The Snowden Effect

Jay Rosen has a good piece on this:

Meaning: there’s what Snowden himself revealed by releasing secrets and talking to the press. But beyond this, there is what he set in motion by taking that action. Congress and other governments begin talking in public about things they had previously kept hidden. Companies have to explain some of their dealings with the state. Journalists who were not a party to the transaction with Snowden start digging and adding background. Debates spring to life that had been necessary but missing before the leaks. The result is that we know much more about the surveillance state than we did before. Some of the opacity around it lifts. This is the Snowden effect.

It is good for public knowledge. And public knowledge is supposed to be what a free press and open debate are all about.

Jay has a number of links and examples. Here’s a more recent one:

A former federal judge who granted government surveillance requests has broken ranks to criticise the system of secret courts as unfit for purpose in the wake of recent revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. […]

But he says he was shocked to hear of recent changes to allow more sweeping authorisations of programmes such as the gathering of US phone records, and called for a reform of the system to allow counter-arguments to be heard.

Rosen’s whole piece is worth a read, by the way, because it has a smart discussion of why the Snowden saga is an important part of the story but by no means the whole story.






325 replies
  1. 1
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I suspect this has been asked before, but what do we have for appealing a warrant granted by a non-FISA judge? In other words, what model would we use for allowing counterarguments?

  2. 2
    taylormattd says:

    Nobody, or maybe almost nobody, is likely to have standing Belafon.

  3. 3
    Emma says:

    I am all for public debate of these issues. But you know what galls me? Journalists who were not a party to the transaction with Snowden start digging and adding background. Gee whiz, buddy, this was your flipping job. There were people who were telling you there were problems with this for years. But it took smelling presidential blood before you and your buddies got off your asses and did something.

    Villago delenda est, indeed!

  4. 4
    terraformer says:

    Well written by Rosen. Snowden himself and GG may be interesting on some level, but it’s that information is coming out and discussions/debates are resulting from it that is the key, I think.

  5. 5
    RobertDSC-iPhone 4 says:

    And Snowden is still a traitor.

  6. 6
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @taylormattd: I understand the point you are bringing up, but I’m curious if we would have to create something new, or is there an existing precedent for appealing warrants. Because if we have to create something new, this Congress isn’t going to get shit done.

  7. 7
    Mandalay says:

    This only goes to show that our media, politicians and judges are ill informed compared to the BJ Flat Earth Society.

    Only yesterday they were reminding us yet again that Snowden was a liar who had not told us anything that we didn’t know already.

    Let’s hope that the rest of society does the patriotic thing and starts consuming the nothingburgers so beloved by the BJ Flat Earth Society.

  8. 8
    amk says:

    And public knowledge is supposed to be what a free press and open debate are all about.

    lmao.

  9. 9
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Emma: My great fear is that this will all just be interpreted as a personal failing of Barack Obama and will get a Republican president in, at which point all this spying activity suddenly becomes OK again.

  10. 10
    Steve Crickmore says:

    This is some late consolation, after stripping bare the skins of those who dared raise the issue. Another side effect of Snowden, was in seeing the true colours of American ‘progressive journalists’, the first responders on this site, and see where their loyalities lay, when the revelations were made. No wonder Obama has moved to the right, as his supporters have been so aquiescent on his transformation from a radical fresh candidate, who wanted a whole new approach to policy, (for example, our Latin American friends are very upset at the continued and persistent syping), to such a safe (for whom) pair of hands executive.

  11. 11
    Miki says:

    @taylormattd:

    Nobody, or maybe almost nobody, is likely to have standing

    Not necessarily – 4th Amendment claims are still pending in Jewel et al v NSA. (9th Circuit Court of Appeals already determined the Jewel Plaintiffs have standing.)

  12. 12
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    So the banner at the top says “You are being watched by the NSA. Take online privacy into your own hands. Add MaskMe Free.” So many fails, including the fact that Google is watching you in exactly the same way, otherwise the ad wouldn’t be there.

    Also, I’m already a Mask (last name), so it wouldn’t help me.

  13. 13
    MomSense says:

    My problem is that Snowden allegedly took four laptops with information, although there has been some conflicting reporting on this, and released very little of that to journalists. How much and what kinds of other information did he steal and how much and what kinds of information has he given to foreign governments? Good, solid progressives whom I would consider potential allies on privacy issues are so soured by his associations with foreign governments and foreign agents or journalists that they are dismissing the information on US privacy concerns.

    Whistleblowers have to be impeccable in their dealings and be willing to face the consequences in our judicial system in order to have the credibility required to rally public support for change. I am not convinced that the “conversation” we are having is that substantive nor that widespread. I am very concerned about privacy issues AND I also have serious misgivings, yes suspicions even, about Snowden, Greenwald, Wikileaks, Poitras, et al. Having concerns about the actors involved does not mean I am an authoritarian or anti privacy rights but as I have tried to say from the beginning evaluating the credibility of the sources is as important as the information. Remember Curveball and Chalabi??

    I should also say that I actually do the gruntwork on issues I care about. I will knock on doors and make calls and do all the things necessary to build a coalition that can sustain the difficult work of issue advocacy. This is an intense issue because you are going against huge monied interests and the cultural acceptance of the security state. I get concerned when I see people who profess to be for increased privacy take steps that put jeopardize making progress on this issue. Unfortunately I think Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras, Wikileaks, et al have done serious harm.

  14. 14
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    But but but Snowden and GG are dickhead traitors, so this is a non-story. The government would never abuse its access to information. Go watch the Zimmerman trial circus instead.

  15. 15
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Steve Crickmore: I didn’t reply to @RobertDSC-iPhone 4, because I was hoping this thread would be about the court, but, see his comment. There’s a reason MLK JR said that if you think a law is unjust, pay the price for breaking it: That way the law is put on trial. Now, let’s get back to talking about the court.

  16. 16
    LAC says:

    We have gone from “hero”, to “MLK/Rose Parks” hybird to “Paul Revere” and now an “effect”. He is now a weather pattern? Unless you vote on this issue and not use it to ponticate about teh President going “right” because DRONEZ – this “effect” will drizzle out. And I am still waiting for the revelations that will make me close out my Facebook account and get out my Semaphore flags to communicate with friends.

  17. 17
    cvstoner says:

    The result is that we know much more about the surveillance state than we did before.

    We may know much more, but I suspect this is merely the tip of a very large iceberg.

    Also, if this episode has demonstrated anything, it is the importance of having a robust blogging community to bring these things to light, but also the importance of still having “old school” media with the resources and legal staff to withstand a challenge by the government. The two work best when they are working together.

  18. 18
    Emma says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I’m taking bets on that one. I’ve been wanting to visit New Zealand and it’s expensive.

  19. 19
    Mandalay says:

    @Emma:

    Journalists who were not a party to the transaction with Snowden start digging and adding background. Gee whiz, buddy, this was your flipping job.

    Ooooh….the BJ Flat Earth Society issues a press release!!!

    If Greenwald details the traitorous Snowden’s revelations he is a self-serving asshole. And if other journalists start digging they are also assholes, because they should have done it before Snowden released anything, even though he didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t know already! Nobody else is to blame, especially the flat earthers here who knew it all before Snowden opened his traitorous yap.

    I hope the position of the BJ Flat Earth Society is now clear. A rational examination of the NOTHINGBURGER!!!! is their only goal.

  20. 20
    Emma says:

    @Mandalay: You really, really like me, don’t you? Unfortunately I’m not that into you. Bye bye.

  21. 21
    cvstoner says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    My great fear is that this will all just be interpreted as a personal failing of Barack Obama and will get a Republican president in, at which point all this spying activity suddenly becomes OK again.

    It was never “not ok” under Obama. He was quite comfortable and supportive of it until it was outed.

    Just sayin’

  22. 22
    Emma says:

    @cvstoner: I think he means among the usual suspects, i.e., the media that actively helped Bush cover up his NSA doings.

  23. 23
    Mandalay says:

    @LAC:

    And I am still waiting for the revelations that will make me close out my Facebook account and get out my Semaphore flags to communicate with friends.

    Another BJ Flat Earther bravely reiterates their carefully evaluated position: NOTHINGBURGER!!!

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I would rather talk about the “Snowden effect” as it affects, you know, surveillance and privacy. As opposed to this absolutely irritating peacock-tail display thing that dominates the comments on these stories, where only the bold and courageous few who dare to truly care signal to each other how awesome they are and how it’s too bad they’re the only ones who Get It. Every. Fucking. Time.

  25. 25
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @LAC: You do realize that all of the GPS satellites have cameras in them that monitory semaphore usage.

    ETA: I deleted a response. I would like to get back to figuring out how to fix this.

  26. 26
    cleek says:

    as above, so below: tedious

  27. 27
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Emma: Right. Obama has never shown a speck of contrition about the NSA’s activities; he’s OK with it all on the basis of what he’s seen, and I guess he thinks we’re just supposed to trust his superior knowledge and spotless motives, in the grand executive tradition.

    But it gets traction because it’s a mark on a presidency that hadn’t had many media scandals until recently.

    To the extent that it gets traction at all. I guess the more likely outcome is that it doesn’t even really hurt Obama, since the people who are concerned about this are mostly left-progressives and libertarians who have never been as major a force in national elections as they are on loudmouth blogs. In which case its status as a presidential scandal is actually useful, because it gets the problem some attention.

  28. 28
    Comrade Jake says:

    So far, on balance, it seems to me that the upshot of what Snowden has done is for the greater good. Remove the jackassery and personalities involved, and Rosen’s basically right.

    Many people following politics closely weren’t surprised by any of the “revelations”. But many many people do not follow politics closely, and so I think the attention this has received is a good thing. Now, there are probably some people who think the NSA is paying attention to everything they write on FB, but whatever.

    The main problem I have is with the contention that this is actually going to lead to substantive changes in the security state we live in. I really don’t see that yet. Unfortunately I think the response of John Q. Public to most of this has been a gigantic “meh”.

  29. 29
    ChrisNYC says:

    I’m no Snowden fan but separate from that it’s not at all clear to me that getting discussions in public on this stuff in this way is pro privacy or anti surveillance. Effective advocacy is hard and risky. Bring the wrong case and lose it and you just might create law you don’t want. Similarly, just throwing claims out there and clapping because you’ve started discussions is not it. One very likely effect here is that the Patriot Act is not repealed. The FISA court stays and stays the way it is. Of course, we will spy on every other country and they will spy on us. And know we know, which, in our system, after elections, counts as consent.

  30. 30
    handsmile says:

    @MomSense:

    This recently-posted Guardian column by Greenwald addresses your question of “how much and what kinds of information has [Snowden] given to foreign governments?”

    “Snowden: I never gave any information to Chinese and Russian governments”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....ssia-china

    In addition to Snowden’s emphatic denials, Greenwald in the column details the origins of the now widely-accepted claim that Chinese officials “drain[ed] the contents of his laptops”.

    Of course, if Snowden and/or Greenwald hold little or no credibility for you, this piece will make no difference, but I thought it might be of interest in light of points raised in your comment.

  31. 31
    Betty Cracker says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Pipe, meet dream.

  32. 32
    Comrade Jake says:

    Is Mandalay basically T&H posting from some other account? Because it sure seems that way.

  33. 33

    I agree with Rosen’s larger point. In fact, that point has already been brought up here on BJ and I agreed with it then. I contest that we know more about the national security state. Snowden’s actual ‘revelation’ was pointless, old news, and the important parts were wrong.

    BUT, as Rosen says, an important topic that has been totally ignored in the press and society at large has entered public consciousness. Anybody paying half attention should have known this stuff, but not many people pay even half attention. I would like to see the AUMF repealed and the expanded authorities law enforcement gained under the Patriot Act cut back. It will be deeply ironic if that happens because of lies told by a spy at the behest of a self-aggrandizing ratfucker, but I’ll take that serendipity, thank you very much.

  34. 34
    NCSteve says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Nothing. There’s no model for appealing any search warrant anywhere in the federal and, as far as I know, all state judicial systems. Whether a warrant was validly obtained is adjudicated after the fact, and only if evidence gathered under the warrant (or the fruit of evidence gathered under the warrant) is used at trial.

    What we’re seeing with FISA is that that model becomes more problematic when warrants, or quasi-warrants, are authorized to look at, or gather data on, vast numbers of unnamed and unknown people without any of them ever being brought to trial based on the information gathered.

  35. 35
    Hal says:

    I find it irritating when people directly involved in this system act shocked when said system comes to life. This federal judge is shocked. Jim sensenbrenner wrote the patriot act and now he’s shocked!!

    Now that this shit is public, you’re appealed. Got it.

  36. 36
    Mandalay says:

    @LAC:

    We have gone from “hero”, to “MLK/Rose Parks” hybird to “Paul Revere” and now an “effect”. He is now a weather pattern?

    A BJ Flat Earther bravely decides to invoke Paul Revere and Rosa Parks because it’s all about personalities, not revelations!

    NOTHINGBURGER!!!

  37. 37
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    where only the bold and courageous few who dare to truly care signal to each other how awesome they are and how it’s too bad they’re the only ones who Get It. Every. Fucking. Time.

    Dammit. I was *this close* to claiming the bold and courageous mantle, and then signalling vigorously.
    Oh well. I guess I can’t let the small things like that stop me.

  38. 38
    gene108 says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    So far that’s what the reporting is trending towards.

    There’s no mention of the USA PATRIOT Acts or the NDAA in enabling the NSA to do what it is doing or the Bush&Co era variation of this program.

    It is all about how Obama has failed or offended our sensibilities, setting up a Republican to run on a platform of “returning honor and integrity to the White House” in 2016.

    And to everyone jumping on an Obot for defending this Adminidtration, you have to realize we are at total all out war with Republicans. Anything that makes this President look bad is a major loss in the war.

    The focus should not be on Obama, the laws Congress passed over the last ten years that enable these programs. Focusing on Obama is just a win for Republicans.

  39. 39
    Emma says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Wrong in one sense. I have been concerned with it for many years, because as a librarian I have always been aware of the government attempts to get their hands on library patron records. I became even more concerned after the passage of the Patriot Act, because anyone reading even a synopsis of that law knew it was trouble. I remember seeing commentary on blogs and online journals on this as far back as 2006. And I know for certain I am not the only center-liberal person who was concerned about it. So it’s not only the leftest of the left that have been concerned.

    I am not so much concerned about Obama as a person as I am about a pattern about Democratic presidents in general. The mainstream press actively not only abets scandal-mongering, it actively creates them. That’s why I am convinced that the moment a Republican takes office again, all this stuff will be pushed back under a rock.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Emma:

    But it took smelling presidential blood before you and your buddies got off your asses and did something.

    How you idiots always manage to make everything about a maligned president is one of the mysteries of the universe.

  41. 41
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mandalay: And with this post you’ve gone from being tedious to being stupid. Snowden hasn’t told us anything we didn’t already know. That’s why we’re contemptuous of the rest of the reporters. They didn’t lift a fucking finger until someone made a big deal about information that’s been obvious for seven years. Then they started digging and telling us some things we didn’t know.

    To the extent that Snowden did us any good by jump starting the conversation, it was only necessary because the press is a bunch of lazy fucks who weren’t interested in this information until it became a scoop despite having been previously discussed publicly.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Snowden’s actual ‘revelation’ was pointless, old news, and the important parts were wrong.

    In all fairness, I’m not sure how anyone could make these conclusions at this point.

  43. 43
    Emma says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Really? Now you’re defending the press’ negligence of their job just because you really want to hang Obama’s scalp on your belt? Bloody typical of Obama haters.

    Don’t ever complain when they go after another Democratic president while letting the Republican ones run with any crime they can.

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    @handsmile:

    The problem is that he clearly gave information to Hong Kong journalists and I am not of the opinion that journalists in that system are independent–at all. Either Snowden is woefully naive for a secret agent man or he is hoping that we are.

    There is also the matter of Snowden’s conditions which were reported by Gellman and WAPO about posting online the cryptographic key with the entire power point presentation within 72 hours so that he could prove to a foreign embassy that he was the source of the leaked documents. When Gellman didn’t comply, Snowden informed him that he would no longer give Gellman the exclusive even though he had been discussing this with Greenwald for months.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    Effective advocacy is hard and risky. Bring the wrong case and lose it and you just might create law you don’t want.

    IMO, the cases recently brought by EPIC and the ACLU are a positive step forward on this issue. The ACLU now at least has smidgen of a chance at proving standing now that they can point to some definable harm.
    I’m hopeful to see where it goes.

