Posts Tagged snowden

An Observation in Light of the Bradley Manning Verdict Tomorrow

Bradley Manning

Twenty Five year old Bradley Manning, who was held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day for nine months after his arrest on May 29, 2010 and forced to sleep naked without pillows and sheets on his bed, and restricted from physical recreation or access to television or newspapers even during his one daily hour of freedom from his cell, all under the pretense that the private was a suicide risk, is awaiting his verdict tomorrow.

Manning was arrested in 2010 in Iraq and accused of providing WikiLeaks with 700,000 intelligence documents and videos, many of them classified and he was subsequently court-martialed.  He  faces life in prison if he is convicted of aiding the enemy, along with 21 other charges related to what has been deemed the largest leak of classified information in American history.

A few things:

Do people really believe it would be “just” or that “justice” would be served if this kid, who isn’t a violent offender, were put into jail for however many years where he will be violated and abused and psychologically damaged simply because, for whatever reason – naivety, idealism, youthful hopefulness, stupidity, patriotism, humanity  – he revealed our government’s dirty little deeds and lies and war mongering and a host of other undemocratic and dishonest practices that take place clandestinely in our names and which have serious consequences for us as well as others? Do people really believe that locking him up, as if he was the enemy,  would be the solution?

As if it wan’t bad and unconscionable enough that he had to endure the inhumane treatment in prison and as if it weren’t bad enough that he has already been robbed off three years of his life and youth, now we believe sending him to jail with a bunch of violent offenders and locking him up would be just?

Bradley Manning, in that case, would then be effectively nothing but a political prisoner.

Look, we all know what the verdict will be, and it won’t be just. And all those people who cite government and allegiance to government need to remember that a government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned. See: the United States government and its spying and our Congress members half of whom are millionaires and in bed with big industry that line their pockets and who are not accountable to anyone. Congress holds the purse, they can give themselves raises, they borrow money from social security and postal service retirement and never pay it back and then count it as part of the budget – as if they weren’t paid into systems – they set the laws, they chose when not to regard and obey certain laws as they see fit –  such as in the case of torture and the NSA spying and other civil rights violations – they approve secret courts that issue secret warrants and they are, in essence not accountable to anyone and thus notably ungoverned. And unless one these Congress members is caught doing it with someone who isn’t his wife, they are virtually untouchable too and stay in office forever so that they can continue to enrich themselves at our expense.

So let me ask again, who is the criminal here?

Transparency doesn’t always mean we need to know every little detail but we do need to know the motives of our leaders and the documents released by Manning and then WikiLeaks show us that the true face of government is very different from what we are shown. A third of your pay, if you are not part of the 1%, goes to that government, which uses it for reasons you don’t understand nor are likely to benefit from.

Finally, if we allow those that would give up their freedom to try to inform and bring understanding to the people of this nation regarding crimes being committed by the Government and the Military Industrial Complex to be found guilty of a crime then we, the citizens of this nation, deserve neither safety nor freedom.

Bradley Manning has attempted to enlighten the citizens of this nation…better put, he has enlightened the citizens of this nation and the citizens of the world as to how horribly wrong war and some acts committed during war can be and are. I mean the atrocities committed were not being committed against paper dolls, those are real human beings whose lives are just as important as the lives of the people in this nation.

Manning should be found not guilty and should be given an honorable discharge from the military instead of sentenced to jail for one year or 20 or 15 or 100.

Wouldn’t we be sending a better message to the world- both as a nation and as a peoples  – if we lived in a world where the judge gave Manning immunity because “the American people are not the enemy“? Instead, we live in a world in which someone like George Zimmerman murders an unarmed black teenager and gets away with it while Bradley Manning who exposes crimes committed by our government gets locked up. This is your America.

Advertisements

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

An insider like Edward Joseph Snowden

File photo of passengers watching a TV screen broadcasting news of Snowden on a train in Hong Kong

I see no reason why anyone who has not already resigned their dignity and surrendered their agency, would subscribe to the absurd notion that a demonstrated legacy of secrecy and surveillance under the guise of security is somehow a thoughtful argument that such practices should continue, or should be assimilated to or tolerated by the populace.

Before former NSA contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on NSA’s unimaginably extensive world wide surveillance program of millions, if not billions, of people without accountability and oversight, what the population had were rumors and conjecture that were denied. It had previous brave whistle blowers who were denied and critics who were silenced. There was no solid proof of the extent to which.

What they have now is non refutable evidence; cold, hard documents that demonstrate the previously denied mechanisms of exploit.

