May 15, 2014 By Jack Jodell.
I have deliberately withheld my personal comments and beliefs about the whistle-blowing actions of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden. I did so under the assumption that, until their true stories and motives were revealed, all premature comments would be reckless and silly speculation.
Now, however, I believe enough of their respective stories have come out for me to make the assertion that these individuals were NEVER spies in the employ of a foreign government, nor naïve idiots out for personal fame, fortune, or notoriety, nor were they traitors attempting to inflict damage on the country. Rather, rgey should and MUST be regarded as HEROES determined to expose the myriad of paranoidal fallacies which seemingly permeate our national security efforts and overshadow our foreign policy to a frighteningly large degree.
The Guardian’s independent journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras should also be regarded as Great American Heroes for their courageous efforts to bring former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s shocking National Security Agency abuses to the public’s attention. They have even begun a relatively new website called The Intercept (https://firstlook.org/theintercept) to make widely known to a woefully unsuspecting public worldwide the horrendous, secret, stealthy intelligence-gathering campaign this paranoid-laden government agency has been involved in for a very, very long time. Thanks to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing leaks, as well as to the extraordinary journalistic efforts undertaken by Greenwald and Poitras to make them public, we now know that the NSA has obtained direct access to the servers of the largest internet companies in America. This means that, at a mere whim, the NSA can (and does) look at thousands upon thousands of individual computers, emails, internet sites visited, and the actual keystrokes made by virtually anybody worldwide. Forget privacy, my friends: it no longer exists for anyone!
I just recently completed watching on Free Speech TV a brilliant two-part interview Greenwald gave to Amy Goodman on her show Democracy Now! You can access it by combing her website at http://www.democracynow.org/. You will be as justifiably outraged as I was to learn how the NSA has violated virtually everybody’s constitutionally-given right to privacy, not only in this country, but all across the globe. On this program, it was also revealed the Greenwald has just published anther revealing must-read book entitled No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State. It is chock-full of never before seen documents gathered from top secret NSA files which were collected by Snowden and given to the author. It reveals to what great extent our freedoms have been compromised in the name of pursuing the ever-elusive national security.
Immediately upon the release of his Snowden interview, in 2013, Greenwald came under attack from the usual far-right, neocon paranoids. Tea Party darling Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) intimated that Greenwald was guilty of the felony offense of “fencing” stolen federal property, and others speculated erroneously that Snowden was first a Chinese spy, and then a Russian one acting on behalf of Putin to embarrass the United States. These allegations were typical of those in power who are abusing their power. We saw much yhe same attempt at discrediting whistleblowers back in the Nixon administration. At that time, paranoid far-right types actively tried to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, who had leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. They tried to portray Ellsberg as a traitor and a lunatic because he had been seeing a psychiatrist – anything to make the public distrust him and his message. Same type of paranoids; same modus operandi.
I am no paranoid conspiracy buff, but it is clear to me now that our intelligence-gathering agencies, from the NSA to the CIA to the FBI are out of control, stacked to the hilt with paranoids, and each needs to be decisively reined in before it is too late! For we are well on the way to becoming a police state where every single phone call, email, and letter is monitored and read, and those who prove to be suspicious for any reason can be locked up without notice and without trial, never to ne heard from again.
Our Founding Fathers would be utterly aghast at how successful the paranoid far-right has been in eroding our basic freedoms, from invasive body searches at airports and even now at baseball games, to the ability of government agencies to read our correspondences and listen in on our phone conversations. This paranoia has crept into and now dominates our entire body politic, regardless of which party is in control. Yes, our Founding Fathers would be very upset to see how we have all but abandoned our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and have apparently replaced them with the governing principles of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler.
What the hell kind of country have we become since 9/11/2001?