RI Subject - Reality Winner

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Re: RI Subject - Reality Winner

Postby Spiro C. Thiery » Tue May 14, 2019 12:34 pm

JackRiddler » 11 minutes ago wrote:It can't be said he "burned himself."

As he says in the transcript from 2014, he revealed himself. As I would say, he courageously did the right thing and spoke out in person at multiple appearances. This started in 2013 and resulted in a first raid of his house by the FBI, after which he expected that they might indict him. So he knew what he was doing and of course they have been after him for five years now. Since his material was being published by Scahill in The Intercept, it was not a mystery to the bad guys regarding whom they would investigate. This has been a discretionary call by the government, which has now belatedly decided to go ahead with the repressive move. Again, in no way can this be compared to the Winner case, or be laid at the feet of the outlet that published Hale's material.

In the simplest words, there is no relevance to defending or criticizing the Intercept in this case, although of course it must be defended as a publisher. It matters most to focus on the actual perpetrator of repression, the US government.


By revealed, are you saying he admitted being Scahill's source prior to his arrest? That's not how I interpret it, though I don't discount my missing something. It's an important point, theoretically at least, as his admission would go a long way toward his successful prosecution.

You'll get no argument from me regarding sustained and consistent criticism of the perpetrator of oppression. Nevertheless, the source of any evidence that contributes to the prosecution is not to be ignored. It is possible to do that without exonerating the US government. "Focus" is not the best choice of words in this context, in my opinion.
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Re: RI Subject - Reality Winner

Postby JackRiddler » Tue May 14, 2019 1:55 pm

Spiro C. Thiery » Tue May 14, 2019 11:34 am wrote:By revealed, are you saying he admitted being Scahill's source prior to his arrest?


No, obviously.

He revealed himself in public by condemning the wars fought by the very same outfit he worked for. His employers may be evil, but they are not morons. They knew whatever he had known from his time with them. And so they knew he was almost certainly the source for the Drone Papers that appeared in The Intercept soon after. And so they investigated this, already then. And so the FBI raided his house five years ago. And so they built a case, five years ago. And so he expected to be indicted, already then. For a change, Obama didn't pull the trigger on it. Now Trump has. How this is supposed to be The Intercept's fault is not clear to me. They are a target here. It eludes me how Webb thinks it's justified to attack The Intercept for this, at the same time that the government is using Hale as a big reinforcement for the message they are already trumpeting with Assange.

That Winner's case is their fault is obvious, although their fuck-up may have been redundant. It seems very, very unlikely she would not have been caught. The move of in effect risking her life, to reveal a single document of very dubious usefulness, was extremely impulsive on her part. That doesn't excuse their incredibly shoddy handling, perhaps with malintent on the part of some of them. They really fucked it up for her, just in case she would have gotten away with it.

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Re: RI Subject - Reality Winner

Postby stickdog99 » Tue May 14, 2019 2:22 pm

JackRiddler » 14 May 2019 14:57 wrote:.

I agree. But again, even if true generally about the Intercept, or at least those there responsible for burning two sources, it's irrelevant in the Hale case. No one burned him, he spoke out himself, and we must honor his courage. This is government taking revenge and preemptively attacking others who would speak out. Hale's case demands media focus on what is actually going on: government repression that should unite even highly questionable corporate media (say, NY Times) in condemnation. So Mint Press and others are engaging in a bad kind of diversion and divisiveness when they shift the Hale case coverage to attack their competition for something that is not true.


The one positive thing all corporate media used to agree on was protecting first amendment rights. But I suppose the advent of mechanisms to disseminate information more democratically signaled the death knell of that unified front. Now we are inundated by editorial pieces implying or even explicitly arguing that some speech must be freer than other speech.
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Re: RI Subject - Reality Winner

Postby JackRiddler » Wed May 15, 2019 9:04 am

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So very true, but of course this is like the third large wave of this propaganda from the old corporate media against the Internet. They have never stopped. In the beginning (and still today) it was all about Wild West Internet, home to nothing but child pornography and terrorist bomb wholesalers and, most unpspeakably evil of all, people who download Hollywood product. Action must be taken!

Up to ten years ago it was all about the scandal that there were bloggers at all, that they were writing for free (hey, I agree with that one - pay me!!!), that they had the same rights and protections as newspaper journalists even though they could write whatever they liked, and, presumptuously enough, that loads of them actually were journalists and doing a better job of research and reporting than most of the old newspaper crew. That's not how the old crew were putting it.

Now, of course, almost all of the remaining newspaper staff ARE BLOGGERS, what used to be considered blogging activity is 90% of what's left of them, they do more Twitter than bothering to call sources. (And it's okay since most of'em are paid shit.)

