Reposted from Collapsing Into Consciousness (http://www NULL.collapsingintoconsciousness NULL.com/edward-snowden-hero-or-traitor-it-depends-on-who-you-are/)
With the continuing release of secret files on the NSA’s spying programs on American citizens, spying programs supported in their entirety by the Obama Administration, it appears that the false illusion of Barack Obama as the reincarnation of Jack Kennedy is finally coming to an abrupt and rude end. It’s being assisted by the multiple stress fractures of the economy, joblessness, divisive politics and the growing distrust of government at all levels, ironically called forth by that very government. There’s also the environment and energy, when combined with the above, provides an opportunity to see the administration’s ineptitude at best, and their callous disregard for the constitution at the worst.
Now it’s going to get ugly. It’s already getting ugly.
Exposing a crime is now a crime? Interesting logic since having knowledge of a crime being committed and not coming forward can also be a crime. It’s called being an accomplice, and everyone in the NSA who knew, including the President, should be held accountable.
Edward Snowden – the 29 year-old whistleblower who mysteriously disappeared from Hong Kong yesterday – whose only crime is stealing documents to expose the crime of the dangerous violation of perhaps millions of citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights, is coming across as the all-American hero according to a poll today that showed 70% support for him and his actions with the American public. Compare that with the popularity of Congress who is mostly calling for Snowden’s Bradley Manning (http://www NULL.bradleymanning NULL.org/) moment. If he continues to elude the CIA and American Security Apparatus can’t catch him soon, his stock will soar as Americans pretty much love a heroic underdog. One of the reporters from the Guardian newspaper who arranged with Snowden to meet in Hong Kong for interviews told the Associated Press that he had been contacted by “countless people” offering to pay for “anything [Snowden] might need.”
The faith of the people in the government has been dwindling steadily since the since the assassination of JFK and took a huge dive this week…but certainly not as big as the massive bubbles that are coming in the economy and the environment. Glenn Greenwald, who Snowden talked with, has also hinted at more revelations coming this week. Just what Obama needs, but this is of his own making, and we’ll all pay for it one way or another. So much for competence and the constitution.
Tensions around the U.S. are high for many reasons, one of which is the largely unspoken fear of a lot of people that something is seriously wrong with our country. And with the Sequestration delivering cuts in federal programs (http://www NULL.massresources NULL.org/sequestration NULL.html#affected), especially programs to the poor and needy, anger is rising. And as trends forecaster Gerald Celente says, “when people lose everything, they lose it.”
I fear – and I pray I’m wrong – that the best we can do at this point is to build our community ties and our resilience so that we can be prepared to assist and serve when the smoke clears, providing there’s not too much damage. Which, by the way, could have been at least somewhat mitigated had we allowed the system to unwind in 2007 instead of continuing business as usual and allowing the super rich to get super-richer…
A friend who is from Germany sent me a link to a new David brooks article called “the Solitary Leaker (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2013/06/11/opinion/brooks-the-solitary-leaker NULL.html),” and points out that Brooks furor on betrayal is a weak one, and that Brooks is displaying his limitations as a journalist. My friend stated:
Everything [Brooks] addressed about social cohesion isn’t served right now by the social and political systems. Snowden isn’t as solitary. He has revealed something which no journalist of the NYT is revealing. As always in history- somebody or some groups and strange events which pop up and simply disrupt the mainstream procedures.
Brooks also states that Snowden’s “right that the procedures he’s unveiled could lend themselves to abuse in the future,” but one thing Brooks fails to see is that these are the abuses and they are not acceptable. And yes, left unchallenged by us all, they will get – and are getting – worse.
While he was a candidate in 2008, Obama praised instances of whistleblowing (http://www NULL.guardian NULL.co NULL.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/05/obama-campaign-brags-about-whistleblower-persecutions) as “acts of courage and patriotism” that “should be encouraged rather than stifled as they have been during the Bush administration.” But since his election critics have repeatedly called into question his record on supporting whistleblowers, pointing to several individuals who have not been praised, but were prosecuted. In fact, Obama has been more aggressive than Bush in in targeting whistleblowers, even though there’s a huge public interest in the disclosure of waste, fraud and abuse.
Several investigative journalists attest in “War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State (http://www NULL.waronwhistleblowers NULL.com/),” that the crackdown on leaks seems deliberately intended to have a chilling affect. Add on top the scandal that the Justice Department secretly tapped scores of phone lines at the Associated Press, it becomes obvious – once again – that our government is out of control and that speaking truth to power is now a criminal act.
