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The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!

I have analyzed Glenn Greenwald’s writing many times over the years. His slick use of rhetorical devices, and his propensity to exaggerate, jump out at me and smack me upside the head when I read his writings. I’ve compiled what I think are the top 5 exaggerations by Glenn Greenwald since the NSA story broke. These are mostly from his appearances, where he apparently feels more free to exaggerate than when he commits something to paper.

Before I get to the list, I feel it is my duty to point out Glenn’s incredible hypocrisy about the right of privacy.

In his one big case as a lawyer, defending the white supremacist Matt Hale, Glenn Greenwald was smacked down by the judge for unethically recording witnesses without their knowledge. Mr. Privacy, Glenn Greenwald, invaded the privacy of witnesses in order to defend that vile creature.

Seizing the opportunity, Defendants’ counsel (Glenn Greenwald) hit the record button and commenced surreptitiously taping the conversation with Dippold. The conversation lasted for some time, covering in detail Dippold’s contacts with Hale, the WCOTC, and various other parties having an interest in the underlying litigation. Dippold never asked if Defendants’ counsel was taping the conversation. Nor did Defendants’ counsel make any representations to Dippold suggesting that the conversation was or [**4] was not being taped. [...]

Approximately one month later, Plaintiff discovered the existence of another tape. This tape pertained to a conversation between Defendants’ counsel and Ian Sigel, another witness in the case. [...]

Plaintiff moved to compel disclosure of these tapes, arguing that this conduct was unethical and therefore vitiated any attorney work-product privilege that may have attached to these recordings, and sought a protective order prohibiting any further recordings. The magistrate judge granted both motions, finding defense counsel’s conduct unethical under two separate rules: Local Rule 83.58.4(a)(4), prohibiting “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;” and Local Rule 83.54.4, stating “a lawyer shall not … use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of [another] person.”

Now to the top 5 exaggerations by Glenn Greenwald on the NSA story.

Number 5

Here is Glenn Greewnald from On Point with Tom Ashbrook, on NPR.

“What has been damaged by these revelations is the reputations and credibility of the people in power who are building this massive spying apparatus completely in the dark and with no accountability.”

Except Glenn, that is a massive exaggeration. Here is James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence from the Volokh Conspiracy.

  • By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records.
  • All information that is acquired under this order is subject to strict restrictions on handling and is overseen by the Department of Justice and the FISA Court. Only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed because the vast majority of the data is not responsive to any terrorism-related query.

In short, there’s less difference between this “collection first” program and the usual law enforcement data search than first meets the eye.  In the standard law enforcement search, the government establishes the relevance of its inquiry and is then allowed to collect the data.  In the new collection-first model, the government collects the data and then must establish the relevance of each inquiry before it’s allowed to conduct a search.

If you trust the government to follow the rules, both models end up in much the same place.  I realize that some folks simply will not trust the government to follow those rules, but it’s hard to imagine a system with more checks and restrictions and doublechecks than one that includes all three branches and both parties looking over NSA’s shoulder.

Number 4

From Glenn Greenwald’s original article on the PRISM program. (not linked)

When the FAA was first enacted, defenders of the statute argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA’s inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the Prism program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies’ servers.

But Glenn, that’s not true either. Most of the service providers who he accused of allowing “direct and unilateral” access have denied the claim.

Here is a piece that blows away this exaggeration/lie by Glenn. From The New York Times…

But instead of adding a back door to their servers, the companies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information, they said.

The data shared in these ways, the people said, is shared after company lawyers have reviewed the FISA request according to company practice. It is not sent automatically or in bulk, and the government does not have full access to company servers. Instead, they said, it is a more secure and efficient way to hand over the data.

Number 3

On CNN, Glenn Greenwald said the following…

“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,” charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” speaking on CNN. “That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.

First of all, “complete secrecy” is a major exaggeration, considering I can search in Google and find many articles about the center that the NSA built in Utah. As a matter of fact, a Google search landed me this press release from January 6, 2011 about the groundbreaking ceremony for the new “data center” in Utah. Complete secrecy Glenn?

He goes on to say that the “only goal” is to “destroy privacy and anonymity.” You see, in Glenn’s world, it doesn’t even have a little bit to do with preventing terrorism. The United States government, collectively, thinking as one giant Dr. Evil, is “only” out to destroy your privacy and anonymity. But it isn’t just American citizens that the United States government wants to do that to, it’s the entire world people, don’t you see? And then Glenn thinks that just by saying, “That’s not hyperbole, That is their objective” – that somehow it makes it true. The only thing missing is an evil laugh and a pinky raised to your lip.

I’m sure there are many psychologists out there that are having fun with Glenn’s paranoid exaggerations. He is a case study in paranoia, if you ask me. Did you ask me?

