Monday, September 01, 2014

The Omidyar/Greenwald Redaction Team by Wayne Madsen

The Omidyar/Greenwald Redaction Team
Ever since eBay/PayPal multi-billionaire Pierre Omidyar sank $250 million into Glenn Greenwald's "First Look," the guardian of the tens of thousands of classified files procured by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, the extent of the redactions being made to the original documents by Greenwald and his team of alleged "investigative journalists" has been staggering. However, the most recent set of redactions made by Greenwald, in concert with Der Spiegel are on the scale of any familiar to Freedom of Information Act requesters of classified documents. In the case of NSA documents on the agency's relationship with Turkey's two signals intelligence agencies, GES (General Electronic Service)(military) and ETI (Electronic and Technical Intelligence, also known as Signals Intelligence Directorate) (part of the civilian-led Turkish National Intelligence Organization (TNIO or "MIT"), entire pages have been blacked out by Greenwald and his team of so-called "investigative reporters."

The most recent redactions call into question who Greenwald is actually working for. When the First Look deal was announced, many questioned a deal between Greenwald, a self-described libertarian journalist who once legally represented Matt Hale, the neo-Nazi white supremacist, and Omidyar, an Iranian-American who comes out of the largely right-wing Iranian diaspora that still waxes nostalgic for the regime of the Shah.

The latest heavily-redacted "document drip" Greenwald is a series of NSA and British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) memoranda and newsletter items that point to Turkey as not only a target of the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance of NSA, GCHQ, and three other English-speaking countries, but also a Third Party partner of the FIVE EYES. Turkey is described as NSA's oldest "Third Party" partner in a relationship that began in 1949, which precedes NSA's establishment by three years.

Much of the content of what was released in the documents deals with NSA support to Turkish SIGINT gathering targeting the Kurdistan People's Congress or Kongra Gel, which is formerly known as Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and other Kurdish separatist groups. This support is funneled through the Senior U.S. Liaison Adviser Turkey (SUSLAT) based in Ankara.

One redaction made by Greenwald and company is the description and location of a former NSA High-Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) site on the Black Sea coast of Turkey.

What Greenwald saw fit to delete is the SIGINT site at Sinop, which the NSA turned over to the Turks after the Cold War. Sinop remains part of the NSA's worldwide HFDF network codenamed CROSSHAIR. He also redacted NATO member Greece as one of the Turkish SIGINT targets for interception of "military air, naval, ground, and paramilitary" targets. The Turks also monitor America's new friends and prospective NATO members -- Ukraine and Georgia -- on behalf of NSA.

Greenwald believes he is being clever by his redactions, thus earning him points with the FIVE EYES alliance. However, a simple Google Earth search reveals the presence of the active Turkish SIGINT site at Sinop, complete with its tell-tale SIGINT base "radomes" housing satellite dishes.

An egregious example of Greenwald's redactions of the latest documents released to Der Spiegel is not unlike those documents that are heavily redacted by NSA, the CIA, and the State Department pursuant to FOIA requests.

The following document deals with NSA and GCHQ tapping of the fiber-optic cable between Belgium and Jordan through BELGACOM facilities. The redaction is so draconian, there should be every suspicion that Greenwald has cut a "deal," possibly via Omidyar, to release Snowden documents only after they have been carefully screened and redacted by NSA legal and FOIA specialists. The Washington Post has previously redacted Snowden documents in its possession in concert with consultations with NSA. Greenwald has shown that his particular brand of "investigative journalism" is for sale to the highest bidder.

Although Greenwald revealed that NSA targets Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek and Treasury Minister Ali Babacan for surveillance, he chose to redact the names of other officials, including Turkish Treasury and Central Bank officials, including a Turkish Treasury G20 "Sherpa." The first name of the Governor of the Central Bank, Durmus, is included, but his last name, Yilmaz, is redacted. That may be a problem for Greenwald and company if they decide to moonlight as redaction editors for the NSA. Energy Minister Hilmi Guler's name is also included but the name of the head of the MIT, Dr. Hakan Fidan, who is suspected of ties to Iran in an April 15, 2013 TOP SECRET NSA memo, is redacted.
Snowden Belgeleri
Ironically, the NSA considers MIT to be its oldest Third Party ally while suspecting its chief of links to the Iranian government.

By way of comparison, the following is a former Confidential CIA Information Report from June 26, 1950, which remains heavily-redacted. It concerns CIA intelligence-gathering operations in Bhutan and Sikkim. Ironically, part of the fiber-optic tapping document heavily redacted by Greenwald and his cohorts in covering up, deals with NSA interception of communications to and from Bhutan.