De-Manufacturing Consent- Hidden in Plain Sight: Snowden Myths Unraveling

Guillermo Jimenez Presents Tom Secker

On this edition of De-Manufacturing Consent Guillermo is joined by Tom Secker, host of ClandesTime, and author of the book Secrets, Spies, and 7/7. Guillermo and Tom break down what it means for Glenn Greenwald and Team Snowden to be entering into a media and business relationship with Sony Pictures Entertainment, set to transform the Snowden narrative No Place to Hide into Hollywood legend.

We discuss the "open secret" of Hollywood's reciprocal relationship with the US government and the national security state in the creation of pro-establishment propaganda, and Greenwald's never-ending hypocrisy in teaming up with Sony and Amy Pascal, producers of the film Zero Dark Thirty, which Greenwald once called a "CIA hagiography" and "pernicious propaganda." As the Snowden narrative unravels and more questions arise, will the master story-tellers in Hollywood step in to rewrite history and shape your reality?

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  1. Great show guys. Always enjoy listening to Mr. Secker. I’ve heard others say they think ES is CIA and playing the part to take NSA down a notch. I generally don’t buy that particular meme, as I imagine both agencies working for the same private interests. I know Tom didn’t present that in particular; He simply said he thought ES was still CIA.

    BTW, does anyone actually think that GG will ever divulge the proof that the NSA has been collecting all audio content of all phone calls in the USA?

  2. Guillermo, can you try to get Naomi Wolf on the show? Or Russ Tice? I’d like to know if he still agrees with the BS media strategy of dripping omissions and see if he knows why GG wasn’t arrested during his visit (as Tice warned he would be, in so many words.) And, of course, I still want to know when he’s going to be ready to tell us more about the flight 93 shoot-down.

    Just another friendly reminder on that last point. Actually, it would be best if that question came directly from Sibel, since she has three independent sources for that already. But nobody feels like it’s worth the risk to talk in this environment. In this exceptionally free country.

  3. NBC now rolling out the red carpet for Snowden, airing a prime time interview tonight (Weds), with all the bombast you should expect from Brian Williams….
    …”Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden” -invoking another Hollywood blockbuster? – A Beautiful Mind…

  4. Waldemar Perez says:

    Can anyone here (Edmonds, Jimenez or a reader) help me make sense of why the Russians gave asylum to this guy cause they know. Sibel seems to be very right now on a lot of fronts with this story. Sounds to me the Russians knew this guy. Could there be an alliance (PsyOp) with the Russians? I’m really confused. What could be the purpose of all of this beyond just the typical scare mongering tactics that there is nowhere to hide and why would the Russians cooperate with this Psyop?

    • Ribbit-Mark says:

      I tend to believe pretty much the entire official story so far and I will continue to, until such time that it has been proven to be false (if that ever occurs).

      Why did Russia give asylum to Snowden?
      1. Because they had the opportunity.
      2. Because they had massive public support behind them.
      3. Because it made them look like the good guys.
      4. Because by doing so they could thumb their nose at the U.S.
      5. Because they had little to lose if anything, by doing so.

    • Waldemar,

      Obviously I can’t say with any certainty, but it strikes me as a case of a diplomatic game piece which fell into Putin’s lap. The United States revoked Snowden’s passport, which restricted his travel options. I believe he’d intended to seek asylum somewhere in Latin America. Offering Snowden asylum was a relatively non-provocative way for the Russians to assert their sovereignty on a world stage and make a statement that they didn’t feel obliged to defer to the US to save them embarrassment. The Chinese played the situation about the same. Again, I’m no expert, it just seemed like the Russians weren’t that interested in Snowden and as things appear to be unravelling, that lack of interest would make sense.

      I think Pepe Escobar said somewhere recently; the Kremlin’s been playing a game of chess diplomatically with what’s been going on geopolitically while the Obama administration has been fumbling like they’re playing a game of Monopoly. I think this is just another example of that.

  5. Hmm… my comment’s awaiting moderation. That’s new =\

    Hopefully I haven’t said anything to put myself under scrutiny(?) I can’t think of what though. If so, hopefully someone will let me know…

  6. ( Looks like I’m good to go 🙂 )

    This was a really great podcast. A lot of thoughts I had rumbling around myself, very well addressed. Nice One…

    Xicha, I’d had the same thought you did as far as the CIA-NSA turf war. I was very cautious about passing judgement on Snowden’s authenticity (if you will), for a long time, because I felt that the sensitivity of the subject warranted an effort to avoid being “wrong and strong”. The same thought was there though. One angle that had occurred to me was that if the CIA really wanted to silence Snowden and prevent the info from being released to the public, he’d made a sloppy enough getaway that the amount of consideration required in “silencing” him would be comparable to deciding on whether to get a large or medium soda. Not that either agency couldn’t handle it, but the CIA seems to have more stripes in the snuff ’em and stuff ’em business and Keith Alexander and James Clapper come off as about as intelligent as villains in a Michael Bay flick, even if they are just figure heads (who knows). The part that seemed less clear was whether it was a make it happen or let it happen scenario. Obviously I can’t say for sure, but it definitely looks more like the latter.

