now it looks like Snowden may not be leaving Russia at all. Ecuador just backed out of the Snowden-saga and Russia just received an asylum request. Snowden also released a new statement via WikiLeaks charging Obama with “deception” and the “extralegal penalty of exile”. In this latest letter Snowden states, “My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will”. This raises the question of whether or not the WikiLeaks folks really represent ‘new’ friends or old ones:

    Talking Points Memo
    WikiLeaks Publishes Statement From Snowden
    Eric Lach 6:04 PM EDT, Monday July 1, 2013

    Updated at 7:01 p.m. ET

    WikiLeaks on Monday evening published a new statement purporting to be from Edward Snowden in Moscow:

    One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

    On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

    This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

    For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

    In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

    I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 1, 2013, 6:24 pm
  7. @Dave Emory
    Dave, I totally agree with you. I just find it “interesting” that the “main stream media” don’t ask these basic questions. Thanks for your analysis. I’ve weeded out 90 percent of the blogs I used to read because of their blind support for Snowald. I figure they have no interesting perspective to bring to the table on other matters, either.

    Posted by Kathleen | July 2, 2013, 1:08 am
  8. A useful NSA surveillance-scandal fun-fact: 10 out of the 11 current FISA court judges – the folks that presumably approved all of the warrantless surveillance – were appointed by John Roberts:

    The New York Times
    Roberts’s Picks Reshaping Secret Surveillance Court
    By CHARLIE SAVAGE
    Published: July 25, 2013

    WASHINGTON — The recent leaks about government spying programs have focused attention on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its role in deciding how intrusive the government can be in the name of national security. Less mentioned has been the person who has been quietly reshaping the secret court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

    In making assignments to the court, Chief Justice Roberts, more than his predecessors, has chosen judges with conservative and executive branch backgrounds that critics say make the court more likely to defer to government arguments that domestic spying programs are necessary.

    Ten of the court’s 11 judges — all assigned by Chief Justice Roberts — were appointed to the bench by Republican presidents; six once worked for the federal government. Since the chief justice began making assignments in 2005, 86 percent of his choices have been Republican appointees, and 50 percent have been former executive branch officials.

    Though the two previous chief justices, Warren E. Burger and William H. Rehnquist, were conservatives like Chief Justice Roberts, their assignments to the surveillance court were more ideologically diverse, according to an analysis by The New York Times of a list of every judge who has served on the court since it was established in 1978.

    According to the analysis, 66 percent of their selections were Republican appointees, and 39 percent once worked for the executive branch.

    “Viewing this data, people with responsibility for national security ought to be very concerned about the impression and appearance, if not the reality, of bias — for favoring the executive branch in its applications for warrants and other action,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and one of several lawmakers who have sought to change the way the court’s judges are selected.

    Mr. Blumenthal, for example, has proposed that each of the chief judges of the 12 major appeals courts select a district judge for the surveillance court; the chief justice would still pick the review panel that hears rare appeals of the court’s decisions, but six other Supreme Court justices would have to sign off. Another bill, introduced by Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, would give the president the power to nominate judges for the court, subject to Senate approval.

    Chief Justice Roberts, through a Supreme Court spokeswoman, declined to comment.

    The court’s complexion has changed at a time when its role has been expanding beyond what Congress envisioned when it established the court as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The idea then was that judges would review applications for wiretaps to make sure there was sufficient evidence that the F.B.I.’s target was a foreign terrorist or a spy.

    But, increasingly in recent years, the court has produced lengthy rulings interpreting the meaning of surveillance laws and constitutional rights based on procedures devised not for complex legal analysis but for up-or-down approvals of secret wiretap applications. The rulings are classified and based on theories submitted by the Justice Department without the participation of any lawyers offering contrary arguments or appealing a ruling if the government wins.

    The court “is becoming ever more important in American life as more and more surveillance comes under its review in this era of big data,” said Timothy Edgar, a civil liberties adviser for intelligence issues in both the Bush and Obama administrations. “If the court is seen as skewed or biased, politically or ideologically, it will lose credibility.”

    At a public meeting this month, Judge James Robertson, an appointee of President Bill Clinton who was assigned to the surveillance court in 2002 by Chief Justice Rehnquist and resigned from it in December 2005, offered an insider’s critique of how rapidly and recently the court’s role has changed. He said, for example, that during his time it was not engaged in developing a body of secret precedents interpreting what the law means.

