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He Frees Minks From Slaughter Area: Dylann Roof

How the term Terrorists is exploited by the law?

Glenn Greenwald published this July 28, 2015

The FBI on Friday announced the arrests in Oakland of two animal rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, and accused the pair of engaging in “domestic terrorism.” This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a “terrorist.”

The activists’ alleged crimes: “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms.

Buddenberg and Kissane are scheduled to appear this morning in a federal court in San Francisco for a hearing on bail conditions, while arraignment is set for early September. The indictment comes just days before the scheduled start of the Animal Rights National Conference, the largest and most important annual gathering of activists.

The DOJ did exactly the same thing in July of last year: Shortly before the start of the 2014 conference, they arrested two activists on federal “terrorism” charges for freeing minks and foxes from a fur farm.

The multiple activists and lawyers who spoke to The Intercept since Friday’s arrests are adamant that these well-timed indictments are designed to intimidate activists at the conference and more broadly to chill campaigns to defend animal rights.

This latest federal prosecution, and the public branding of these two activists as “domestic terrorists,” highlights the strikingly severe targeting over many years by the U.S. government of nonviolent animal and environmental rights activists.

The more one delves into what is being done here — the extreme abuse of the criminal law to stifle nonviolent political protest or even just pure political speech, undertaken with tragically little attention — the more appalling it becomes. There are numerous cases of animal rights activists, several of whom spoke to The Intercept, who weren’t even accused of harming people or property, but who were nonetheless sent to federal prison for years.

One obvious and significant reason for the U.S. government’s fixation is that the industries most threatened by this activism are uncontrollably powerful in Washington, virtually owning the Congress without opposition, stacking the relevant agencies with their revolving-door cronies.

Another is that this movement is driven by hard-core believers impressively willing to sacrifice their own liberty in defense of their political values — namely, trying to stop the mass torture and gratuitous slaughter of animals — and that frightens both industry and its government servants; that animal rights as a cause is gaining traction worldwide makes the threat even more alarming.

Yet another reason is that the specific forms of activism this movement has cultivated are shrewd and compelling: As is true for so many types of violence, the savagery, torture and sadism that makes these industries so profitable will be collectively tolerated only if we are not forced to confront their reality. That, for instance, is why the Obama DOJ is so desperately fighting the release of torture and Guantanamo photos, and why it has so severely punished whistleblowers: because few things are more menacing to status quo interests than truth revealed in its most visceral form.

While some E.U. countries have severely regulated or even banned many of the animal abuses targeted by activists, the U.S. factory farms that produce furs are among the cruelest and most sadistic anywhere, imposing extreme amounts of suffering and torture on the animals they slaughter — both in terms of how they confine them and then kill them.

The very graphic photo here shows the carcasses of minks after they have been skinned; this deeply disturbing undercover video from PETA details their treatment at American fur factories:

Independent of the moral questions raised by this savage treatment of animals, these industrial practices spawn serious environmental degradation, exploit small farmers, and produce health risks for workers: practices that can remain undisturbed only as long as we remain blissfully unaware of the harms they cause.

But there’s something deeper driving this persecution. American elites are typically willing to tolerate political protest as long as it remains constrained, controlled, and fundamentally respectful of the rules imposed by institutions of authority — i.e., as long as it remains neutered and impotent.

When protest movements adhere to those constraints, they are not only often ineffective, but more so, they can unwittingly serve as a false testament to the freedom of the political process and the generosity of its rulers (they let us speak out: see, we’re free!). That kind of marginal, modest “protest” often ends up strengthening the process it believes it is subverting.

When, by contrast, a movement transgresses those limitations and starts to become effective in impeding the injustices it targets — particularly when preserving those injustices is valuable to the most powerful — that’s when it has to be stopped at all costs, including criminalizing it with the harshest possible legal weapons.