  46. 46
    Hal says:

    Can we just have one thread on nsa-gg-snowden where posters just insult the fuck out of each other? Or is that redundant by now? Could be fun.

  47. 47
    Tractarian says:

    So, when someone illegally leaks classified information, that information becomes public and people can discuss it.

    Fascinating.

  48. 48
    LAC says:

    @Mandalay: Blah, blah…. Do we have to be reminded that you, Corner stone, and McLaren are the mirepox of paranoia on this site? I know you are there, face thisclose to your computer screen waiting for wisdom from Greenwald. No need to announce yourself…

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): The press need something exciting to happen before they do anything. A spy who steals information and flees the country and looks for asylum is exciting–at least to the press he is. Some boring story about our government spying on us…yawn. Snowden brought the excitement to the story so our idiot press would even look at it at all.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @gene108:

    There’s no mention of the USA PATRIOT Acts or the NDAA in enabling the NSA to do what it is doing or the Bush&Co era variation of this program.

    From what I’ve seen reported it’s been more about FISA, FISC and what they have allowed the NSA to do. Not too much about the Patriot Act but I believe that case can and will be made if we can keep this issue front and forward.
    Honestly, I haven’t seen any of the Obama bashing you describe, to any real degree. He’s going to take heat from people who want him to do better on the things they care about. And from a completely different sort of of heat from people who hate him. (notice I said “different” so as to pre-empt some of the ridiculous statements that will say these people are the same)

  51. 51
    NickT says:

    @Emma:

    I see that Mandalay’s fantasy-prone personality is manifesting itself again. Interesting that the Snowwaldians have now shifted their ground from “Snowden told the truth” to “Snowden started a debate”. They obviously aren’t very confident in the character of their star performer or the quality of his data.

  52. 52
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: THE ACLU one is the one to keep our eyes on. The ACLU is a customer of Verizon, so they would probably be considered to have standing. And they are accustomed to taking cases up to the Supreme Court through the usual channels.

    The EPIC one I’m not sure about. There was a comment on one of the legal blogs, I wish I could remember which one, that EPIC going directly to the Supreme Court may create a problem since there are suits in the lower courts.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    To the extent that Snowden did us any good by jump starting the conversation, it was only necessary because the press is a bunch of lazy fucks who weren’t interested in this information until it became a scoop despite having been previously discussed publicly.

    Doesn’t this sentence pretty much negate itself?

  54. 54
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tractarian:

    So, when someone illegally leaks classified information, that information becomes public and people can discuss it.

    Yes.

  55. 55
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @LAC:

    No, he’s very much a hero. For those of you calling him a traitor, my opinion is you all are traitors to the Constitutional basis of this country.

    Stop stepping on my rights to be secure in my effects and communications!!! Effing tories . . . Have fun on Facebook, by the way! Hope it’s worth shredding the 4th amendment over . . .

  56. 56
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Hal: I think any posts about this topic should have two parallel threads: One where each side flames each other and one to discuss the issues. I would even write a bot to sort the responses.

  57. 57
    mclaren says:

    But… But… But Glenn Greenwald is an egomaniac, so SHUT UP!

  58. 58
    mclaren says:

    @Emma:

    I am all for public debate of these issues.

    Then according to Barack Obama you’re a traitor guilty of espionage.

  59. 59
    jayackroyd says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): empty wheel talked about this last sunday and has been writing about it.

    The short answer is none except maybe SCOTUS

  60. 60

    Instead of reading any of the comments on any post containing the word ‘Snowden’, I’m just going to save some time and smack myself in the nuts with a baseball bat.

  61. 61
    NickT says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    You know you’ll just be denounced as a probot-bot, don’t you?

  62. 62
    NickT says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Centrist!

  63. 63
    magurakurin says:

    @Jasmine Bleach:

    Have fun on Facebook, by the way! Hope it’s worth shredding the 4th amendment over . . .

    huh?

  64. 64
    mclaren says:

    @Mandalay:

    If Greenwald details the traitorous Snowden’s revelations he is a self-serving asshole.

    Thank you! Finally! Now we’re getting that good old familiar Balloon Juice 3-minute hate for anyone who speaks the truth in public.

    You need to toughen up your rhetoric, though. The proper form goes something like: “The running dog traitor Snowden has betrayed his sacred duty to the Party and must be subjected to thought reform and afterwards summary execution.” That’s the way they used to do it in Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China.

  65. 65
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Emma: And it will actually be easy because most people in the country don’t care that much. Most people I talk to, none of which read any political blog, think Snowden is a traitor, that there was always some level of government spying, and that if you haven’t done anything wrong, then there’s nothing to hide. They consider how the woman who sent the ricin to Obama and Bloomberg was caught a good thing.

  66. 66
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Violet: That should be a point everyone can agree on; therefore, I predict you’ll be viciously attacked for making it.

  67. 67
    Corner Stone says:

    @NickT:

    Interesting that the Snowwaldians have now shifted their ground from “Snowden told the truth” to “Snowden started a debate”. They obviously aren’t very confident in the character of their star performer or the quality of his data.

    Hey Flipyrwhig. Just wanted to make sure you saw this one next time you feel frustrated about that whole absolutely irritating peacock-tail display thing in comments.

  68. 68
    LAC says:

    @NickT: Now he is bespectacled conversation piece. You stand around with your friends and a martini and go “what does that say to you?”

  69. 69
    weaselone says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I’m not certain how you can. Just look at the issue of the metadata the NSA collects from the phone companies. It’s not feasible for the NSA to get approval for each individuals phone number. Although it would be trivial, the NSA by its own admission does not actually link those phone numbers to an identity unless further investigation is indicated. It generates a sort of catch 22 where in order to give you the opportunity to protect your privacy, the NSA or other part of the government would have to further infringe on your privacy. The records are also obtained from the phone companies. Is there any reason why individuals should have more recourse here than if they were captured on surveillance tapes at the local gas station?

  70. 70
    Emma says:

    @mclaren: Do you really, really need to descend to such stupidity?

  71. 71
    eemom says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Instead of reading any of the comments on any post containing the word ‘Snowden’, I’m just going to save some time and smack myself in the nuts with a baseball bat.

    srsly. I’m thinking about changing my nym to Snowden and doing whatever T&H and Cassidy did to get banned.

  72. 72
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Is Mandalay basically T&H posting from some other account? Because it sure seems that way.

    @Comrade Jake: I know some of the front pagers can see the IP addresses that posts are made from. They could answer the question definitively.

    It doesn’t matter, the way I see it. I’d rather Tim be spending all his waking hours here insulting people than spend a minute offline around a child, given his previous statements on the awesomeness of child rape.

    An asshole poster is an asshole poster and Mandalay is most assuredly an asshole. That’s all I need to know about it. Get Troll-B-Gone or cleek’s pie filter. They both work really well.

  73. 73
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Tractarian: Depends. The place where it came from, the government, will still treat it as classified information. They will just have a hard time convincing a jury that it still is.

  74. 74
    NickT says:

    @LAC:

    It says that desperate libertarians are always looking for the next sparklepony wonderboy to “justify” their conspiracy theories.

  75. 75
    Comrade Jake says:

    @mclaren:

    Then according to Barack Obama you’re a traitor guilty of espionage.

    I really don’t understand what the point of this sort of response is, other than to perhaps troll Emma.

    It is possible for people to suggest that the upshot of what Snowden has done is for the greater good, while also pointing out that the dude committed a crime. These two thoughts aren’t mutually exclusive.

  76. 76
    LAC says:

    @Jasmine Bleach: I have a feeling your communications could be bottled into a sleep aid.

  77. 77
    Miki says:

    @Emma:

    There was a comment on one of the legal blogs, I wish I could remember which one, that EPIC going directly to the Supreme Court may create a problem since there are suits in the lower courts.

    Lawfare has a discussion today about the statutory and constitutional authority for the EPIC petition and argues SCOTUS won’t grant the petition because there are other similar suits pending in lower courts. IOW – no need for extraordinary relief.

    (p.s. I made this same comment on Annie Laurie’s post on the EPIC petition.)

  78. 78
    burnspbesq says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    what do we have for appealing a warrant granted by a non-FISA judge?

    Nada. Warrants are issued ex parte, for reasons that I would think are obvious. The traditional remedy for abuses of the warrant process is suppression of illegally obtained evidence at trial. Which is only an effective remedy if there’s a trial, or if the potential problem with the evidence provides significant leverage to the defense in plea negotiations.

  79. 79
    NickT says:

    @LAC:

    And a suppository.

  80. 80
    Corner Stone says:

    @weaselone:

    It generates a sort of catch 22 where in order to give you the opportunity to protect your privacy, the NSA or other part of the government would have to further infringe on your privacy.

    It kind of reminds me of that case a while back where the FBI or some other LEO had (possibly) illegally placed tracking devices on a suspects car. Subsequent events happened, suspect found devices, the FBI had to then knock on his door and ask for the devices back.

  81. 81
    LAC says:

    @Emma: Honey, please…he is spelunking into the bowels of stupid as we speak. We are minutes away from him finding oil or those underworld creatures from “The Descent”.

  82. 82
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I know some of the front pagers can see the IP addresses that posts are made from. They could answer the question definitively.

    By “another account” I meant a different machine with some other IP address.

  83. 83
    mclaren says:

    @MomSense:

    Unfortunately I think Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras, Wikileaks, et al have done serious harm.

    Can you be specific about exactly what kind of “serious harm” Snowden and Greenwald and Wikileaks and the rest of have done, and to whom?

    And do you have any hard evidence to back up your claim that these people have done some conveniently undefined nebulous “serious harm” to someone or something?

    You know, I think your comments are doing serious harm. We need to subject you to extraordinary rendition to some secret prison somewhere where you’ll be waterboarded for six months as a precautionary measure.

    If that doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to provide some hard evidence for your claims or STFU.

  84. 84
    Emma says:

    @Miki: Yes! That was it. Lawfare. Thanks!

  85. 85
    NickT says:

    @Emma:

    You assume mclaren has a choice.

  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @Miki: Thanks. I haven’t been through AL’s post on that yet but will shortly.

  87. 87
    burnspbesq says:

    @Steve Crickmore:

    his [Obama’s] transformation from a radical fresh candidate, who wanted a whole new approach to policy

    Were you tripping for the entire 2008 campaign? Obama is exactly what people who were paying attention at the time knew him to be.

  88. 88
    Xantar says:

    You know what else would have been good? Getting your allegations of wrongdoing right instead of blurring so many lines that we all just end up debating whether or not the sky is blue.

  89. 89
    LAC says:

    @NickT: LOL! three easy payments of 19.99. Order now!!!

  90. 90
    MomSense says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    It is especially stupid since Obama said none of those things.

  91. 91
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I think it qualifies. But the vast majority of the “Why do so few people get this, unlike me?” remarks come from other quarters. At any rate, a lot of the discussions here seem like they’re in the midst of getting somewhere until an outbreak of deliberate derailing and cock-measuring. ETA: After which derailing and cock-measuring there follow gloomy complaints about how no one wants to talk about The Real Issue.

  92. 92
    NickT says:

    @LAC:

    Don’t all beat down the door now!

  93. 93
    Comrade Jake says:

    @FlipYrWhig: All this time I thought “Balloon Juice” was a euphemism for “cock measuring”.

  94. 94
    burnspbesq says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    But but but Snowden and GG are dickhead traitors, so this is a non-story

    Bull. It’s a real story, and an important issue, and Snowden and Greenwald’s role in creating the conditions in which the discussion can take place should be taken into account at sentencing.

  95. 95
    different-church-lady says:

    The result is that we know much more about the surveillance state than we did before.

    Well, yes, except that the problem is what some people now know about it is information, and what others now “know” about it is disinformation.

  96. 96
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @weaselone: And I think that’s the question, isn’t it? So many people on the blogs here and other places, like Daily Kos, have this rather restricted view of “public.” But there seems to have been a whole lot of court rulings by courts (not FISA ones) that say otherwise.

    At the same time, though, the FISA court does seem to be redefining some legal terms that go beyond what is considered legal precedent. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to challenge that.

    But, with the amount of data they are collecting, they are not actively looking for crimes; this is not precrime. They are looking for needles after someone says there’s one in a haystack. So, I’m not entirely sure the collection truly violates the 4th amendment. But the only way to know this for sure is for it to end up at the Supreme Court (and some people may not like the answer even if we went through the correct process) or Congress to do it’s damn job. I like to make myself laugh every once in a while.

  97. 97
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Comrade Jake: Doesn’t sound similar in style.

    Who was the person whose catchphrase was “center-right fight club”? Was that “some guy”?

  98. 98
    handsmile says:

    @MomSense:

    With respect, if you are a regular reader of the South China Morning Post (I certainly am not) then your opinion of the “independence’ of its journalists will have some merit, otherwise….

    I have a good deal of respect for the journalistic integrity of Barton Gellman based primarily on his reporting/investigations of President Cheney for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. (Gellman’s book Angler details his efforts.)

    While I read Gellman’s original reporting on Snowden’s NSA revelations and the subsequent conflict between the two, I’m unclear then or now how that demonstrated Snowden deliberately providing foreign governments with US classified intelligence. Any links to better illuminate this specific point would be appreciated.

    What has been of a great deal of interest to me is that Dana Priest, the Washington Post’s peerless investigative reporter who is perhaps the most authoritative journalist on national surveillance issues (e.g., her book Top Secret America) has not published (as far as I can find) on the Snowden/NSA matter.

  99. 99
    handsmile says:

    @MomSense:

    With respect, if you are a regular reader of the South China Morning Post (I certainly am not) then your opinion of the “independence’ of its journalists will have some merit, otherwise….

    I have a good deal of respect for the journalistic integrity of Barton Gellman based primarily on his reporting/investigations of President Cheney for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. (Gellman’s book Angler details his efforts.)

    While I read Gellman’s original reporting on Snowden’s NSA revelations and the subsequent conflict between the two, I’m unclear then or now how that demonstrated Snowden deliberately providing foreign governments with US classified intelligence. Any links to better illuminate this specific point would be appreciated.

    What has been of a great deal of interest to me is that Dana Priest, the Washington Post’s peerless investigative reporter who is perhaps the most authoritative journalist on national surveillance issues (e.g., her book Top Secret America) has not published (as far as I can find) on the Snowden/NSA matter.

  100. 100
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Comrade Jake: You can compare yours to an inflated balloon? Dayamn.

  101. 101
    mclaren says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I would rather talk about the “Snowden effect” as it affects, you know, surveillance and privacy. As opposed to this absolutely irritating peacock-tail display thing that dominates the comments on these stories, where only the bold and courageous few who dare to truly care signal to each other how awesome they are and how it’s too bad they’re the only ones who Get It. Every. Fucking. Time.

    And once again, we have yet another substance-free complaint about the “style” and “tone” and “personality” of the only people in our society today who are standing up for the basic rule of law that has served as the foundation of Western society since the Magna Carta.

    One very common tactic for enforcing political orthodoxies is to malign the character, “style” and even mental health of those who challenge them. (..)

    This method is applied with particular aggression to those who engage in any meaningful dissent against the society’s most powerful factions and their institutions. (..)

    A subtler version of this technique is to attack the so-called “style” of the critic as a means of impugning, really avoiding, the substance of the critique. Although Paul Krugman is comfortably within mainstream political thought as a loyal Democrat and a New York Times columnist, his relentless attack against the austerity mindset is threatening to many. As a result, he is barraged with endless, substance-free complaints about his “tone”: he is too abrasive, he does not treat opponents with respect, he demonizes those who disagree with him, etc. The complaints are usually devoid of specifics to prevent meaningful refutation…

    Source: “How Noam Chomsky is discussed — The more one dissents from political orthodoxies, the more the attacks focus on personality, style and character,” Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, 23 March 2013.

    Can anyone give us specific facts to back up these vague fact-free assertions that Greenwald and Snowden and Assange are doing “serious harm” to America? Anyone?

    I’ll make it simple for you. Name a member of the U.S. military who has been killed because of Snowden’s or Assange’s leaks.

    Name a member of any U.S. intelligence agency who has been killed because of Snowden’s or Assange’s leaks.

    Name one (1) U.S. citizen who has been killed because of Snowden’s or Assange’s leaks.

    You’re talking about “serious harm.” Here’s your chance to back up your claims. Facts or GTFO.

