Wednesday READ – 25 September 2013
Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart
* NPR’s NEW BOSS: FINANCIAL INDUSTRY LOBBYIST, GOP DONOR, RIGHT-WING THINK TANK BOOSTER
By Peter Hart, FAIR
Last month NPR CEO Gary Knell left to take a job at National Geographic, making him the latest in a string of CEOs who left after a short stint running the public radio outlet. On September 13, NPR named a new acting president and CEO: board member Paul G. Haaga.
The NPR press release (9/13/13) states that Haaga’s “accomplished career” included a stint as “chairman of the Investment Company Institute”–the powerful lobbying group of the mutual fund industry. As the Los Angeles Times (11/29/03) once reported, “Mutual funds have been mostly shielded from the reforms forced on the financial world–thanks in large part to the efforts of the Investment Company Institute.”
NPR also adds that Haaga has ties to right-wing think tanks–he is “a member of the National Council of the American Enterprise Institute” and he sits on “the Board of Overseers of Hoover Institution at Stanford University.” […]
* DOJ’s WIRETAPPING OF AP RESULTS IN LENGTHY PRISON TERM FOR SOURCE
Though outrage followed disclosure of FBI practice, conviction went ahead
By Jon Queally, Common Dreams
When it was first reported that the Department of Justice was illegally combing through the phone records of Associated Press offices and targeting journalists with secret subpoenas for their communication records, outrage erupted among free press advocates and journalism professionals.
Caught red-handed with the disclosures, Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder was forced to perform damage control, defending the practice against those who said it was a violation of key constitutional protections while saying that future safeguards would be put in place to censure overreach by the DOJ.
On Monday, however, a plea-agreement by a former FBI agent—who disclosed information about a terrorist plot in Yemen to the Associated Press and was discovered after the FBI secretly obtained access to the news agency’s phone records—shows that, despite the outrage behind the practice of wiretapping journalists, the man is now heading to prison for a lengthy term. […]
* NSA STORIES AROUND THE WORLD
By Glenn Greenwald, Guardian
[…] (1) Last week it was revealed that Belgium’s largest telecom, Belgacom, was the victim of a massive hacking attack which systematically compromised its system for as long as two years. Media outlets suspected that the NSA was behind it, and the country’s Prime Minister condemned the attack as a “violation of a public company’s integrity.”
But last week, using documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras and other der Spiegel journalists reported in that paper that it was the GCHQ, Britain’s intelligence agency, that was behind the attack on its ally. According to that report, the attack was carried out by targeting individual engineers at the telecom with malware that allowed GCHQ agents to “own” their computer and thus exploit their access to the telecommunications system.
It’s worth remembering that as the US and UK run around the world protesting the hacking activities of others and warning of the dangers of cyber-attacks, that duo is one of the most aggressive and malicious, if not the most aggressive and malicious, perpetrators of those attacks of anyone on the planet. As Slate’s Ryan Gallagher put it in a typically excellent analysis of this report:
“The disclosures are yet another illustration of the extremely aggressive scope of the clandestine spy operations that have been conducted by both the United Kingdom and the United States. Infiltration of computer networks is usually more commonly associated with Russian and Chinese government hackers, but the British and Americans are at it, too, even targeting their own allies’ communications. The surveillance tactics appear to have few limits, and while government officials have played up the necessity of the spying for counter-terrorism, it is evident that the snooping is often highly political in nature.”
Nobody hacks as prolifically and aggressively as the two countries who most vocally warn of the dangers of hacking. […]
* THEIR WAY OR ANOTHER WAY?
By Dennis Loo, dennisloo.com
Peter Ludlow has an essay over at The New York Times’ series The Stone entitled “The Banality of Systemic Evil.” His title is a takeoff on the phrase “the banality of evil” made famous by Hannah Arendt’s description of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann in her much cited 1963 article “Eichmann in Jerusalem.” Arendt observed that Eichmann was just an ordinary man who committed great acts of evil by merely performing what is expected of him within an evil system. Evil, in other words, is not a maniac as someone like Hitler is usually depicted as, but a product of system’s logic. As Eichmann’s stated at Nuremberg, “I was just following orders.”
