Arthur Silber has a new post, this time regarding Glenn Greenwald’s alleged hypocrisy in his publishing some of the Edward Snowden-leaked documents but withholding others. Silber talks about the power that Greenwald has in his picking and choosing which documents to publish. While Greenwald criticizes the State for its secrecy, Greenwald then goes on to scoff at those who criticize him for not releasing all the documents. We should trust Greenwald’s judgment here, in the same way we should trust the State’s telling us what it wants us to know and not telling us what it doesn’t want us to know.
Silber has previously addressed this Greenwald-Snowden issue in June, in which Silber compared these newer leaks to the WikiLeaks leaks. Then, Silber wrote,
…WikiLeaks provided masses of “raw data”: the original documents themselves, whether they be battle reports, inter- or intra-agency communications, or documents of many other kinds, sometimes with redactions, often complete. And WikiLeaks offered them with no filters whatsoever: no one was going to hold our hand as we read the documents, telling us what was “important” and what wasn’t, and what its significance was, or whether it was significant at all. If we wished to understand the documents and what they revealed, all of us had to do the work ourselves.
What we discovered was that many people didn’t want to do the work. More than that, they resented the fact that such responsibility was demanded of them.
But with the Snowden-leaked documents, journalists specially appointed by Edward Snowden have the privilege of sifting through all the material and picking and choosing what the public should be told and what they shouldn’t be told, what may “harm” some people and what may not, in addition to the many Guardian attorneys who had access to the material. And, as Silber wrote in another essay last June, that is in addition to the many people — government employed and private contractors — who have been given clearances to access so-called classified or “top secret” info. All the more reason to agree with Silber that this “secrecy” stuff is a bunch of BS.
As Silber wrote,
And what “harms” specifically? And to whom — specifically? Harm to those who work for the Death State, perhaps in the intelligence and national security community? Are we concerned about harming them? I surely hope not. Since the Death State claims the right to murder any one of us it chooses, whenever it wants, for any reason it invents, it seems to me that “the public” are the ones who ought to be concerned about being “harmed.” Is it the great unwashed public that these journalists are worried about? Then let them say so. But how would that work? We might be endangered because some of the U.S.’s national security “secrets” might be exposed? The United States is the most powerful nation that has ever existed in the entire history of the human race, with a military capability that could obliterate all of life on the planet many times over. No nation would dream of mounting a serious attack on the U.S. for precisely that reason (and when I say “no nation,” I absolutely include Iran, for all the hysterics who might see this). Moreover, isolated terrorist attacks, no matter how horrifying they may be in themselves, fall far short of an “existential threat” to the U.S., no matter the vast amount of propaganda designed to convince us otherwise. No nation would dare mount a serious attack on the U.S. precisely because they know how powerful the U.S. is — because it is not secret.
The entire edifice of “secrecy,” especially with regard to national security, is a vicious lie from start to finish. Put it all out there. If full disclosure endangers those who work for the Death State, the problem — and the responsibility — is with those who choose to directly advance the Death State’s goals. It is decidedly not with the leaker, or with the journalists.
Whether it’s for “national security” purposes or not, or to protect certain employees of the national security state, it really doesn’t matter. The bottom line, for me, as far as who is “harmed” by revealing the State’s “secrets,” is this: If you are employed by the national security state and you fear for your life because of Snowden’s or others’ leaks, then don’t work for the national security state. You are at your own risk. Working for the national security state is “risky business.”
Given that the State and its entire national security apparatus is illegitimate (contrary to what many of the indoctrinated and propagandized believe), especially since the end of the Cold War, then all its material, public domain, “classified,” “top secret,” etc., should be a matter of public record. And by the way, the reason the military intentionally over-classifies material is to discourage whistleblowers like Snowden and Manning from revealing the war crimes and other acts of criminality by this so-called “national security” bureaucracy.
What the State wants to be secret is basically its own reckless behavior and its own criminality. That is what it wants to continue to be hidden from the people over whom they rule, the people who employ them and whose coercively-extracted wealth funds the goons’ extravagant paychecks, benefits and pension plans.
So the U.S. government’s national security enterprise and empire overseas has done nothing but provoke foreigners with its wars of aggression and its occupations and destruction. Thus nothing that Snowden or Manning have released and publicized could possibly have compromised Americans’ security nearly as much as the blowback of those criminal actions of the U.S. government, in addition to the thoroughly unconstitutional, immoral and disgusting surveillance state which criminally pries into people’s private lives and gets away with it with impunity.
So, getting back to the first linked post by Arthur Silber from yesterday, Silber wrote regarding Greenwald:
One of the lessons we can draw is the uniformity of the intellectual corruptions that occur when anyone is placed in a position of power — and when he seeks to protect that power, and when he enjoys its exercise. We should note that these kinds of responses to serious questioning are those of someone who can be described as an authoritarian bully (among other terms). As I said, the ironies are numerous, and awful.
And there can be no doubt that Greenwald is enjoying his power over the dissemination of the Snowden documents, and that he keenly appreciates the many values that power confers on him. Not least of those values are the marketing advantages that he seeks to exploit.