The EyeOpener Report- Secrets For Sale: The Greenwald, Omidyar & NSA Connection

Of the many intriguing aspects of the Snowden story, by far one of the most frustrating is that, other than a few interviews and press conferences, almost everything we know about Snowden, his motivations, and the documents themselves come from intermediaries who have found themselves in the position of spokespeople on the case. Even such basic questions as how many documents Snowden leaked is still unclear, with various sources listing anything from 10,000 to 1.7 million documents. If details as basic as these vary so widely between sources, how much more opaque are the more difficult questions of Snowden's motivations and intentions, let alone the specifics of any deals he may have made with journalists about how this data was to be disseminated?

Find out more about the questions surrounding the reporting of the Snowden story in this week's EyeOpener report with James Corbett.

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  1. I’m glad you acknowledged the speculative aspect of this story. And while it’s very healthy to be skeptical of whatever media venture comes out of this, it would make more sense to me to turn the Snowden release into a win, rather than jump hastily at an opportunity to debate piecemeal information in obscurity. Greenwald and Snowden, at least for the time being, are shaping / effecting reality, even if you think they are compromised. It’s possible to build on their momentum without committing to liking them or trusting their intentions. Thanks to the leaks and a culture of short attention spans, in the not too distant future, more people are going to remember the general concept of gov’t spying on them than know who Snowden or Greenwald are. The question at this point still is, are we going to be able too seize the opportunity to mobilize and push back, or will we let the chance slip away, relegated to back door bureaucracy, because we are too divided, too busy debating things that are trivial compared to the revelations themselves. In my mind, there is no easy fix here…and that’s what we are avoiding. Can there EVER be meaningful oversight in this high tech surveillance state? And if not, if it’s impossible to EVER trust these behind the scenes crooks and psychopaths who can fabricate suspicion and come up with all sorts of legal loopholes and plausible deniability, then what are we going to do? What are YOU going to DO? Somehow telling people not to watch the Omidyar network sounds like settling for a distant second best.

  2. Luke O., Are you actually reading Sibel’s post or comments? With her expose of GG/Pierre and questioning of Snowden’s intentions, she’s protecting the process of whistle blowing, in fear that this drama is partially meant to destroy it.

    Is it inability or unwillingness to communicate that you understand where Sibel is coming from? Instead, using phrases like “debate piecemeal information in obscurity” and confounding criticism of Greenwald with Snowden. She has been very clear, but you are muddying in your apparent attempt to stop all the questioning.

  3. Mark Green says:

    Xicha I value your insights on this board.
    However you seem to be wearing two hats here:
    that of a valued critic and that of Sibel’s personal public defender.

    Most of the time if anyone posts something critical of Sibel or not entirely in line with her thinking, you are quick to jump to her defense.

    I read Luke’s post and found it to be very appropriate and prescient.

    As I wrote in an earlier post, to my mind the Snowden ‘damage’ has already been done.
    He made his case. The degree upon which NSA is spying on its citizens and citizens of the world is known.

    What isn’t known are the finer details. Which companies specifically have set up partnerships with the NSA etc. Which companies, countries, individuals the NSA are spying on etc. etc.

    While these details are surely welcome, they are not needed now for the public to seize upon the opportunity staring them in the face.

    In other words, why wait for Greenwald or Poitras or Scahill or Gellman, or Rusbridger or Miranda or British/Russian/Chinese authorities to release more details when we can act now?

    There should be a rallying cry now to get the public engaged, to say enough is enough,
    to claw back NSA’s powers and enact legislation that permits a third party to routinely check to ensure the NSA is complying with their restrictions on spying.

    Acting in such fashion as soon as possible would drastically drop the market value of Greenwald et al’s cache.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Mark Green. I appreciate it. I have recently experienced twitter, so that may have affected my tone and timing. I apologize for the perception of being intolerant and/or defensive. Please forgive me. At the same time, I have never shied away from disagreeing with Sibel, and there are some posts where you can see that’s happened. Of course, this isn’t about me.

      If you have read and partaken in any of the twitter arguments, you will have seen many, countless attempts at hand waving, insults, and dense defensiveness which comes from people who are not reading the posts linked in the tweets. Or the interviews. Or anything under the surface. They just read the headline and then start saying “why are you doing this, you such and such?”

      So, I am starting to get a little frustrated with comments which keep going on that line. Sibel has expressed a number of times what motivates her exposure of GG. When people keep commenting that her desire to do it is either strange, useless, or whatever, it is frustrating. And I am happy to add my comments in her defense.

      As you’ll see in my comments about the subject at hand, I have consistently said that there IS VALUE in what has been released and that no one has said or proven that the documents released so far are fake. The value I have seen is that they inspired Russ Tice to give us much more, have given many plaintiffs legal standing, and are validating the awareness of illegal government spying.

