Q :Why Didn’t Snowden Go through “Proper Channels” to Blow the Whistle?

A :

There Are NO Proper Channels a Whistleblower Can Use


Painting by Anthony Freda

Painting by William Banzai

There Are NO Proper Channels a Whistleblower Can Use

Polls show that Americans know the government is spying on all of us for improper purposes … but that many Americans are unsure whether or not the whistleblowers who brought us that information should be prosecuted.

The uncertainty regarding whistleblowers stems from a misunderstanding about the options that whistleblowers have to inform the American people of illegal actions by our government.

Specifically, numerous whistleblowers have tried to go through “proper channels” to expose illegal spying by the NSA and other government agencies …but nothing changed in response to their lawful attempts.

Not only did the government do everything it could to shut them up, but it threatened, prosecuted and harassed them.

For example, when NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake tried to blow the whistle on fraud and corruption within the NSA – based upon the NSA spying on all Americans instead of targeting only suspected criminals – he was prosecuted under the Espionage Act.

Drake notes:

I differed as a whistleblower to Snowden only in this respect: in accordance with the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, I took my concerns up within the chain of command, to the very highest levels at the NSA, and then to Congress and the Department of Defense. I understand why Snowden has taken his course of action, because he’s been following this for years: he’s seen what’s happened to other whistleblowers like me.

By following protocol, you get flagged – just for raising issues. You’re identified as someone they don’t like, someone not to be trusted. I was exposed early on because I was a material witness for two 9/11 congressional investigations. In closed testimony, I told them everything I knew – about Stellar Wind, billions of dollars in fraud, waste and abuse, and the critical intelligence, which the NSA had but did not disclose to other agencies, preventing vital action against known threats. If that intelligence had been shared, it may very well have prevented 9/11.

But as I found out later, none of the material evidence I disclosed went into the official record. It became a state secret even to give information of this kind to the 9/11 investigation.

When NSA whistleblower Russel Tice (later a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping) questioned spying on innocent Americans, NSA tried to have him labeled “crazy”, and fired him.

When the head of the NSA’s global digital communications program – William Binney – disclosed the fact that the U.S. was spying on everyone in the U.S. and storing the data forever, the Feds tried to scare him into shutting up:

[Numerous] FBI officers held a gun to Binney’s head as he stepped naked from the shower. He watched with his wife and youngest son as the FBI ransacked their home. Later Binney was separated from the rest of his family, and FBI officials pressured him to implicate one of the other complainants in criminal activity. During the raid, Binney attempted to report to FBI officials the crimes he had witnessed at NSA, in particular the NSA’s violation of the constitutional rights of all Americans. However, the FBI wasn’t interested in these disclosures. Instead, FBI officials seized Binney’s private computer, which to this day has not been returned despite the fact that he has not been charged with a crime.

NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe didn’t get anywhere through proper channels either.

When asked about Snowden, here is what these NSA veterans told USA Today:

[USA Today]: Did Edward Snowden do the right thing in going public?

William Binney: We tried to stay for the better part of seven years inside the government trying to get the government to recognize the unconstitutional, illegal activity that they were doing and openly admit that and devise certain ways that would be constitutionally and legally acceptable to achieve the ends they were really after. And that just failed totally because no one in Congress or — we couldn’t get anybody in the courts, and certainly the Department of Justice and inspector general’s office didn’t pay any attention to it. And all of the efforts we made just produced no change whatsoever. All it did was continue to get worse and expand.

[USA Today]: So Snowden did the right thing?

Binney: Yes, I think he did.

[USA Today]: You three wouldn’t criticize him for going public from the start?

J. Kirk Wiebe: Correct.

Binney: In fact, I think he saw and read about what our experience was, and that was part of his decision-making.

Wiebe: We failed, yes.

[Attorney for the NSA whistleblowers, who is herself a Department of Justice whistleblower] Jesselyn Radack: Not only did they go through multiple and all the proper internal channels and they failed, but more than that, it was turned against them. … The inspector general was the one who gave their names to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act. And they were all targets of a federal criminal investigation, and Tom ended up being prosecuted — and it was for blowing the whistle.


Wiebe: Well, I don’t want anyone to think that he had an alternative. No one should (think that). There is no path for intelligence-community whistle-blowers who know wrong is being done. There is none.

The Government Accountability Project notes:

By communicating with the press, Snowden used the safest channel available to him to inform the public of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, government officials have been critical of him for not using internal agency channels – the same channels that have repeatedly failed to protect whistleblowers from reprisal in the past. In many cases, the critics are the exact officials who acted to exclude national security employees and contractors from the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012.