  102. 102
    MomSense says:

    @mclaren:

    I am pretty sure that this will go right over your head but I am talking about trying to build allies, build a coalition of people that is big enough, and committed enough about privacy rights to fight a difficult battle against monied interests. The case that Snowden may have been trying to make has been so muddied by his behavior and some of his statements and those of his supporters that it has caused potential allies to dismiss him and to dismiss legitimate privacy concerns. In terms of organizing on the issue of privacy, he has done harm.

    You telling me to STFU is a perfect example. I don’t know anything about you personally and clearly you don’t know anything about me because I was actually caught up in the Bush warrantless wiretapping activities because of my work on peace and justice issues including activities protesting and doing advocacy on these issues.

  103. 103
    Comrade Jake says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I’m not sure about the “center-right” part, but the fight club sentiment seems correct.

  104. 104
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @mclaren: I haven’t ever once said anything about “serious harm.” Other than that, for some reason whenever I read a post from you I hear calliope music.

  105. 105
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @burnspbesq: In this sense, then, there’s not even a constitutional framework for this. There’s no search, nothings being seized, especially from your person or your home, and it’s not placing an undo burden. It’s not even being used in any way against people until there’s a reason to go looking through the data.

    (Don’t construe this in any way as arguing that everything being done is OK.)

  106. 106
    gene108 says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What I believe is there’s a constant buzz of Obama-bad that turns off potential Democratic voters or even people who would support a more liberal agenda, because all they get from the news is the President sucks and in their opinion the Republclicans are bug- fuck crazy.

    But who do you expect them to support? Jill Stein, who they have never heard of, because they never hear anything good about Obama.

    I saw this with my mom, in 2012, who was so disaffected she was willing to sit out the election, but thankfully Romney was such a dick she decided to support Obama.

    If there was a Democratic news outlet that sang the praises of Obama, like Fox does for Republicans, you can have well meaning criticism from the left.

    But since that is absent all the bashing of Ibama, from Obamacare to this does, is ad to the background din of Obama-sucks and will turn off potential supporters.

  107. 107
  108. 108
    mclaren says:

    @Emma:

    Do you really, really need to descend to such stupidity?

    I’ve asked you for evidence to back up your claims. Your response? I’m “stupid.”

    Do I really need to comment on that kind of `argument,’ except to say “thank you for proving my assertion that Snowden’s attackers have no evidence to back up their vague assertions that he’s allegedly doing `serious harm’ and nothing to support their case except name-calling”…?

  109. 109
    different-church-lady says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    They are looking for needles after someone says there’s one in a haystack.

    Near as I can tell, they are doing a bit more: they might be attempting to take the entire haystack back to a warehouse and store it there until someone says there’s a needle that needs to be found.

    As I’ve been putting it: the NSA appears to have come down with worst case of hoarding in the history of mankind.

    Might be technically legal but that doesn’t mean I’m down with it.

  110. 110
    different-church-lady says:

    @mclaren: You’re not stupid. So why you choose to be an asshole day after day I can’t figure out.

  111. 111
    burnspbesq says:

    @mclaren:

    Are you actually denying that Greenwald is “a self-serving asshole,” or are you simply willing to ignore that indisputable fact in pursuit of some other goal?

  112. 112
    heckblazer says:

    Revealing information about PRISM and other domestic NSA programs is a good thing. Yes, lots of people suspected this was going on, but having actual facts confirming suspicions is useful. So far I haven’t seen behavior that’s actually illegal, but since there hasn’t been a good public discussion on what the laws should be.

    What bugs me about Snowden is stuff like today’s missive about spying in Latin America. Spying is the whole point of spy agencies, and publicizing this stuff doesn’t do anything to further the interests of Americans.

  113. 113
    taylormattd says:

    @Miki: Good ole 9th Circuit, love ’em. We’ll see if that stands up should this eventually end up at the Supreme Court.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @different-church-lady: Maybe duplicating the haystack rather than taking it, because it both stays where it was built and also goes into the warehouse.

  115. 115
    taylormattd says:

    @eemom: T & H was banned? PRAISE JESUS.

  116. 116
    cleek says:

    @gene108:
    but what’s really important is that a Pure finds a new way, every day, to tell everyone how Pure he is.

  117. 117
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @heckblazer: “When I got a job with this spy agency, I was shocked by how soon I discovered it was full of spies!”

  118. 118
    NickT says:

    @heckblazer:

    I think the reason for Snowden and Greenwald to publicize the astounding revelation that the US gathers intelligence on other countries is because their PRISM material is looking weaker and less convincing the more people with some technical knowledge examine it. Basically they are padding out some pretty thin material with more obviously “controversial” material to make their case look better.

  119. 119
    NickT says:

    @taylormattd:

    Jesus was banned years ago. I don’t think he gets any credit.

    FSM akbar!

  120. 120
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    For the people who do think this is an important issue but think Snowden and Greenwald have poisoned it, under what circumstances do you think it should be discussed? I mean, we all know the media is attracted to personalities and conflict, and they wouldn’t likely cover this otherwise. You’d think people who always beat the drum about ‘pragmatism’ would know that. You’re never going to get to have this theoretically perfet discussion with theoretically perfect actors who don’t have any blind spots or quirks. If you do care about the issue, you have to take the chance you get to bring it up. And I’m seeing a lot more people care about this than did a month ago. Yes, yes, “they should have known about it already, like I did” (who are the ‘purity trolls’, again.) Sorry, can’t really care about that. I want people takling about this,and I don’t really care if they haven’t already been doing so for ten years. Any discussion of this is good discussion.

  121. 121
    Emma says:

    @mclaren: I know, because I do read foreign press, that Der Spiegel refused to publish some of the materials Snowden produced because it NAMED American intelligence assets. For that matter, the Guardian held back some stuff for similar reasons.

    No, people haven’t died. But it wasn’t because of Snowden.

    Look. I don’t like Snowden because I don’t like people who blather on about freedoms and then proceed to run to some of the most politically corrupt, least free places in the world for protection. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t issues with the way decisions are made at all levels of this mess. There three primary areas where changes would be important: major changes to if not outright repealing of the Patriot Act; more transparency to FISC decisions, even with a time lag built in; and a solid, law-backed definition of privacy in the online age.

    And considering the Congress we have, I also want an unicorn. Sparkly white with an ice-blue mane.

  122. 122
    burnspbesq says:

    @mclaren:

    Re your comments 83 and 101: HA!

    The Mistress (or is it Master) of the Fact Free Hissy-Fit requiring facts?

    Nuh-uh. That dog ain’t ever gonna hunt.

  123. 123
    Emma says:

    @mclaren: You made a statement about Barack Obama which you have no link to evidence. In your court.

  124. 124
    gene108 says:

    @cleek:

    but what’s really important is that a Pure finds a new way, every day, to tell everyone how Pure he is.

    To me it’s more that this sort of stuff from the Left just plays into the “both sides do it” meme and just feeds the “both sides do it” MSM beast.

    You can’t complain about the “both sides do it” reporting, when you are also feeding the “both sides do it” MSM beast.

    The “both sides do it” MSM beast is a simple creature that reasons in very simple ‘either-or/good-bad” logic. Either President Obama is good, because people like him or he is bad because people say mean things about him.

    Nuance, distinction and any sort of alternate logic does not compute with the MSM beast.

    Unfortunately, liberals need the MSM beast to get information out to the public and must understand the limits of its processing capabilities before shooting off into paragraph after paragraph, in some lengthy 20 word explanation of why “Obama is basically good, but the NSA situation isn’t because of the USA PATRIOT Acts that enabled this” that will lead to an overload of the MSM beasts brain and cause it to shut down and not report what you are saying.

  125. 125
    mclaren says:

    @MomSense:

    I am pretty sure that this will go right over your head but I am talking about trying to build allies, build a coalition of people that is big enough, and committed enough about privacy rights to fight a difficult battle against monied interests.

    The problem here isn’t “monied interests.” The problem is the government of the united states throwing out the rule of law. Study burnspbesq’s post above. The crux of the issue is that we have a secret court granting secret warrants for secret surveillance as a result of which officials of the U.S. government are now ordering extrajudicial actions, like kidnapping U.S. citizens and holding ’em in secret prisons, or assassinating U.S. citizens without a trial or charges.

    Let me give you a specific example: Anwar Al-Awlaki, a united states citizen, was ordered assassinated by the president of the united states almost certainly on the basis of exactly these kinds of secret interceptions of electronic data.

    There was no trial. No charges. No chance for the accused to defend himself. No opportunity for anyone other than some spooks deep in the intelligence community and the military to examine the evidence against him — certainly no opportunity for Al-Awlaki or the public to see any of the so-called “evidence” against him. There was no trial by a jury of his peers. There was no appeal for the ruling, because the ruling wasn’t made by a court of law, the ruling was made by Barack Obama acting like some gangster in a 1930s movie — “I want this guy dead. I want his family dead.”

    That’s not the rule of law. That’s not America.

    That’s the abandonment of everything that separates us from tyranny and barbarism.

    There’s no trial, no jury, no charges, no chance to examine the evidence, no chance to defend yourself against the charges, no due process, nothing but some guy in a dark room turning his thumb down and saying “kill him.”

    That’s Caligula. That’s the way the Roman empire did it under tyrants like Commodus or Nero.

    If you’re talking about “monied interests” you’re already way off base. The issue at stake here isn’t “monied interests,” it’s whether America clings to civilization or descends into barbarism. Because if you think doing away with courts and evidence and charges and due process and the rule of law isn’t a descent into barbarism, boy howdy, just wait till someone you know becomes the victim of a “targeted killing” on the basis of “classified intelligence” that no one can examine as a result of a process that takes place completely outside the United States legal system.

    The case that Snowden may have been trying to make has been so muddied by his behavior and some of his statements and those of his supporters that it has caused potential allies to dismiss him and to dismiss legitimate privacy concerns. In terms of organizing on the issue of privacy, he has done harm.

    Can you provide any hard evidence to back up that claim? Sounds to me as though a lot of people on this forum (and elsewhere in the mainstream media) are saying the exact opposite. Snowden’s actions have kick-started a huge public debate about this issue, when it wasn’t even on the radar prior to his revelations.

    You telling me to STFU is a perfect example.

    I didn’t tell you to STFU. Be specific. I asked to to provide evidence for your claims or STFU. All you have to do is come forward with some hard evidence to support what you’re saying.

    Can you?

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma:

    Der Spiegel refused to publish some of the materials Snowden produced because it NAMED American intelligence assets

    Der Spiegel never said that. They were intentionally very vague about what kind of info they were holding back. Charles Johnson at LGF then went on to boldly assert this meant it had to be personnel information on clandestine agents.

  127. 127
    burnspbesq says:

    @taylormattd:

    Good ole 9th Circuit, love ‘em. We’ll see if that stands up should this eventually end up at the Supreme Court.

    Nagahappen. After the Ninth reversed the District Court’s order dismissing the case for lack of standing, the case went back to the District Court. The United States then moved to dismiss on state secrets grounds, and plaintiffs filed some sort of motion (presumably a motion for partial summary judgment) claiming that FISA displaces the common-law state secrets doctrine. If you’re anticipating a favorable outcome on those motions, you’re far more of an optimist than I.

  128. 128
    NickT says:

    @MomSense:

    I think you’ve entered the “talking to a diningroom table” stage of this “debate”.

  129. 129
    Corner Stone says:

    @Emma:

    I don’t like Snowden because I don’t like people who blather on about freedoms and then proceed to run to some of the most politically corrupt, least free places in the world for protection.

    I’ve given up trying to understand why it’s important where he went. Are we at war with any of these places? Someone alert the Commerce Dept. so we can stop trading with some of our largest trading partners.

  130. 130
    NickT says:

    @burnspbesq:

    While we have you on the line where do you think the jury will come down on the Trayvon Martin case?

  131. 131
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @different-church-lady: I think we’re saying the same thing: I think they basically making a copy of every haystack they can.

    I would also like to add this: I think a lot of the constitution, and it’s amendments, were created to prevent the government from stifling political dissent (even if the founders subsequently tried to pass laws that stifled political dissent). I can potentially see this being used for those purposes, but I don’t see it adding any additional capabilities (they can track you and your phone calls by other methods). But they can’t use it to predict what you are doing any more than they could have predicted the Boston bombing by just knowing the phone numbers.

  132. 132
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Emma:

    The ‘but he went to China’ argument is another one I don’t get. Given that he has members of congress calling him a traitor, I think he has a justified fear that he’d never see daylight again if he was caught by the USA or an ally with an extradition treaty. Now, maybe he should be willing to face the music, but come on, if you had even a small chance of facing jail for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you try to avoid that? I just don’t see why that’s such a sticking point for people, like that alone invalidates anything else he could do.

  133. 133
    becca says:

    I wonder if there is a diabolical connection between the GOP-squashed DHS report on the rise of homegrown right-wing militias and the terrorism potential and the recent-to-some revelations that “omg!the government is keeping tabs on us and I’ve been in a coma for over a decade” crowd.

  134. 134
    burnspbesq says:

    @mclaren:

    While I appreciate the kind words, you and I are just going to have to agree to disagree about al-Awlaki.

    Your legal framing of the issues around al-Awlaki is just irredeemably wrong.

    The appropriate framework for thinking about al-Awlaki is the law of war.

    There can be no dispute that al-Awlaki fit within the definition of “al-Qaeda and associated forces” in the AUMF, which is the functional equivalent of a declaration of war. As such, he was a combatant, not a suspect. There is ample room within the framework of the law of warto debate whether the drone strike was proportional and whether reasonable care was taken to minimize collateral damage, but if you get to “yes” on those issues then it was a righteous kill, legally and morally.

  135. 135
    handsmile says:

    A question for the barristers:

    I learned from the Lawfare post that Miki kindly posted earlier today (and @#77 above) that “the Supreme Court has the ultimate authority to review decisions by the FISA Court, as appealed to the FISA Court of Review.”

    Should the Supreme Court choose to review publicly a FISA decision, would CJ Roberts recuse himself from hearing/deciding upon the case? As was revealed in last Sunday’s NYT article on the FISA Court, he has appointed all but one of its current judges and has the sole authority to make such appointments.

    I have my own opinion on the matter, of course, but would be curious to hear from those with a J.D. or an Esq. after their RL name.

  136. 136
    burnspbesq says:

    @NickT:

    While we have you on the line where do you think the jury will come down on the Trayvon Martin case?

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see any possibility of a conviction on the second-degree murder charge. He either gets voluntary manslaughter or he goes home.

  137. 137
    Miki says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If you’re anticipating a favorable outcome on those motions, you’re far more of an optimist than I.

    The decision came out Monday. From the Court’s summary:

    Having thoroughly considered the parties’ papers, Defendants’ public and classified declarations, the relevant legal authority and the parties’ arguments, the Court GRANTS the Jewel Plaintiffs’ motion for partial summary adjudication by rejecting the state secrets defense as having been displaced by the statutory procedure prescribed in 50 U.S.C. § 1806(f) of FISA. In both related cases, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ motions to dismiss Plaintiffs’ statutory claims on the basis of sovereign immunity. The Court further finds that the parties have not addressed the viability of the only potentially remaining claims, the Jewel Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims under the Fourth and First Amendments and the claim for violation of separation of powers and the Shubert Plaintiffs’ fourth cause of action for violation of the Fourth Amendment. Accordingly, the Court RESERVES ruling on Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the remaining, non-statutory claims.

    The Court shall require that the parties submit further briefing on the course of this litigation going forward.

    Good discussion by emptywheel here.

  138. 138
    Emma says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: The most successful people who changed their countries (Mandela, MLK) went to prison. They knew that to keep the issue front and center they had to face the CURRENT legal penalties of their actions in order to change the FUTURE law.

    One of the reasons why I would not become a whistleblower except under extraordinary circumstances.

  139. 139
    NickT says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I am hoping that the jury will take the manslaughter route. Do you think it’s a real possibility?

  140. 140
    MomSense says:

    @handsmile:

    Aside from the obvious issues of “press freedom” WRT China, there is a long history of the Kuok family and their treatment of journalists who are in any way critical of China. I had a dear friend who worked for years on human rights issues–so I am deeply suspicious of the idea that they were independent.

    I think there is an obvious question as to why Snowden would want to prove he was the source of the leaks to a foreign embassy. First, he didn’t specify foreign journalists. Presumably a foreign embassy would mean agents of the government of a foreign country.

    Have you read any of Eichenwald’s pieces on this at Vanity Fair?

    And O/T are you still planning to visit Maine?