Of course the multifunctional #Russiagate has also been an epic campaign for censorship on behalf of the old corporate media, and the pressure on the social media corps to return to their NSA roots and add some FBI has begun to yield results. Also, they get to displace their responsibility for Trump. Fucking history textbooks will be written that explain the election of Trump as a result of social media encouraging "polarization" and "filter bubbles" and enabling "conspiracy theory" (which never played a role in American politics ever before, seriously, and please don't confuse #Russiagate with one) and the influence of ads from a pennyante Russian spam-storefront company, and possibly have not a word about the absolutely central role of NBC and CNN in predetermining Trump's victory within the GOP. Also, Cambridge Analytica, if it is mentioned, will be made to look like some kind of minor sidekick dog of the teeny teeny tail of the Petrograd spamfront.

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Re: RI Subject - Reality Winner

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:55 am

Mom of Reality Winner is ‘sick’ over Russian agent Maria Butina’s prison release
By Yaron Steinbuch
Billie Winner-Davis and her husband, Gary Davis, parents of Reality Leigh Winner EPA
The mother of a former US intelligence analyst and the first whistleblower arrested during the Trump era said it made her “sick” that Russian agent Maria Butina was released from a Florida prison Friday while her daughter remains locked up.

“This makes me sick. My daughter Reality Leigh Winner remains imprisoned for warning us of an atrack [sic] on our election and a spy goes free. #FreeRealityWinner,” Billie Winner-Davis said on Twitter on Friday morning.

Butina, a pro-gun activist who infiltrated conservative political circles as a secret agent for the Kremlin, was released from a low-security prison in Tallahassee, where she served 18 months for working as an undeclared agent of a foreign government without registering in the US.

The redheaded inmate will be sent packing back to Russia, accompanied by two Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, her lawyer Robert Driscoll told the Washington Examiner on Thursday.

Winner, 27, a US Air Force veteran, was sentenced in August 2018 to more than five years behind bars as part of a deal in which she pleaded guilty to leaking a classified National Security Agency document about a 2016 Russian cyberattack on a supplier of American voting software.

In 2017, while working as a federal contractor assigned to the NSA in Georgia, Winner leaked the classified document providing details of the Russian cyberattack.

The document served as the basis for an article by The Intercept, an online news outlet that said it received it anonymously, though Winner was arrested before it was posted.

“They don’t want the world to be exposed to the real Reality Winner,” Winner-Davis told CNN in May about her daughter, who is imprisoned at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

“The prosecution painted her to be a very evil person, who hates her country … who needed to be feared by the American people,” she said about her daughter, who received the Air Force Commendation Medal in 2016.

“And I honestly believe they are afraid that if America gets to know who Reality Winner really is, they are going to see that wasn’t the case at all,” she added.

Enlarge ImageMaria Butina in 2015
Maria Butina in 2015REUTERS
Her daughter, who worked in the Air Force’s drone program, is serving the longest sentence ever imposed on a journalistic source by a federal court, according to the Department of Justice.

The US secured Winner’s conviction under the World War I-era Espionage Act, though prosecutors do not call her a spy, and in her plea agreement, prosecutors noted that the document she leaked was sent to a news outlet and not a foreign adversary.

Her supporters argue that other figures in the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election have received far more lenient treatment — including Butina, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as a Russian agent.

Winner-Davis told CNN that her daughter “is not a traitor. Reality served her country. She protected and defended us.”

She added: “What did she release? She released something that actually helped us to defend ourselves against an attack by Russia.”

Enlarge ImageMaria Butina
Maria ButinaAFP/Getty Images
Butina pleaded guilty last year to conspiring with a senior Russian official to access the NRA and other groups from 2015 until she was arrested last July. She said she was “ashamed and embarrassed” by her actions — but always insisted she was not a spy.

She admitted to working with Paul Erickson, her GOP operative boyfriend, “to establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over US politics … for the benefit of the Russian Federation,” according to court papers.

Erickson, who managed the 1992 presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan, was indicted in February in South Dakota over what the feds said was an unrelated investment fraud scheme.

In her plea papers, Butina said she worked under the direction of former Russian government official Alexander Torshin, a lifetime NRA member. She did not admit to and was not charged with espionage.
https://nypost.com/2019/10/25/mom-of-re ... n-release/



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Re: RI Subject - Reality Winner

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:57 pm

Theatre in Review: Is This a Room (Vineyard Theatre)


TL Thompson, Pete Simpson, Emily Davis. Photo: Carol Rosegg.

The most suspenseful play currently on the New York stage is a piece of found theatre, drawn from the transcript of the FBI interrogation of the unhappy young woman known as Reality Winner. You may recall the name -- which sounds equally like a character in a John Bunyan allegory or one of the Real Housewives -- if not the case. A former Air Force airman and intelligence specialist, she was indicted in 2017 for leaking to the online news publication The Intercept documents regarding Russian influence in the 2016 American presidential election. Like so many other figures in the tawdry saga of the Trump Administration, she was briefly a cause célèbre, with such strange bedfellows as Julian Assange and Trump himself speaking out on her behalf; to be sure, the latter took up her case largely as another excuse to complain about Hillary Clinton. (The Intercept came under plenty of criticism, too, for its clumsy handling of the story, which left Winner exposed to prosecution.) After a fair amount of legal wrangling, she pled guilty to a single count of felony transmission of national defense information and was sentenced to five years and three months in jail. The ironies are almost too many to count: She broke the law, but her single transgression pointed toward much larger crimes committed by the current administration. That she should spend so much time behind bars seems the very height of injustice.

