All righty, back to political blogging.
Not many days ago, while nursing a cola in a small restaurant overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, I decided to re-acquaint myself with the facts surrounding the strange demise of CIA analyst John Paisley, whose body was fished out of the Bay in 1978. Paisley -- who had ties to the JFK assassination, Watergate, and George H.W. Bush's "Team B" -- was found tied up and weighted down, with a bullet entrance behind his left ear. (He was right-handed.) The local authorities deemed the death a suicide.
Ah, those lovable funsters in the American intelligence community! Without them, what would we do for entertainment?
And the fun never stops...
To your right, you'll find a picture of Julian Assange with a friend who turned out to be something other than a friend. No, that's not Pugsley Addams all grown up. It's Siggy Thordarson
, one of Assange's most trusted associates, who also happened to be an FBI fink
. If you look closely at his jacket, you'll notice that he's missing a 6.
How much was Siggy paid to spy on Assange? A whopping five K
, which seems just about enough to supply a guy like Siggy with a month's worth of Kanelgifler. But there were side benefits:
The details suggest that Thordarson abused that position in many ways, including setting up a t-shirt sales site, supposedly to benefit Wikileaks, but where all the money went directly to his own bank account.
Sanctuary. Venezuela and Nicaragua
have offered asylum to Ed Snowden. These offers came after a hilarious, farcical period during which the U.S. "kidnapped" the President of Bolivia in Vienna because we were convinced that Snowy was on that plane. John Pilger is right
: This was an act of piracy. The U.S. also issued an arrest warrant to Ireland
, apparently on the theory that an invisible army of pookas managed to sneak the guy out of the Moscow airport.
These Feydeau-meets-Fleming moments have the welcome effect of making the U.S. intelligence community look a little less formidable.
If I were Snowy, I'd stay in Russia. Sure, the Russian government sucks -- always has
sucked -- but the culture is rich and fascinating. Difficult language, though.
I recommend this piece
by Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian which underscores an important distinction: Snowden is not a spy -- he's a whistleblower. A spy tattles to an enemy government. A whistleblower makes wrongdoing known to everyone
. Spies are (usually) paid and (when possible) protected; whistleblowers are usually made to eat shit. Siggy, whose story is told above, was paid and is protected. Our media will never mount a hate campaign against him, even though I find him far more risible.
Is Snowy the bad guy? This piece
by one T. Steelman is one of many asking if someone built a Janus-faced Snowman. Basically, the argument derives from Snowden's internet chat trail, which indicates that he used to be pro-Bush and very pro-secrecy. Example, from 2009:
SNOWDEN: HOLY SHIThttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/washington/11iran.html?_r=1&hp
SNOWDEN: WTF NYTIMES
SNOWDEN: Are they TRYING to start a war? Jesus christ they’re like wikileaks
User19: they’re just reporting, dude.
SNOWDEN: They’re reporting classified shit
SNOWDEN: moreover, who the fuck are the anonymous sources telling them this?
SNOWDEN: those people should be shot in the balls.
I'm with User19 (whoever he
is) on this one. Steelman thinks it mighty damned suspicious that the Snowy one changed his 'tude only after Barack Obama got into office.
undeniable that Snowden is a libertarian of the "screw Social Security" ilk. For this reason, he'll never be one of my favorite people:
SNOWDEN: Somehow, our society managed to make it hundreds of years without social security just fine
SNOWDEN: you fucking retards
SNOWDEN: Magically the world changed after the new deal, and old people became made of glass
SNOWDEN: yeah, that makes sense
User11: you are just so fucking stupid
My sentiments exactly, User11. Let us not shed too
many tears for Snowy -- if he ran the zoo, the zoo would be much, much worse -- but let us also not be too
quick to seek weird-ass conspiratorial explanations where simple ones suffice. The simple explanation is that Snowden changed his mind, at least on the topic of intelligence community overreach. The libertarian websites likely to attract his attention often print pieces critical of the national security state.
To my eyes, the man's current predicament cannot be explained away as theater or legend-building or an 11-dimensional deception operation. The guy took a genuine risk and he is now in genuine trouble because he got the Obama administration genuinely pissed off. If Snowden were a phoney whistleblower -- if he were a "Lee Harvey Snowden" -- his handlers would have prepared (or backstopped) a very different internet trail for him.
Angletonian triple-thinking isn't going to help us make sense of this one.
Is Greenwald the Bad Guy?
Speaking of Angletonism, check out this prime example of sick think
on Sibel Edmonds' blog. Sibel (of whom I tired years ago) wants you to believe that there is a major rift between Greenwald and Snowden. She also wants you to believe that there are INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT CONTRADICATIONS in the statements Greenwald has made to the press.
I don't need to mount a counterargument. You need merely follow the link and read her words. What she has to say is nonsense based on the over-parsing of simple English-language sentences.