35 4 mins 9 yrs

When history comes to look at the acts of Edward Snowden, and is able to look dispassionately at the results of his activities, will Snowden be acclaimed as a true hero, with his scattergun broadcasting of NSA secured files and activities as a necessary act to preserve his Nation’s privacy and deter an overweening and autocratic Security bureaucracy, or will he be reviled as a traitor of the worst kind, only secure in his own delusions?

I have my own opinions of that seemingly earnest but arrogant young man, but should we not examine the alternatives available to him had he not stolen the files, sent himself on a trip through Hong Kong and ending up given asylum in what is really his own Country’s worst  enemy, Russia? Once he had determined to extent, the true scope of the NSA’s drive to accumulate both data and metadata by literally trawling through both ISP and Telecom hard- and soft-ware, through illegal taps on fibre-optic hub connectors and by intercommunication with Britain’s GCHQ, how was he to proceed without sacrificing his own personal liberty in the process? Should he have approached his own supervisors or ranking managers within the organisation which controls all of his Nation’s spy satellites and observation arrays? Highly unlikely, as his own security clearance would have disappeared within seconds, and he would most likely have disappeared as well; probably dressed in an orange jump suit on a one-way ticket to ‘Gitmo’.

Should he have approached a newspaper or a journalist, as was told in the Watergate saga, with the ‘Deep Throat’ advice guiding Woodward and Bernstein along that dangerous path which brought down a President? Again, unlikely; as today’s American mainstream media gives Obama, along with his whole Administration, a very easy ride, with mistakes either papered over or sidetracked. We read today of an episode in America’s past, when a set of ordinary people decided to do what Snowden did, and expose, to the public’s gaze, the illegal efforts of the FBI’s top man, J. Edgar Hoover, to surveil and chart the  very movements of black students and activists because they were black, and therefore suspect. The Washington Post’s Betty Medsger charts the progress of these ordinary people who decided to break the law because they were disturbed at the lack of ‘due process’ by the people who were supposed to uphold the Law, as well as that same ‘due process’. The article makes for fascinating reading, as it gives an insight into the minds of the law-breakers, as well as the person who wrote the exposure articles.

Snowden, a young man faced with an appalling dilemma; should he remain silent in the face of huge violations of what he thought his Nation stood for, or should he break silence, and in doing so harm his Nation’s capabilities to detect and deter terrorist plans an actions?

Got to admit, in my own mind; if he has been careful to protect identities, he may have had a point. If he has been cavalier with people’s lives, however; he deserves to rot in a deep, dark cell for a very long time.

 

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35 thoughts on “Polarisation, either a hero, or a traitor?

  1. The people and events that you refer to are in the County that I grew up in, and took place during my youth in that area. Media is the county seat.

    Where I have no admiration for what these people did, I have respect for how they did it.

    Snowden on the other hand is a traitor, of that there is no doubt or speculation. What should await him is the anonymous bullet to the head when he least expects it.This would not be the case if he had acted as the people above. Who what they did was criminal but not wrong.

  2. Snowden on the other hand is a traitor, of that there is no doubt or speculation. What should await him is the anonymous bullet to the head when he least expects it.

    Amen 😉

    I think Snowden deserves a medal.

  3. Snowden’s main ‘crime’, it would appear, was to reveal the extent of the surveillance state covering Americans in the US. What exactly did Snowden reveal to the ‘enemies’ of the US?

  4. What exactly did Snowden reveal to the ‘enemies’ of the US?

    That what some people suspected that the American government and it’s drones are all paranoid control freaks, and as Snowden has revealed that the American government and it’s drones really are all paranoid control freaks.

  5. I have my own opinions of that seemingly earnest but arrogant young man, but should we not examine the alternatives available to him had he not stolen the files …

    What alternatives?

    Many Beltway insiders have called for his murder. Even the so-called libertarian Rand Paul says that Snowden should be locked up. Many previous whistle-blowers have been locked up and remain incarcerated. If the regime got its hands on him he’d disappear for the rest of his life.

