Snowden: Shooting the Messenger
by Stephen Lendman
A previous article said challenging US lawlessness more than ever matters. Big Brother spying reflects it. Unprecedented global surveillance is official US policy.
Everyone can be monitored all the time, everywhere, for any reason or none at all. National security threats are fabricated. America's only enemies are ones it creates.
The ACLU  said "(i)t's time to get angry. (It's) "Time to Rein in the Surveillance State." Stop lawless US spying. Mega-data-mining's unconstitutional.
"This unprecedented surveillance strikes at the core of our right to free speech, association, and privacy."
"On June 10, 2013, the ACLU filed a motion with the FISA Court seeking the release of its secret opinions that enable the mass acquisition of phone records."
Anything goes is policy. Hegemons make their own rules. They operate extrajudicially. Snowden revealed what everyone needs to know. He did so heroically. He's vilified for doing the right thing.
He's wrongfully charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. It's a WW I era relic. It's used irresponsibly to silence dissent. It targets whistleblowers. Washington calls Snowden a fugitive. He exposed government espionage. He didn't commit it.
The White House warned Russia not to release him. It wants him arrested and extradited. Vladimir Putin won't roll over. He was clear and unequivocal.
"He's a free man," he said. He can do whatever he wishes. He's a human rights defender. Moscow won't hand him over. He's wrongfully judged guilty by accusation.
He'll be brutalized in America's hands. Maybe he'll be killed to silence him. House Speaker and other congressional members called him a traitor.
They accused him of treason. They did so irresponsibly. They're guilty of high crimes. Changing the narrative targets Snowden.
An unnamed senior Obama official said:
"Mr. Snowden’s claim that he is focussed on supporting transparency, freedom of the press, and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, and Ecuador."
"His failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the US, not to advance Internet freedom and free speech."
On June 27, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa assailed Washington Post editors. He responded to their unprincipled criticism.
They made unconscionable remarks. They do it often. They blame critics of US lawlessness. They ignore bipartisan wrongdoing. They support wrong over right.
"They've managed to focus attention on Snowden and on the 'wicked' countries that 'support' him," said Correa, "making us forget the terrible things against the US people and the whole world that he denounced."
"The world order isn't only unjust. It's immoral." It's headquartered in Washington. It reflects the worst of rogue state governance.
US officials assailed Correa. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez said America "will not reward countries for bad behavior."
He'll urge non-renewal of Ecuador's duty-free access to US markets. It's gotten under the Generalized System of Preferences program.
He'll block extending the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. Both initiatives expire end of July. Ecuador alone benefits. Non-renewal was planned pre-Snowden.
Quito preempted Washington. It rubbed its nose in its own filth. It targeted its lawlessness. It unilaterally cancelled preferential trade rights. They're worth around $23 million annually. It did so because of "US pressure to reduce its sovereignty."
Principled respect for Snowden matters more. At the same time, Ecuador offered millions of dollars for human rights training in America. It's home to so many offenders, perhaps billions are needed.
Washington plays hardball. It makes more enemies than friends doing so. It shoots itself in the foot unwisely. It changes the narrative when caught red-handed.
So do media scoundrels. America's guilty of unprecedented global espionage. Media scoundrels shoot the messenger. Doing so supports state-sponsored criminality. Government officials committed high crimes. Accountability's long overdue.
Snowden acted responsibly and lawfully. He exposed unchecked power. Resisting tyranny is a universal right. Civil disobedience is a longstanding US tradition.
Martin Luther King urged "noncooperation with evilâ€¦Passivity is no option in the face of injustice."
Snowden's blamed for exposing unprecedented US global espionage. Media scoundrels piled on. They do so in lockstep. They shame themselves in the process. They show their true face.
Chicago Tribune  editors claimed Snowden's "not pretending he did nothing illegalâ€¦How (should) his punishment be calculated?"
Dallas Morning  News editors said he "crosse(d) a line as he launches his enemies tour."
Bloomberg headlined "Come Home, Edward Snowden. Stand Up and Fight."
Murdoch's New York Post headlined "Rogues' gallery: Snowden joins long list of notorious gutless traitors fleeing to Russia."
Wall Street Journal  editors accused Hong Kong officials of violating a 1996 bilateral treaty with America. It includes "the political and legal procedures for determining whether he should be surrendered."
New York Times and Washington Post editors so far haven't addressed Snowden.
On CBS News Sunday, Bob Schieffer  said:
"I think what we have in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us."
NBC's Tom Brokaw  called him a "military washout." Fox News suggested he's a double agent spying for China.
Rush Limbaugh  said "(t)he real danger to me is not one or two rogue employees at the IRS, NSA or CIA. The real danger is having a rogue administration."
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen  called Snowden a "cross-dressing Little Red Riding Hood."
Everything about Edward Snowden is ridiculously cinematic. He is not paranoiac; he is merely narcissistic."
"He jettisoned a girlfriend, a career and, undoubtedly, his personal freedom to expose programs that were known to our elected officials and could have been deduced by anyone who has ever googled anything."
"History will not record him as 'one of America's most consequential whistleblowers.' History is more likely to forget him."
WaPo columnist Matt Miller  was flat wrong. He twisted facts to his own liking, saying:
"(W)hat Snowden exposed was not some rogue government-inside-the-government conspiracy. It's a program that's legal, reviewed by Congress and subject to court oversight."
He claimed PRISM and other lawless spying saves lives.
New York Times columnist David Brooks  said Snowden "could not successfully work his way through the institution of high school. Then he failed to navigate his way through community college."
Brooks supports police state harshness, adding:
"For society to function well, there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation, a respect for institutions and deference to common procedures. By deciding to unilaterally leak secret NSA documents, Snowden has betrayed all of these things."
"He betrayed the cause of open government. Every time there is a leak like this, the powers that be close the circle of trust a little tighter. They limit debate a little more."
"He betrayed the privacy of us all. If federal security agencies can’t do vast data sweeps, they will inevitably revert to the older, more intrusive eavesdropping methods."
"He betrayed the Constitution. The founders did not create the United States so that some solitary 29-year-old could make unilateral decisions about what should be exposed."
"Snowden self-indulgently short-circuited the democratic structures of accountability, putting his own preferences above everything else."
New Yorker contributor Jeffrey Toobin  called Snowden "a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison."
He told CNN "(t)here are channels for whistleblowers inside agencies, through Congress, through the courts, not through Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian. That's not what you're supposed to do."
In other words, risk arrest by informing powerful people about high crimes they won't expose.
Thomas Drake's a former NSA official. He was indicted on multiple charges of "willful retention of classified information, obstruction of justice and making false statements."
Justice Department prosecutors tried to prosecute him. They failed. Charges were dropped. He refused to "plea bargain with the truth." He accepted a minor misdemeanor count for exceeding authorized use of a computer.
He told the Australian Broadcasting Company :
"Interviewer: Not everybody thinks Edward Snowden did the right thing. I presume you do."
"Drake: I consider Edward Snowden as a whistleblower. I know some have called him a hero, some have called him a traitor. I focus on what he disclosed."
"I don't focus on him as a person. He had a belief that what he was exposed to - US actions in secret - were violating human rights and privacy on a very, very large scale, far beyond anything that had been admitted to date by the government. In the public interest, he made that available."
"Interviewer: What do you say to the argument, advanced by those with the opposite viewpoint to you, especially in the US Congress and the White House, that Edward Snowden is a traitor who made a narcissistic decision that he personally had a right to decide what public information should be in the public domain"
"Drake: That's a government meme, a government cover. That’s a government story. The government is desperate to not deal with the actual exposures, the content of the disclosures."
"Because they do reveal a vast, systemic, institutionalized, industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance state that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism - far beyond."
When caught red-handed, change the narrative. Pile on ad nauseam. Drown out other voices. Shoot the messenger.
Snowden deserves the last word.
"â€¦I believe that at this point in history, the greatest danger to our freedom and way of life comes from the reasonable fear of omniscient State powers kept in check by nothing more than policy documents."
"The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. "
"...I can't in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they're secretly building."
"Allowing the US government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."
"I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under."
"I don't want to live in a world where there's no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity."
Doing the right thing is its own reward. Snowden's one of America's best. Millions praise him globally. They thank him for confronting US lawlessness courageously. He'll long be remembered. History will judge him well.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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