What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden

Editor’s note: This commentary originally appeared at OtherWords.org.

Hillary Clinton is wrong about Edward Snowden. Again.

The presidential candidate and former secretary of state insisted during the recent Democratic debate that Snowden should have remained in the United States to voice his concerns about government spying on U.S. citizens. Instead, she claimed, he “endangered U.S. secrets by fleeing to Russia.”

After accusing Snowden of stealing “very important information that has fallen into the wrong hands,” she added: “He should not be brought home without facing the music.”

Clinton should stop rooting for Snowden’s incarceration and get her facts straight.

First, Snowden is a whistleblower, not a leaker. Whistleblowing is the act of bringing to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, law-breaking, or dangers to public health or safety. Snowden did exactly that when he divulged proof that the National Security Agency was illegally snooping on all of us.

Second, Snowden knew it was impossible to report this wrongdoing through his chain of command at the NSA, where he was working as a contractor employed by the consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton.

I’ve written previously about whistleblower Tom Drake, who went through his own chain of command to report an earlier illegal wiretapping scheme by the NSA. Drake went to his bosses, his office’s general counsel, the NSA’s inspector general, the Pentagon’s inspector general, and congressional oversight committees — only to be charged with 10 felonies, including five counts of espionage.

CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, who reported wrongdoing in a CIA operation related to the Iranian nuclear program through his chain of command, was similarly charged with multiple counts of espionage. Now, he’s serving 42 months in prison.

The sad fact is that many national security chains of command are overtly hostile to people who report wrongdoing. I learned this firsthand when I spent nearly two years behind bars for denouncing the CIA’s use of torture years after I left the agency. And I didn’t go to any country club. I went to a real prison.

Indeed, one of my former supervisors at the CIA called whistleblowing “institutionalized insubordination.” In other words, employees should just “follow orders,” even if those orders are illegal.

Didn’t Nazi war criminals say that they were just following orders, too? To me, their compliance was criminal.

Third, Clinton claimed that Snowden would have enjoyed protection from the Whistleblower Protection Act if he’d remained in the United States to make his revelations.

I’m disappointed, frankly, that somebody running for president of the United States doesn’t know that the Whistleblower Protection Act exempts national security whistleblowers. There are no protections for you if you work for the CIA, NSA, or other federal intelligence agencies — or serve them as a contractor. You take a grave personal risk if you decide to report wrongdoing, and there’s nobody who can protect you.

Even the federal body that’s supposed to protect whistleblowers, the Merit Systems Protection Board, got itself in trouble in October for suspending and retaliating against its own whistleblower, who revealed that the agency had a huge backlog of cases and was taking far too long to adjudicate them. That certainly doesn’t inspire confidence.

Finally, let’s get this straight: Snowden didn’t “flee to Russia.” Snowden stopped in Moscow on his way from Hong Kong to South America when Secretary of State John Kerry revoked his U.S. passport. Snowden never intended to move to Moscow. Kerry made that decision for him.

Of all people, Hillary Clinton — Kerry’s predecessor at State — should know that.

I get that Clinton doesn’t like Snowden. I doubt he’s too upset about that. But Clinton should get her facts straight if she’s going to take a stand against those federal employees and contractors who take their oaths to uphold the Constitution seriously enough to report crimes against it.

She should be celebrating whistleblowers, not vilifying them and suggesting they waltz into the nearest penitentiary.

OtherWords columnist John Kiriakou is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He’s a former CIA counterterrorism officer and senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. OtherWords.org.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

The Sad Fate Of America’s Whistleblowers

Editor’s note: This commentary originally appeared at OtherWords.org.)

What is it about whistleblowers that the powers that be can’t stand?

When I blew the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program, I was derided in many quarters as a traitor. My detractors in the government attacked me for violating my secrecy agreement, even as they ignored the oath we’d all taken to protect and defend the Constitution.

All of this happened despite the fact that the torture I helped expose is illegal in the United States. Torture also violates a number of international laws and treaties to which our country is signatory — some of which the United States itself was the driving force in drafting.

