• Manning Begat Snowden

    August 12, 2013

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    Yes We Can! (spy on Americans).

    I know it is hard for us as a nation to think back past last night’s episode of Breaking Bad, but try and remember when Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer, campaigned on a pledge to ensure that national security policy remained consistent with American laws and values. He also made the now-ironic pledges about protecting whistleblowers. Good times, yes?

    Strawmen Tell No Tales

    Obama now continues to defend his unfettered spying on, well, pretty much the whole world. In his most recent press conference, Obama pulled out the old Bush-era strawman argument: whatever the government does is essential to protecting the United States. It is either chaotic liberty or apocalyptic daily terror attacks, pick one or the other, baby. The money shot statement from the press conference: “(Terrorists) have the capacity, potentially, to go after our businesses.” You can take our liberty, but don’t mess with our money. Americans, as we go to war, be sure to keep shopping!

    Manning Begat Snowden

    In addition, Obama found time in his press conference to mock Edward Snowden personally, saying he was not a patriot (Snowden, not Obama) and saying he (Snowden, not Obama) should come to the Das Homeland for a fair trial before being sent away for life.

    Obama, as he has not realized after killing al Qaeda’s No. 1 and No. 2’s repeatedly for years without effect, has not realized that despite his aggressively hunting down and smiting whistleblowers whenever the Empire can catch one, new whistleblowers keep emerging. Manning begat Snowden and so forth. Among a handful of The People at least, a fire still burns.

    Your Guide to Smiting Whistleblowers

    So, as a public service knowing more whistleblowers are sure to emerge, here is a handy guide on how to respond. The pattern following a whistleblower’s disclosure must come from some joint media-government handbook, because it is always the same:

    — Initially deny everything and hope the story fades away. Claim the info is from an unreliable web site, or a foreign news source, is just bad guy propaganda.

    — When that doesn’t work, denigrate the whistleblower on personal grounds (gay, lazy, narcissistic, unpatriotic) and work hard to focus people on the messenger, not the message.

    — When that doesn’t work, say, you know, come to think of it, the disclosures are not that big a deal. The whistleblower really did not say anything important, so best to just ignore him.

    — When that doesn’t work, claim the whistleblower is a criminal, violated his oath, his military commission, his Netflix terms of service, that little checkbox when you install software, whatever sticks.

    — When that doesn’t work, say the whistleblower should have gone through channels (as if in reality they exist). Do not explain what/where these channels are, for say, an Army private in the middle of the Iraqi desert.

    — When that doesn’t work, claim the whistleblower must “face justice” and “take responsibility,” though only in the form of jail time and on the government’s terms. Maybe three years of pretrial detainment to soften things up? Perhaps a little sleep deprivation? Hmm, you have relatives still in Germany, yes?

    — When that doesn’t work, switch gears and claim whatever was disclosed is a grave threat to the U.S. Cite the danger to American lives, and especially to “the troops.” Say blood is on the whistleblower’s hands. No evidence needed.

    — Repeat as needed.

    BONUS: Here’s an article that pretty much covers most of the points above, The Five Nastiest Things the White House Has Said About Snowden.

    Related Articles:

    Copyright Β© 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Speaking of US “Breaking Bad”, like Hank we can find the truth in “Leaves of Grass” :

      β€œTO the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much, obey little,
      Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
      Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever after-ward resumes its liberty.”

      ― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

      08/12/13 12:58 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      08/12/13 1:12 PM | Comment Link

    • grayslady said...


      Edward Snowden, not Eric Snowden.

      08/12/13 2:40 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Sorry, thank you, Fixed.

      08/12/13 2:43 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      The Pre-emptive War Comes Home:

      Like any fascist state, the powers-that-be eventually turn its powers against its own citizens. It is not surprising the neo-con principle of pre-emptive war has morphed into the pre-emptive surveillance war on the homefront.

      Regardless of Barry’s assertions to the contrary, the gov threatens to subvert the most basic protections of the fourth amendment, which generally prohibit the government from conducting suspicion-less fishing expeditions through our private affairs. If the government is correct that it can search our every communication in case we say or type something suspicious, there is little to prevent the NSA from converting the internet into a tool of pervasive surveillance.