Other examples you might not know about via Washington’s Blog:
- You might have learned that the Department of Justice is prosecuting a whistleblower regarding North Korea … as well as the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News (http://www NULL.washingtonpost NULL.com/local/a-rare-peek-into-a-justice-department-leak-probe/2013/05/19/0bc473de-be5e-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story NULL.html) who reported on what the whistleblower told him (http://www NULL.guardian NULL.co NULL.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/20/obama-doj-james-rosen-criminality).
- You might have read that the Department of Justice Inspector General published a new report today saying that former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke leaked a document intended to smear Operation Fast and Furious scandal whistleblower (http://www NULL.justice NULL.gov/oig/reports/2013/s1305 NULL.pdf)
- And you may even have caught ABC News’ report today that an armed minder trailed reporters … preventing them from being able to talk to whistleblowers (http://abcnews NULL.go NULL.com/Politics/irs-scandal-stonewalled-cincinnati/story?id=19206140&page=2# NULL.UZrIxUo86So)
- The Pentagon recently smeared USA Today reporters because they investigated illegal Pentagon propaganda (http://www NULL.washingtonsblog NULL.com/2012/04/pentagon-smears-usa-today-reporters-for-wait-for-it-investigating-illegal-pentagon-propaganda NULL.html)
- Reporters covering the Occupy protests were targeted for arrest (http://www NULL.washingtonsblog NULL.com/2011/11/reporters-covering-occupy-wall-street-are-being-targeted-for-arrest-nationwide NULL.html)
- The Bush White House worked hard to smear CIA officers (http://www NULL.theage NULL.com NULL.au/news/world/cheney-libby-named-in-smear-bid/2007/01/26/1169788693645 NULL.html), bloggers (http://www NULL.nytimes NULL.com/2011/06/16/us/politics/16cole NULL.html?_r=3&src=tptw) and anyone else who criticized the Iraq war
- After Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and others sued the government to enjoin the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans – the judge asked the government attorneys 5 times whether journalists like Hedges could be indefinitely detained simply for interviewing and then writing about bad guys. The government refused to promise (http://www NULL.truthdig NULL.com/report/item/a_victory_for_all_of_us_20120518/) that journalists like Hedges won’t be thrown in a dungeon for the rest of their lives without any right to talk to a judge.
- An al-Jazeera journalist – in no way connected to any terrorist group – was held at Guantánamo for six years … so the U.S. could find out about the Arabic news network (http://www NULL.huffingtonpost NULL.com/2011/04/25/sami-al-hajj-al-jazeera-j_n_853297 NULL.html).
- Indeed, reporters who even speak with whistleblowers may be treated as terrorists (http://www NULL.washingtonsblog NULL.com/2012/09/in-america-journalists-are-considered-terrorists NULL.html).
- Wikileaks’ head Julian Assange could face the death penalty (http://rt NULL.com/usa/news/usa-assange-wikileaks-extradition-manning/) for his heinous crime of leaking whistleblower information which make those in power uncomfortable … i.e. being a reporter (http://dissenter NULL.firedoglake NULL.com/2012/06/27/julian-assange-pursued-for-the-crime-of-practicing-journalism/).
- Subsequently, Congress considered a bill which would make even mainstream reporters liable (http://www NULL.miamiherald NULL.com/2012/07/11/2891796/congress-considers-prosecutions NULL.html) for publishing leaked information (http://www NULL.latimes NULL.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-security-leaks-20120712,0,641707 NULL.story).
Journalist and former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald notes (http://www NULL.guardian NULL.co NULL.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/20/obama-doj-james-rosen-criminality):
The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty [says that "The alternative to 'conspiring' with leakers to get information: Just writing what the government tells you."]
That, of course, is precisely the point of the unprecedented Obama war on whistleblowers and press freedoms: to ensure that the only information the public can get is information that the Obama administration wants it to have. That’s why Obama’s one-side games with secrecy – we’ll prolifically leak when it glorifies the president and severely punish all other kinds – is designed to construct the classic propaganda model. And it’s good to see journalists finally speaking out in genuine outrage and concern about all of this.
This is not a partisan issue. It goes to the core of who we are and what kind of government we’re willing to settle for. Indeed, Bush was worse than Nixon (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Worse-Than-Watergate-Secret-Presidency/dp/031600023X) on unlawful spying and harassment of reporters…but so is Obama (http://www NULL.washingtonsblog NULL.com/2013/05/top-constitutional-experts-obama-is-worse-than-nixon NULL.html). In fact, Obama has gone after whistleblowers more viciously than Bush, Nixon, or any president in history. Indeed, the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined. (http://www NULL.washingtonsblog NULL.com/2012/04/obama-has-prosecuted-more-whistleblowers-than-all-other-presidents-combined NULL.html)
Does Snowden create the conditions of distrust and separation, or is it the system that creates Snowdens?
We would do well to remember this quote from Krishnamurti (http://www NULL.jkrishnamurti NULL.org/):
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”