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Snowden does not exist

snowden Whoa, hasn’t this story run its course yet? I know, there’s no end of fascination with what journalists and  the media do to our society. And no answer to the vexing and clichéd chicken-and-egg question: Does the  media create news or do news create the media? Still, with the present colorful and exasperating circus  round the Snowden/NSA story, another question pops up, when is enough enough?

In the latest development, President Obama has cancelled his trip to Russia, ostensibly because he didn’t think at this point it would improve the relations between the two countries. Seriously? Does anyone believe that behind the inflated rhetoric about agendas not meshing and whatnot and unspoken disapproval of that thug Putin, this is not first and foremost about Russia granting asylum to Snowden? Or anything but a preemptive appeasement of the crazy conservatives in our country? Imagine what Tea Party extremists, libertarians, Paul Ryan (along with Ron Paul, Rand Paul and all similarly named Republicans) would have had to say if this unpatriotic Kenyan-socialist-communist-black president had not cancelled his visit, the mud-slinging he would have had to endure for showing such disregard for security breaches, intelligence, and keeping Americans safe!

But oh my, entire forests cut, rivers of ink flowing before our exhausted eyes, the internet gone amok, do we need this permanent dissection of everything Snowden? Not that I find him particularly likable but I appreciate his having made public the unwarranted attack on civil liberties. I prefer knowing for a fact that my phone conversations are now stored where they can be listened to the day some spy agency develops an interest in me or that a key word used innocently in an email can land me in hot water. The Intelligence community is bending over backward explaining its rationale for Big Brother but it won’t convince me. I’m not only a staunch defender of civil liberties but of liberty, period. I find it revolting to realize that I’m watched, taped, or the object of secret surveillance, no matter the good reasons behind it.

About Snowden, I would add that as long as we have whistleblower protection legislation, it should apply to any whistleblower. We can’t apply or not apply laws as convenient. It now appears that although you can’t be half-pregnant, you can be half-protected (or not protected at all—ask Bradley Manning.) As for the surfeit of information and opinions around the story, through media, the administration, friends and family at the dinner table, it just doesn’t stop. Snowden is a high-school dropout, he was not, emphasize not, a Booz Allen Hamilton employee, he walked out on his girlfriend, he was secretive, neighbors didn’t know him, he said he had access but in reality he didn’t even have a security clearance, he’s in it for the money, for self-gratification, for any number of reasons. But this guy, despite being painted as an illiterate village idiot, must have been working somewhere in some capacity—janitor?—and he obviously had extensive access. The next story will be that behind his bland exterior lurks a nasty creature from outer space intent on destroying our civilization or, even better, that there is no Snowden, just a construct of our collective imagination.

So the wheels spin on, each coverage becoming more out of control, our technology giving us the capacity to more viciously splice and spin what we still call news, telling the world at large what is neither accurate nor, in the longer term, that important. What is important is that our government spies on us. What is not important is who told us, and why.

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  1. Tom Carson
    August 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    One of your very best, Saideh. I’m no Snowden fan myself, but bringing all this into the open was useful no matter how much silliness and bad judgment (both his and the US gov’t’s) has characterized the aftermath.

  2. August 11, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Exactly.

    • Carol Gilhooley
      August 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      So, the end justifies the means? Interesting perspective.

  3. August 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    First of all, Obama did not cancel his trip to Russia. He cancelled his meeting with Putin while in Russia at G-8 meeting. Opinions vary about whether this was or was not a good move. Putin has been persistently antagonistic in his relations with the US, so it’s not clear that any good would have come from Obama talking with him in any case.

    As for Bradley Manning, this just in:
    “I’m sorry I hurt people. I’m sorry that I hurt the United States,” he said. “I’m apologizing for the unexpected results of my actions. The last three years have been a learning experience for me.”
    http://j.mp/13l5muz

    Maybe at some point Snowden too will admit that he was wrong.

    The countries that have offered Snowden refuge are ruled by regimes that have little or no tolerance for politically challenging public communications of any kind, and little respect for privacy or human rights in general.

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