This is the dynamic that explains the emerging campaign in the West to literally criminalize the previously marginalized BDS movement designed to stop Israeli occupation: It’s gaining too much ground, becoming too effective, and thus must be banned, its proponents and leaders threatened with prosecution. The fear that the animal rights movement is growing stronger and will succeed in exposing the horrifying realities of these industries’ practices is driving the persecution to the point of declaring it to be — and formally punishing it as — terrorism.

Even beyond that, the animal rights movement strikes at the heart of what is most cherished by American elites: the pillars of unrestrained capitalistic entitlement. That so much industrial profit depends upon extreme, constant torture and slaughter of animals is something regarded as, in essence, a sacred right.

Lauren Gazolla, who was imprisoned for 40 months in 2004 for her nonviolent animal rights activism and now works at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said that this movement “strikes at something fundamental. It challenges a way of life: So much of how much we live our lives is based on massive violence against animals, and the more brutal these industries are, the more profit they make.”

Anything that targets or threatens this entitlement is regarded as the highest and most severe threat. That’s why the government, at the behest of the industry interests it serves, is calling it “terrorism”: to them, few things are genuinely more menacing or threatening than an effective political movement aimed at these practices.

he activists arrested on Friday are being charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), a draconian 2006 federal law heavily lobbied for by the agriculture, pharmaceutical and farming industries. Its drafting and enactment was led by the notorious and powerful American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), with the lobbying industries also hiding behind groups such as the Animal Enterprise Protection Coalition (AEPC) and the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF).

As is typical for lobbyist and industry-supported bills, the AETA passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (its two prime Senate sponsors were James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.) and then was signed into law by George W. Bush. This “terrorism” law is violated if one “intentionally damages or causes the loss of any real or personal property (including animals or records) used by an animal enterprise . . . for the purpose of damaging or interfering with” its operations. If you do that — and note that only “damage to property” but not to humans is required — then you are guilty of “domestic terrorism” under the law.

Prior to the 2006 enactment of the AETA, animal rights activism that damaged property was already illegal under a 1992 federal law, as well as various state laws, and subject to severe punishments. The primary purpose of the new 2006 law was to expand the scope of criminal offenses to include plainly protected forms of political protest, and to heighten the legal punishments and intensify social condemnation by literally labeling animal-rights activists as “domestic terrorists.”

At the same time as this draconian statute was signed into law, numerous states enacted so-called “ag-gag” laws that — amazingly — “prohibit workers from taking undercover videos at the facilities and impose fines or jail time for those who do.” Moreover, “roughly half a dozen states have passed laws in recent years to prevent workers from taking images or videos of agricultural facilities.”

They’re so desperate to conceal their savage conduct from the public that they’re literally criminalizing reporting and whistleblowing, so that those who enable vital (and horrific and hard-to-watch) videos like this one — showing incomprehensible cruelty to highly intelligent and emotionally advanced pigs — are subject to prosecution:

For a barbaric industry, nothing is more threatening than the truth. As the Wall Street Journal explained in May: “In 2008, a California meat company recalled 143 million pounds of beef — the largest beef recall in U.S. history — after the Humane Society of the United States distributed an undercover video showing workers kicking sick cows and using forklifts to get them on their feet. The condition of the cows suggested their meat could have posed a risk to consumers.”

That case was the result of an undercover investigation at the Hallmark Meat Packing Co. in Chino, which, in the words of the Humane Society, showed “slaughter plant workers displaying complete disregard for the pain and misery they inflicted as they repeatedly attempted to force ‘downed’ animals onto their feet and into the human food chain.” Because the cows were too sick to walk, they were dragged or pushed with hot prods into the slaughterhouse. Some of that food made its way into the National Lunch Program served to public school students.

In other words, cows that were too sick even to walk, because of their savage mistreatment, were being put into the human food chain. This was discovered only because an undercover video revealed it:

Is it any wonder that these industries are demanding that such reporting and exposure be outlawed? And is it hard to see why the brave activists bringing these truths to light and trying to stop them are regarded as criminals and even “terrorists” for doing so?

