Politics

February 16, 2011

18:28
Here is an important interview on this brewing government-corporate anti-WikiLeaks scandal, and one of the clearest explanations I've seen. Glenn Greenwald and Sam Seder explain the issues at length. At issue are well over 75,000 emails stolen by Anonymous (the diverse and uncoordinated band of Wikileaks merry hacksters) from a server belong to, of all things, a corporate firm specializing in "security" services. Some security. What those emails reveal is stunning, and people are just starting to go through them.

Covered in this interview are: (1) The details of a coordinated corporate attack on WikiLeaks defenders, found in several proposals embedded in the emails; (2) A discussion of the "government-corporate complex" (my phrase) — including these firms, companies like BofA, the Chamber of Commerce, big-time law firms and the DoJ; (3) The vulnerability of "liberal" journalists to the kind of silencing tactics discussed in the hacked proposals; (4) Whether or not the activity discussed represents a conspiracy under the law; (5) The indifference of the Justice Department to (and its implicit cooperation with) this kind of malfeasance; (6) The potential for indictments at the state level. This is well worth your listening time.



Greenwald's latest update is here.

There's a transcript posted at Majority.fm, the home of Seder's new podcast. After the break, I want to quote part of the discussion, especially how the emails were obtained — who got them and by what process — in order to provide basic context for this brewing scandal.

GP

Here's a section from the beginning of the interview that provides important context — how the whole thing got started and what the emails contain (my emphasis, paragraphing and annotation throughout): Glenn Greenwald: Well, the story essentially is pretty simple in terms of what actually happened which is that the CEO of this security firm, HBGary, whose name is Aaron Barr, basically conducted an investigation into this group called Anonymous which is basically a world-wide group of hackers who gained notoriety because they announced that they were going to retaliate against anyone who unfairly targeted WikiLeaks.

So about two months ago they [Anonymous] launched a bunch of cyber-attacks on companies that had terminated their services with WikiLeaks such as Amazon and MasterCard and PayPal and Visa, basic denial of service attacks that just slowed down those sites for a day or so and so this HBGary that touts itself as an internet security firm, they do work for the government, started boasting that they had investigated Anonymous, had infiltrated them and had uncovered the identities of numerous leading hackers who are part of this group.

Sam Seder: ... But it turns out he [Aaron Barr] was wrong and Anonymous basically struck back, and paraphrasing them, you have stuck your finger in the beehive and now you’re about to get stung.

GG: Right and get stung he definitely did. What they [Anonymous] basically did was is they tricked, I think somebody at the company [HBGary] into providing them with the passwords to the email system and they [Anonymous] were able to hack into the email account for which he, this Aaron Barr, was the administrator and download 50,000 or more now, 75,000 emails on HBGary’s server.

They also hacked into his Twitter account and sent out all kinds of embarrassing and vulgar messages having annexed that account as well as other online accounts, and among the 70,000 emails that they were able to obtain and they were just randomly obtained them. They weren’t searching for anything in particular.

They [Anonymous] didn’t know that there was anything specifically incriminating [in the emails], but among these emails were at least two proposals designed to, on behalf of perspective clients, basically discredit and attack and destroy people who were taking certain political positions that the perspective client disliked. In one case they [HBGary] wanted to propose to Bank of America targeting WikiLeaks and various supporters, including me, with all kinds of nefarious and potentially illegal schemes to discredit, attack and threaten those supporters out of advocating for WikiLeaks.

