Snowden and Texeira: Ten Years of Disaster 253

Ten years ago Edward Snowden was helped to escape by Wikileaks and to publish his revelations by The Intercept, Guardian, New York Times and others.

In 2023 Jack Texeira is tracked down by UK secret service front Bellingcat in conjunction with the New York Times and in parallel with the Washington Post, not to help him escape or help him publish or tell people his motives, but to help the state arrest him.

Those outlets have accessed a cache of at least 300 additional secret documents in doing so – and have kept them secret, with the exception of a couple of snippets that forward the official state narrative.

That contrast with ten years ago tells a very real and glaring truth. The idea that the legacy media in any way serves the truth or the public interest is now completely buried. The legacy media serves the state, and the state serves the billionaires.

Wikileaks is now so hamstrung by attacks on its finances, personnel and logistics as to be almost inoperable. Propaganda outfit Bellingcat was conceived as a way to counter it, by producing material with the frisson of secret access but actually as an outlet for the security services. An astonishing amount of “liberal opinion” falls for it.

Similarly the Intercept, like the Guardian, was subject to an internal takeover that delivered it entirely into the hands of the neo-conservatives.

Neither the alleged journalists of New York Times, Washington Post, nor Bellingcat did the most basic things a real journalist would do.

They did not contact Texeira, speak to him, ask him to explain his motivation, and look through the other secret material to which he had access, to get Texeira’s view on its meaning and implications, and to publish what in it was in the public interest.

Instead they simply shopped him to the FBI and closed down the remaining documents.

I am not at all surprised by Bellingcat, which is plainly a spook organisation. I hope this enables more people to see through them. But the behaviour of the New York Times and Washington Post is truly shocking. They now see their mission as to serve the security state, not public knowledge.

In the ten years between Snowden and Texeira, the world has changed hugely for the worse. Not only has a huge amount of freedom disappeared, freedom’s former Guardians have been subverted. It has been ten years of disaster.

A cache of twitter images of some of the leaked documents is here. I am not aware of any broader cache – feel free to insert links to any in the comments.

The initial reaction to the leaked documents was to rubbish them with the memes routinely applied to all information embarrassing to the state nowadays – they were either “Russian hacks” or “faked or amended disinformation”.

These attacks were particularly important as the message that came over clearly from these Texeira leaks was precisely the same as that which came over from Daniel Ellsberg’s original Pentagon Papers leak 50 years ago – that the public is being lied to about how the war is going.

(It is worth reflecting that in today’s world the NYT and Washington Post would have condemned Ellsberg and emphasised those bits of the Pentagon Papers which reflect badly on the VietCong).

Ukraine was particularly concerned about US official figures showing Ukrainian casualties much higher, and Russian casualties much lower, than the Ukrainian official figures the US ostensibly endorsed.

I have to say I always find both Ukrainian and Russian casualty figures laughably false. The idea that either side is telling the truth appears to me one that no half-sensible person could entertain. I had presumed that was the general view.

Revelations about the fragility of Ukrainian air defences and supply lines similarly seemed to me a statement of the blindingly obvious.

It is also unhelpful for the US to have revealed that it is actively spying on President Zelensky, as well as allies like South Korea and Israel. But again, this is embarrassing in the sense it is embarrassing if somebody publishes pictures of you on the toilet; it is not that nobody thought you used the toilet.

There is not a diplomat alive who did not know the US does this stuff.

Eventually the media and security services, with Bellingcat in the vanguard, decided the best way forward was to admit the papers are genuine, but only tell us about very selected ones, and then with a positive spin.

So we have stories about how brilliant the US secret services are at penetrating Russian power structures and communications, and how the real danger from the leaks is revealing to the Russians the extent of American success.

That line has been splashed all over legacy and social media these last few days. As the public is being denied the original documents this conclusion is extrapolated from, it is difficult to assess. The journalists of course have not assessed it; they have just copied and pasted the line.