    “In my experience, there weren’t any opinions,” he said. “You approved a warrant application or you didn’t — period.”

    The court began expanding its role when George W. Bush was president and its members were still assigned by Chief Justice Rehnquist, who died in 2005. Midway through the Bush administration, the executive branch sought and obtained the court’s legal blessing to continue secret surveillance programs that had originally circumvented the FISA process.

    The court’s power has also recently expanded in another way. In 2008, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act to allow the National Security Agency to keep conducting a form of the Bush administration’s program of surveillance without warrants on domestic soil so long as only foreigners abroad were targeted. It gave the court the power to create rules for the program, like how the government may use Americans’ communications after they are picked up.

    “That change, in my view, turned the FISA court into something like an administrative agency that makes rules for others to follow,” Judge Robertson said. “That’s not the bailiwick of judges. Judges don’t make policy.”

    For the most part, the surveillance court judges — who serve staggered seven-year terms and take turns coming to Washington for a week to handle its business — do not discuss their work, and their rulings are secret. But the documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor, have cast an unusual spotlight on them.

    The first of the documents disclosed by Mr. Snowden was a top-secret order to a Verizon subsidiary requiring it to turn over three months of calling records for all its customers. It was signed by Judge Roger Vinson, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan who had previously achieved prominence in 2011 when he tried to strike down the entirety of President Obama’s health care law.

    Chief Justice Roberts assigned Judge Vinson to the surveillance court in 2006, one of 12 Republican appointees, compared with 2 Democratic ones.

    While the positions taken by individual judges on the court are classified, academic studies have shown that judges appointed by Republicans since Reagan have been more likely than their colleagues to rule in favor of the government in non-FISA cases over people claiming civil liberties violations. Even more important, according to some critics of the court, is the court’s increasing proportion of judges who have a background in the executive branch.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2013, 8:07 am
  9. Hopefully Snowden is a fan of snow because he might be seeing a lot more snow in his putative new home:

    Edward Snowden better off in Russia than US, his father says

    NSA whistleblower’s father says he has lost faith in the US justice department and his son needs a safe haven

    Associated Press in McLean, Virginia
    guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 July 2013 21.16 EDT

    The father of the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden says his son has been so vilified by the Obama administration and members of Congress that he is now better off staying in Russia.

    Lon Snowden had been working behind the scenes with lawyers to try to find a way his son could get a fair trial in the US. Edward Snowden has been charged in federal court with violating the Espionage Act by leaking details of NSA surveillance.

    But in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, the elder Snowden said he had lost faith in recent weeks that his son would be treated fairly by the justice department. He now thinks his 30-year-old son is better off avoiding the US if possible until an administration that respects the constitution comes into office.

    “If it were me, knowing what I know now, and listening to advice of sage people like [Pentagon Papers leaker] Daniel Ellsberg … I would attempt to find a safe haven,” Snowden said.

    As a military analyst more than four decades ago, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret study of America’s involvement in Vietnam, to newspapers.

    The elder Snowden said he thought Russia was probably the best place to seek asylum because it was most likely to withstand US pressure. Edward Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week.

    Lon Snowden, a Coast Guard veteran who has worked on national security issues in his career, said he has tremendous faith in the American people and in the constitution. He said that in a more subdued environment his son could get a fair trial, and his actions would be considered in the context of his desire to expose a surveillance program that he and others believe exceeds constitutional bounds.

    But he said the justice department’s efforts to pressure other countries to turn over Snowden, coupled with silence from President Barack Obama and the attorney-general, Eric Holder, in the face of denunciations from members of Congress who have labelled Snowden a traitor, have eroded his hope for a fair trial.

    On NBC’s Today show on Friday, Lon Snowden said there had been a concerted effort by some members of Congress to “demonise” his son.

    Lon Snowden and his lawyer, Bruce Fein, released a letter on Friday asking Obama to dismiss the criminal charges against Edward Snowden and to support legislation “to remedy the NSA surveillance abuses he revealed”.

    The elder Snowden and Fein said they were disgusted by Holder’s letter on Friday to Russian officials promising that Snowden would not face the death penalty if he were extradited. They said it reflected a mindset that Snowden was presumed guilty and that a sentence of 30 years or life would be a reasonable punishment.

    In the phone interview Lon Snowden said he had had no direct contact with his son, and knew no more about his day-to-day life in Moscow, where he is reportedly staying at an airport transit zone, than anyone else.

