Edward Snowden Is Driving The US Security State Insane

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The US Embarrasses Itself By Flailing Around Over Edward Snowden

The US Security State seems to be in a panic over Edward Snowden’s leaks.  Secretary of State John Kerry, along with UN nominee Samantha Powers, is threatening acts of war with Venezuela. The US has already violated international law by forcing down the plane of the Bolivian president. And now, President Obama is saying he may derail talks with Russian President Putin over Snowden.

With every act the US Security State draws more attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden and the dragnet surveillance program he unveiled.  Every act is an act of self-destruction with their abuse of power showing signs of their weakness.

Snowden struck a nerve with the security state.  The US likes to project an image of freedom and democracy but Snowden has proven the US does not have a real democracy and the people of the US are not free.  Snowden shows that the people of the United States have been lied to and the political leadership of the country does not respect our freedom, privacy or constitution.

If Venezuela or Russia were proven to be recording every Internet post and chat, every piece of mail, as well as monitoring all telephone activity of its citizens, US politicians and corporate media hacks like David Gregory would be jumping up and down accusing those countries of being totalitarian. Of course, when Snowden shows the same is happening in the US, we hear approval from the bi-partisans in Congress and too many in the corporate media defend the US while attacking journalists like Glenn Greenwald for letting the truth out.

It is clear now that the ‘emperor has no clothes,’ that our claims of democracy and freedom are fairy tales. The US surveillance state has over-reached and been caught.  In the aftermath of Snowden’s revelations, it seems we are learning almost daily of new ways we are being spied upon. Which path will the US take: further invasions and repression or full accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law?

The State Department Prefers Threats to Diplomacy Over Snowden

Secretary of State John Kerry, who is proving to be a hawk among hawks in the Obama administration, is threatening Venezuela with what amount to acts of war.

In a conversation with the Venezuelan Foreign Minister Kerry reportedly “threatened to ground any Venezuelan aircraft in America’s or any NATO country’s airspace.”  He made it clear that the Venezuelan president could suffer the same fate as Bolivian President Evo Morales.  Kerry also threatened that all 26 NATO countries would block the airspace of Venezuelan flights.

And, he added additional threats, promising to revoke US entry visas to Venezuela for officials and business people associated with former President Hugo Chavez.  And, threatened the US would also begin to prosecute prominent Venezuelans on allegations of drug trafficking, money laundering and other criminal actions.

Beyond that the Kerry warned that fuel supplies needed for the Venezuelan oil industry would be halted if President Maduro continues to offer to protect Snowden with political asylum.

He is essentially telling Venezuela to expect a virtual economic blockade if they protect the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

These are all quite embarrassing comments, showing the US flailing around using any threat they can think of to stop support for Snowden. They were so embarrassing that US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf denied that Kerry ever touched upon the possible nature of US response to Venezuela granting asylum to Snowden in his conversation with Foreign Minister Jaua. She dismissed the report that Kerry has threatened Venezuela as “utterly wrong.”  (Kevin’s personal experience with Kerry leads us not to trust his spokesperson. When he worked with Ralph Nader in 2004 we met with Kerry and his spokespersons lied to the media saying we did not discuss the war in Iraq, when it was the first thing discussed at the meeting.)

The nominee for US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, echoed Kerry’s conflict-escalating rhetoric in her confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Power promised to stand up against “repressive regimes” and said that meant “contesting the crackdown on civil society being carried out in countries like Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela.”

While this rhetoric probably works with most Americans who have been indoctrinated with falsehoods about Venezuela, her comments are in fact far from reality.  Reuters reports that President Maduro appropriately called on Power to retract the “despicable” statement.

The Foreign Ministry of Venezuela put Power’s statements in context of reality saying
“her comments were ‘interventionist,’ and that the UN had often recognized Venezuela’s ‘solid system of constitutional guarantees’ that ensured its citizens’ fundamental rights. ‘By contrast, the whole world is constantly expressing its concern over repressive practices carried out by the United States,’ the ministry said. ‘They include the violation of human rights at the illegal prison in Guantánamo, the killing of civilians by drones, and the lamentable persecution unleashed against Edward Snowden.’”