Other helpful snippets for the security services are published, such as an assessment that the UN Secretary General is pro-Russian, or standard stuff on North Korean nuclear ambitions. In the last week it is noticeable that, since original documents stopped surfacing into public view, nothing has been published that does not serve US propaganda narratives.

There remains the mystery that the sources of these documents seem particularly diverse – in particular some being apparently internal CIA – for an intelligence officer in the Air National Guard to access, but it is not impossible.

Jack Texeira is at the centre of this puzzle but remains the missing piece. We have heard nothing from him. A rather unconvincing interview with a suspiciously fluent, pixeled out acquaintance grassing him up to the Washington Post stated that he was a right wing patriot.

Texeira has been portrayed both as some kind of rampant Trump supporter incensed at the state, and as an inadequate jock revealing documents just to boast to fellow gaming nerds. We should remain suspicious of attempts to characterise him: I am acutely aware of media portrayals of Julian Assange which are entirely untrue.

It is a shame the Washington Post, New York Times, Guardian and Bellingcat each had no interest whatsoever in the journalistic pursuit of the truth behind this extraordinary episode. We live entirely in security states: there is no doubt about it.


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253 thoughts on “Snowden and Texeira: Ten Years of Disaster

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  • Jack

    Every day you wake up to something more absurd.

    Norway and Ukraine Facebook factcheckers label Seymour Hersh claims “false”
    Facebook brands Seymour Hersh reporting ‘false’

    The US social media giant has cited counterclaims by “independent fact-checkers” from Norway and Ukraine

    No wonder Hitler found so many supporters, if people could be easily brainwashed back then who the heck are we(st) to complain today being equally stupid and gullible by propaganda??

    • joel

      Agreed totally shocking, even by the media’s shameless standards of disinformation and protection of the powerful. Biden blowing up Nord Stream is an event of world-historic significance – for the environment, for Europe’s economy and standard of living – and the media think they can just disappear it away as “fake news”, using the the most compromised “analysts” imaginable. Norway ffs was a co-participant in the crime, while Ukraine… well it’s just an insult to the intelligence. The usual halfwits though see this deterioration of their own media, same week as esteemed liberal newspapers are delivering whistleblowers to the police, and try to shift attention to what Russians are doing to journalists.

    • Goose

      Facebook / META, google, MSN (MSN being the worst for blatant, gung-ho war propaganda imho) used to collectively argue – with some legitimacy – they were simply neutral ‘hosting’ platforms rather than publishers i.e. publishers have editorial responsibilities, whereas hosting platforms don’t. Much in the same way the Highways Agency carries no vicarious responsibility for illicit goods transported on UK road networks – with no responsibility to check all vehicles’ contents.

      Zelensky, reported in the guardian today, claimed “most people in Europe” want Ukraine in NATO asap. On Meta, MSN et al, this statement would no doubt be carried as uncontested truth, supposedly assessed by fact checkers?

      I mean, we’ve all answered affirmatively in the poll, right? /S

      Wait on, I don’t know anyone besides the ‘WW3 could be fun’ crowd who want Ukraine urgently joining NATO. And by culture, tradition, language Ukraine is very much Slavic. No one in Europe is saying it, but ultimately, Ukraine needs good relations with Russia for a peaceful world. NATO and the EU, carried by the US, are seemingly intent on building a wall of hatred and permanent hostilities, with fingers poised on the nuclear triggers. This not a happy or satisfactory future for anyone. Hardly anyone I know wants Ukraine in NATO, it’s nonsense from Zelensky. Most want peace and a negotiated solution.

      • AG

        from the Twitter Files and the late Russiagate revelations (Russiagate – such a stupid stupid word I am always stumbling over it) we know that the social media majors were forced into cooperation with NSA/CIA/FBI and thus shaped the public opinion in ways prescribed by powerful members of the US Senate.

        do we have actual evidence same happened concerning this war?

        the personnel there might be corrupt and many “posers” among them but not all of them are that stupid. From the Twitter Files we know of a certain degree of reflection and complaint about the manipulations they were ordered to carry out.

