Paul Joseph Watson
June 26, 2013
Several prominent voices in the alternative media are speculating that former CIA analyst and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden could be a double agent whose revelations are only serving to distract from the much bigger issue of the imminent escalation of the war in Syria.
Some think he’s a CIA plant, others say he’s a useful idiot. But they all agree: Something stinks to high heaven!
Naomi Wolf, Edward Snowden (Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar)
Every time there’s a shooting at an elementary school or a bombing at a marathon, people harboring an obsession with — or financial interest in — conspiracy theories will jump on inconsistencies to tear down the “official narrative” and replace it with their own, no matter how far-fetched. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before the conspiracists set their eternally skeptical eyes on another target. Meet the Edward Snowden truthers.
What’s surprising about the Snowden theories is that one might think he’d be a sympathetic figure to people deeply skeptical of government power. But instead of holding him up as hero (or even a traitor), some are intent on labeling him a co-conspirator.
Perhaps the most prominent Snowden truther is Naomi Wolf, whom Al Gore reportedlypaid $15,000 a month to advise his presidential campaign. People were a little surprised Friday when the prominent feminist author and activist posted a lengthy essay on her Facebook page wondering if Snowden may actually be a plant from “the Police State.”
Wolf wrote that she has a “creeping concern” that Snowden “is not who he purports to be,” mostly because Wolf expects leakers to be disheveled, inarticulate and litigious (apparently based on her experience with Jullian Assange), and Snowden is none of these things. “To me this reads as someone who has learned his talking points,” she wrote. And his girlfriend “happens to pole-dance?” — very suspicious! “It is actually in the Police State’s interest to let everyone know that everything you write or say everywhere is being surveilled,” she wrote. Ergo: Snowden is likely a government stooge.
The missive was rightly mocked online, and predicated on a number of factual misunderstandings. Still, Wolf is hardly alone. On the fever swamps of the Internet’s conspiracy sites, plenty of posts dissect Snowden’s biography and find gaps that can only be filled by CIA dirty tricks, apparently.
Webster Tarpley, a Lyndon LaRouche ally who hosts an antiwar radio show that often dips into 9/11 trutherism, proposed this theory Friday: “The most likely hypothesis for Snowden is that he’s a triple agent.” Here’s how that would work: On the first level, Snowden works for the NSA (via Booz Allen), and on the second level, he’s a whistle-blower. As for the third level: “Then at bottom, where is his bread really buttered? CIA. At the bottom, he’s a CIA agent all along,” Tarpley said on his radio program. The CIA’s purpose with Snowden is both to weaken Obama and push the president to intervene in Syria, which, conveniently, the White House announced it would do Friday. See?
But writing at Alex Jones’ InfoWars.com, investigative journalist Jon Rappoport sees Snowden as a pawn in a clandestine bureaucratic struggle between the CIA and the NSA:
Here is a more likely scenario. Snowden never saw any of those thousands of documents on an NSA computer. Never happened. Instead, he was either used or volunteered as a CIA operative to carry the endless turf war between CIA and NSA a new step forward. […]
This was a covert op launched by the CIA against a chief rival, the NSA. NSA, the agency that’s far bigger than the CIA. NSA, the agency that’s been taking over intelligence gathering, that considers itself superior to everybody else in the intelligence field. The CIA, of course, couldn’t be seen as the NSA leaker. They needed a guy.
This is the more plausible scenario to Rappoport because he just doesn’t believe Snowden’s biography, as he wrote in more detail at Activist Post. For instance, how did he sign up for special forces training if he never completed high school? “These are red flags. They raise questions. Serious ones,” he wrote.
A widely shared blog post from Scott Creighton, meanwhile, calls Snowden a “manufactured hero” and expands the conspiracy to include journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, who broke the story. “Poitras has a long history of making films that expose various horrific aspects of our new Global War Of Terror … to a point,” he writes, arguing that Poitras has been “bought off” by a MacArthur genius grant to conduct faux-adversarial journalism. Creighton has higher hopes for Greenwald, and thinks the government may be using Snowden to take him down, but at the same time fears that Greenwald has become “just another tool” for the powers that be.
Further out on the paranoid spectrum one gets to people who think Snowden may be the hacker“Guccifer,” who leaked pictures of George W. Bush’s paintings, while others seem to think Snowden’s girlfriend may have actually been “[S]nowden in drag due to the same placement of a mole and similar lips.”
And then, of course, the UFOlogists. Conspiracy site Before its News and a poster on theExaminer website see “a secret UFO message hidden in NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s recent interview.” You see, when played backward, it sounds like Snowden is saying “those UFOs” at one point.
Why would these people find it easier to believe Snowden is an CIA plant than a whistle-blower? Conspiracists are reflexively skeptical of the “official narrative,” even when it should confirm their worldview. Snowden should be a victory for them, but because the mainstream media and the government are corroborating much of what Snowden leaked, the mainstream account immediately becomes suspicious.
And Snowden’s biography does legitimately have some major question marks (e.g., he said he was paid $200,000, but Booz Allen said it was $120,000). These can be explained away (Snowden said $200,000 was his career-high salary) or are products of a guy who seems prone to some exaggeration. But to conspiracists, they’re proof of funny business.
And for some, it may have to do with lingering bitterness toward Greenwald for failing to back them up in the 9/11 truth movement. Tarpley especially seems to feel betrayed by someone whom he viewed as a fellow traveler, calling Greenwald “an enemy of 9/11 truth” who “struck out … when confronted with a chance to fight.” So trashing the biggest scoop of Greenwald’s career, and suggesting that the journalist himself may have joined the Dark Side, could be a bit of score settling from truthers who are still stinging from his rejection.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon’s political reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.
Snowden: An exercise in disinformation
JUNE 25, 2013
Over the past week, many have embraced Edward Snowden as a ‘hero’, including a vast majority of people who purport to be in the ‘alternative media’ – all of whom would usually question what the mainstream news corporations present to them.
Numerous questions and concerns have been raised, albeit by a vocal minority, about the reality of what Snowden represents. Those who would usually be the ones to join this vocal minority in search for real answers, namely the aforementioned majority of alternative media personalities, appear to have been duped into jumping onto the latest staged bandwagon hero, along with large numbers of a naïve general public.
Edward Snowden’s leaks and scandals can be explained as a highly sophisticated, disinformation project of the highest order. Disinformation being defined as false information deliberately, and covertly, spread in order to influence public opinion (Merriam-Webster, 2013).
Historian Dr. Webster Tarpley (2013) has already noted that in 1620 a Venetian intelligence official recommended ‘saying something good about a person or institution while pretending to say something bad’. Tarpley provides the example of ‘criticizing a bloody dictator for beating his dog – the real dimensions of his crimes are thus totally underplayed’. So, we should be against the bloody dictator beating his dog, but ought to be more concerned with the more substantial crimes the ‘bloody dictator’ is known for. The scandals provided by Snowden are of an equivalent standard to the example of the dictator beating a dog. While we should be against unwarranted spying, this new scandal looks to distract us from the greater, and significantly more important, context of global affairs that are currently focused on Syria.
Snowden can be described here as an actor in a ‘limited hangout’ operation. Limited hangouts are described as when an intelligence agency resorts ‘to admitting, sometimes even volunteering, some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case’ (Marchetti, 1978). This coincides with the first of Tarpley’s (2013) three conceptual identifiers for a limited hangout operation – the revelation of little information that is actually new. Simply put, Snowden has told us that the NSA is spying on emails and telephone calls (Drury and Robinson, 2013), along with revelations that international super powers spy on one another (Chen, 2013). While this may be shocking to some, these revelations can hardly be detailed as ‘new’ or ‘ground-breaking’. Snowden has simply provided a name, PRISM, for what has already been understood to be going on for some time. This is somewhat similar to how Julian Assange of Wikileaks rose to fame after providing the graphic video for an already acknowledged incident. These new slivers of information can, however, be particularly impactful as Marchetti (1978) notes, ‘the public is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further’. Not pursuing Snowden further may have disastrous consequences for world peace and security.
For the press, it all makes perfect sense on the surface, and the surface is where the press operates. A deeper look, however, reveals the full picture…
The second conceptual identifier Tarpley (2013) provides for recognising a limited hangout operation is that the actors involved, Snowden and Assange for example, will become ‘instant media darlings’. A naïve view would suggest that this occurs due to the magnitude of information the person is presenting. Reality would show that when providing a critique of controversial issues that truly matter to the ‘Wall Street centered US ruling class’ (Tarpley, 2013), such a 9/11, that these critics are slandered, attacked and denigrated. It is also interesting to note that these limited hangout actors have themselves participated in the attacking of 9/11 truth activists. Assange has provided the most scolding attack stating ‘I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11’ (Bell, 2010). Glenn Greenwald, who brought Snowden forward, is not interested in veering from the official 9/11 story and instead focuses on ‘blowback’ being the cause of terrorism (Greenwald, 2013). Norman Solomon, a former U.S. State Department asset who is now supporting Snowden, ‘was notorious ten years ago as a determined enemy of 9/11 truth’ (Tarpley, 2013). The magnitude of the 9/11 issue is reflected in the authoritative status of those who question the official story such as: Andreas von Bülow, the former secretary of state for the German Federal Ministry of Defence, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran. It must be asked why these ‘whistle-blowers’ seem so vehemently opposed to the issue of questioning the biggest elephant in the room per say – 9/11, and why they never have any new information to reveal regarding the event. They all appear to agree with the establishment, that they proclaim to be fighting against, on what is arguable the most important and controversial event in recent history; which provides much cause for concern.
