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Snowden: 'Journalists Are a Threatened Class' in Era of Mass Surveillance


Snowden: 'Journalists Are a Threatened Class' in Era of Mass Surveillance

Nika Knight, staff writer

Whistleblower Edward Snowden warned a group of European reporters Wednesday that in the era of mass surveillance, journalists are increasingly a threatened class.


While government mass surveillance is a threat all its own, the biggest threat to journalism, in the US at least, has been the tight restrictions by their capitalist bosses about of what the journalists are allowed to write if they expect to keep their jobs and careers. Any journalist's writing that might put the capitalist economic order or the military machine that supports it in a poor light does not get published - and if the journalist tries to do this more than a couple times he or she gets fired and blacklisted.

Sure, this method may be not as awful as journalists getting dragged out of their homes and shot, but it is far more effective at controlling the public mind than the crude violent methods.

It seems that there is a generational divide regarding this entire aspect of privately-owned, self-censorship based, media control which people like Chomsky, Herman, McChesney, the organization FAIR etc. have worked so hard to expose. It may be that people of Snowden's age simply have not read "Manufacturing Consent" or the like, or it may be that they really think that the internet has neutralized this corporate control of discourse. But the era of internet blogging has been around for 20 years now, and yet the consent manufacturing machinery of the capitalist media continues with its power undiminished.


"the biggest threat to journalism, in the US at least, has been the tight restrictions by their capitalist bosses about of what the journalists are allowed to write"

Also the fact that they often just publish what the government hands out to them rather than actually doing any investigating...


This is a real problem. Snowden advises us of the technical end; the social aspects may be as critical. Some impressions:

  • In a situation in which information is safe sometimes, such as the "arms race" that Snowden discusses here, one must act as though the information is not safe. Let's say for instance that some Guccifer penetrates some DNC in a way that cannot be traced in 2016. Let us say that the means to trace that becomes available in 2018 or 2020. It is extremely likely that a trace may exist and the act may be discovered. it could also happen in 2030, and our Guccifer in such a case has had an extra ten years to live with the difference, and then has the possible results to face.

  • Databases are penetrable. This has been true for decades; we probably may assume that it will continue. That does not mean that all information is reasonably accessible to surveillance; it does mean that no information is safe and that while caution and protection may save individuals, no amount of digital caution will create actual safety for people to come forward.

  • The above applies to anything else we do digitally, including drive most of our cars.

Now, when Snowden concludes that "You must fight this on the front pages," I have to ask, "The front pages of what?" I am taking words strictly that he might have meant loosely, but it's an interesting proposal even if it is not exactly what he meant to propose. He has done quite well with front pages himself, and part of that was his astute choices of Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. Still, if we take front pages to imply broad one-to-many push media, it is interesting the extent to which this can leave us still struggling with the parameters of the previous war.

Commercial media has long been won by corporate powers: indeed, it is corporate-run itself. Guccifer's releases and even Snowden's releases were covered only reluctantly by commercial press in the US, and with considerable distortion. We should not be surprised that CNN or the NYT that were taking Wasserman-Schultz's instructions in July should repeat the Clinton camp pfiffle about Russian this and Putin that in response to documentation of its election-related crimes.

Even leaving these recent collusions aside, it should be obvious that corporate media is a limited ground for popular struggle. The context of even heritage media has changed considerably since Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky published Manufacturing Consent in 1989, but the principles of filtering information to suit vested interest still hold exquisitely when one is willing to account for where the actual money and power come and go in current situations.

It is a difficult situation. Not only Amy Goodman, but four other journalists were arrested documenting recent violent abuse of the Native Americans protesting the tar pipelines in Dakota. These were not the routine 3-days-in-the-slammer things that have become routine, but arrests with publicly advertised penalties of multiple decades at least threatened. Goodman has been released, but the less famous reporters remain or remained imprisoned and under pointed threat.

This makes for a nasty sort of squeeze as large players prune the data from one side by the traditionally Western corporate ploys and tighten direct government intimidation from the other. The days in which we may reflexively regard journalists in foreign countries as more threatened than those in or reporting on the US may be coming to a close.


Snowden, in my humble opinion, is a true patriot and a true American.


"Because even, again, if you have the most well-encrypted device in the world, if the government spends a million dollars to pay a hacker to exploit your phone personally, they will very likely succeed."