 

In fact, when the US threatened to remove ‘preferential trade status’ with Ecuador for its consideration of granting asylum to Snowden, Ecuador withdrew from the trade agreement and offered the $23 million it would lose from doing so to the US to use for human rights training.

 

Snowden Highlights Hypocrisy at the Obama White House

 

If the Secretary of State’s and UN Diplomat’s freak out wasn’t embarrassing enough, President Obama and the White House are now weighing in, in ways that highlight their panic and hypocrisy over Edward Snowden.

 

The New York Times is reporting that President Obama is threatening to cancel a trip to Moscow to meet with President Putin this September. Obama will be in Russia for the G20 meeting, which President Putin currently chairs, but is considering canceling a one-on-one meeting with Putin because of his protection of Snowden.

Jay Carney, White House spokesman made this statement about Russia: “We call on the Russian government to cease its campaign of pressure against individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption, and to ensure that the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of all of its citizens, including the freedoms of speech and assembly, are protected and respected.”

Those comments coming from the United States, a country that has had coordinated efforts to shut down dissent in the US, with the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and Federal Protective Service working with state and local police to arrest, undermine and shut down the Occupy Movement; a country that leads the world in mass incarceration of its own people; and, now we know, a country that spies on every American seizing our phone records and all of our Internet communications; cannot be seen as anything but hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy of the White House was noted by Moscow, “the talk of human rights rang hollow to the Kremlin given the Snowden case. Mr. Putin has suggested that Washington is being hypocritical in complaining about Russian actions while seeking to prosecute a leaker who exposed American surveillance programs.”

Is silencing Edward Snowden more important than the relations between the US and Russia?  Putin does not think so, but perhaps Obama does. Among the agenda items between the two countries are reduction of nuclear weapons and their differences over Syria.  What kind of signal will Obama send if he cancels his meeting with Putin?  “Canceling the summit, announced in June, would deal a blow to Obama administration efforts to smooth relations with Russia,” says Roger Runningen at Bloomberg.

Bloomberg also reports two U.S. Senators, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, introduced a non-binding resolution urging Russia to turn over Snowden to the U.S. If it doesn’t, the resolution says Obama should consider recommending that the G-20 economic summit be held elsewhere.

Does the US Really Want a Trial of Edward Snowden?

Has the United States thought this conflict with Edward Snowden through?  Already they are damaging relations with two of the most important nations in the world, China and Russia, because they will not respect the sovereignty of nations or Snowden’s legal right to political asylum.  They are creating major conflicts with the countries of Latin America with threats to Bolivia and Venezuela and uniting Latin American countries against the United States.  All of these actions expose US insecurity about their global spying program.

But, do they really want a public trial of Edward Snowden?  The trial of Edward Snowden would be an international spectacle that would put the US on trial. Do they want the whole world to watch the US prosecute someone who exposed a global dragnet surveillance program?  President Obama has said we need a debate on this program, but how does that comport with prosecuting the person who started the debate? Former President Carter said the leaks are “beneficial” to the United States and show the US does not have a real democracy.  A trial will highlight the NSA spying program and do more damage to the United States’ reputation.

If the trial is limited by the courts so Snowden cannot present a defense of his actions, it will highlight the faults of the US justice system, further driving the reputation of the United States down in the eyes of the world, and among the American people.

Snowden has proven that the US is conducting a dragnet surveillance program of the American people – and the people of the world whether they are allies or perceived as enemies. When Jimmy Carter says this is “beneficial,” he is saying it presents an opportunity for the US to correct its ways, rethink its national security state approach to foreign and domestic policy; and a chance to get the country on a different track that respects the constitution and human rights.

President Obama and elected officials should seize this opportunity, rather than trying to seize Snowden. They should acknowledge the country has gone too far, announce special commissions to review intelligence and national security policies, and question the US Empire approach to foreign policy. It is an opportunity for Congress to get control of the national security state which has spied on judges, generals and politicians as well as citizens.  Snowden has created an opportunity for the complete rethinking of intelligence gathering – the immense bureaucracy of the US intelligence state.  Do we really need for the NSA, CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and military intelligence activities conducted through a vast network of military-industrial corporate contractors?

The US should let Snowden go to Venezuela, respect his right to political asylum and look in the mirror at itself. It’s time to rethink the US national security state which has obviously gotten out of hand and needs dramatic curtailment.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are participants in PopularResistance.org; they co-direct  It’s Our Economy  and co-host  Clearing the FOG  shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. Their twitters are @KBZeese and MFlowers8.

  • http://krystal28.wordpress.com krystal28

    excellent!

  • http://gravatar.com/history301 William Johnson

    We had the chance to change this system during the Church Commission in the mid-70′s, but didn’t act. I used to say it was because people went disco on us, thinking the end of the Vietnam War had magically fixed the system that brought us that unpopular war, so there you go. At the time, much of what we learned was leaked, as many of the meetings that revealed the true depth of the illegalities of government were conducted behind closed doors, so much was not being broadcast to the public. As we see, nothing has changed when it comes time for elected representatives to cover up and circle the wagons to protect their little kingdom, but it’s that kingdom that is causing all the trouble for everyone else and them too, if they stopped to consider the consequences of their actions or lack thereof for a few hours. We missed our window after Vietnam and how many have died, or otherwise been tormented because we did. We cannot afford to make this mistake again,

  • http://gravatar.com/crystalspirithealing Crystal

    I don’t think the US wants a trial. They want to crash an airplane, that they know that Snowden would be on, by using their high tech weapons so that the instruments and/or engines will stop functioning….. and mysteriously crash….. Just look at what happened to Michael Hastings mysterious car crash/explosion when he had just warned people about the FBI being around.

  • fred

    good

  • LFTR

    Dear Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers,
    .
    I enjoyed your article very much (except when you pose questions within a paragraph – not needed). You touch upon the correct points. Good writing.
    .
    In a way, I like the NSA spying effort. I focus on secure internet technology and I enjoy exploring efforts to defeat any form of data interception. Encryption technology rocks. I am so glad that common folks are beginning to appreciate communications security. For the informed, the Ed Snowden saga is almost silly. Anyone whom comprehends the term “perfect forward secrecy” knows this as truth.
    .
    I am glad the US Gov is spending billions on the Utah ‘ZetaCenter’. Its current task is pointless but it can always be re-tasked to a more productive endeavor. Gotta love computers.
    .
    It is my prayer that Snowden be granted amnesty and eventually return to his home in the United States. We need him here. I’m sure Phil Zimmerman at ‘Silent Circle’ would hire him for his day job. The rest of the time Snowden can do the lecture circuit and speak at Gov Conferences/Hearings.
    .
    NSA spying is pointless. It’s so easy to defeat. It only works on stupid people (the technically challenged). If an investor, invest in encryption technology service firms like Silent Circle. We are all open source in the end.
    .
    2013 … What a great time to be alive.
    PS Support Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor Technology too!

  • http://www.theretaildetail.us Amy Barnes

    Certain people do not like to be PWND by a mere mortal – Snowden put the stiletto into the very core of the US system. There is a certain humiliation that the authorities in the USA will not tolerate. Also, lives were probably put in danger as a result of the leaks, and certainly no one likes careers cut short.

    Authorities fear the independent media almost more than anything — it’s about information control. And security – of careers and money more than safety.

    • http://gravatar.com/history301 William Johnson

      What struck me like a brickbat when I first learned of Mr. Snowden, the talking heads on all types of media seemed all caught up in his leaking all these secrets and that it was against the law, when I didn’t hear one thing I didn’t already know. I didn’t hear anything that had not already been reported by those in the independent press, or in books, or in some academic journals, yet it appeared everyone was so concerned about leaking secrets and I wondered, how could this be since this information is already out there? Whether in a book, an independent journalist report, a disgruntled former diplomat, etc.,all this was available to anyone researching NSA spying, so I asked, what law did he actually break If what he revealed was already known? Although pieces here and pieces there, how could what he revealed be against the law when it wasn’t being applied to anyone but him? One thing I learned from this however, was which news organization, no matter how they may have proclaimed their independence, revealed themselves to be backers of democrats and this is what I found the most disturbing in this whole matter, since nothing that has happened since 9/11 or at anytime in reality, could have been accomplished without the support and the votes of democrats.
      For example: All those who believed that once the democrats regained the White House, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and that whole group might just be tried for war crimes, or at one point prior, impeached. Never happened and why? Simply put; to many democrats were in collusion with the neocons and had that been brought to the light of day, they might have been forced to impeach or put themselves on trial for giving the green light to a war of aggression, a no no under the Nuremberg Tribunal and Principles, international law and some of our own. Couldn’t have that now could we? So the beat escalated under Obama and the media and others gave him a free pass, when in point of fact, he was doing even more of the exact same things Bush and Co. had done And he was re-elected to boot! Had Obama been a republican, I have little doubt he would not have been re-elected and might have been tried for war crimes. Is this supposed to be a secret as well?
      In any event, what Mr. Snowden has revealed more than anything else is that, unless we form a viable third party to challenge the one that has two wings currently occupying all three branches of government, we’ll receive more of the same, but somehow, I don’t think democrats are quite ready to admit this to be the case and keep engaging in magical thinking, contrary to all the evidence we find more of everyday. Republicans suffer the same affliction I should add. But that is what this web site and organization is trying to change, so I’m happy so many are here. We need more of you and more of you to turn this ship around. .

  • richard bittner

    Yes…the snowden polarization a defining moment in our are it will end up being the CFR Internationalists types ( minus maybe a few) and the military industrial complex types painting themselves into a corner. If obama wasn’t black the polls would moving theopposition to PRISM. Blacks are often in the lead on these types of out of control CFR internationalist controlled national security abuse issues. Amazingly Edward Snowden appears to be pulling off a Jimmy Stewart Mr. Smith takes on Washington. He’s turning the table on them…obama’s only sure support are the military industrial types ….the establishment is on the run ….its HIGH NOON in washington..Be(a)ware of a false flag action…

  • http://gravatar.com/l2d2speaks l2d2speaks

    We all have been snowed in (pun intended on ) by the red, white and blue myth. The elites rule the masses…its disturbing and find it hard to believe our system to be democratic anymore…what is going on in America becoming a dystopia right out from under us…the middle class in shambles, groping for hope in this hopeless state…different from the America I use to know and be proud to know… We need to raise the self image and democratic rule of law of our politicians who are NOT good leaders. They are power machines and warriors. Its embarrassing what the USA has become. God Save the Edward Snowden’s of the world! Be brave Edward and thank you. XO

    • http://gravatar.com/history301 William Johnson

      Indeed! The ruling class has been in place since the constitution was created behind locked doors, so the average person could not participate and while they came out with a pretty good document on paper, in practice it’s always been the self proclaimed elites who have had the most influence. For example, had it been believed all people were created equal with the same inalienable rights from the beginning, slavery would have been abolished, women would have been able to vote, native peoples would have been included in practice and so on down the line. That it’s now grown so far out of hand and at such a rapid pace, people are beginning to notice what has been going on all along. Now the governor of Indiana is attempting to have “A Peoples History of the United States” by Howard Zinn banned in the public schools so the young won’t have such easy access to their actual history, a far cry from the history of textbooks. From this one act, it’s becoming apparent the establishment is becoming fearful of “We The People”. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be trying to keep information that is truthful away from them. The light is always avoided by those who would rather work in the dark, but the people are beginning to catch on to their game now. Finally! Only this time, unlike when we had our chance in the mid-seventies to change the system, we cannot be satisfied we caused the defunding of that horrible war, or the current ones. We have to change something besides the faces. We have to change the mechanisms of this power structure so we can have an actual democracy. Something we have never exactly had before.