Pierre’s Intercept Shuts Down Access to Snowden Trove

[Caution: schadenfreude & satire hard-hat area]

First: ‘The Intercept shuts Snowden archive amid layoffs & outrage’, RT.com, 14 Mar, 2019

“First Look Media, the parent company of the Intercept, announced it will shut access to the archive of documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to cut costs as it plans to layoff 4 percent of staff.

The news was met with outrage from high ranking staff member and filmmaker Laura Poitras, who went to Hong Kong to meet Snowden in 2013, just before the first revelations from his trove of National Security Agency documents were published.

She said she was “sickened” by the decision to “eliminate the research team, which has been the beating heart of the newsroom since First Look Media was founded,” and slammed the company for making the decision without consulting her or other board members.

Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill joined First Look Media at its founding, launching the Intercept in 2014 as a place to“aggressively report” on the Snowden documents. The company employed a research team to work on the huge trove of documents provided by Snowden.”

Then Tweets from:

@MarkAmesExiled   “5 years ago I criticized Poitras-Greenwald deal to privatize Snowden NSA docs to a tech oligarch connected to the national security state—and was smeared as a CIA/COINTELPRO & worse. Now Poitras is mad that Omidyar is shutting down their fencing operation”

@emptywheel   “Potentially unpopular opinion: I think the Snowden archive would be better served elsewhere. Working with the Intercept was always … challenging. There are a number of stories with important policy implications I’d like to do w/o those difficulties.”

Readers may remember that when Wheeler had quit the vaunted organization, she’d claimed ‘no bad blood’, but a year later had announced that the real reason she’d left was because as she was ‘just a blogger, not a real journalist, thus worth less pay’, she’d skedaddled.

“The vast majority of the contents of the Snowden documents have never been reported on. Snowden chose to give the documents to trusted journalists in the hope they could filter and decide what information to publish, without endangering people. This has been a source of contention for those who feel the entire cache of documents should have been released and published in a searchable format, like WikiLeaks’ releases.

Omidyar has been accused of sweeping in to fund the Snowden publishing in a bid to control what is released.”

Ha; exactly why I’ve long said the name of the site is apt: The Intercept, especially coupled with the fact that a few months ago I’d bingled as to how many ‘fearless journalists are in Pierre’s stable?’ and found there are 200, although I was only able to kick up one page’s worth (100 of them).  Controlling the news?

From the dailybeast.com (also aptly named),  March 13, 2019: ‘The Intercept Shuts Down Access to Snowden Trove; First Look Media, the company that owns the Intercept, also announced that it was laying off several of the researchers who had been charged with maintaining the documents.’

“But in an email to staff Wednesday evening, First Look CEO Michael Bloom said that as other major news outlets had “ceased reporting on it years ago,” The Intercept had decided to “focus on other editorial priorities” after expending five years combing through the archive.

He added: “It is our hope that Glenn and Laura are able to find a new partner—such as an academic institution or research facility—that will continue to report on and publish the documents in the archive consistent with the public interest.”

First Look Media’s decision to shut down the archives puts an end to the company’s original vision of using The Intercept as a means to report on the NSA documents.”

@dangillmor Mar 13, 2019  “This needs a LOT more explanation. Was the archive ever open (in any way) to anyone beyond Intercept and chosen partners? Not that I know of. What’s the future of this? (Does Poitras have a copy?)”

@ggreenwald   “Both Laura & I have full copies of the archives, as do others. The Intercept has given full access to multiple media orgs, reporters & researchers. I’ve been looking for the right partner – an academic institution or research facility – that has the funds to robustly publish”

You may remember they’d opened a Reading Room for ‘journalists’ in their NY offices a few years ago, iirc.

“From the time we began reporting on the archive provided to us in Hong Kong by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, we sought to fulfill his two principal requests for how the materials should be handled: that they be released in conjunction with careful reporting that puts the documents in context and makes them digestible to the public, and that the welfare and reputations of innocent people be safeguarded,” Greenwald wrote in a 2016 post.”

