Imagine a major government whistleblower who leaks his evidence and obtained documents to the highest bidders in the mainstream media and mega corporations. Does that sound awful, disgraceful and despicable? Okay. Now, imagine a pseudo journalist who obtains over 50,000 documents from a government whistleblower, and then takes some of this information and puts it out for bid, reserves a certain portion for a lucrative book deal, and saves the rest for a mega corporation that has a record of screwing whistleblowers. How does that sound? This is what I mean by the title of this commentary: Checkbook Journalism & Leaking to the Highest Bidders.
For the past twelve years I have been known as one of the most notorious government whistleblowers, even given the title of The Most Classified Person in the History of the United States by a civil liberties organization. I am the founder and director of a whistleblower organization that includes over 150 national security whistleblowers. I have known and represented over 150 national security whistleblowing cases in Congress and the media. And let me tell you this, I have never seen a case that even comes close to this bizarrely unethical and despicable case.
A government whistleblower obtains over 50,000 pages of documents that implicate the government in severely illegal and unconstitutional practices. This whistleblower risks everything, including fleeing the country, in order to leak these documents and let the public know how its government has been breaking the nation’s laws and violating their rights. So he goes to another country and then entrusts all this evidence to a few reporters and wanna-be journalists. Why does he do that? He does it so that these reporters will present all this information to the public: not only those in the United States, but everyone all over the world. Think about it. Why else would someone risk everything, including his own life, to obtain and leak such documents? Are you thinking? Because what would be the point to all this, to taking all these risks, if 99% of these documents remain secret and hidden from the public? Ludicrous, right?
Now, here is what happens next: The whistleblower hands over these documents, and goes through a surreal escape journey. So surreal that even Hollywood could not have matched it. Of the handful of reporters who were entrusted with 50,000 documents, a few do nothing. By that I mean absolutely nothing. A couple from this entrusted group does a little bit more. They meet with a few mainstream media outlets, they spend many hours around the table with their mega companies’ mega attorneys and U.S. government mega representatives (the same government that is implicated in these documents). Then what happens? Here is what happens:
During the six-month period since they received the documents and the whistleblower’s story broke, the supposed-journalists released 1% (One Percent) of these documents:
Out of reported 50,000 pages (or files, not clear which), about 514 pages (>1%) have been released over 5 months beginning June 5, 2013. At this rate, 100 pages per month, it will take 42 years for full release. Snowden will be 72 years old, his reporters hoarding secrets all dead.
That’s right. A whistleblower breaks the law to obtain 50,000 documents, he flees the country to escape prosecution and jail time, he hands over these 50,000 pages to a handful of individuals in return for their promise to present these documents to the public, six months pass, and the public gets 1% of these documents. But please, wait. This is not all. Far more interesting and troubling things happen meanwhile.
The main wanna-be reporter begins his relentless pursuit of high dollars in return for … for what? In return for exclusive interviews where he would discuss some of this material. In return for a very lucrative book deal where he would expose a few extra pages of these 50,000-page documents. In return for a partnership with and extremely high salary from a Mega Corporation (think 1%) where he would … hmmmm, well, it is not very clear: maybe in return for sitting on and never releasing some of these documents, or, releasing a few select pages?
That’s right. The culprit is able to use his role in the whistleblower case, and his de facto ownership of the whistleblower’s 50,000-page evidence, to gain huge sums of money, fame, a mega corporate position, book and movie deals … yet, making sure that the public would never see more than a few percent of the incriminating evidence.
Of course, secondhand checkbook profiteers tend to be very savvy, able to blow smoke, muddy water, and obscure their real deeds and true personhoods. This particular one is famous for spending years as an ambulance-chasing style attorney, where all he had to do was to write dozens of pages to make cases that were never cases, or make real cases appear as if they never were.
Sensible people always advise against using personal background information to expose other non-personal cases of subjects. I agree with these sensible people. I think it is disgraceful to bring in irrelevant personal information to make a case on a non-personal issue. However, sometimes personal information becomes part of the picture and very relevant. Allow me to provide you with an example in our case. What if the personal facts paint a figure that does anything and everything for money and fame? What if a checkbook leaker (or a checkbook censorship agent) is the type of person who has engaged in the following:
· Has represented corrupt mega banks and financial institutions as an attorney to make mega bucks, yet claims to be a Marxist Leninist Socialist who supports the Occupy movement.
· Has left short-lived civil liberties activities to set up an exploitive pornography business with names such as Hairy Studs and Hairy Jock… All for money and profit.