    A side note, to tack on to the comment/response I posted previously on this page: I’m not a Putin fan, but I have to admit I’ve been finding it pretty amusing to watch the contrast be Obama and Putin. Or more precisely, John ‘Swift Boat’ Kerry and Putin. It’s almost as if the Obama administration is handling themselves so poorly that Putin’s handling them with a light touch. Whatever the case is with Snowden they probably know, but aside from offering him asylum they haven’t publicly contradicted any of the “official” narrative when it seems like they could pretty easily take a piss out of them in the situation.

    Back to what I was saying before… Another interesting Hollywood tie in which wasn’t mentioned, but has been discussed briefly elsewhere was the Captain America movie. For those who aren’t familiar, basically the “enemy” is a militarized mass surveillance station with targeted assassination capabilities to eliminate (terrorist) threats before they materialize. ( Obama’s wet dream;-) ). There’s a really bizarre “branding” moment at the end of the movie as well when you see one of the good guys (rather, gals), who we find out later is a double agent infiltrating the Obama Death Star operation, is practicing her aim at a shooting range with an official CIA shirt on. Big fat letters, nothing subtle about it.

    In an odd way the theme ties into my general sense of what the CIA-NSA turf war concept could potentially be about. Basically: Yes, they’re part of the same federal alphabet soup but the NSA in particular has gotten so bloated and overreaching, that it’s becoming clumsy and a potential liability to covert action and intelligence gathering that’s not of the Cosco/Burt Reynolds variety. Plus there’s always the prospect of boondoggle funding competitive conflicts of interests, which could potentially cut into more strategically efficient investments in Hollywood advertising and regime change campaigns. Perhaps Snowden is a quality control whistleblower. Just a few thoughts.

  7. jackdonovan says:

    I thought this show was a bit ridiculous. Bunch of speculation and name dropping, no substance.

    First of all, you keep saying “why did Snowden contact this ‘glorified blogger’?” As if we didn’t know he contacted another person, a national security journalist, Barton Gellman. If you want to unravel the story, why leave out Barton Gellman, whom Snowden met in Moscow?

    Secondly, why does BFP have to follow the same MSM sh** of going after the PEOPLE rather than the facts, anyway?! This is the biggest document leak after the Pentagon Papers, and just like then, people keep focusing on the messengers, rather than the message! I thought we should learn from history. This clichè of “oh, he didn’t reveal anything the other whistleblowers have revealed” doesn’t help anyone. Assess the DOCUMENTS. Read them carefully and ask experts about what could be the consequences of the programs Snowden revealed, rather than, I repeat, speculate on the personalities involved. I’m surprised so many people liked this show, I thought it was a big step back.

    • I hear you Jack. But considering what we know from Russ Tice, it’s hard to watch these folks at Omit Your News Corp profit from whitewashing the truth about content collection here in the USA. Especially while they profit. Now the whole country is more accepting of this surveillance because it’s just call logs, just phone records Even with the latest excitement with Wikileaks, we only hear about collection of call audio in Afghanistan, which a lot of Americans would agree with.

      They had the world’s attention and blew bubbles about the crimes against us. The rest of the docs are evidence of serious ongoing crimes and need to be disclosed immediately. I’m not planning to find anything useful about the documents on Netflix need year, or whenever they finish the movie. I’m not planning to find anything useful on their Omit Your News Corp website either.

      So, it doesn’t leave me with much to analyze and check with experts about, if we already see the whitewash for profit, posing as truth. Rather, these are lies by Omidyar.

      I hope this helps explain some of the attitude.

    • Jack,
      People haven’t really been fussing about Barton Gellman because he hasn’t been pimping out his relationship to the story the way Glenn Greenwald has. Greenwald was an opinion columnist; a constitutional blogger, before the Snowden story. He had a decent track record calling out both the Bush and Obama administrations on their flagrant constitutional violations. He was probably chosen for this reason, which makes his shapeshifting narrative, profiteering, and hypocrisy that much worse of a betrayal. The praise for Sony Entertainment for example speaks volumes. It’s so bad the only thing you can really do is laugh.