[A]t the behest of the House Intelligence Committee, strengthened whistleblower protections for national security workers were stripped from major pieces of legislation such as the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (for federal employees) and theNational Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (for federal contractors). If those protections existed today, Snowden’s disclosures would have stood a greater chance of being addressed effectively from within the organization.

In other words, Congress has stripped whistleblower protections for those working in intelligence or defense.

But whistleblowers in other areas have received the same treatment. For example, after high-level CIA officer John Kiriakou blew the whistle on illegal CIA torture, the government prosecuted him for espionage.

And former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds – who has been deemed credible by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, several senators (free subscription required), and a coalition of prominent conservative and liberal groups, whose allegations have been confirmed by numerous Pentagon, MI6 and FBI officials, including 18-year FBI counter-intelligence expert John Cole –  has been so gagged by the government that the ACLU described her as:

The most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.

Famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says that Edmonds possesses information “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”, and that the government has ordered the media not to cover her statements.

Indeed, the mainstream British newspaper the Sunday Times started publishing a series of articlesexposing the scandal which Edmonds had uncovered. But U.S. State Department pressure killed the series. Edmonds confirms that whistleblowers have no way to go through official channels to effect change.

Obama has gone after whistleblowers more viciously than Bush, Nixon, or any president in history. Indeed, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidentscombined.

And the government goes out of its way to smear whistleblowers and harass honest reporters.

So if Snowden had attempted to go through “proper channels”, his information regarding the mass surveillance of innocent people would never have seen the light of day … or had any chance of changing government policy.


Ed Snowden, NSA, and fairy tales a child could see through

Jon Rappoport's Blog

Ed Snowden, NSA, and fairy tales a child could see through

By Jon Rappoport

June 25, 2013


Sometimes cognitive dissonance, which used to be called contradiction, rings a gong so loud it knocks you off your chair.

But if you’re an android in this marvelous world of synthetic reality, you get up, put a smile back on your face, and trudge on…

Let’s see. NSA is the most awesome spying agency ever devised in this world. If you cross the street in Podunk, Anywhere, USA, to buy an ice cream soda, on a Tuesday afternoon in July, they know.

They know if you sit at the counter and drink that soda or take it and move to the only table in the store. They know if you lick the foam from the top of the glass with your tongue or pick the foam with your straw and then lick…

View original post 1,462 more words

Chris Hedges: Americans Have No Privacy Left, No Capacity To Communicate Without Govt Watching

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges
Writer, Dandelion Salad
June 25, 2013

Russia Today
June 25, 2013

The US government pulls out all stops to prosecute, hound, and capture those who reveal classified data. This plus constant control and surveillance makes it impossible to keep anything private or secret, Pulitzer-winning journalist Chris Hedges told RT.

View original post 533 more words

Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev A Double Agent Recruited By The FBI?


By  on Jun 23, 2013


Amid the swirl of mysteries surrounding the alleged Boston bombers, one fact, barely touched upon in the mainstream U.S. media, stands out: There is a strong possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers, was a double agent, perhaps recruited by the FBI.

If Tsarnaev was a double agent, he would be just one of thousands of young people coerced by the FBI, as the price for settling a minor legal problem, into a dangerous career as an informant.

That he was so coerced is the easiest explanation for two seemingly incompatible incidents in his life:

The first is that he returned to Russia in 2012, ostensibly to renew his Russian passport so he could file an application for US citizenship.

The second is that Tsarnaev then jeopardized his citizenship application with conspicuous, provocative — almost theatrical — behavior that seemed morecaricature than characteristic of a Muslim extremist.

False Notes

While walking around in flashy western clothes in the Russian Republic of Dagestan, he visited his cousin, Magomed Kartashov, a prominent Islamist leader, already on the Russians’ radar.  The two reportedly spent hours discussing Tsarnaev’s wish to join a terrorist cell there in the Caucasus.  Later, Russian authorities asked Kartashov if he had tried to incite Tsarnaev with “extremist” views.  Kartashov said it was the other way around: he had tried to convince Tsarnaev that “violent methods are not right.”

Experts agree that Tsarnaev could not have expected such provocative activity to escape the notice of the vigilant Russian authorities.

Back in America, Tsarnaev again called attention to himself as a radical Muslim.  Just one month after he returned from his trip, a YouTube page that appeared to belong to him featured multiple jihadist videos that he had purportedly endorsed.