This latest case shows how extreme and oppressive this law is by design. No human beings were physically injured by the alleged activism of Buddenberg and Kissane, nor did they attempt to harm any. Whatever one thinks of their tactics, it was — even by the FBI’s telling — confined to property damage: essentially vandalism.

In its Press Releases announcing indictments, the FBI tries to depict the alleged acts in the worst, most inflammatory light possible; for this case, this is all it could muster: They “used paint, paint stripper, a super glue-type substance, butyric acid, muriatic acid and glass etchant to vandalize Furs by Graf, a retail furrier located in San Diego.” There is absolutely no commonly understood meaning of “terrorism” (to the extent such a thing exists) that can include anything they did.

Ben Rosenfeld, a lawyer who has extensively represented animal and environmental activists, told The Intercept that “calling this terrorism is utterly irresponsible and offensive to victims of real terror.” Referring to both the DOJ and Congress, he said, “They should be ashamed of themselves.”

He added that in the post-9/11 era, “Calling this terrorism makes it almost impossible to get a fair trial for these activists. It’s very manipulative. Though the public is more jaded about the manipulative use of this term, it makes a huge impression on judges, most of whom have previously been prosecutors.” Because it’s in the title of the law, the term “terrorism” even appears on verdict forms, “so jurors see it very clearly.”

To label this nonviolent political protest “terrorism” yet again illustrates the utterly malleable and propagandistic nature of that term. This is particularly true given that the same DOJ that is charging the activists as “terrorists” just announced that Dylann Roof — who murdered nine people in a Charleston church to advance clear ideological and political objectives — will not be.

Even more abusive prosecutions — based exclusively on pure political speech and protest rights — have been common. Will Potter is likely the most knowledgeable journalist in the country on these issues; he’s author of a 2011 book entitled Green is the New Redand editor of a great website by the same name that exhaustively covers these issues.

Potter has a new story, published yesterday, on the arrest of four animal-rights activists in Oregon for . . . “allegedly writing political slogans on the public street using sidewalk chalk.” Potter reports that “the chalking was done as part of the growing ‘No New Animal Lab’ campaign, which aims to stop the construction of a new underground animal experimentation facility at the University of Washington.”

In 2004, Gazolla was prosecuted — and imprisoned in a federal penitentiary — for 40 months (three-and-a-half years) on charges that she and other activists maintained a website that endorsed illegal protests, and that her chants at a protest outside an executive’s house included advocacy of violence.

Her co-defendant was Andy Stepanian of Fitzgibbon Media, the communications firm that represents The Intercept and, on a pro bono basis, Chelsea Manning. Stepanian was imprisoned for three years, and during his incarceration, was even placed in a highly oppressive “Communications Management Unit,” called “GITMO North,” typically reserved for Muslims accused of terrorism. The FOIA-obtained prison document ordering his transfer tells the story (redactions in original):

communications firm that represents The Intercept and, on a pro bono basis, Chelsea Manning. Stepanian was imprisoned for three years, and during his incarceration, was even placed in a highly oppressive “Communications Management Unit,” called “GITMO North,” typically reserved for Muslims accused of terrorism. The FOIA-obtained prison document ordering his transfer tells the story (redactions in original):

As Gazolla detailed in a 2014 Salon article, the only conceivable purpose of calling activists like her “terrorists” under the new 2006 law is to stifle legitimate speech:

The AETA was pushed through Congress by the immensely powerful animal agriculture, animal testing and fur industries.

The law is not limited to punishing illegal activity; numerous existing laws already punish vandalism, threats and other illegal forms of protest. Rather, the AETA provides special protection to a specific class of businesses by targeting and stigmatizing a particular group of protesters, hanging the specter of prosecution as “animal enterprise terrorists” over their heads, and ultimately scaring them into silence.

Indeed, the very first case prosecuted under the AETA was in 2009, and it included the same Joseph Buddenberg who was arrested on Friday, along with three other defendants. Industry officials and their lobbyists were furious that no prosecutions had been brought in the two years since its enactment, and were aggressively pressuring the DOJ to find a case.