I was charged with three counts of espionage, all of which were eventually dropped when I took a plea to a lesser count. I had to choose between spending up to 30 months in prison and rolling the dice to risk a 45-year sentence. With five kids, and three of them under the age of 10, I took the plea.

Tom Drake — the NSA whistleblower who went through the agency’s chain of command to report its illegal program to spy on American citizens — was thanked for his honesty and hard work by being charged with 10 felonies, including five counts of espionage. The government eventually dropped the charges, but not before Drake had suffered terrible financial, professional, and personal distress.

This is an ongoing theme, especially in government.

Chelsea Manning is serving 35 years in prison for her disclosure of State Department and military cable traffic showing American military crimes in Iraq and beyond. And Edward Snowden, who told Americans about the extent to which our government is spying on us, faces life in prison if he ever returns to the country.

The list goes on and on.

Baltimore Police Department whistleblower Joe Crystal knew what he was getting into when he reported an incident of police brutality to his superiors after witnessing two colleagues brutally beat a suspect. Crystal immediately became known as a “rat cop” and a “snitch.”

He finally resigned from the department after receiving credible death threats.

It’s not just government employees either. Whistleblowers first brought attention to wrongdoing at Enron, Lehman Brothers, Stanford International Bank, and elsewhere.

And what’s their reward? Across the board, whistleblowers are investigated, harassed, fired, and in some cases prosecuted.

That’s the conclusion of author Eyal Press, whose book Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times documents the struggles of whistleblowers throughout history. Press’s whistleblowers never recover financially or professionally from their actions. History seems to smile on them; but during their lifetimes, they remain outcasts.

This is a tragedy. Blowing the whistle on wrongdoing should be the norm, not the exception.

I recently visited Greece to help the government there draft a whistleblower protection law. The Greek word for “whistleblower” translates as “guardian of the public trust.” I wish our own government’s treatment of whistleblowers could reflect that understanding.

Yet even legal guarantees of protection from prosecution and persecution aren’t enough — especially if, as in the case of existing law, national security employees are exempt from these safeguards.

Instead, society must start seeing things differently. Like the Greeks, all of us need to start treating whistleblowers as guardians, not traitors. And if we value what freedoms we have left, we should demand that our government do the same.

OtherWords columnist John Kiriakou is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. He’s a former CIA counterterrorism officer and senior investigator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. OtherWords.org.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Have You Been OUTFOXED?

“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty look innocent, and that’s power; because they control the minds of the masses.” –Malcolm X

Most people already know that the state-controlled media is bought and paid for from the top to the bottom. For those who didn’t know, there are 6 corporations worldwide feeding the masses through their financed propaganda in an attempt to rearrange reality into a perceived reality they want you to believe in.

As a case in point, a top German journalist and editor, Dr. Udo Ulfkatte, has gone public with some shocking admissions on his exposé concerning the media worldwide. He basically admitted that the entire mainstream media is totally fake! Those are his words. He said he was paid and used to educate and lie to the public.

Dr. Ulfkatte also stated that the CIA supported him and informed him on how they get control over all of the major journalists.

“We know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false.” –William Casey CIA director, 1981

No wonder 67% of the American people do not trust the news media. There is little to no truth.

The good news, friends, is that we still have FOX News, right? Wrong!

FOX News owner Richard Murdoch has partnered with sharia-compliant Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Tala, who owns a stake in FOX as well as Twitter, Citigroup, ABC-TV, and Disney.

Alwaleed has stated: “A strong American government is not good for us.”

FOX has been used as a moderate for far too long. They have no absolutes. Therefore, there is no difference between them and what America complains about. Let me explain.

If FOX is not trying to sabotage a Republican debate by attacking the leading contender in an attempt to hand over the presidency to Hillary Clinton (Megyn Kelly-Donald Trump), it may well explain why FOX News is one of the top ten financial contributors to the Clintons’ foundation.

This may also explain why FOX also put out an article on Sept. 3, 2015 titled “Poll says Hillary and Trump are unpopular: why they could win anyway.” This article was posted during Trump’s highest polling numbers and when Hillary was being exposed for another high crime against the American people. However, we know that Clinton’s Twitter account came out as 56% fake or inactive.