        I am sure several of those people had non-aligned views on this war.
        But just like in academia and the entertainment industry they were silenced.

        But they exist.

        • Goose

          Many of these tech giants and their CEOs are big contributors to political parties and political campaigns, they’re mostly Democrats. Twitter’s Musk is a rarity, in that he seems relatively neutral or apolitical – a civil libertarian without a party. Unsurprising then many take the Biden Administration line on everything. The smart people in news management & editorial positions, take close notice of what those running these companies want. If they didn’t, they’d simply be replaced.

          The US political system is a ‘big money’ dominated horror show. Biden’s victory was engineered by the party machine, donors and collective media. In the early primaries he wasn’t even in contention, with major gaffes, arguments with voters and a general lack of enthusiasm around his campaign. In any fairly run system, Sanders would have stormed to victory and you’d have a different world today; with an agreement with Russia on Ukraine’s non-NATO status; Minsk fully implemented and no invasion. Big money’s influence really messes everything up, changing the course of history.

          • Goose

            cont. Just to clarify my point about Sanders.

            Ultimately, responsibility lies with Russia for invading.

            But the Biden Administration created conditions they knew were sure to antagonise Russia, conditions that were likely to trigger an invasion. No Biden elected; no Nuland at the State Dept = no resurrection of Obama era foreign policies and residual fury with Putin over his Syria intervention. There’d be no Russia – Ukraine conflict, and with it all the tragic loss of life.
            Literally, had anyone else been elected President, I’m convinced they would’ve given Moscow the necessary security guarantees. And demanded Kyiv (Zelensky) implement Minsk in ongoing negotiations. Neither Trump or Sanders would’ve welcomed and embraced this conflict in quite the way the Biden administration has.

    • Goose

      The most amusing thing about Zelensky’s sardonic comedy routines back then, was in how brutally honest and perceptive they were. Even the audience looked uncomfortable with some of the home truths and his dark satirical take on the country. Ukraine’s problems with the far right? Back then, fully acknowledged; now, completely denied. The staggering levels of corruption, throughout Ukraine? Back then, fully acknowledged; now, completely denied. The dangers of Ukraine becoming little more than an highly indebted, proxy, puppet state, taking orders from Washington? Back then, acknowledged; now, completely denied.

      We have societies where the only people who feel free to speak honestly about world events are comedians via dark satire. And with lying politicians everywhere, the joke is on us, the voting public.

    • Tatyana

      38 seconds of stand-up comedy by Habeck
      Russische Moleküle in dem Gasmix 🙂 Damn it, Herr Habeck, the sun rises in the East and you’re getting beams of light with some Russian photons!

      May I amuse you on this beautiful Sunday morning with a joke?
      “A fisherman enters a fish store and buys a large carp. He asks the seller:
      – Now, can you please throw the fish to me from there, from behind the counter?
      The seller is surprised
      – What for?
      – For after that, I can honestly say that I caught it myself!”

      • AG

        actually I like the joke.
        (If I can recall – beware: prejudice – I was in fact never told a bad Russian joke.)

        Is there any substantial knowledge about the persona of Catherine Belton, formerly FT, now WaPo.

        I know she wrote that stupid book about Putin.
        I also read that Luke Harding loved that stupid book.

        But do we know of any connection to security services?

        I wonder because she came out with a new piece of Russiagate now modelled for Germany in the WaPo a few days ago, cooking up a story, taken from the Vulkan Files, where the Russian told the German Left Party and far right AfD to join forces and create support “for the Kremlin”.
        (I love how the James Bond movie symbolism still works.)

        But all fun aside this naturally again hurts the only sensible cause in this war.
        Cold War redux.
        Any peace initiative is being smeared as controlled by Russia.

        It´s crazy… Especially since this concerns a generation of journalists and scholars who have grown up to be VIPs (!?) mainly after the the Berlin Wall came down.