Yes to my bold: it was once of the principal reasons that Snowden and GG have long called Julian Assange: ‘the bad whistleblower’ (as compared to Snowden).  Remember when WikiLeaks had named Afghanistan as the nation in which the NSA was helping site in bombs for ISAF or whatever the joint venture was called?

“As time has gone on, The Intercept has sought out new ways to get documents from the archive into the hands of the public, consistent with the public interest as originally conceived.”

What in the world does that sentence signify, and would you manage to still be in control, Glenn?

Now the Daily Beast author (Maxwell Tani) had linked to ‘Welcome to the Intercept’, Feb. 2014, scahill, poitras, and greenwald, and the page does prove my memory correct for once while trying to imagine where in the world Pierre’s quarter of a billon bucks went so fast.  As I’d remember it, the place would pay for itself in no time, as they’d be advising other entities on IT, site creation (ludicrous, as they weren’t even able to get their commenting software to behave for a long time), etc., and they’d feature various News Magazines:

“We are very excited to welcome everyone to The Intercept, a publication of First Look Media (FLM). The Intercept, which the three of us created, is the first of what will be numerous digital magazines published by FLM.”

The rest reads rather ironically to me at this point in time.  I’d been prepared to write that at some point, TI began begging for money under articles, but in the Welcome to’ page, along with ‘which journalists we’ve hired’, was ‘become a supporting member’, but that wasn’t quite as brazen as the further developments.  Where’d that quarter of a billion bucks go, anyway?

Matt Taibbi had quit cuz they were such skinflints they wouldn’t even pay for meals and drinks while he’d been interviewing sources; sheeesh.

Last night I’d been wracking my brain trying to remember a Snowden doc they’d finally published that many of us had thought: crap, ya mightta mentioned that one a lot earlier!

And here it is, back to the Rt.com version: @FreeThought84

Replying to @ggreenwald  “You are a gatekeeper withholding information that is in the public interest.
It shouldn’t matter which documents Snowden wanted selectively leaked and the fact that other organizations won’t publish means absolutely nothing.
Publish in full! https://www.mintpressnews.com/intercept-withheld-nsa-doc-that-may-have-altered-course-of-syria-war/233757/ …

The Link leading to Whitney Webb’s Oct. 30, 2017 ‘The Intercept  Withheld NSA Doc That May Have Altered Course Of Syrian War; If this document had been published sooner, it could have dramatically changed the course of the war by exposing the true face of the “moderate rebels” — and potentially saved tens of thousands of lives. That didn’t happen, and no reason has been given by the Intercept for its delay.’

“On Tuesday, the Intercept published a hitherto unknown document from the trove of National Security Administration (NSA) documents leaked by Edward Snowden over three years ago. The document was notable as it shed light on the early days of the Syrian conflict and the fact that, for the past six years, so-called “revolutionary” groups aimed at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have largely acted as proxies for foreign governments pushing regime change.

The document explicitly reveals that an attack led by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which was intended to mark the anniversary of the 2011 “uprising” that sparked the Syrian conflict, was directed by a Saudi prince. The document proves, in essence, that the armed opposition in Syria – from the earlier years of the conflict – was under the direct command of foreign governments pushing for regime change.

An NSA graphic released by The Intercept outlines Saudi involvement in organizing and supplying Syrian opposition forces for attacks on Syria’s civilian infrastructure.

According to the document, Saudi Prince Salman bin Sultan had ordered the FSA to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the city’s civilian airport. The Saudis had also “sent 120 tons of explosives/weapons to opposition forces” for the operation. The Saudis, as the document notes, were “very pleased” with the outcome, which claimed at least 60 lives.

The implications of the NSA document are significant. It offers the clearest proof, in the form of official U.S. government documents, detailing the direct relationship between the armed Syrian opposition and foreign governments, and exposing the fact that this relationship existed much earlier than the mainstream narrative on the conflict had previously suggested.”