· Has been known as an individual who has always used anything and everything to bring frivolous lawsuits (many of them) to get rich quick.
· Has been representing himself as a Marxist-Socialist, Liberal and Libertarian, simultaneously, and based on circumstances, never having to reconcile the discrepancies between those positions and his partnership with corporate billionaires, his luxurious lifestyle, putting on a Marxist front, representing himself as a Libertarian … and the list goes on. Which one is he? Really?
You see, when you add these qualities and personal history to the fact that a whistleblower and 50,000-pages of documents are being used to make mega money and mega fame, while simultaneously the public at large is being kept in the dark and 99% of these documents are censored, what do you get?
A few days ago the checkbook wanna-be journalist released a very long argument in defense of his indefensible actions and practices. I am going to address a couple of those, but I want you to keep in mind that the argument is coming from a person known as an ambulance-chaser attorney and litigious money grabber, thus is brilliant at obscuring facts and realities with mud and distortions.
Consider how a partnership with a mega billionaire corporate man is being characterized and fudged here:
It has the backing and is being built by someone whom I am absolutely convinced is dedicated to this model of independent, adversarial journalism.
This is not the first time this supposed pro-whistleblowers and civil liberties oriented wanna-be journalist has described his new Billionaire owner. The new owner has been characterized by him several times as a solid owner with a solid track record on whistleblowers issues, First Amendment, Freedom of the Press, etc.
We have been searching and researching the new owner’s record. There is not much to be found to qualify this man as someone with a good record on the significant areas mentioned above. None … except:
Paypal suspended online payments to WikiLeaks in December of 2010 after, its managers said, they read a letter by the State Department indicating WikiLeaks was breaking American laws. In retaliation, a group of Anonymous hacktivists brought down the payment site with DDoS attacks two days later. The hacktivists who were apprehended, known as the PayPal 14, were in court today and accepted plea bargains in order to avoid felony charges.
Omidyar has been 'the director and Chairman of the Board since eBay's incorporation in May 1996,' and noted that "eBay owns PayPal.”
In our next BFP Roundtable video session I will talk more about this, and other eye-brow raising items in Omidyar’s record, including his connections and associations with Iranian lobby groups for “Regime Change” in Iran. But for now, let’s shoot down this muddying counter-argument presented by someone with true expertise in muddying and fudging facts as an ambulance-chaser litigious attorney who has gotten away in life by threatening everyone he could with a lawsuit and libel suits.
Now back to lies, contradictions and then muddying it all a la the litigious attorney. For the last few months, whenever pressured about the 99% unreleased documents, the answers have been swinging between two or three more years to we are done with releasing. You see, this was not the case initially, not during the first couple of months prior to signing deals with mega corporate new sugar daddies and mega publishers for the book deals. Here is the triple-talking, mud-making and fudge-creating wanna-be journalist on June 26, 2013, the month the public saga began:
When they met, Snowden supplied Greenwald with a “volume of documents so great that I haven’t actually gone through them all.” Snowden was meticulous — Greenwald described the files as beautifully organized, “almost to a scary degree.” Stories based on the leaked documents will continue for another few months, Greenwald said, but not, he hopes, beyond that. “I get bored with myself,” he said. “If I’m still working on these stories a year from now, I’ll probably be in an asylum somewhere.”
So what happened since the greasy checkbook reporter made those statements? Please don’t tell me that at that point he was not aware how deep things went or how thick those documents were. Because he knew exactly how deep and how thick, and that they were all meticulously and beautifully organized: Meaning the whistleblower had done all the work for the reporters in advance. This was not a thick pile of hodgepodge documents - they were already analyzed, organized, categorized, sub-categorized, and sub-sub-categorized. As for what happened since June 26, 2013? A lot.
A new very lucrative book deal was struck. He is being very secretive and tight-lipped on how many millions of dollars he received from this US mega publisher, however, he had to deal a whistleblower’s document to secure this deal:
According to the publisher, it will "contain new revelations exposing the extraordinary cooperation of private industry and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s program, both domestically and abroad."
So there - one reason why a checkbook wanna-be journalist is not providing the public with the information they have the right to know. How is that for integrity?
Further, no one is asking the crucial question: With the mega publishing corporations’ record, how is it that they are willing to publish classified government documents? Do you know what these same publishers said about my own book? Here is what they said:
“without the approval by the FBI-DOJ prepublication review board we will not publish your book. The government will come after us.”