And in January 2013, he got himself thrown out of a mosque in Cambridge for shouting at a speaker who compared the Prophet Mohammed to Martin Luther King Jr. Tsarnaev rarely attended this mosque, but he must have known it was moderate. (He had done something similar the previous November at the same mosque.) Typically, jihadists are trained to blend in, to be as inconspicuous as possible. Did Tsarnaev go to this mosque with the express intent of smoking out possible radicals?

The key to Tsarnaev’s puzzling behavior may lie in the answer to another question: when exactly did Tsarnaev first come to the attention of the FBI?  The timeline offered by the agency, and duly reported in the mainstream media, has been inconsistent. One story line focused on the FBI’s response to an alert from Russian authorities.

Eric Schmitt and Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times, wrote, on April 24, 2013,

The first Russian request came in March 2011 through the F.B.I.’s office in the United States Embassy in Moscow. The one-page request said Mr. Tsarnaev  ”had changed drastically since 2010” and was preparing to travel to a part of Russia “to join unspecified underground groups.”

The Russian request was reportedly based on intercepted phone calls between Tsarnaev’s mother and an unidentified person (The Guardian [London], April 21, 2013).  According to another source, several calls were intercepted, including one between Tsarnaev and his mother.

So was it the Russian alert in March 2011 that first prompted the FBI to investigate Tsarnaev? This conclusion seems undermined by another report in the Times—written four days earlier by the same two reporters plus a third– that dated the agency’s first contact with Tamerlan and family members at least two months earlier, in January 2011.

If the FBI interviewed Tsarnaev before the Russians asked them to, then what prompted the agency’s interest in him? Were his contacts here as well as in Russia considered useful to American counterintelligence?

The Canadian Connection

Although it’s not known why the Russians were intercepting phone calls involving the Tsarnaevs, one reason might have been Tamerlan’s connection, direct or indirect, with a Canadian terrorist named William Plotnikov. According to USA Today, a Russian security official told the AP that

Plotnikov had been detained in Dagestan in December 2010 on suspicion of having ties to the militants and during his interrogation was forced to hand over a list of social networking friends from the United States and Canada who like him had once lived in Russia, Novaya Gazeta reported. The newspaper said Tsarnaev’s name was on that list, bringing him for the first time to the attention of Russia’s secret services.

According to a slightly different version, Plotnikov, “while under interrogation in the militant hotbed of Dagestan, named Tsarnaev as a fellow extremist.

The similar backgrounds of Plotnikov and Tsarnaev make it likely that they had indeed been in contact.  Both were recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Both had successful boxing careers in North America, and both surprised their friends by converting to Islamist extremism.

Plotnikov was a member of the Caucasus Emirate, an al-Qaeda ally, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been searching for him since 2010. By 2011 the United States had joined the Russians in targeting this terrorist group as an al-Qaeda ally, and had offered $5 million for information leading to the capture of the group’s leader Dokka Umarov. (Moscow Times, May 27, 2011)

Plotnikov was killed in July 2012 in a shootout between militants and police in Dagestan. Tsarnaev left Dagestan for America two days after Plotnikov was killed.

US and Russia Share Concerns

Tsarnaev’s hopes for a Russian passport would have been put at risk by his openly provocative behavior in Dagestan –unless he was acting as an informant.  But for which government, the U.S. or Russia?

The United States and Russia have two shared concerns in the “arc of crisis” stretching from Afghanistan to the Caucasus – terrorism and drugs.  The two problems are interrelated, because drugs, especially in the Caucasus, help finance terror operations. This vitally affects Russia, both because it has one of the highest heroin death rates in the world, and even more because some of its member republics, like Dagestan, are up to 80 percent Muslim.  This shared concern has led to a successful joint US-Russia anti-drug operation inAfghanistan.

Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev caught up in a similar counter-intelligence operation?

The FBI’s Dysfunctional Informant Program

One of the more controversial features of the FBI’s informant program is the frequency with which FBI agents coerce young people into the dangerous role of informant, as a price for settling a minor legal problem. Tsarnaev fits the mold.  His successful career as a boxer was interrupted and his application for U.S. citizenship was held up (and perhaps denied) because “a 2009 domestic violence complaint was standing in his way.” This alone would mark him as a candidate for recruitment.

Thousands of vulnerable young people avoid our overcrowded prisons by agreeing to become snitches, sometimes wearing a wire.  In this way a person whose only crime may have been selling marijuana to a friend can end up risking his career and even his life.  And for what?