And OMG is it a serious exposé of Pierre and his Palace, including his ties to USAAID/CIA in Ukraine, as she exposes various authors acting for the Opposition in Syria: Maz Hussein (who’d glorified the White Helmets),

“Hussain is by no means the only Intercept writer who has taken such a pro-opposition stance regarding Syria. A recent Intercept piece on Syria, published in September, committed glaring factual errors on basic facts about the war, while also mistranslating a speech given by Assad so as to link him to American white nationalists. In addition, the paper recently hired Maryam Saleh, a journalist who has called Shia Muslims “dogs” and has taken to Twitter in recent months to downplay the role of the U.S. coalition in airstrikes in Syria. She also has ties to the U.S.-financed propaganda group Kafranbel Media Center, which has close relations with the terrorist group Ahrar al-Sham.

For a paper ostensibly dedicated to “fearless, adversarial” journalism, it is strange that the Intercept gives voice to journalists who echo the U.S. position regarding the Syrian war while rarely publishing the work of journalists who have challenged prevailing Western narratives on that war — journalists who, as the Intercept itself recently revealed, have been right all along regarding the myth of the Syrian “moderate rebel.” Yet, given Omidyar’s political connections and the paper’s handling of the Snowden cache, this unfortunate decision is unsurprising.”

Irony as satire: ‘Glenn Greenwald: ‘…it’s just kind of time for me to do other things’, July 15, 2014, Café Babylon  (It’s a disgusting read all these years later, but a snippet or two rather out of context):

“Just after the publication of that revelation, GG did an interview with Wired magazine’s Kim Zetter, excerpts of which follow:

“Zetter: You have characterised this story as the finale in your coverage, the pinnacle of your reporting on this topic. Does this and the other stories now constitute the whole iceberg? (With the understanding that of course you don’t possess everything about the government’s surveillance in your cache of documents.) But is this the peak now?

GG: When I talked about my finale I just sort of meant…basically I’ve been doing this for a year now so it’s just kind of time for me to do other things. I’m sure there are stories in there that I passed by because I didn’t recognise the significance of it and neither did the other journalists working on it that people who have a different set of understandings about things would. I already have a few stories written that are going to come after this one, so this isn’t my last one. But I do think there are some really big stories left to tell that would probably be very related to what Ron Wyden was saying… . But we have a snippet of what the NSA did. We don’t have anything close to everything that the NSA did. And it’s possible — in fact I think it’s highly probable — that there are things Ron Wyden knows about and was referring to that, for whatever reason, just aren’t in the documents that we have, or we haven’t found them.” 

Wot?  He’s tired of this stuff?  After snippets?  And did he just pass the torch to Ron Weyden?”

Ah, well, there’s more, but that’s enough, and yeah, it got worse, imo.

Also, this really toasted my cookies, still does: ‘Julian Assange Responds to the Freedom of the Press Foundation Cutting WL Loose’, Café Babylon, Dec. 21, 2017

“This will be an unexpected, but welcome, Part III of III  (Pt I is here: ‘The Intercept’s Most Recent Screed against Julian Assange’;, Part II (including an ugly one by the Daily Beast) is here)”

Those parts being hits on The Bad Whistleblower (not publisher) Julian Assange (whose pants are always greasy and smelly) at the Intercept.

Part V isn’t listed, but it was hit on him by way of a choreographed ‘casual conversation’ between Naomi Klein and Glenn Greenwald.

Oh, Pierre, and all you fearless Interceptor journalists, would you please kiss my grits, then sink into the nearest abyss!

p.s. Can’t wait until Whitney Webb and b at MoA get wind of this story.  ;  )

(cross-posted at caucu99percent.com)

25 responses to “Pierre’s Intercept Shuts Down Access to Snowden Trove

  1. Pierre Hope-Longer moves on after preying on Julian’s dream … Pierre is a baku for the elite.

    • dunno what a baku is, but he sure does shill for the empire. there used to be a sort of alt-pierre omidyar twit account that was hilarious, but i couldn’t kick it up when i looked.

  2. I just finished listening to Jacinda Ardern’s lengthy press conference on the Friday (yesterday) shootings at two Christchurch mosques – so can’t help linking back to the Auckland town hall we watched back in the day, when it seemed all my New Zealand compatriots really cared about was not being warned by foreigners with respect to the then government’s links with the massive Five Eyes surveillance and involvement in warmaking efforts around the globe.

    It is very sad that a new government now has to cope with rightwing operatives finding a safe haven and jeopardizing the safety of all New Zealanders, but principally the Moslem community. The video of the press conference (available on the major NZ news sites) is fairly long but I recommend it. There are issues still not cleared up, about who exactly the perpetrator was, who seemed to be part of a travel-happy rightwing mafia.

    I don’t know if a better format for the Snowden material could have prevented what has just happened and saved lives all over the world. But maybe so.

    • as i’d said, ‘self-serving’ blame:

  3. as to this, juliania: “I don’t know if a better format for the Snowden material could have prevented what has just happened and saved lives all over the world. But maybe so.” i’m not sure i’m taking your meaning, but for one thing, snowden’s trove was taken in 2013, so i doubt whoever dd it would be in there, and for another, i’d think that like in the US, it would be new zealand’s version of the FBI that would have missed something, if indeed there were anything to miss.

    but fingers of self-interested blame are already popping up, which is why i just don’t do mass slaughter events, save philosophizing about amerikan ones far after the events. so no, i’m not interested in jacinda’s presser, most esp. as headlines have noted that she was quite outspoken as to ‘we’re going to change our gun laws’, which reactionary goofiness is a very liberal way of finger-pointing blame.

    yes, it’s sad that her new government, etc. has to deal with it, but that’s exactly the stuff one signs up for running for head of a nation, isn’t it? i can’t even begin to imagine the hubris of candidates believing they can be heads of state, much less doing so well.

    but rest assured that if claims can (and likely will) be made that ‘the nsa could have saved them’, they will be made.

    nice to see you; i’d at least known you were alive (and hopefully well) seeing you at MoA. i’ll go see if his small family emergency has gotten sorted and see if he has this story yet. the conversation at c99%’s been quite lively, and snoopy dawg brought this lengthy exposé of ken silverstein’s (former employee of TI, if you remember.

    https://washingtonbabylon.com/poitras/
    you may also find this one of keen interest; i’ll embed them later as i have time.
    https://www.mintpressnews.com/whistleblowers-say-nsa-still-spies-american-phones-hidden-program/256208/

  4. Yes, you did misunderstand me. I was simply connecting our earlier relationships, not making any overall statement. Sorry to be off-topic in your eyes. This tragedy affects me deeply.

  5. Sorry – had to stop in the middle – this was my point, maybe a bit stretched: that NZ population was, before this atrocity, a bit too innocent – sort of the ‘it can’t happen here’ syndrome, and they trusted their then government way too much, even voted it back in.

    And yes, you are correct, they left in place gun laws that allowed for
    rapid-fire weapons to be purchased – or rather ones that could be turned into rapid fire weapons. Even though right next door Australia had given the example of how you legislate against that.

    Thanks for the links; I will go read those now.

  6. Indeed, it’s hard to believe anything at the Intercept was above board, and it’s a long time since I’ve even visited there. I do like MoA because it is pretty easy to figure who is legit there, and indeed NZ is a small country far away to most people, but to me it is my native land. I have been in Christchurch, in Hagley Park. I was waiting to follow the cricket test that the Bangladesh team was about to begin there yesterday. I lived in Dunedin, not far from where the man who did this thing lived, though well before he came there. And I haven’t heard from my sister since all of this happened. Just my dear autistic nephew trying to make sense of it, looking after his mum.

    I know the current PM is an ingenue in many respects but she’s a ton better than what they had before, and she stood up to Trump this time around, showed some guts.

