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NWCitizen Stands With Edward Snowden

Update: Have added link to White House petition requesting Snowden be pardoned. See link below article.

NWCitizen stands with Edward Snowden. As owner of NWCitizen, I appreciate the immense courage and patriotism of Snowden in revealing the existence and specifics of the the federal government's program for spying on all Americans. And that is what it is - and has been for the last 11 years - under the so called Patriot Act.

I supported and voted for Obama twice. I believe he has betrayed us. He can redeem himself by his actions going forward, but I doubt he will. We will apparently learn more from the British newspaper The Guardian over the next days and weeks. The invasion of our privacy probably goes deeper than the revelations of the past few days. It was a classic moment of history to watch Obama choke through nine minutes of empty rationalizing about the Prism program on Saturday. Sad.

We do not live in a time of any more danger than we have over the past 200 years of our history. When we look at the thousands of deaths each year from unsafe highways, guns in the hands of lunatics, socially accepted mass poverty, and the insane aggressive criminal wars of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, we can see that the supposed threats of terrorism pale to insignificance. We are our own worst threat to our enjoyment of life and liberty.

The real culprit here is the U.S. Congress for making this atrocity a legal program. They knew, probably voted for the secrecy, and allowed this spy program to go forward - for years. We are a strong country. We, as a people, have and can make very intelligent choices about who to elect as our leaders. After over 50 years of political activism and sometimes deep involvement in events, I firmly believe this. But our election system is rigged to almost automatically reelect incumbents. Unfortunately, we will continue with our corrupt and dysfunctional Congress until we make real changes in our election processes.

Edward Snowden needs the vocal and written support of all of us. We are now able to have a national discussion about security and privacy and the validity of our Bill of Rights and how we want to proceed into the future. We have Snowden to thank for this opportunity. As Obama and the NSA jumped, within hours, to defend the program and encourage a “national debate” on it, we need to note that they ran it for years as super secret. And they intended to keep it secret from us forever. And we don't yet even know the full extent of it. All those movies about the Nazi SS and Russian KGB spying can now be joined by the U.S. Federal NSA big brother invasion of everything about our personal lives. Thank you Edward Snowden for informing us. Thank you for your courageous patriotism.

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About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Craig Mayberry

Jun 10, 2013

John, you beat me to the punch.  I was just getting on to write a similar editorial.  I agree that we need to protect our country against terrorists, but realistically terrorism is not even in the top 1000 reasons people die each year.  If this is really about protecting people then we would use the money on preventing he top 10 reasons for death, not something that ranks so low it is not even worth mentioning.  I understand that no President wants to have a terrorist attack on their watch and it would hurt their re-election changes, but come on.  The press has done a wonderful job of completely missing the point of what Snowden was saying.  He made his point very clear, they are collecting large amounts of data and even if they are following proper and legal protocols today there is no reason why that could not turn on a dime in the future.  Some future President or NSA chief or low level employee could decide to start targeting people illegally and there is nothing that could be done given the level of secrecy.  I would be a little less sensitive to the issue if it were not for the recent IRS revelations.  It did not take a president to use the force of the IRS to harass people, simply some senior IRS officials.  If it can happen in the IRS so easily do we really think it would never happen in the NSA.  Unfortunately, I doubt people will rally around this, similar to the IRS situation.  Many will ignorantly claim it will never happen, too many people think we have lost all privacy anyways so what is the big deal (or claim the people deserved it which is the lefts excuse for not being up in arms over the IRS targeting).  This sets an irreversible precedence that will ultimately come back to haunt us.  I have advocated for years that the far left and far right have more in common then they care to admit and they need to unite against the middle.  This is a great example as both Michael Moore and Glen Beck have come out against the government on this issue. 

PS.  Given how little Obama knows about what is going on he could probably use the excuse that he first read about PRISM in the newspaper last week and that he had nothing to do with it.

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Dick Conoboy

Jun 11, 2013

In an article today on Truthdig, Robert Sheer provides more information on the role played by huge corporations in the national security apparatus for which Snowden worked.  “So it’s true, as filmmaker Michael Moore once warned us, the Carlyle Group is Big Brother. That’s the $176 billion private equity firm that once employed former President George H.W. Bush, his Secretary of State James A. Baker III and a host of political luminaries that would put any other list of America’s ruling elite to shame. Plenty of Democrats too, including former President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff Mack McLarty and Arthur Levitt, the man Clinton appointed to head the SEC during the creation of the housing bust. It is also the firm that owns Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., which, thanks to the revelations of one of its employees, whistle-blower Edward Snowden, we now know collects and stores much of the government’s immense PRISM database spying on the lives of this nation’s citizenry. This is systematic snooping through the telephone and Internet records of hundreds of millions of Americans conducted by Snowden and others in Booz Allen’s employ who had the highest access to our most private personal data while working at a for-profit company.”  Read more from this article, One American Who Isn’t for Sale, here:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/one_american_who_isnt_for_sale_20130611/?ln

In a related piece entitled “The Judicial Lynching of Bradley Manning”, author Chris Hedges writes of this whistle-blower whose trial began this week.  Here is an excerpt: “The draconian trial restrictions, familiar to many Muslim Americans tried in the so-called war on terror, presage a future of show trials and blind obedience. Our email and phone records, it is now confirmed, are swept up and stored in perpetuity on government computers. Those who attempt to disclose government crimes can be easily traced and prosecuted under the Espionage Act. Whistle-blowers have no privacy and no legal protection. This is why Edward Snowden—a former CIA technical assistant who worked for a defense contractor with ties to the National Security Agency and who leaked to Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian the information about the National Security Council’s top-secret program to collect Americans’ cellphone metadata, e-mail and other personal data—has fled the United States. The First Amendment is dead. There is no legal mechanism left to challenge the crimes of the power elite. We are bound and shackled. And those individuals who dare to resist face the prospect, if they remain in the country, of joining Manning in prison, perhaps the last refuge for the honest and the brave.” 

More of that article can be read here: 
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_judicial_lynching_of_bradley_manning_20130609/?ln

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Scott Wicklund

Jun 14, 2013

There is a ton of information out there, and almost a ton of junk to sort through.  One of my favorite bloggers on this beat is Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel.
http://www.emptywheel.net/
I think many who are interested will bookmark her site.
Also this report from an expat living in Hong Kong is a damn good read.
http://www.correntewire.com/six_reasons_why_choosing_hong_kong_is_a_brilliant_move_by_edward_snowden
So “national debate” here we go!

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