Ludlow’s starting point is a recent Time Magazine cover story that notes that 70 percent of those 18-34 years old think Edward Snowden “did a good thing” in leaking information about what the NSA is really doing. As an example of those who think the very opposite to this, Ludlow cites comments by former UN Ambassador John Bolton, an infamous liar and neoconservative, instrumental in lying about the grounds for Bush’s invasion of Iraq as well as many other events, who fumed at Snowden’s actions back in June 2013:
“Number one, this man is a liar. He took an oath to keep the secrets that were shared with him so he could do his job. He said … he would not disclose them, and he lied. Number two, he lied because he thinks he’s smarter and has a higher morality than the rest of us. This guy thinks he has a higher morality, that he can see clearer than other 299-million 999-thousand 999 of us, and therefore he can do what he wants. I say that is the worst form of treason.”
It’s true that Snowden did act out of a higher morality than that of the system that employed him. Bolton believes in a different standard for morality.
Let’s walk through Bolton’s two given reasons for despising Snowden. I want to use this discussion as a basis for a wider ranging discussion. Bolton is a useful idiot in this case: his logic, shared by the leaders of both the Republican and Democratic Parties and the dominant perspective in mainstream media (MSM) but they won’t come out and be quite as blatant as Bolton.
First, Bolton calls Snowden a liar for violating his oath to keep the secrets his job required him to keep. Evidently, when you take an oath to uphold the Constitution this includes refusing to be a whistleblower when you learn that terrible lies and criminal practices are being carried out! This is particularly wonderful for Bolton to claim given his other comments about his own work and that of others who work in and for the government. Here is what he said in 2010 on Fox Network:
John Bolton: I want to make the case for secrecy in government when it comes to the conduct of national security affairs and possibly for deception when it’s appropriate. Winston Churchill said during WW II that in wartime, truth is so important that it should be surrounded by a bodyguard of lies.[i]
Interviewer: Do you really believe that?
Interviewer: You would lie in order to preserve the truth?
JB: If I had to say something that I knew was false in order to protect American national security I would do it. […]
* INTERVIEW: U.S. BEHAVING LIKE AN INSANE POWER
By Richard Rozoff, Stop NATO
The US is an insane power like the Nazis – Dr. Edward Herman
The US is behaving like an insane power, like the threat of the Nazis back in the 1930s and 40s. It’s out of control, and it’s engaging in war after war, violating international law and considers itself to be above the law. It is also the richest country in the world but it’s having trouble feeding its own citizens while preparing for yet another war. Dr. Edward Herman told in an interview with the Voice of Russia that it is time for the international community to rise up and bring the US under control.
Hello. This is John Robles. I’m speaking with Dr. Edward Herman. He is a Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is also the author of several books namely “Manufacturing Consent” which he wrote with Noam Chomsky and “The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context and Politics.” My next question is: isn’t the US financially “stressed out” maybe if you would put it… to engage in yet another war? Is this financially viable for the US or maybe a move to actually save the economy?
For those of us that are critical of US policy, of the situation with respect to the use of resources, it’s amazing! The United States is in a financial crisis. It’s cutting back on all kinds of public expenditures, on Food Stamps, it’s cutting back on its schools and it’s really stripped for resources, and here it’s about to go into another war which is going to be extremely costly.
So we’re dealing with a country that is kind of a little “crazy.” It has unlimited resources for its military policies and its wars abroad but it’s struggling to provide for its own citizens. It’s amazing! This may be a good part why the public is against this war. The public is troubled, it’s getting very poor support from its government. And yet this government is preparing for another war of choice! It’s really quite amazing. […]