    Lon Snowden and Fein are starting a nonprofit group called the Defense of the Constitution Foundation to promote the issues his son has raised.

    “In essence, he has passed on the torch of democracy,” Lon Snowden said of his son.

    It’s worth noting that Lon Snowden’s attorney, Bruce Fein, is a long-time Ron Paul supporter, becoming his chief Legal Advisor for Paul’s 2012 campaign. Someone from Rand Paul’s office reportedly recommended Fein to Lon, although Fein disputes that he and Rand are in any way affiliated. Ditto with the LaRouchies:

    Canada Free Press
    Snowden Lawyer Close to Senator Rand Paul’s Office
    By Cliff Kincaid (Bio and Archives) Tuesday, July 2, 2013

    In a curious development, NSA traitor Edward Snowden’s father is being represented by attorney Bruce Fein, who appeared with Senator Rand Paul at his anti-NSA news conference on June 13. Fein says “someone in Senator [Rand] Paul’s office” recommended him to Edward Snowden’s father, Lonnie.

    It appears that Fein is trying to negotiate Edward Snowden’s return to the U.S, although his father reportedly hasn’t spoken to his son since April.

    Asked about his involvement in the case, including a letter he wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder on behalf of Edward Snowden and his father, Fein told me on Friday: “I do not work for or represent Senator Paul or any associated group in any capacity and never have. I was not representing Lonnie Snowden at the time of the [June 13] press conference. The representation agreement was signed earlier this week. Lonnie called me on the phone last week seeking my advice and assistance. I was informed someone in Senator Paul’s office recommended me and a few others who could be trusted and would be unwavering in defense of the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment.”

    But his involvement in the Snowden case isn’t the only controversial aspect of Fein’s recent career moves. A well-respected constitutional lawyer whose books include American Empire: Before the Fall, Fein has appeared at two conferences this year sponsored by the Schiller Institute, a group started by political extremist and convicted felon Lyndon LaRouche.

    “I have no involvement” in the LaRouche organization, Fein told me. “They have asked me to speak at a few events which I did, and gave the same message I give to all of my audiences. The Constitution is sacred. The American Republic was founded on the idea that every man and woman is a king and queen but no one wears a crown. We take risks others shun because we believe life as a vassal or serf to Big Government is not worth living.”

    Fein’s April appearance at the Schiller Institute conference in Germany was under the banner of “A Last Chance for Humanity.” Video greetings came from U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican from North Carolina, who thanked “the LaRouche people” for the “magnificent job” they are doing on Capitol Hill to support his legislative initiatives.

    Fein, who also contributes to the Huffington Post, a far-left website, says his purpose at the LaRouche gatherings was to emphasize the importance of the philosophy of the Fourth Amendment and “to restore the philosophical values of the Republic which evoked the heroic sacrifices at Valley Forge, Cemetery Ridge, Omaha Beach, etc.”

    The purpose of Senator Paul’s June 13 press conference, which included a representative of the ACLU, was to threaten a lawsuit against the NSA over its terrorist surveillance programs. It is doubtful, however, that Sen. Paul has the standing to sue.

    In order to restore the liberties and privacy that have supposedly been lost because of the NSA programs, Paul introduced the “Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013” in the Senate on June 7. It still has no co-sponsors.
    vttsleyd
    Beyond the legal questions and whether the anti-NSA campaign is designed to bring in names and money for a Rand Paul presidential bid, Aaron Goldstein asks, in an American Spectator article, “Why Is Rand Paul Being Duped by Edward Snowden?” Senator Paul’s “admiration” for Snowden was obvious during an interview with Sean Hannity on June 17, in which he went so far as to call Snowden “a civil disobedient,” comparing him to Martin Luther King, Jr.