According to Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker,

The snitch-based system has proved notoriously unreliable, fuelling wrongful convictions. In 2000, more than twenty innocent African-American men in Hearne, Texas, were arrested on cocaine charges, based on the false accusations of an informant seeking to escape a burglary charge. This incident, and a number of others like it, prompted calls for national legislation to regulate informant use.

After 9/11, the coercive techniques of the FBI drug war, along with half of the agents using them, were redirected to surveillance of Muslims. The emphasis was no longer on investigation of specific crimes, but the recruitment of spies to report on all Muslim communities.

In 2005 the FBI’s Office of the Inspector General found that a high percentage of cases involving informants contained violations of the FBI’s own guidelines. Its report noted that since 2001 the rules had been loosened to reflect the new emphasis on intelligence gathering and. by extension, the bureau’s urgent need for informants.

According to the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School, … nearly every major post-9/11 terrorism-related prosecution has involved a sting operation, at the center of which is a government informant. In these cases, the informants—who work for money or are seeking leniency on criminal charges of their own—have crossed the line from merely observing potential criminal behavior to encouraging and assisting people to participate in plots that are largely scripted by the FBI itself. Under the FBI’s guiding hand, the informants provide the weapons, suggest the targets and even initiate the inflammatory political rhetoric that later elevates the charges to the level of terrorism.

A writer for Mother Jones, Trevor Aaronson, also investigated the FBI’s informant-led terrorism cases for over a year; he too found that in a number of cases, “the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.”

Refuse the FBI and See What Happens

And what happens to Muslims who refuse to become spies?  The case of Ahmadullah Niazi is not atypical. Niazi was one of several members of a California mosque who sought a restraining court order against another member–actually an FBI informant–who was flagrantly advocating violence in their midst. When Niazi was subsequently asked to become an informant himself and refused, he was arrested on charges of lying to immigration officials about alleged family connections to a member of Al Qaeda. The charges were ultimately withdrawn, but by then both Niazi and his wife had lost their jobs.

Another Muslim, Khalifa al-Akili, when pressured to become an informant, complained to the Guardian newspaper in London that “he believed he was the target of an FBI ‘entrapment’ sting.” One day after the Guardian contacted al-Akili, the FBI arrested him on a felony charge for illegal gun possession, based on the fact that two years earlier he had used a friend’s rifle (at a firing range), something he was prohibited from doing since he already had a drug conviction on his record. Al-Akili was held without bail as a potential threat to the public, and ultimately convicted.

These recruitments were taking place in a climate of fear. In addition to the tens of thousands of Muslims in America who were interviewed or investigated after 9/11, there were also by 2003 (according to an American imam’s compilation of US Government figures), 6,483 detained or arrested, 3,208 deported, 13,434 in process of deportation, and 144,513 interviewed and then registered under a Special Registration program of the Justice Department.

It is instructive to study how the FBI handled drone victim Anwar al-Awlaki. Right after 9/11, Awlaki was the “go-to” imam for the U.S media, because of his willingness to denounce the atrocity as anti-Islamic.  But a few years earlier, while a Muslim cleric in San Diego, he had been twice arrested and convicted for soliciting prostitutes.  According to Awlaki, he had been set up both times, because the U.S. government had been trying to recruit him as a spy:

In 1996 while waiting at a traffic light in my minivan a middle aged woman knocked on the window of the passenger seat. By the time I rolled down the window and before even myself or the woman uttering a word I was surrounded by police officers who had me come out of my vehicle only to be handcuffed. I was accused of soliciting a prostitute and then released. They made it a point to make me know in no uncertain terms that the woman was an undercover cop. I didn’t know what to make of the incident. However a few days later came the answer. I was visited by two men who introduced themselves as officials with the US government … and that they are interested in my cooperation with them. When I asked what cooperation did they expect, they responded by saying that they are interested in having me liaise with them concerning the Muslim community of San Diego. I was greatly irritated by such an offer and made it clear to them that they should never expect such cooperation from myself. I never heard back from them again until in 1998 when I was approached by a woman, this time from my window and again I was surrounded by police officers who this time said I had to go to court. This time I was told that this is a sting operation and you would not be able to get out of it.

Awlaki’s allegations may have been at least partly true. In 2002, when he came under suspicion in Operation Green Quest, an investigation of Muslim nonprofit organizations, the FBI reportedly did try to flip him, using prostitution charges.

According to U.S. News,

FBI agents hoped al-Awlaki might cooperate with the 9/11 probe if they could nab him on similar charges in Virginia. FBI sources say agents observed the imam allegedly taking Washington-area prostitutes into Virginia and contemplated using a federal statute usually reserved for nabbing pimps who transport prostitutes across state lines.