      As an asshole NYC weatherman once opined, “if rape is inevitable, don’t fight it, enjoy it” let US put that marvelous technology to good use and spy on the NSA to Protect Against National Security Abuse by WATCHING THE WATCHERS. God forbid, Chris “Lord Humungous” Christie gets his fat fingers on it. Let a neutral third-party composed of members of trustworthy organizations like Guardian and McClatchy run it. When it detects NSA violations of privacy of American citizens, it can print their names and Americans can sue the government and put its collaborators in jail.

      It’s about TIME, it’s about CYBERSPACE, so whistleblowers don’t have to get LOST in a FOREIGN PLACE.

      08/12/13 3:21 PM | Comment Link

    • kyzl orda said...


      On the Guide to Smiting Whistleblowers:

      There are a few more tactics that were used during the Fulbright Gaza scandal, the one in which State experienced a worldwide furor over cancelling the Fulbright Gaza program, catching then Secretary Rice by surprise and resulting in her having to intervene and reinstate the program. Never mind the Secretary of State herself cited how critical the problem is to US pd efforts:

      1. Give a press conference and for those instances where the agency is caught red-handed, go on record stating State employees are just trying to do their job — then allow local supervisors to retaliate against same State employees who had warned AGAINST cancelling this program, and dont forget to hide the written memos of concern to the same local superiors or, better yet, just pretend they were never written (very important point)

      Be sure to tell the NY Times it was the fault of errant ‘lower-level functionaires’. Fortunately, the Times does not do fact checking

      2. Misrepresent the facts as if local supervisors had to save the day (and ignore that it’s the second instance), rather than reveal local supervisors were responsible for the episode that jeopardized USG grantees, US policies and badly embarassed their superiors. Be sure to omit that the local supervisors were permitted to engage in a year of retaliation against staff who raised concerns hoping to stave off a crisis

      3. Hide actual evidence from higher ups at State that the State employee **wrote a detailed memo** to local superiors on why it would be wrong to cancel a key public diplomacy program, including that it would result in indefinitely stranding USG grantees with minor-age kids in a 3rd country (some already with refugee status) and efforts to circumvent Israeli security policy would not be a good thing either. nor should there be expectations the Jordanians would comply with such an action. Also NOT notifying NEA Bureau, already in the process trying to abide by Israeli security policies, might not be a good thing either

      4. Make believe the *Dissent Channel* for foreign service employees, like the one who was informed by the memo-writing State employee and voiced his concerns too, does NOT exist. Make sure that State’s civil service employees don’t have such access either. Allow local superiors to deny they ever knew there was a problem or that any employee deigned put issues in writing(important point no. 2)

      5. Tell State employees who experience retaliation after raising legitimate work-related concerns they must go through the complaint process — then terminate their clearance and fail to allow due process so any cases do not get heard. Unheard cases = no problems and not having to report the true number of complaint cases filed at State

      6. Ignore FAM that requires agency to give a reason for terminating security clearances

      7. Ignore State policies that require performance evaluations for all employees but allow local superior to claim the previously-awarded and highly rated employees are suddenly deficient anyway without a job review. (Be sure to ignore employee complaints at not being given work when requested. It’s ok to pay staff to do nothing even if the staff want to work. It’s part of the improving government performance plan, afterall). If the union shows signs of a life, conduct a performance review 10 months after the fact, and hand to ECA HR which will kindly put it in the system dating it as if it is on time.

      Afterall, who would ask for a copy of some civil service performance evaluation and, well, actually read it? Don’t worry about having to conduct all the performance evaluations, just be sure to do the one covering the period of the ‘incident’. The rest can be left blank in ECA HR system

      8. If an employee raises any warnings during the first year of their civil service. Have ‘no fear’ act. Terminate said employee because no need to cite reasons for doing so if it is the first year of civil service

      9. Not sure if the Foreign Service engages in this tactic but in the civil service, suddenly remove the supervisor who forwarded concerns made by his staff and the US Consulate in Jerusalem over cancelling the Fulbright Gaza program, and after a faux competitive job process, install a new supervisor who was intimately involved in email communications and is able to move into her new office 2 weeks before the “official date’ of her hiring.