    We should probably expect a lot stories about Libertarians championing civil liberties concerns going forward. The GOP is going to have to transition to a more Libertarian-leaning party if it’s going to have a future in the US. And since the Libertarian economic agenda will literally kill off the populace, the Libertarian stance on civil liberties and social issues are going to be the obvious selling points for the mainstreaming far-right concepts as the traditional base of evangelical voters goes into the night. Fein has disputed the notion that a substantial drop in the US standard of living as a result of gutting the social safety-net would be problematic in the past, and it’s unlikely that such views will be the at the forefront of the endless attempts to peddle Libertarianism to the masses. That generation outreach job will go to groups like that the “American Freedom Agenda” that Fein co-founded with former head of the NRA David Keene. And, of course, Rand Paul. And now, perhaps from Russia, Edward Snowden.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 27, 2013, 4:47 pm
  10. Ron Paul just had his final interview in a series of interviews with Julian Assange on his new subscription-only website that started last month. When asked about his political philosophy, he described it as a blend of “California libertarianism” (is that a Reagan reference?), Greek political theory, along with thoughts from the Federalist Paper and some naturalist views. He also had some interesting comments on the role his family life played in shaping his philosophy (note that his father, John Shipton, is the secretary of his WikiLeaks party) although he didn’t want to define it too much:

    Newsmax
    Ron Paul: Assange ‘Fighting for the Cause of Liberty’

    Thursday, 05 Sep 2013 08:33 PM

    By Jennifer G. Hickey

    Former Rep. Ron Paul on Thursday thanked WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for “fighting to increase transparency in our government” and fighting “for the cause of liberty.”

    Paul’s praise came during the third and final installment of an interview with Assange on the Ron Paul Channel — http://www.ronpaulchannel.com– the subscription-based Internet channel launched last month by the Texas Republican.

    Paul concluded the interview with Assange – confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London — by directing viewers to the WikiLeaks site where they could donate to Assange’s cause.

    The day after Assange told Paul in the second part of the interview that the United States was taking advantage of the humanitarian crisis in Syria to justify a military strike, Paul took a more personal approach in the final installment, asking about Assange’s personal philosophy.

    The Australian described his political philosophy as a blend of “California libertarianism,” Greek political theory, along with thoughts from the Federalist Paper and some naturalist views.

    “I freely admit to borrowing from parts of my political education from different schools of thought and one of those is, roughly speaking, Californian libertarianism and from your Federalist Papers,” Assange said.

    His political and philosophical diversity is reflected in the political party he founded this year and on whose platform he is campaigning in this weekend’s Australian elections.

    The WikiLeaks party “is already the fourth most popular party in Australia and we have a wide variety of people from what are classically known as the right and the left within the party. There are tensions about that and I have to try and resolve those tensions and explain the commonality,” Assange said.

    Born in Australia to a mother who was the daughter of academics and a father who was the son of engineers, Assange says political philosophy was not something which his parents imposed on him.

    “My mother was the daughter of academics. My grandfather left school at age 14 and worked his way up through the Christian education system and to become a very young military intelligence officer in World War II, but my mother was very careful not to bias me,” he told Paul. He acknowledged that his family environment was influential, including the divorce of his parents when he was 9.

    According to Assange, he developed his feelings about the world during a “burst of maturity in adolescence” and by exposing himself to a myriad of political philosophies.

    Assange said he is hesitant to assign a concrete definition to his beliefs.

    “I have been very careful not to define my political philosophy because those terms tend to trap you into one camp and then opponents of that particular camp try to use it against you,” he said.

    As a consequence of the recent NSA disclosures by Edward Snowden and during the Bradley Manning trial, Assange said that a unique political phenomenon is developing.

    Assange sees an “extreme center” emerging in the establishment from both sides of the political spectrum that is comprised of people “more concerned about self-promotion, political networking, and creating political dynasties, doing favors for mates” than the issues.

    “They are just working the system,” Assange said. “They don’t really have any ideas they believe in. The extreme center, which is pushing forward aggressively in a particular direction to promote itself, has led to others feeling like that is not what they want to be involved in. There is now a magnetic force between those on the right and those on the left,” Assange said.

    What unites the two sides is the sense of injustice, he said, adding that the libertarian right views injustice in terms of a lack of freedom.

    “Your liberty can’t be deprived from you unless someone else has more power, so there is a commonality between these two sides,” Assange said.

    If will be interesting to see how much of Assange’s freedom-philosophy ends up including the kind of hyper-economic freedoms endorsed by folks like Rand Paul. Because hyper-economic freedom and real justice are often incompatible ideals.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 6, 2013, 9:42 am
  11. Despite the Wikileaks Party’s implosion, it sounds like we can still look forward to Julian Assange living out his Platonic ideals in future Australian elections:

    The New York Times
    Opinion

    Assange as Tyrant?

    By JULIA BAIRD

    Published: September 14, 2013

    SYDNEY

    WHEN asked to explain why he was running for a seat in the Australian Senate while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Julian Assange quoted Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

    Plato was “a bit of a fascist,” he said, but had a point.