      BFP members are going after the PEOPLE because they’re the ones we rely on for the FACTS: the authenticity of the back story and the rationale for cherry picking 2(%) percent of a MASSIVE CACHE OF DOCUMENTS which they have exclusive access to matters. and they’ve given us plenty of reason to be wary of how they’ve covered the story so far. If we can’t trust the nature of how we’ve been presented with these documents, we’d be foolish not to question the rationale behind which documents we’re being presented and why. The redaction of Afghanistan from the recent disclosure of what country’s communications are being entirely intercepted is telling. If someone tells you that you left your door unlocked but fails to mention that your house is being robbed how thankful do you think you should feel about that tip?

      There is something to be said about the value of having that information and being able to verify what’s going on. I see where you’re getting at with that. I’ve tried to look objectively at that piece of it. As Sibel pointed out in her recent piece though: the people have spoken… with their silence. This is not Glenn Greenwald or Edward Snowden’s fault. It’s not entirely that people haven’t reacted to these revelations either, but the response from DC has been deafeningly quiet. This speaks to a larger problem that the intelligence agencies are largely beyond the control of the elected officials.

      One of the main problems with this Snowden episode is that we’re in some ways being sold a story of the hero who manages to outsmart the system and bring down the empire, but there’s no victory to point to. It’s sort of an Obamanism. I appreciated this podcast because I don’t think we’ve figured out quite what the moral of the story is. Whether or not Greenwald and Co are aware of it or not, I think they’re getting suckered into leading the charge and the cavalry towards a battle without victory based on bad intel. The documents in the book and on Greenwald’s book site are a map sanctioned by the enemy probably leading in the wrong direction. Figuring out what all of this is supposed to mean may not be a step in the right direction, but to paraphrase Yogi Berra in reverse, it’s better than being lost but making good time.

      • jackdonovan says:

        Thanks for the replies. It speaks volumes about the community that’s growing around BFP…

        Look, I definitely agree that the documents are _too_ carefully selected. The redactions are the obvious smoking gun that there is a great influence by the government on what gets revealed. I think they do threaten the journalists by painting the “Armageddon” picture, “all hell’s gonna break loose if you reveal this”. Still, there is information that was pretty tightly held and now it’s out there. And the most that happens is reporting on other reports, rather than assessing the documents directly. I think that we can hold those documents against the propagandizers.

        What I mean is, the Disinformation Machine can try to bury the stories and never “connect the dots” between new stories and the “old” documents. But we can counter that by reading them through, really absorbing the whole information instead of the bits and pieces that show up through the media (mainstream and alternative).

        As to Omidyar, I think his whole “vision thing” was demolished in the masterpiece “eBay Shrugged”, by Mark Ames, posted on Pando Daily. There’s no question that he is into the National Security State big time… But again, that does not take away the value of the documents.

    • Ribbit-Mark says:

      Jack I only listened to the first part of the show. I wasn’t inspired enough to continue listening to the rest. But if the rest of the show was the same as the first 15-20 minutes, then I agree with your sentiments.
      It’s the facts/documents that matter, not the people/messengers.

      I also noticed that Guillermo Jimenez is perpetuating the ‘2%’ myth that just won’t go away.
      Greenwald made it very clear recently that he has released roughly 50% of the documents, not 2%.

      That is a huge difference. If the remaining documents are released at the pace they were released the past year, by next year this time we should have all of them. Not a 40+ year wait as some have calculated.

      • Didn’t GG qualify that as “of the documents that will be released”? Kind of changes things, right?

        • Ribbit-Mark says:

          I listened carefully to his interviews where he stated this and I didn’t hear what you have mentioned above Xicha.
          I did think to myself that he _didn’t_ say one way or the other; ie. 50% of all the documents he had or 50% of the documents he will be releasing.
          If you have either a video or text link or anything else where he qualifies it with “of the documents that will be released” please share it with us!

  8. Ribbit-Mark says:

    I myself made a comment about this in a previous post a week or two ago when his book was released; that he didn’t explicitly state it one way or the other. You may have been thinking about my comment.

