Friday, July 5, 2013

Snowden Agonistes

By Jay - Ottawa

We nod wisely when the mighty are admonished not to slay a messenger bearing bad news.  A corollary to the old maxim, often repeated lately, urges bystanders to focus on the message, not the messenger.  Yes, the powerful commit an injustice in directing their fury against the messenger, but I’m beginning to have doubts about looking away from the messenger to pay full attention to the message.  At least in the Snowden affair.

Is whistleblower Edward Snowden merely a messenger who should now melt into the background noise?  So that the world can concentrate its attention on the NSA’s crimes?

Snowden is more than a messenger; Snowden IS the message.  As Snowden goes, so does his message.  His fate is inextricably bound to the fate of his revelations about the Security State.  He with his nerdy expertise has emerged as a David against Goliath.  There are so few people around the world with his sure hold on justice and the courage to defy the unjust.  He, for all his youth and lack of credentials, is a rare leader trying to rouse Americans about the sea change that has occurred in American government.

The Obama administration has no doubt about the equivalence of Snowden and his message.  It’s so much harder now to argue the USA is not an empire abroad and a country sliding into totalitarianism, the manager of many forms of prison at home.

We read this morning that Putin is pushing Snowden to get his act together and depart, soon.  All of Western Europe, we now realize, is under the thumb of the US.  Forget about Europeans giving him, or even helping him reach, asylum.  Collaboration saves their governments lots of headaches.  Furthermore, can their democracies suffer a man so principled in their midst?  

As for the lefty states of South America, they are no longer helpful.  They had even more reason to stick a thumb in Uncle Sam’s eye after the Morales plane ride.  But their focus is no longer on Snowden.  They are noisily indignant about Europe’s disregard for diplomatic niceties. 
Will Snowden be forced to turn himself over to a SEAL team, one of which is probably sharing the same public toilets as Snowden at Sheremetyevo?  Or will he, sadly, knowing what happened to Manning, take more drastic action to resolve this saga?
Only a very rich man like George Soros with a stealth jet and an out-of-the-box plan can save Snowden now.
Snowden is not another messenger.  He is the point of a needle than could deflate the Security State.  If Obama’s agents bury Snowden, they’ll bury the message.  

Reclaiming the Fourth (Reuters)


Pearl said...

Jay: Great column. However, I disagree with one statement:

" If Obama’s agents bury Snowden, they’ll bury the message."

I don't believe they will because the message is beyond the immediate one,
which can expose many other coverups, and crimes against humanity. It has
opened the box for others to follow. It may not be necessary for anyone to
sacrifice their life to expose the crimes going on if enough people respond en masse with strong legal and moral support. That remains to be seen, but the damage is now too great to be ignored with so many people falling through the imploding infrastructures of the current system.
Something will have to be fixed one way or another. That point of a needle
Snowden represents has busted the balloon and its air is leaking.

annenigma said...

Well said, Jay. Thanks.

I too am deeply concerned about Edward Snowden's state of mind, seeing his options dwindling to none. I wouldn't be surprised if Putin and Dear Leader didn't arrange this detour to Russia and are running a Psy Op on him, wearing him down by keeping him holed up and removing all his options. This passive aggression allows Dear Leader to keep his hands clean and RasPutin to get some valuable favors. Otherwise known as 'wheeling and dealing'.

The Great Satan is ruling the entire world now. It's awesome that we finally see it for the first time so clearly, although I'm sure we'll never know the half of it. Score another big win for Edward Snowden.

Not only can we now see The Great Satan in action, but we can even smell the sulfur! I so miss Hugo Chavez. He would have taken in Edward Snowden in a heartbeat and relished the opportunity to give Great Satan the finger.
That resolve must be why he was likely dosed with an undetectable deadly potion to cause his cancer. Can't say who did it though - Top Secret.

The message of Edward Snowden might escape the consciousness of most Americans, thanks to the propaganda machine, but the rest of the world will never forget. They're a lot smarter and wiser about WICKEDNESS. They know it when they see it, and so do at least some of us.

Godspeed Edward Snowden

annenigma said...

Hot off the press. Nicaragua and Venezuela willing to grant asylum to Edward Snowden.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Well! Nicaragua and Venezuela take a step away from talk, talk, talk. Let's see how much attention they really put to the details of extracting Snowden from Russia.

How big is the fuel tank on the jet Venezuela may send? Have they thought of taking another route to accomplish the refuelling? A hop, skip and jump to Iran, Tunisia and Caracas?

How about ambassadors from several countries on the rescue plane or in companion planes flying together. Guess which nut shell covers the pea. Several planes with cameras just in case an unfriendly air force gets too close?

President Maduro does check in here regularly to get out ideas, right?

Pearl said...

Latin American Leaders Outraged by Treatment of Bolivia in Snowden Affair.