Were the FBI’s recruitment efforts successful?  Another Muslim “person of interest,” Ali al-Timimi, tells a strange tale about al-Awlaki’s unnaturally provocative behavior:

When Awlaki came to his home, Timimi said, he started talking about recruiting Western jihadists. “Ali had never, in his whole life, even talked to the guy or met him,” Timimi’s lawyer, Edward MacMahon, told me. “Awlaki just showed up at his house and asked him if he could assist him in finding young men to join the jihad.” MacMahon said that Timimi was suspicious of Awlaki showing up “completely out of the blue” (Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars, 71).

Timimi’s attorneys argued that Awlaki was wearing a wire at the time, and asked that the US Government produce the tapes, which would show Timimi’s rejection of Awlaki’s terrorist request. The Government refused, on the grounds that “We are aware of no authority for this request.” Timimi, a promising research scientist, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Another glaring indication that Awlaki had been flipped is the ease with which he was able to return to the US from studies in Yemen in 2002, even though there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

On October 9, 2002, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Colorado “abruptly filed a motion to have the warrant for Awlaki’s arrest vacated and dismissed.”

On October 10, Awlaki and his family arrived at JFK airport on a flight from Saudi Arabia.  After a brief period of confusion, Customs officials released them and recorded later that the FBI had told them “the warrant had been removed on 10/9.” In fact, documents show the warrant was still active, and was only vacated later that day.

Asked to comment on these anomalies, former FBI agents indicated there were only two likely explanations: either the bureau let the cleric into the country to track him for intelligence, or the bureau wanted to work with him as a friendlycontact.

Does a similar analysis apply to the FBI’s curious “relationship” with Tamerlan Tsarnaev?

Despite Tsarnaev’s inflammatory behavior, as reported by the Russians and also in this country, a senior law enforcement official told the New York Times that intelligence agencies never followed up on Tsarnaev once he returned to the U.S., because their investigation “did not turn up anything and it did not have the legal authority to keep tabs on him”

This claim sounds strange in the light of recent revelations about widespread surveillance of telephone and Internet traffic of ordinary Americans and the ease with which law enforcement officials obtain warrants to probe more deeply into the activities of anyone suspected of ties to “terrorists.”

The case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, like that of Anwar al-Awlaki, leaves many unanswered questions. But one thing seems clear: the FBI’s informant program, especially when dealing with the War on Terror, has proliferated wildly out of control.

NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military Officers

Whistleblower Says Spy Agency Targeting Top American Leaders

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frogs Post (the website of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds):

Tice: Okay. They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial. But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Courtthat I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in theexecutive service that were part of the White House–their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after U.S. international–U.S. companies that that do international business, you know, business around the world. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff. And you know, when I said to [former MSNBC show host Keith] Olbermann, I said, my particular thing is high tech and you know, what’s going on is the other thing, which is the dragnet. The dragnet is what Mark Klein is talking about, the terrestrial dragnet. Well my specialty is outer space. I deal with satellites, and everything that goes in and out of space. I did my spying via space. So that’s how I found out about this.

Collins: Now Russ, the targeting of the people that you just mentioned, top military leaders, members of Congress, intelligence community leaders and the–oh, I’m sorry, it was intelligence committees, let me correct that–not intelligence community, and then executive branch appointees. This creates the basis, and the potential for massive blackmail.

Tice: Absolutely! And remember we talked about that before, that I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on. Now here’s the big one. I haven’t given you any names. This was is summer of 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with, with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, DC. That’s who they went after. And that’s the president of the United States now.

Other whistleblowers say the same thing.  When the former head of the NSA’s digital spying program – William Binney – disclosed the fact that the U.S. was spying on everyone in the U.S. and storing the data forever, and that the U.S. was quickly becoming a totalitarian state, the Feds tried to scare himinto shutting up:

[Numerous] FBI officers held a gun to Binney’s head as he stepped naked from the shower. He watched with his wife and youngest son as the FBI ransacked their home. Later Binney was separated from the rest of his family, and FBI officials pressured him to implicate one of the other complainants in criminal activity. During the raid, Binney attempted to report to FBI officials the crimes he had witnessed at NSA, in particular the NSA’s violation of the constitutional rights of all Americans. However, the FBI wasn’t interested in these disclosures. Instead, FBI officials seized Binney’s private computer, which to this day has not been returned despite the fact that he has not been charged with a crime.

