Many of us who write for and read Consortium News are worried about Julian Assange’s personal well-being, especially amid rumors that the British High Court will soon issue a decision to extradite the WikiLeaks publisher to the notorious Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) to face multiple counts of espionage. Julian deserves unwavering support, at the very least because he alerted the world to crimes being committed by the U.S. government. His bravery has been well-documented, even if the government says that he is a danger to American national security. The U.S. Justice Department has made something of a sport of attacking people on “national security” grounds.
National Security State
A former employee of Facebook named Frances Haugen earned national renown after appearing before Congress on October 5, 2021 to accuse the company where she once worked of everything from poisoning the minds of young American women to aiding and abetting global evildoers. While Haugen has presented herself as a “whistleblower” who risked it all to expose the secrets of the powerful, she was cultivated and legally represented by an organization led by former intelligence insiders with close ties to the US national security state. Called Whistleblower Aid, the outfit was founded by a national security lawyer, Mark Zaid, who has been accused of ratting out his client, CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, to his employers in Langley. Zaid is joined by a former State Department official and government-approved whistleblower, John Tye, ex-CIA and Pentagon official Andrew Bakaj, and veteran US government information warrior, Libby Liu, who has specialized in supporting color revolution-style operations against China.
The US national security state failed to prevent the pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol. Yet instead of accountability, US intelligence officials are being emboldened via increased militarization, censorship, and surveillance. Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté discuss the dangerous fallout. Rather than prioritize accountability for US intelligence officials’ failure to prevent the pro-Trump mob attack on the Capitol, the incident is instead being used to expand the national security state’s powers. Max Blumenthal, who witnessed the Capitol mob and reported on a key participant, discusses his coverage of the attack and the dangers of a militarized, myopic response.
Chelsea Manning is running for U.S. Senate in Maryland in the Democratic Party primary against career politician, Ben Cardin. She explains why she is running, her concerns about the future, which should be of concern to all of us, and what we should be doing right now. We also bring you news and upcoming actions that you can join.
Last week, with great fanfare, Donald Trump rolled out his new National Security Strategy (NSS). Its guiding theme is "America First." An analysis of the 55-page document, however, reveals a program that renders the United States more unpopular and vulnerable to external threats. Trump's plan takes Barack Obama's policy of "American exceptionalism" to a new level. In his speech accompanying the NSS's release, Trump stated, "America has been among the greatest forces for peace and justice in the history of the world." Yet Trump has not only continued but also escalated the Bush-Obama wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, dropped Tomahawk missiles on Syria, threatened North Korea and Iran, intensified airstrikes against Muslim countries, and fanned the flames of conflict in the Middle East.
By Alfred W. McCoy for Tom Dispatch. In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to a massive expansion of its intelligence infrastructure, particularly of the emerging technologies for digital surveillance, agile drones, and biometric identification. In 2010, almost a decade into this secret war with its voracious appetite for information, the Washington Post reported that the national security state had swelled into a “fourth branch” of the federal government -- with 854,000 vetted officials, 263 security organizations, and over 3,000 intelligence units, issuing 50,000 special reports every year. Though stunning, these statistics only skimmed the visible surface of what had become history’s largest and most lethal clandestine apparatus.
By Mike Whitney for Counter Punch - Former-DNC employee, Seth Rich, not only had access to the emails, but also a motive. He was pissed about the way the Clinton crowd was “sandbagging” Bernie Sanders. In contrast, there’s neither evidence nor motive connecting Russia to the emails. On top of that, WikiLeaks founder, Julien Assange (a man of impeccable integrity) has repeatedly denied that Russia gave him the emails which suggests the government investigation is completely misdirected. The logical course of action, would be to pursue the leads that are most likely to bear fruit, not those that originate from one’s own political bias. But, of course, logic has nothing to do with the current investigation, it’s all about politics and geopolitics. We don’t know who killed Seth Rich and we’re not going to speculate on the matter here. But we find it very strange that neither the media nor the FBI have pursued leads in the case that challenge the prevailing narrative on the Russia hacking issue. Why is that? Why is the media so eager to blame Russia when Rich looks like the much more probable suspect? And why have the mainstream news organizations put so much energy into discrediting the latest Fox News report, when– for the last 10 months– they’ve showed absolutely zero interest in Rich’s death at all?
“Fear remains the favored tactic used by the government against its own employees.” The Obama Administration has once again earned the shameful reputation for being the most secretive and punitive administration against whistleblowers in the history of the republic. Last week, another case of the Obama Administration's insatiable appetite for secrecy was revealed via a April 21st memo from the Director of National Intelligence. This memo threatens members of the intelligence community with retaliation for any contact with reporters without the permission of their supervisor, even if the information is not classified. The memo stated: “IC (intelligence community) employees… must obtain authorization for contacts with the media” on intelligence-related matters, and “must also report… unplanned or unintentional contact with the media on covered matters,” the Directive stated. This escalating repression comes on top of its harsh sentencing of whistleblowers: Chelsea (Bradley) Manning—35 years for leaking the video Wikileaks dubbed 'Collateral Murder' of a deadly helicopter attack on a defenseless civilian population; 30 month imprisonment of former CIA agent John Kiriakou for exposing the US use of torture and waterboarding—while none of those responsible for the administration of torture have been tried; and forcing Edward Snowden to seek political asylum outside the US for exposing National Security Agency (NSA) excesses that include the unauthorized, universal invasion of planetary privacy.
Our whistleblower buddy Jason Harrington has written another exposé. We were the first site in the blabbosphere to publicize Harrington's TSA tell-all blog, called Taking Sense Away. That was two years ago. And we wrote about him several times thereafter. Since then, he's come out of hiding, first with a blockbuster cover story for Politico, and now with a follow-up: The Parable of the Mashed Potato Police. It is, as always with Jason, funny and biting. Readers of TSA News will recognize the idiocies, abuses, waste of money, and petty humiliations about which Jason writes, because we've been covering them all here for years. But there are still some delicious new tidbits to savor, beginning with the subject of the title.
In their continual quest to invade all aspects of our lives, our alphabet-soup security agencies will be on the prowl today at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey. For the gladiatorial combat known as the Super Bowl will be taking place there, and our overlords don’t want the players on the field to be the only ones showing some muscle. Officers from the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and, of course, our friends at the TSA will be searching(“randomly,” a favorite post-9/11 buzzword) football fans. Those fans, apparently, are so eager for this over-hyped annual display of bloodlust that they’re willing to subject themselves to whatever the authorities decree. And the authorities have decreed that “screening” will begin miles away from the stadium, before fans even get there.
"Security," the handmaiden of paranoia, is slowly invading every venue in America. If you thought the tentacles of Homeland Security were going to stay confined to the airport -- even after all the reports we've done on VIPR -- you're dreaming. And if you think the latest rules and regs in the War on Terror™ are going to be contained, I have a bridge to sell you. Major League Baseball has announced that all of its ballparks have to implement "enhanced" security screening by 2015. The procedures have already been tested in several places before a national roll-out. Gee, what does that remind me of? The new regs, which were, of course, designed in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, require that all fans must pass through a metal detector and/or be wanded.