These concerns are somewhat amplified when the characteristics of Snowden are looked at in detail. Naomi Wolf (2013) has stated that during his interview he looked like ‘someone who had learned his talking points’ and his message promoted fears that an oppressive government would want to instil in other would-be whistle-blowers; such as the idea that you will lose everything by standing up against it, in effect, demonstrating the omnipotent capacity of said government. Doubts have also been raised about whether Snowden had the ability to wiretap the president and shut down the NSA in a few hours, as he has claimed (Rappoport, 2013). These claims might be attributed to Snowden’s apparent narcissistic tendencies, most evident in modelling photographs and an online biography of his that have now been published (Reilly, 2013). Snowden is known to have enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2004 where he wanted to fight for freedom in a Special Forces unit. Tarpley (2013) states that this ‘shift from militarist to civil libertarian remains unexplained and highly suspicious’, a conclusion that is substantiated by the other added character concerns.
One can also judge a man by the company he keeps and in Snowden’s case that means Wikileaks (Shane and Savage, 2013). Before shooting into mainstream fame, Wikileaks received an endorsement from Cass Sunstein suggesting that ‘they have immense potential’ (Sunstein, 2007). This should be of immediate concern to anyone looking for legitimacy in leaked information, as Sunstein is the author of a 2008 paper where he advocated the ‘main policy idea’ and ‘promising tactic’ of using ‘cognitive infiltration’ to disrupt and break up ‘ideological and epistemological complexes’ that investigate and promote anti-government conspiracy theories. He notes that ‘direct government rebuttals…will prove ineffective’ and therefore external government ‘allies’ will need to be used (Sunstein, 2008). Assange appears to fit perfectly into the role of an external government ‘ally’. His attack on 9/11 conspiracy theories, as documented earlier, appears to be an example of Sunstein’s ‘cognitive infiltration’ tactic in action as the information he ‘leaks’ looks to distract from greater areas of inquiry. Now that the organization is said to be working with Snowden, more questions of his legitimacy are inevitably raised. It’s also worth noting that the founder of Cryptome and mentor of Assange, John Young, denounced Wikileaks in 2007 as a CIA front (Tarpley, 2013).
Tarpley’s third and final identifier for a limited hangout operation is when they are used to prepare large covert operations, which in the case of Snowden would be to advance an attack on Syria. This is evident from a number of key points. The first being that Snowden’s initial revelations came on the same day that Qusayr, a crucial rebel stronghold, fell to the Syrian army; enraging British and French imperialist warmongers. Here we must remember the critical contextual point that Obama has refrained from an all out attack on Syria; something that those in London and Paris have been pushing for heavily over the past few months. Snowden’s revelations triggered what Tarpley (2013) described as ‘a firestorm of criticism’ specifically aimed at Obama. The London Guardian does not only publish the new ‘scandal’ that caused this uproar, but they also like to point out how it is causing damage to Obama by putting his approval rating at ‘its lowest point since last November’s election’ and has caused a ‘collapse in trust’ (Enten, 2013). Attacking Obama pushes him to a point where he must conform to the will of the establishment, to attack Syria outright, or be ousted.
For further evidence of The Guardian’s push for war in Syria, we can find an article titled ‘A Political Ploy: The Guardian Editors Swallow US Claims On Syrian WMD’ (Edwards, 2013). It documents the stunning comments from Guardian editors including: ‘that use (of Chemical Weapons) is an outrage and is against international agreements. It adds to the charge sheet against the Assad regime’. The article’s author states that these are ‘among the most shocking comments we have ever seen in the Guardian’, that they ‘endorse the latest claims on Syria’ and that ‘the Guardian editors are on-message, on-side and boosting war propaganda’. We can now understand why The Guardian would use Snowden to attack Obama as a means to fulfil the agenda, which they support, of a more open war against Syria.
IMAGE: The international press campaign against the Assad regime is currently in its second year.
It is possible to provide a real world example for another limited hangout operation that has prepared similar attacks by looking to none other than Wikileaks. As an organisation, they have never destroyed the career of a British, American or Israeli politician, but instead a laundry list of people that ‘bears a striking resemblance to the CIA enemies’ list’ (Tarpley, 2013). Their attack against Assad of Syria, through a somewhat pathetic email-sex scandal (Taher and Slater, 2012), should make it immediately clear whose interests they represent: the same ones who also control the direction of The Guardian. With both The Guardian and Wikileaks supporting Snowden, we can almost be certain of whose interests he too represents: those who are aiming for war. Therefore, the armies of dupes currently attacking Obama for what Snowden has revealed, many of who should know better, are in actual fact facilitating the establishment’s agenda for a wider war in Syria by weakening the anti-open war president.
