intro’d to him as he interviewed Snowden.
Glenn Greenwald, who has published many of the most important scoops from the Edward Snowden leaks, is leaving The Guardian and setting up a new media venture with long-time journalist Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill from The Nation. The venture is being funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who has suggested that he’s prepared to invest more than $250 million in the new venture.
If this works, it is likely to change the relationship between information, knowledge and politics in some very interesting ways. Most obviously, it will make it even harder for the U.S. government to control the politics of leaks by pressuring newspapers not to publish stories that it thinks hurt the national interest.
If governments start to lose control over public knowledge in the information age, it won’t be because information “wants to be free.” It’ll be because of the creation of new ventures like this, that create public knowledge without adhering to the old rules about how government has a voice in deciding what gets published and what doesn’t.
may 2014 – munkdebates (never heard of before this) w/Alexis Ohanian on surveillance..
VICE Meets Glenn Greenwald: Snowden’s Journalist of Choice
4:30 – talking of privacy – and the importance of echo chamber ness – in order for us to be us – ongoingly..
With Edward Snowden becoming a leading candidate for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, it is important to remember that he is the central character in not one but three distinct stories: 1) the story of what his disclosures tell us about the US government’s surveillance system, 2) the story of what the treatment of him and the reporters publicizing his disclosures says about attitudes toward whistleblowing and First Amendment protections, and 3) the story of the rapidly changing power dynamics in the age of digital media.
All of these factors explain a lot — but on top of it all is one other big difference between these two journalists: Greenwald is publishing his reporting in multiple venues. In doing that, he is exploiting the fact that in the digital age, information’s relevance, salience, and significance is today less contingent on its particular medium and more defined by its actual content. Put another way, he is taking advantage of a Web-centric, social-media-dependent, email-connected world in which every article is just another link. The rise of that new world means that if a reporter like Greenwald, a documentarian like Laura Poitras, or any other journalist digs up news that is significant, it now has a chance to reach a huge audience, whether or not it happens to be transmitted by the old media oligopolies.
That reality, of course, is an enormous change — and a frightening one to those old media oligopolies and the governments those oligopolies too often serve.At the same time as all of this was happening, oligopolies’ hidden agendas meant that major scoops were withheld in ideological deference to the very government officials those oligopolies claimed to be objectively covering. Ultimately, it all created an anti-meritocratic dynamic in journalism that probably hurt news quality in ways we will never fully know (how many Watergates were never reported?).
In this new reality, governments have far less power to stop the release of humiliating information by, say, drilling holes in the hard drives of one particular media outlet. There are now so many different channels to release information — and information can now go viral no matter where it appears — that such heavy handed tactics seem less like dystopian sci-fi than absurdist comedy. That clearly pisses off — and scares — the keepers of secrets in the White House, the NSA and the GCHQ.
and in schools, et al.. no?
Of course, none of this means Greenwald (or anyone else, for that matter) is above basic scrutiny. Questions, for instance, about exactly how he goes about publishing the documents Snowden gave him are certainly fair (as an aside, I have a different take than my Pando colleague Mark Ames’ on the notion that Greenwald privatized the documents: I think it’s more accurate to say tech companies privatized Americans’ personal data, the NSA illegally appropriated that data — and now Greenwald is publicizingthe whole sordid affair and being remunerated for that reporting work, as any journalist should be).
interview dec 2013:
Ultimately the reason privacy is so vital is it’s the realm in which we can do all the things that are valuable as human beings. It’s the place that uniquely enables us to explore limits, to test boundaries, to engage in novel and creative ways of thinking and being. Only if we feel free of the kind of judgmental eyes of others are we able to try different things out, to experiment, to evolve, to free ourselves of mores that are imposed on us or conventional orthodoxies about how we’re supposed to behave and think. And that, ultimately, is what is most valuable about being human: to be able to create new ways of thinking and being.
Antiauthoritarians don’t succeed in large corporations. They get expelled by them.
If you’re gonna challenge people in power, you have to be ready to be attacked in effective ways. That’s the nature of power. If they couldn’t do that to you, they wouldn’t be powerful.
