Tag Archives: Secrecy

Conspiracy Theories Are Caused By Government Secrecy, by Caitlin Johnstone

This is one of Caitlin Johnstone’s better articles. From Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The DC Circuit has ruled that the CIA is under no obligation to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to its involvement with insurgent militias in Syria, overturning a lower court’s previous ruling in favor of a Buzzfeed News reporter seeking such documents.

As Sputnik‘s Morgan Artyukhina clearly outlines, this ruling comes despite the fact that mainstream news outlets have been reporting on the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities in Syria for years, and despite a US president having openly tweeted about those activities.

“In other words, the CIA will not be required to admit to actions it is widely reported as having done, much less divulge documents about them to the press for even greater scrutiny,” Artyukhina writes, calling to mind the Julian Assange quote “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.”

The CIA’s brazen collaboration with dangerous extremist factions seeking to topple Damascus, and its equally brazen refusal to provide the public with any information about the extent of its involvement in Syria from the earliest stages of the violence in that nation onwards, will necessarily provide fodder for conspiracy theories.

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The Only Obstacle To A Healthy World Is Government Secrecy And Propaganda, by Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone could have cut off her title after the word “Government.” From Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

If people in power were no longer able to hide secrets and spin lies about what’s going on in the world, all of our major problems would come to an end. Because secretive and manipulative power structures are the source of all of our major problems.

If the public could see what’s actually happening in their world, they would immediately begin using the power of their numbers to overhaul our current system. This is why our current system pours so much energy into preventing the public from seeing what’s actually happening in their world.

If it weren’t for the constant campaign of obfuscation and manipulation of public perception via veils of government secrecy and propaganda, humanity would naturally find its way out of the power-driven tribulations it now faces, as surely as you’ll avoid obstacles and hazards in your path when you are walking with your eyes open. The only problem in this case is that our eyes have not been permitted to open.

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Classified America: Why Is the US Public Allowed To Know So Little? by Robert Koehler

Governments, all governments, are untrustworthy, so the more we know about what they’re doing and saying, the better. From Robert Koehler at antiwar.com:

For a journalist – especially one covering government and politics – the most suspicious, least trustworthy word in the language ought to be: “classified.”

As the drama continues to swirl around Russiagate, or whatever the central controversy of the Trump administration winds up being known as, that word keeps popping up, teasingly, seductively: “It appeared that there was a great deal more (former acting Attorney General Sally) Yates wished she could share,” the Washington Post informed us the other day, for instance, “but most of the information surrounding everything that happened remains classified.”

And the drama continues! And I have yet to hear a mainstream journo challenge or question that word or ask what could be at stake that requires protective secrecy even as the U.S. government seemingly threatens to collapse around Michael Flynn, America’s national security advisor for three weeks, and his relationship to Russia. Is there really any there there?

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t, or that it’s all fake news. Trump and pals are undoubtedly entwined financially with Russian oligarchs, which of course is deeply problematic. And maybe there’s more. And maybe some of that “more” is arguably classified for a valid reason, but I want, at the very least, to know why it’s classified. What I read and hear feels, instead, like collusion: journalists unquestioningly honoring bureaucratic keep-out signs as objective, even sacred, stopping points. Public knowledge must go no further because . . . you know, national security. But the drama continues!

And this is troubling to me because, for starters, nations built on secrecy are far more unstable than those that aren’t. Job #1 of a free, independent media is the full-on, continuous challenge to government secrecy. Such a media understands that it answers to the public, or rather, that it’s a manifestation of the public will. Stability and freedom are not the result of private tinkering. And peace is something created openly. The best of who we are is contained in the public soul, not bequeathed to us by unfathomably wise leaders.

To continue reading: Classified America: Why Is the US Public Allowed To Know So Little?


If This Is “Transparency,” I Would Hate to Know What Secrecy Looks Like, by Claire Bernish

From Clair Bernish at theantimedia:

(ANTIMEDIA) In the spirit of the transparency — of which the Obama administration claims to be a champion — there will be no details regarding the allocation of non-military intelligence spending in the president’s final budget request to Congress.

According to a press release from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), fiscal year 2017’s budget totals $53.5 billion, but don’t ask which agencies or programs will receive the funds — “because such disclosures could harm national security.”


Of course, the ODNI congratulated the self-titled most transparent administration in history for its laudatory lucidity, anyway.