While this is in no way seeks to aggrandise or apologise for Obama, the fact that he has not initiated a wider war in Syria must be recognised as a positive policy direction. We can see a similar direction during the attack on Libya where Obama officials refused to call the attack a ‘war’, they instead insisted on calling it ‘kinetic military action’ (York, 2011). To add to this anti-open war course, Obama’s actions against Iran do not include bombing runs and tactical nuclear strikes, but instead, methods of economic warfare that look to make Iran’s currency, the Rial, useless (Klimasinska and Katz, 2013). Articles are now emerging stating that ‘Obama needs to act now on Syria’ from those who clearly understand what Snowden represents: the manufactured opportunity to fulfil the agenda of war with Syria. They state that ‘lives have been lost, and battlefield gains the insurgents enjoyed six months ago have been squandered’ thanks to Obama not acting sooner (Doran and O’Hanlon, 2013). Are we really going to allow this new limited hangout operation to bring us into another war?
It is disappointing that so many are unable to understand the complexities of the disinformation, and limited hangout capacity, that Snowden symbolizes. But what is more worrying is the fact that many should simply know better when it comes to such matters. What is particularly interesting is how it was broadcast that Ed Snowden had been a supporter of, and donor to, libertarian Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. The use of the name ‘Ron Paul’ appears to be an indispensable tool for ensnaring the support of the libertarian audience, an audience that is substantial in both physical size and influence particularly in the alternative media. Do libertarians have an almost childlike trust in anyone who supports Ron Paul? Would they allow this to blind themselves from the reality of a situation? It appears so, and also that the cunning minds behind the Snowden limited hangout are well aware of this. To what degree could this phenomenon be truly exploited? This is surely the question on the minds of those with nefarious intentions for future disinformation and limited hangout campaigns.
While we must be against warrantless spying, we must recognise the wider global context in which such scandals are presented to us. Remember the analogy of the brutal dictator beating the dog. This new limited hangout operation must be exposed as such in order to alleviate pressure on Obama, who is evidently attempting to maintain his Peace-Prize-Winner image. Hopefully, that can reverse the current trend of forcing both him, and the world, into yet another unnecessary conflict. Snowden is, at best, a fool who was deceived into his current position. At worst, he may be said to be a double agent who is fully aware of the wider consequences of his ‘leaks’. Interestingly enough, Snowden recently came out and stated that Britain’s ‘GCHQ (the NSA of the UK) is worse than the US’ (McDermott, 2013). Is this an attempt to shake the claims that Snowden is in fact a British sponsored limited hangout agent? Possibly. It would appear, therefore, as if we are on the right track. Following this line of enquiry may not only pull us away from war, but also remove many people from a state of what can currently only be termed as terminal naïveté or gullibility.
Author Stuart J Hooper can be followed here…
How to identify CIA limited hangout op?
American technical contractor and former CIA employee Edward Snowden (file photo)
Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:45AM GMT
By Dr. Webster G. Tarpley :
The operations of secret intelligence agencies aiming at the manipulation of public opinion generally involve a combination of cynical deception with the pathetic gullibility of the targeted populations.
There is ample reason to believe that the case of Edward Joseph Snowden fits into this pattern. We are likely dealing here with a limited hangout operation, in which carefully selected and falsified documents and other materials are deliberately revealed by an insider who pretends to be a fugitive rebelling against the excesses of some oppressive or dangerous government agency.
But the revelations turn out to have been prepared with a view to shaping the public consciousness in a way which is advantageous to the intelligence agency involved. At the same time, gullible young people can be duped into supporting a personality cult of the leaker, more commonly referred to as a “whistleblower.” A further variation on the theme can be the attempt of the sponsoring intelligence agency to introduce their chosen conduit, now posing as a defector, into the intelligence apparatus of a targeted foreign government. In this case, the leaker or whistleblower attains the status of a triple agent.
Any attempt to educate public opinion about the dynamics of limited hangout operations inevitably collides with the residue left in the minds of millions by recent successful examples of this technique. It will be hard for many to understand Snowden, precisely because they will insist on seeing him as the latest courageous example in a line of development which includes Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange, both still viewed by large swaths of naïve opinion as authentic challengers of oppressive government.
This is because the landmark limited hangout operation at the beginning of the current post-Cold War era was that of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon papers, which laid the groundwork for the CIA’s Watergate attack on the Nixon administration, and more broadly, on the office of the presidency itself. More recently, we have had the case of Assange and Wikileaks. Using these two cases primarily, we can develop a simple typology of the limited hangout operation which can be of significant value to those striving to avoid the role of useful idiots amidst the current cascade of whistleblowers and limited hangout artists.