      • AG

        Habeck is an idiot and a liar and poor opportunistic slob.

        Besides now again the issue of nepotism has caught up with his ministry.

        People have been inquiring about those new employees and advisors to the ministry who, totally by coincidence of course, have been major buddies of his before he entered the government.

        But unless they really messed up (stealing e.g.), which I doubt, this won´t lead to anything.
        If anything his job hurt his popularity.

        Which, alas, strengthens the position of that incompetent imitation of a spitting image of madeleine albright.
        Whose name we will not say.

        So yes, nominally we are a democracy.
        But a democracy is only as good as the possibilities for contradicting voices to be heard.

        • Tatyana

          I think your democracy turns into ‘shoutoutocracy’ – those who present themselves in the most impressive manner those get more place in ‘public mind’, thus getting more public money for their affairs.
          Like at the scene. People come to the microphone and get money for telling their stories. Amazing that so many get impressed and ready to open their wallets 🙂

          • AG

            yeah, however as for stand-up comedy – they usually are doing a better job than these guys.
            There is shoutout and shoutout, so to speak.

            p.s. A popular German TV guy, Richard David Precht, who became popular presenting philosophical stuff on TV “for the masses” (personally as scholarhip goes he is a fraud, but you can call me a snob), has become one of the few sane voices in mass media during 2022, just yesterday on the main German political show (shoutout stuff) called her whose name we will not say “an accident”.

            the enitre passage is about her visit to China:

            “Then I have the feeling… If I may be completely honest, I always think what an accident it was that this woman became Foreign Minister. Under normal conditions, she wouldn’t even have gotten an internship at the Foreign Office. That someone with this moral fervor tries to explain to a class representative of a world power, a cultural nation, what Western values are, defines them as systemic rivals and virtually paints an escalation scenario on the wall, a values-led foreign policy that is in fact a confrontation-led foreign policy, instead of simply baking small rolls and saying to herself: ‘As long as we are economically successful in Germany, the Chinese will take us seriously, lock, stock and barrel.'” A stronger confrontation, Precht said, would put the German economy at risk and downright destroy it. “Then, all the more, no one would take our Western values seriously.” It’s not lectures that make sense, he said, but setting an example of proper standards.
            ( sometimes offering akward linguistic solutions…but you get the point.)

          • AG


            this is probably a propaganda piece.
            I have not yet translated it.


            Someone posted it on the Twitter Thread of Pavel Podvig (who still appears to be the least crazy among those posting there. I mean Kuleba himself is apparently posting from time to time…)

            here the thread again

            I sometimes wonder what or who is holding together this fabric of world affairs in the Ukraine case, since whatever I get to see from diplomatic channels on these “airways” is hawkish hawkish hawkish.

            No negotiation. No understanding. Never. Ever. Self-righteousness up to the point of madness.

            p.s. I guess had the Russians told the world that they would not use their nuclear arsenal, no matter what, why should then the US not have long sent the real stuff to Ukraine? (like 400 new generation fighters?)

            What would hold back Poland to send in 50,000 troops? or 200 tanks?

            If you deal with this kind of people, fanatics lacking any compromise, then, what can you do?

            You seem to leave the space of meaningful and sane conversation and fall back into ancient habits, times of pre-Westphalian Peace.

          • Tatyana

            I am an impressionable person, I mean, I’ve got a personal “collection of emotional imprints” and I tend to try each life situation in the most appropriate slot. So, your philosophy passage called out of my brain the line by the Disturbed “Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend”.

            On a lighter note, about popular shows, do you still have “Die Anstalt” on air? I remember that this particular 8 years old episode about the propaganda on the Ukrainian conflict, served as a trigger for me to brush up on my knowledge of German.

          • AG


            As far as I know DIE ANSTALT is still operational.
            However I never considered them funny enough so I never watched.

            The 2014 Ukrainian episode is on youtube.
            But that is meaningless today.