    Imagine the chagrin Mr. Assange must feel now, given that not only did he fail to win a place in the Senate in the recent election, but he was less successful than Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Mr. Muir, who won just 0.5 percent of the vote, is most famous for having posted a video on YouTube of himself having a kangaroo feces fight with friends.

    Mr. Assange’s actions were at odds with a democratic party structure. He had appointed himself president, for example, although there was no mention of this role in the WikiLeaks constitution.

    When a reporter asked him why, he laughed: “I founded it. I mean seriously, this is so fantastic. Look at the name, this is the WikiLeaks Party. The prominent candidate is Julian Assange! Who founded it? I founded it. Are you serious?”

    An unbowed Mr. Assange has vowed to fight the next election in three years. But to woo the 99 percent of the Australian population who spurned him, he’ll need to stop laughing at those who suggest that appointing yourself the unquestioned leader of a party, for an unlimited term, might make you a politician after all.

    And not exactly a democratic one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2013, 7:05 pm
  12. There’s an interview of Glenn Greenwald in Haaretz about his encounters with Snowden. The article is behind a paywall at this point, but it’s worth pointing out that Greenwald states in the interview that Snowden had been “planning everything for two or three years“. This helps give us a better sense of how much time passed between the Snowden’s January 2009 chatroom comments about wanting to see a previous leaker’s balls shot off and his own plans.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 21, 2013, 6:54 pm
  13. Now we’re learning that, around the same time Snowden was posting about shooting the balls off leakers in 2009, he was also caught accessing classified files he shouldn’t have been accessing by his boss at the CIA. This was shortly before he left that job for one as an NSA contractor at Dell:

    The New York Times
    C.I.A. Warning on Snowden in ’09 Said to Slip Through the Cracks

    By ERIC SCHMITT

    Published: October 10, 2013

    WASHINGTON — Just as Edward J. Snowden was preparing to leave Geneva and a job as a C.I.A. technician in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.

    The C.I.A. suspected that Mr. Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access, and decided to send him home, according to two senior American officials.

    But the red flags went unheeded. Mr. Snowden left the C.I.A. to become a contractor for the National Security Agency, and four years later he leaked thousands of classified documents. The supervisor’s cautionary note and the C.I.A.’s suspicions apparently were not forwarded to the N.S.A. or its contractors, and surfaced only after federal investigators began scrutinizing Mr. Snowden’s record once the documents began spilling out, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

    “It slipped through the cracks,” one veteran law enforcement official said of the report.

    Spokesmen for the C.I.A., N.S.A. and F.B.I. all declined to comment on the precise nature of the warning and why it was not forwarded, citing the investigation into Mr. Snowden’s activities.

    Half a dozen law enforcement, intelligence and Congressional officials with direct knowledge of the supervisor’s report were contacted for this article. All of the officials agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing criminal investigation.

    In hindsight, officials said, the report by the C.I.A. supervisor and the agency’s suspicions might have been the first serious warnings of the disclosures to come, and the biggest missed opportunity to review Mr. Snowden’s top-secret clearance or at least put his future work at the N.S.A. under much greater scrutiny.

    “The weakness of the system was if derogatory information came in, he could still keep his security clearance and move to another job, and the information wasn’t passed on,” said a Republican lawmaker who has been briefed on Mr. Snowden’s activities.

    While it is unclear what exactly the supervisor’s negative report said, it coincides with a period of Mr. Snowden’s life in 2009 when he was a prolific online commenter on government and security issues, complained about civil surveillance and, according to a friend, was suffering “a crisis of conscience.”

    Mr. Snowden got an information technology job at the C.I.A. in mid-2006. Despite his lack of formal credentials, he gained a top-secret clearance and a choice job under State Department cover in Geneva. Little is known about what his duties were there.

    Mavanee Anderson, who worked with Mr. Snowden in Geneva and also had a high security clearance, said in an article in The Chattanooga Times Free Press of Tennessee in June that when they worked from 2007 through early 2009, Mr. Snowden “was already experiencing a crisis of conscience of sorts.”

    “Anyone smart enough to be involved in the type of work he does, who is privy to the type of information to which he was privy, will have at least moments like these,” she said.

    Later, Mr. Snowden would tell the newspaper The Guardian that he was shocked and saddened by some of the techniques C.I.A. operatives in Geneva used to recruit sources. “Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world,” he told The Guardian. “I realized that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good.”