Keep in mind that Trump, love him or hate him, is gaining major favorable support nationally while Clinton is not in the minds of the American people as a credible candidate.

Also, 40 to 60% of all comments made by the network are completely contrived or blatantly false.

FOX is also known for pulling both sides of the aisle into a debate (lawbreaker vs. law abiders), only to gut the pith and marrow out of our blood-bought rights. The reality is that what they are debating is unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal, rendering it null and void (Obamacare, Gun debates, abortion, homosexuals getting married, etc….). (Psalm 94:20)

“There is no good government but what is republican…[T]he true idea of a republic is ‘an empire of laws, and not of men.’ That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangement of the powers of society, or in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the law, is the best of republics.” (Article 4 Section 4 United States Constitution)— John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

America, if you are not careful, the media will have you hating the people who are being oppressed (law-abiding peace lovers) and loving the people who are doing the oppressing (law-breaking war mongers).

To further solidify my point, I end with a quote attributed to David Rockefeller, who allegedly said in 1991 in Baden, Germany:

We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.

America, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you didn’t know.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Forget The New World Order; Here’s Who Really Runs The World

(ANTIMEDIA) For decades, extreme ideologies on both the left and the right have clashed over the conspiratorial concept of a shadowy secret government pulling the strings on the world’s heads of state and captains of industry.

The phrase New World Order is largely derided as a sophomoric conspiracy theory entertained by minds that lack the sophistication necessary to understand the nuances of geopolitics. But it turns out the core idea — one of deep and overarching collusion between Wall Street and government with a globalist agenda — is operational in what a number of insiders call the “Deep State.”

In the past couple of years, the term has gained traction across a wide swath of ideologies. Former Republican congressional aide Mike Lofgren says it is the nexus of Wall Street and the national security state — a relationship where elected and unelected figures join forces to consolidate power and serve vested interests. Calling it “the big story of our time,” Lofgren says the deep state represents the failure of our visible constitutional government and the cross-fertilization of corporatism with the globalist war on terror.

“It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street,” he explained.

Even parts of the judiciary, namely the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, belong to the deep state.

How does the deep state operate?

A complex web of revolving doors between the military-industrial-complex, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley consolidates the interests of defense contracts, banksters, military actions, and both foreign and domestic surveillance intelligence.

According to Mike Lofgren and many other insiders, this is not a conspiracy theory. The deep state hides in plain sight and goes far beyond the military-industrial complex President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned about in his farewell speech over fifty years ago.

While most citizens are at least passively aware of the surveillance state and collusion between the government and the corporate heads of Wall Street, few people are aware of how much the intelligence functions of the government have been outsourced to privatized groups that are not subject to oversight or accountability. According to Lofgren, 70% of our intelligence budget goes to contractors.

Moreover, while Wall Street and the federal government suck money out of the economy, relegating tens of millions of people to food stamps and incarcerating more people than China — a totalitarian state with four times more people than us — the deep state has, since 9/11, built the equivalent of three Pentagons, a bloated state apparatus that keeps defense contractors, intelligence contractors, and privatized non-accountable citizens marching in stride.

After years of serving in Congress, Lofgren’s moment of truth regarding this matter came in 2001. He observed the government appropriating an enormous amount of money that was ostensibly meant to go to Afghanistan but instead went to the Persian Gulf region. This, he says, “disenchanted” him from the groupthink, which, he says, keeps all of Washington’s minions in lockstep.

Groupthink — an unconscious assimilation of the views of your superiors and peers — also works to keep Silicon Valley funneling technology and information into the federal surveillance state. Lofgren believes the NSA and CIA could not do what they do without Silicon Valley. It has developed a de facto partnership with NSA surveillance activities, as facilitated by a FISA court order.

Now, Lofgren notes, these CEOs want to complain about foreign market share and the damage this collusion has wrought on both the domestic and international reputation of their brands. Under the pretense of pseudo-libertarianism, they helmed a commercial tech sector that is every bit as intrusive as the NSA. Meanwhile, rigging of the DMCA intellectual property laws — so that the government can imprison and fine citizens who jailbreak devices — behooves Wall Street. It’s no surprise that the government has upheld the draconian legislation for 15 years.

