Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where Are We And How Did We Get In This Handbasket?

Send him back: US urges nations to return Snowden
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. grasped for help Monday from both adversaries and uneasy allies in an effort to catch fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. The White House demanded that he be denied asylum, blasted China for letting him go and urged Russia to "do the right thing" and send him back to America to face espionage charges.

Snowden was believed to be in Russia, where he fled Sunday after weeks of hiding out in Hong Kong following his disclosure of the broad scope of two highly classified counterterror surveillance programs to two newspapers. The programs collect vast amounts of Americans' phone records and worldwide online data in the name of national security.
So, let me get this straight. We're upset at China over this? Not for polluting the planet. Not for incredibly violations of basic human rights. Not for flooding the market with cheap, dangerous goods made with lead, asbestos, and melamine. Not for adulterating food items for our pets and our babies. But because they didn't immediately arrest and deport an American citizen?

And now we're sucking up to Russia???

Folks, we used to have American citizens courted by the Russians to sell them our secrets. Now we're begging the Russians to return an American citizen for revealing our secrets - and the secret is that the American government is acting an awful lot like the Russian KGB did during the Cold War. There has been no indication that Snowden has received any compensation for his actions, so it's hard to understand his motivation for revealing these secrets.

And then the irony... We're asking countries like Russia and China - countries known for spying on their own citizens - to turn over an American citizen accused of ... wait for it ... revealing that the United States is spying on it's own citizens. Countries that we have routinely denounced for ... spying on their citizens and demanding they be returned when they leave... We're through the looking glass here, where the United States of America is calling on Russia to return someone who revealed information about the program by which Americans are spied on.

Yes, I know the program started under Bush. I also know that Obama campaigned on, ran on, based his entire existence on the fact that Bush was wrong, that he was not Bush, and that he would undo all the bad things that Bush did when he was president. And then Obama got elected, gave a big middle finger to everyone that voted for him (and, by proxy, against John McCain, who we were told would be "Bush's Third Term").

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Carnivore. Omnivore. Echelon. Big Brother is watching us, and has been for decades. Doesn't matter who's in office, it's been happening. It's no surprise that there's more monitoring now - we have more avenues of communication now than ever. Back when I was a kid, there were phone calls and fax machines, and that was about it (and faxes were almost exclusively owned by businesses). Now there's e-mail, cell phones, online messaging, texting, etc. - just think of all the ways an enterprising nanny state government could gather information it could use for whatever person.

Isn't the fact that we are trying this hard to get Snowden back rather interesting? What, exactly, does he know that we are willing to flex our international muscle to get him back? What information are they afraid he'll divulge if he's not brought back to the US? And, more importantly, who are they afraid he'll divulge this information to? Are they afraid he'll spill the whole operation to a foreign government?

Or are they afraid he'll spill the whole operation to the American people?

That is all.


notDilbert said...

I recently changed jobs and one of the dozens of forms i needed to fill out for HR was one from "Homeland Security".

They wanted my full Legal name, any nichname / aliais, Social Security Number, all E-Mail Addresses I use, Employer, Adresses etc.

For some reason they, didn't actually ask for my favoite passwords--- but then I expect they don't actually need them......

Ian Argent said...

Seriously? No. Just no.

Anonymous said...

The gov't is happily playing into the opponents' camp here. By actively, but apparently ineffectually, pursuing Snowden the gov't not only suggests that Snowden is right (otherwise why pursue?) but that they are utterly incapable of actually catching him, or of making Russia and China do what the US wants.

Had he disappeared in Hong Kong and never resurfaced, the US (and Chinese) gov't would have easily retained the image of a frightening Big Brother, with a side of hypocrisy. The media, even outside the US, would have dropped the story. But the longer the fox-hunt, the more people cheer the fox.

Will the US eventually catch up to him? I don't doubt it, but the damage done is noticeable. (if miniscule)

Anonymous said...

NO, NO , NO!!!!! Bush did not,"do it". During his Presidency .gov monitored calls from outside the U.S. to inside and from inside to outside. Not every call, every e-mail, every citizen, every day. This is not the same.