    There were other signs that have since drawn investigators’ attention. In early 2009, someone using Mr. Snowden’s screen name expressed outrage at government officials who leaked information to the news media, telling a friend in an Internet chat that leakers “should be shot.”

    “They’re just like WikiLeaks,” Mr. Snowden — or someone identified as him from his screen name, “TheTrueHOOHA,” and other details — wrote in January 2009 about an article in The New York Times on secret exchanges between Israel and the United States about Iran’s nuclear program.

    He later told The Guardian he was disappointed that President Obama “advanced the very policies that I thought would be reined in.”

    “I got hardened,” he said.

    It’s unclear from the report what, if any, mischief Snowden could have been up to in early 2009 at the CIA. But for a guy that voted for a third part in 2008, but claims to have held off from leaking earlier because he believed in Obama’s promises (to revise the FISA courts and Patriot Act), Snowden must have been filled with an immense amount of Hope for very rapid Change in 2008 if disappointment with Obama by early 2009 really was the catalyst that started to “harden” his worldview.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 11, 2013, 8:34 am
  14. Here’s a fascinating set of fun-facts: One of the first reporters to assist Greenwald and Poitras on analyzing the Snowden documents was Guardian reporter James Ball:

    How Edward Snowden led journalist and film-maker to reveal NSA secrets
    Whistleblower drew Glenn Greenwald and film-maker Laura Poitras together to expose surveillance programmes

    Roy Greenslade
    The Guardian, Monday 19 August 2013 16.52 EDT

    Journalists would do well to read a 7,700-word article by Peter Maass in the New York Times magazine headlined How Laura Poitras helped Snowden spill his secrets.

    It underlines just why the former NSA computer specialist Edward Snowden is so deserving of the status of whistleblower. He has revealed that what we journalists might have suspected about government surveillance to be true was indeed so.

    The article tells how Snowden first tried to win the attention of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald by anonymously emailing him to say he had sensitive documents he wanted to share.

    He followed that up with a step-by-step guide on how to encrypt communications, and then sent a link to an encryption video. Greenwald ignored the approaches.

    In frustration, Snowden contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. And it was she who eventually got in touch with Greenwald, drawing the three of them together.

    After Poitras made a video of Snowden, duly posted on 9 June, he checked out of his hotel and went into hiding. A week later, Poitras flew to Berlin, “where she could edit her documentary without worrying that the FBI would show up with a search warrant.”

    And two weeks after that she flew to Brazil. It was there, in a Rio de Janeiro hotel, that Maass met her along with Greenwald, where they were working with MacAskill and another Guardian journalist, James Ball.

    It was several days before they all discovered that Snowden had arrived at Moscow airport.

    James Ball, it turns out, used to actually be a part of WikiLeaks. But in early 2011 he left in disgust. Why? Israel Shamir:

    The Daily Beast
    05.30.13
    Exclusive: Former WikiLeaks Employee James Ball Describes Working With Julian Assange
    Former WikiLeaks employee James Ball, a subject of the Alex Gibney documentary ‘We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,’ on what happened behind the scenes at Julian Assange’s controversial company.

    by James Ball

    It’s now been more than three years since the world saw the horrifying footage of the “Collateral Murder” video: civilians mown down in a ghastly battlefield error. Their would-be rescuer—a father taking his children to school—similarly shot to pieces by a U.S. helicopter gunship, its pilots chatting and laughing as if playing a video game.

    And for those who kept watching, an aspect of the footage often forgotten: a Hellfire missile fired into a building, with no regard of the passerby just outside. Waiting a mere few seconds longer could’ve kept him safe—but no. Amid the revulsion at the earlier horror of the clip, this became a mere background detail.

    That footage was just the start of a string of ever-larger WikiLeaks document releases, reporting, and revelations that shook the faith of many around the world in the U.S. government’s activities—from revelations of death squads operating in Afghanistan, through complicity in torture in the Iraq documents, to evidence of spying on U.N. diplomats in U.S. Embassy cables.

    For me, the film was more like déjà vu—something I’d lived once already. From summer 2010, WikiLeaks became my life for months. First, at the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, I was part of the team working for 10 weeks investigating the Iraq War Logs for Al Jazeera English and Arabic, Channel 4’s flagship Dispatches documentary, and iraqwarlogs.com.

    I then went a step further, working directly for WikiLeaks for several months on the embassy cables—analyzing the cables, distributing them to staff, writing press releases, appearing on TV, and more.

    It was groundbreaking, important journalism, but it was done against the backdrop of an organization crumbling under pressure, crossing ethical boundaries, and placing people needlessly in danger.

    For me, it was too much, and I left. Since then, in a leak of the script of Gibney’s film, WikiLeaks has posted that I sold them out for cash (nope), was a wanna-be spy who interviewed for MI5 (nope), and stole their data—including, bizarrely, my own copy of a gag order they asked me to sign to stop me speaking out on what I didn’t like.

    Seeing yourself portrayed by WikiLeaks is like walking through a circus hall of mirrors: there’s just enough resemblance for you to recognize yourself, but you’re seriously distorted—and usually in a way that makes you look grotesque.

    Many made their mind up on Julian Assange long ago—but here, for the record, is what really happened in those fateful few months.

    The reason I quit was because of a friend of Julian’s whose activities were unstomachable and unforgivable. That man was Israel Shamir. Shamir is an anti-Semitic writer, a supporter of the dictator of Belarus, and a man with ties and friends in Russian security services. He and Julian—unknown to us—had been in friendly contact for years. It was a friendship that would have serious consequences.

    Introduced to WikiLeaks staff and supporters under a false name, Shamir was given direct access to more than 90,000 of the U.S. Embassy cables, covering Russia, all of Eastern Europe, parts of the Middle East, and Israel. This was, for quite some time, denied by WikiLeaks. But that’s never a denial I’ve found convincing: the reason I know he has them is that I gave them to him, at Assange’s orders, not knowing who he was.

    Why did this prove to be a grave mistake? Not just for Shamir’s views, which are easy to Google, but for what he did next. The first hints of trouble came through contacts from various Putin-influenced Russian media outlets. A pro-Putin outlet got in touch to say Shamir had been asking for $10,000 for access to the cables. He was selling the material we were working to give away free, to responsible outlets.

    Worse was to come. The NGO Index on Censorship sent a string of questions and some photographic evidence, suggesting Shamir had given the cables to Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Europe’s last dictator. Shamir had written a pro-Belarus article, shortly before photos emerged of him leaving the interior ministry. The day after, Belarus’s dictator gave a speech saying he was establishing a WikiLeaks for Belarus, citing some stories and information appearing in the genuine (and then unpublished) cables.

    Assange refused and blocked any attempts at investigation, and released public statements that were simply untrue.

    Disturbingly, Assange seems to have a personal motivation for staying friendly with Shamir. Shamir’s son, Johannes Wahlstrom, is apparently being called as one of Assange’s defense witnesses in his Swedish trial. That’s not the only time self has come before principle.

    All things considered, that’s an interesting twist to the whole affair.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 2, 2014, 12:41 am
  15. @Pterrafractyl–

    Note that Ball also worked with Al Jazeera.

    Note, also, that neither Ball nor any of the others working with the WikiFascists seems to have a problem with all of WikiLeaks’ material going through Carl Lundstrom’s PRQ server, something that would have given his milieu access to all of the information.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | January 2, 2014, 7:33 pm
  16. While not at all surprising at this point, it’s worth noting that Julian Assange just gave an interview where he hails the virtues of Bitcoin and unregulated financial markets in general:

    memeburn
    Julian Assange: Bitcoin could establish a new global consensus [Net Prophet]
    By Michelle Atagana: Managing Ed.
    05.21.14

    “Bitcoin is the most intellectually interesting development in the last two years,” said Julian Assange via a WeChat Livestream at Net Prophet — the annual technology and trends conference. According to the Wikileaks founder, the next great innovation that is headed our way will be in the finance sector.

    He reckons that the technological innovation behind Bitcoin is establishing a new global consensus.

    Usually, we need laws to establish and enforce the way financial transactions take place, but Bitcoin is changing that. Cryptographically enforced agreements, like the ones coming out of Bitcoin, are different from the norm in as much as the code behind them enforces how transactions are done.

    Assange, who is still being granted asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, suspects that in the next few years we’ll see a level of innovation in financial services that far outstrips those of the past. The way he sees it, the current traditional model of the finance industry isn’t working and Bitcoin is disrupting it in a good way.

