it's not there for the sack races.
-- Banacek --
Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, Dopey. Everybody knows the seven dwarfs in the Walt Disney classic, "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs."
Who, then, is the eighth dwarf?
Hint Number 1. Snow White is deservedly ranked as the greatest American animated picture of all times. The eighth dwarf deservedly ranks as the most animated character of all times. He is real; he exists; he is not an escaped cartoon character. However, if he died, his coffin would be empty.
The eighth dwarf is now intimately, perhaps inextricably, connected to the Edward Snowden odyssey. How did the dwarf get into the picture? If we knew, we would also know who he is.
And we do know...
Step 1. Watch this appropriately-titled "Eye-opener Report" by James Corbett: "Secrets for Sale? The Greenwald/Omidyar/NSA connection."
Step 2. I assumed you watched "Secrets for Sale." You won´t be seeing it anytime soon on CNN or NBC. Forget the Washington Post, officially unofficial White House censor and mouthpiece. Here´s why:
Put yourself in the NSA/CIA´s position. Your Number 1 problem is you don´t know what secrets Snowden took. If you knew, you could do what you cannot do now: protect yourself.
Your worst nightmare is now a wide-awake reality. The Chinese army labored long and hard to hack your system. The Chinese now have everything Snowden took. Without Snowden´s treasure cache of secrets, Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent, you do not know what the Peking knows or does not know. Moscow, too, for that matter.
Fully armed with Snowden´s trove, the Chinese and Russians right now are doing, well, ... what exactly? Sharing the secrets with their allies, e.g., North Korea? So distressing are the possibilities, President Obama took the time in his recent NSA speech to warn about foreign snooping:
We know that the intelligence services of other countries, including some who feigned surprise over the Snowden disclosures, are constantly probing our government and private sector networks and accelerating programs to listen to our conversations and intercept our emails and compromise our systems.
Your nightmare does not end there, Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent. If you knew what secrets Snowden took, you could go on the offensive. Among other things, you could redo your computer world and make obsolete the one Snowden helped you build. You could start preparing defenses, verbal and otherwise, against secrets you know are in the pipeline. You could even create new factual situations which would make leaks made in the future appear irrelevant, if not ridiculous.
End result: if you had the treasure trove, the leaks would stop. Snowden´s secrets would become valueless to your foes and withheld from the public -- exactly what you want.
How much are you willing to pay to end the nightmare, Mr. and Mrs. CIA agent? My bet: $250 million. To be explained shortly.
You are sure of one thing. At present, Snowden is unlikely to cooperate with you. Simply put: you don´t know how to talk to him. The proof: if you understood middle class rebels, the Snowden affair would never have occurred.
Although it is late, all is not lost. Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent, there is a deal right in front of you that is satisfactory to both parties. Ideologically blinded and blindsided, you can´t see it.
As for amnesty, pardon, reprieve, whatever, to be granted Snowden in exchange for all secrets in his possession: you floated that trial balloon. Maybe, you even secretly made Snowden an offer, and he turned it down. Wouldn´t surprise me. The key is not to know what middle class rebels want but what they seek. In that regard, Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent, you don´t have a clue.
Two other things are certain:
First, Snowden did not steal secrets to sell them. As we shall see, he not in the sack race -- he is not at the mouse picnic. He did what he did for other reasons. Having zero understanding of middle class rebellion, those reasons are a complete mystery to you, Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent. You can only whistle slowly, down a Tums.
And second, any amnesty deal with Snowden right now would be political suicide. Your trial balloon popped. As of mid-December, only 21% of Americans favored amnesty for Snowden. With time that situation will change -- but time is what you lack.
So, Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent, for now you must count Snowden out. You twirl your pencil, down another Tums: if only there was another way to get Snowden´s treasure cache. That damn guy...he won´t ...
Wait a second...
* * *
A dictum I gleaned from 8 years of trench warfare as the head of a majority floor leader´s staff in a mean-as-snakes state House of Representatives:
It´s O.K. to give somebody the crown. Just be sure some of the jewels are missing.
"Secrets for Sale" makes clear that Snowden violated the dictum. He gave full copies of his secrets to the two journalists who introduced him to the world, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.
Ah ha! (Or rather -- voilá!) If either Greenwald or Poitras will co-operate with the CIA, the agency can obtain Snowden´s secrets without dealing with Snowden. Mission accomplished!
