I know it is hard for us as a nation to think back past last night’s episode of Breaking Bad, but try and remember when Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer, campaigned on a pledge to ensure that national security policy remained consistent with American laws and values. He also made the now-ironic pledges about protecting whistleblowers. Good times, yes?
Strawmen Tell No Tales
Obama now continues to defend his unfettered spying on, well, pretty much the whole world. In his most recent press conference, Obama pulled out the old Bush-era strawman argument: whatever the government does is essential to protecting the United States. It is either chaotic liberty or apocalyptic daily terror attacks, pick one or the other, baby. The money shot statement from the press conference: “(Terrorists) have the capacity, potentially, to go after our businesses.” You can take our liberty, but don’t mess with our money. Americans, as we go to war, be sure to keep shopping!
Manning Begat Snowden
In addition, Obama found time in his press conference to mock Edward Snowden personally, saying he was not a patriot (Snowden, not Obama) and saying he (Snowden, not Obama) should come to the Das Homeland for a fair trial before being sent away for life.
Obama, as he has not realized after killing al Qaeda’s No. 1 and No. 2′s repeatedly for years without effect, has not realized that despite his aggressively hunting down and smiting whistleblowers whenever the Empire can catch one, new whistleblowers keep emerging. Manning begat Snowden and so forth. Among a handful of The People at least, a fire still burns.
Your Guide to Smiting Whistleblowers
So, as a public service knowing more whistleblowers are sure to emerge, here is a handy guide on how to respond. The pattern following a whistleblower’s disclosure must come from some joint media-government handbook, because it is always the same:
– Initially deny everything and hope the story fades away. Claim the info is from an unreliable web site, or a foreign news source, is just bad guy propaganda.
– When that doesn’t work, denigrate the whistleblower on personal grounds (gay, lazy, narcissistic, unpatriotic) and work hard to focus people on the messenger, not the message.
– When that doesn’t work, say, you know, come to think of it, the disclosures are not that big a deal. The whistleblower really did not say anything important, so best to just ignore him.
– When that doesn’t work, claim the whistleblower is a criminal, violated his oath, his military commission, his Netflix terms of service, that little checkbox when you install software, whatever sticks.
– When that doesn’t work, say the whistleblower should have gone through channels (as if in reality they exist). Do not explain what/where these channels are, for say, an Army private in the middle of the Iraqi desert.
– When that doesn’t work, claim the whistleblower must “face justice” and “take responsibility,” though only in the form of jail time and on the government’s terms. Maybe three years of pretrial detainment to soften things up? Perhaps a little sleep deprivation? Hmm, you have relatives still in Germany, yes?
– When that doesn’t work, switch gears and claim whatever was disclosed is a grave threat to the U.S. Cite the danger to American lives, and especially to “the troops.” Say blood is on the whistleblower’s hands. No evidence needed.
– Repeat as needed.
BONUS: Here’s an article that pretty much covers most of the points above, The Five Nastiest Things the White House Has Said About Snowden.
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