The promise of the Internet has always been that it was gonna be this unprecedentedly potent instrument of liberation and democratization. That it would empower people to band together to work against oppression. That it would let you explore things and meet people who you wouldn’t otherwise get to know in completely free and unconstrained ways. And what has happened instead is that we face the threat that it’s the exact opposite—that instead the Internet could become the most potent and odious tool of human control and oppression in human history.
Even if we’re not doing anything wrong, there are certain things we want to do that we don’t think can withstand the scrutinizing eye of other people. And those are often the most important things that we do. The things we do when other people are watching are things that are conformist, obedient, normal, and unnotable.
Keynote on 30c3
dec 2013 – hamburg
40 min ish – journalism as checkpoint..
48 – we’ve reversed intended roles.. private sector is now the most transparent and public sector the most private..
may 15, 2014:
no place to hide interview
book links to amazon
– – – – –
notes and highlights:
history shows that the mere existence of a mass surveillance apparatus, regardless of how it is used, is in itself sufficient to stifle dissent. A citizenry that is aware of always being watched quickly becomes a compliant and fearful one
in every instance, the motive is the same: suppressing dissent and mandating compliance
The lesson for me was clear: national security officials do not like the light. They act abusively and thuggishly only when they believe they are safe, in the dark. Secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power, we discovered, its enabling force. Transparency is the only real antidote
When marginalized youths commit minor infractions, we as a society turn a blind eye as they suffer insufferable consequences in the world’s largest prison system, yet when the richest and most powerful telecommunications providers in the country knowingly commit tens of millions of felonies, Congress passes our nation’s first law providing their elite friends with full retroactive immunity—civil and criminal—for crimes that would have merited the longest sentences in  history
I have been to the darkest corners of government, and what they fear is light
“What keeps a person passive and compliant,” he explained, “is fear of repercussions, but once you let go of your attachment to things that don’t ultimately matter—money, career, physical safety—you can overcome that fear.”
I decided a while ago that I can live with whatever they do to me. The only thing I can’t live with is knowing I did nothing.”
ch4 – the harm of surveillance –
huge insight here for me. more like – the harm of judgment – not so much the watching but the assumed regulation. [privacy]
ie: loc 2278 – when google ceo Eric Schmidt was asked in a 2009 cnbc interview about concerns over his company’s retention of user data he infamously replied: “if you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” with equal dismissiveness, facebook founder and ceo Mark Zuckerberg said in a 2010 interview that “people have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.” privacy in the digital age is no longer a “social norm,” he claimed a notion that handily serves the interest of a tech company trading on personal information.
but the importance of privacy is evident in the fact that even those who devalue it, who have declared it dead or dispensable, do not believe the things they say. anti[privacy advocates have gone to great lengths to maintain control over the visibility of their own behavior and information.
then goes on to tell of Schmidt’s private disclosures via cnet, which afterward google no longer talks to reporters from cnet.. and Zuckerberg’s purchase of 4 homes in order to ensure privacy.
the same contradiction is expressed by the many ordinary citizens who dismiss the value of privacy yet nonetheless have passwords on their email and social media accounts. the put locks on bathroom doors; seal envelopes….they engage in conduct when nobody is watching that they would never consider when acting in full view…
the many pro-surveillance advocates i have debated since Snowden blew the whistle have been quick to echo Eric Schmidt’s view that privacy is for people who have something to hide. But none of them would willingly give me the passwords to their email accounts, or allow video cameras in their homes.
the point is not the hypocrisy of those who disparage the value of privacy while intensely safeguarding their own, although that is striking. it is that the desire for privacy is shared by us all as an essential, not ancillary, part of what it means to be human. we all instinctively understand that the private realm is where we can act, think, speak, write, experiment, and choose how to be, away from the judgmental eye of others. privacy is a core condition of being a free person.
perhaps the most famous formulation of what privacy means and why it is so universally and supremely desired was offered by us supreme court justice Louis Brandeis in the 1928 case… – right to be left alone is the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people.
the makers of our constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. they recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. they knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things they sought to protect americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. they conferred, as against the government the right to be let alone.