Here a singular dilemma arises.
Read the Wikipedia biographies of Greenwald and Poitras linked above. Neither of them is likely to directly and knowingly cooperate with the CIA. Both fit the middle class rebel syndrome. In that regard, the awards they have received are highly revealing. Rebellion/awards: you don´t see the connection, Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent?
The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion analyzed in depth French Poet Arthur Rimbaud, the living standard of middle class rebellion:
In Charleville, where Rimbaud was raised, raised hell, and which as a 16-year-old he had denounced as “supremely idiotic among small provincial towns,”* the local officials knew what to do -- they personally knew the trials. On the tenth anniversary of Arthur Rimbaud’s death, they unveiled a monument to him...
Official awards are an established rite of social re-integration of middle class rebels.
A commemorative plaque adorns the birthplace of Karl Marx in Trier, Germany; another marks his apartment in the Soho district of London, above the Italian restaurant, Quo Vadis...
The city officials of Zurich placed a plaque at No. 1, Spiegelgasse where the Dadaists opened their Cabaret Voltaire in 1916. The Dadaist Hans Richter (1888-1976) recalled:
"Diagonally opposite, at No. 12, Spiegelgasse, the same narrow thoroughfare in which the Cabaret Voltaire mounted its nightly orgies of singing, poetry and dancing, lived Lenin…It seemed to me that the Swiss authorities were much more suspicious of the Dadaists, who were after all capable of perpetrating some new enormity at any moment, than of these quiet, studious Russians… "
(Hans Richter, Dada Art and anti-Art, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1997, p. 16.) When I saw the building in 1998, it appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. The small plaque on the wall was still there, but too high to be noticed by most pedestrians.
The City of San Francisco officially recognized the cultural value of the City Lights Bookstore,
"a hub for Jack Kerouac and the restless rebels called the Beats. It became a proving ground for free speech by selling radical works. And it has always been a refuge for leftists, anarchists, free spirits and literary outcasts, all howling against the establishment.
But the soul of this city is changing.
So much, in fact, that preservationists struggling to protect a way of life as much as a building are giving Mr. Ferlinghetti’s bookstore a new distinction. It will be among the first spots in San Francisco deemed an endangered landmark purely for cultural value, not architectural merit (because it has none)…
San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors still must approve City Lights’ landmark status, but Tim Kelley, vice president of the board said the vote was a formality. ´This decision has broad appeal,´ he said. ´There’s a lot of anxiety in the city. People want us to help keep places like this around.´…
Mr. Ferlinghetti finds no solace in the new mood. A culture that was once high-minded and distinct, he says, is becoming shallow and homogenized.
Just up the block, sidewalk cafes crackle with the young breed of dreamers who talk on cell phones about stock options and the limitless possibilities of the Web."
Rene Sanchez, “Preserving a Literary Landmark in a City on Fast Forward,” International Herald Tribune, September 5, 2000. (The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion, pp. 153, 163-4).
Since the CIA does not have the foggiest idea what makes middle class rebels tick, any direct attempt by the agency to approach Greenwald or Poitras would be at best a waste of time. At worst, the agency would wind up seeing its name in lights, plastered all over the front page, as a would-be bribester.
Damn. That ends that.
Wait a second...
* * *
Enter stage right Pierre Omidyar, chief of eBay, the $8.5-billion man, alias Agent 123, his Forbes ranking among billionaires.
Before continuing, I´ll bet you still haven´t identified the eighth dwarf.
Helpful hint number 2: No -- Pierre Omidyar is not the eighth dwarf. Pierre Omidyar is a U.S. citizen and lives in Hawaii. There are over 190 nations in the world. The eighth dwarf is not a citizen of any of them, but he lives in all of them. He has no passport -- doesn´t need one.
Thanks to Jeremy Scahill (see "Secrets for Sale"), Greenwald´s/Poitras´ associate, we know exactly when and where Omidyar showed up. The occasion was a mouse picnic in Rio. Scahill gives this throbbing-at-the-bone account:
Glenn and Laura and I were already talking about creating some kind of a news site...an additional outlet...; at that sort of moment ...we get this email from a mutual friend of Glenn´s and Pierre´s basically saying that Pierre, you know is working on starting this new news organization and wants to talk to you about possibly contributing...[Pierre´s organization] would have an inherently adversarial posture toward the state and those in power was in line with what we wanted to do. And, uh, in a million years if you told me a year ago, oh, you will be working on a project with the founder of E-Bay I think I would have laughed because it would be sort of antithetical to everything I think would happen.