            I was told that DIE ANSTALT has turned 180 degrees (no, 360!) into a worst kind of anti-Russian propaganda outlet.
            I watched a few minutes and it was the lowest of low-brow.

            The little comedy they did have has been entirely abandoned in the face of war.
            (I have to think of how progressive Lubitsch or Blake Edwards once were).

            A show, if you care, early March 2022.
            (the first 4 minutes are enough and you will get the air of it.)

            this as compensation, the dancing sequence from 1961 “One Two Three”, by Billy Wilder (I know I am old-fashioned so you might find it goofy. But think: Wilder in fact started to shoot the film and was interrupted by the Berlin Wall…)


          • Tatyana

            thanks for the links 🙂
            DIE ANSTALT – the owner of the video banned viewing in my country 🙂 maybe the guys don’t want to upset sensitive russian housewives like me?
            The second – I really cannot make out what’s going on there. I understand that this is an example of what we in Russia call “sprawling cranberry” – a set of grotesque stereotypes. As a Russian, I can understand the portraits of Stalin and Khrushchev, and from the first notes I recognize the Saber Dance by Khachaturian, the ballet Gayane.
            I smile at the mention of vodka and caviar, like, ah, again Russia is all about vodka and caviar, okay.
            But sorry, why the lady, supposedly a ‘Russian’ dances like mad on the table (unthinkable behavior! feet on the table! Well, at least she took off her shoes) She dances some sort of western shake mixed with eastern belly dance – Russian dance never express sex appeal! And, her name is Ingebjorg, a scandinavian one? It’s probably not worth mentioning that for a fire on a kebab skewer, all Russians would spit in the face of a restaurateur, everyone loves barbecue and everyone knows that you need to cook on low heat, otherwise you will get the sole of an old shoe instead of a juicy steak. Heh, in a week we will have long May holidays and it’s the opening of barbecue season here in Russia 🙂

          • Tatyana

            here is the aesthetics of Russian dance
            and here some talented director turned it into a pair dance – a Russian person would find some moments uncharacteristic for my culture, but on the whole it is quite in Russian aesthetics

            We certainly do not dance ballet on the dance floor at a party 🙂 it’s just as a reference – what is considered beautiful in Russia, and accordingly, it follows what things are definitely be perceived as belonging to a foreign culture. So a woman shaking her ass while standing on a table is definitely not in my culture 🙂
            Just do not consider me a hypocrite, please, I appreciate the belly dance too. It’s the meaning, the intention what’s important:
            here is art
            and here – naked physiology, which belongs to a private cabin, and looks stupidly out of place at a public event

    • AG

      just wanted to post this myself 😉

      p.s. the tactical question is, what´s better, push it as far as Vega did here, or try to “stick to the rules” and interfere via “proper” questions during the entire event.

      So these are aspects of activism I guess.

      Who do you address and why?
      The audience there or your online audience?
      Would there be a way to not provoke the security guys (because the audience there will most likely just shrug it off after 1 minute.)

      Or is this in fact the only way.

      It certainly had 2 mio. hits within an hour.

      But of course those are people who already shared Vega´s views.
      I assume.
      And as he points out: They profitted from the work Assange accomplished.

  • AG


    Matt Taibbi: “Report on the Censorship-Industrial Complex”

    Harding makes this sound cheery, but the rivalry of media titles is the primary (if not only) regulatory mechanism for keeping the press honest. If the Times, Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC no longer go after each other for uncorrected errors — like the Hamilton 68 fiasco exposed in the #TwitterFiles, or Harding’s own infamous report that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort managed to have a secret meeting in London’s Ecuadorian embassy with the world’s most-watched human, Assange — they can and will indulge in collective delusions. A “shared endeavour” vision of politics is just a synonym for belief in elite concentration of power.

    As noted in Lowenthal’s thread, the story of the #TwitterFiles and the Censorship-Industrial Complex is “really the story of the collapse of public trust in experts and institutions, and how those experts struck back, by trying to pool their remaining influence into a political monopoly.” The losers in any advancement of this story would include anyone outside the monopoly, and they can be on either the right or the left. The intense negative reaction by traditional press to the #TwitterFiles stories published to date is rooted in a feeling of betrayal. The new media leaders see themselves as doing the same service police officers in the stop-and-frisk era called “order maintenance,” pouncing on visible signs of discord or disruption. They’re gatekeepers, and the #TwitterFiles — classic old-timey journalism that assumes the public has a right to know things — represents an unacceptable breach of the perimeter.

    • Jack

      Thanks for the link: What is very dangerous is the so called “fact checkers” sites that have become very popular past couple of years, very often than not, these organisation are funded by western governments-foreign-policy-departments or pro-Nato/US think tanks.
      They NEVER question news from the west only alleged disinformation from western “enemies”.

      Take for example, a western backed “fact checking” site aimed at Georgia:

      Scroll down to the very bottom and see that this site is funded by USAID, The Marshall Fund, NED, US gov. amongst others!
      These sites in turn influence the media in the west and thus influence the western populations.
      This is a typical example of how western intelligence and government influence the population by indirect means.

  • AG

    28th there was a report in German weekly DIE ZEIT taken from the Pentagon leaks, that NSA might spy on German MoD.
    (How could they possibly do this!)

    The article is behind paywall and I could not yet get it via print version:

    Same with DER SPIEGEL.

    On German TV as usual a horrible report (I can´t watch these things they are made for 6 year old kids.)
    But they at least picked it up.

    Since nothing new has been reported.

    So I am waiting for next week.
    (Imagine this would have been SFB…)

    p.s. is there ANYTHING new about this Teixeira kid???

  • AG

    A reader comment on Moon of Alabama, about the Daily Telegraph:

    At least two articles in the UK Daily Telegraph hinting the the Ukrainian spring offensive may not do so well. Here is an extract from one of the paywalled pieces:

    “But he [Putin] has mass, and he has built a military and political machine with a complete absence of morality at its centre. That means he is happy to pay with thousands of young Russian lives the butcher’s bill for the meagre advances his troops are achieving.

    It also means he will be content to use what bodies he has left to soak up any Ukrainian counter-offensive.

    The smartest plan in the world, delivered by the most motivated soldiers equipped with the best technology the West can provide, could falter against waves of Russians who know that any retreat or capitulation will be met by bullets fired by their own officers.”

    And on and on it goes. Anyone who comments that this may not be in fact the reality is pounced on immediately by ever watchful and alert “readers” who use insults to police the groupthink. The DT is only a source of news these days on this topic in so far as you can discern the facts as being the opposite of those reported, and easily identify what the UK government would like you to think. And so this is the start of a softening up process to explain the future failure of the UAF’s offensive.

    This level of “counter-propaganda” or uncertainty of source quality is new.

    Anatol Lieven from Responsible Statecraft e.g. reported on his 3 week trip to Ukraine.

    He mentioned Russian SAMs being used for ground attack, which however is most likely not the case.
    (There is hardly any evidence on this and simply makes absolutely no sense.)

    So question is where did he get that info and why would he put it out without checking on it?

    Same with a report on 2 days ago.

    The reporter, also a historian, not general staff, says, “since Russians are running out of missiles.”
    They have been saying this for months.

    According to what we know by now it simply is not true.
    And was pointed out by people already back then.
    People however who are no in the traditional media.

    And this you find on every topic every day.

    (On twitter I discovered a comment by Danish “data analyst” Oliver Alexander about Seymour Hersh; he did not mention Hersh, but I thought he had Hersh in mind, when writing about people “who are spewing nonsense”. Alexander appears to try stir up some attention by constantly pounding a version of NS 1&2 sabotage with Russia the culprit. Why I wonder? Why not instead try to prove Hersh´s story? What would be so wrong about that. It´s almost like a contest by a new generation of reporters to prove how smart they are, however not based on quality but on ideological partisanship. In essence they have nothing.)

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