Government Deals with Embarrassing Information By Targeting Whistleblowers … and Journalists

Time Magazine’s senior national correspondent Michael Grunwald tweeted tonight:

I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out [Wikileaks founder] Julian Assange

What should we make of his statement?  It’s not Grunwald as an individual … it’s the mindset of the entire political class.

Under both Bush and Obama, when bad government policy leads to bad results, the government manipulates the data … instead of changing policy.

As part of that effort – on the one hand – “reporters” who  never criticize the government in more than a superficial fashion are protected and rewarded.  And the government has repealed long-standing laws against using propaganda against Americans on U.S. soil.  And the government also  manipulates social media. More proof here and here.

On the other hand, the government has taken to protecting criminal wrongdoing by attacking whistleblowers … and any  journalists who have the nerve to report on the beans spilled by the whistleblowers.

The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

And it goes out of its way to smear whistleblowers, threaten reporters who discuss whistleblower information and harass honest analysts.

As we noted last year:

Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange could face the death penalty for his heinous crime of leaking whistleblower information which make those in power uncomfortable … i.e. being a reporter.

Establishment figures – such as Andrew Sorkin and David Gregory – have also called for Glenn Greenwald (the reporter who broke NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s story) to be arrested.

Journalism is not only being criminalized in America, but investigative reporting is actually treated like terrorism.

The government admits that journalists could be targeted with counter-terrorism laws (and here). For example, after Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge

After the government’s spying on the Associated Press made it clear to everyone that the government is trying to put a chill journalism, the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek tweeted:

Serious idea. Instead of calling it Obama’s war on whistleblowers, let’s just call it what it is: Obama’s war on journalism.


  • The Bush White House worked hard to smear CIA officersbloggers and anyone else who criticized the Iraq war
  • In an effort to protect Bank of America from the threatened Wikileaks expose of the bank’s wrongdoing, the Department of Justice told Bank of America to a hire a specific hardball-playing law firm to assemble a team to take down WikiLeaks (and see this)

And the American government has been instrumental in locking up journalists in America (and here), Yemen and elsewhere for the crime of embarrassing the U.S. government.

Journalists are being killed all over the world for embarrassing local governments.

(Even top U.S. government wonder whether the same thing is happening in America.)

Postscript: Grunwald subsequently deleted the tweet, because it helped Assange’s supporters. But the problem was never Grunwald as an individual … but the commitment of the entire elite political class to silence voices of dissent.

Category: Financial Press, Think Tank, War/Defense

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

32 Responses to “Time’s Senior National Correspondent Calls for Julian Assange to be Killed by Drone”

  1. Herman Frank says:

    Investigative reporting made American society better, now it is frowned upon because “it’s not convenient”?! Persons have to take responsibility for their actions? Have to explain how and why they are doing things which we all agreed about as being “no, no’s”? Come on guys and girls who broke the law but don’t want to fess up! Straight back, look mama-public in the eye and repeat after me “I’m sorry and won’t do it again!”

    YOU’VE BEEN WARNED on January 17, 1961!

    As President Eisenhower said ” …… In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together …..”

  2. Hugh says:

    Wow! Grunwald is wrong to write this on so many levels.

    This also demonstrates the danger of Twitter………………..use with great care and never whilst drinking.

  3. S Brennan says:

    Courageous post Barry, you have my respect…well…you already had that, but you get my point.

  4. capitalistic says:

    Fair message/thought, but every self-preserving entity aims to manipulate, under/overstate and project its agenda. Market participants do the same. I agree with you, but I definitely understand the “fit the model” approach that the US government uses.

    The government has always watched and spied on its citizens, especially when there’s a boogeyman to point at. Terrorism, communism, drug war, immigration and anything else that could be projected as a threat is on the table.

    Similar to the anti-regulation and anti-tax movement within the “job creating” class. Anti-regulation and anti-tax is similar to being anti-referees or paying franchise fees.