1890 – Samuel Warren and Court Justice Louis Brandeis write the seminal harvard law review article “the right to privacy,” arguing that robbing someone of their privacy was a crime of a deeply different nature than the theft of a material belonging. “the principle which protects personal writings and all other personal productions, not against theft and physical appropriation, but against publication in any form, is in reality not the principle of private property, but that of an inviolate personality.”
privacy is essential to human freedom and happiness for reasons that are rarely discussed but instinctively understood by most people, as evidenced by the lengths to which they go to protect their own. to being with, people radically change their behavior when they know they are being watched. they will strive to do that which is expected of them. they want to avoid shame and condemnation.
the range of choices people consider when they believe that others are watching is therefore far more limited when what they might do when acting in a private real. a denial of privacy operates to severely restrict one’s freedom of choice.
all oppressive authorities – political, religious, societal, parental – rely on this vital truth, using it as a principal tool to enforce orthodoxies compel adherence, and quash dissent.
good sign of in-authenticity of intention.. (in person, institution, religion, et al)
most people have experienced how privacy enables liberation from constraint.
yet time outs… solitary confinements.. privacy like that – no one desires -in fact – forms of punishment
this was huge part:
only when we believe that nobody else is watching us do we feel free – safe- to truly experiment, to test boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and being, to explore what it means to be ourselves.
what made the internet so appealing was precisely that it afforded the ability to speak and act anonymously, which is so vital to individual exploration.
anonymous.. or non-judged..? ie: spaces of permission with nothing to prove. time and space to be – to self-correct/shed – or not. to be in the crowd/community of happy people – who aren’t paying attention to you in order to judge you.. and aren’t paying attention to you because they themselves are modeling eudaimonia, being usefully preoccupied, but are yet at your beckon call – like an unschooling mom.
in 1984 – citizens were not necessarily monitored at all times, in fact, they had no idea whether they were ever actually being monitored. but the state had the capability to watch them at any time. it was the uncertainty and possibility of ubiquitous surveillance that served to keep everyone in line..
so our fear – that people will get out of line… begs a mechanism to help with that chaos.. to shorten time between intention and action and your tribe.. every day. and then if you can’t keep yourself and others (orland bishop ness) safe – the call back in is more like – your own song… than prison/punishment/surveillance..
since the institution – any institution – was not capable of observing all the people all of the time, Bentham’s solution was to create “the apparent omnipresence of the inspector” in the minds of the inhabitants. “the persons to be inspected should always feel themselves as if under inspection, at least as standing a great chance of being so” they would thus act as if they were always being watched, even if they weren’t. the result would be compliance, obedience, and conformity with expectations. bentham envisioned that his creation would spread far beyond prisons and mental hospitals to all societal institutions. inculcating in the minds of citizens that they might always be monitored would, he understood, revolutionized human behavior.
in the 1970’s Michel Foucault observed that the principle of Bentham’s Panopticon was on e of the foundational mechanisms of the modern state. in Power, he wrote that panopticonism is “a type of power that is applied to individuals in the form of continuous individual supervision, in the form of control, punishment, and compensation, and in the form of correction, that is, the moulding and transformation of individuals in terms of certain norms.”
in Discipline and Punish, Foucault further explained that ubiquitous surveillance not only empowers authorities and compels compliance but also induces individuals to internalize their watchers. those who believe they are watched will instinctively choose to do that which is wanted of them without even realizing that they are being controlled – the panopticon induces “in the inmate a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assure the automatic functioning of power.”
with the control internalized, the over evidence of repression disappears because it is no longer necessary: “the external power may throw off its physical weight; it tends to be non-corporal; and, the more it approaches this limit, the more constant, profound and permanent are its effects: it is a profound victory that avoids any physical confrontation and which is alway decided in advance.” additional, this model of control has the great advantage of simultaneously creating the illusion of freedom. the compulsion to obedience exists in the individual’s mind. individuals choose on their own to comply, out of fear that they are being watched. that eliminates the need for all the visible hallmarks of compulsion, and thus ..
..enable control over people who falsely believe themselves to be be free.
for this reason, every oppressive state views mass surveillance as one of its most critical instruments of control.
control – a sign of failure..
Merely organizing movements of dissent becomes difficult when the government is watching everything people are doing. But mass surveillance kills dissent in a deeper and more important place as well: in the mind, where the individual trains him- or herself to think only in line with what is expected and demanded
It’s not an atmosphere that helps creativity or lets the mind run free. You’re always in danger of self-censorship, of saying “no, I won’t try this because I know it’s not going to get done or it’ll alienate the government,” or something like that
Innocuous actions gained layers of significance when surveilled
things you just do because you’re alive – now flavored with speculation of mal intent..