Omidyar, for his part, mirrors Scahill´s smile-button face:
Mr. Omidyar — who declined an interview request but released a statement and spoke to the New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen — describes a happy coincidence: just as he was looking to start his project, Mr. Greenwald and Ms. Poitras, along with the reporter and author Jeremy Scahill, “were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists.”
“We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces,” he wrote.
Price tag to Omidyar to crank up his news venture: $250 million. Curiously, that is exactly what Jeff Bezos paid for the Washington Post. Even more curiously, as "Secrets for Sale" notes, two weeks after the Omidyar news venture was announced, a forthcoming, widely-trumpeted Greenwald/Scahill report on the NSA´s role in the U.S. assassination program was shelved.
Talk about a happy coincidence... gosh... The perfect timing of Omidyar´s appearance can only be adequately described in 1950s, William Gaines´ hiper-ventilating, cosmic teenager comic book terms: incredible, astounding, astonishing, amazing!
Wait a second...
* * *
Still stumped about the eighth dwarf?
Helpful hint number 3. We already noted that Pierre Omidyar is not the eighth dwarf. In the distribution of roles, he is the owl. Nor is Greenwald the eighth dwarf; he is mouse number 1. No, Poitras is not the eighth dwarf; she is mouse number 2. Cahill? -- mouse number 3.
Pierre, Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy are persons. The eighth dwarf is not a person.
We have an alternative explanation of the incredible, astounding, astonishing, amazing appearance of Omidyar:
Glenn, Laura, Jeremy: you of all people know that the CIA and NSA have full access to your emails and other communications. They knew about your plans for a dissident news agency the minute you opened your Internet mouth.
Inherently adversarial posture to the state and those in power. Sorry, Jeremy: Pierre Omidyar has no credentials as a dissident. Zero, nix, nada, rien. Or, in your words, directly antithetical to everything. An megaoligarch among oligarchs -- those in power -- he has other credentials though, quite solid ones...
As "Secrets for Sale" points out, PayPal, an Omidyar-owned subsidiary of eBay, did its best to put WikiLeaks out of business. Omidyar/PayPal-CIA/NSA links have been exhaustively investigated by BFT.
If the CIA sent in Omidyar to buy the Snowden trove from Greenwald and Poitras under the cover of a new news venture, what made the CIA believe the indirect approach was worth a go?
The second Greenwald and Poitras accepted copies of Snowden´s secrets, the eighth dwarf entered the picture. The CIA spotted him immediately. No journalist with personal or professional integrity will accept stolen property as a gift. A car, a necklace, computer information -- it makes no difference. If one does, he/she has something in mind.
As for what that something is, "Secrets for Sale" mentions Greenwald´s deal with Metropolitan Books for an undisclosed amount, as well as bidding by movie companies for production rights. All of which is interesting, but may turn out to be chicken feed...
"Secrets for Sale" speculates that Greenwald withheld from publication his Snowden secrets in order to bait Omidyar. We speculate exactly the opposite: Omidyar is baiting the three mice with the possibility of cushy jobs in a new dissident news agency, in order to obtain the Snowden trove for the CIA. That is what teenagers call a neat idea.
At this point, there are two scenarios:
1. To test our hypothesis that Omidyar is a front-man for the CIA -- that he is Agent 123 -- all Greenwald and Poitras have to do is ask him to cough up the FULL $250 million before they hand him the secrets. If they then pause and step back, they may be treated to a vintage display of The Red Neck Shuffle: Gosh a-mighties. Let´s see now...uh...well...shucks... P.S. Glenn and Laura, if our CIA front-man hypothesis is wrong and Omidyar gives you a check for $250 million, be sure to cash it fast/faster/fastest, and do it before you hand him any secrets. Otherwise, the owl may do what owls do: fly away into the night.
2. The $250 million may actually be the CIA´s money, not Omidyar´s. Again, Omidyar is an oligarch par excellence. In case you haven`t noticed, oligarchs spend other people´s money. Otherwise stated, they have enough money to make their problems your problems.