As Potter reported at the time, the DOJ’s entire case, calling these activists “terrorists,” rested on their pure First Amendment activity such as chalking sidewalks, marching and chanting outside researchers’ homes, and distributing fliers. The following year, the indictments were dismissed by a federal judge on the ground that the DOJ failed even to allege with any specificity what they did that constituted a crime.

But the history since that dismissal makes clear that pure political speech and protest are the real targets of these “terrorism” prosecutions. Gazzola told The Intercept that the AETA succeeded for a time in its goal of weakening and chilling activism: “My prosecution scared people,” she said.

But both Gazzola and Potter echoed what numerous activists and lawyers said: that despite the government’s efforts, animal rights activism is stronger, and the cause more widely accepted, than ever before. Others noted that there’s also a growing right-wing faction to the movement and that it’s starting to cut across ideological lines in interesting ways. Gazzola said that “more and more people are speaking up more strongly now, and there is more support from the broader left and social justice attorneys. All of that has really helped the movement come back.”

For years, animal rights activists worked without much support, even from the left, which generally regarded them as fringe and their cause as marginal (this post does a good job of laying that out). But all of the movement supporters interviewed by The Intercept are optimistic that, for a variety of revealing reasons, they have far more support than ever before.

Potter explained that the left’s aversion to animal rights activism was in part fueled by caricatures created by federal authorities. “They told the left, ‘don’t worry: we’re just going after these hard-core extremists, the ones who think you shouldn’t be able to go to circuses or wear leather shoes.’” That demonization made the left wary of being associated with a movement that had been successfully marginalized.

Beyond that, he said, there’s a strong human incentive to avoid thinking about what is done to animals. Potter explained: “People don’t want to engage with these issues because it challenges the most fundamental assumptions about how we’ve structured our society. It makes people confront the assumption we’ve adopted that we, as humans, have the right to do anything we want to the planet and other species for any reason: clothes, food, entertainment, transportation.

Once you engage with those issues, it can be a shocking confrontation with how you’ve been living your life for awhile. These activists are threatening not only corporate profit, but also the fundamental precept that humans are the center of the universe and have the right to do whatever they want.”

But activists point to a number of positive developments as evidence that animal rights is now becoming far more mainstream. There have been a few successful ballot initiatives to limit the worst abuses in agriculture. A single documentary on animal abuses at Sea World all but destroyed that company. Mainstream, influential figures advocate vegetarianism.

The widespread availability of cheaper technology and access to the internet makes it far easier than ever to produce undercover videos and ensure widespread dissemination. Legal changes are, for the first time, recognizing pets and other animals as having emotional worth, beyond their value as “chattel.” (That’s funny)

In sum, said Potter, we are collectively “expanding our circles of compassion, or at least consideration, in terms of the law and our moral framework.” For the first time in the U.S., it is now being recognized that “animals are worthy of moral consideration.”

But these changes, while positive, are limited, and far from what is needed to shield animal rights activism from vindictive prosecution and additional industry-fueled retribution. Potter used the term “greenwashing” to explain that “the Federal Government loves to tell you that it’s great for you to love the environment, but only if you do it in benign ways that don’t threaten industry.” You can and should recycle, but don’t impede lumber companies from cutting down trees or get in the way of whaling ships. Only “eco-terrorists” do that.

The same dynamic is at play in animal rights activism. We’re told that it’s great to love your pets. It’s fine to get outraged when some revolting, piggish Minnesota dentist — or the hideous spawn of Donald Trump — slaughter majestic animals in Africa for their own twisted pleasure or to compensate for their glaring sense of inadequacy.

“But whatever you do,” said Potter, “don’t turn your gaze to the everyday behavior of America’s largest food companies and farming industries in order to shine a light on their wholesale torture and slaughter of animals.” No matter how much people have learned to love animals and regard them as possessing moral worth, that type of activism — effective and subversive of industry — is still radioactive.