Other NSA whistleblowers have also been subjected to armed raids and criminal prosecution.

After high-level CIA officer John Kiriakou blew the whistle on illegal CIA torture, the governmentprosecuted him for espionage.

Even the head of the CIA was targeted with extra-constitutional spying and driven out of office.  Indeed, Binney makes it very clear that the government will use information gained from its all-pervasive spying program to frame anyone it doesn’t like.

(More examples here.)

Retired high-level CIA analyst Ray McGovern – the top CIA briefer to numerous presidents – said this a few weeks ago on a radio program:

Which leads to the question, why would [Obama] do all these things? Why would he be afraid for example, to take the drones away from the CIA? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s afraid. Number one, he’s afraid of what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. And I know from a good friend who was there when it happened, that at a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election, “Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for?” Obama turned sharply and said, “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?” That’s a quote, and that’s a very revealing quote.

McGovern also said:

In a speech on March 21, second-term Obama gave us a big clue regarding his concept of leadership – one that is marked primarily by political risk-avoidance and a penchant for “leading from behind”: “Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.”

John Kennedy was willing to take huge risks in reaching out to the USSR and ending the war in Vietnam. That willingness to take risks may have gotten him assassinated, as James Douglass argues in his masterful JFK and the Unspeakable.

Martin Luther King, Jr., also took great risks and met the same end. There is more than just surmise that this weighs heavily on Barack Obama’s mind. Last year, pressed by progressive donors at a dinner party to act more like the progressive they thought he was, Obama responded sharply, “Don’t you remember what happened to Dr. King?”

We’re agnostic about McGovern’s theory. We don’t know whether Obama is a total corrupt sell-out … or a chicken. We don’t think it matters … as the effect is the same.

Hero’s, Fake Hope and real hope in the Matrix

by Jon Rappoport

June 20, 2013


The occasion for this article is the controversy swirling around Edward Snowden, who recently exposed secret programs of the National Security Agency.

It’s about one corner of that controversy: should we accept him as a hero even if the possibility exists that he isn’t?

The Matrix is designed to stimulate certain emotions.

For example: “We had a hero. Then he was taken down. Now we will feel sadness, desolation, and eventually nostalgia for what might have been.”

For example: “We have a hero. Let’s not look too closely at what he is. Now we will feel hope, a joy at his victories, and a confirmation of our deepest dreams.”

In both examples, the vast majority of people are an Audience. They experience a vicarious sequence of emotions, by proxy.

Proxy equals passivity at the core of consciousness. It is in that deep passivity that the labyrinthine Matrix maintains its hold.

And to disturb the passivity in any way brings out complaints and protests. Their ultimate translation is: “Don’t bother me, I’m sleeping. I’m the Audience.”

Understand that we’re not talking about a person who, inspired by a hero, takes stock, and then swings into powerful action. No, we’re talking about spectatorship.

True inspiration leads to action.

The Matrix is about a round of feelings that dead-end.

Whereas real hope rides on the back of action.

But for most people, action is out of the question, because they can’t imagine what it would be. Nor can they find within themselves a profound and stirring desire that ignites imagination.

Working in toward the center of themselves from either desire or imagination, they draw a blank. The motor spins, but there is no traction, no signal that takes them out into the world.

They settle for fake hope, and when the source of that hope (a hero) is impugned, they boil and rage. Then they stifle those feelings.

They settle on: “Don’t bother me, I’m sleeping.”

If you tell them the world is being run by criminals, they say you are promoting futility. But what they really mean is, their pipe dreams that keep them in a hopeful state of suspended animation are being disturbed.

They are in a quiet war with themselves over the question: Can I create something powerful and meaningful?

Up until now, the only thing they’ve been able to create is a reaction against anyone who intrudes on their core trance-sleep.

But I’m the exact opposite of a pessimist. I know, as in KNOW, that the INDIVIDUAL has freedom and power. Because, when all is said and done, that’s who he is.

And who he is can never be eradicated.

The requirement that significant and sweeping change for the better must happen in the next six months is the fantasy of a self-entitled child. It is the whine and the complaint of a person who has already given up, but refuses to admit it.

Short-term battles for a good world were lost a long time ago. The long-term battle never ends. It is going on right now.

Groups begging at the door of entrenched power for crumbs are going nowhere. That is no revolution. That is no liberation.

It’s a pathetic stage play.

Every individual is free, whether he wants to be or not. This freedom isn’t given to him or made legal by any mechanism.

Freedom is something you take because it is yours. You don’t ask for it. You don’t wait for it. You don’t long for it. You don’t inquire about it.