And in another case, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, they [HBGary] wanted to do the same to progressive groups and activists who are critical of the Chamber of Commerce and that’s what has kind of produced a lot of controversy is that the firms that were involved in these discussions, not just HBGary but also Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and most of all Hunton and Williams the very large and well connected DC law firm that represents both the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America. These are very serious and legitimate players and so to see all of them discussing an email on these kind of odious schemes to basically destroy the credibility of political adversaries is why this has become a news story. The ensuing discussion unpacks the on-going relationships between these "security" firms, the law firm Hunton and Williams, major corporate players like BofA, and the Obama Justice Department: GG: It’s an ongoing relationship and beyond those three firms this is all being coordinated by and solicited from Hunton and Williams and specifically a partner there, John Woods, and Hunton and Williams is a serious player in Washington lobbying and legal circles and one of the emails specifically indicates that Hunton and Williams became in contact with Bank of America because an official at the Justice Department, talking to Bank of America about what they should do about WikiLeaks, recommended Hunton and Williams, so it was the DOJ that put Hunton and Williams in touch with Bank of America to do this kind of work and of course the Justice Department is obsessed with harming and otherwise prosecuting and otherwise impeding what WikiLeaks is doing. See why I call it the "government-corporate complex", for want of a better name? (And I do want a better name.)

Note that the hackers weren't targeting anything special; this was just a random sweep from the email system. Can you imagine what the rest of the emails contain, if this arguably criminal activity is so casually and openly discussed? (By the way, the potential criminality of the proposals is dealt with by Greenwald.)

Later in the interview, there's a discussion in the proposals about how easily the "security" believe they can make people like Greenwald back down. Greenwald says, quoting from the corporate presentation: “There are established professionals that have a liberal bent but ultimately, most of them if pushed, will choose professional preservation over cause such as the mentality of most business professionals." Note the phrase "if pushed". What do you think "pushed" means, when spoken by a corporate "security" firm, and in the context of a journalist like, say, Jonathan Alter or Richard Wolffe, who literally depend on access for career and livelihood? Or a journalist who works for a corporate giant like NBC or CBS? I don't have an answer, but it seems an obvious question.

Greenwald and Seder then consider how likely it is that the firm is just expressing a tried and true method for silencing "liberal" mainstream journalists, one that's already in place — in other words, that this kind of "extortion" (to use Greenwald's phrase) may be simply an ongoing practice.

The interview and its underlying subjects are fascinating, and we're just at the beginning of the scandal. Please take the time to download or listen. This is the best orientation to this story I've found.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
16:22
Dan Savage Rick Santorum, arch-right conservative family values homophobe, and somewhat weird family man as well, has a Google problem.

You see, when you search for 'santorum' in Google, depending on the day, the first thing that comes up isn't the good former Senator from Pennsylvania. (Seriously, be careful doing this at work.) Rather, what comes up is a sexual definition created explicitly for the Senator by our good friend Dan Savage, in retaliation for Santorum's virulent homophobia and obsession with the gay (Santorum compared gay relationships to "man on dog sex," something he's apparently an expert on).

NSFW: Here, see for yourself.

Joe has more on the saga. It seems Santorum was asked about the controversy and is quite upset about it, but now resigned to the fact that his last name has become a term of sexual art. And he's mad at Dan Savage. Really mad. He thinks Dan is sick. I know Dan. Dan's a hoot. Rick, however, is sick, and getting exactly what he deserves.

Here's Dan's column from 2003 in which he explains the history of Santorum's homophobia, and in which Dan announces a contest to rebrand Santorum as something else. The rest is Google history.

Don't mess with the Internets.  And seriously don't mess with the gays.

PS More on Santorum's odd family values here:
In his Senate office, on a shelf next to an autographed baseball, Sen. Rick Santorum keeps a framed photo of his son Gabriel Michael, the fourth of his seven children. Named for two archangels, Gabriel Michael was born prematurely, at 20 weeks, on Oct. 11, 1996, and lived two hours outside the womb.

Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
15:15
Good grief, she's nuts. Maybe Bachmann hasn't noticed it yet, but a substantial majority of American women try to work and have kids. Maybe Bachmann is wealthy enough not to have worried about the cost of breast milk pumps, but it's an expense for working families. This is just another example of how far removed people like Bachmann are from the real concerns of middle class families. CNN:
Speaking to conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham Tuesday, the Minnesota Republican said Obama's efforts to promote breast-feeding and the IRS's announcement that nursing supplies that aide in the practice can be deducted from tax returns amounts to a "new definition [of] the nanny state."

"This is very consistent with where the hard left is coming from," Bachmann told Ingraham. "For them, government is the answer to every problem."