It is the nature of authority to equate dissent with wrongdoing, or at least with a threat
The safest course, the way to ensure being “left alone,” is to remain quiet, unthreatening, and compliant.
the true measure of a society’s freedom is how it treats its dissidents and other marginalized groups, not how it treats good loyalists
Fearmongering is a favored tactic by authorities precisely because fear so persuasively rationalizes an expansion of power and curtailment of rights
One of the principal institutions ostensibly devoted to monitoring and checking abuse of state power is the political media. The theory of a “fourth estate” is to ensure government transparency and provide a check on overreach, of which the secret surveillance of entire populations is surely among the most radical examples. But that check is only effective if journalists act adversarially to those who wield political power. Instead, the US media has frequently abdicated this role, being subservient to the government’s interests, even amplifying, rather than scrutinizing, its messages and carrying out its dirty work
Demonizing the personality of anyone who challenges political power has been a long-standing tactic used by Washington, including by the media
For guardians of the status quo, there is nothing genuinely or fundamentally wrong with the prevailing order and its dominant institutions, which are viewed as just. Therefore, anyone claiming otherwise—especially someone sufficiently motivated by that belief to take radical action—must, by definition, be emotionally unstable and psychologically disabled
Put another way, there are, broadly speaking, two choices: obedience to institutional authority or radical dissent from it. The first is a sane and valid choice only if the second is crazy and illegitimate. For defenders of the status quo, mere correlation between mental illness and radical opposition to prevailing orthodoxy is insufficient. Radical dissent is evidence, even proof, of a severe personality disorder.
Obedience to authority is implicitly deemed the natural state.
The media’s desire to psychoanalyze members of generation W is natural enough. They want to know why these people are acting in a way that they, members of the corporate media, would not. But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; if there are psychological motivations for whistleblowing, leaking and hacktivism, there are likewise psychological motivations for closing ranks with the power structure within a system—in this case a system in which corporate media plays an important role. Similarly it is possible that the system itself is sick, even though the actors within the organization are behaving in accord with organizational etiquette and respecting the internal bonds of trust – P Ludlow – times
can’t find it now.. but somewhere Glenn said that he’s never met anyone more calm and at peace that he senses Ed now is.
In June 2013 Greenwald became widely known after The Guardian published the first of a series of reports detailing United States and British mass surveillance programmes, based on classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden.
40 min ish – Noam quoting a harvard prof: power operates in the dark, when it’s exposed to light it disiminates
oct tedglobal 2014:
why privacy matters
panoptican – ultimate enforcer for obedience and compliance..
could be used for other places than prisons… ie: schools
key means of societal control for modern western society
mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind… much more effective than brute force could ever be
conclusion – a society in which people can be monitored at all times is a society that breeds conformity, obedience, submission.. which is why every tyrant.. craves that system
conversely – it is a realm of privacy… w/o judgmental eyes of others.. creativity, exploration and descent reside.. the essence of human freedom
implicit bargain: if you’re willing to render yourself sufficiently harmless/unthreatening.. are you free of surveillance – only those who challenge power have something to worry about
he who does not move does not notice his chains – rosa luxemburg
feb 12 2015:
then so sad, he collapses in studio shortly afterward.
feb 2015 – Laura, Ed, Glenn ama on reddit:
Here’s a little insight into how digital age media works:
I learned of NPH’s joke after I left the stage (he said it as we were walking off). I was going to tweet something about it and decided it was too petty and inconsequential even to tweet about – just some lame word-play Oscar joke from a guy who had just been running around onstage in his underwear moments before. So I forgot about it. My reaction was similar to Ed’s, though I did think the joke was lame.
A couple hours later at a post-Oscar event, a BuzzFeed reporter saw me and asked me a bunch of questions about the film and the NSA reporting, one of which was about that “treason” joke. I laughed, said it was just a petty pun and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but then said I thought it was stupid and irresponsible to stand in front of a billion people and accuse someone of “treason” who hasn’t even been charged with it, let alone convicted of it.