In this analysis, we should also recall that limited hangouts have been around for a very long time. In 1620 Fra Paolo Sarpi, the dominant figure of the Venetian intelligence establishment of his time, advised the Venetian senate that the best way to defeat anti-Venetian propaganda was indirectly. He recommended the method of saying something good about a person or institution while pretending to say something bad. An example might be criticizing a bloody dictator for beating his dog – the real dimensions of his crimes are thus totally underplayed.
Limited hangout artists are instant media darlings
The most obvious characteristic of the limited hangout operative is that he or she immediately becomes the darling of the controlled corporate media. In the case of Daniel Ellsberg, his doctored set of Pentagon papers were published by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and eventually by a consortium totaling seventeen corporate newspapers. These press organs successfully argued the case for publication all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where they prevailed against the Nixon administration.
Needless to say, surviving critics of the Warren Commission, and more recent veterans of the 9/11 truth movement, and know very well that this is emphatically not the treatment reserved for messengers whose revelations are genuinely unwelcome to the Wall Street centered US ruling class. These latter are more likely to be slandered, vilified and dragged through the mud, or, even more likely, passed over in complete silence and blacked out. In extreme cases, they can be kidnapped, renditioned or liquidated.
Cass Sunstein present at the creation of Wikileaks
As for Assange and Wikileaks, the autumn 2010 document dump was farmed out in advance to five of the most prestigious press organs in the world, including the New York Times, the London Guardian, El Pais of Madrid, Der Spiegel of Hamburg, and Le Monde of Paris. This was the Assange media cartel, made up of papers previously specialized in discrediting 9/11 critics and doubters. But even before the document dumps had begun, Wikileaks had received a preemptive endorsement from none other than the notorious totalitarian Cass Sunstein, later an official of the Obama White House, and today married to Samantha Power, the author of the military coup that overthrew Mubarak and currently Obama’s pick for US ambassador to the United Nations. Sunstein is infamous for his thesis that government agencies should conduct covert operations using pseudo-independent agents of influence for the “cognitive infiltration of extremist groups” – meaning of those who reject in the establishment view of history and reality. Sunstein’s article entitled “Brave New WikiWorld” was published in the Washington Post of February 24, 2007, and touted the capabilities of Wikileaks for the destabilization of China. Perhaps the point of Ed Snowden’s presence in Hong Kong is to begin re-targeting these capabilities back towards the original anti-Chinese plan.
Snowden has already become a media celebrity of the first magnitude. His career was launched by the US left liberal Glenn Greenwald, now writing for the London Guardian, which expresses the viewpoints of the left wing of the British intelligence community. Thus, the current scandal is very much Made in England, and may benefit from inputs from the British GCHQ of Cheltenham, the Siamese twin of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. During the days of his media debut, it was not uncommon to see a controlled press organ like CNN dedicating one third of every broadcast hour of air time to the birth, life, and miracles of Ed Snowden.
Another suspicious and tell-tale endorsement for Snowden comes from the former State Department public diplomacy asset Norman Solomon. Interviewed on RT, Solomon warmly embraced the Snowden Project and assured his viewers that the NSA material dished up by the Hong Kong defector used reliable and authentic. Solomon was notorious ten years ago as a determined enemy of 9/11 truth, acting as a border guard in favor of the Bush administration/neocon theory of terrorism.
Limited hangouts contain little that is new
Another important feature of the limited hangout operation if that the revelations often contain nothing new, but rather repackage old wine in new bottles. In the case of Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, very little was revealed which was not already well known to a reader of Le Monde or the dispatches of Agence France Presse. Only those whose understanding of world affairs had been filtered through the Associated Press, CBS News, the New York Times, and the Washington Post found any of Ellsberg’s material a surprise.
Of course, there was method in Ellsberg’s madness. The Pentagon papers allegedly derived from an internal review of the decision-making processes leading to the Vietnam War, conducted after 1967-68 under the supervision of Morton Halperin and Leslie Gelb. Ellsberg, then a young RAND Corporation analyst and militant warmonger, was associated with this work. Upon examination, we find that the Pentagon papers tend to cover up such CIA crimes as the mass murder mandated under Operation Phoenix, and the massive CIA drug running associated with the proprietary airline Air America. Rather, when atrocities are in question, the US Army generally receives the blame. Politicians in general, and President John F. Kennedy in particular, are portrayed in a sinister light – one might say demonized. No insights whatever into the Kennedy assassination are offered. This was a smelly concoction, and it was not altogether excluded that the radicalized elements of the Vietnam era might have carried the day in denouncing the entire package as a rather obvious fabrication. But a clique around Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn loudly intervened to praise the quality of the exposé and to lionize Ellsberg personally as a new culture hero for the Silent Generation. From that moment on, the careers of Chomsky and Zinn soared. Pentagon papers skeptics, like the satirical comedian Mort Sahl, a supporter of the Jim Garrison investigation in New Orleans and a critic of the Warren Commission, faced the marginalization of their careers.