  141. 141
    Emma says:

    @Corner Stone: See, I am amazed that this isn’t important to you. These are countries that do violence to their own citizens such as Americans will never experience (yes, there are exceptions, I know there are, but they are not everyday occurrences, in spite of what the crazies bleat about). Claiming to stand for freedom and running to despots for protections make me sick to my stomach.

    Or is freedom only important to Americans as it applies directly to them?

  142. 142
    burnspbesq says:

    @handsmile:

    Re recusal: I would hope he would, on appearance-of-impropriety grounds, but I don’t think he’s required to. This is different than Justice Kagan recusing herself from cases that were worked on in the SG’s office when she was there, and vastly different from Justice Sotomayor’s recent recusal in a case where she was part of the Second Circuit panel that decided it. Roberts (at least AFAWK) hasn’t played any role in the process by which either the FISC or the FISCR decides cases, and hasn’t (at least AFAWK) played any role in deciding which cases get pursued or what arguments get made before the lower courts.

  143. 143
    burnspbesq says:

    @Miki:

    Marcy is so fixated on the state secrets doctrine that she apparently doesn’t realize that her side lost. Sovereign immunity is the ace of spades in litigation against the Federal government. Nothing beats it, and it’s hornbook law that waivers of sovereign immunity require express Congressional action (see, for example, Section 106 of the Bankruptcy Code) and are narrowly construed.

  144. 144
    cleek says:

    i like that a guy is so concerned about transparency and the rule of law that he teams up with someone outside the reach of the law in order to break the law and then escape the consequences of breaking the law by running to countries which don’t even approach the US’s commitment to laws and transparency.

    ( yes, what he revealed should be discussed. as it has been, for many years. )

  145. 145
    burnspbesq says:

    @Emma:

    Or is freedom only important to Americans as it applies directly to them?

    Bingo. Go on up to the podium to show them your winning card and claim your prize.

  146. 146
    ruemara says:

    @Emma: You imply this was a “descent”. Assumes facts not in evidence.

    I think I’m at the point where I just don’t care anymore. Maybe a few turns back, hell, I definitely cared about it when it was warrantless. Now I don’t care. I hope the ACLU wins and I hope EPIC wins. I think the reason why many people can’t even muster up basic annoyance is, 1. You already accept that shit the minute you use a browser. 2. It’s goddamned hard out here. When I can stop scrabbling to hit basic survival, I’ll have the will to care.
    There’s too much under attack right now, too many things to have to block and to fix. Who knows how this will turn out? I’ve lost a lot of hope in the right thing happening these past few years.

  147. 147
    LAC says:

    @NickT: Me too. I find it hard to watch the trial and all the god awful reporting on. I remain optimistic that he will put away, but, of course, not as long as he should be.

  148. 148
    ruemara says:

    @Emma:

    Or is freedom only important to Americans as it applies directly to them?

    Yes. That’s why the Zimmerman trial was mocked up thread. That’s why almost every racial injustice thread has a good dose of mocking. That’s why women’s rights and voting rights threads almost never get input from such serious crusaders. It’s not like it’s their world being affected.

  149. 149
    burnspbesq says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Also too, the Government has more cards to play. Expect a motion for summary judgment on the Constitutional claims, based on qualified immunity.

  150. 150
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @mclaren:

    Can you be specific about exactly what kind of “serious harm” Snowden and Greenwald and Wikileaks and the rest of have done, and to whom?

    If it’s true that asset names were revealed by Snowden (and, unless he took the time to redact what he stole– not something the Wiki folks or GG are known for, that happened)… then those people are already dead.

    Just as every ‘business contact’ of Valerie Plame’s in Africa and Asia was certainly dead by the end of that week.

  151. 151
    mclaren says:

    @Emma:

    You made a statement about Barack Obama which you have no link to evidence. In your court.

    You’re not being specific but I’m guessing that you’re objecting to my assertion that Barack Obama ordered Anwar Al-Awlaki murdered on the basis of secret intel.

    Burnspbesq also made the same objection.

    As it happens, I do have evidence to support my claim — circumstantial evidence, but evidence nonetheless.

    I refer you to the New York Times article “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” 29 May 2012:

    This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.

    President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.

    “How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”

    It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.

    This gives us a glimpse of the extrajudicial process used to murder a U.S. citizen. Notice that the article mentions that out of these targets of the “process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical,” once again to quote the exact words of the article, “some were Americans.”

    It’s hard to be an American without being an American citizen. It seems reasonable to conclude from the wording that some of the people Obama was ordering murdered without charges or a trial in this secret extrajudicial session are U.S. citizens. If they weren’t U.S. citizens, it seems likely that the article would have used different wording, like “foreign nationals” or “people living in America temporarily” or “people visiting America.”

    Notice also that this article is very specific that this list of enemies to be murdered is “served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies.” Intelligence agencies typically provide intel gathered from classified sources when they provide a briefing to the president of the united states. The vast majority of the intel gathered from classified sources by intelligence agencies today is sigint, electronic intercepts, of exactly the kind the NSA specializes in gathering, rather than humint, human intelligence from spies. The reason is obvious: America has a terrible lack of arabic-speaking spies. We concentrated on the Russians for 70 years. We have boatloads of russian-speaking human intelligence assets, or did at the time the Cold War ended. But 9/11 caught us by surprise and as a result we have very few human intelligence operatives able to speak arabic and blend into the society in the middle east. As a result, America primarily uses sigint instead of humint in the Global War against Terror.

    So we have strong circumstantial evidence about the processes used to order the extrajudicial murder of U.S. citizens, based on this New York Times article. U.S. intelligence agencies concoct a chart containing the names and faces and background info about people designated as “terrorists.” The president of the United States then examines the sigint and makes a decision about whether to ordered these people murdered without a trial and without charges. Some of them are U.S. citizens.

    Sounds like it supports my claims point for point.

    Now at this point burnspbesq will predictably object that I haven’t proved my case with exact specific names and dates of the U.S. citizens murdered, and the exact sigint used to gin up their death warrants.

    In response, I would note that burnsie is as usual trying to create a catch-22 which prevents anyone from rebutting his argument. Notice that the entire process the New York Times describes is classified. The chart compiled by the U.S. intelligence agencies which Obama examines is top secret. The meeting in which decides whether to murder U.S. citizens is top secret. The names of these U.S. citizens who get murdered are classified. The military operations conducted by JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command in the E-ring of the Pentagon, are all classified.

    Everything here is secret.

    So by demanding that I obtain and specify details like names and dates and the sigint used, all of which is classified top secret, burnsie is guaranteeing that no one anywhere can ever legally object to this entire extrajudicial process. See how neat it all is? Classify everything top secret, then when an American citizens claims secret courts and secret evidence are being used to murder American extrajudicial, pseudo-clever lawyers like bunsie snicker, “Prove it! Show us the names of these U.S. citizens murdered and the dates they were killed!” But no one can, because it’s all classified top secret. Presto! Change-o! We’ve completely bypassed the judicial process. The extrajudicial murder machine rolls on unimpeded, because since it’s totally secret, no one can provide evidence of what’s going to to get a court of law to stop it.

    The clear and straightforward response to this kind of infantile jesuitical casuistry by burnspbesq is to refer to the black-letter case law. I refer here to the United States vs Wong Kim Ark, 169 US 649 (1898).

    The facts of that case are as follows: a Chinese laborer born in America, Wong Kim Ark, was denied re-entry into America on the basis that he was not a U.S. citizen. At that time, Chinese born in America were denied basic rights including citizenship. The federal court to which he addressed his petition had every right to deny him a hearing on the basis that he lacked standing — in short, he was not a citizen, and thus had no right to appear before the court. Notice the exact same kind of legalistic catch-22 here? You have no standing to petition for your rights as a citizen because you’re not a citizen. Catch-22! Go away and die.

    But the supreme court in 169 US 649 (1898) allowed Wong Kim Ark’s granted cert and allowed Wong Kim Ark’s case to be heard. They allowed hhis case to be heard because they recognized that something much more improtant that legalistic fine points were involved — the basic fairness of American society was at stake. If people could be born in America but declared non-citizens with no rights, America was in effect creating a second class of people, a slave class of nonentities who could be brutalized or exploited or murdered at will and who had no redress because they were not citizens.

    Now consider the parallels with the Al-Awlaki case. Once again, we have a second class of people in America being created, a slave class of nonentities who can be brutalized or murdered at will and who have no redress because in this case they are designed with the magic word “terrorist” even though they are U.S. citizens.

    Just as the supreme court granted cert in 169 U.S. 649 (1898) despite the fact that the defendant had no standing, burnspbesq and his co-conspirators must grant me leeway in this case by accepting my cricumstantial evidence, because to require me to present the precise names and exact dates of the U.S. citizens murdered (other than Al-Awlaki) and the sigint which led to their murders is impossible, since it’s classified top secret.

    The reason burnsie and his crypto-fascist buddies must grant me leeway by accepting this circumstantial evidence is the same reason the surpeme court granted cert to Kim Ark in 1898: because the vital interests of the survival of the very rule of law demand it. To argue otherwise, as burnspbesq and emma are doing here, is to argue for the continuation of a second class of Americans with no rights and no standing before the law and no redress when their government orders them tortured or kidnapped or murdered without a trial and without charges.

    And when burnspbesq sneers “that supreme court case is irrelevant, it’s not on point, it’s not even remotely related,” my response is the same as Kim Ark’s attorney’s response. He had to present distant cases not precisely on point because his client had no standing before the court whatsoever. I woudl recall to burnspbesq and emma the legal maxims “The law respects form less than substance” and “The law never requires impossibilities.” To put forward contorted legalistic sophistries whose sum effect is to justify the extrajudicial murder of U.S. citizens is on its face heinous, and to demand impossibilities of defendants like specifying the top secret classified details of the secret sigint and the secret meetings used to order their extrajudicial murder is eo ipso to require a legal impossibility.

  152. 152
    Miki says:

    @burnspbesq: Aren’t you being a little hard on Marcy?

    However, there is no way to look at the entirety of Jeff White’s opinion and come away believing the plaintiffs have any clear path to victory in the long run.

    Frankly, I’m more interested watching in the ACLU’s case against the NSA alleging Section 215 violates the 4th Amendment – seems like the perfect case.

  153. 153
    Seanly says:

    Former secret rubber-stamping judge is shocked, shocked to find creep of extent of secret rubber-stamping?

    I think a better definition of the Snowden Effect would be that the media spends more time discussing the oddity/motives/girlfriend of the whistleblower than having a substantial discussion of what was revealed. I suppose some journalist have done as Rosen argues, but most are fawning bootlickers of authority. (For the record, I don’t like the NSA programs one bit, but there are aspects of the timing & framing seemingly to maximize damage not to the NSA program but to Obama).

    RE: journalist ~ It’s all been said by the late great Frank Zappa – see Act III of Joe’s Garage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe's_Garage for a discussion of journalism (‘Joe’ talks about music journalist, but the sentiments apply to them all now).

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    If it’s true that asset names were revealed by Snowden

    To this point there is absolutely no evidence of this, and Snowden himself specifically claims he went through each document he took to make sure that couldn’t happen. As I stated earlier, the information Der Spiegel withheld was intentionally vague on their part. Charles Johnson did some magnificent over-reading into that action and concluded it had to be agents names/bios.

  155. 155
    handsmile says:

    @MomSense:

    Thanks for your reply! I was unaware of the Kuok’s family involvement/interference with Hong Kong journalists (understood their holdings to be primarily in Malaysia and Singapore), but will check the Commitee to Protect Journalists website to learn more. (I have no illusions whatsoever about the degree of press freedom in the PRC itself.)

    I have no satisfying answer to your “obvious” (and legitimate) question, but I am unpersuaded from all that I have read that Snowden’s intention was simply to turn over US state secrets.

    I don’t read Vanity Fair at all nor would I be inclined to grant much credibility to Kurt Eichenwald, but will do so (skeptically) at your suggestion.

    Re Maine: I’m pleased you remembered! Yes, we will be there from 8/16-9/1 and I do hope that a Midcoast meet-up might be possible.

  156. 156
    burnspbesq says:

    @mclaren:

    Not sure who this ‘burnsie” you keep referring to in your comment 151 might be, but it certainly isn’t me. You spent a great deal of time and effort constructing an elaborate strawman, but you haven’t addressed comment 134.

  157. 157
    handsmile says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Appreciate your reply. Even without a license, the differences between Roberts’ choice and the recusal decisions of Kagan and Sotomayor were evident to me.

    But “AFAWK” certainly carries a great deal of weight (as it must) in your answer.

  158. 158
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Corner Stone:
    You’ll have to forgive me for not taking Snowden at his word. Because I do have sufficient evidence to doubt his trustworthiness (and competence, for that matter).

    BTW four laptops’ full of data comes out to 2-8 terabytes (depending on hard drive sizes).

    Snowden couldn’t have redacted all the contents in the time he had, even if he wanted to, and were competent to do so.

  159. 159
    Laertes says:

    @Emma:

    Claiming to stand for freedom and running to despots for protections make me sick to my stomach.

    This seems like it follows from rather than leads to hostility to Snowden. Otherwise it just doesn’t make sense. He’s running to whoever will take him. That despots are his best bet is simply more evidence of how far we’ve gone off the rails.

    I’m taken aback at the breezy attitude of people who claim that they’d feel better about this whole thing if Mr. Snowden were to surrender himself to a system that would definitely torture and possibly kill him. Setting aside all the bad and good he’s done, and there’s been plenty of both, the guy has given up plenty already. He’s sacrificed any chance at any kind of normal life and he’s going to live the rest of his life as either a fugitive or a torture victim. Cheap barstool talk about how he ought to sacrifice even more doesn’t make the speaker look good.

  160. 160
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @gene108:

    Anything that makes this President look bad is a major loss in the war.

    Perhaps he should stop doing things that make him look bad.

  161. 161
    NickT says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    I thought we’d reached a consensus that he had a thumb drive, rather than 4 laptops? Or has Snowden’s baggage expanded again?

  162. 162
    cleek says:

    @Laertes:

    That despots are his best bet is simply more evidence of how far we’ve gone off the rails.

    “we” ?

    he knowingly broke the law and didn’t want to deal with the consequences, and “we” are to blame for that?

    a system that would definitely torture and possibly kill him

    this is utterly ridiculous.

  163. 163
    NickT says:

    @cleek:

    Libertarian purity cannot betray, it can only be betrayed.

  164. 164
    Laertes says:

    @cleek:

    We’re to blame for the fact that the consequences now include torture. This is a self-governing republic. Our government is torturing people because we will it.

  165. 165
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Laertes: I’m agnostic on the “Snowden: Heroic Whistleblower or Traitorous Scum?” question myself, but I don’t get the “real men submit to prosecution” argument either. Yeah, Mandela, Gandhi, King, et al, displayed amazing courage, but that’s what makes them exceptional.

    If I had something to leak that I strongly believed needed to be out there but also knew would land me in jail for the rest of my life, I’d skip off to the nearest sanctuary too. I hope I’d plan my escape a little better than Snowden did, but I don’t blame him for running.

  166. 166
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    Whom exactly are we currently torturing?

  167. 167
    NickT says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I think you should include “well-meaning fool” in your list of possible categorizations of St Edward of Sheremetyevo.

  168. 168
    Laertes says:

    @cleek:

    this is utterly ridiculous.

    Please link your sources which demonstrate:

    a> That our government no longer tortures suspects who’ve inconvenienced the national security apparatus. Cite in particular the changes that have taken place since the torture of Bradley Manning.

    b> That our government has stated that it won’t pursue capital charges against Mr. Snowden.

    Since you and I both know that you can do neither, my suggestion, that Mr Snowden, when captured, faces near-certain torture and possible execution, stands.

  169. 169
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    Demonstrate that we do currently torture anyone, or admit that you are just bloviating because you like the sound of your own unearned moral purity.

  170. 170
    Laertes says:

    @NickT:

    Whom exactly are we currently torturing?

    Every single prisoner in SuperMax, for a start. Everyone being force-fed at Gitmo. There could be much more torture going on at Gitmo–we’ve really got no way of knowing. There’s no transparency, and given that several prisoners have been tortured to death there, in the absence of transparency it’s reasonable to suppose that it’s still going on to some unacceptable extent.

    Bradley Manning was tortured recently, though I’m aware of no evidence that he’s being tortured right this minute. I’m not sure how relevant that is, however. The system that tortured Manning remains intact, and can be expected to handle Mr. Snowden similarly.