    Snowden’s a true and brave patriot who had no alternative. Either that or he’s a part of a very elaborate NSA/security state plot.

  6. He is disloyal to the core.

    He should be destroyed.

    It is noted that his supporters here are foreigners who don’t like the US.

  7. The word traitor has such a negative connotation but it depends what one is a traitor to, as to whether it was good/bad. Traitor to something bad – good. It is often used to fudge the distinction between an administration and the thing administered or political party or movements as opposed to the goals it advocates.

  8. Phantom –

    He is disloyal to the core.

    He should be destroyed.

    Would you say that about, say, the president? Or would you fear, say, the NSA picking up the comment, resulting in men with guns knocking on your door?

    I suspect you’d never say that about any president even though every one of them is a mass murderer in some way. However you easily say that about Snowden. You now there are no consequences for you because Snowden has been identified as an enemy by the power elite. Think for yourself and not your rulers.

    Now what is Edward Snowden disloyal to? Let’s not have any meaningless waffle like ‘his country’. Let’s be specific. To what is he disloyal?

  9. It is noted that his supporters here are foreigners who don’t like the US.

    We are not the ones doing the spying, so, who hates who?

  10. Phantom, on January 11th, 2014 at 6:00 PM Said:

    Countries spy. It’s been going on for some time I read once.

    Yeah, on other spies, not the whole population of earth.

    Paranoid freakery

  11. //Countries spy. It’s been going on for some time I read once.//

    So has murder and rape. So let’s all rush to protect Fred West, eh?

    Snowden did a tremendous amount of good. He not only exposed serious crime, but through his actions helped put a stop to it. Free people everywhere are indebted to him.

  12. Another thing Snowden exposed is the gross incompetence of the NSA. It has an unknown budget that is probably about 50 billion and it misses the big world developments such as the Arab Spring. It is a total waste of money. We need to rethink if we need to spy, and if do need to do so how to do it effectively, not by guys with no more than boys’ imaginations who spend huge amounts of money without much in the way positive results but plenty of bad effects on US credibility and reputation.

  13. //Murder and rape are always bad.//

    Murder isn’t always bad. If someone had bumped off Ariel Sharon several decades ago, Israel’s record would be one war-criminal less.

  14. No one else predicted the Arab Spring Winter either. Sometimes big things are slowly underway, like the collapse of communism a few decades ago, that are hard to see at the time.

    The successes of the NSA , or of other spy organizations, won’t necessarily be known immediatly, if they ever become known. It’s the nature of the business.

  15. Would the ‘super-patriots'(?) here please state exactly what Snowden revealed to the ‘enemy’ which would justify a charge of treason? Snowden revealed the extent of the surveillance-state in the US (and also in the UK given the power of GCHQ) which, to me, is certainly no crime.

    This is a strangely polarising matter as it throws Phantom on the same side as Troll, and Petr and Noel on the same side as me, Harri and Pete.

  16. Is this American a ‘Hero or a traitor’ ?

    FYI, This has been checked via Snopes, who contacted Mr. Guthrie, who confirmed he did indeed write & send this letter to Ms. Pelosi…this is one brave patriotic American!! AND—his credentials are impressive!!

    Check his credentials. Then read his letter to Pelosi!

    ___________________________________________________

    Born St.. Louis , Missouri , August 21, 1944

    Bar Admissions:

    North Carolina , 1969

    U.S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina , 1969

    U.S. Tax Court

    Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

    Education: Woodford College , 1966 A.B.

    Mercer University , 1969 J.D.