It is also unsurprising that the growth of the corporatocracy aids the deep state. The revolving door between government and Wall Street money allows top firms to offer premium jobs to senior government officials and military yes-men. This, says Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer for the CIA, explains how the Clintons left the White House nearly broke but soon amassed $100 million. It also explains how former general and CIA Director David Petraeus, who has no experience in finance, became a partner at the KKR private equity firm, and how former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell became Senior Counselor at Beacon Global Strategies.

Wall Street is the ultimate foundation for the deep state because the incredible amount of money it generates can provide these cushy jobs to those in the government after they retire. Nepotism reigns supreme as the revolving door between Wall Street and government facilitates a great deal of our domestic strife:

“Bank bailouts, tax breaks, and resistance to legislation that would regulate Wall Street, political donors, and lobbyists. The senior government officials, ex-generals, and high level intelligence operatives who participate find themselves with multi-million dollar homes in which to spend their retirement years, cushioned by a tidy pile of investments,” said Giraldi.

How did the deep state come to be?

Some say it is the evolutionary hybrid offspring of the military-industrial complex, while others say it came into being with the Federal Reserve Act, even before the First World War. At this time, Woodrow Wilson remarked,

“We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the civilized world, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

This quasi-secret cabal pulling the strings in Washington and much of America’s foreign policy is maintained by a corporatist ideology that thrives on deregulation, outsourcing, deindustrialization, and financialization. American exceptionalism, or the great “Washington Consensus,” yields perpetual war and economic imperialism abroad while consolidating the interests of the oligarchy here at home.

Mike Lofgren says this government within a government operates off tax dollars but is not constrained by the constitution, nor are its machinations derailed by political shifts in the White House. In this world — where the deep state functions with impunity — it doesn’t matter who is president so long as he or she perpetuates the war on terror, which serves this interconnected web of corporate special interests and disingenuous geopolitical objectives.

“As long as appropriations bills get passed on time, promotion lists get confirmed, black (i.e., secret) budgets get rubber stamped, special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy, as long as too many awkward questions are not asked, the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly,” according to Mike Lofgren in an interview with Bill Moyers.

Interestingly, according to Philip Giraldi, the ever-militaristic Turkey has its own deep state, which uses overt criminality to keep the money flowing. By comparison, the U.S. deep state relies on a symbiotic relationship between banksters, lobbyists, and defense contractors, a mutant hybrid that also owns the Fourth Estate and Washington think tanks.

Is there hope for the future?

Perhaps. At present, discord and unrest continues to build. Various groups, establishments, organizations, and portions of the populace from all corners of the political spectrum, including Silicon Valley, Occupy, the Tea Party, Anonymous, WikiLeaks, anarchists and libertarians from both the left and right, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and others are beginning to vigorously question and reject the labyrinth of power wielded by the deep state.

Can these groups — can we, the people — overcome the divide and conquer tactics used to quell dissent? The future of freedom may depend on it.

This article (Forget the New World Order, Here’s Who Really Runs the World) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

Interventionism And Its Blowback Results

Apparently, some people don’t like it when you bring up some of the contributing factors which led to 9/11, in which the talk radio gasbags conclude that one is “blaming America” for 9/11. They are among the ignorant or just plain in denial of the U.S. government’s murderous foreign policy prior to the 2001 September 11th attacks.

There are many people out there in America who agree with those neanderthals who booed Ron Paul at that South Carolina debate in which he suggested applying the Golden Rule to U.S. foreign policy. The reason they booed is because they believe in American Exceptionalism, in which America is superior over other countries (except in education, economic freedom, Press freedom, etc.), and the U.S. government ought to have powers that other countries’ governments can’t have. The neanderthals from that debate and their fellows throughout America are very selective in what Biblical concepts to follow and which to conveniently ignore. “Do unto others what one would want others to do unto you,” and “Don’t do unto others what one would not want others to do unto you” are the basic rules of ethics and civility which the cognitively dissonant choose to ignore when it comes to foreign relations, for some reason.