That’s what most needs to change. The countless hours of interviews and reading I’ve now done has made me, for the first time, fully cognizant of the shocking amount of legal abuses being undertaken here. At the very least, the activists who are sacrificing their own liberty in order to protect animals from being tortured and slaughtered — activists who are often poor and thus vulnerable to most abusive prosecutions — deserve a vibrant legal defense.

A legal defense fund has now been created to ensure that both Buddenberg and Kissane have the funds needed to defend themselves. You can, and I hope will, donate to that here. Beyond that, both CCR and the Civil Liberties Defense Center have done stalwart work in fighting the pernicious efforts to equate this activism with “terrorism.”

The propagandistic exploitation of the term “terrorism” has produced a wide range of harms all over the globe. Few harms are as severe as its ongoing use not only to stifle, but outright criminalize, political speech and noble activism.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Just another example why the word terrorist is loaded: free caged animals and you’re called one; kill black people in a church and you’re not.

“Christian” Religious fanatics playing big time in the hands of Israel

A new poll from Bloomberg Politics contains a finding that is quite remarkable:

Almost half of all Americans want to support Israel even if its interests diverge from the interests of their own country. Only a minority of Americans (47 percent) say that their country should pursue their own interests over supporting Israel’s when the two choices collide.

It’s the ultimate violation of George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address warning that “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded. … The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

It is inconceivable that a substantial portion of Americans would want to support any other foreign country even where doing so was contrary to U.S. interests. (It is those interests that are getting pretty confusing)

Only Israel commands anything near that level of devoted, self-sacrificing fervor on the part of Americans.

So it’s certainly worth asking what accounts for this bizarre aspect of American public opinion.

The answer should make everyone quite uncomfortable: it’s religious fanaticism.

The U.S. media loves to mock adversary nations, especially Muslim ones, for being driven by religious extremism, but that is undeniably a major factor, arguably the most significant one, in explaining fervent support for Israel among the American populace. (beliefs in myths)

In reporting its poll findings, Bloomberg observed:

Religion appears to play an important role in shaping the numbers. Born-again Christians are more likely than overall poll respondents, 58% to 35%, to back Israel regardless of U.S. interests. Americans with no religious affiliation were the least likely to feel this way, at 26 percent.

The primary reason evangelical Christians in the U.S. are so devoted to Israel is simple:

their radical religious dogma teaches them that God demands this.

In 2004, Pat Robertson delivered a speech entitled “Why Evangelical Christians Support Israel” and said: “evangelical Christians support Israel because we believe that the words of Moses and the ancient prophets of Israel were inspired by God,” and “we believe that the emergence of a Jewish state in the land promised by God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was ordained by God.” He added that “God’s chosen people” — Jews — have an obligation to God to fight against “Muslim vandals” so that Israel remains united in their hands:

If God’s chosen people turn over to Allah control of their most sacred sites-if they surrender to Muslim vandals the tombs of Rachel, of Joseph, of the Patriarchs, of the ancient prophets-if they believe their claim to the Holy Land comes only from Lord Balfour of England and the ever fickle United Nations rather than the promises of Almighty God-then in that event, Islam will have won the battle. Throughout the Muslim world the message will go forth-“Allah is greater than Jehovah.” The promises of Jehovah to the Jews are meaningless.

That is the ugly religious extremism about Israel heard over and over in America’s largest evangelical churches.

The wildly popular “dispensationalist” sect is driven by the dogmatic belief that a unified Israel in the hands of the Jews is a prerequisite for Armageddon or the Rapture and the return of Jesus: a belief shared not by thousands but millions of Americans.

As the evangelical Robert Nicholson put it in a nuanced and thoughtful 2013 essay examining doctrinal differences among this group:

“Evangelicals believe that God chose the biblical people of Israel as His vehicle for world redemption, an earthly agent through whom He would accomplish his grand plan for history.”

The popular and influential pastor John Hagee put it simply: “We support Israel because all other nations were created by an act of men, but Israel was created by an act of God!”

It goes without saying that religious belief also plays a role in the support for Israel among American Jews.