    • Could be, but it would be a little strange to have those estimates between tens of thousands and millions turn out to be hundreds. My main concern is that the evidence that all US calls are collected doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

      I wish there was a court system with integrity where this evidence could be made public and used to convict. Tice said Cheney started some of the targeting of US officials during the run up to the invasion of Iraq, but many more need to go to prison for what they’re doing. From Sibel’s first book, we know most of Congress is compromised as well. We’ve got to think big if we want things to change. But maybe start with a focus that could domino. This goes to Sibel’s other post on apathy. I think a few major heads rolling might awake the sleeping giant of the public to action. To see that it’s possible and/or real. But, without the Congress or the courts… We’re stuck trying to get someone in the know to lay it all out. ES and GG had the world’s attention, but now the story is becoming passe. It feels like a knife in the back, as Tice referred to Obama, after trusting his promises for transparency and an end to illegal wiretapping, etc. A knife in the back.

  9. Ribbit-Mark says:

    I hear ya, and agree with most of what you are saying about moving forward with some action, something concrete.
    But I feel that the ES/GG story would have been dead and buried by now (and forgotten) had all of the docs been released at once. It isn’t quite passe yet, precisely because there’s more to be released.
    As far as the number of docs are concerned; both ES and GG laughed when reporters questioned them about the 1.3 million figure. The number is likely in the thousands and we probably will have all that will be released within a year.

    • Thanks for the reply. Do you get the sense that they will release the evidence of the mass recording of all audio content of all phone calls in the USA? They didn’t want to let us know about Afghanistan, so how could they decide to tell us about the USA? And I have to disagree and did at the beginning, that this stringing along strategy was any good. They really had the world’s attention – they should have taken the opportunity. And now what we have is really the textbook definition of whitewash. At least it was when I took journalism 101 about 20 years ago. It’s pretty difficult not to see the conflict of interest, when we watch all the deals and new careers springing out of this story. In fact those kind of became the story for much of the public’s attention. We needed deep impact when the iron was hot. And it was smokin hot.

      • Ribbit-Mark says:

        I have no idea whether mass recording evidence of audio phone call content will be released. We’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

        Xicha you must know as well as anyone (as a Journalism 101 graduate) how short-term the public’s memory is with regards to news stories.

        The very fact that the Snowden news story (or its manifestations) still finds its/their way into MSM news stories almost every week is a testament to the effectiveness of the hold-back strategy.

        Today is another case in point.

        In a news release Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and other MSC’s (mainstream corporations) have issued notice that they are taking matters into their own hands to prevent the government from intruding into the public’s personal data.

        To me this is a good thing and wouldn’t have emerged had it not been for the Snowden revelations.

        Now of course, we need to take a news story like this with a grain of salt, but having good faith in MSC’s is important.

        One could argue that the MSC’s (up until this point at least) have been forced by the NSA to comply with any of their requests for bulk data. This may actually be the case.

        So if the MSC’s are now trying to find ways to encrypt the public’s data what will the net result be (no pun intended)?

        Will the MSC’s be forced to un-encrypt the data at the NSA’s request? 🙂

        • This was an interesting paragraph from jackdonovan’s most recent comment above:

          What I mean is, the Disinformation Machine can try to bury the stories and never “connect the dots” between new stories and the “old” documents. But we can counter that by reading them through, really absorbing the whole information instead of the bits and pieces that show up through the media (mainstream and alternative).

          What I glean from that statement is that the public can manage the information in the documents better than and beyond the media. Whatever the strategic games played between ES/GG and the media are, the issue of public access to the information goes far beyond the issue of the best way to propagandize the public. On an ethical level, think of the fact that serious crimes are being committed against the public and that the evidence is in the hands of the government and ES/GG et al. The most basic and true consideration in this situation is whether or not the public deserves access to the documents. I say that we do and that without the public being informed, the society will cease to function with any sense of democracy. The underlying basis for keeping the republic free and maintaining the protections in the Bill of Rights, is an informed public. Can you see how this question rises above the question of media strategy? That it’s not, in fact, a question about which journalists have the best media strategy and whether or not they deserve our trust? But they are putting themselves between the public and the information. And they have a recognized profit motivation, which should give us pause, even though they are playing the role of the good guys. They are in bed with the oligarchy and the national security state.

          With all honesty, Ribbit-Mark, I really wanted to believe that the documents were doing some good. I wanted to separate everything else from the fact that more evidence in the public’s hands is better. And I argued that at BFP a few times last summer or early Fall (don’t remember the exact timing). I had always been arguing for the immediate release of whatever they had, based on the principle that it was evidence in serious ongoing crimes. But, I didn’t want to get into the question about the character of ES or GG for a little while. With time though, I began to see the larger, more important issue about what they were withholding. I began to see the real characteristics of a whitewash. And I could then frame my concerns directly related to the public’s right to know. I see this situation as one where the public’s right to know has taken a back seat to arguments about media strategy, which are a distraction in the end.

          Thanks for hearing me out.