There's that, or, alternatively they can recruit one of your sysadmins to take off with 3TB of storage devices full of your classified data...


Yes, but for everything the government give them to publish, the rich give them a dozen things which they publish unquestionably - and more importantly, the rich pay the media's bills and provide the media their profit, and therefore call the media's tunes.

To posit it as "government versus the would-be-free media" as the right-wing does, is a mischaracterization of the problem.

It is not the government that keeps the media from informing the people about global warming, poverty, racism, inequality or the like, it is the rich "sponsors" or in the case of NPR/PBS, "underwriters".

And if it is "the government" controlling the media, then why does the media they have no trouble at all criticizing the government regarding taxes, welfare programs and environmental regulations? Sure, they rally behind the government on issues of war and militarism - but that is becasue war and militarism is a vital product line of some of the largest US corporations - Lockheed-Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics - the economies of the wealthiest regions of the US - S. California, Virginia, DC, Connecticut, Seattle - depend on war.


True - and the Obama administration has been king of prosecuting whistle-blowers. But the ironic thing is that had the government prosecutors simply ignored and done nothing about Snowden and other latter-day Ellsbergs, the media would have ignored and memory-holed the whistle blowers and their leaked informaiton, and that would have been that. Snowden would be ignored - and free to rant away on a corner downtown with a sandwich board or its internet equivalent - like we all do here!

Supposedly, when Soviet officials visited the US, they would express astonishment at how such uniformity of thought was so effectively enforced among the US masses without having to arrest or torture anyone! They could have learned a lot from the US's Bernays and Lippmann.


British Parliamentary Report

Libya War Was Based on Lies, Bogus Intelligence, NATO Supported and Armed the Rebels.

QUOTE: The UK Parliament just confirmed what the alternative media has been saying for years.

Specifically, a new report from the bipartisan House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee – based on interviews with all of the key British decision-makers, review of documents, and on-the-ground investigations in Africa – found that Libyan war was based on lies, that it destroyed the country, and that it spread terrorism far and wide.UNQUOTE

For more see: http://www.globalresearch.ca/libya-war-was-based-on-lies-bogus-intelligence-nato-supported-and-armed-the-rebels-british-parliamentary-report/5547356

So where are the indictments against Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and many others, who had their finger in that dirty business, for war crimes???

'Counter to Public Good': Sanders Urges DOJ to Reject AT&T-Time Warner Deal

Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange are essentially sacrificing their lives
to give us the information we need to truly see the corruption of our government.
And from the top down, every part of our government and its agencies is being

In turn, what we see is an ever increasing threat to journalists and activists working
for peace and freedom for nations versus those corrupt forces on the side of
war and enslavement through secrecy for the profit of the 1%.

How can journalists be free to report when they are controlled by MSM monopolies?
When many prominent anchors have actually worked to protect corrupt government?

"A true democracy has no need for a vast, secret security apparatus -- only an imperial
country does . . . "


The Nobel Peace Prize has been greatly devalued by being awarded to the war mongers you have listed and is no longer anything to be proud of.
It has been awarded slavishly to those in power, not to those who stand up for peace.
As well, as progressive the Swedish system is, their government still panders to the might of the US, by laying charges against Julian Assange and refusing to guaranty that he will not be extradited to the US, if he surrenders to the Swedish courts.
Americas filthy fingers are everywhere, other than Russia and China and that is, why Edward Snowden is well advised to stick around in Russia until we have overthrown our present system.


Surveillance beyond a certain level makes democracy impossible.
We need to reduce the level of surveillance below that point.
See http://gnu.org/philosophy/surveillance-vs-democracy.html.


I hope you said that using 10 vpns behind Tor running on a tails/linux system.


You know, here in a light rain in Calgary, after midnight, I can't help thinking as I see Eric Snowden's picture - how he and a few others like him are like 'icons' of our time.

The Anthropocene - so strange a name.

And 'The Pirates' are apparently making headway in Iceland - also iconic - and what a name !

The United Nations General Assembly votes for a ban on all nuclear weapons, even as my country and the smiling Justin Trudeau, darling of the masses, votes "No' along with the United States and even Japan.

Still it helps some to see not all in lockstep.

I wonder if Eric would like to move to Iceland, as 'The Pirates' have extended an invitation?