Though Puerto Rican law prohibits ownership and bearing of most long-guns and especially semiautomatic weapons, the streets of the stricken US colony now throng with mercenaries in tactical gear bearing such arms, their faces masked. They wear no insignia or nametags and won't say who they work for, apart from vague statements in broken Spanish: "We work with the government. It’s a humanitarian mission, we’re helping Puerto Rico." Read the rest
The latest Intercepted podcast episode (MP3) was recorded live on stage at SXSW, where host Jeremy Scahill from The Intercept interviewed Edward Snowden by video link. Read the rest
After Daniel Ellsberg's astonishingly courageous release of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, he waited 40 years to meet someone like Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, someone else inside who risked everything to expose the wrongdoing they had sworn to oppose. Read the rest
“Researchers working with the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted a multi-year, sustained effort to break the security of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Intercept.” Read the rest
Scahill at The Intercept: "A source within al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" sends "a full statement claiming responsibility."
The 166 page "March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance" was jointly authored by 19 agencies, and has been released in full on The Intercept. Read the rest
The identity of the top CIA officer in Afghanistan was exposed over the weekend by the White House when his name was included by mistake on a list given to news organizations of senior officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with US troops. Read the rest
Rolling Stone's loss is Pierre Omidyar's gain. Matt Taibbi is joining First Look Media, the same organization where Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras are on the masthead at The Intercept-- but Taibbi will lead his own publication focused on financial and political corruption. The new magazine does not yet have a name or a precise launch date.
Ravi Somaiya was first with the scoop today at the NYT: Read the rest
The Intercept, the "fearless, adversarial journalism" venture launched by Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, launched with a big boom today.
Lead story on the site right now, which is https by default (and straining under launch day load at the moment) explores "The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program."
The Intercept will initially focus on NSA stories based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, and this is one such story. Read the rest
The Intercept is a new news-site created by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, through their Omidyar-funded startup First Look Media. Its mission is "fearless, adversarial journalism across a wide range of issues." (Thanks, John!) Read the rest
James Bridle has released a CC-licensed DIY Drone Shadows handbook (PDF), which explains, in detail, how to make accurate drone-shadow street art in your town/neighborhood. It's part of a larger project around Dirty Wars, a documentary on drone warfare currently touring the UK. Read the rest
Blogger and journalist Glenn Greenwald, who along with Laura Poitras broke the story of Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, announced today that he is departing the Guardian newspaper to join a "new news venture backed by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar," reports Paul Farhi at The Washington Post.
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The new, as-yet-unnamed news site has also sought to hire Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who was instrumental in linking former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to Greenwald and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, and national security reporter Jeremy Scahill of the Nation magazine, said a person familiar with the venture.
"You not only shouldn't be afraid, but do not be afraid."
Glenn Greenwald conferenced in to the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, to speak about Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA's surveillance program. Introduction by Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and Dirty Wars, and Sherry Wolf, author of Sexuality and Socialism. [Video Link]
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This month's Harper’s Magazine includes a feature by Charles Glass about the growth of private security firms since 9/11, “The Warrior Class: A golden age for the freelance soldier.”
The conclusion to the piece describes a series of videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, formerly also Xe Services) in Iraq.
Above, one of the five Blackwater clips published online by Harper's. This one is dated April 1, 2006, and was shot from the front seat of the fourth car in an armored convoy. Glass describes its contents:
Driving along a wide boulevard in Baghdad, the lead vehicle swerved close to the curb of a traffic island. A woman in a black full-length burka began to cross the street. The vehicle struck the woman and knocked her unconscious body into the gutter. The cars slowed for a moment, but did not stop, nor did they even determine whether the victim was dead or alive. A voice in the car taking the video said, “Oh, my God!” Yet no one was heard on the radio requesting help for her. Most sickeningly, the sequence had been set to an AC/DC song, whose pounding, metallic chorus declared: “You’ve been… thunderstruck!”
As Glass notes, the tape ends with a still frame which reads: "IN SUPPORT OF SECURITY, PEACE, FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY EVERYWHERE."
(via Jeremy Scahill) Read the rest
Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater (now rebranded "Xe") is building a stealth, American-led mercenary army in the United Arab Emirates "with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom." The business plan, at least in part, appears to be to help autocratic regimes crush popular democratic uprisings—a response to "Arab Spring." Oh, this will turn out well. Snip from the New York Times' exclusive:
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Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.
The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts, the documents show. Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest or were challenged by pro-democracy demonstrations in its crowded labor camps or democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year. The U.A.E.'s rulers, viewing their own military as inadequate, also hope that the troops could blunt the regional aggression of Iran, the country's biggest foe, the former employees said.