      I’ll remember to make sure I’m not auto-reacting and considering what’s been said, but won’t apologize for defending or clarifying when I feel like I can. I consider it supportive. If I’m wrong or further muddying the waters, then I invite correction.

      In other words, why wait for Greenwald or Poitras or Scahill or Gellman, or Rusbridger or Miranda or British/Russian/Chinese authorities to release more details when we can act now?

      There should be a rallying cry now to get the public engaged, to say enough is enough,
      to claw back NSA’s powers and enact legislation that permits a third party to routinely check to ensure the NSA is complying with their restrictions on spying.

      I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that anyone wait to get the public engaged. Sibel has been calling for this long before Snowden and started this website, in fact, to inform the public to that end. Sibel has published Russ Tice’s incredible revelations. She has never denied that the Snowden docs are real or relevant.

      I think there’s a lot of confusion about what Sibel is doing with these exposes and unnecessary complaints, many of which can be sourced in the fan-base of celebrity.

      Thanks for your consideration and I welcome more feedback.

      • Mark Green says:

        “Thanks for the feedback, Mark Green. I appreciate it.”

        You are welcome!

        ” I have recently experienced twitter, so that may have affected my tone and timing. I apologize for the perception of being intolerant and/or defensive. Please forgive me.”

        No problem.

        ” If you have read and partaken in any of the twitter arguments, you will have seen many, countless attempts at hand waving, insults, and dense defensiveness which comes from people who are not reading the posts linked in the tweets. Or the interviews. Or anything under the surface. They just read the headline and then start saying “why are you doing this, you such and such?”

        I don’t use or follow twitter so unfortunately (or possibly fortunately 🙂 ) I haven’t read those arguments/insults).

        “I’ll remember to make sure I’m not auto-reacting and considering what’s been said, but won’t apologize for defending or clarifying when I feel like I can. I consider it supportive. If I’m wrong or further muddying the waters, then I invite correction.”

        Sounds fair to me.

        “I think there’s a lot of confusion about what Sibel is doing with these exposes and unnecessary complaints, many of which can be sourced in the fan-base of celebrity.”

        I understand what she is doing and didn’t complain. She is holding their feet to the fire which I believe is the correct thing to do. At the same time, we shouldn’t let GG et al run the agenda!
        It seems many have succumbed to this.

        “Thanks for your consideration and I welcome more feedback.”

        Again, no problem.

        • Some thoughts regarding this section:

          I understand what she is doing and didn’t complain. She is holding their feet to the fire which I believe is the correct thing to do. At the same time, we shouldn’t let GG et al run the agenda!
          It seems many have succumbed to this.

          I have to ask who do you think is succumbing. Sibel’s focus on integrity, regarding GG et al, directly relates to the public’s right to know, the withholding of evidence, and the role of whistle blowers, among other things. Most American’s outrage is based on thinking that the government collects “metadata”. Are you so sure that the 99% of documents are just “the finer details”?

          • Mark Green says:

            I believe *anyone* who is waiting impatiently for more documents to be released has succumbed to Greenwald et al’s agenda.

            No one knows exactly what’s in all the remaining documents. Probably not even Greenwald, Poitras or even Snowden!
            If the million number is accurate, there’s just too many documents for a few people to read through.

            This may have something to do with their slow release. If nothing juicy is found, why release it?

            I keep mentioning that the damage has been done and that only details likely remain for a simple reason.

            If you start off with a broad statement like “The NSA is spying on everyone’s communications (personal, business) locally and internationally.” which is what Snowden essentially did, what surprises could possibly come other than details of these?

            People can’t say when a new document is released “Well I never knew their spying was this extensive!”

          • round and around and around we go

    • Hey Mark
      I agree…the damage has been done. Will the MSM try to smear whistle blowing if things get increasingly unsavory? Of course. They already say whistle blowers are doing it for attention or out of spite. Look what they did to Manning. That won’t change. The chill is already in the air. I believe, though, that the weight of the information shared by GG will overwhelm any faux media outrage surrounding his opportunism, if we can get people to understand WHY the info matters. Now is the time for creating the narrative, and if the public doesn’t realize the severity soon, no amount of whistle blower perception management is going to matter. The country will reveal itself to be simply incapable of having the kind of capacities needed for self governance. Game over.

      So will the public get engaged? If the public DOESN’T get engaged (and it hasn’t really even this late in the game), then we’ve lost , and it won’t be until the National Guard is deployed under total breakdown that people will think maybe they should have done more…I say this, because when it comes to moral, legal, and philosophical, underpinnings, we have already reached total breakdown. It’s just a matter of time for the superstructure to follow..