I believe a recent meeting between Latin American Leaders may have
encouraged Venezuela to offer sanctuary to Snowden. They are probably all fed up with U.S. domination in their affairs and ready to thumb their nose at Washington. Their leader seems to have a decent record politically so hope it works out without any further shenanigans enroute. I am sure if Snowden does get to live in Venezuela the U.S. will probably have regular
drones, spying planes, harassing them with threats to say nothing of
incognito FBI recruited citizens joining the fray along with attempts to blockade shipments of goods, hacking of their communication systems, et. al. I hope this doesn't intimidate or wreck the country now or down the line.
As Denis and Karen have said: My God, what a world we live in!

Denis Neville said...

"Latin America is the region of open veins. Everything, from the discovery until our times, has always been transmuted into European-or later United States-capital, and as such has accumulated in distant centers of power… Our defeat was always implicit in the victory of others; our wealth has always generated our poverty by nourishing the prosperity of others-the empires and their native overseers.” - Eduardo Galeano, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Venezuela and Nicaragua (if the circumstances are right) are willing to grant asylum to Edward Snowden.

My response is laughter (my soul finding some relief).

“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“While we were being bombed in Dresden sitting in a cellar with our arms over our heads in case the ceiling fell, one soldier said as though he were a duchess in a mansion on a cold and rainy night, 'I wonder what the poor people are doing tonight.' Nobody laughed, but we were still all glad he said it. At least we were still alive! He proved it.” - Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Very relevant points, Jay.

It's been evident for a long time that we have at least three inter-related problems in this country:

1) The actual situation --- that is, the broken reality that adversely affects the nation as a whole, as well as (to different extents, some much worse than others) many different socioeconomic segments and geographical places. By "broken reality", I mean everything from physical infrastructure such as schools and transportation systems that are crumbling, to outrageous military spending and projection of power, militarization of civilian law enforcement, trashing of fundamental civil liberties, Potemkin villages banking and investment systems, disappearing pensions, inadequate yet overly-expensive health care, environmental problems, and many more.

2) The ideologies present and dominant. Many of these ideologies don't just rationalize matters such as militarism, socioeconomic injustice, and rapacious exploitation of the environment, they actually celebrate it. Such attitudes have existed from time immemorial, so their current presence doesn't surprise. What does surprise is the extent to which they have gained dominance in recent decades. The militaristic growth and (at the time, "anti-Communist") confrontations at the heart of Ronald Reagan's "American Century" delusions not only greatly exacerbated the warping of the American psyche, they resulted in aid to and thereby empowerment of Islamic fundamentalism and other dictatorships. On the domestic front, Reagan's supposed "trickle down prosperity" never happened. Yet many of his various ideologies did certainly trickle down, through both political parties, other institutions, and way too much of the public.

3) Which brings us to the last of the three factors --- and why, as you wrote, Edward Snowden is so important, beyond the actual revelations: Sense of justice, and courage. As you wrote, Jay, "There are so few people around the world with his sure hold on justice and the courage to defy the unjust. He, for all his youth and lack of credentials, is a rare leader trying to rouse Americans about the sea change that has occurred in American government." Well said, Jay.

Few current politicians show even a trace of the courage needed to confront our broken system and the destructive ideologies that underlie it. It's possible that some politician will grow a pair, but the odds aren't great. And even a genuinely-progressive aspiring politician will now face the greater barrier of distrust from the populace, thanks to Obama's wide range of deceits. Odds are, the greatest forces for change will be the extraordinary ordinary people such as Snowden. The word hero is overused in modern times, but Edward Snowden is truly a hero.

Denis Neville said...

As expected, many vituperative comments against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Just as there were against Hugo Chavez.

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's hero was Simon Bolivar, not Marx or Lenin.

Simon Bolivar liberated much of South America from the Spaniards, but he was also concerned about another colonial power, saying that “The United States appear to be destined by Providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.”

James F Traynor said...

The chickens are swarming home; our foreign policies in the Near East and Latin America, the gutting of financial regulations resulting in near global collapse, increasing militarism, the final melding of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Snowden is a symptom, as is Manning and as is the growing government reaction to whistle blowers in general. The media more and more resemble that of an autocratic state; truth has become anathema and the message supreme. Obama, too, is a but a symptom of all this. He, or something very like him, male or female was inevitable. Great Satan, no - more like Quisling.

Zee said...

Right now, I am hoping that Nicaragua or Venezuela will grant Edward Snowden asylum, and find a way to get him there safely.

But I do so with mixed emotions.

For many years I willingly accepted a position of trust that required me to keep certain things "secret." (Not that I knew all that much that really mattered.)

So it goes against decades of personal habit and/or conditioning to try to consider Snowden--or Bradley Manning--as heroes.

Nevertheless, I do, though it goes against the very fiber of who I am.

Snowden and Manning have done the nation and the world a huge service with their revelations.

And I don't believe that either of them has damaged our nation's security in the slightest.

The story of the NSA's global perfidy was already coming out, albeit slowly, from other whistle-blowers. Snowden merely yanked the bandage off of a wound that others were peeling off slowly and painfully.

And Manning revealed war crimes that the people of this country had/have a right to know about, in the spirit of Seymour Hersh's exposure of My Lai to the world.

There. I said it. These men are heroes, NOT traitors.

Had I known-in my prior position of trust--the same things that these men revealed, would I have had the courage to do what they did?

The sad truth is, I just don't know.