Indeed, neocons frequently link American Jewishness to support for Israel by arguing that no good American Jew should be a Democrat on the ground of the party’s supposed insufficient support for Israel (even as they accuse Israel critics of “anti-Semitism” for suggesting the exact same linkage as the one they themselves exploit).

As a 2013 Pew poll found:

Most American Jews feel at least some emotional attachment to Israel, and many have visited the Jewish state. Four-in-ten believe Israel was given to the Jewish people by God, a belief that is held by roughly eight-in-ten Orthodox Jews.

Jewish religious extremism is directly linked to support for Israel, as The Forward noted:

“Among Jews, AIPAC’s support also seems to be strongest among Orthodox Jews.”

The New York Times recently reported the link between Jewish activism and Israel support: “Republicans … are more fervently pro-Israel than ever” partially due to “a surge in donations” from what J Street calls “a small group of very wealthy Jewish-Americans” such as Sheldon Adelson.

But Jews compose only 1.4% of the American population, which still serves as a limit on that factor.

(By contrast, 82% of Americans identify as Christian and “37% of all Christians describe themselves as born-again or evangelical”).

Moreover, American Jews have long been divided on the importance of Israel to their political perspective, and there is erosion of this support particularly among younger American Jews.

Indeed, evangelical Christians are far more steadfast in their support for Israel than American Jews, as Bloomberg found: “For many Democrats, even Jewish ones, the issue doesn’t have the same purchase.”

The religious-driven support of evangelicals — and the cynical alliance between the two religious factions — is crucial for sustaining this support.

It’s important not to oversimplify the role religious fanaticism plays.

There are other factors accounting for this bizarre American support for Israel even when it’s at the expense of their own country.

1. Sustained antipathy toward Muslims in the post-9/11 era has been effectively exploited to generate this support.

2. Americans have been taught for decades to view Israel as a “democracy” — an increasingly unsustainable proposition — and thus a natural political ally.

3. Americans tend not to question or even debate policies that command bipartisan support, and unstinting devotion to Israel has been the ultimate bipartisan viewpoint for years. And

4. As David Mizner recently argued in Jacobin, Israel has long been a useful “proxy state” for the U.S. government’s desire to dominate the Middle East.

But there is no denying that religious extremism plays a very significant role in American attitudes toward Israel.

Given its importance, this is a remarkably under-discussed phenomenon, mostly because American media figures are very comfortable maligning other countries as being driven by religious fanaticism while ignoring how much their own country is.

To underscore how rarely this issue is discussed, consider that NPR’s political reporter Domenico Montanaro seemed shocked that support for Israel provoked wild crowd support during Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement speech to Liberty University:

As Dave Weigel asked after seeing that tweet, how can someone who covers politics for a living find this surprising?

It’s because this phenomenon is so rarely discussed.

It’s fun, easy and self-satisfying to think of the countries we dislike as being plagued and shaped in their foreign affairs by religious fanaticism.

It’s much less fun and comforting to think of ourselves that way. But there’s no question that religious extremism is prevalent among Americans, and the pervasive and bizarrely absolute support for Israel is driven in significant part by extremist religious dogma about God’s will.

Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

Andrew Bossone shared and commented on this link on FB

Almost half of all Americans want to support Israel even if its interests diverge from the interests of their own country.

Only a minority of Americans (47 percent) say that their country should pursue their own interests over supporting Israel’s when the two choices collide.

It’s the ultimate violation of George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address warning that “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded. …

The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

It’s self-satisfying to think of other countries as shaped by religious fanaticism.
It’s much less fun and comforting to think of ourselves that way.
firstlook.org

No Place to Hide? When investigative journalists are prosecuted for divulging secret government illegal actions

Machiavelli wrote in The Prince:

The character of the common people is mobile and easy to lead to an opinion. The real problem for the power-to-be is how to maintain this character, how to force the common people to believe when they cease to believe in the opinion of the powerful.

Nietzsche wrote in Beyond Good and Evil:

The key word for those keen minds of conscientious people working on secret projects is: How to Trespass morality.