Number 2

In one of his many rounds to the gullible media, he talked to NPR and said the following…

The National Security Agency is currently devoted to the objective of creating a worldwide surveillance net that allows it to monitor what all human beings are doing and how they’re behaving and interacting with one another.

In that statement, he takes it even further than in others. He adds the word “monitor” to his hyperbole, which implies real-time snooping in most people’s minds. It begs the question, how many “oppressors” does he think are employed at the NSA? And damn, they must be getting overtime if it allows them to “monitor what all human beings are doing and how they are behaving and interacting with one another.” I’m sorry, that’s just freaking crazy. And anyone who excuses that type of hyperbole is just enabling this sick man.

I think David Simon characterized this stupidity best in his piece called “We are shocked, shocked…”

Is it just me or does the entire news media — as well as all the agitators and self-righteous bloviators on both sides of the aisle — not understand even the rudiments of electronic intercepts and the manner in which law enforcement actually uses such intercepts? It would seem so.

Because the national eruption over the rather inevitable and understandable collection of all raw data involving telephonic and internet traffic by Americans would suggest that much of our political commentariat, many of our news gatherers and a lot of average folk are entirely without a clue.

You would think that the government was listening in to the secrets of 200 million Americans from the reaction and the hyperbole being tossed about. And you would think that rather than a legal court order which is an inevitable consequence of legislation that we drafted and passed, something illegal had been discovered to the government’s shame.

Number 1

And the number 1 exaggeration is……drum roll please……this little gem from his appearance on Morning Joe where Mika dared to challenge him.

The objective of this is to enable the NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION AND EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR!

Ding, ding…..we have a winner! “…NSA to monitor EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR” Chew on that one for a while. How many millions of NSA employees do you suppose it would take to do that?

How in the hell can Glenn Greenwald get away with saying such crap on national television without someone challenging him? Anyone falling for his hyperbole and paranoia really needs to wake up, do a reality check and then get a grip. It’s one thing to be outraged about our government stepping on our privacy rights, with checks and balances within all three branches of government, but it is quite another to buy into the idea that the objective of the NSA is to “monitor every single conversation and every single form of human behavior”.

Come on, why the exaggerations? Is it because the truth doesn’t accomplish Glenn Greenwald’s goal of world domination? (That was me exaggerating.)

P.S. When I first learned that my phone calls were being kept track of, well over 30 years ago, when I first saw a phone bill that had the numbers listed and the times the calls were made, I was a little concerned. I didn’t freak out, I just accepted that with new technology, that was the world we lived in. That was 30 freaking years ago. Since then, Google can target ads for snowblowers on damn near every web page I go to, because one day, I did a search for snowblowers.

If you weren’t aware that all your electronic communications are out there for anyone with even a little bit of technical ability to grab on to, I really think you need to pay a little more attention.

I didn’t like the idea of it over 30 years ago, but having accepted that fact so long ago, I have a hard time getting too upset about it now. I take comfort in the fact that I am not a criminal and frequently think that if someone is “monitoring” my calls or emails, they are bored shitless.

June 13, 2013 Posted by | Media, MSM, National Security, Politics, Professional Left | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Glenn Greenwald’s Justification for the Boston Bombings

Updated for clarity

Guest Post By Marcus Brutus

Extremist responses to anti-US atrocities fall into two categories: denial which spawns troofer movements or justification with dismissal. Glenn Greenwald’s latest article is an example of the second category, it’s his automatic response to Islamist terrorism.  When the Oslo slaughter was believed to have been caused by salafis he justified slaughter by writing that Norway “prompted” (defined as to cause or bring about something) the attack. When news about Breivik came to light he changed his tune and decried how horrible the Oslo attacks were since it was now something he could exploit. The only conclusion to make is that Greenwald believes mass murder is justifiable depending on the perpetrator’s political and religious views. He justified the Boston bombings in an article that is an example of Comment Is Free depravity which published articles in support of North Korea and FGM.

On twitter he said that the Tsarnaev’s relative who denied the attacks is “talking more sense” about the attacks than the government. He wrote material dripping with sympathy for the surviving brother complaining that he was “being interrogated by the most aggressive and sophisticated agents the USG has. He’s 19, traumatized, injured & medicated” that is not impression of Mama Tsarnaev. A striking contrast to his past attempt to dismiss the attacks: so massacre are dismissible to him but making murderers uncomfortable is an inexcusable atrocity. Never forget! One person replied: “Martin Richard is 8, he’s dead. His sister is 6, lost her leg &is traumatized & medicated. Your sympathy is misplaced.”