Is This a Room meticulously recreates the events transcribed in the FBI report: Winner, living in Augusta, Georgia, and doing translations for a firm contracted to the National Security Agency -- she speaks Farsi and Pashto -- is approached in her yard by a trio of agents who detain her while her house is searched. The dialogue couldn't be more banal -- the text records every "um" and "uh" and sentence fragment -- and yet, the tension is all the more unbearable for it. Seeing Winner -- an achingly vulnerable Emily Davis -- struggle to make small talk with these strangers, who shuttle between chatty repartee and veiled threats -- is an authentic white-knuckle experience. This is especially so as her seemingly candid answers begin to crumble. The imbalance of power -- the creeping sense of menace -- is as gripping as in any Harold Pinter play.

Thus, when Garrick, one of the agents, notes that it's "completely voluntary to talk to me," the statement sounds like a trap. He adds, "Now, if you're willing to talk to me, like, to go through just kind of how this started and, you know, get your, your side of it and figure out what's going on here. Okay. Does that sound-sound good to you?" Actually, it doesn't sound good at all, but Winner has little choice but to acquiesce. It's telling that Garrick and Taylor, his partner, keep mentioning a search warrant, and yet it isn't produced until near the play's end. Nobody reads a Miranda warning -- a point that became a bone of contention in her trial -- and clearly nobody intends to. The men understand all too well how, despite their casual manner and false ingratiations, profoundly intimidating they are. (You might find yourself thinking of Pinter's The Birthday Party, in which two mysterious strangers come to spirit the lead character away; their genial thuggery is not unlike that of the characters onstage at the Vineyard.) Each little transaction bristles with an unspoken sense of hazard -- including the agents' questions about where Winner keeps her guns and her recent quick trip to Belize, an event that is clearly regarded with suspicion.

Winner tries to play along, but her nerves constantly get the better of her: Note the nervous laughs that accompany many of her statements, and her halting, incomplete answers. As the agents press her, she turns away from them, looking downward, speaking slowly, and calculating her next move; she is an animal watching a cage being erected around her. At the same time, she has no idea what happens next, and the men are not forthcoming. When her phone is taken away, she says, "I didn't want to make any assumptions or anything like that, but I am teaching yoga tomorrow and [the] phone has music on it," a line that conveys her deep anxiety about the possibility of arrest. The owner of a cat and foster caregiver for a dog, she finally says, near tears, that her main concern is "my ability to keep these two animals alive."

Watching Is This a Room, one experiences a kind of ghastly, but gripping, double vision. It is pretty obvious from the get-go that Winner is guilty, and the agents are, of course, only doing their jobs. Then again, the obvious power imbalance between them is infuriating, to say nothing of their soulless stabs at humanity, via bad jokes and conversational asides. Furthermore, whatever you want to say about the legality of Winner's acts, her real crime is acting like a citizen. She didn't give aid and comfort to America's enemies; she helped to lay bare the corruption of the electoral system. How is it that she is behind bars while ethical and legal violations pile up in the White House and Republican Congressmen stage childish rumbles to block the investigative process?

In addition to Davis, who is increasingly heartbreaking as Winner realizes that the game is up, Pete Simpson and TL Thompson are perfectly skin-crawling as Garrick and Taylor. As another agent, known as Unknown Male, who directs the search of Winner's house, Becca Blackwell is, if anything, even more sinister, offering out-of-left-field comments. Tina Satter's handling of the cast is faultless -- she also conceived the production -- and her use of certain theatrical techniques, such as blackouts that cover up the censored parts of the text and sequences of slightly slowed-down and sped-up dialogue, serve to underline the surreal nature of the action.

Parker Lutz's uncluttered set, with some audience members seated upstage of the action, works well; when the action shifts to an empty room in Winner's house, the absence of furniture adds to the tension: Winner is forced to stand, awkwardly, in stage pictures cannily arranged to indicate that she has nowhere to go. Thomas Dunn's lighting casts a stark atmosphere, and the sound design, by Lee Kinney and Sanae Yamada, runs the gamut from offstage dog barks to unsettling, deep booms that punctuate the action. Enver Chakartash's costumes have a gritty reality that is right for the characters.

There's nothing shapely or structured about Is This a Room, but it has an immediacy that is absent from many new plays. In addition to its more obviously nerve-wracking qualities, it raises ugly questions about the direction in which our democracy is headed. Don't see it if you want to feel soothed. -- David Barbour
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