By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
If the NSA or the FBI wants to find fugitive Edward Snowden, who is apparently in hiding in Chinese Hong Kong, its analysts and agents might want to examine a controversial non-profit group, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and its main financial sponsor, the San Francisco-based Foundation for National Progress.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation, which includes Snowden’s media mouthpiece and handler Glenn Greenwald on its board, acknowledges that the organization “is made possible by the fiscal sponsorship of the Foundation for National Progress.”
The Foundation for National Progress is best known as the publisher of Mother Jones magazine, and is backed by several prominent liberal foundations, including the Open Society Institute of billionaire George Soros, according to its 2010/2011 annual report.
Mother Jones journalists accepted an award this year named in honor of I.F. Stone, who postured as an “independent” journalist but was exposed as a Soviet agent of influence. Greenwald had previously received the award.
Snowden is their new hero. “At the heart of Edward Snowden’s decision to expose the NSA’s massive phone and Internet spying programs was a fundamental belief in the people’s right-to-know,” says actor John Cusack on the website of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Cusack is also a member of its board.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation, which openly funnels money to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, says it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and that the Foundation for National Progress “provides users a way to give tax-deductible donations.”
“We are pleased to receive anonymous donations in the mail,” it says.
One purpose of the arrangement is to make sure that WikiLeaks has a secure funding source, as “U.S. officials unofficially pressured payment processors to cut WikiLeaks off from funding in late 2010, despite the fact that the organization has never been charged with a crime,” the group claimed.
In fact, U.S. officials regarded WikiLeaks as hostile to the United States because it publicly released classified counter-terrorism information from Army analyst Bradley Manning, who is now on trial for espionage against the U.S. and aiding the enemy. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange went to work for Moscow-funded television.
Prosecutors say that WikiLeaks material was found in the possession of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda after a U.S. raid killed the terrorist leader.
Assange has called Snowden a “hero,” but NSA Director General Keith Alexander said at a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that the leaks created “irreversible and significant damage” to national security. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a member of the committee, said Snowden was clearly a “traitor.”
The title of the hearing was, “How Disclosed NSA Programs Protect Americans, and Why Disclosure Aids Our Adversaries.”
But the radical left, including members of Barack Obama’s “progressive” base, are rallying around Snowden, even as Obama himself gives lip service to what the NSA is doing.
One of the prominent directors of the Foundation for National Progress that is backing Snowden is Susan S. Pritzker, a member of one of the richest families in the United States, the Pritzker family, which is very close to Obama. The Pritzker family owns the Hyatt Hotel chain.
Another member of the family, Penny Pritzker, is a Chicago billionaire nominated by President Obama to lead the Commerce Department. Her nomination has been held up because of questions from Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) about income generated from an offshore account.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation board includes not only Glenn Greenwald of the British Guardian, but Laura Poitras, described by Alana Goodman of The Washington Free Beacon as a “long-time activist filmmaker who has railed against U.S. counterterrorism policies put into place after the Sept. 11 attacks.”
Poitras and Greenwald arranged the secret interview with Snowden in Hong Kong and authored the Guardian’s story about him. Poitras also shared the lead byline with former Post journalist Barton Gellman on the front-page NSA story in The Washington Post.
Poitras, who is emerging as perhaps the central figure in the NSA leaks controversy, even more important than Greenwald, says she “has been detained and interrogated about her work at the U.S. border over 40 times.” Greenwald himself has written that the Department of Homeland Security has been behind her detentions and interrogations.
In a New York Times interview, she said she had been placed on a “Watch List” by the U.S. Government since 2006, and claims she has been trying to find out why, with the assistance of the ACLU.
John McCormack, a staff writer for The Weekly Standard, may have the answer. He reports evidence that Poitras, who has been covering the wars in the Middle East, “had foreknowledge of a November 20, 2004 ambush of U.S. troops [in Iraq] but did nothing to warn them.” He says a Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation was launched about the attack, but that no charges were filed against Poitras, and she did not respond to requests for comment.
Nevertheless, the Soros-funded blog Think Progress hailed Poitras for making “a series of powerful documentaries about the impact of the War on Terror.” Think Progress is part of the Center for American Progress, one of the major Soros-funded groups in Washington, D.C.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation promotes Snowden as a whistleblower, rather than a traitor, as do “journalism and transparency organizations” such as WikiLeaks, the Center for Public Integrity, and the National Security Archive, the latter two of which are funded by Soros.
Another member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s board is Josh Stearns, the Journalism and Public Media Campaign Director at Free Press, a Soros-funded group started by Marxist Professor Robert. W. McChesney.
Free Press has launched a petition campaign demanding that Congress investigate the National Security Agency’s terrorist surveillance activities, labeled “spying programs.”
“Stand up for privacy and push Congress to dig up the truth about the NSA’s surveillance schemes,” the left-wing group says. “Millions of Americans have woken to the threat the NSA’s programs pose to our civil liberties.”
Similar claims have been echoed on the right by some personalities in the conservative media, such as radio host Michael Savage.
A “Stop Spying on Us” website has been launched, featuring “A Network of Groups Across the Political Spectrum, Organizing against Surveillance Abuse, Government Repression, and Political Witch Hunts; and Working to Expand Civil Liberties, Free Speech, and the Right to Dissent for All.”
The National Lawyers Guild, once identified as a Communist front, is playing a key role in the effort.
Another coalition, “Stop Watching Us,” includes conservative groups such as Freedom Works and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in addition to MoveOn.org, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Greenwald’s Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Coming to the defense of Greenwald, the Soros-funded Free Press has attacked Rep. Peter King of New York for saying that “journalists who report NSA surveillance leaks should be arrested.”
This is not what King said, however. Appearing on Fox News, King had said, “Greenwald, not only did he disclose this information, he has said that he has names of CIA agents and assets around the world, and they’re threatening to disclose that. The last time that was done in this country, we saw a CIA station chief murdered in Greece… I think it should be very targeted, very selective and certainly a very rare exception. But, in this case, when you have someone who discloses secrets like this and threatens to release more, yes, there has to be—legal action taken against him.”
King was referring to Snowden’s comments, in the interview arranged by Greenwald and Poitras, that he possessed the “full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community and undercover assets all around the world, the locations of every station we have, what their missions are and so forth.”
Since Greenwald presumably has access to Snowden’s classified information on U.S. intelligence activities, including the names of agents around the world, King’s concern may be valid.
Greenwald promised “significant revelations that have not yet been heard over the next several weeks and months,” but denies he had threatened to name U.S. covert agents.
However, since Greenwald has a history of anti-American rhetoric and is a fixture at international Communist conferences, as documented by Accuracy in Media, disclosures of this classified information to individuals and groups hostile to the United States cannot be ruled out.