      Why is that important? If any employees file a complaint of retaliation, ECA HR can then say they hired the new supervisor at a later date and hence she was not in “any way” involved in the Fulbright Gaza process. Plus, the new supervisor can tell the employee requesting a job review (emphasis on employee being the one to ask for the job review) – sorry, the new supervisor was not in her position long enough so no performance evaluation can be conducted. Be sure to hide material that shows the supervisor was acting as a supervisor before their official start date

      Bonus: Also be sure to hide that the new supervisor signed off on related Fulbright Gaza materials because after all she is not supposed to be involved and hence could not have retaliated against any employees

      10. Allow supervisors at State to refuse to issue work to employees who have raised concerns. Be sure to turn employees into hall-walkers. This tactic works well when the supervisor is afraid during the campaign to paint the staff as deficient that the staff might actually succeed well at any task given. Dont make work for the supervisor, just fore go assigning tasks. Its acceptable to refuse work to government employees

      11. Be sure to emphasize how the local superiors are very loyal to their bosses, especially the ones they laugh at behind their backs

      08/12/13 4:54 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      With the crap that is revealed daily about State, anybody who wants to work for State is a fool and not very bright.

      08/12/13 5:04 PM | Comment Link

    • kyzl orda said...


      It’s disengenuous to expect government employees to go through ‘the system’ instead of taking concerns outside. Since the Bush administration there have been articles in NPR and elsewhere how the system for any redress is broken and there has been no reform. Now we are four presidential terms into this problem and what reform has taken place?

      In addition, it’s very much in the news how sexual assault victims in the military have been afraid to come forward and a broken system of redress is very much part of the problem. For too long, people who raise concerns have been retaliated.

      If workplace problems of a non-life threatening nature cannot be properly heard, addressed and reformed — how can anyone expect the system is going to be there, to be functional in life-threatening matters?

      Too often after raising the matter, that person is drummed out, or the powers that be look the other way and the person is subjected to nonsense they asked for it in some way by the perpetrators. Common sense is thrown out the window and that’s wrongly tolerated

      The mentality and the system have to be reformed

      08/12/13 5:08 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Here’s just a reminder that internal State Department “whistleblowers” are not the only persons whom the State Department violates.

      In that light, here is my “Guide for non-governmental-employee US citizens to take retribution upon State Department officers who violate their names and families”:

      1. Document everything;

      2. Studiously refrain from breaking any laws of the United States (or, more importantly, of one’s country of residence);

      3. Take retribution in all available ways uncontrolled by any courts. Because MOST of life, in almost all countries including the USA, still remains outside the control of the US government. And most of the most painful kinds of retribution are lawful to do.

      08/12/13 5:22 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      PS, to illustrate my above comment, I must say this is just a metaphor:


      08/12/13 5:32 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Oh and what I find especially poignant in the above clip from “The Godfather”, is that when the Godfather Michael Corleone declares (on behalf of his baptised baby relative) the baptismal declarations:

      “Do you renounce Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises?” (Answer, “I do”)…

      …it’s perfectly consistent with his taking lethal retribution upon the evil enemies of his family. Because for him, they are agents of Satan.

      It helps to be a Catholic, to understand this. πŸ˜‰

      As for me, I’ll pray for the souls of the several State Department officers who have violated my name and my daughter. Peace be upon their souls, in the afterlife!

      08/12/13 5:48 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      I shall add: It’s more fun watching them live longer, because dead men can’t be punished. See? No threat of murder here, only of lawful suffering.

      08/12/13 6:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Whistleblowers – Encouraging Honesty | roopost said...


      […] Manning Begat Snowden (wemeantwell.com) […]

      08/12/13 6:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...


      Some of Lafcadio’s rules for whislteblowing:

      1) NEVER EVER trust a government Inspector General. It’s always fatally compromised. At the State Department, retired foreign service officer’s do the “inspecting.” Right now, Maura Harty, of passport debacle fame, among other major fuck-ups, is one of the inspectors. These are the absolutely last people interested in finding waste, fraud and abuse in an organization. In fact, at State, the best way to ruin your career is to report such waste. The OIG hot line is NOT confidential and your “report” will go right to the applicable Assistant Secretary, who will surely retaliate against you.

      2) Don’t trust the lap dog American press. Although it can have it’s uses, major corporate outfits like the Washington Post and the New York Times have been bought off by the powers that be. At the State Department, the boys at the big press office smother any “unauthorized” leaks by cutting deals with the applicable press organ to release an exclusuive, ususally a big national security issue that they always intended to release anyways.

      3) NEVER trust your boss. Two reasons: 1) they have a vested interest in the place, but mostly their own name in the place, and 2) most of your average government supervisors are dishonorable suck ups whose only talent is sychophancy. Lackeys are a valuable commodity in a bureaucratic organization. A boss can totally trust a lackey, who has nothing to offer but his loyalty to the boss.

      These are three of Lafcadio’s rules for whistleblowing. Take heed, I warned ya.

      That is all, for the time being.

      08/13/13 8:42 AM | Comment Link

    • Andrei said...


      So, “terrorists, potentially, have the capacity…”. You know, when you put it that way, all this spying on your citizens may be justified. Because, potentially, every citizen has the capacity to commit murder, or robbery, or whatever. Potentially, you know. Just like a politician, potentially, has a capacity to tell the truth and act with integrity. Potentially.

      08/13/13 11:34 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      And the United Crimedumb Begat a Terrorist Nation

      In case you missed it, the United Kingdom, the Godfather of our Nation, interrogated journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner using the Terrorism Act of 2000. With the grace of its junior partner, the United Crimedumb did everything it could to terrorize the Brazilian national except waterboarding him and threatening him that he would sleep with the fishes.

      Greenwald told the United Crimedumb the only thing watered down was the overused “terrorism” label:

      “This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.”

      A history lesson is in order:

      1. Glenn obviously had never heard of Whitey Bulger; the FBI has been in bed with the Mafia before J Edgar Hoover had his first period.

      2. Back in the day when the Mafia shot a cop a “Gang war” occurred and the cops could never find the killers. In Brazil they call it a Brazilian wax job.

      Can you imagine how many UK officials are going to get a close shave when they visit Brazil for the Summer Olympics? Let the games begin.

      08/19/13 2:12 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      The eternal question- is they criminal or just incompetent?

      PBS: “And the violations that are documented in this memorandum from the NSA — remember, we’re only seeing a partial window. We’re seeing what the NSA headquarters reported in a year’s time, not what all the other NSA satellite offices offered — but that in those instances, they broke some of the privacy rules, and they broke some other rules that have to do with foreign intelligence gathering.

      The most striking, probably, example that people are taken by is that there were a series of phone call records stored from the Washington, D.C., area code — zip code — forgive me, area code 202 — and this was a glitch. Essentially, it was because a switch missed read 202 for 20, which is the country code for Egypt.


      CAROL LEONNIG: We are allowed to collect a lot of records about foreign communications, but when you start collecting a lot of Washington, D.C., phone records, it’s another story.

      MARGARET WARNER: Now, had these violations been reported to the court, as I gather they are required to?

      CAROL LEONNIG: What’s from the document, because it’s really an NSA internal audit, is how many of these were reported to the court. A portion them should have been that have to do with FISA authorities, when you’re looking into Americans’ records.

      And we honestly don’t have the rest of the chain to know what was reported. What we do know is that there are thousands of them and that the Obama administration has assured us and the public before this came out that it happens infrequently, once in a while.


      08/19/13 2:20 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Spies Do Have Sense of Humor…at Our Expense

      So the US and British spies are finally exposed for looking at your e-mails. Imagine some teenager IT guy at the NSA jacking off listening to your sexy pillow talk. BUT hey, it’s all harmless FUN.

      A little over two months ago the Guardian was contacted by a very senior UK government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.

      The mood toughened just over a month ago, when centre of government warned: “You’ve had your fun. Now we want the stuff back.”

      There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. “You’ve had your debate. There’s no need to write any more.”

      Funny huh? But it was not so funny when Obama found out someone was looking at his passport file. Those contractors got fired. It was just some guys bored who were having some FUN. Can’t he take a joke? I mean, with his big ears he couldn’t help listening in on US. We get IT.

      Here’s the deal: We want our stuff back, Obama. You’ve had your debate. Yeah, you fucked with US to keep US safe from terrorists. But as Ronnie Rayguns observed, intrusive government is always the problem and not the solution. We want what you want: Every citizen who had his privacy stolen wants everybody involved to be fired. Now THAT would be Fun.

      08/20/13 7:07 PM | Comment Link

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