  171. 171
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: I’ve never understood the four laptop claim. I honestly have missed the source of this. I could understand taking two laptops, one as a cold backup in case the primary got blitzed, but what would be the point of lugging four along with you? They are remarkable inefficient as pure data storage, so I can only assume there are apps needed on them to read the stored data off other storage devices. But why four?

    And I disagree with your conclusion about redaction. At this point we simply don’t know what he took, or how long he had it before he turned it over to journalists. There’s a working timeframe where it seems very possible to me he could have redacted what he needed to.

  172. 172
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    Explain exactly what justifies your blanket classification of these cases as torture. You don’t get to simply wave your pure little hands and squeak “It is torture because I feel very strongly that it must be.”

  173. 173
  174. 174
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I’ve given up trying to understand why it’s important where he went. Are we at war with any of these places? Someone alert the Commerce Dept. so we can stop trading with some of our largest trading partners.

    Haven’t you realized? According to burnspbesq, who adores the unconstitutional AUMF, we’re at war with…the entire world. Have you read the AUMF? It authorizes American military and spec ops and intelligence services to take any military action deemed “necessary” and kill or kidnap or torture anyone anywhere in the world deemed to vaguely pose a threat of terrorism now or any time in the furture.

    Hell, I’ll quote the goddamn thing — it’s unbelievable:

    That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

    If you take the AUMF seriously, at face value, that means America is in a war which can never end, and it is a war with everyone everywhere in the world, at least potentially. All any nation or group of people anywhere on earth has to do is make some comment or take some action which can be deemed to in some way pose some undefined threat to America at some time in the future, and bingo! They’re a target. That’s war forever with everyone everywhere on earth.

    Oh, and bear in mind — the U.S. department of defense has already in a written document classified peaceful protests by U.S. citizens as “low-level terrorism.”

    The AUMF, by the way, is nothing but a joint resolution of congress, yet is supposed to wiped out half the bill of rights of the constitution! The AUMF effectively erases the first amendment asserting the right of the people peaceably to assemble in redress of their grievances — Al Awlaki was murdered for nothing more than giving speeches, and he was a U.S. citizen, in fact Al Awlaki’s speeches were milder than what Chris Hedges or Noam Chomsky or Naomi Wolf have been saying for years now — and the fourth amendment (right of the people to be secure in the persons and their property against unreasonable searches and seizures) and the fifth amendment (due process, which the AUMF completely wipes out) and the sixth amendment (trial by jury — that’s gone too, courtesy of the AUMF’s authorization of spec op death squads running around the world killing wedding parties) and the eighth amendement (prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment). There’s also a good case to be made that the 10th amendent is gone too. So that’s amendments 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10, gone, all wiped out of the constitution by a goddamn joint resolution of congress.

    If that isn’t the very definition of “unconstitutional,” you tell me what is.

    This is why burnspbesq’s claim that “The appropriate framework for thinking about al-Awlaki is the law of war” is specious and must be dismissed out of hand. First, show me the delcaration of war — you can’t, there was none. Second, Al-Awlaki was a U.S. citizen, and ever since the Treaty of Westphalia it has been impossible for a nation-state to declare war on an individual. So the assertion that the United States was at war with Anwar Al-Awlaki is a legal impossibilty. Ever since the treaty of Westphalia, it is a settled matter of law that only nation-states can declare war (I can’t declare war on you, or on the Texaco station down the street, or on the Safeway supermarket at the other end of town), and then only on other nation states (the united states cannot as a matter of black-letter law declare war against a bank robber; if it wishes to kill the bank robber, it must charge him with a crime and arraign him and take him to trial and present evidence which he can examine and allow him to cross-examine the witnesses against him and then present their case to the jury of his peers who will decide his fate according to the law. The United States of America can’t just order some JSOC assassinatio squad to murder a bank robber, no matter how convenient it might be, because that’s the way the rule of law works here in the U.S. of A.)

    Burnsie goes on to dig himself a much deeper hole by claiming:

    There can be no dispute that al-Awlaki fit within the definition of “al-Qaeda and associated forces” in the AUMF, which is the functional equivalent of a declaration of war. As such, he was a combatant, not a suspect. There is ample room within the framework of the law of warto debate whether the drone strike was proportional and whether reasonable care was taken to minimize collateral damage, but if you get to “yes” on those issues then it was a righteous kill, legally and morally.

    Who died and made you emperor, burnsie? “There can be no dispute”? Or what? You’ll order your praetorian guards to crucify me?

    There can be every dispute that Al-Awlaki fit within the definition of Al Qaeda as “associated forces.” Provide the evidence that Al Awlaki was a member of Al Qaeda. Let us see the evidence. Show it to us.

    Oh, you can’t?

    Because there is none. We’re supposed to rely on the unsupported claims of the U.S. government — the same government that likes to make claims such as “we don’t intecept all phone call en masse” (James Clapper lying to the senate select committee on intelligence) and “America doesn’t torture” (Dubya lying about Abu Ghraib) and “we don’t want the first evidence to be a mushroom cloud” (Condi Rice lying to the American people about Iraqi WMDs).

    The United States government has now got such an atrocious track record of lying to its people that I have zero trust and zero belief in anytrhing the government tells me to get me scared and compliant with its extrajudicial murder spree, unless the government of the unites states puts that evidence right in front of me and lets me examine it in detail. Ever since the Iraq invasion, buddy, as far as the U.S. government is concerned, I’m from Missouri — I have to be shown. And you should be too. Shame on you for gullibly and witlessly believing whatever uranium-yellowcake fairtytale the U.S. government gins up, whether it’s about Al Awlaki, or anyone or anything else.

    The U.S. government has abrogated its contract with me as a citizen ever since the Big Lie orgy leading up to the Iraq invasion of 2003, and the U.S. government has completely lost my trust. If the U.S. government wants me to believe anything, either about Al Awlaki or anyone else, it had goddamn better pony the hard evidence, and plenty of it.

    I have seen no evidence proving that Al Awlaki was a member of Al Qaeda. Have you?

    You claim the AUMF “is the functional equivalent of a declaration of war.” Utterly false. Ever since the Treaty of Westphalia, only nation states can declare war and then only against other nation-states. Against which nation-state did the AUMF declare war?

    Against no nation-state. The AUMF is unconstitutional because it’s impossible vague and overly broad: it authorizes military action against “anyone associated with Al Qaeda.” That’s potentially everyone on the planet. You’re associated with Al Qaeda, burnsie, because their actions affect you. I’m associated with Al Qaeda because I demand evidence that people who are supposed to be associated (such a vague undefined term) with them really are. By a loose enough standard, everyone is “associated” with Al Qaeda in some nebulous way or other. So the AUMF is nothing but a hunting license for eternal worldwide war against anyone anywhere forever, according to definitions which are never spelled out, with no time limit imposed, and no exit conditions specified. That’s not a “functional equivalent of a declaration of war,” it’s craziness. It’s eternal military action against an adjective. That has nothing to do with a declaration of war, burnsie. Wars end. The AUMF never does. Wars can be won. The AUMF’s military action can never have an end state since the AUMF never defines it.

    As such, he was a combatant, not a suspect.

    The term “enemy combatant” has no legal standing. It belongs to the same category as “untermenschen.” It’s a meaningless term completely without any legal defintion, utterly and completely unrecognized by any court of law. You call yourself a lawyer, yet you’re slinging around extralegal bullshit like “enemy combatant”?

    Show us the black-letter law where any court recognizes the term “enemy combatant” as valid. You can’t. They don’t. It’s a made-up buzzword used as a smokescreen for extrajudicial murder, no different from the way the deep south justified the lynchings of black people because “he was a n****er and the law don’t apply to him.”

    You’re supposed to be a lawyer, burnsie, so I refer you to the supreme court decision that completely destroys your claims about “enemy combatants”:

    The Supreme Court ruled today in two cases regarding anti-terrorism legislation and the rights of prisoners and “enemy combatants.” The court decided that suspected terrorists must be allowed access to the American justice system to contest their detention.

    Source: The Washington Post, 28 June 2004.

    American courts have repeatedly rejected your bizarre and extraordinary claims that designating some random schmuck U.S. citizen an “enemy combatant” automatically strips hi/r of hi/r rights and gives the U.S. government carte blanche to kidnap or torture or murder hi/r.

    You’re not spouting law here, burnsie, you’re spewing the kind of stuff the judges at Nuremberg sent people to the gallows for. Here in America you can’t wipe out a U.S. citizen’s basic rights to life and liberty merely by using some made-up term like “enemy combatant” any more than you can do it by calling him an “untermensch” or “a running dog in need of thought reform.”

    As a lawyer you should know this. It’s shocking that you don’t. Shame on you, burnsie. For shame.

  175. 175
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    ” Now, maybe he should be willing to face the music, but come on, if you had even a small chance of facing jail for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you try to avoid that? I just don’t see why that’s such a sticking point for people, like that alone invalidates anything else he could do.”

    I think this might be a blind spot for you Spaghetti Lee. From MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he wrote: “…One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly and with a willingness to accept the penalty”.

    It’s a difference between a MLK or Gandhi, who built sustainable movements at great personal costs and a Snowden. Do you grasp the difference and it’s importance?

  176. 176
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    You’ll have to forgive me for not taking Snowden at his word.

    Ok, fine. What other source do you have that indicates the names of agents has been released into the wild?

  177. 177
    Laertes says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    It’s a difference between a MLK or Gandhi, who built sustainable movements at great personal costs and a Snowden. Do you grasp the difference and it’s importance?

    This is relevant only to show that Snowden isn’t an MLK or a Gandhi. Stipulated. Now, why does it matter? Snowden and Greenwald are many things, and “asshole” is certainly on the list. Neither has, nor likely ever will have, the moral standing of Dr. King or Gandhi.

    Are you offering an argument in the form “Snowden isn’t as pure as Dr. King, and therefore we should pay no attention to the ugly things he’s exposed?”

    Maybe you’re citing the rules of evidence for the court of public opinion? Because the search was illegal, we have to disregard the evidence that it turned up?

  178. 178
    cleek says:

    @Laertes:

    That our government no longer tortures suspects who’ve inconvenienced the national security apparatus

    you sure do pack a lot of assumptions into your request to prove a negative.

    but: Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, tortured ? Snowden would’ve gone down the same path that Kim, Drake, Sterling, et al, went down.

    Manning is irrelevant. Bradley Manning was active military and was abused in military custody (something which does not excuse his law breaking). Snowden was not military (when he committed his crimes) and would’ve been in the civilian system.

    Every single prisoner in SuperMax, for a start.

    holy fuck.

    ok. we’re done.

  179. 179
    Emma says:

    @ruemara: I got pounded in a thread a week or so ago because I listed issues that needed addressing that I considered more important than Mr. Snowden’s little revelations. There are states where the rights of women are descending into handmaiden territory; there are police departments that commit more violations of human rights on a daily basis than any federal department; the middle class is disappearing.

    Like you said, when people are scrambling to stay alive, they look at all the NSA stuff and find it irrelevant and unimportant. It’s not, but being hungry and one paycheck away from homelessness focuses your attention.

  180. 180
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    Which you haven’t shown applies to any of the cases you cite. It’s ludicrous to simply drop a link and assume that this is equivalent to an argument. Want to try making a case rather than simply making assertions?

    And now you want to cite Vice as part of your assertions? That’s pathetic.

  181. 181
    Emma says:

    @Laertes: Oh please. Give it up. If he ends up in Venezuela he will be the poster boy for their anti-Americanism and will have a rather nice life UNTIL he’s outgrown his usefulness. And the whole torture thing…. Jesus. Do me a favor and go read some of the documents out of Brazil and Chile. Then talk to me about government torture.

  182. 182
    NickT says:

    @Emma:

    And it’s very telling that Greenwald has absolutely nothing to say about these issues – or the VRA for that matter – and yet preens himself as some sort of friend of freedom.

  183. 183
    Laertes says:

    @cleek:

    Manning is irrelevant. Bradley Manning was active military and was abused in military custody (something which does not excuse his law breaking). Snowden was not military (when he committed his crimes) and would’ve been in the civilian system.

    Okay, so we’re clear then that Manning was tortured. That’s good. Let’s go from there. We’re now agreeing that the US Government tortures suspects who’ve leaked classified information while in uniform, and there remains some dispute about whether the government will similarly torture a leaker who wasn’t.

    Fair enough. I can’t cite an example of a civilian leaker who was tortured. I see no reason to believe that Snowden could expect better treatment than Manning got, but it’s largely a matter of speculation and my guess that he’ll be tortured just as severely as Manning was is no better than your guess that Snowden won’t suffer the same torture that Manning did.

    So I’ll retreat to a weaker claim: Instead of suggesting that Snowden faces certain torture and possible execution if he’s captured, I’ll instead suggest that Snowden faces possible torture and execution should he be captured, with no really strong reason to suppose that he won’t be tortured.

    Here’s hoping that when he explains to his captors that they can’t torture him because he wasn’t in uniform, they take his argument to heart.

  184. 184
    Corner Stone says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    It’s a difference between a MLK or Gandhi, who built sustainable movements at great personal costs and a Snowden. Do you grasp the difference and it’s importance?

    It’s not clear that you do. He’s not an MLK. Why does he have to be an MLK?

  185. 185
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @NickT:
    It’s not clear to me, I’ve read both, and don’t know which to believe.

    You can’t just walk out of a facility with four laptops, men with guns would stop you. But a thumb drive is easily thwarted (just glue the USB ports of sensitive machines shut with a glob of epoxy).

    His best bet would have been to burn to disc. But that’s slow, and conspicuous, and presumably would have been logged by IT.

    However he did it, somebody at his former workplace is probably in deep trouble.

  186. 186
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    I’d rather Tim be spending all his waking hours here insulting people than spend a minute offline around a child, given his previous statements on the awesomeness of child rape.

    Have I not told you? I run a day care center.

  187. 187
    mclaren says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yes, as one of the easily-terrified commenters remarked, “If it’s true that asset names were revealed by Snowden…”

    Oh, but wait ! If it’s true that a giant 10-mile-tall killer robot was released by Snowden, then we definitely have to capture and kill Snowden, by any means necessary!

    And if a 500 megaton H-bomb was set up by Snowden with a jacket of Calthorium-G (as in the movie Dr. Strangelove) it would blanket the entire world in a radioactive death shroud and kill every living thing on the planet!!!

    We must take out Snowden right now! Let’s use nukes! VX gas! Carpet-bomb Venezuela! The constitution is not a suicide pact! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    If…if..if…

    “If Snowden did [fill in absurd heinous imaginary fantasy, with not a shred of evidence to back it up]…”

    That’s not how the United States judicial system works. Judges don’t grant warrants based on “If the subject named sells cocaine” or “if the named subject murdered his wife” — there has to be something called “evidence” to compel a judge to grant a warrant.

    All this wild speculation about Snowden is based on absolutely nothing. Not one shred of hard evidence.

    If the U.S. government wants to get me on their side, all they have to do is release all the evidence of the alleged “espionage” they’ve charged Snowden with. Show us the evidence. Where is it? What specific crime did Snowden commit, other than revealing grossly unconstitutional massive violations of the fourth amendment by the U.S. government?

  188. 188
    Laertes says:

    @Emma:

    If he ends up in Venezuela he will be the poster boy for their anti-Americanism and will have a rather nice life UNTIL he’s outgrown his usefulness.

    Sounds about right. That’s not great for him, is it? Better, perhaps, than being tortured and executed in the states, but perhaps not by much. I don’t envy the poor devil who has to make that choice.

    Do me a favor and go read some of the documents out of Brazil and Chile. Then talk to me about government torture.

    Disgraceful. Here, have some Fred Clark. Try and be a better human being, okay?

  189. 189
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    Okay, so we’re clear then that Manning was tortured. That’s good. Let’s go from there. We’re now agreeing that the US Government tortures suspects who’ve leaked classified information while in uniform, and there remains some dispute about whether the government will similarly torture a leaker who wasn’t.

    You do realize that your rather desperate rush to agreement with your own unproven assertions isn’t the same thing as anyone else agreeing with you?

  190. 190
    handsmile says:

    @NickT:

    Among the international and American organizations that consider the current force-feeding of Guantanamo detainees to be torture, under international and American law:

    UN Commissioner for Human Rights
    World Medical Association
    American Medical Association
    Physicians for Human Rights
    ACLU
    Human Rights Watch

    Many links if you wish, but here’s one:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/g.....re/5335757

    Here’s what Joe Nocera, noted leftie business columnist for the NYT, had to say about the matter on 31 May:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06.....rture.html

    Why yesterday, even Kaplan Test Prep Daily’s editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes published a piece, “Call Forced-Feeding What It Is:Torture.”