      So yeah, I’m pretty pessimistic about the future, on a purely material level. I also have similar concerns as the ones Sibel raises in the interview with the EFF’s Cindy Cohn, which is that we already have a gov’t w/ oversight agencies and a Constitution, and the yet abuses continue and deepen.

      Which, Xicha, was my main point: what are we supposed to do now? And the answer to that lies in what you believe our circumstances are. It is an important question to not only answer, but then move from, and then create alliances based on common ground.

      I have lost all faith in the system to function properly, and therefore my focus will be different from many. I believe if you’re honest with yourself, you will also realize that Snowden’s revelations are a kind of Rubicon. There is no going back, and while I view the actions of Sibel, Drake, Binney and others to be absolutely heroic and necessary, I don’t need another whistle blower to tell me what is going on and where this leads.

      The technological prowess and capabilities of the corporate government CAN NO LONGER be effectively checked. These people are criminals born of a system that manufactures criminal behavior, and they are destabilizing the economic system, national integrity, the rule of law, and the environmental system, and I seriously doubt they will give up the power to surveil and suppress the population, which they will need during the inevitable backlash they are creating.

      • I have always wanted to see a prosecution as a leading domino. I am not one of those who wishes for collapse. I see working outside the system as necessary, but have a good government goal, and criminal prosecution for blackmailing public officials might be in order. The problem is that we aren’t going to get a compromised government to act, without overwhelming public outrage.

        The withholding of evidence is frustrating to me and it does matter.

        • I don’t want collapse, I just believe it is highly likely. Regardless, prosecute Clapper and other criminals. I can get behind that sentiment even if I understand that the lack of action in that regard, contrasted with a SWAT team busting down a door and shooting a person in their home for drug offenses all on a split second time schedule, indicates to me a terminal condition in the society at large. Consider Obama sending a petition to the DOJ to grant Bush and his cronies immunity from prosecution regarding their engagement in the Iraq war. The power structure is a shell which functions to protect itself, and its members will break laws and crack skulls to maintain it. You can throw all kinds of reforms at it, and a gang of lawyers and economists will already have found the loopholes to exploit. The problem is that this advanced level of corruption is increasingly liquid given the extraordinary elite access to resources and capital, and is combining with twenty first century technology in the midst of societies that are increasingly dependent on said structure, unable to feed and clothe themselves without the aid of corporate mechanization. Whatever the path forward, be it for good or bad, the transformation is going to be extreme.

    • At the same time, your comment and characterization of me as a lap dog or hired protector reminds me of the three people on Twitter who, instead of responding to my points, decided to accuse me of being a sockpuppet and pointed out that I didn’t have a lot of tweets or followers. And this makes me want to tell you to piss off or respond to my points, instead of trying to deride my character. For future reference, Mr. Green. Are we clear, now?

  4. Also, I think you are making a lot of assumptions about what’s in the 99+% of those docs, which are, in MY view, being unethically kept hidden from the public. We have a right to know. To see the evidence of t 🙂 e serious and ongoing crimes being committed against us, by a rogue agency, who I suspect has compromised our government with the spoils of those criminal acts.

    • Wow, I just typoed a smiley face. “the”

      • Mark Green says:

        Wow that was quite a change in sentiment from you between 6:34 pm and 11:07 pm.
        You changed from understanding and thanking me, to tossing me out the door!

        What brought about that???
        I hadn’t written anything in between your posts.

        Which points were you asking me to respond to?
        Read my post carefully. I started off praising you. I don’t think I derided your character at all.

        I simply noted a pattern whereby you are quick to defend Sibel (she has mentioned many times that she doesn’t care if people disagree with her, it doesn’t bother her at all) and I thought in the case of Luke’s post, that it was unwarranted.

        • What changed is that I remembered the sock puppet accusations and thought that I needed to compliment my first reply with one that also dealt with the Personal Public Defender part. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive comments. I apologize for coming off as intolerant in my timing or tone, and point out that your comment also did attack my character for playing two roles, as you put it.

          Anyway, I didn’t guzzle a jug of wine during the time interval you mentioned. Just trying to point out what I realized.

          Thanks for the compliment, BTW. I hope I am communicating effectively. I’m trying.

          • Mark Green says:

            “I apologize for coming off as intolerant in my timing or tone, and point out that your comment also did attack my character for playing two roles, as you put it.”

            Thanks that’s appreciated.
            I truly wasn’t trying to attack your character but rather point out a kind of conflict of interest. 🙂

            “Thanks for the compliment, BTW. I hope I am communicating effectively. I’m trying.”

            Yes loud and clear! 🙂

          • Thanks! 🙂

            Now, I’m in the middle of another reply to your other recent one, sans the stuff about me. 🙂

  5. tonywicher says:

    i’m glad to see the discussion ending in happy faces! The Corbett interview was terrific. i would like to see a lot more of Kevin Ryan on BFP.

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