In this second scenario (i) the CIA gives Omidyar $250 million as a gift. (ii) Omidyar uses the money to set up a news agency. (iii) Omidyar gives Glenn, Laura, and Jeremy lucrative jobs (iv) in exchange for the Snowden secrets. (v) Omidyar delivers the secrets to the CIA. Everybody is happy, no?
No. Mr. and Mrs. CIA Agent, all I can say is, if the taxpayers find out about your $250-million gambit, don´t forget to duck.
Sidebar. Dear Reader, you don´t believe the CIA would give one of the richest men on the planet $250 million of your heard-earned tax dollars? I refer you to your federal government´s Emergency Economic Stabilization Act which in 2008 authorized up to $700 billion to the private sector. In reality, one trillion dollars had been committed.
Freebee megabucks for the megawealthy are the new reality under the oligarchic system now ruling America. You had better get used to it, Dear Reader -- you can´t stop the...
Wait a second...
* * *
The BFT report on PayPal quotes Russel Tice, former NSA Intelligence Analyst:
“I would be outraged and highly vocal if I were in Edward Snowden’s shoes. For a journalist whom I had placed my trust in to go and withhold documents meant for the public?! For the journalist to make fortune and fame based on my sacrifices and disclosure?! Forming a lucrative business partnership with entities who have direct conflicts of interest?! No. That wouldn’t have been acceptable.”
Edward Snowden, if you are reading this post, your story merits a book and a movie. Unfortunately, it is not a book Glenn Greenwald is capable of writing or Hollywood knows how to tell. Yours is the story of how a noble idea** -- All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed -- gets trampled, corrupted, ruined by the eighth dwarf. On this classic tragedy you will find real enlightenment not from some big shot Hollywood director who looks like something the cat dragged in or from a big mouth-small brain New York literary agent, but from novelist William Golding´s The Spire.
There is a way that you, Edward Snowden, can blow the third dwarf out of the water.
You should seriously consider going through your secrets, finding connections of PayPal and/or Omidyar with the CIA/NSA, and publishing them as quickly as possible. Also, you should seriously consider telling the world you will start publishing your secrets one at a time on a regular basis, say one per month. Within 24 hours Metropolitan Books and Hollywood will put their projects on hold.
Otherwise, suspicions of you as a secret partner of the eighth dwarf will emerge. Are you taking money from Greenwald and Poitras on the side? You distinguished yourself as a whistle-blower and not as a traitor by not selling secrets. To sell them now, directly or indirectly -- to aid and abet, by guarding silence, those who are selling them -- will change your status and irredeemably damage your cause.
There is another reason, Edward Snowden, for you to move quickly. If Greenwald/Poitras/Cahill start to release your secrets, or if they give them to Omidyar who in turn gives them to the CIA, the secrets in your possession will not be worth the hard drive they are printed on. You will have zero leverage. Your Russian hosts will start looking around, considering, ah, alternatives.
I made the above two recommendations because they set the stage for a solution -- a movida -- that is an alternative to the CIA´s Omidyar Agent 123 ploy.
Unlike the ploy, the movida is (i) satisfactory to the CIA, to Edward Snowden, to the American people and to the Russian government. (ii) It won´t cost a tenth of $250 million or (iii) give one single penny of taxpayer money to a billionaire. (iv) The movida is simple, clean. The Omidyar Agent 123 ploy is too cute for its own good. An excretion of hormone-pumping adolescents, it is barreling recklessly in the same direction as the Iran Contra scandal -- another "neat idea" according to its main protagonist, Oliver North. (v) The movida will keep you, Mr. and Mrs. CIA agent, out of prison. You are already in way over your heads. Iran Contra, exploding cigars, a booby-trapped conch: tell your boss you do not care to be caught up in another CIA crackpot scheme. If your boss won´t reassign you, get a lawyer -- fast. (vi) Finally, the movida will hurt -- grievously so -- only one party: the eighth dwarf.
* * *
Pierre Omidyar, it is easy for you to acquire credibility as a crusading, inform the people, the truth-will-out, 100% independent, freedom-loving, Honest Abe, public-spirited, give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death fighter for truth and justice, whose goal in life is to challenge the state and those in power.