    Responding to a question on the rise of one dominant player in some aspects of the internet (think Google with search), the weather-worn whistleblower reckons the age of single dominance is problematic.

    “I think that is a serious question — whether most things that most people use most of the time will be eaten up by a few dominant players,” said Assange, who again turned to the example of Bitcoin to illustrate his point.

    You can quickly form a full financial system with hedge funds and other such financial services where there is no regulation, where the regulation is a cryptographic agreement, he points out. The benefit of such a system is that people have to be part of this agreement in order to talk to each other.

    Another benefit is that there is no regulation, because it is all done through computation. Financial services running over the top of cryptographic protocols such as Bitcoin therefore tend to evolve and innovate incredibly quickly.

    Assange reckons that when it comes discussing innovation within the finance industry, we must understand that what we are talking about is the interaction of finance. He explains this concept as “the abstraction of relationships”.

    “What we are talking about is the interaction of finance: the abstraction of relationships between organisations and individuals and the quantifications of those relationships.”

    For the renowned hacker, cryptographic agreements involve the need to agree. In turn, he says, we are talking about a way of creating new orders and new societal agreements that include all of society, not just new orders that only apply to those who chose to come in and agree to a particular aspect or cryptographic.

    Assange argues that current structures around finance from political and economic points of view mean that the people in control can often get pushed around by the state. This is why Bitcoin is important, he says, as it brings about diversity, which is needed in any organisation.

    Julian Assange: Cyber-libertarian or cyber-anarchist? How about a neoliberal utopian?

    Either way, with each new leak by Assange of his personal politics the question gets raise: which zany far-right parties will Assange force his Wikileaks Party to endorse in Australia’s next election?

    Julian Assange wants full control of WikiLeaks Party, says party figure

    JARED OWENS
    The Australian
    March 14, 2014 12:31PM

    THE WikiLeaks Party has imploded amid a push by Julian Assange to parachute his associates on to the party executive and shut down its campaigning activities, allegedly over fears the Australian party is damaging his international reputation, a senior party figure says.

    Jamal Daoud, a member of the microparty’s national council, has also labelled “dictatorial” party chief John Shipton — the WikiLeaks founder’s father — as “arrogant and disrespectful” and claimed the party holds no meetings and has no active membership.

    “They’re not a political party, there’s no discussion, no meetings, no active membership, nothing … It’s like a family convenience store,” Mr Daoud told The Australian.

    Mr Daoud said WikiLeaks’ national council had been refused access to the party’s books and that he had been told by Mr Shipton the group is $70,000 in debt despite having no employees and no mainstream media advertising.

    The microparty has largely withdrawn from domestic policy debates since winning 0.6 per cent of the national vote at the September federal election, and has since focused on defending the regimes of Syria and Russia against perceived Western conspiracies.

    Mr Shipton has refused repeated interview requests by The Australian about the party’s internal operations and would not comment on Mr Daoud’s allegations.

    The party has been wracked by internal turmoil since August last year, when the party decided to preference extreme-right parties ahead of like-minded parties such as the Greens.

    Although the party blamed an “administrative error”, Mr Daoud said the preferences were directed personally by Mr Assange, who has been inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012 following British moves to extradite him to Sweden to face questioning over a sexual assault investigation.

    “They blamed it on an administrative error and set up an inquiry that blamed nobody, found nothing and no recommendations were followed,” Mr Daoud said.

    Solicitor Greg Barns, a former election adviser to the party, insisted the preferences directed to right-wing parties in NSW was a genuine administrative error. In Western Australia, Mr Barns said candidate Gerry Georgatos was personally fond of Nationals candidate David Wirrpanda and deliberately placed him ahead of the Greens’ Scott Ludlam.

    Mr Barns accused Mr Daoud of peddling a “nasty allegation with no substance whatsoever”.

    Mr Daoud said Mr Shipton called him late last Friday night and directed him to resign from the party’s national council, so he could be replaced by one of Mr Assange’s supporters in London.

    Mr Shipton and another council member, Gail Malone, were also set to resign and be replaced with associates of Mr Assange, he said.

    “The candidates were already decided for Western Australia, but he said Julian doesn’t want candidates in Western Australia and he wants to regain full control of the party,” Mr Daoud said.

    “He wanted to take over the party but, because under the constitution nobody can close down the party for five years, what he wanted was for the party to be silent, to run no candidates.

    So….no party endorsements?

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 21, 2014, 6:58 pm

Post a comment