Notice also that the careers of Morton Halperin and Leslie Gelb positively thrived after they entrusted the Pentagon papers to Ellsberg, who revealed them. Ellsberg was put on trial in 1973, but all charges were dismissed after several months because of prosecutorial misconduct. Assange lived like a lord for many months in the palatial country house of an admirer in the East of England, and is now holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He spent about 10 days in jail in December 2010.
Assange first won credibility for Wikileaks with some chum in the form of a shocking film showing a massacre perpetrated by US forces in Iraq with the aid of drones. The massacre itself and the number of victims were already well known, so Assange was adding only the graphic emotional impact of witnessing the atrocity firsthand.
Limited hangouts reveal nothing about big issues like JFK, 9/11
Over the past century, there are certain large-scale covert operations which cast a long historical shadow, determining to some extent the framework in which subsequent events occur. These include the Sarajevo assassinations of 1914, the assassination of Rasputin in late 1916, Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome, Hitler’s seizure of power in 1933, the assassination of French Foreign Minister Barthou in 1934, the assassination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, in 1963 Kennedy assassination, and 9/11. A common feature of the limited hangout operations is that they offer almost no insights into these landmark events.
In the Pentagon Papers, the Kennedy assassination is virtually a nonexistent event about which we learn nothing. As already noted, the principal supporters of Ellsberg were figures like Chomsky, whose hostility to JFK and profound disinterest in critiques of the Warren Commission were well-known. As for Assange, he rejects any further clarification of 9/11. In July 2010, Assange told Matthew Bell of the Belfast Telegraph: “I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.” This is on top of Cass Sunstein’s demand for active covert measures to suppress and disrupt inquiries into operations like 9/11. Snowden’s key backers Glenn Greenwald and Norman Solomon have both compiled impressive records of evasion on 9/11 truth, with Greenwald specializing in the blowback theory.
The Damascus road conversions of limited hangout figures
Daniel Ellsberg started his career as a nuclear strategist of the Dr. Strangelove type working for the RAND Corporation. He worked in the Pentagon as an aide to US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He then went to Vietnam, where he served as a State Department civilian assistant to CIA General Edward Lansdale. In 1967, he was back at RAND to begin the preparation of what would come to be known as the Pentagon papers. Ellsberg has claimed that his Damascus Road conversion from warmonger to peace angel occurred when he heard a speech from a prison-bound draft resister at Haverford College in August 1969. After a mental breakdown, Ellsberg began taking his classified documents to the office of Senator Edward Kennedy and ultimately to the New York Times. Persons who believe this fantastic story may be suffering from terminal gullibility.
In the case of Assange, it is harder to identify such a moment of conversion. Assange spent his childhood in the coils of MK Ultra, a complex of Anglo-American covert operations designed to investigate and implement mind control through the use of psychopharmaca and other means. Assange was a denizen of the Ann Hamilton-Byrne cult, in which little children that were subjected to aversive therapy involving LSD and other heavy-duty drugs. Assange spent his formative years as a wandering nomad with his mother incognito because of her involvement in a custody dispute. The deracinated Assange lived in 50 different towns and attended 37 different schools. By the age of 16, the young nihilist was active as a computer hacker using the screen name “Mendax,” meaning quite simply “The Liar.” (Assange’s clone Snowden uses the more marketable codename of “Verax,” the truth teller.) Some of Assange’s first targets were Nortel and US Air Force offices in the Pentagon. Assange’s chief mentor became John Young of Cryptome, who in 2007 denounced Wikileaks as a CIA front.
Snowden’s story, as widely reported, goes like this: he dropped out of high school and also dropped out of a community college, but reportedly was nevertheless later able to command a salary of between $120,000 and $200,000 per year; he claims this is because he is a computer wizard. He enlisted in the US Army in May 2004, and allegedly hoped to join the special forces and contribute to the fight for freedom in Iraq. He then worked as a low-level security guard for the National Security Agency, and then went on to computer security at the CIA, including a posting under diplomatic cover in Switzerland. He moved on to work as a private contractor for the NSA at a US military base in Japan. His last official job was for the NSA at the Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center in Hawaii. In May 2013, he is alleged to have been granted medical leave from the NSA in Hawaii to get treatment for epilepsy. He fled to Hong Kong, and made his revelations with the help of Greenwald and a documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras. Snowden voted for the nominally anti-war, ultra-austerity “libertarian” presidential candidate Ron Paul, and gave several hundred dollars to Paul’s campaign.