You can earn impeccable credentials as a dissident by publishing and promoting our next post -- an exposé of eBay. It is my eyewitness account.
What I experienced: your operation is run and overrun by con men, bunko artists, flimflammers, scammers, hosers.
All of which fits the eighth dwarf to a T. Dear Reader, he has been right in front of you all the time. He is not a person; he is a relationship among persons everywhere.
* * *
Boys and girls of the CIA: if "Edward Snowden and The Eighth Dwarf" is incorrect this entire post will strike you as if we had said you were born in Tajikistan. You will utter an audible shrug; you will surf on.
However, if our post is correct and we blew the lid off your Omidyar Agent 123 ploy -- your neat idea -- you will join in the immortal rant of anchorman Howard Beale in "Network": I´m mad as hell and I´m not going to take this any more.
In that event, try something new: view our post as a learning experience.
"Yeah, sure. Learn what?"
Sit back and watch what has been correctly called "the greatest sporting event of the twentieth century." The Rumble in The Jungle took place in 1974, before you were born.
Muhammad Ali clashed with the then-world heavyweight champion, George Foreman. When I was an elections consultant, I always showed the fight to my clients who were facing tough, powerful incumbents. We extrapolated Ali´s game plan to the political arena, with devastating results.
Ali´s strategy was based on one simple fact. Foreman telegraphed his punches. Ali covered up and leaned on the ropes; Foreman punched himself out. The "rope-a-dope" tactic had never been used before; it employed classic jiu-jitsu, making Foreman´s power and massive muscles work against him.
Big men fall hard, which is exactly what happened. What our opponents discovered on election night: most people lack power. But no one lacks the power to defeat himself.
If you have the talent, determination and raw power of a George Foreman, you will win many fights despite telegraphing your punches. You may even become heavyweight champion of the world. However, you will eventually get knocked out.
You will lose your crown and all its jewels.
UPDATE: January 28, 2014. Two days ago German TV broadcast a 30-minute interview with Snowden. He says he handed all his secrets over to Greenwald and Poitras, and has no control over their publication. A serious mistake, perhaps fatal...
Once Snowden realizes that giving his secrets to the two journalists was not, as he says in the interview, synonymous with giving the secrets to the public -- that his secrets are being sold for millions of dollars -- Snowden can go ahead and put into operation the two recommendations made above. The fact the secrets are no longer physically in his possession does not help his cause, but in no way deletes his knowledge or memory of them
An announcement by Snowden that he will release material at regularly-scheduled intervals will put into motion the dynamics for a resolution of the imbroglio to the satisfaction of all parties. Except, of course, the eight dwarf.
UPDATE: February 4, 2014. On January 30 Snowden released information on government spying in Canadian airports. It is unfortunate that an eventual suitable agreement requires such releases -- "unfortunate," because there is no alternative. It is no doubt one of the greatest contradictions in world history that the United States Government with its countless listening devices around the globe.. does not listen.
Several readers want to know if I think Snowden read our post and is following its advice. There is no way of knowing. All I can say is he has never sent me a message. However, one thing to watch for and which time will show: was his Canadian release a one-shot item or is it part of a pattern?
*« supérieurement idiote entre les petites villes de province ». Arthur Rimbaud, « Rimbaud à Georges Izambard, Charleville, 25 août, 1870 », in Œuvres complètes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Gallimard, Paris, 1994, p. 238.
**Idealist does not = good guy. For an anlysis of the central role of idealism -- what it is, where it comes from -- in middle class rebellion, see The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion, chapter 7, pp. 279-323. The book treats idealism in functional terms, not moralistic ones, viz.:
According to Plato’s classical idealism, (i) only Ideas/Forms are eternal, and (ii) these Ideas/Forms are idées fixes -- divine, unchanging molds up above -- known mainly by reason.
In middle class rebellion, the classical idealism so ardently vilified continues to operate in a mutated form of Descartes’ Cogito: Ipse cogito, ergo est. “I think it; therefore, it is.” [Descartes’ Cogito (1644): “Cogito ergo sum.” “I think, therefore I am.” ] That is to say: if I think something, then somehow, someway, somewhere, that something exists. That mutation has five consequences: (1) doctrinairism, (2) formulism, (3) messiahship, (4) obsession with symbols, and (5) inversion. (p. 285)