Knowing that would be the click-worthy comment, BuzzFeed highlighted that in a headline, making it seem like I had been on the warpath, enraged about this, convening a press conference to denounce this outrage. In fact, I was laughing about it the whole time when I said it, as the reporter noted. But all that gets washed away, and now I’m going to hear comments all day about how I’m a humorless scold who can’t take a good joke, who gets furious about everything, etc. etc.
Nobody did anything wrong here, including BuzzFeed. But it’s just a small anecdote illustrating how the imperatives of internet age media and need-for-click headlines can distort pretty much everything they touch.
You should ask the US Government:
1) why are you putting whistleblowers in prison at record rates?
2) why did you revoke his passport when he was trying to transit through Russia, thus forcing him to stay there?
3) why do you put whistleblowers in the position of having to choose between asylum in another country or decades in prison?
Good convo between Naomi and glen – re leaks – https://t.co/N3tzz5gWoA
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/johncusack/status/788782260296282112
dogs and home less ness
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) tweeted at 4:38 AM – 27 Dec 2016 :
For those interested: here’s the English version of these 2 amazing short films on Brazil’s homeless & their dogs https://t.co/XipUjmDKY0 (http://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/813710569249325056?s=17)
The person/dog connection in the homeless context is one of complete togetherness, which in turn produces a physical and mental bond as reliable as any leash
those with the greatest personal needs are simultaneously driven by immense levels of self-sacrifice for another living creature.
Their dogs provide a bridge to human contact, which individuals need as much as food or water (that’s why prolonged solitary confinement is torture and inevitably breeds mental illness).
Even knowing that it is the dogs, and not him, that trigger the interaction doesn’t dilute the importance of being seen. This relationship with his dogs enables a critical human need: to be acknowledged by other humans.
How can a relationship with a dog achieve such monumental successes where psychology, medicine, and standalone human desire so often fail? One explanation is that the responsibility to care for another living creature provides purpose, focus and thus self-esteem — all vital human needs. Another is the validation and self-worth that comes from the love a dog provides. Irvine put it this way: “We construct dogs as ideal beings — they love unconditionally, they don’t lie, they don’t judge people — so if a being this noble loves us, then there must be something OK with us.”
The non-judgmental quality of the dog is central.
The essence of dogness is inextricably linked to their relationship with humans. As Irvine explained to me, “Abundant research proves how dogs need our gaze, how they will look at what you’re pointing at because they want to know what you’re looking at. It shows they share intersubjectivity: the sense of ‘I want to know what she’s thinking.’”
dogs uniquely provide something deeply valuable to humans.
dogs and home less ness
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) tweeted at 5:15 AM on Wed, May 10, 2017:
Also on @DemocracyNow: we’re unveiling a new project from me & @davidmirandario to help both Brazil’s homeless & animal populations. Watch!
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) tweeted at 1:50 PM – 10 May 2017 :
Really proud to unveil our new project to build an animal shelter in Brazil staffed exclusively by animal-loving homeless people. More soon: https://t.co/fPSmPQ9Boj (http://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/862394328920076290?s=17)
Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) tweeted at 5:46 PM – 10 May 2017 :
Here’s the powerful 4-min film we unveiled on @DemocracyNow about our new animal shelter staffed by homeless people https://t.co/cCMyHLmn6s (http://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/862453786740240384?s=17)
we started realizing that
if we could tap into this power, this incomparable love that forms this mutual needing between homeless people and abandoned animals,
we could build something really powerful and really beautiful
Kevin Corke (@kevincorke) tweeted at 5:25 AM – 18 Feb 2017 :
@ggreenwald makes excellent points about the deep state and journalistic hypocrisy. Worth a listen. https://t.co/Olp8fnfTg1 (http://twitter.com/kevincorke/status/832929066613428224?s=17)
Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) tweeted at 11:20 PM – 17 Feb 2017 :
Greenwald: Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy https://t.co/6gnzSQjfpi via @democracynow (http://twitter.com/MarkRuffalo/status/832837119441776641?s=17)
The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads.
One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime.
What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all.
I think that what you’re seeing here is this really disturbing double standard, that all we’ve heard since the war on terror is that classified information is sacred and anybody who leaks it is treasonous and satanic and belongs in jail for a really long time, and now classified information seems to be something that’s just a plaything, like something that we just toss around for fun if it serves a certain agenda. And I think that that’s one of the issues that’s bothering me about the way this discourse is unfolding.