    I’ve lived in an authoritarian developing country, where people “vanished”. We have nothing to complain about…

  5. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Grunwald is apparently angry with Assange because Assange is doing Grunwald’s job — better than Grunwald can do it, with courage and for free.

    capitalistic: if you lived in a country where people vanished, there’s a good chance our government taught your former government exactly how to disappear them. We have plenty to complain about.

  6. WickedGreen says:

    “Time Magazine”?

    What’s that?

  7. Greg0658 says:

    funny post – I had a wake’g dream last night … I thought > lets leaflet the DC Capital Dome .. then 48hrs later “drone it” (w/gunpowder missles) .. then let out for bids to 50% union and 50% non-union to replace it .. with all American made raw materials glued together in all American factories – with a placed on scene wind & solar array and natGas generator for those days that wind and sun isn’t show’g … oh and tell Jack to print the cash – and any General who say “no” – drone his* home …. I think that covers the dream – now for reality

    * her

  8. Greg0658 says:

    ps – there must have been a 60Minutes watch party last nite at TimeTower with that bottle* of vino
    “Danish spy seeks CIA credit for terrorist’s death”

    * or 2 (or 3)

  9. overanout says:

    Good Post Barry hopefully you will not feel the need to look over your shoulder as the government truth squads supported by the MSM inventory the population.

  10. Greg0658 says:

    I don’t blame POTUS – I blame everyday people AND our gov opsys …
    was chat’g with old friend don’t see much .. who was onCall (so no drink’g) doing 65-80hr weeks (so no time for play)

    told him > I Blame Insurance (WHY* wouldn’t his maintenance job have another position filler to let him have playtime?)
    Insurance – Lawfull addOn sideBenefits (actions) – Workmans Comp **

    * remiss (to not add) corporate injection mold’g secrets (heehaw)
    ** time & half means that much
    44yo off-duty policeOfficer cycleCrash v/heartAttack merge’g in traffic

  11. tradeking13 says:

    Good thing we have an armed populace, eh, Barry?

    • Gee, a Glock against a predator drone.

      Doesnt exactly seem like a fair fight

    • Onemoretime says:

      If you dwell on it an armed populace can easily be a false security blanket. You may have the right to bear arms but what does that right seriously give you? Isolated incidents, probably with limited news coverage. Any organized armed resistance by default will be labeled terrorism. We are already at the point where unarmed resistance is being labeled terrorism.

  12. > What should we make of his statement? It’s not Grunwald as an individual … it’s the mindset of the entire political class.

    I see Grunwald has stopped tweeting since the day he made that very stupid and even dangerous comment. One problem with twitter sometimes is people get on a roll and don’t stop to think about what they’re saying. He’s catching a lot of heat now, and frankly I think he should face disciplinary from his employer.

    Nice post.

  13. NoKidding says:

    Wow, never expected to read that here. Did Invictus threaten to boycott?

    Thank you for recognizing evil, whatever political side is wielding it at the moment.

    To those who would allow these abuses to grow quietly, think about what happens when your guy is out and someone different steps into the precedent. Do you want a Pat Buchanon (old e.g.) with this latitude?

  14. ancientone says:

    We’re going to have to change the title of the book “1984″ to “2013″…………it’s here.

  15. Willy2 says:

    It’s clear the nation as a whole has sunk VERY, VERY deep when someone can write things like that.

  16. Joe says:

    It’s incidents like this that measure an individual’s committment to his ideals and his willingness to actually be the person that he thinks he is even when it actually takes effort. it’s also incidents like this that give weaselly backstabbers a bad name.

  17. Willy2 says:

    The Department of Homeland Security has teamed up with the police and private companies to exchange information that threatens corporate interests.

  18. idaman says:

    I don’t know how Barry gets from a satirical and sarcastic comment about Assange to Obama’s being tough on whistle blowers and the a “war on journalism.”