    One of her many statements was “Our duty is to keep everyone safe; we have failed here, and questions will be asked.” She is very supportive of the NZ muslim community, and when Trump asked what can he do, she said to love and support the Muslim communities because they are hurting. So, to me, that is very refreshing. John Key would never have said anything like that.

    Plus there was this in the heat of the event: “A few minutes ago Trump told reporters that he didn’t think white supremacy was a rising problem. The Prime Minister has just said that she does not agree with that sentiment.”

    New Zealand is turning away from Big Brother. That is an important happening, in my book.

  7. too tired to even read right, juliania. but tonight’s closing song is for me particularly, hope y’all enjoy it.

    last night’s was the awesome ode to joy flashmob; dinnae bring it here last night, and O! the enchanted chirren!:

  8. you may not care to read the wsws coverage of the mosque murders, as the authors are very hard on the ardern govt., including despite the shooter’s large online evidence, the police chief claiming not to have known of him. he also notes ardern’s ’embrace’ of the far right NZ first party, and quotes winston peters’ ugly anti-muslim, anti-chinese sentiments. you also may rdically disagree w/ them….

    but you’ll love this. i found it retweeted by a guy whose tweet i’d used in the ‘hands off Vz rallies’ storify i’d posted this a.m.:

  9. I love the flashmob Ode to Joy, wendye, thanks!

  10. I only examined the quotes from Winston Peters that were being used with respect to the London terrorist incident. I went to the parliamentary record to see those in context. What Mr. Peters was saying there was that it was hard to believe the families of those jihadists did not know what their family members were deciding to do. He wasn’t speaking there about New Zealand immigrants, though his party was formed partly on the issue of immigration.

    New Zealand is a small country. And immigration is a difficult issue – I’ve been against, emotionally speaking, wealthy Chinese immigration overtaking my erstwhile home city of Auckland and driving up home prices there during the Key years, much in the way elite multimillionaires from this country have bought New Zealand citizenship and distorted the local economy. Peters has been for raising the minimum wage, programs for seniors, buying back from privatization major infrastructure ownership, was in support of the anti – nsa revelations. So, it’s a mixed bag there.

    I will agree some of his problems with the cultures of immigrants sound offensive and would be opinions I would oppose. I didn’t hear any of that from Jacinda, and she is the lady in charge.

  11. Going a bit further, and watching yesterday’s further press conference, at which Mr. Peters was present, I noticed a change I think is good in the PM’s attitude – one that is reflected in the following excerpt from an opinion piece at stuff.co.nz:

    ‘…I have heard many people say in the days since, “This is not us, this is not our New Zealand”. I also heard many of my Muslim, Māori, Pacific, Iranian, Chinese friends, colleagues and acquaintances say, “This is us. We have been telling you for years” ‘.

    I utterly understand the need to reach for what is good during these times. It is important we locate the best of us and find hope in that. And what I know is that if we cannot acknowledge what is broken, we cannot use that hope to repair in ways that last…”

    This would be one of the better things to come out of this tragedy. People are turning in their guns; they need to turn in their attitudes towards those who are different as well. It is already happening. It won’t be a complete reawakening. There’ll always be a residue of intolerance. And maybe an old man like Mr. Peters can’t really change his inner self. But he stood quiet there in public, and that’s a start. I hope they did as well as Australia did on the gun laws as well.

  12. did jacinda mean by this: “I also heard many of my Muslim, Māori, Pacific, Iranian, Chinese friends, colleagues and acquaintances say, “This is us. We have been telling you for years” …that they were quite aware of the nationalism at play in NZ? if so, good on her for admitting it.

    i remember reading at scoop that the maori are still second-class citizens. not good, of course.

    but if you’re satisfied enough w/ what peters has said, not said, i’ll leave it alone, as i don’t even know how or why he’d come to be her deputy PM. and yes, she’s the woman in charge, and the commenters on that wsws thread were sincerely concerned that this might be NZs 9/11 and further on, and that the police state would clamp down. so…let’s home better wisdom prevails, and winston shuts his nationalist gob. ; )

    • Oh sorry, I wasn’t clear enough. The quote isn’t from Jacinda, though I do believe watching her she believes fervently in multi-ethnicity as she has several times emphasized how many different language groups or ethnic groups have found their home in New Zealand. I quoted from one of the editorials I read at stuff.co.nz which also carried her latest press conference. The Daily Blog has been carrying such articles from the getgo, and Jacinda did speak yesterday to the hard fact that yes, there is racial bigotry in New Zealand.