“Reflecting the Administration’s commitment to transparency and open government, this Budget continues the practice begun in 2012 of disclosing the President’s aggregate funding requests for the [National Intelligence Program],” stated an ODNI fact sheet.

Considering such disclosures became a requirement under the law in 2010, that pat on the back seems superfluous, if not smug.

“That’s a business as usual claim,” said Representative Peter Welch, according to US News & World Report. “There is no transparency there — they’re complying with the thinnest of laws about the [aggregate budget] number. Members of Congress and the American public really are learning nothing.”

US News also reported Welch first learned of the 16 individual intelligence agencies’ budget allocations, along with the rest of the U.S. populace, thanks to Edward Snowden’s disclosures revealed by the Washington Post in 2013.

Welch also explained that although members of Congress aren’t restricted from viewing the specifics of intelligence program appropriations, they are prohibited from discussing the contents — “It’s like going in there with a blindfold and coming out being mute,” he mused. In fact, objecting to the classified budget allotments would mean being “escorted off the House floor in handcuffs” — though it wasn’t entirely apparent whether Welch intended sarcasm in saying so.

Despite the revelations in Snowden’s massive document releases, and his ambitious aspirations to bring transparency to governmental operations, the Obama administration continues to thwart attempts to force the matter — and not only will it continue to do so, but administrations that follow will almost certainly continue the pattern.

In the meantime, it should come as no shock that we will never be completely privy to the intelligence programs we fund through our taxes.


He Said That? 10/30/15

From Robert Heinlein (1907-1988), American science fiction writer, The Past Through Tomorrow, (1967):

Secrecy is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.”

Paul Ryan Channels Pelosi on the TPP – You Have to Pass Obamatrade to See What’s in Obamatrade, by Michael Krieger

The economic case for free trade has been solid for at least a couple of centuries. A country even comes out ahead if it lowers all trade barriers and no other country does. A true free trade treaty would be less than a page long (it could probably be done in a paragraph), not the three multi-hundred-page monstrosities that Obama and Congressional Republicans insist must remain secret until Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) is passed. TPA would allow for public dissemination of the monstrosities, but no Congressional amendments, “fast track” up or down votes, and only a majority-vote in the Senate, rather than the 67-vote threshold required by the Constitution for treaties. Obama, the Republicans, and the Wall Street Journal are shocked, simply shocked, that this process would make anyone suspicious of the “free trade agreements,” and they have labeled all opponents or potential opponents “anti-free trade.”  The label would be a little more appropriate if anyone but a select few had had  a chance to see what the treaties actually contain, although parts have been leaked by Wikileaks. Michael Krieger’s article, and the articles he links to, demonstrate once again why the alarm bells should blare every time one sees either bipartisanship or secrecy in Washington, from libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Chief Obamatrade proponent House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted during Congressional testimony on Wednesday evening that despite tons of claims from him and other Obamatrade supporters to the contrary, the process is highly secretive.

He also made a gaffe in his House Rules Committee testimony on par with former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’s push to pass Obamacare, in which she said infamously said: “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

“It’s declassified and made public once it’s agreed to,” Ryan said of Obamatrade in Rules Committee testimony on Wednesday during questioning from Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX).

What Ryan is technically referring to is that TPP will become public if TPA is agreed to—but Congress will lose much of its ability to have oversight over and influence on the process, since TPP is, in many respects, already negotiated. It’s 800 pages long, and on fast-track, Congress will only get an up-or-down vote and won’t be able to offer amendments. The Senate vote threshold also drops down to a simple majority rather than normally having a 60-vote threshold, or in the case of treaties, a 67-vote threshold.

– From the Breitbart article: Paul Ryan’s Pelosi-Esque Obamatrade Moment: ‘It’s Declassified and Made Public Once it’s Agreed To’

If you still think that the establishment Republicans in Congress represent real opposition to President Obama’s policies, you’re either extremely brainwashed or extremely stupid.

Honestly, I don’t know what it will take for some people to wake up. How many times do you need to be used, abused and conned by slimy politicians before you can shake off your political Stockholm Syndrome? Does John Boehner need to drive up to your front door in a motorcade and eat your first born’s liver at the dinner table with your wife’s silverware before you get it? It’s pathetic.


To continue reading: Paul Ryan Channels Pelosi on the TPP