"I've given birth to five babies and I breast fed every single one of these babies," she added. "To think that government has to go out and buy my breast pump for my babies? You wanna talk about the nanny state, I think you just got a new definition."Maybe people like Bachmann can get off of their butt and do something about unemployment. Just a guess but that is a much more important issue for people in the real world than yet another social wedge issue that doesn't really exist.

NOTE FROM JOHN: This kind of misogynistic attack on women - and that's what, at its core this is, it's a cute way to suck up to far right conservative men by bashing moms in need, and bashing the First Lady for extra credit - is typical of the new GOP, and typical of the far-right nuts running the party. As I've written before, they don't care about real people or their real problems, they're only about controversy and hysteria and doing whatever they can to link anything and everything to "socialism." The notion of the government helping a young mother sickens them. Why? Why not. Bachmann is in the game to pump her name, a la Palin, and to pump the extremist wing of the party. Thus, she doesn't care about the real life implications of her words or actions. She's not in it to help people or country. She's ambition for ambition's sake. To hell with the children, to hell with the women, to hell with helping families in a tough economy.

And notice how, yet again, a leader of the GOP is doing absolutely nothing about helping Americans get jobs. It's all about crazy symbolic causes, for them. Nothing at all about helping real people, or helping our country move forward.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
14:04
Perfectly consistent with the Republican's secret plan to keep red states impoverished, under-developed, uneducated and unhealthy. Rather than focus on building the economy, health and education of their constituents, Republicans prefer to focus on high-profile sensational gestures - banning abortions, bashing gays, belittling as "socialist" health care policies that might actually, finally, help people in need. So now the GOP governor of Florida doesn't want to accept federal money to build a high speed rail because he might get socialist cooties.

Good. The feds should take the money away from Florida, and the jobs and economic growth that would go alongside finally having the kind of trains that France had 25 years ago, and give the money to another state. Then the governor, and everyone who voted for him, can sit back and crow about how they held their state even further back.

And before anyone falls for the "it wasn't a good project for Florida" line, conservative GOP governors in Ohio and Wisconsin have also turned down the money. This is politics. The Republicans don't want to accept stimulus money and then have to admit that it actually helped their state by going to a useful project. So they turn down the basically-free-money (the state was only required to put up $280m to match the feds $2.4bn), and impoverish their states even further during a horrendous economy.

The Republicans are about demagoguery. They're not here to fix our nation's problems, they're not here to move our country forward. They're here to talk about abortion, guns, gays and God (and socialism), otherwise GOP politicians just aren't that interested.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
12:56
Good.Activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a US-based environmental group, have been chasing the Japanese fleet's mother ship.

An official at the country's fisheries agency said whaling had been halted "for now" because of safety concerns.

Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 but Japan uses a regulation permitting hunting for scientific research.Japan says it continues to hunt for scientific research, while not concealing the fact that much of the meat ends up on dinner plates, the BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo reports.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
11:45
What an embarrassment to the United States of America he is. How difficult is it to recognize that the celebration of a slave trader who massacred African-American Union troops, and was a member of the Klan, is just wrong? More from TPM:Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), a potential presidential candidate, appears to have marked a line in the sand for an expected presidential run sure to be dogged by the politics of race and the legacy of the Civil Rights Era in his state. Asked by reporters today in Jackson, Mississippi, Barbour not only refused to denounce efforts by some to create a license plate honoring Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest. He said he was out of the denouncing business altogether.

"I don't go around denouncing people," said Barbour, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. "That's not going to happen. I don't even denounce the news media."

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
10:39
Welcome to the modern GOP. ThinkProgress with the ugly details. REP. O’BRIEN: My son who’s a Kansas resident, born here, raised here, didn’t qualify for any financial aid. Yet this girl was going to get financial aid. My son was kinda upset about it because he works and pays for his own schooling and his books and everything and he didn’t think that was fair. We didn’t ask the girl what nationality she was, we didn’t think that was proper. But we could tell by looking at her that she was not originally from this country. [...]