      Mr. Peters came to be her deputy because she needed parties to join with Labour to produce a sufficient majority to lead. His was the largest third party to affect this, with the Greens coming next. (The latter are also included in a semi-official role but weren’t large enough to do it on their own.) So, some political juggling was done, (other times he has joined with the National Party) and actually when she was having her baby and Winston temporarily took the reins, he apparently moderated his tone, staying in line with her policies.

  13. Just one more, wendye, and then I will leave you in the peace of the Ode to Joy and other beautiful music. This one’s from a comment over at thedailyblog.co.nz:

    “…“If our intelligence organisations can miss the first major terrorist act in NZ then what good are they? ”

    Yeah, you gotta wonder Lucy. All those hundreds of millions thrown at the spooks and they couldnt do their ONE F—–G JOB. Too busy surveilling Martyn, Nicky, Greenpeace, etc I guess.

    Useless.

    We need a Royal Commision and we need heads to roll.”

    • yaaay-us; indeed. that police chief? never heard of the bloke! foookin’ crept outta the woodwork, he did!

      oh, and according to wsws, the bloke had given a shout-out to our trumpeting bigot in chief, although ocasio’s reasoning was rubbish. oh and if you have time, you might want to look at the mintpress news link above.

  14. https://harpers.org/archive/2019/04/more-than-a-data-dump-julian-assange/
    Excerpt:

    Overall, the same mainstream journalists who have treated Donald Trump’s disparaging tweets about them as unprecedented threats to their freedom handled Assange’s indictment as a political story, another piece of the ongoing Trump–Russia saga.

    In fact, the Trump Administration’s prosecution of Assange represents a greater threat to the free press than all of the president’s nasty tweets combined. If the prosecution succeeds, investigative reporting based on classified information will be given a near death blow.

    • thank you, and while my eyes are buggy from reading and writing, there are almost too many things that sound iffy. for one:

      “Not all of the facts about the DNC leaks have come out yet, so it is hard to know exactly what Assange did. If he explicitly agreed to act as a Russian agent, he should lose his First Amendment protection. On the other hand, if he did no more than what he did with Manning—receive the documents and publish them—he should have that protection. The same is true with respect to the Vault 7 matter: the facts concerning these leaks are not known, but the application of the conspiracy theory to these leaks is presumably the same as in the DNC hack.*”

      for two, the bits about what assange ‘solicits’ then publishes, and yeah, we keep reading that obomba decided not to prosecute him because slippery slope and all that, ans yet the grand jury empaneled under hm was never dissolved.

      but he sounds a bit less crude than GG: ‘love him or hate him…Pres Freedom! First Amendment!

      and dagnabbit, when they kicked wikileaks off the freedom of the press (anonymizing contributions) board, not even mr. pentagon papers ellsberg had objected’ well…no one on the board had, come to that.

      a fellow over yonder is sincerely arguing w/ me that there will still be access to the snowden trove; ha! ‘read the caveats! quite a limiting and long list’ say i. what.a.joke. one institution he’d mentioned that might was: the self-same freedom of the press foundation, most of whose members are Interceptors.

      snoopy dawg over yonder gave us ken silverstein’s ‘Laura Poitras, the Joyous Pending Collapse of The Intercept and War Crimes;, and i got so immersed in the links i never did get to his poitras bits.
      https://washingtonbabylon.com/poitras/

      nice to see you and your spooky avatar, mein freunde in berlin.

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