Glenn endorsed multiple articles justifying the attacks he tweeted: “citing @JeremyScahill, Chomsky writes: “Boston Bombings Gave Americans Taste of the Terrorism US Inflicts Every Day.” It would be more accurate to say that Boston bombings gave Americans a taste of what Chomsky and Scahill (who described Bosniaks as “White Al-Qaea”) support. He retweeted an article by FAIR describing the Tsarnaev brothers as people who “responded to violence with violence” meaning that FAIR and Greenwald see it as just retaliation. FAIR is the same outlet that publishes pro-Assad propaganda, one article denies the Houla massacre based on the lunatic rambling of media lens, a hate group that promotes Rwanda genocide denial.

Greenwald quotes the young Tsarnaev that he and his brother “were motivated by the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He also quotes similar motivations for other attempted or successful terrorists. When extremists shed crocodile tears by the gallon about Afghanistan and Iraq they are really expressing sympathy for the Taliban and Iraqi Sunni militants.

Glenn doesn’t try to hide it since he quotes Najibullah Zazi admission of conspiring “with others to travel to Afghanistan to join the Taliban” which suggests laziness or (understandable) disrespect for audience. He presents killing fellow citizens out of sympathy for the Taliban who are responsible for most Afghan civilian deaths, running a slave state and genocide as a noble dissent. Iraqi Sunni militants committed the Yazidi car bombings in an attempt to extirpate a harmless religious minority. The bombings were the worst atrocity in the Iraq war in which most civilian deaths were caused by Iraqis. If any of the men listed in the article ever once had any sympathetic motives or genuine outrage over civilian deaths they would not have killed out of support for groups responsible for most Afghan or Iraqi deaths.

Glenn goes on to describe Anwar al-Awaki as a former “moderate” he became “radicalized” by 21st century US foreign policy. Foreign policy magazine ran an article disproving his narrative about al-Awaki which he continues to repeat over and over again. Next its “Osama bin Laden, when justifying violence against Americans US military bases in Saudi Arabia, US support for Israeli aggression against its neighbors, and the 1990s US sanctions regime that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children.” Bin Laden didn’t mention Israel nearly as much as Kashmir or Chechnya. Israel was a motive since Al-Qaeda believes in a global Jewish conspiracy that uses the US as its enforcing arm that’s the view that Greenwald prettifies.  The claim about sanctions is false, the Baathist regime’s wealth increased during sanctions they were able to easily smuggle in gold and build palaces, they had the means to provide for children who perished solely because of state neglect. The whine about bases only proves that Islamist extremism is an ideology devoid of legit grievances, that won’t change no matter how many articles GG hacks out urging us to consider Jihadi complaints and not the grievances of their victims.

He sheds crocodile tears for Khomeini by mewling that ” Iranians who took over the US embassy in 1979 cited decades of brutal tyranny from the US-implanted-and-enabled Shah.” The Shah contrary to apologist revisionism was not implanted by the US he succeeded his father who had come to power by overthrowing the Qajars without American assistance. Islamic regime apologists who harp on about real or imagined Pahlavi abuses ignore that the monarchy fell because the Shah was not willing to slaughter his people. Khomeini had no similar squeamishness as he came to power by killing 20,000 people.  Torture was probably the worst crime in the Pahlavi monarchy, except the Shah’s torturers remained employed by Khomeini. Soudabeh Ardavan described how her torturers were “pros”, “from the Shah’s era.” The real motive for the embassy seize was to allow Khomeini to seize control of Iran from the moderate interim leadership and bring about decades of brutal tyranny that Greenwald produces apologia for.

Glenn tries to cover his tracks with denial: “the issue here is causation, not justification or even fault.” That proves nothing if someone were to claim that women have smaller brains than men he would be a misogynist no matter how many times he wrote that he wasn’t a misogynist. On twitter in response to criticism he sneered “have an adult explain to you the difference between “causation” and “justification.”  The critic made an excellent response that he ignored: “causation in this case can only come from a justification. You’d have to assume ‘choice’ doesn’t exist among Yemenis, Iraqis etc.”

What is justification? Glenn distorts what the word actually means, justification isn’t necessarily stating that the victims deserved it though that sentiment wouldn’t be unwelcome at CIF. The j-word is defined as “to declare free of blame; absolve.” The word seems to have roots in religion: “to free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin.” Glenn attributes the “cause” of terrorism to the US not the actual perpetrators by that reasoning the terrorists are “free of blame” and “absolved” since if someone didn’t actually cause something they are free of blame and absolved. That makes Glenn a justifier which is defined as “one who justifies; one who vindicates, supports, defends, or absolves.” Conclusion: Greenwald justifies terrorism.