For instance, in 1991 when then-President George H.W. Bush started his war of aggression against Iraq, it was not a defensive war; Iraq had not attacked the U.S. or even threatened to do so. The elder President Bush and his Sec. of Defense, Dick Cheney, authorized the U.S. military’s bombing of Iraqi civilian water and sewage treatment centers, and imposed sanctions and no-fly zones to prevent the Iraqis from rebuilding that infrastructure as well as preventing medical supplies, etc. from being imported into Iraq. This was the U.S. military’s sadistic way of forcing the Iraqi civilian population to use untreated water, which subsequently caused skyrocketing occurrences of diseases and hundreds of thousands of deaths by the mid-1990s.

The sanctions continued past 9/11/01, bringing the death toll up to at least a million by 2003, the year of the younger Bush’s new war of aggression, which caused hundreds of thousands of new civilian deaths, displaced millions, and resulted in the implementation of a Sharia Law theocracy, a new place for Iran-backed terror groups which didn’t exist prior to Bush’s war, and then ISIS. This ISIS organization, as I see it, is a group of young males who were born during the 1990s and 2000s sanctions crisis and have been raised in a dysfunctional culture completely distorted by the interventions, occupations, violence and sadism inflicted on those foreigners by the U.S. government and military.

As we can clearly see, such actions by the U.S. government have been impractical and have resulted in our own disadvantage, to say the least. That is why it is called “blowback.” Such actions have not been moral and ethical, but sadistic and criminal.

Another example as well is the U.S. government’s CIA ousting of the Prime Minister of Iran in 1953 and then backing the Shah’s rule and Savak terror and torture regime. As I have mentioned recently, those criminal interventions by the U.S. government led to the Islamic radicalization of that society, leading up to the 1979 hostage takings and then theocratic rule by Ayatollahs since then. In other words, such radicalization and change to theocratic rule (and Iranian support for terrorism outside of Iran) were direct results of the Washington central planning bureaucrats’ regime change acts.

Another motivation for 9/11 as stated by the terrorists and their aiders and abettors was the U.S. government’s support for Israel. Ooooh, there’s another issue that seems to be a politically incorrect issue to discuss objectively. A real hot potato. And you’re not allowed to bring up the political movement of Zionism. If you say “Zionism,” to some people therefore you’re “anti-Semitic.” Just hearing anyone say that word “triggers” their reflexive response. But I will say that the early Zionists insisted on the Land of Israel as the one and only one place to be a “safe homeland for Jews,” based solely on the Bible. The British Empire and the U.S. government and other Western governments used their military might to make way for the activists to realize their Biblically-inspired fantasies. But there already were people living there. Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims. And that territory has been completely surrounded by their fellow Muslims and Arabs who sympathize with those whose lives were ended, or whose families were run out of town or whose homes were taken away from them. Most people seemed to be so deeply influenced by the mainstream media’s constant propaganda day after day, for decades, that they have no idea what I’m talking about.

I know, many people interpret such analyses as non-sympathetic to Israel, to say the least. But a lot of people are just misinformed on the history of Israel and the origins of the ongoing conflicts there. And a lot of people are just plain mystical about Israel, and its role as a “safe homeland for Jews.” The mystical ones are not practical, nor have the governments which they have been supporting been ethical or moral in any true sense of those words. My sympathy is with those who are peaceful and respect the lives and rights of others.

“But the Israelis have been peaceful and minding their own business and they are being attacked by Arabs and Muslims,” is the usual response. Can we say they have been peaceful and minding their own business when they are living on occupied territory? I’m just trying to be realistic. If a foreign regime invaded the U.S. and removed me and others from our homes and took over the territory by force, I probably wouldn’t like that. (That’s another example of the idea of “Don’t do unto others what one would not want others to do unto you,” by the way. I hope you don’t mind my bringing that up again. If you’re a neanderthal from South Carolina, you probably won’t like that, however.) In other words, what has existed there in that region has been an occupation of an artificial State created by the conquering foreign governments and their militaries; and as long as the occupation continues there, it is unrealistic to expect peace any time soon.

This piece originally appeared at Scott’s blog

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.