REP. GATEWOOD: Can you expand on how you could tell that they were illegal?

REP. O’BRIEN: Well she wasn’t black, she wasn’t Asian, and she had the olive complexion.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
09:32
He's obviously a very good liar, but on this subject, he sounds very believable. What is unbelievable is that the GOP wants to reduce the SEC oversight during these times. To them, it's as if the Wall Street crisis never happened. Patrolling Wall Street is difficult enough when there are surely others like Madoff looking for a new scam, so ignoring that possibility is foolish, not to mention dangerous.In many ways, however, Mr. Madoff seemed unchanged. He spoke with great intensity and fluency about his dealings with various banks and hedge funds, pointing to their “willful blindness” and their failure to examine discrepancies between his regulatory filings and other information available to them.

“They had to know,” Mr. Madoff said. “But the attitude was sort of, ‘If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.’ ”

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
08:29
This from someone who talked a lot about job creation during the campaign but has yet to introduce any bill to promote job creation. Bizarre rape and abortion issues have been the priority for Boehner and the GOP. If they cut more jobs, who will be paying the taxes to maintain what is already being spent?His response: "Over the last two years since President Obama has taken office the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We're broke. It's time for us to get serious on how we're spending the nation's money."

Democrats quickly seized on the remarks by Boehner, who during the 2010 midterm season constantly hurled this phrase at Obama and the Democrats: "Where are the jobs?"

When asked about Boehner's comments today, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) responded, "What I wonder is, so what if it's aircraft controllers that make the skies safe?...So what if it's USDA meat inspectors that make sure the food supply is safe?... I think there's a lot of concern about that and this blithe assumption that anyone who works for the federal government must be part of waste fraud and abuse, maybe that should extend to the Congress as well as the federal work force. I think that's a very flip attitude about a very serious problem."

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
06:23
Everything about the Iraq invasion and ongoing war sounds like a lie. Continuing the lie when we don't have the money to spend in the first place only makes it worse. The Guardian:The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war.

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials who dealt with his claims, has told the Guardian that he fabricated tales of mobile bioweapons trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled in 1995.

"Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right," he said. "They gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that and we are proud that we were the reason to give Iraq the margin of democracy."What would be even worse is if the CIA failed to properly punish the appropriate team who failed the country and the world so badly. No more medals of freedom and promotions.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
04:24
How about the US government takes a side and sticks with one or the other? Spying on private Twitter details doesn't sound very American to me.The irony of the Clinton speech coming on the day of the court case was not lost on the constitutional lawyers battling against the government in Alexandria. The lawyers also cited the Tunisian and Egyptian examples. Aden Fine, who represents the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the leading civil rights groups in the country, said: "It is very alarming that the government is trying to get this information about individuals' communications. But, also, above all, they should not be able to do this in secret."

The court case, which is turning into a cause celebre in the US, centres round the release of tens of thousands of Pentagon and state department classified documents by WikiLeaks. Outraged by the leaks, the US has set up a grand jury in secret, based in Alexandria, to investigate whether grounds can be found for a criminal case against WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange. As part of that investigation the grand jury ordered Twitter to disclose the details of the accounts of WikiLeaks and three people said to be linked to the organisation.

The investigation also covers Bradley Manning, the US soldier who was based in Iraq and is suspected of being behind the leak. He is being held in jail in Virginia.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics

February 15, 2011

19:29
What do you know, it's a Republican sponsored law. From Mother Jones:A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The Republican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state's GOP-dominated House of Representatives soon.

"The bill in South Dakota is an invitation to murder abortion providers."
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
18:15
Buried in this Robert Fisk report for The Independent is a startling account of the Egyptian army refusing to move with tanks against the Tahrir Square protesters on January 30. If this is true, it must be the defining moment in the history of the movement that toppled Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign. My emphasis below: Last night [Feb 10], a military officer guarding the tens of thousands celebrating in Cairo threw down his rifle and joined the demonstrators, yet another sign of the ordinary Egyptian soldier's growing sympathy for the democracy demonstrators. We had witnessed many similar sentiments from the army over the past two weeks. But the critical moment came on the evening of 30 January when, it is now clear, Mubarak ordered the Egyptian Third Army to crush the demonstrators in Tahrir Square with their tanks after flying F-16 fighter bombers at low level over the protesters.