So, isn’t it amazing that an American mega publisher, a mainstream American publisher, is giving millions to publish a book that will reveal US government classified material? I can tell you from experience and with one hundred percent certainty: the publisher has the government’s consent. How does that bear with the claims that this checkbook reporter is under arrest and even death threats by the U.S. government? Let me tell you something: it does not. What it tells you is this: A Dog & Pony Show put on by the U.S. government and its agents.
The checkbook wanna-be reporter is also securing a million dollar movie deal with Hollywood.
You had to know this was coming. There's a bidding war heating up between Hollywood studios over the rights to bring Glenn Greenwald's forthcoming tell-all book about the Edward Snowden affair to the big screen.
Well, as we all know, the CIA blesses these movie deals with mainstream Hollywood. Don’t we? Without the handlers’ blessing no such deal could have been made. When the pretender shows up at the Oscar Gala, ask yourself this: Weren’t they supposed to arrest and maybe even drone the hell out of this guy? So what happened, dude?
The exact same questions should be posed for a new mega corporate sugar daddy tucking checkbook journalists under his wing in return for…? Your guess is definitely as good as mine. The billionaire who stomped upon a whistleblower’s account with his PayPal Corporation has suddenly found a heart? I didn’t think so either
In her first interview since leaving Moscow for Berlin last month, Harrison told German news weekly Stern: "How can you take something seriously when the person behind this platform went along with the financial boycott against WikiLeaks?" Harrison was referring to the decision in December 2010 by PayPal, which is owned by eBay, to suspend WikiLeaks' donation account and freeze its assets after pressure from the US government. The company's boycott, combined with similar action taken by Visa and Mastercard, left WikiLeaks facing a funding crisis.
"His excuse is probably that there is nothing he could have done at the time," Harrison continued. "Well, he is on the board of directors. He can't shake off responsibility that easily. He didn't even comment on it. He could have said something like: 'we were forced to do this, but I am against it'."
In our coming BFP Roundtable we will have first-hand accounts from reporters who have witnessed how our checkbook journalist has been asking for money in return for interviews and documents.
I started this commentary by introducing my credentials as a whistleblower and someone who has known and represented many government whistleblowers from the intelligence and law enforcement agencies- hundreds of whistleblowers, honorable people such as NSA’s Russ Tice, DEA’s Sandalio Gonzalez and FBI’s John Cole. In this case of a checkbook wanna-be journalist and a whistleblower, I have nothing but many questions when it comes to the whistleblower in question. I do consider the selfless act of releasing this incriminating information on our government’s illegality heroic; however, I have numerous unanswered questions for the whistleblower in question:
Did he give his full consent to the mainstream and checkbook reporters so that they could sit on 99% of these documents if they chose to?
Is he perfectly okay with this disgraceful and opportunist person using these documents to secure millions of dollars in book and movie deals?
Does he consider the censorship of 99% of his documents justified and okay? If so, what kind of image does he hope to maintain when the leaking is selective and based on bidding in dollars?
Does he have an arrangement where he gets a cut from the opportunist’s mega millions obtained via documents he entrusted him with? If so, wouldn’t that make him tainted and a culprit in this?
Why is he in Russia (in exile), when the checkbook opportunist is in the belly of the beast making deals in millions of dollars, and is about to head a $250 Million news corporation set up by his billionaire sugar daddy?
And finally, a bit crudely,
What the fu.. is wrong with this picture?! Because as a whistleblower and an expert on whistleblowers I see thousands of wrong things with this picture!
Please do not get me wrong here. I have no questions but answers when it comes to the checkbook opportunist in question. I have known about him for years, long before this NSA episode. What I don’t have is an answer when it comes to the NSA whistleblower in question. I have been sitting on the fence on this one. Unlike my own whistleblower members, I do not know this guy. I don’t. I have never corresponded with him, and he has never reached out to me or my organization. I keep going from silently cheering and supporting him, to doubting what he is all about. I have never seen a case like this. I don’t think anyone has. However, in light of the case of our checkbook journalist, Mainstream Publishers’ mega million book deals, Mainstream Hollywood’s mega studio deals, Mainstream Media backing and showcasing, and Mega Corporation’s mega millions getting involved … and in all this, zero retaliation or interference from our mega government known for being ruthless on whistleblowers, I just don’t get this case.
My experienced gut says something is awfully rotten in the state of … this NSA whistleblower-Checkbook Opportunist Drama Set. I get half of the rotten state, but am still wondering about the other half.
# # # #
Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman's Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.