  191. 191
    Laertes says:

    @NickT:

    You do realize that your rather desperate rush to agreement with your own unproven assertions isn’t the same thing as anyone else agreeing with you?

    You said you were done. I was talking to cleek. What, you’re still here, and still unconvinced that Manning was tortured? Well, people can believe anything if they want to badly enough, and are willing to discount any inconvenient evidence. Good for you, I guess?

  192. 192
    Laertes says:

    @handsmile:

    I predict he’ll be “done” with you too, now.

  193. 193
    mclaren says:

    @Laertes:

    This is relevant only to show that Snowden isn’t an MLK or a Gandhi. Stipulated. Now, why does it matter?

    It matters because the people like burnspbesq and emma who so frantically defend the U.S. surveillance-torture-extrajudicial-murder complex have no arguments and no law on their side, so the only way they can do it is by impugning the character and ethics and personal traits of people like Snowden.

    The whole point of the character assassination aimed at Snowden is to throw enough shit at him that hopefully some of it will stick. Expect next to hear how Snowden supposed cheated on his girlfriend, how he allegedly downloaded kiddy porn, how he purportedly kicked the crutches out from little crippled girls while they were crossing the street.

    When the defenders of the military-surveillance-torture-extrajudicial-murder complex get this desperate, it’s open season on guys like Snowden who reveal their grossly unconstitutional crimes, and anything goes.

  194. 194
    Emma says:

    @Laertes: You know, the whole better human being thing would work better if my ego was so fragile that a torture fantasist could damage it.

    I KNOW force feeding is torture. I have spoken against it here in previous threads. But your flaming fantasies about EVERYBODY being tortured… you’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones, little boy.

    Bye.

  195. 195
    mclaren says:

    @handsmile:

    Why yesterday, even Kaplan Test Prep Daily’s editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes published a piece, “Call Forced-Feeding What It Is:Torture.”

    Oh, c’mon, it’s nothing but “a college fraternity prank.”

    (Sigh.) Now we’re back to the Bush years, justifying torture by calling it something else. “Forced feeding.” “Sleep deprivation.” “Enhanced interrogation.”

  196. 196
    Laertes says:

    If you want to take the view that extended solitary confinement isn’t torture, that’s on your conscience.

    At least we’re clear now, and the ridiculous forces of “Our government does not torture” have been routed. And we’re left with, what, personal hostility to me? Well, that’s fine. The torture thing is what’s important. That you don’t like me is, let’s say, less so.

  197. 197
    Emma says:

    @mclaren: You are the most amazing thing. The pure, the perfect, the everyone but me and those who believe like myself hold the ultimate truth and are worth it. You’re the kind that allows the world to come to an end because you’re too pure to ally yourself to others to defend it.

    The funny part is that you’re a walking, talking contradiction to your own argument. If the government wanted you, they would have already found you. You are not important enough to attract their attention, so I doubt your martyrdom is near.

  198. 198
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    You said you were done.

    I see that you are as honest in your arguments on here as Snowden was on his resume. You haven’t put forward a single coherent argument. It’s all pathetic lies about Snowden, wild denunciations of America because you’ve got some sort of conspiracy theory in your pointy little head and then attempts to pretend that other people agree with you when they have in fact pointed out the preposterous stupidity of your random assertions.

  199. 199
    NR says:

    All you people here desperately trying to deflect attention from what Snowden revealed by making it about him, Tom Tomorrow nailed you guys this week.

    Ouch. That one’s gonna leave a mark.

  200. 200
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Please provide a citation to a decision from a federal court of competent jurisdiction that the AUMF is unconstitutional.

  201. 201
    NickT says:

    @Laertes:

    After your deeply dishonest performance on this thread, you’ve got a real nerve talking about other people’s consciences.

  202. 202
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I did say ‘IF”, you know.

    And @mclaren:
    Isn’t the whole hysteria against collection of meta-data based on a shitload of “IF”s? How come you get to use “IF”, but I don’t?

    I don’t require permission from either of you to speculate. I just happen to trust Der Speigel more than I trust GG or Snowden.

  203. 203
    Laertes says:

    O@NickT:

    Oh dry your tears already. There hasn’t been a dishonest word out of my mouth. I suggested that Snowden would likely face torture, and while a handful of commenters wobbled toward the fainting couch as a result, they’ve mostly admitted that our government has been getting up to a fair bit of torture lately.

    I suggested that extended solitary confinement is torture. That’s also met with some pushback, and that’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to take that view. But it’s a perfectly respectable view, honestly held and honestly put forward. That you don’t agree doesn’t make it dishonest.

    And what else, then? A bunch of heat, and not much light. Look, I don’t expect people to admit defeat or anything. Best I can hope for is that you and cleek remember this drubbing and later on maybe hold back from putting forward a ridiculous statement like “our government doesn’t torture.”

    I love Obama as much as the next guy, but the facts of what we did to Manning and what we’re presently doing in Gitmo are clear. Torture doesn’t stop being torture just because it’s our guy ordering it.

  204. 204
    Keith G says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    My great fear is that this will all just be interpreted as a personal failing of Barack Obama and will get a Republican president in, at which point all this spying activity suddenly becomes OK again.

    To my mind this is an example of one of the more disheartening threads running these discussions hereabouts. In other words if we point out the executive branch could be making better choices, we weaken Obama.

    This is a tortured fallacy that has been weakening the discussion of this since the first minute. And it has lead at least a few here to decide that the best way to protect Obama is to make this about the imperfect messenger.

  205. 205
    NR says:

    @Keith G: And as we all know, NOTHING is more important than Obama’s standing in the polls. Not the Constitution, not basic human rights…. NOTHING.

  206. 206
    LanceThruster says:

    I attended a Michael Chertoff lecture where I asked him how we could trust their credibility when there were so many people erroneously on the “No-fly list.” He dismissed the question with hand waving. He said, it’s not that many, our people are honest and competent, and don’t worry, we’re getting new toys and bigger budgets to do an even better job protecting you.

    Pardon me while I gag.

  207. 207
    mclaren says:

    @cleek:

    i like that a guy is so concerned about transparency and the rule of law that he teams up with someone outside the reach of the law in order to break the law and then escape the consequences of breaking the law by running to countries which don’t even approach the US’s commitment to laws and transparency.

    ( yes, what he revealed should be discussed. as it has been, for many years. )

    That’s a whole lotta lies packed into a tiny little space.

    Let’s unpack all of cleek’s lies, shall we?

    i like that a guy is so concerned about transparency and the rule of law that he teams up with someone outside the reach of the law in order to break the law…

    Where’s the evidence that Snowden is concerned about transparency and the rule of law? He’s concerned about something much more basic than that — he’s worried about a massive power grab by the federal government that’s turning America into a panopticon surveillance police state just a hairsbreadth away from the dystopia in Orwell’s 1984 or Zamyatin’s We.

    That’s cleek’s first lie. He set up a straw man of conveniently vague abstractions (“snowden is so concerned about transparency and the rule of law”) to distract us from what Snowden was really worried about. So let’s hear from Snowden himself what he’s worried about:

    “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

    “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

    Notice that cleek told his first contemptibly ignorant lie in order to distract us from the horror of what our government is doing. Like a magician, cleek provides a distraction with his left hand in order that we avoid what’s going on in his right hand — America is turning in an East German-style stasi police state with zero privacy, where “if they want to get you, eventually they will get you.” I don’t want to live in that kind of state either. Evidently cleek does, and he’s doing his damndest to get us to overlook what’s going on by focusing on Snowden instead of the larger issue.

    …in order to break the law and then escape the consequences of breaking the law by running to countries which don’t even approach the US’s commitment to laws and transparency.

    That’s cleek’s second lie. What law has Snowden broken? The 1917 Espionage Act, which was passed during the height of the WW I fever by that revolting thug Woodrow Wilson, and which is so vague and so broad it can be used to indict a ham sandwich. As Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, how can Snowden possibly be seriously accused of espionage? The entire charge is an outrageous lie. And cleek is compounding that lie by going along with it.

    Any person with the sense god gave a groundhog knows damn well Snowden isn’t committing any kind of espionage by revealing the simple fact that the U.S. is hoovering up every email and phone call and bank record and twitter tweet in America. That’s not espionage, that’s whistleblowing on gross violations of the fourth amendment by the U.S. government.

    Now we come to cleek’s third lie:

    … then escape the consequences of breaking the law by running to countries which don’t even approach the US’s commitment to laws and transparency.

    The consequences include possible extraordinary rendition, torture, and targeted killing. I think Snowden has every right as a U.S. citizen to avoid those kind of consequences, since they’re illegal and unconstitutional. The lie cleek tells is the lie byimplication that every citizen should suffer the potential consequences of getting hanmdcuffed with a black hood over his hand and Lear jetted to some secret “black” prison where he’ll be waterboarded 168 times, like Khalid Sheik Mohamed, and then shot in the back of the head behind the chemical sheds and buried in some unmarked grave without ever being accused of a crime or tried in a court of law.

    Then cleek tells his fourth lie — that the countries to which Snowden has fled are third world dictatorships. Venzuela would be surprised to hear that, I think. Also Hong Kong, which has had lots of demonstrations against Chinese infringements on Hong Kong citizens’ rights.

    But the real lie is the lie that the degraded and corrupt U.S. government has some noble standing left as a defender of human rights. It doesn’t. We’re the bad guys now. Time to face that fact.

  208. 208
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    I just happen to trust Der Speigel more than I trust GG or Snowden.

    Ok. What did Der Spiegel say?

  209. 209
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    I did say ‘IF”, you know.

    And I approve of the conditional, fwiw. But we both know that is not what you were doing. You were giving it the old, “If it’s true he molested his daughters…” and wanted to run that up the flag pole. I simply pointed out there was zero basis for the speculative “IF” at this point and asked you provide sources you were basing the conditional on.
    Which you haven’t done.

  210. 210
    Corner Stone says:

    @Xantar:

    Getting your allegations of wrongdoing right instead of blurring so many lines that we all just end up debating whether or not the sky is blue.

    It wouldn’t have mattered if he had shown up naked before a Congressional hearing being broadcast on all major networks, and demonstrated himself tapping the president talking to a friend about a round of golf.
    Every single one of you mofos would have went to the mats to try and blur the production so hard and fast it would have made tow truck drivers car sick.

  211. 211
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @mclaren:

    All this wild speculation about Snowden is based on absolutely nothing. Not one shred of hard evidence.

    Except for, you know, Snowden’s consistent claim to anyone who will listen that he has information ‘of value’. And his consistent attempts to find an overseas buyer for that information.

    There were better ways to have this conversation. We should have been having this conversation back in 2006, when Mark Klein went to the media, and GWB’s changes to the FISA court came to light (Olbermann was all over this back then. Most of you probably laughed at him). But we didn’t.

    Given how Greenwald and Snowden have now so wonderfully fucked us out of any chance of this conversation being adult, I frankly find myself wondering what power or agency counts them among its ‘assets’.

  212. 212
    most Americans says:

    @Emma:

    Why do you even bother posting here?

  213. 213
    Corner Stone says:

    @Laertes:

    Best I can hope for is that you and cleek remember this drubbing and later on maybe hold back from putting forward a ridiculous statement like “our government doesn’t torture.”

    Bwah ha ha ha!!
    Damn. Thanks, I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.
    With NickT and cleek it’s like trying to debunk the whole “Speaker Pelosi’s Plane” nonsense when talking to a wingnut. You can beat it out of them and six months later they start forwarding you the same emails again.
    I suspect these ponicorn lovers will have a much shorter recycle mode.

  214. 214
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    And his consistent attempts to find an overseas buyer for that information.

    This is based on what?

  215. 215
    Mike E says:

    @Comrade Dread: Or, bash yourself in the face with a brick that has “CNN” scrawled on it. Too.

  216. 216
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    system that would definitely torture and possibly kill him

    That’s absurd, and if you have any ability to live in a reality-based world you must know it’s absurd.

  217. 217
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    b> That our government has stated that it won’t pursue capital charges against Mr. Snowden.

    Oh come on. The charges against Snowden were unsealed almost a month ago, and carry a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment. This is a matter of public record. Do try to stay at least partially tethered to reality.

  218. 218
    Corner Stone says:

    @handsmile: I’m wondering why no one has refuted your post at #190.

  219. 219
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Corner Stone:

    SPIEGEL has decided not to publish details it has seen about secret operations that could endanger the lives of NSA workers.

    From here.

    I do have your permission to read, right?

  220. 220
    cleek says:

    @Laertes:

    I suggested that Snowden would likely face torture

    you suggested it, but it’s not plausible. there are many examples of recent examples of civilians who have leaked classified information and who have been arrested and tried, and who have been treated justly all through the process. the whole idea that Snowden will be tortured and killed is ridiculous – and fer fuck’s sake, even Saint Manning wasn’t killed.

    so, no: there was no “drubbing”. that people don’t want to chase you down your rabbit hole is not due to any “drubbing”; it’s because we don’t want get covered in rabbit droppings.

    and, ask yourself why Snowden and Greenwald refer to Manning, and not to people who fit Snowden’s situation almost exactly (Kim, Drake, Sterling, et al), when explaining why Brave Prince Snowden bravely ran away. could it be that they’re seeking the attentions and affections of the same people who elevated the Manning to sainthood? does GG know his audience? yes, yes, he certainly does.

  221. 221
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: I appreciate you quoting for everyone the intentionally vague statement by Der Spiegel. They left it nebulous on purpose. It certainly does not indicate what you have tried to backhandedly assert here.
    Thanks

    edited a little

  222. 222
    burnspbesq says:

    @mclaren:

    I’m going to cut to the chase, because a point-by-point response would be a huge waste of time.

    You have no fucking clue what you’re talking about. The next time you properly understand a statute or a judicial decision will be the first. Nonsense in volume is still nonsense.

    You have an ideology in which the United States is the locus of all evil on this planet, and there is no factual showing or legal analysis that could be brought forth that would ever cause you to budge from that ideology.

    So just stop. No one here takes you seriously, nor should they.

    Find another dumpster for your garbage.

  223. 223
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Laertes:

    Here’s the deal, IMO: NOTHING can change unless enough people band together in a broad coalition to change it. The etiology of the change requires a person to lead it it who will take the consequences “openly, lovingly and with a willingness to accept the penalty”. While this takes longer, MLK and Gandhi’s movements built coalitions at humongous personal sacrifice. I’d also include Nelson Mandela and his 28 years of imprisonment in the pantheon of of heroes who effected wide and enduring change.

    What we have here are a hardening of opinions, the poisoning of coalitions. What do YOU think will be the outcome?

  224. 224
    socoolsofresh says:

    So, should it be okay for the US government to use drones against whistleblowers? This administration has already made it fine to drone bomb its own citizens, and whistleblowers are now considered utmost traitors. So, if Snowden isn’t willing to face justice back in his country, he deserves to face drone justice. al Awlaki’s teenage son did far less damage to the US than Snowden, yet he was vaporized. Or is there hesitation because Snowden doesn’t have an Arabic name and is a white guy?

  225. 225
    burnspbesq says:

    @Laertes:

    Okay, so we’re clear then that Manning was tortured.

    Sorry, Cleek didn’t say that or anything like it. “Abuse” and “torture” are not the same thing, either legally or in the dictionary. And as a matter of law, Manning’s mistreatment was not torture.

    Nor, for that matter, is confinement in Supermax conditions. There is a non-frivolous argument that could be made that confinement in Supermax conditions is cruel and unusual punishment, but not all cruel and unusual punishment is torture.

    If you think otherwise, feel free to do some actual analysis for a change, and explain precisely, by reference to actual law, why you’re right.

  226. 226
    OldLeftyLady says:

    What did Snowden reveal that we did not already know?

    I fall more into the Kurt Eichenwald ;

    The Errors of Edward Snowden and His Global Hypocrisy Tour

    http://www.vanityfair.com/onli.....crisy-tour

    Unless by Snowden effect you mean what he gave to China or Der Spiegel: Snowden Released Information That Could “Endanger the Lives of NSA Workers”
    SPIEGEL has decided not to publish details it has seen about secret operations that could endanger the lives of NSA workers.

  227. 227
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Corner Stone:
    I’m not sure how such a simple and direct sentence can be ‘nebulous’. Snowden showed them details that (in their judgement) would threaten lives if published.

    Specific. Lives. This would imply ‘identifying information’ of some kind. (Quite an ironic thing to release to foreigners, given the alleged outrage at alleged privacy violations by alleged agencies).