Many of the senior tank commanders could be seen tearing off their headsets – over which they had received the fatal orders – to use their mobile phones. They were, it now transpires, calling their own military families for advice. Fathers who had spent their lives serving the Egyptian army told their sons to disobey, that they must never kill their own people.

Thus when General Hassan al-Rawani told the massive crowds yesterday evening that "everything you want will be realised – all your demands will be met", the people cried back: "The army and the people stand together – the army and the people are united. The army and the people belong to one hand." Robert Fisk is a seasoned journalist and Middle East expert with a long history. Though this event has not been widely reported (and Fisk does not give his source), I did find some corroboration, for example here. And Fisk's claim is repeated here, with Fisk cited as the source. Given his history (Fisk is one of the few journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden three times), it's unlikely he's wrong.

GP

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
18:08
Same old, same old.Members of Iran's parliament have called for opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to be tried and executed.

Some 50 conservative MPs marched through parliament's main hall on Tuesday, chanting "Death to Mousavi, death to Karroubi", shown on state TV.

Thousands of opposition supporters had protested in Iran's capital on Monday.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
15:39
Big Pharma and their GOP cheerleaders will no doubt scream but it's the right thing to do. If health care costs are ever going to even stabilize (let alone fall) cost control has to be part of the program.

What would ultimately be the best direction would be to negotiate with Big Pharma on prices. How is it that the largest potential buyer in the world doesn't use that power to negotiate? It's standard capitalism. Maybe someone has heard of it before? Then again, maybe some people are looking for one of those lucrative jobs with Big Pharma at a later stage and hate to hurt their chances by getting tough.Big pharmaceutical companies could face increased competition from generic drugmakers under two proposals put forth by the Obama administration on Monday despite earlier savings extracted from drugmakers as part of last year's healthcare law.

President Barack Obama, as part of his 2012 budget proposal, called for cutting the number of years drugmakers could exclusively market brand-name biologic drugs to 7 years from 12.

He also set his sights on ending controversial "pay-for-delay" deals that affect traditional, chemical drugs by giving the U.S. Federal Trade Commission power to block them. Under such pacts, brand-name and generic drugmakers settle patent challenges with payoffs that delay lower-cost rivals from reaching the market.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics
15:19
This is an important interview on this brewing anti-WikiLeaks scandal. Glenn is well-questioned by Sam Seder and explains the various issues at length. There are now over 70,000 emails in the hacked database that turned up this plot to silence WikiLeaks supporters and defenders; it's highly likely there are many more scandals lurking in the unexplored parts of the database.

Covered in this interview are: (1) The details of the coordinated corporate attack on WikiLeaks defenders, including Greenwald himself, found in several proposals embedded in the emails; (2) A great discussion of the way the "government-corporate complex" (my phrase) works; (3) The vulnerability of "liberal" journalists to the kind of silencing tactics discussed in the proposals; (4) Whether or not this represents a conspiracy under the law; (5) The indifference of the Justice Department; (6) The potential for indictments at the state level. Here it is in full:



There's a transcript posted at Majority.fm, the home of Seder's new podcast. After the break, I want to quote part of the discussion, especially how the emails were obtained — who got them and how — in order to provide basic context for this brewing scandal.

GP

Here's a section from the beginning of the interview that provides important context — how the whole thing got started and what the emails contain (my emphasis, paragraphing and annotation throughout): Glenn Greenwald: Well, the story essentially is pretty simple in terms of what actually happened which is that the CEO of this security firm, HBGary, whose name is Aaron Barr, basically conducted an investigation into this group called Anonymous which is basically a world-wide group of hackers who gained notoriety because they announced that they were going to retaliate against anyone who unfairly targeted WikiLeaks.

