Monday, June 10, 2013
Don't Pin The "Traitor" Label on Edward Snowden - Pin It on Congress!
As the predictable calls for ‘punishment’ from predictable political hacks and blow –dried blow heads fill the air, in the wake of Edward Snowden’s admission to being the PRISM-Verizon leaker, the deep politics maven can easily discern who the real criminals are, as well as traitors. They are exactly the ones who have used and continued to exploit “security” to eviscerate civil liberties. They are also the ones who’ve consistently abetted the corporate bankster spy warmonger state invested in perpetual war and massive debt. These rats want to keep obscuring the real reasons for their Big Brother spy state.
What is most amazing is how the real traitors (like Peter King, R-NY, bloviating this morning on CNN) have depicted Snowden to be “dangerous” when they are the ones who’ve led us into this fascist panopticon. They are the ones who’ve effectively taken away right after right while hoodwinking the public into believing this shackling of liberties is needed to make us safe,
Normon Solomon aptly wrote in his blog this morning:
“The corporate-government warfare state is enraged that Edward Snowden has broken through with conduct and values that are 180 degrees in a different direction. “I’m not going to hide,” he told the Washington Post on Sunday. “Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
When a Post reporter asked whether his revelations would change anything, Snowden replied: “I think they already have. Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten -- and they’re talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state.”
But as I indicated in a post 2 days ago, presumption of privacy underpins fourth amendment rights. So the real question is whether people are willing to sacrifice their 4th amendment rights to the surveillance state. I for one, am not. I would rather that the whole surveillance state be disassembled and the money saved ($300b a year) than that me and fellow citizens are surveilled 24/7 out of fear that the odd terror attack will occur, which in any case isn’t likely to even claim as many lives as the Aurora Theater massacre. Even if it surpassed that, the numbers would pale besides the gun homicides just in Chicago the first five months of this year.
Look, death is inevitable. It comes to us all sooner or later, and could be violent and unexpected - say being murdered by a psycho with an AR-15 or via accident in a tornado. It could also be less violent say by disease (cancer) or other agency. My point is that it is stupid to drown all civil liberties in order to try and stop all deaths from terrorists. It is not only stupid but unrealistic, as well as hypocritical – since the super spy state doesn’t seem to have any problem with sporadic sudden killings or even massacres (Virginia Tech, Newtown) arising from gun-slinging "micro-terrorists".
I’m talking about those whackos – like the Santa Monica shooter- offing a few citizens at a time with their 150 rounds of ammo pumped out with AK-47s or AR-15s. Yet when robed loonies commit a terror act or try to, everyone goes bonkers and want to impose draconian laws that effectively kill all 4th amendment rights! What’s the difference? I don’t see any! People suddenly offed in a "terror attack" or by a lone psycho in a theater massacre meet the same end! Yet in the one case we go batshit crazy and totally eviscerate 4th amendment rights- the very ones that distinguish us as Americans, while in the other we leave 2nd amendment rights untouched. Schizoid nation anyone?
But it gets to the heart of what columnist Al Lewis noted yesterday (‘Dirty Bomb Blows Liberty’. D. Post, WSJ 2):
“Here’s how terrorism works: slaughter people on national TV and watch as a nation that prides itself on freedom, shackles itself.
What Lewis captured here is the anomaly of a nation that boasts of all its freedoms and how our soldiers are “fighting for our freedoms” yet is willing to dump them all at the first hint of uncanny or sudden slaughter – by perpetrators in robes. What this tells me, and obviously tells Lewis, is those freedoms we brag so much about don’t mean that much in the end. They are expendable if it means the large majority of citizens can have the illusion they are saved if the gov’t is pouring through all their phone calls, data to try an catch an odd "bad guy".
Oh and by the way, the recent claim by Obama officials that the NSA spying system made us safer by thwarting the New York subway bombing plot was already thoroughly debunked by news organizations and Intelligence Committee member Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) within a few days- in case you missed it.
So when you hear those like John McCain and others (Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham etc.) calling for Snowden’s head, be aware that congress have been the real traitors. First, they expediently passed a civil liberties gutting law they themselves never read – I am referring to the Patriot Act in 2002. Second, after learning the Bushies broke the law with their illegal wiretaps and violations of the 1978 FISA law, instead of holding the law breakers accountable they rewrote the FISA law to make it comport with the law breaking! Treason! This is exactly why appeals to legal backing for what is going on now are absurd. There is no real legal backing only the illusion of such, since the actual law, legal backing was renunciated out of cowardly expediency. "Legal parameters" for this mass surveillance, as a CNN talking head tried to insist this morning? In your dreams!
Third, when a last final chance arose in 2011 to rectify things by halting renewal of the bogus FISA act, congress again punked out. They knew what they were doing but out of political expediency voted for this abomination. Treason three times! So now, having traitorously implemented a false legal structure they want to go after all those real patriots who seek to expose the shell game to which citizens are being subjected.
So all of the talking heads and political hacks you hear or see this morning, pouring condemnation on Snowden is merely an attempt to shift the focus of outrage away from the potentially major crimes against the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. What’s interesting is all the yappers emphasizing the “grave violation core values” in the disclosure of the potentially unconstitutional mass surveillance, not the mass surveillance itself. Which is mind boggling!
Same thing for NSA Honcho James Clapper. What’s “reprehensible” to him is the disclosure, not the NSA’s potential crimes. Notice, too, that neither Clapper nor Justice officials are calling for an investigation into Clapper committing one of recent history’s most explicit acts of perjury when answering congressional questions about surveillance (and yes, perjury before Congress is a criminal act) In this distorted worldview, Edward Snowden’s decision to expose the NSA’s potentially unconstitutional behavior is somehow presented as a bigger crime than the NSA’s behavior itself.
In his writeup of the Manning trial, Matt Taibbi sums up what is really at stake in the reaction to all of these information disclosures.
“If you can be punished for making public a crime, then the government doing the punishing is itself criminal,” he writes. “Who’s the right kind of person to be let in the know about the fact that we systematically turned academics and other ‘suspects’ over to the Iraqi military to be tortured? We want people who will, what, sit on this stuff? Apparently the idea is to hire the kind of person who will cheerfully help us keep this sort of thing hidden from ourselves.”
As blogger David Sirota puts it:
“The same can be asked about the NSA surveillance revelations. Do we really want to criminalize public officials who expose possible violations of the Fourth Amendment? Do we really want those public officials to witness such crimes and say nothing? Doesn’t that make them complicit in crimes that are far bigger than the alleged crime of blowing the whistle?”
In many ways, those of us who lived through the Kennedy assassination 50 years ago, aren’t the least bit surprised. The coup d’etat that murdered Kennedy, likely engineered by the CIA, set the nation off on a course of war mongering and mass surveillance. Since up to now we haven’t honestly addressed the Kennedy assassination as what it was, a coup d’etat (preferring to believe the lone nut myth), we haven’t gotten to the rot eating away at the nation’s underbelly. It had been hoped in this anniversary year progress might have been made when more files were released, but the National Archives has ordered them unavailable- at least until 2017.
Then people wonder why there are leaks!
Normon Solomon again:
“The gratitude that so many of us now feel toward Edward Snowden raises the question: How can we truly express our appreciation?
A first step is to thank him -- publicly and emphatically. You can do that by clicking here to sign the “Thank NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden” petition, which my colleagues at RootsAction.org will send directly to him, including the individual comments.”
Bravo to you, Mr. Snowden! And on behalf of those of us who are genuine patriots - not the paper kind who prefer safety to civil liberties- we thank you for your courage and hope you find safe refuge someplace on this forlorn planet.