    But at this point you’re clearly just playing counting-coup.

    I actually encourage anyone who still gives a damn at this point to go read the entire article, and to decide for themselves. Would that our own press were so professional.

  228. 228
    The Other Chuck says:

    @cleek: Manning was however confined under conditions that are explicitly forbidden under article three of the Geneva Convention. Not that it applies to how we treat our own citizens in peacetime, but is the bar really supposed to be lowered there?

  229. 229
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Keith G:

    To my mind this is an example of one of the more disheartening threads running these discussions hereabouts. In other words if we point out the executive branch could be making better choices, we weaken Obama.

    I think it’s a valid concern if, say, we are in the closing weeks of a presidential campaign. When the guy’s already reelected and term-limited, less so. This is the time when you’re most free to knock your team’s guy.

    That said, I think my concern is more that the focus on Obama makes this a wedge to split US liberalism down the middle. I’ve always thought that if the Republican Party went away, the Democrats would instantly split into two camps, maybe something like what Balloon Juicers would recognize as “Obots” and “firebaggers.” The problem is that if it happens a few years early, it becomes the very means by which the Republicans rescue themselves from demographic oblivion, and we get yet another conservative revolution, hooray!!

    Now, I would personally prefer if the rift were prevented by the mechanism of Democrats getting better about civil liberties. And if there’s no pressure, they never will. But on the other hand, the whole “heighten the contradictions/lose to win” mode of politics doesn’t have a great track record. And that’s the tightrope that I think we’re all walking.

  230. 230
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    Snowden showed them details that (in their judgement) would threaten lives if published.

    I believe you have misappropriated the quote to make your conclusion there.

    edited

  231. 231
    cleek says:

    @The Other Chuck:
    i’m not sure it’s been lowered. Manning’s treatment was, after all, deemed by a judge to be illegal.

    i’m just saying it’s a completely different system. and the civilian system has a pretty good track record of doing things right in these cases.

  232. 232
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @taylormattd:

    T & H was banned? PRAISE JESUS.

    tee hee

    It was all a terrible, and unjust, misunderstanding, of course…

  233. 233
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Corner Stone: In what sense, Charlie?

  234. 234
    different-church-lady says:

    @handsmile: Any word on what letting them die constitutes?

  235. 235
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Emma:

    Really? Now you’re defending the press’ negligence of their job just because you really want to hang Obama’s scalp on your belt? Bloody typical of Obama haters.

    I don’t even know what this means. I don’t recall saying anything about the press’ role and I don’t want to scalp Obama.

    Do I need my secret Obot decoder ring to make sense of this?

  236. 236
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Here’s the quote again:

    SPIEGEL has decided not to publish details it has seen about secret operations that could endanger the lives of NSA workers.

    Your ‘belief’ is of no interest to me.

  237. 237
    different-church-lady says:

    Fer crist sake people, get a grip: he’s not Gandhi and he’s not MLK. He’s a founding father.

  238. 238
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: Hey, if you and your brethren get to scream at me about what the definition of “is” is for the last few weeks then surely I can ask you to use the correct wording when you quote something.
    The quote says “could” which you turn into “would”.
    It’s an A to B proposition you make into a B certainty when we simply don’t know what details they are talking about. An operational name? An address? What is it they held back?

  239. 239
    LAC says:

    @NickT: It is always back to baby Jesus Manning.

  240. 240
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker: “All of them!”

  241. 241
    Ted & Hellen says:

    This bizarre insistence that Snowden be Ghandi, MLK, and Jesus Christ before the information and programs he brought to attention be given their due is really amateur, and pathetically transparent, misdirection.

    Kind of amazing that alleged progressives here would engage in such slimy tactics.

    Oh wait. No, it’s not.

  242. 242
    LAC says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Speaking of slimy…you’re here again…

  243. 243
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Kind of amazing that alleged progressives here would engage in such slimy tactics.

    Can you possibly think of a reason why anyone on The Left, especially a blog lefty blog filled with reformed Republicans, would look twice at the motives of a self declared Libertarian and suspect some hidden agenda?

  244. 244
    LAC says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: Careful…you do not want to “jihad “Corner Stone because the cutting and pasting fury that is Mclaren will befall you…..IEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

  245. 245
    Corner Stone says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    especially a blog lefty blog filled with reformed Republicans

    Man, that is twice in one day I have laughed so hard it almost hurt!

  246. 246
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Pardon me, but your youth is showing. Snowden is obviously the reincarnation of Robert Fitzwalter.

    Runnymede FTW!

  247. 247
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Corner Stone: @Corner Stone:

    Here’s, IMO, he needs to be a MLK: to be willing to pay the price for a cause you believe is righteous, PRAGMATIC and by non-violent means is how you build a MOVEMENT, a coalition that will endure beyond the shiny object syndrome and one whose courage will maintain the struggle to bend the long arc of justice. Whatever it takes. Otherwise it’s short term polarization that may just provide an opposite outcome.

  248. 248
    NR says:

    @burnspbesq: Thank you for this perfect illustration of how Obots respond to factually supported arguments.

    Just put your fingers in your ears and shout “LA LA LA LA LA I’M NOT LISTENING!!!!”

  249. 249
    LAC says:

    @NR: You have a factually supported opinion?

    HOLY JESUS – LOOK! OUTSIDE…PIGS ARE FLYING. CALL CNN! PIGS ARE FLYING!!!

  250. 250
    taylormattd says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Well shit. This is awkward.

  251. 251
    taylormattd says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Well shit. This is awkward.

  252. 252
    socoolsofresh says:

    @pamelabrown53: Love this, if Snowden is not a MLK, then nothing will really happen to try and fix this surveillance state behemoth. Only when there is one who is willing to become a super leader, will this become a movement. If this is not authoritarian thinking in its essence, well..

  253. 253
    different-church-lady says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I suppose we could trace the comparisons back to their original sources, but what would be the point?

  254. 254
    different-church-lady says:

    @LAC:

    CALL CNN! PIGS ARE FLYING!!!

    Why would they care? They got a Zimmerman to cover.

  255. 255
    LAC says:

    @different-church-lady: I know…I can’t even watch CNN. Even more than I don’t watch it. :) It would have to be pigs flying into the Zimmerman court room.

  256. 256
    MomSense says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Hey we are at half a T-Bogg on this comment thread!

  257. 257
    Corner Stone says:

    @pamelabrown53: That’s kind of amazing, when you think about it.
    MLK, Ghandi and a handful of others all changed the world in the broad category of social justice.
    One of the reasons we honor MLK is because there simply aren’t many of him running around in recent modern history. Surely other countries have their icons but for us MLK is a significantly unique figure.
    There just isn’t any comparison between MLK and Snowden. There’s nothing in their impetus, causes, imperatives, scope or actions to make this even hint at a rational comparison.
    The insistence that Snowden face down his punishment to have validity is, frankly, monstrous.

  258. 258
    Keith G says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    IMO, he needs to be a MLK: to be willing to pay the price for a cause you believe is righteous, PRAGMATIC and by non-violent means is how you build a MOVEMENT, a coalition that will endure beyond the shiny object syndrome and one whose courage will maintain the struggle to bend the long arc of justice

    .
    Pam, come on. He is a catalyst, not an organizer, a reformer, or a builder. Historically, catalysts are fire brands. They often have some ability to get the ball rolling and often are absent when the pace settles down latter on. In our history Paine, Henry, the Sons of Liberty were catalysts – at their best when alerting others to the need for action; but less noteworthy later as other skills are called for. That’s usually when the folks who will later be recognized as the true leaders step in and take over.

    That you feel the need for Snowden to be a builder of a movement is a device in your headspace….only.

  259. 259
    Corner Stone says:

    @taylormattd: In yo face! In yo face!
    /Chapelle

  260. 260
    different-church-lady says:

    @MomSense: I am guessing 5 to 6 dTB is going to be about the standard whenever the snow-word is mentioned. Full 1 TB unit threads are rare around here.

  261. 261
    different-church-lady says:

    Let’s recap, shall we?

    ANTI-EDDIE: Dude’s a traitor.
    PRO-EDDIE: Gandhi was considered a traitor too, you know.
    ANTI-EDDIE: Snowden ain’t come close to what the Hip Gahn done.
    PRO-EDDIE: Why do you insist he be Gandhi?

    Meanwhile, all around the country desks receive loving strokes from foreheads.

  262. 262
    MomSense says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Well maybe if we added the dreaded flying robots to the snow-word we could achieve a full T-Bogg!

  263. 263
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Who are you parodying there? It seems to not track what’s actually happened here.

  264. 264
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: Oh, please. He steals classified information but he such a special snowflake that he is too delicate to face the consequences. which according to you are “monstrous”.(.ie. trial and jail) John Lewis gets his head cracked in by a bigots in the 60’s exercising real civil disobedience, but this twat facing a damn trial is a horror? You are beyond full of shit – you are shit shake.

  265. 265
    NR says:

    @socoolsofresh: You’re missing a critical fact. “Snowden isn’t MLK” is just the current excuse du juor around here. Even if he did turn himself in and become an MLK, the apologists around here would just find some other way to make it all about him, some other excuse to ignore/minimize/handwave away the abuses he brought to light. Anything, ANYTHING, to avoid talking about the things that actually matter, because that discussion might not turn out to be completely 100% favorable to Obama, and heaven knows, we can’t have that.

  266. 266
    Corner Stone says:

    @LAC: Learn to read you fucking fool.

  267. 267
    socoolsofresh says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Let’s recap, shall we?

    ANTI-EDDIE: Dude’s a traitor.
    PRO-EDDIE: Gandhi was considered a traitor too, you know.
    ANTI-EDDIE: Snowden ain’t come close to what the Hip Gahn done.
    PRO-EDDIE: Why do you insist he be Gandhi?

    Meanwhile, all around the country desks receive loving strokes from foreheads.

    This is one massive strawman right here.

  268. 268
    Corner Stone says:

    @NR:

    and heaven knows, we can’t have that.

    We’re in the middle of a war, and that would be a major loss.

  269. 269
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: Everyone.

  270. 270
    NR says:

    @different-church-lady: Nah, it’s more like this:

    ANTI-SURVEILLANCE: Hey, the NSA has been spying on millions of Americans.
    PRO-SURVEILLANCE: So what? Edward Snowden is a traitor and a horrible person.
    ANTI-SURVEILLANCE: Um, Snowden isn’t really the issue here….
    PRO-SURVEILLANCE: Hey, did you hear that Snowden fled the country? What a horrible person!

    Sure, heads are hitting desks. Just not for the reason you think.

  271. 271
    Botsplainer says:

    @taylormattd:

    Well shit. This is awkward.

    No, awkward is kind of like when my friend was at a cocktail party, and ran into his marriage counselor, who had by then married my friend’s ex-wife. As things turned out, about two sessions after the counseling had started, the marriage counselor was banging the soon-to-be ex (husband and wife were divorce lawyers who also shared an office, and were stuck working in that office by ironclad lease for two years AFTER the divorce). Anyways, the marriage counselor had walked up to shake hands and say, “no hard feelings, thanks for not coming after my license”; my friend responded by saying “no, ***, you might want to stay back a bit, I’m still a little raw”.

    THAT is awkward.

  272. 272
    different-church-lady says:

    @NR: Filters can be set for so many different results, can’t they?

  273. 273
    Keith G says:

    @LAC:

    such a special snowflake that he is too delicate to face the consequences

    One of the consequences is that his communications would essentially be shut down. As a “national security threat” any communications that detainee Snowden would issue would be heavily censored and redacted.

    As per Pam and others, in so much as Snowden has a cause (my words not his), that cause is much better served with him on the loose. His communications could help keep the ball in the air when so many in DC would rather change the subject.

    So please abandon that dumb-fuck notion that Snowden’s actions can only be seen as approaching credible if he would just allow himself to be incarcerated and thereby silenced.

  274. 274
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: @Corner Stone: “The insistence that Snowden face down his punishment to have validity is, frankly, monstrous”

    Care to explain that, you fucking johnny one-note? He stole classified information. If there is some validity as to why he did it, some american interest served by it, some greater good, why does he get not face the potential consequences for his actions and get his day in court? He gets to do this in abstentia now? He hasn’t revealed one fucking illegal action by the government against its citizens. He has, however, done a world tour of “save me from the meanie US government” with whoever will listen to him and his purloined documents.

    Learn to read? Learn to fucking write something that doesn’t sound like the same shit from last week, you broken record.

  275. 275
    Keith G says:

    @LAC:

    He hasn’t revealed one fucking illegal action by the government against its citizens.

    Wow…just wow.

    Some of the worst things this government (and those of the states) have done to it’s people were legal at the time.

    Jim Crow was legal until enough of it’s monumental horrors were understood by a broader population. – an extreme example, nonetheless the change from acceptable to unacceptable is nourished by information.

  276. 276
    NR says:

    @LAC:

    He hasn’t revealed one fucking illegal action by the government against its citizens.

    Another Obot trick: If you absolutely must discuss the real issue (spying), make sure you narrow the focus so that it’s ONLY about whether it’s legal. Not whether it’s right or the government should be doing it.

    Lots of bad things are legal. Slavery was legal in this country for decades. I guess you think all the abolitionists who helped slaves escape should have turned themselves in afterwards, right? Why were they all special snowflakes who got to escape the consequences of their actions???

  277. 277
    Corner Stone says:

    @LAC: Wow. I kind of have to applaud you. You’ve really raised the bar here in the field of incomprehensibly sadistic buffoonery.
    You’re like the MLK of your genre.

  278. 278
    NR says:

    And by the way, thank god a majority of people in this country are smarter than you Obots:

    American voters say 55 – 34 percent that Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower, rather than a traitor, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today.

    Must stick in your craw.

  279. 279
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Just checking, but am I allowed to think that Snowden is a libertarian douchecanoe, that Greenwald is a one note polemicist, that ES/GG revealed little that is new, and still be bothered by the expansion of surveillance and the erosion of privacy rights? Or do I named to pick sides?

    Oh yeah, Obama isn’t good on civil liberties issues, but no one who is electable is/was any better and many are far worse.

  280. 280
    LAC says:

    @Keith G: Greater good served by running away and hiding? Yeah, right…because right now, Congress is getting ready to repeal the Patriot act because Robin Hood Snowden is going to do…what exactly? Hide in South America? The only dumb fuck notion here is you snowjobbers thinking that Greenwald and Snowden give two fucks about this country.

    .And if all he has done is become a conversation piece, then we are not going to get conversation going on beyond emo lefty sites.

  281. 281
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: I will never achieve your heights of repetition and sanctimonious whining. You are like the Gandi of your ilk.

  282. 282
    LAC says:

    @NR: Quinniac poll? Didn’t it predict a Romney win? Thanks…

  283. 283
    Corner Stone says:

    @LAC: It’s true you’ll probably never achieve much. But, hey, you can always continue grunting and masturbating in your mom’s basement, right?
    So you got that going for you. Which is nice.

  284. 284
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Yeah, that’s bullshit.

  285. 285
    Keith G says:

    @LAC:

    And if all he has done is become a conversation piece, then we are not going to get conversation going on beyond emo lefty sites.

    That notion is already shown to be wrong. Did you read Rosen’s (or many others) reporting on this? There is an impact. He has done some of the things that I imagine he had been hoping to do.

    It’s now on us, buddy. While his future input may be helpful (as I indicated earlier), he has opened a door that we must utilize. We have a chance to focus on some issues that we have been sidestepping for at least a decade.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    am I allowed to think that Snowden is a libertarian douchecanoe, that Greenwald is a one note polemicist, that ES/GG revealed little that is new, and still be bothered by the expansion of surveillance and the erosion of privacy rights?

    Why do sides matter? (Rhetorical)

    The Snowden Affair is allowing us the time to contemplate just one segment of data along a vast array of data showing the changes in how our government is behaving. I hope we use this time, but I am becoming very doubtful.

  286. 286
    LAC says:

    @NR: Aha! Another Snowaldian “mind” trick – avoid stating what illegality Snowden revealed and instead go on about slavery, as if there is any comparison. The NSA purpose and programs, as loathsome as they are to you, are legal. Now, if you want dismantle the entire government program, cease all US spying operations, then say so. Because then it is clear that you think spying has no legitimate purpose anyway.

