A Busy Week In the Security State

Friday, August 02, 2013


This week saw the conviction of Bradley Manning, congressional hearings on intelligence, and more stories broken from the leaks of Edward Snowden to The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald. Bob reflects on the public perception of government surveillance programs, the threats journalists face, and more.

Stateless - Miles to Go


Michael Dimock

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [3]

JP from NY

Agree with the commentators above. Seems like when it comes to National Security - On the Media is losing its ability to maintain a healthy skepticism of government claims and what's really in the public interest here.

On Snowden in particular - it seems you've lost your perspective. Snowden's "choice" to seek temporary asylum in Russia might seem a little more reasonable if you would consistently provide basic context. Like, for example, the 3 years Bradley Manning spent in pre-trial detention mostly under conditions the UN Special Master called "torture." Or the excessive way both the Bush and Obama governments have pursued leakers of "embarrassing" secrets - such as revealing CIA complicity in torture while turning a blind eye to insider players such as Bob Woodward revealing major (self-serving) leaks from Senior officials in his many books.

Even more surprising is how your program largely ignores or minimizes the level of desperation the US Government is showing about capturing Snowden. The President pressured several European Governments to deny a sovereign leader, President Evo Morales of Bolvia, free travel over European airspace, forcing his plane land in Austria and then forcibly searching his plane. This is kind of UNHEARD OF in international behavior for obvious reasons. We choose to let other leaders with whom we are NOT at war free travel so they in turn will respect our own free travel. Not to mention that our intelligence failed. Snowden was not aboard. So we got a twofer - major violation of international protocols showing the heavy hand of the US and the failure of our vaunted intelligence services to actually deliver the prize. That should be a big deal here. It is certainly a big deal outside our borders.

Finally in terms of international law, it would be useful for ON THE MEDIA to review the recent coverage of Robert Selden Lady, the former CIA station chief in Italy who was convicted along with 22 other CIA officials and others of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in Italy and "rendering" him to Egypt to be tortured. Mr. Lady recently traveled to Panama where Italy, via Interpol, asked for his arrest and extradition to Italy to face his accusers and pay for his crimes. However the US again decided that international (and other laws) only apply selectively and pressured Panama to release him and let him return the US.

Yes, Russia is the same territory (although not the same government) where the Soviet Union had millions of people in Gulags. Although nominally democratic, Russia is an increasingly authoritarian, homophobic and politically repressive state. But our own government actively maintains an extra-territorial prison regime in Guantanamo, has yet to punish or even fully investigate the atrocities of Abu Garaib, Bagram and many other US controlled sites, and publicly acknowledges and defends extra judicial killings. Glass house, Bricks? Anyone? ON THE MEDIA?

Aug. 05 2013 01:27 PM

What's going on here? Of course, OTM is covering the highly sensitive news of the security/surveillance state. But, how?

First guest this week, right-wing think tanker Gabriel Schoenfeld. Topic: revisiting another historical example of state control, this time about a WW II clamp-down on journalists who wrote about things the US government did not want written about.

Back to real time, again: "Terrible but necessary precedent" to prosecute American journalists for "aiding the enemy"? That sounds like a talking point, folks. It is also a threat. Don't worry though, the Guardian and other foreign news outlets not subject to our Espionage Act can still give us the real news. Schoenfeld actually said these things and Garfield didn't offer a retort. I had to listen to that section a few times to make sure my ears and brain weren't tricking me. Huh?

My pointed question: whose idea was it to have Schoenfeld as a guest, and was there an agenda, perhaps as an "equal time" representative to counter the odious surveillance revelations?

And why wasn't Schoenfeld identified as a voice from the far, far right? Schoenfeld is an idealogue, who as recently as last week continued to wage battles against the now-safely-dead-but-evidently-still-a-threat Howard Zinn:


I mean, seriously. It is starting to sound like OTM is complicit in an agenda of apologism and propaganda. Please say it ain't so!

Aug. 03 2013 11:17 PM

"The first impulse of an inspiring security state...is to be secure from the scrutiny, and the authority and the sanction of the public".

Nicely stated....nine months after the Presidential election when sanction from the public was possible with the regular rebuking today of Congressional authority to scrutinize so-called "phony scandals".

The problem is scrutiny and sanction of this administration by authorities empowered by the US Constitution is often greeted with shrill derision and demonization by the news media as obstruction, extremism or worse.

Aug. 03 2013 11:13 AM

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