He claims that we must understand why “there are so many people who want to attack the US as opposed to, say, Peru, or South Africa, or Brazil, or Mexico, or Japan, or Portugal. It’s vital for two separate reasons.” The argument that Al-Qaeda never attacks small non-US countries is false. They attacked Indonesia twice in one attack slaughtering peaceful Christians, they attacked Australia over its support for the Timorese people. They participated in genocide alongside the Taliban proving their real motives are a blend of racism and wahabbism. They committed mass murder in Algeria, Spain, Denmark, Turkey and other countries which disproves Glenn’s argument. Can we expect an article justifying terrorism in Spain as “blowback” that was “caused” by the medieval reconquista?

Greenwald complains that “so many Americans, westerners, Christians and Jews love to run around insisting that the only real cause for Muslim attacks on the US is that the attackers have this primitive, brutal, savage, uncivilized religion (Islam) that makes them do it.” He complains about Sam Harris who believes that “Islamic doctrines … still present huge problems for the emergence of a global civil society.” To claim that Islam in general “makes them do it” is inaccurate, after all the Crimean Tatars did not respond to Stalinism by massacring Russian children. he disturbing thing is that both conflate Islam with fundamentalist strains only Glenn does so out of sympathy and Sam does it out of contempt.

Jihadi atrocities are actually caused by extremist interpretations and strains of Islam and racist ideologies. This is confirmed by briefly skimming  a history of al-Qaeda, glancing at the news or otherwise stepping out of the alternate universe Greenwald creates with his articles.The facts show that people Greenwald presents as motivated by rational outrage at old glory constantly attack harmless, irrelevant non-US targets because of religious views. Al-Qaeda has slaughtered Christians, Shias, non-Wahabbi Sunnis and bombed a Turkish synagogue. Many of the worst attacks predate the US foreign policies that Greenwald focuses on.

He quips that “people often love to accuse Muslims of being tribal without realizing the irony that what they are saying – Our Side is Superior and They are Inferior – is the ultimate expression of rank tribalism.” He’s made it clear what sort of people he means by ‘Muslims’, there’s nothing tribal about the view he attacks as ‘our side’ is multi-racial and multi-cultural. That’s an incoherent argument, is Glenn suggesting that Islamist dictatorships are ethically equivalent to democracies? I see nothing self-glorifying about stating which one is the best, offering a better life than theocracies is possibly the lowest standard for a democracy. Similarly stating you’re not a serial killer is the lowest standard individuals can meet, not self-glorification.

He insists “attackers themselves make as clear as they can, it’s not religious fanaticism but rather political grievance that motivates these attacks…the motive is anger over what is being done by the US and its allies to Muslims.” That can easily be rebutted by pointing to al-Qaeda’s record of slaughtering civilians without any political or military significance solely because of their victims’ religion or ethnicity. Glenn’s argument is so facile that it can be refuted by quoting Islamist terrorists who plainly state they are motivated by religious fanaticism.

The GIA leadership explained their motives for butchering Algerian civilians in a communiqué describing Algerians as “infidels and apostates” with no right to live because they didn’t practice the GIA’s brand of Islam. Mullah Omar ordered his men to slaughter Hazaras because of their   ethnic heritage and Shia religion: “the Hazaras are not Muslims and now we have to kill Hazaras, killing them is not a sin.” Justification is also defined as “to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded” which perfectly describes his argument which is as absurd as describing the Interahamwe as a civil rights movement.

Glenn complains of a “pervasive belief in the US that we can invade, bomb, drone, kill, occupy, and tyrannize whomever we want, and that they will never respond.” ‘They’ were Chechens does Glenn think that the US invaded, bombed and droned lands occupied by Chechens? If so it would be his least inaccurate opinion. He claims that the Boston attack was an “inevitable outcome of these choices” another justification, anyone who attributes responsibility for an atrocity to anyone other than the perpetrators is an apologist for that atrocity. He also includes a link to a Ron Paul speech. To recap: Glenn wrote an article justifying Sunni extremist terrorism and Khomeinist tyranny then endorsed a White supremacist and someone actually published that instead of mistaking the article for a parody of far-right drivel.

Greenwald concludes by describing the Boston bombings as a result of “our own actions” I’ve already explained why that is justification unlike Glenn I hate to repeat myself. Greenwald ignores that anti-Semitism motivated the Boston bomber   brothers (the perfect video game for any CIF fan) since one was interested in buying a copy of the protocols of Zion: that’s what Greenwald defends and justifies. There is growing evidence they killed three people solely because the victims were born Jewish, if it turns out that Tsarnaev committed the murders, was that the result of “our own actions?” Or maybe it was caused by Israel? Anyone believing those views would be expressing views no different from Greenwald’s arguments.

He ends by endorsing by endorsing Jeremy Scahill whose record includes support Somali pirates, jihadis and Milosevic. The guardian is useful only as an example of Poe’s law. Every day it comes more indistinguishable from Inspire or the American Free Press.

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Media, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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