    Phi Alpha Delta

    Vice-Justice, District XIV, 1968 – 1969

    Professional Associations and Memberships:

    North Carolina and American Bar Associations (Member, Sections on: Administrative Law; General Practice; Litigation)

    26th Judicial District and North Carolina State Bar

    Mecklenburg County Bar Association

    American Association of Justice

    North Carolina Trial Lawyers Association

    Captain , U.S. Army, 1969-1971, Vietnam

    National Defense Medal, 1969

    Republic of Viet Nam Service Medal, 1970

    Bronze Star Medals (2), 1971

    Assistant District Attorney, Mecklenburg County , 1971 – 1974

    Charlotte Chamber of Commerce

    Chairman, Board of Trustees Providence United Methodist Church

    Board of Directors, Alexander Children’s Home

    Board of Directors, Charlotte Culinary Institute

    Wofford Alumni Executive Council

    Scoutmaster, Boy Scouts of America

    Board of Directors, Boy Scouts of America of Mecklenburg County

    Board of Directors, Girl Scout Council

    Life Member, National Eagle Scout Association

    Life Member, Girl Scouts of America

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Dear Ms. Pelosi:

    I write to you out of utter disdain! You are as despicable and un-American as the traitor Jane Fonda.

    I am a soon to be 65 year-old who has voted in every state and local election since 1966. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats alike. I have worked on campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats, white and black. I served the country that I love in Vietnam , as my son did in the Middle East . I was awarded two bronze stars. I have been involved in politics since age 6 when my father was campaign manager for a truly great American Congressman, Charles Rapper Jonas, who worked for his constituents and his country, and was to be admired, unlike you.

    You obviously haven’t read the Constitution recently, if ever, the Federalist Papers, or even David McCulloughs book on John Adams. You ought to take the time while riding around in your government provided luxury executive jet to do just that. You represent Socialistic and even Marxist principals that our founding fathers tried to avoid when setting out the capitalistic republican form of government represented by our Constitution.

    I find it interesting that you and your husband are multi-millionaires with much of your fortune being made as a result of your public service. You have controlled legislation that has enhanced your husbands investments both on and off shore. At the same time you redistributed the wealth of others. Our system of a free market economy is being destroyed by the likes of you, Harry Reid, and now our President. You ride around in a Gulfstream airplane at the tax payers expense while criticizing the presidents of companies who produced something for the economy. You add nothing to the economy of the United States ; you only subtract therefrom.

    I would like to suggest that you return to the city of fruitcakes and nuts and eat your husbands’ canned tuna and pineapple produced by illegal immigrants and by workers who have been excluded from the protection that 90% of the legal workers in the United States have.

    I await your defeat in the next election with glee…

    Don’t ever use the term un-American again for protesters who love this country and are exercising their rights upon which this country was founded. By the way, while I served in the Army, I was spit on by the same type of lunatics who support you and who you probably supported in the 60s and 70s. You are an embarrassment to all of us who served so that you would have the protected right of free speech to call us un-American. But at the same time, I have the right to write you to notify you that I consider you to be un-American, as do the majority of the people of this formerly great country. You are a true disgrace to most of the people who served this country by offering themselves for public service in the United States Congress.

    I feel certain your aides will not share this letter with you, but I intend to share it with many…

    Let’s help this man fulfill his ‘commitment’ to Pelosi by forwarding his thoughts to everyone in your address book! ROG

  17. first off Phantom has called it right, the people in the most support of Snowden on this site and everywhere for that matter are the ones that have an ingrained dislike for the United States.

    Snowden bartered National Security secrets with china and russia for his sanctuary. He is an American and gave secrets to foreign enemies. When a citizen of one nation gives sells exposes what ever word you choose secret information to another country they are a traitor. Traitors are to be shot period.

    He stole over 2 million files that they are admitting to. Do you really think the only thing in all those files was the fact that they are listening to everything? Are you that Naive ?

    Here I’ll let you in on a secret…. there are no secrets. If it uses electricity it can be turned into listening device. The US Intelligence Service can monitor everything, they are going to continue to monitor everything no matter what anyone says or thinks about it.

    The Brits, the French, the Russians, the Chinese, Japanese, Israelis, etc etc are also going to do the same. We are just better at for now than the rest.

    We are a species that is constantly either at war or preparing for war no matter what language is being spoken.

    So get over it. Live your life as you choose and fear nothing or no one.

  18. I don’t think that Snowden’s actions make him a hero or a traitor. No matter how you look at it though his actions did constitute a crime. For the public, the question is, in the scheme of things, did his crime (and I’m not questioning whether he should be tried/punished under the US laws) reveal an even bigger crime? Because of the info revealed by Snowden, the Public has been able to have a more knowledgeable debate about the NSA and where it was headed with data-mining. Without his action, Obama wouldn’t have installed a review board, which has cautioned the president/future presidents that the road NSA was on posed a threat to constitutional guarantees. Don’t forget just before Snowden went public (personally I think he acted in an immature/impulsive manner and could have handled this differently) , the head do the NSA testified in Congress was not collecting meta-data…

  19. Damn iPad…the head of NSA testified at a Congressional hearing that the agency was not collecting meta-data…

  20. As mentioned before, I had a Top Secret security clearance for some years, which puts me in a different situation than the others here.

    When one is entrusted with classified information, one is morally and legally obligated to keep that information secret.

    Snowden and the other, cross dressing one, Bradley or Chelsea, or Prince, or whatever he goes by today, violated their moral and legal obligations entirely.

    If they had a problem with the NSA or related organizations bugging someone’s phone or whatever, they could have addressed it internally. If they wanted to go outside the chain of command, they could have contacted their congressman. They didn’t do any of these.

    Revealing classified information is not only revealing the information. It reveals the scope of our capabilities, the means and methods, things of a clear military value. In the case of Bradley Manning, he revealed the identities of our friends and operatives in places like Afghanistan, placing them in grave danger.

    Each person does not have the right to decide as individuals what our means and methods should be. It is no surprise that the ones who support them here loathe the United States

    These two have betrayed their country. They deserve the treatment given to Lord Haw Haw or to Jonathon Pollard. You choose.

  21. As mentioned before, I had a Top Secret security clearance for some years, which puts me in a different situation than the others here.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA

    Phantom’s been reasing the Robert Ludlums again.

    Come on 007, to what is Edward Snowden ‘disloyal’?

  22. Phantom (or Ninja, or Shadow, or whatever your CIA nom de plum is) –

    I’m afraid you did not answer.

    ‘Disloyal’ has a specific meaning. You said above that Snowden ‘is disloyal to the core’. To what is he ‘disloyal’? Saying, as you did:

    When one is entrusted with classified information, one is morally and legally obligated to keep that information secret.

    is meaningless and wrong.

    It was once classified that the CIA infected blacks with diseases, to see how they responded. Were CIA spooks ‘morally obligated’ to keep that information secret? Of course not.

    So come on, to what (or whom) is Snowden ‘disloyal’?

  23. He is disloyal to the United States.

    As a foreigner who loathes the US, I don’t expect you to place the slightest value in such things.

  24. Phantom fails again.

    I told you above:

    Now what is Edward Snowden disloyal to? Let’s not have any meaningless waffle like ‘his country’.

    And what have you done? You’ve come out with exactly that meaningless drivel. What was the classified info you had to keep, how to peel spuds or sweep the decks? A man is not disloyal to his country simply because the ruling regime decides that he’s a bad man, or because he reveals illegal activity by that junta.

    Come on, be specific and meaningful: to what or whom is Snowden disloyal?

  25. If they had a problem with the NSA or related organizations bugging someone’s phone or whatever

    ‘Someone’s phone’?

    You mean everyones phone 😉

    I thought the States is the home of the brave, not the home of ‘everyones out to get me’ nation.

    Paranoid freakery

    Snowden is a hero and deserves a medal.

  26. Without Snowden, they’d still be mad at it.
    He committed one crime to stop several million crimes. It was a reasonable exchange.

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