Neither do you interfere with the freedom of another.

With these two facts established, your life is your own. Your life is yours to invent. If you don’t invent it, it becomes a habit, a routine. It becomes an occasion for false hope, with which you can entertain yourself forever.

Freedom isn’t just a steady-state hum. It is the opportunity to imagine without limit and then create futures and realities that would otherwise never exist.

It is the opportunity for endless and deep and high and wide Desire, which you can fulfill by making it fact in the world.

To deny these things in the service of some other aspiration leads back to the core trance and the big sleep, by whatever name.

All entrenched and monopolistic power is a crime. Its opposite is decentralization, the nemesis of kings, monarchs, and fascists.

To understand how decentralizing can be accomplished is not merely to understand a program or a system. The understanding comes through unchained imagining, and then uncompromising action based on it.

“But I can’t!”

Then you stay in the trance, the land of false hope, the worship of heroes, the need for nostalgia.

This is neither unfair nor fair, neither just nor unjust. It simply is.

Infiltrated through the culture, there are many so-called spiritual teachings and maxims that excuse and even glorify the human need for passivity. These teachings (propaganda) have their roots in ancient societies that were built on the injustice of a rigid caste system.

These teachings were imported into modern civilization to soften the blow sustained by the widening separation between the haves and the have-nots.

“If it was meant to be, it will happen. Otherwise, it won’t.”

“The universe will tell you what to do. Wait for its message.”

“Remove desire from your life. It’s the source of suffering.”

“Live your life by accepting what is.”

“Happiness is achieved by being satisfied with what you already have.”

“Above all: patience.”

The popularity of these and other similar teachings are a testament to the big sleep.

The elevation of so-called heroes, at a distance, is merely another strategy to extend that sleep.

“But we need heroes.”

Nothing I’m writing here refutes that. If we need heroes, it’s to inspire action. ACTION.

Otherwise, people elevate heroes as a reason to a) hope and b) then do nothing.

The elites of this world are perverse artists who paint reality for us. Understanding that, we can become our own artists of reality.

What does that entail? We’ll never know until we start painting. Then things will become clear.

In the battle to decentralize entrenched fascist power, there are already answers and strategies out there. There are thousands more answers that remain to be imagined and created by free, powerful, independent and intensely creative people.

The future is unshaped space and time. You can either shape it or let it shape you.

The latter decision is usually undertaken on an unconscious basis, replete with excuses, denials, complaints, maudlin sentiment, false hope, nostalgia, and hero-worship. It’s a cover story for an op of personal surrender.

Turkey and the Paradox of Democracy


“After the party rallies of last weekend ‘civil war’ was written on many walls in Istanbul…” 


By Peter Edel 

Over the last few weeks Turkey has seen lots of protests against the ruling Justice- and Development Party (AKP). It all started last month when environmentalists occupied the Gezi Park near Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The activists resisted the planned deconstruction of this last green area in the center of the city, which had to destroyed to make place for a shopping mall. The government answered with excessive police force, causing four protesters to die and thousands to be wounded. Many others were arrested. Not only active participants in the protests, but also lawyers who defended them and doctors who were treating injuries caused by the police.

The police violence triggered a nationwide protest that went way beyond the Gezi park situation. PM Erdogan was blamed for undemocratic practices, such as the imprisonment of students, journalists and politicians, as well as the introduction of laws which many feel limited their freedom.

While rights of minorities are irrelevant to him, Erdogan hides behind the domination of the majority. The fact that his party received 50% of the votes during the last general elections suffices for him to defend his ruling as entirely democratic.

This 50 % percentage is a clear indication of the polarization in Turkey. Conservative and religious Turks, who are more than willing to forgive Erdogan for negligence of democratic values, worship him like a sultan. Western oriented secular Turks who make up the other 50%, hate him as a devil in disguise.


The recent developments in Turkey confirm that the country is stuck in the paradox of democracy, meaning the situation that occurs when a majority of voters democratically chooses a leader who brings an end to democracy, or at least to democratic principles.

This is not a theory, history offers ample evidence. The most infamous and extreme example of a democratically chosen dictator I will not mention here. It wouldn’t be fair to put Erdogan in the gallery of the worst dictators mankind has known. For after all, there are still elections in Turkey. Still, only by curtailing the freedom of expression, Erdogan has already done much harm to an important pillar of democracy. Moreover, he frequently expresses opinions suggesting more disdain of democracy. He even made remarks about a discontinuation of the trias politica.