Roland Barthes wrote:

Fascism is to pressure people to express the opinions of the rulers

From a 1975 statement of Senator Frank Church to the committees of the  intelligence agencies:

“The US government has perfected a tech capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air…

That capability could at any time turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left…

Such is the capability to monitor everything, telephone conversations, telegram…it doesn’t matter.

There would be No Place to Hide”

This monitoring capability has extended to internet, social platforms, mobile phones, public and private video cameras, satellite imaging, instant location capturing features…

The US government strategy, backed by Congressmen, Senators and leading journalists… was to mute Glenn Greenwald bold and direct reporting on the widespread surveillance on everyone (collective data gathering). The strategy was to label Glenn as just another blogger and an activist. Why?

Journalists in the US and in many other States have formal and unwritten legal protection that are unavailable to any one else when they reveal secret intelligence pieces through their job of investigative reporting.

Thus, robbing Glenn from this status of journalist was to expose him to legal criminal harassment.

For example, the misleading claims that he is:

1. A co-conspirator working with sources to obtain document

2. Establishing a covert communication plan to speak without being detected with sources

3. Employing flattery and playing to the sources’ vanity and ego to persuade the source to leak secrets documents

are routine tactics within the job description and methods of investigative journalists, but would not cover bloggers and activists.

Leonard Downie Jr. former executive editor of the Wash. Post, wrote in the name of the Committee to protect Journalists:

“The Obama Administration war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive since the Nixon Adm.  The 30 experienced Wash Journalists at a variety of news organizations interviewed for the report could not remember any precedent (on this scale)”

“The Obama Adm. had crossed a red line that no other administration has crossed before and blown right past” said Jane Mayer in the New republic. It is a huge impediment to reporting and beyond chilling. It’s more like freezing the whole process into a standstill”

Even the NYTimes reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, who had fought all the way to the US Supreme Court in order to publish the Pentagon Papers, advocated the arrest of Glenn.

No one in the US dared confirm any “informal assurance” that Glenn would not be prosecuted if he lands in the USA.

The US government was ready to concoct a theory that Greenwald’s repeated meetings with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong and in Russia and publishing reports on a “freelance basis” with newspapers around the world do fall under the criminal law of “aided and abetted” Snowden in his leaks and helped a “fugitive” flee justice or that the reports constituted some type of espionage.

It is evident that the security state in the USA is more powerful than the highest elected officials and do boast a wide array of influential loyalists.

So what kinds of reforms are necessary to check this wave of collective meta-data collection surveillance on people and institutions?

1. Targeted surveillance backed with substantial evidence of real wrongdoing

2. This “Collect it all” approach and indiscriminate mass surveillance is constitutionally illegal.

3. Using metadata analysis technique has not produced or disclosed a single terrorist plot: This a terrible burden on the budget dedicated to hiring specialized data analysts who have no clue on how to handle their job.

4. The government must provide some evidence of probable cause of wrongdoing before listening to a person conversations. That’s the job of FISA court.

5. FISA court. must be reformed so that it is not used as a rubber stamp. Converting FISA court into a real judicial system would be a positive first step in the reform

6. This trend of co-opting entities by the national security state badly needs an oversight control system to tame its abuses.

7. Building a new Internet infrastructure so that all the communication traffics have no longer to transit through the US network. European tech companies are spewing alternative special platforms to Google and Facebook intended Not to provide data to the NSA

8. More encryption programs and browsing-anonymity tools are being designed for users working in sensitive jobs such as journalists, lawyers, civil rights advocate organizations…

9. Advancing government transparency reforms

Whistle-blowers have learned that speaking the truth does not necessarily destroy their life: The side of supporters has grown immensely and are promoting the human capacity to reason and make decisions outside the boundaries of government status quo.

Note: Glenn Greenwald published 4 books. Among them:

1. With Liberty and Justice for some

2. A Tragic Legacy

3. No place to hide

He published Edward Snowden secret stories in The Guardian before co-founding the investigative publication The Intercept


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