Snowden: An exercise in disinformation.
By Stuart J. Hooper 25th June 2013. Find Full Article Here:-
Over the past week, many have embraced Edward Snowden as a ‘hero’, including a vast majority of people who purport to be in the ‘alternative media’ – all of whom would usually question what the mainstream news corporations present to them.
Numerous questions and concerns have been raised, albeit by a vocal minority, about the reality of what Snowden represents. Those who would usually be the ones to join this vocal minority in search for real answers, namely the aforementioned majority of alternative media personalities, appear to have been duped into jumping onto the latest staged bandwagon hero, along with large numbers of a naïve general public.
Edward Snowden’s leaks and scandals can be explained as a highly sophisticated, disinformation project of the highest order. Disinformation being defined as false information deliberately, and covertly, spread in order to influence public opinion (Merriam-Webster, 2013).
Historian Dr. Webster Tarpley (2013) has already noted that in 1620 a Venetian intelligence official recommended ‘saying something good about a person or institution while pretending to say something bad’. Tarpley provides the example of ‘criticizing a bloody dictator for beating his dog – the real dimensions of his crimes are thus totally underplayed’. So, we should be against the bloody dictator beating his dog, but ought to be more concerned with the more substantial crimes the ‘bloody dictator’ is known for. The scandals provided by Snowden are of an equivalent standard to the example of the dictator beating a dog. While we should be against unwarranted spying, this new scandal looks to distract us from the greater, and significantly more important, context of global affairs that are currently focused on Syria.
Snowden can be described here as an actor in a ‘limited hangout’ operation. Limited hangouts are described as when an intelligence agency resorts ‘to admitting, sometimes even volunteering, some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case’ (Marchetti, 1978). This coincides with the first of Tarpley’s (2013) three conceptual identifiers for a limited hangout operation – the revelation of little information that is actually new. Simply put, Snowden has told us that the NSA is spying on emails and telephone calls (Drury and Robinson, 2013), along with revelations that international super powers spy on one another (Chen, 2013). While this may be shocking to some, these revelations can hardly be detailed as ‘new’ or ‘ground-breaking’. Snowden has simply provided a name, PRISM, for what has already been understood to be going on for some time. This is somewhat similar to how Julian Assange of Wikileaks rose to fame after providing the graphic video for an already acknowledged incident. These new slivers of information can, however, be particularly impactful as Marchetti (1978) notes, ‘the public is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further’. Not pursuing Snowden further may have disastrous consequences for world peace and security.
For the press, it all makes perfect sense on the surface, and the surface is where the press operates. A deeper look, however, reveals the full picture…
The second conceptual identifier Tarpley (2013) provides for recognising a limited hangout operation is that the actors involved, Snowden and Assange for example, will become ‘instant media darlings’. A naïve view would suggest that this occurs due to the magnitude of information the person is presenting. Reality would show that when providing a critique of controversial issues that truly matter to the ‘Wall Street centered US ruling class’ (Tarpley, 2013), such a 9/11, that these critics are slandered, attacked and denigrated. It is also interesting to note that these limited hangout actors have themselves participated in the attacking of 9/11 truth activists. Assange has provided the most scolding attack stating ‘I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11’ (Bell, 2010). Glenn Greenwald, who brought Snowden forward, is not interested in veering from the official 9/11 story and instead focuses on ‘blowback’ being the cause of terrorism (Greenwald, 2013). Norman Solomon, a former U.S. State Department asset who is now supporting Snowden, ‘was notorious ten years ago as a determined enemy of 9/11 truth’ (Tarpley, 2013). The magnitude of the 9/11 issue is reflected in the authoritative status of those who question the official story such as: Andreas von Bülow, the former secretary of state for the German Federal Ministry of Defence, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of Iran. It must be asked why these ‘whistle-blowers’ seem so vehemently opposed to the issue of questioning the biggest elephant in the room per say – 9/11, and why they never have any new information to reveal regarding the event. They all appear to agree with the establishment, that they proclaim to be fighting against, on what is arguable the most important and controversial event in recent history; which provides much cause for concern.
These concerns are somewhat amplified when the characteristics of Snowden are looked at in detail. Naomi Wolf (2013) has stated that during his interview he looked like ‘someone who had learned his talking points’ and his message promoted fears that an oppressive government would want to instil in other would-be whistle-blowers; such as the idea that you will lose everything by standing up against it, in effect, demonstrating the omnipotent capacity of said government. Doubts have also been raised about whether Snowden had the ability to wiretap the president and shut down the NSA in a few hours, as he has claimed (Rappoport, 2013). These claims might be attributed to Snowden’s apparent narcissistic tendencies, most evident in modelling photographs and an online biography of his that have now been published (Reilly, 2013). Snowden is known to have enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2004 where he wanted to fight for freedom in a Special Forces unit. Tarpley (2013) states that this ‘shift from militarist to civil libertarian remains unexplained and highly suspicious’, a conclusion that is substantiated by the other added character concerns.