The man’s a hero. Anyone who has the courage to stand up to the NSA is a hero in my book. The way I see it, he is just a young man disillusioned by the promises of our political leaders, including everyone’s great wide hope, Barack Obama who has mostly just repeated Bush’s legacy on many key points. Snowden is a young man who felt that a lot of the things going down in this country were deeply un-American, standing in direct contradiction to the very things this country stands for or is supposed to stand for.

It is the millions of others with similar clearance who said nothing, who took a paycheck and went home and slept easy, day by day, who lived their lives and hugged their families, and said nothing,  did nothing  – who are the cowards and accomplices. It is the contrast of character between them and Snowden that make this simple courageous gesture toward informed consent that much more heroic.

The rabbit hole goes further than we believed. An article by Germany’s Der Spiegel, which has just recently obtained documents from Snowden, tells us just how far that rabbit hole really goes

, ,

Leave a comment

George Orwell Hails From 1984

There is so much bullshit of the Orwellian kind going on in this country I cannot keep up.

government or private cartoon

First (and I’ll get to second, which is the SCOTUS gutting the Voting Rights Act in a later post), we got Edward Snowden being chased around the globe because he exposed the United States government, which is meant to be of, by, and for the people, as encroaching upon the very liberties it’s purporting to defend via an extensive drag net of government surveillance programs via which millions of law abiding Americans are being spied on and monitored everyday.

Naturally, Snowden  is called a traitor when the only people he is a traitor to are the liars who claim to value transparency and liberty, while obfuscating their cloaked intrusions into peoples’ privacy.

In the name of security and terrorism prevention, Americans have not only handed over their very hard-won and hard-fought-for civil liberties and constitutional rights, but in many cases it was right out usurped out of them. And anyone who opposes it or, in Snowden’s case, decides to expose it, is called a traitor who must hang and his supporters are dismissed with the usual rigmarole about how what we should really be worried about is the dire threat to national security that exposure of the PRISM program constitutes. The same refrain that has been used by the Bush administration as well as the Obama administration to justify every overreach of executive power and unconstitutional intelligence-gathering—not to mention torture, extraordinary rendition, and indefinite detainment—for the last 13 years.

It does make you wonder why this program, which is supposed to be so effective, didn’t it catch the Boston Marathon bombers? The Tsarnaev brothers were not very sophisticated. They used pots and pan for cryin’ out loud.  Everything we’ve learned about them suggests that they operated more openly and crudely than most terrorists. So if this program didn’t catch their plot, what are the “dozens of terrorism threats” that this program has allegedly halted? And why didn’t it catch the Tsarnaevs?

Yesterday, President Obama issued a statement saying that the United States is following legal channels on how to bring National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden back to the U.S. to make sure “the rule of law is observed”, which is very rich and not hypocritical at all coming from the same administration that just last year cared so much for the “rule of law” that they chose not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system.

To purport to care about the Rule of Law when it is convenient and when just a few months ago we chose not to prosecute to the full extent of the law in a case as egregious as money laundering is not only deeply hypocritical and arbitrary, it also  diminishes that law, which Obama is now claiming must be upheld, itself. So “Rule of Law” my dissenting ass, Mr. President.

20121215_woc922_0

Obama has no problem bypassing the Rule of Law that he is holding in such high regard when it comes to “too big to fail” financial institutions that own our government and continue to remain “too big to fail” based on his continued failed policies, but now suddenly we must spend endless efforts and resources to bring to justice a man who exposed government crimes.

But then again, what do I expect? He is just another god damn politician. To quote Woody Allen “You know the ethics those guys have It’s like a notch underneath child molester.”

Indeed.

What is making all of this worse is the public’s complacency and that so many people are seriously asking for this guy to go to jail because he violated that sham law The Patriot Act. A law that should never have been. And really, who cares it is the law? Laws can be wrong. And just because something is the law doesn’t make it right.

Some 80 years ago Germany enacted a bunch of laws of its own, for the safety and protection of the state, and we saw where that ended. After the war everyone was blaming people for not speaking up when they saw evil happen. Now someone does exactly that, and everyone thinks he should go to jail? What is wrong with people?

The government is spying on Americans.  That is not acceptable, that is not a bargain we should accept, especially if there is no oversight and accountability. Of course they say this is only to take down the bad guys. “Oh and by the way, we will also determine who the bad guys are, don’t you worry”. That’s reassuring.

Spying on citizens and such infringements are serious transgressions and they undermine the very core of a democracy and everything this country stands for. It always starts with “we are only going after the bad guys” and “this is only for your protection” and before you know it’s turned into something else, something bigger. Too big to fail and then too big to shut down. That is scary. That is unacceptable. I cannot believe people are so sheepish to seriously think that this is ok because “the law says so. Baaaaaahhhhhh.”

Yeah. Priorities. We got them. 

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment