Saturday, 29 June 2013

SURVEILLANCE STATE: Shot or hung?

From Simon Black’s newsletter this morning…

Ron Paul recently said on his Facebook page:
 
   My understanding is that espionage means giving secret or classified information to the enemy.
    Since   Snowden shared information with the American people, his indictment for espionage could reveal
    (or confirm) that the US Government views you and me as the enemy.
He's right. If nothing else, the way this has played out tells you everything you really need to know about the Land of the Free right now.
   
imageSnowden has been demonised by just about every government official on record. US Secretary of State John Kerry called Snowden's actions "despicable and beyond description," while US Senator Lindsey Graham said, "I hope we'll chase him to the ends of the earth..."
   
Words like "hanging" and "treason" are floating around the mainstream media. It's incredible. The issue no longer has anything to do with the criminality of the government spying programs. But whether Snowden should be shot or hung.
   
Yet amazingly enough, many polls show that roughly half of Americans think that Snowden is a traitor and should be prosecuted. And among the Twittering classes, the discussion quickly turned to Snowden's 'hot or not' status as a potential sex symbol.
  
Such data is truly profound. Roughly half of Americans don't give a rat's eye about their own liberty.
   
And it's obvious that the US government has every intention to continue these programs full speed ahead.

And not just the US government. Documenting some of the NZ government's involvement in this morning's Otago Daily Times,  Bruce Munro writes,

This month's revelations by former US National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden have thrown a rare light on the international intelligence community. It is a worldwide web in which New Zealand appears to be an inextricable but willing player.

Peggy Noonan makes the wider argument:

The U.S. surveillance state as outlined and explained by Edward Snowden is not worth the price. Its size, scope and intrusiveness, its ability to target and monitor American [and foreign] citizens, its essential unaccountability—all these things are extreme. 
    The purpose of the surveillance is enhanced security, a necessary goal to say the least. The price is a now formal and agreed-upon acceptance of the end of the last vestiges of [any] sense of individual distance and privacy from the government. The price too is a knowledge, based on human experience and held by all but fools and children, that the gleanings of the surveillance state will eventually be used by the mischievous, the malicious and the ignorant in ways the creators of the system did not intend. For all we know that's already happened. But of course we don't know: It's secret. Only the intelligence officials know, and they say everything's A-OK.
    The end of human confidence in a zone of individual privacy from the government, plus the very real presence of a system that can harm, harass or invade the everyday liberties .... This is a recipe for democratic disaster.

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