    But if you think that there needs to be a balance between absolute privacy and security, then your inability to state where the US government has overstepped its authority with its citizens (so we know what problems to address) or committed some illegal act, other than use the Patriot Act is why this Snowden saga is a clusterfuck. You are the ones caught up trying to make this guy a hero. All I see is someone who couldn’t be bothered to help us understand what drove him to steal classified information before he did a runner, who has been dishonest about his earlier claims, and who has given classified information to other countries.

    People are actually spending time combing over this story and getting a fair amount of information to counter the fog, and yet, here, some of us are still trying to figure out if Snowden is a hero or an effect or a brooch or a teradactyl.

    I have said it a number of times before, we had and have a choice: to vote for candidates on this issue if it means so much to us.

  287. 287
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: Oh, now you are on your tried and true daily path – run out of arguments and resort to pretending that I am some mean male who masterbates. Well, I guess it beats the whining about a jihad on you by another poster who didn’t think your opinions are worth shit, either.

  288. 288
    different-church-lady says:

    OK, since y’all seem to be unable to get hip to what the kitty is laying down, let me decode it for you:

    ANTI-EDDIE: [hyperbolic opinion]
    PRO-EDDIE: [pretty good point]
    ANTI-EDDIE: [logical counter-point]
    PRO-EDDIE: [three card monte trick]

  289. 289
    Corner Stone says:

    @LAC: Women masturbate too, in case you weren’t aware.
    Maybe that helps?

  290. 290
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Yeah, still bullshit.

  291. 291
    Keith G says:

    @LAC:

    Aha! Another Snowaldian “mind” trick –[A] avoid stating what illegality Snowden revealed and instead go on about slavery, as if there is any comparison. The NSA purpose and programs, as loathsome as they are to you,[B] are legal. Now, if you want dismantle the entire government program, cease all US spying operations, then say so. Because then it is clear that you think [C] spying has no legitimate purpose anyway.

    Oh brother.

    [A] Not a mind trick since you introduced the measurement of legality. Not everything that is legal is good – and see below

    [B] I am a bit foggy on this since it’s been a while, but I thought that part of the Snowden message is the unpalatable and even dangerous things that are legal

    [C] Did NR say that?. I cannot speak for him, but I think spying is essential and it is such a malevolent tactic that it needs tight controls and oversight.

    All in all, your argumentation is a bit wide of the mark.

  292. 292
    LAC says:

    @Corner Stone: God, you are epic asshole. So glad for the update about your adventures in masterbation. Explains a lot…enjoy yours with Snowden and Greenwald in a sandwich, okay?

  293. 293
    Yatsuno says:

    Three-fifths of a TBogg unit! Almost there people!

  294. 294
    LAC says:

    @Keith G: And I think your attempts to pretend that you offer a reasonable argument are a figment of your imagination.

  295. 295
    Keith G says:

    @LAC: Got nuttin…eh?

  296. 296
    LAC says:

    @Keith G: And until there is something more from Snowden other than a mischaracterization of the PRISIM program and handing out classified goodies to other countries, then what you are arguing is hyperbolic speculation, at best.

  297. 297
    LAC says:

    @Keith G: Yeah, that’s you to a T. Nite gracie…

  298. 298
    Keith G says:

    @LAC: Yupperz, there is nothing good coming from the actions of this Snowden guy…

    The Snowden effect, a definition:

    Direct and indirect gains in public knowledge from the cascade of events and further reporting that followed Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified information about the surveillance state in the U.S.

    Meaning: there’s what Snowden himself revealed by releasing secrets and talking to the press. But beyond this, there is what he set in motion by taking that action. Congress and other governments begin talking in public about things they had previously kept hidden. Companies have to explain some of their dealings with the state. Journalists who were not a party to the transaction with Snowden start digging and adding background. Debates spring to life that had been necessary but missing before the leaks. The result is that we know much more about the surveillance state than we did before. Some of the opacity around it lifts. This is the Snowden effect.

    It is good for public knowledge. And public knowledge is supposed to be what a free press and open debate are all about.

    Sorry for the long pull from Rosen, but some here are not clicking.

  299. 299
    different-church-lady says:

    @LAC:

    here, some of us are still trying to figure out if Snowden is a hero or an effect or a brooch or a teradactyl.

    I have accepted Snowden into my life as my personal herotraitor.

  300. 300
    Corner Stone says:

    Snowden is just a guy. That’s all. He’s not a hero or an MLK or a Rosa Parks or a “Paul Revere” whatever the hell that ever meant.
    He was a contractor at the NSA. Nobody handed him a mysterious red suit that allowed him to fly or walk through walls.
    The people here who insist he must be some combination of those things have all missed the plot. They can’t function in a conversation about the issues because their brain is still making up some stupid nonsensical back and forth that has no relevance to this situation.
    It’s just another way to say they really wanted a really real conversation but until he embraces his inner MLK and gets shut down in a prison cell they simply can’t see how this could possibly move forward.
    In other words, bullshit.

  301. 301
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @NR:

    Nah, it’s more like this:

    A: Hey, I just read the NSA has been spying on millions of Americans.
    B: Are you sure “spying” is the right word? There are a lot of technical issues that seem more complicated than that.
    A: Since you don’t care about how the NSA is spying on millions of Americans, I’m going to call you PRO-SURVEILLANCE.
    B: I’m not pro-surveillance, I’m just not sure Snowden and Greenwald are telling the story straight.
    A: Hey PRO-SURVEILLANCE, stop making it all about Snowden and Greenwald!
    B: OK, let’s talk about how this other article says that it’s all subject to court orders.
    A: Why are you such an apologist for Obama and hate Snowden and Greenwald so much, PRO-SURVEILLANCE?
    B: Snowden and Greenwald seem to be telling a story that doesn’t quite match up with some of this other stuff.
    A: It’s always about Snowden and Greenwald with you guys. Why are there so few of us ANTI-SURVEILLANCE people who get it?
    B: It’s not PRO vs. ANTI-SURVEILLANCE, it’s people trying to get the story straight vs. people who immediately made up their minds. But while we’re at it, Snowden seems like a dick, and so does Greenwald.
    A: I told you! You’re PRO-SURVEILLANCE and keep making it all about Snowden and Greenwald! Not the issues Snowden and Greenwald raised! Like spying on millions of Americans!
    B: But was it really “spying” if… oh, fucking whatever. OK, what do you think we should talk about?
    A: How Snowden and Greenwald proved that ANTI-SURVEILLANCE people like me are correct, and that PRO-SURVEILLANCE people are wrong and love surveillance.
    B: No one loves surveillance, I’m just raising questions about… fuck it. OK, fine, what do you ANTI-SURVEILLANCE people want to see happen next?
    *crickets chirp* *tumbleweed rolls through* *long white beard grows on B’s face*

  302. 302
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: For what it’s worth, I think Snowden is an irritating little doucheweasel, but I don’t particularly care about whether he could best be described as a hero or a coward or whatever.

  303. 303
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also, I think civil libertarians should consider strategizing about how to keep their issues at the forefront of the next few elections, or else they’ll dry up and we’ll never see any changes to policy about privacy and surveillance. For instance, a Wyden for President campaign.

  304. 304
    PopeRatzo says:

    The worst thing that could happen if we don’t talk about Ed Snowden is that a douche gets to act like a douche without the Internet taking notice.

    The worst thing that could happen if we don’t talk about the NSA’s ubiquitous surveillance, government torture, increased whistleblower prosecutions, presidential death lists and extrajudicial murder is that we end up living in a country where we have ubiquitous surveillance, government torture, increased whistleblower prosecutions, presidential death lists and extrajudicial murder without the Internet taking notice.

    To summarize, the consequences of ignoring Snowden’s drama are minor. The consequences of ignoring a police state springing up in the course of a single decade are dire. That this nascent police state grew exponentially under Barack Obama is just downright embarrassing.

    I still believe that in a few years, you won’t find a single person writing on these pages who will admit to having continued to defend Obama after the second half of 2013.

    Nobody likes being on the wrong side of history.

  305. 305
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: This does not comport with reality. It’s just not an accurate representation.
    Sorry.

  306. 306
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    That this nascent police state grew exponentially under Barack Obama

    It did?

  307. 307
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That’s fine. If that’s the case you may want to consider not making up false narratives that don’t have any basis in reality.
    Thanks

  308. 308
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I dunno, I’ve seen a lot of people chiefly intent on re-fighting The Drone Wars (i.e., “Look at what your Obama did now! Happy? I’m not, I’m appalled!”) rather than having anything significant to say about surveillance and privacy other than that they’re against the former and for the latter. I’ve seen a lot of people misunderstanding taking issue with aspects of the Snowden/Greenwald story with defending the worst implications of what that story might mean. And that’s commonplace with pretty much all the “Obot” skirmishes: there are people who really, REALLY like to have another reason to take up the cudgels and hammer away at the dastardly Obots, and would rather do that than pause to be skeptical of what the newest reason happens to be.

  309. 309
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Damn, was hoping Martin was around. I’m having a funky issue with the programmable timer on my sprinkler system.

  310. 310
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: From the very beginning this was repeatedly declared a NOTHINGBURGER!! Yawn. Known. Burger.
    It’s still, to this very thread, being portrayed as a low level lackey coward traitor who stole shit he does not understand and does not reveal anything of use.
    We simply, realistically, can not make these conclusions at this point. I can not comprehend how anyone can continue to tell us a)Snowden does not understand what he has, b)Snowden has misrepresented what he has, c)Snowden has nothing new to tell us.
    It’s fucking mind blowing!
    Somehow Martin and NickT and DCL, et al, all seem to know more about the NSA than someone who worked there for four+ years. And all of them repeat and repeat and repeat the conclusions listed above.
    How? Based on their knowledge? Based on their readings of less than 10% of what info is reportedly in existence? Based on conversations with “experts” who have focused on 4 slides of a PPT?

    And yet DCL and you keep trying to paint these bullshit narratives. And then want to tell others that they’re the ones who have closed their mind to the discussion. The discussion you all are so fucking eager to have. If only those icky people hadn’t tainted it all so horribly.
    It’s pretty revealing, actually.

  311. 311
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: If you love Snowden so much, why doncha marry him?

  312. 312
    kc says:

    @Corner Stone:

    And yet DCL and you keep trying to paint these bullshit narratives. And then want to tell others that they’re the ones who have closed their mind to the discussion. The discussion you all are so fucking eager to have. If only those icky people hadn’t tainted it all so horribly.
    It’s pretty revealing, actually.

    Broderism is more infectious than we thought.

  313. 313
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I don’t think that it’s legal in TX.

  314. 314
    Corner Stone says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I’m still hoping Martin will take me in as his second betrothed.
    He’s dreamy.

  315. 315
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: You’re remembering selectively at least as badly as you think I am. I don’t think there’s been a lot of energy expended on the idea that Snowden doesn’t know what he’s talking about. How the fuck would we know that? Martin as far as I’ve seen has been trying to explain to BJers what was going on — to re-explain what Snowden was explaining, not to say that Snowden was making shit up. I have said repeatedly that I think Snowden’s point is about capabilities and other people’s points have been about procedures: what can be done vs. what is being done. That’s why there’s been so much talking past one another. There’s the discussion about surveillance, which is and should stay open, and has been enlightening (especially when people cite other articles I’ve missed); and there’s the discussion about the accuracy of the Greenwald story that had Snowden as the key source, which trips people’s wires and tends to degenerate rapidly.

  316. 316
    FlipYrWhig says:

    And now I have to stop. And I won’t chime back in in 30 seconds to explain myself again like I did yesterday.

  317. 317
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    We have triumphed over the forces of evil a second time.

  318. 318
    LAC says:

    @taylormattd: @Keith G: having fevered “conversations” about your confirmation bias given a high five by Rosen is not a slam dunk. . And I would counter Rosen’s “emotional rescue” of Snowden’s “legacy” (btw,that was quick)with anything that Bob Cesca has written on this I am not concerned with whether snowden makes a great centerpiece on a table that guests ooh and ahh about. Action requires a credible source.

  319. 319
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Wow. You could not have missed this further if you were a place kicker for the Bills in a Superbowl back in the ’90s.
    Good fucking God.
    Every single thing laboriously and tediously typed out by NickT, LAC, DCL, Malbec’s Jockey, MomSense, Emma and others of their scope has been to convince us Snowden does not, in fact, know what the fuck he is talking about. Look in this very fucking thread! For god’s fucking sake!
    Martin hasn’t been trying to explain shit to anyone. He’s had a conversation or two with the real-deal experts. The guys who *really* know what’s going on at the alphabets. And they all say that $20M note on that one slide? That impugns EVERY FUCKING THING THAT CAME AFTER IT!
    Yeah, that one slide did it for them. It really rankled their wienies. Maybe .0001% of the info that might possibly exist has led them to positively conclude Snowden is a walking jokehole.
    And Martin’s job was to type 15,013 words “explaining” it all to us, exactly how much of a lying, confused jokehole Snowden really is.
    It’s like they all descended on the kerning of a letter. And then they were rounded up and ordered to send rock salt bags to someone because blah blah something melts or some shit I had a hard time tracking at that point because my fucking eyeballs had rolled into the back of my head.
    If you honestly, seriously, think that your description is how this is going down at BJ then, I’ve gotta tell you, man, you’re pretty much just fucking stupid.

  320. 320
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Corner Stone: FlipYrWhig always argues with the strawman that most easily allows him to dismiss any concerns that could possibly portray Obama in a negative light. That’s all he’s here for. Did I get that right, Flippers?

  321. 321
    MomSense says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Wow, that is exactly what this is like–over and over and over again.

  322. 322
    Corner Stone says:

    @MomSense: Doesn’t surprise me in the least to see you posting that.

  323. 323
    Keith G says:

    @LAC: As I have noted, Rosen is not an outlier nor is his summary packed with fringe notions.

    Some of what is being typed here reminds me of a specious argument stated by USA Today:

    Snowden’s self-destructive mystery tour does more than tarnish his image. It threatens to short-circuit the useful debate sparked by his original revelations. The government can use the flawed messenger to divert attention from his alarming message about two National Security Agency programs, one that targets the contents of foreign e-mails, at times sweeping in messages from Americans, and another that vacuums up domestic phone records by the billions.

    Shorter:
    Yes Snowden provided us with alarming details that worry us, but he is a creep and the government will use that to distract our reporters.

    Christ on a crustacean, what the fuck is that?

    Our democracy is doomed.

  324. 324
    pattonbt says:

    @Corner Stone: I know this is way too late and who cares what I think anyway but a couple reasons why where Snowden has and wants to run to that are important in a minor way to me:

    1) What has been reported (Snowden has revealed) to date is bupkiss. He’s released nothing specific and nothing that wasnt known. My take on what he has released is that there is a huge potential for massive abuse of the power that NSA controls. Maybe more than we expected. The NSA may have the ability to do some really inappropriate shit, but Snowden hasnt pointed to actual abuses. So to me his claims for exceed the fact he has exposed to date. Now for many, the mere fact the NSA can do this is enough for it to be a bombshell and TYRANNY! For many others its like “shoot his traitorous ass”. And for me its like “can I see more please like you promised, because without it the chance for change isnt high”.

    2) He has made some rather gandiose rhetorical claims about how bad the US is on privacy issues, again without yet disclosing the facts of abuses, and yet runs to countries where even at a cursory glance they are much worse. How can such a principled man trying to accomplish so much for humanity run to places that suck worse? Something doesnt fit.

    So since I havent seen any facts from him, only bluster, I can only judge his bluster. And his bluster falls flat on its face when he chooses to flee to countries that are demonstrably worse than the US. It makes him look like a kook. And unfortunately that makes it easier to attack the substance, substance which has to prove breathtaking or illegal in any way. Disquieting? Yes. Something I want shut down? Yes. But no actual abuses of laws.

    Now, if and when he data dumps what he says he has, then I might re-assess him as an individual and the merits of his claims. But in any case he’s going to be severly disappointed with whatever country he ends up in (jail in the US or in a much less free country than he claims to be striving to achieve).

    That said, the conversation he has started is good. Personally, I think the conversation will die a quiet death unless he can disclose more especially if those disclosures show actual abuses.

    And for shits and giggles I’ll add the necessary tangent to Obama. Anyone suprised Obama gives two shits about this didnt pay attention on telcom immunity, Obama telegraphed very nicely where he stood on these issues then. In some areas Obama is great and in others he sucks.

  325. 325
    AxelFoley says:

    @gene108:

    The focus should not be on Obama, the laws Congress passed over the last ten years that enable these programs. Focusing on Obama is just a win for Republicans.

    You’d think these dumb muthafuckas would have learned this by now.

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