    Assange is NOT a whistle blower. Diplomacy can’t be conducted in public. Sure we /want/ our officials to be transparent, but who would talk to our diplomats if there conversations were made public. Answer: nobody.

    I repeat, releasing private diplomatic cables is NOT whistle blowing, it’s treason.

  19. idaman says:

    The “term” treason is used above not in the legal sense. Using common vernacular, it’s tantamount for a citizen of a close ally to betray our nation to treason.

  20. S Brennan says:

    “but who would talk to our diplomats if there conversations were made public. Answer: nobody.”

    Thanks for being a spokesman for me [and billions of others around the globe]. But you are wrong in your dictatorial supposition, I for one wish those who trade in human lives did have to speak openly…let’s see…hmmm, imagine if NAFTA was negotiated publicly.

    Mexican Official: Yes, ambassador, the oligarchs of our country would like to move peasants off their land grants by using cheap US corn to make their crops worthless. Then they’ll be forced to leave their families and migrate north to stop mechanization and help break-up the remaining unions who have resisted your roll-back and other programs to destroy your country…plus they make excellent maids and gardeners for political and high-end media types who don’t feel they should pay minimum wage.

    American Official: Yes, Yes that sounds great, but don’t let it get out…because legally, both of us are engaged in high treason to our respective countries…stupid oaths of office and all that. Thank God in a few years few most Americans will become so brainwashed that they will demand that conversations where officials engage in treason should never be made public, no matter how villainous. But between now and when we have completely extinguished freedom…let’s keep this treason between you me..okay?

    Mexican Official: Of Course…now let’s drink to thought of the bells of tyranny ringing throughout respective lands!

    American Official: Yes, Yes…until that day ambassador…a day when all Americans yearned to be yoked as beast of burden!

    • idaman says:

      take a real world example. Uzbekistan in 2005. Uzbekistan hosts an airfield that is the single most important supply rout for supplies to US troops in Afghanistan. in 2005 there was civil unrest and at one point the whole government looked like it might fall.

      luckily our diplomats had deep connections with all kinds of people in the country, many of whom were dissidents. The government never fell, but the airfield would have been maintained if it did.

      Sadly, the Uzbekistan government saw which dissidents talked to our diplomats (from the Manning theft). I wonder where those people are now?

      Afterwards, the US government had to to go pains to tell people all over the world, if you talk to the US government, your private conversation is safe with US. And then came Snowden….

  21. panskeptic says:

    No, I do not take Assange or Manning or Snowden as do-gooders or as journalists. What they have in common is an overwhelming narcissism – the culture of “Good Standing, Josh!” and First Prizes for Everybody.

    They don’t really care about fixing anything – what they DO like is making everybody pay attention to them whatever the cost to others.

    A girl who dated Assange described it as watching him Google himself all night and show her the links. No wonder he resorted to rape.

    Greenwald makes sanctimonious noises about how only he is righteous, but again, he has no idea about fixing anything, it’s just endlessly parading his virtue.

    • Clif Brown says:

      panskeptic: why was it that the founding fathers considered the separation of powers so important? Wasn’t it because they realized the frailty of the human ego and the great danger of individuals so enamored of themselves that they would forget the good of the people? They feared the man on horseback, and the factions though could arise around such people.

      What President doesn’t think highly of himself and love to see flattering coverage, worldwide attention, hundreds or thousands of troops saluting, fawning aides and sycophantic media coverage? Don’t politicians have a low reputation in part because of their powerful self-importance even when they are incompetent?

      You are calling out Manning and Snowden and Assange as narcissists, yet they are in opposition to a mighty multitude of narcissists who, as we speak, bathe in great rewards of money and power. Consider the rewards your chosen three have received for what you believe is narcissism – isolation, imprisonment, torture, endless pursuit by the world’s only superpower, lives lived far from all that is familiar, far from friends.

      I think you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope.