Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

Comes now Edward Snowden, who never met a reporter he didn't want to tell his life story (because it's not about him!) to, and tells the Chinese he trusts their system of law more than the system of laws in the U.S.  Because, while it was a great act of conscience on his part to violate his oath of secrecy and breach criminal laws by telling tales out of school (some of which may or may not have any validity), what he doesn't want, is to face any system of justice whatsoever.

“People who think I made a mistake in picking HK as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality."

Which is cute, because he knows he won't face any charges in a court in Hong Kong, as he hasn't violated Chinese law.

All he wants is to get out of jail, free.

Is he a hero?

Martin Luther King believed in this system of laws, and of the people who backed it, even as those laws declared him a second-class citizen.  He suffered the jails of the U.S., and he died on a hotel balcony because he believed that system was fundamentally just, and would finally see justice done.

Medgar Evers believed in this system of laws, and even though his life was constantly threatened and finally taken by a racist madman, he believed the system would change and justice would finally be done.

The Berrigan brothers believed in this system of laws, and went to jail over and over again, trying to make it change.

Even Daniel Ellsberg turned himself in for leaking the Pentagon Papers, and stood trial.

Edward Snowden runs to Hong Kong and declares himself a hunted man, wanted by the CIA and the Triad and Lord knows what other shadowy organization, and throws himself on the mercy of the Chinese because the Americans can't be trusted. He even tries to buy his asylum by telling them what anybody with internet access or a TeeVee already knows or could reasonably expect:  that the U.S. is hacking the Chinese. (and, of course, the Chinese are hacking the U.S.  Is there no one who can be trusted?)

But, more importanly,  Mr. Snowden lives in fear and trembling:

"I will never feel safe," he said. "Things are very difficult for me in all terms, but speaking truth to power is never without risk."
My heart bleeds for you.  No, really, it does.  After all, if China doesn't want him, he can go to Russia:

My only comment is that I am glad there are governments that refuse to be intimidated by great power," he said.
Yeah; the government that was so intimidated by 20 seconds of public behavior by four women, it sent two of them to Siberia.

He's not a hero; he's a putz.

He's a coward.


  1. I get the feeling he's a bit of a nutter. From what I've read, a number of his claims are more fantasy than possible. I'm beginning to have my doubts about Greenwald's behavior and journalism.

    What is really shocking is that they don't screen the people they give access to better than that. I don't like it but I think people have been sold an unattainable level of privacy, one which anyone who uses a search engine probably gave up voluntarily, even without realizing it. Don't they ever notice how the ads that pop up mirror their searches and even e-mails? Not to mention that they're geographically targeted as well.

    I'm also shocked the people didn't figure the NSA was keeping track of phone records like this. Is Glenn Greenwald really that naive?

  2. Is Glenn Greenwald really that naive?

    I honestly think Greenwald, based on an interview he did with Lawrence O'Donnell when this story broke, expected some kind of revolution (or at least revulsion) among the people (libertarian, or otherwise).

    Which was never gonna happen.

    Lenin didn't give a speech and take over Russia. The "Founding Fathers" didn't give a speech and establish democracy in America for ever after, amen. Revolutions don't happen because somebody somewhere finds something out and then, mirabile dictu!, begins to think just like you!.

    Which is what Snowden, by his own account, expected, too.

    Nah gonna happen.

    And I agree: the people getting "Top Secret" clearance are not only so numerous as to make the idea of security pointless (3 can keep a secret when 2 of them are dead), but who, exactly, are we giving the keys to the kingdom to?

    I still say that's the real scandal.