The paradox is hidden in the fact that his voters did make such undemocratic tendencies possible in a democratic way. Sometimes voters are inclined to accept undemocratic extravagances of leaders. Often because of the virtues attributed to them. Impressive highways and architecture, a growing economy, a strong currency, an assertive foreign policy, dictators have been glorified for such achievements.

However, in the long run the call for democracy can’t be silenced. So, what to do when a democratically elected government abandons democratic principles? In that case there’s the option of protecting democracy. Unfortunately the appropriate instruments to protect democracy leave much to be desired from a democratic point of view. For they violate the wishes of the majority, which is not done in a democracy. Yes, a true paradox. Turkey knows it inside out. Both sides of Turkish society do. For many decades secular powers in the state took the right to protect democracy. Later on Erdogan did essentially the same when he got even with the secular establishment he felt threatened by. To put it bluntly, in the name of democracy Turkey has an intense problem with democracy.

The religious headscarf

The paradox of democracy is also recognizable in the interpretation of freedom. Take the freedom for religious women to wear a headscarf in public buildings. It was a tricky matter for ages. The AKP took care of it so that religious girls are free to hide their hair in universities nowadays. Splendid. Reasoning from my liberal and tolerant Dutch background I fully endorse the concept. I simply don’t feel entitled to say what someone can or cannot put on his or her head. Neither do I think that governments should have a say in that.

There’s a catch though. For a liberal headscarf policy also implies the right for husbands, fathers and brothers to force their wives, daughters and sisters to cover their heads. It goes without saying that freedom is compromised this way – at least individual freedom. Instead, freedom is reduced to the right of putting pressure on the individual based on the standards of the collective.

The conservative grassroots of the AKP don’t consider this a limitation of freedom. In this section of society the individual is often secondary to the community anyway. Here Erdogan’s headscarf policy proves how democratic and free Turkey has become under his administration- which shows once again how flexible such notions are.

By the way, it was the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who banned the headscarf from public buildings. Not to limit women in their freedom, but to liberate them from social pressure on religious grounds. Turkish suffragettes celebrated him for it.

Party Rallies

Last weekend many ladies adorned with a headscarf attended party rallies of the AKP. Cheering Erdogan with little AKP-flags in their hands. The high representative for Foreign Affairs of the European union, Catherine Ashton, considered it a bad idea with so much tension in the country. And it has to be said that it’s questionable why the contrast in this polarized country had to be emphasized at this crucial moment.

Erdogan did not care for Ashton’s remark and persisted in his position. One of his ministers called the party rallies the ‘will of the nation’, although of course he referred to not more than 50% of the nation (and for those who believe the latest poles even less).

Erdogan was out to show the world that his policy is supported by a majority and thus answers to the criteria of democracy. This claim is undermined by the paradox of democracy. For it is highly debatable whether a majority that neglects to be vigilant against undemocratic leanings can be a legitimate argument for democracy. In other words, by accepting Erdogan’s undemocratic tendencies the majority disqualifies itself as a base for democratic governance.

During three general elections the AKP received votes for several reasons. Ironically some hoped Erdogan’s party would bring democratization. Others expected economic stability, or voted for him because he performed so well as a mayor of Istanbul. However, most voters were impressed by his religious conservatism, as well as his aversion to western oriented and secular inhabitants of the country.

Last weekend they cheered him, like the dictatorial Sultan Abdülhamit was cheered in the nineteenth century. But the massive crowd did not gather specifically to show appreciation for his plans concerning Gezi Park. For much more than the details of his policy, these massive meetings were about the man himself.

Erdogan’s arrogance is easily taken as charisma by his supporters. They adore his harsh words directed at European politicians, as they cherish his irrational rants about an international conspiracy against Turkey. With such statements he compensates for the lack of self-confidence, which followed on the loss of the Ottoman magnificence. That happened more than a hundred years ago, but the emotions are still quite present. Erdogan makes advantage of it with his neo-Ottoman rhetoric. This underlines his preferred status as an undisputed and worshipped leader whose will is law.  In every way Abdülhamit’s true successor.

Because of the unquestioning and meek uniformity of Erdogan’s followers, the highly coordinated party rallies last weekend were standing in sharp contrast to the spontaneous, multilayered and leaderless protests Turkey has seen over the last few weeks among secular Turks. But in any case, two segments of society are opposing each other. This fact is at the core of the turmoil in Turkey. After the party rallies of last weekend ‘civil war’ was written on many walls in Istanbul…


– See more at: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/06/18/turkey-and-the-paradox-of-democracy/#more-20899