  10. I agree with Xicha (what a surprise at this point 😉 ). Initially I thought there was some value in not releasing all the information at once. Maybe this was the case for some time, but for a while now new releases haven’t made an impact on people in a noticeable way. If Afghanistan was redacted from the last major story, Greenwald is sort of getting tricked into doing sophisticated propaganda. Despite, what at this point, I’d gather are his best intentions, the people who’ve been exerting influence over news media (CIA etc) are way too sophisticated at doing what they do for anybody within their sphere of influence. In this case, it’s what’s being okayed for publishing. Michael Hastings was about the most bold and effective at doing his job under these constraints. Not surprising what happened to him, but a damn shame. RIP Michael Hastings, one of the greats.

    Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the story about NSA hacking peoples webcams and storing info about pornographic content caught people’s attention. It was a hint about why the threat of what’s going on isn’t so benign. People can’t keep up with the rest of the programs so they tuned out. I don’t want any more documents released, because we already have a taste of how the redactions are going to alter the purpose of the info.

  11. 2goodponies says:

    I have been following Naomi Wolf on FB, and yes she still is a skeptic on the Snowden story.

    • 2goodponies says:

      but you should have stuck with Zero Dark Thirty and related it to the attitude changes of the CIA in film making from Scorpio to Zero Dark Thirty…..

  12. johnseattle says:

    Snowden admits he is a CIA/NSA agent on Bryan Williams interview. Were is the follow through? What about Glenn Greenwald response. Where is BF storyline?

  13. Marcus Packard says:

    I totally understood why he contacted Glen, I was familiar with his stuff on Democracy Now years before the Snowdon came out.

    • Marcus Packard says:

      I think this discussion is interesting but don’t get too arrogant, just as you realize, reality is complex, but that doesn’t mean it’s all calculated, ambivalence is part of man and all reality. This theory actually makes you guys look like you are part of the CIA because it puts spin on the whole story in a way that most people will just give up on trying to understand anything.

      • With all due respect, Marcus, I think this comment is somewhat of a cop-out. You say the conversation is interesting but hinted that it is arrogant to question authority and that pointing out ulterior motives can be perceived as disinformation. If the points made had no validity, then I could see the Disinformation possibility. But you thought they were interesting. I’d like to hear more of what you think about the points made in the conversation and the comments.

        BTW, Democracy Now doesn’t have the best reputation around these parts. Sibel and BFP are very good at separating the wheat from the chaff. Democracy Now has been shown to produce disinformation in other stories at BFP.

      • People aren’t going to give up trying to understand, because they’ve been so effectively been sold this story. I can’t blame anyone either. I spent a long time waiting on the fence myself, but it’s way past the point of doubt for me that this has been a staged event. The only remaining questions come down to the who, what, and why(s) (a nod to Russ Baker). I understand your reservation about speculation and I think there’s a definite tendency in certain corners of the alternative media to jump the gun, passing speculation for fact. Waging too aggressive a counter insurgency info war (if you will). Still, podcasts like this and the comments section here are an appropriate place IMO for those of us who are convinced that this is in fact a very sophisticated, calculated, and expertly spun psy-op to discuss what we think this has really been about without sidetracking and obscuring legitimate discussions of the story at large.

        I think it would be arrogant for any of us who are convinced that this story is, at the very least, not quite what it seems to be to say we know what the real story is. I indicated my reservations about this practice above. I also recognize that while it’s inescapably clear to me at this point that this story isn’t what it’s being marketed as (literally), it’s not obvious to the extent where I feel entitled to look down on people who aren’t convinced. In the same respect, I don’t think anybody else is entitled to label the kind of discussion that’s going on here as being arrogant. I’m pretty confident that the people who most vocally label this line of thinking now as such will regret it in time.

        Whether or not this information from the Snowden leaks is valuable; whether the players involved have knowingly or unknowingly done a disservice is an entirely separate issue, but I’m more or less passed the point of wanting to debate why I see this as a staged event. Maybe it’s going to take actually seeing the movie for people to appreciate my skepticism, but that’s fine. This isn’t a put down, it’s just a response to the labeling of this discussion as arrogant.

  14. Here’s John Oliver, interviewing General Alexander. Can you see the limits in Oliver’s ability to grill the General?

    A. The Court’s oversight = secret court with compromised judges (Oliver doesn’t go there.)
    B. We are not collecting everything, only metadata = BS (but Oliver agrees with him, because ES/GG told him so through lies and lies by omission.)

    Sure glad we could all laugh about it with the General. He is a good sport after all.

    Now we all had a chance to laugh a little and relax with the General. Aww.

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