Snowden, like Ellsberg, thus started off as a warmonger but later became more concerned with the excesses of the Leviathan state. Like Assange, he was psychologically predisposed to the world of computers and cybernetics. The Damascus Road shift from militarist to civil libertarian remains unexplained and highly suspicious.
Snowden is also remarkable for the precision of his timing. His first revelations, open secrets though they were, came on June 5, precisely today when the rebel fortress of Qusayr was liberated by the Syrian army and Hezbollah. At this point, the British and French governments were screaming at Obama that it was high time to attack Syria. The appearance of Snowden’s somewhat faded material in the London Guardian was the trigger for a firestorm of criticism against the Obama regime by the feckless US left liberals, who were thus unwittingly greasing the skids for a US slide into a general war in the Middle East. More recently, Snowden came forward with allegations that the US and the British had eavesdropped on participants in the meeting of the G-20 nations held in Britain four years ago. This obviously put Obama on the defensive just as Cameron and Hollande were twisting his arm to start the Syrian adventure. By attacking the British GCHQ at Cheltenham, Britain’s equivalent to the NSA, perhaps Snowden was also seeking to obfuscate the obvious British sponsorship of his revelations.
Stories about Anglo Americans spying on high profile guests are as old as the hills, and have included a British frogman who attempted an underwater investigation of the Soviet cruiser that brought party leader N. S. Khrushchev for a visit in the 1950s. Snowden has also accused the NSA of hacking targets in China — again, surely no surprise to experienced observers, but guaranteed to increase Sino-American tensions. As time passes, Snowden may emerge as more and more of a provocateur between Washington and Beijing.
Limited hangouts prepare large covert operations
Although, as we have seen, limited hangouts rarely illuminate the landmark covert operations which attempt to define an age, limited hangouts themselves do represent the preparation for future covert operations.
In the case of the Pentagon papers, this and other leaks during the Indo-Pakistani Tilt crisis were cited by Henry Kissinger in his demand that President Richard Nixon take countermeasures to restore the integrity of state secrets. Nixon foolishly authorized the creation of a White House anti-leak operation known as the Plumbers. The intelligence community made sure that the Plumbers operation was staffed by their own provocateurs, people who never were loyal to Nixon but rather took their orders from Langley. Here we find the already infamous CIA agent Howard Hunt, the CIA communications expert James McCord, and the FBI operative G. Gordon Liddy. These provocateurs took special pains to get arrested during an otherwise pointless break-in at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in the summer of 1972. Nixon could easily have disavowed the Plumbers and thrown this gaggle of agent provocateurs to the wolves, but he instead launched a cover up. Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, equipped with a top secret security clearance from the Office of Naval Intelligence, then began publicizing the story. The rest is history, and the lasting heritage has been a permanent weakening of the office of the presidency and the strengthening of the worst oligarchical tendencies.
Assange’s Wikileaks document dump triggered numerous destabilizations and coups d’état across the globe. Not one US, British, or Israeli covert operation or politician was seriously damaged by this material. The list of those impacted instead bears a striking resemblance to the CIA enemies’ list: the largest group of targets were Arab leaders slated for immediate ouster in the wave of “Arab Spring.” Here we find Ben Ali of Tunisia, Qaddafi of Libya, Mubarak of Egypt, Saleh of Yemen, and Assad of Syria. The US wanted to replace Maliki with Allawi as prime minister of Iraq, so the former was targeted, as was the increasingly independent Karzai of Afghanistan. Perennial targets of the CIA included Rodriguez Kirchner of Argentina, Berlusconi of Italy, and Putin of Russia. Berlusconi soon fell victim to a coup organized through the European Central Bank, while his friend Putin was able to stave off a feeble attempt at color revolution in early 2012. Mildly satiric jabs at figures like Merkel of Germany and Sarkozy of France were included primarily as camouflage.
Assange thus had a hand in preparing one of the largest destabilization campaigns mounted by Anglo-American intelligence since 1968, or perhaps even 1848.
If the Snowden operation can help coerce the vacillating and reluctant Obama to attack Syria, our new autistic hero may claim credit for starting a general war in the Middle East, and perhaps even more. If Snowden can further poison relations between United States and China, the world historical significance of his provocations will be doubly assured. But none of this can occur unless he finds vast legions of eager dupes ready to fall for his act. We hope he won’t.
My Creeping Concern that the NSA Leaker Edward Snowden is not who he Purports to be…
By Naomi Wolf
Global Research, June 15, 2013
I hate to do this but I feel obligated to share, as the story unfolds, my creeping concern that the NSA leaker is not who he purports to be, and that the motivations involved in the story may be more complex than they appear to be.
This is in no way to detract from the great courage of Glenn Greenwald in reporting the story, and the gutsiness of the Guardian in showcasing this kind of reporting, which is a service to America that US media is not performing at all.
It is just to raise some cautions as the story unfolds, and to raise some questions about how it is unfolding, based on my experience with high-level political messaging.
Some of Snowden’s emphases seem to serve an intelligence/police state objective, rather than to challenge them.
a) He is super-organized, for a whistleblower, in terms of what candidates, the White House, the State Dept. et al call ‘message discipline.’ He insisted on publishing a power point in the newspapers that ran his initial revelations. I gather that he arranged for a talented filmmaker to shoot the Greenwald interview. These two steps – which are evidence of great media training, really ‘PR 101′ – are virtually never done (to my great distress) by other whistleblowers, or by progressive activists involved in breaking news, or by real courageous people who are under stress and getting the word out. They are always done, though, by high-level political surrogates.
b) In the Greenwald video interview, I was concerned about the way Snowden conveys his message. He is not struggling for words, or thinking hard, as even bright, articulate whistleblowers under stress will do. Rather he appears to be transmitting whole paragraphs smoothly, without stumbling. To me this reads as someone who has learned his talking points – again the way that political campaigns train surrogates to transmit talking points.
c) He keeps saying things like, “If you are a journalist and they think you are the transmission point of this info, they will certainly kill you.” Or: “I fully expect to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.” He also keeps stressing what he will lose: his $200,000 salary, his girlfriend, his house in Hawaii. These are the kinds of messages that the police state would LIKE journalists to take away; a real whistleblower also does not put out potential legal penalties as options, and almost always by this point has a lawyer by his/her side who would PROHIBIT him/her from saying, ‘come get me under the Espionage Act.” Finally in my experience, real whistleblowers are completely focused on their act of public service and trying to manage the jeopardy to themselves and their loved ones; they don’t tend ever to call attention to their own self-sacrifice. That is why they are heroes, among other reasons. But a police state would like us all to think about everything we would lose by standing up against it.
d) It is actually in the Police State’s interest to let everyone know that everything you write or say everywhere is being surveilled, and that awful things happen to people who challenge this. Which is why I am not surprised that now he is on UK no-fly lists – I assume the end of this story is that we will all have a lesson in terrible things that happen to whistleblowers. That could be because he is a real guy who gets in trouble; but it would be as useful to the police state if he is a fake guy who gets in ‘trouble.’
e) In stories that intelligence services are advancing (I would call the prostitutes-with-the-secret-service such a story), there are great sexy or sex-related mediagenic visuals that keep being dropped in, to keep media focus on the issue. That very pretty pole-dancing Facebooking girlfriend who appeared for, well, no reason in the media coverage…and who keeps leaking commentary, so her picture can be recycled in the press…really, she happens to pole-dance? Dan Ellsberg’s wife was and is very beautiful and doubtless a good dancer but somehow she took a statelier role as his news story unfolded…
f) Snowden is in Hong Kong, which has close ties to the UK, which has done the US’s bidding with other famous leakers such as Assange. So really there are MANY other countries that he would be less likely to be handed over from…
g) Media reports said he had vanished at one point to ‘an undisclosed location’ or ‘a safe house.’ Come on. There is no such thing. Unless you are with the one organization that can still get off the surveillance grid, because that org created it.
h) I was at dinner last night to celebrate the brave and heroic Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Several of Assange’s also brave and talented legal team were there, and I remembered them from when I had met with Assange. These attorneys are present at every moment when Assange meets the press – when I met with him off the record last Fall in the Ecuadoran embassy, his counsel was present the whole time, listening and stepping in when necessary.
Seeing these diligent attentive free-speech attorneys for another whisleblower reinforced my growing anxiety: WHERE IS SNOWDEN’S LAWYER as the world’s media meet with him? A whistleblower talking to media has his/her counsel advising him/her at all times, if not actually being present at the interview, because anything he/she says can affect the legal danger the whistleblower may be in . It is very, very odd to me that a lawyer has not appeared, to my knowledge, to stand at Snowden’s side and keep him from further jeopardy in interviews.
Again I hate to cast any skepticism on what seems to be a great story of a brave spy coming in from the cold in the service of American freedom. And I would never raise such questions in public if I had not been told by a very senior official in the intelligence world that indeed, there are some news stories that they create and drive – even in America (where propagandizing Americans is now legal). But do consider that in Eastern Germany, for instance, it was the fear of a machine of surveillance that people believed watched them at all times – rather than the machine itself – that drove compliance and passivity. From the standpoint of the police state and its interests –why have a giant Big Brother apparatus spying on us at all times – unless we know about it?