So about two months ago they [Anonymous] launched a bunch of cyber-attacks on companies that had terminated their services with WikiLeaks such as Amazon and MasterCard and PayPal and Visa, basic denial of service attacks that just slowed down those sites for a day or so and so this HBGary that touts itself as an internet security firm, they do work for the government, started boasting that they had investigated Anonymous, had infiltrated them and had uncovered the identities of numerous leading hackers who are part of this group.

Sam Seder: ... But it turns out he [Aaron Barr] was wrong and Anonymous basically struck back, and paraphrasing them, you have stuck your finger in the beehive and now you’re about to get stung.

GG: Right and get stung he definitely did. What they [Anonymous] basically did was is they tricked, I think somebody at the company [HBGary] into providing them with the passwords to the email system and they [Anonymous] were able to hack into the email account for which he, this Aaron Barr, was the administrator and download 50,000 or more now, 75,000 emails on HBGary’s server.

They also hacked into his Twitter account and sent out all kinds of embarrassing and vulgar messages having annexed that account as well as other online accounts, and among the 70,000 emails that they were able to obtain and they were just randomly obtained them. They weren’t searching for anything in particular.

They [Anonymous] didn’t know that there was anything specifically incriminating [in the emails], but among these emails were at least two proposals designed to, on behalf of perspective clients, basically discredit and attack and destroy people who were taking certain political positions that the perspective client disliked. In one case they [HBGary] wanted to propose to Bank of America targeting WikiLeaks and various supporters, including me, with all kinds of nefarious and potentially illegal schemes to discredit, attack and threaten those supporters out of advocating for WikiLeaks.

And in another case, on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, they [HBGary] wanted to do the same to progressive groups and activists who are critical of the Chamber of Commerce and that’s what has kind of produced a lot of controversy is that the firms that were involved in these discussions, not just HBGary but also Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and most of all Hunton and Williams the very large and well connected DC law firm that represents both the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America. These are very serious and legitimate players and so to see all of them discussing an email on these kind of odious schemes to basically destroy the credibility of political adversaries is why this has become a news story. The ensuing discussion then unpacks the on-going relationships between these "security" firms, the law firm Hunton and Williams, major corporate players like BofA, and the Obama Justice Department: GG: It’s an ongoing relationship and beyond those three firms this is all being coordinated by and solicited from Hunton and Williams and specifically a partner there, John Woods, and Hunton and Williams is a serious player in Washington lobbying and legal circles and one of the emails specifically indicates that Hunton and Williams became in contact with Bank of America because an official at the Justice Department, talking to Bank of America about what they should do about WikiLeaks, recommended Hunton and Williams, so it was the DOJ that put Hunton and Williams in touch with Bank of America to do this kind of work and of course the Justice Department is obsessed with harming and otherwise prosecuting and otherwise impeding what WikiLeaks is doing. See why I call it the "government-corporate complex", for want of a better name? (And I do want a better name.)

Note that the hackers weren't targeting anything special; this was just a random sweep from the email system. Can you imagine what the rest of the emails contain, if this arguably criminal activity is so casually and openly discussed? (By the way, the potential criminality of the proposals is dealt with by Greenwald.)

Later in the interview, there's a discussion in the emails about how easily, they believe, they can make people like Greenwald back down. Greenwald says, quoting from the corporate presentation: “There are established professionals that have a liberal bent but ultimately, most of them if pushed, will choose professional preservation over cause such as the mentality of most business professionals." Note the phrase "if pushed" in the corporate presentation. What do you think "pushed" means in the context of a journalist like, say, Jonathan Alter or Richard Wolffe, who literally depend on access for his career and livelihood? Or a journalist who works for a corporate giant like NBC or CBS? I don't have an answer, but it seems an obvious question.

Greenwald and Seder then consider how likely it is that the presentation is just expressing a tried and true method for silencing "liberal" mainstream journalists — that this kind of "extortion" (to use Greenwald's phrase) may be simply an ongoing practice.

This interview and its underlying subjects are fascinating, and we're just at the beginning of the scandal. Please take the time to download or listen. This is the best orientation to this story I've found.

Source: AMERICAblog
Categories: Politics