• Snowden Warns Us of the Dark Path Ahead

    March 10, 2014

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Post-Constitution America

    In written testimony to the European Union (EU), Edward Snowden explained in patient, well-written, detailed prose exactly why what the NSA is doing is so dangerous. Snowden reveals himself an articulate writer, and through that moves from mere whistleblower into an almost philosophical role. His testimony deserves your full read, so you should best stop right here and just go read it.

    For those who prefer some highlights, with commentary, please follow me deeper down the page rabbit hole.

    Snowden says:

    The suspicionless surveillance programs of the NSA, GCHQ, and so many others that we learned about over the last year endanger a number of basic rights which, in aggregate, constitute the foundation of liberal societies.

    The first principle any inquiry must take into account is that despite extraordinary political pressure to do so, no western government has been able to present evidence showing that such programs are necessary. In the United States, the heads of our spying services once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been stopped by mass surveillance, but two independent White House reviews with access to the classified evidence on which this claim was founded concluded it was untrue, as did a Federal Court.

    …There are indications of a growing disinterest among governments for ensuring intelligence activities are justified, proportionate, and above all accountable. We should be concerned about the precedent our actions set.

    Snowden understands that the programs he revealed are fundamentally in conflict with the very basis of a just society; the two cannot co-exist. When the government turns its full resources to spy, without suspicion or reason or legitimate purpose, on its full citizenry (including the Senate, charged with in theory a check-and-balance role on the executive), a fundamental shift occurs: the Government is no longer of the People, it has made the People its enemy. The opposite follows by course. Deceiving your enemy is part of any war.

    More:

    I know the good and the bad of these systems, and what they can and cannot do, and I am telling you that without getting out of my chair, I could have read the private communications of any member of this committee, as well as any ordinary citizen. I swear under penalty of perjury that this is true.

    These are not the capabilities in which free societies invest. Mass surveillance violates our rights, risks our safety, and threatens our way of life. If even the U.S. government, after determining mass surveillance is unlawful and unnecessary, continues to operate to engage in mass surveillance, we have a problem.

    Indeed we do Edward. The problem is that following the events of that one day– 9/11– America went, quite simply, insane. For a short period of time, nearly every American, naw, let’s all look at our shoes and feel ashamed, because EVERY American agreed that anything that even might make us feel safe again was OK. We went out and bought duct tape when told a gas attack might happen, and we eyed our neighbors cautiously.

    But as the dust literally settled, the government realized that they could cite 9/11 as justification forever, for anything. Evil people took this opening to slip a still-metastasizing national security state into the fabric of our lives, then enlarge it to cover the globe. Snowden in his testimony acknowledges that the NSA’s reach covers billions of people. I am certain that if we could ever catch anti-freedom figures like Cheney, Obama and their pig helpers in a private moment, they would all say: “If we knew it was going to be this easy to create an omnipotent executive, we would have done it years ago.”

    Snowden:

    Whether we like it or not, the international norms of tomorrow are being constructed today, right now, by the work of bodies like this committee. If liberal states decide that the convenience of spies is more valuable than the rights of their citizens, the inevitable result will be states that are both less liberal and less safe.

    There is the most important sentence of all: the international norms of tomorrow are being constructed today. Because if this devolution of our world, our freedoms and our privacy is allowed to remain, it will grow, and that will be the end of that. As Snowden warned earlier, no one in elementary school today will ever know what privacy is, and will grow up in a police state that envelopes their lives in total. They will never hold a private thought, never share a private communication, never wake to a place where they are not on someone’s video screen. Snowden is clear that we are at the last Y in the road.

    The final words are Snowden’s:

    If you want to help me, help me by helping everyone: declare that the indiscriminate, bulk collection of private data by governments is a violation of our rights and must end. What happens to me as a person is less important than what happens to our common rights.


    Now really, go read Snowden’s full testimony.



    Related Articles:




    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

    Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedin
  • Recent Comments

    • pitchfork said...

      1

      There is only one thing this will lead to. Gun confiscation, as that is the last bastion of resistance..PERIOD. And Connecticut is getting pretty damn close to proving the PTB are willing to poke a sleeping wolverine with a stick. Unfortunately, apparently they don’t believe the rest of the axiom..you know..the part that says ..” unless you want your balls ripped off..don’t do it”.

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/08/son-you-dont-poke-wolverine-with-sharp.html

      btw..WE are the wolverine.

      03/10/14 1:48 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      “What happens to me as a person is less important than what happens to our common rights” – Edward Snowden

      The difference between Snowden, Drake etc and the “patriots” working at the NSA and CIA is they did not put career before country. Yep, keep lying to yourself as long as you live that cushy lifestyle. If we cut these drones off the public dole, then you will see some real secret shit.

      03/10/14 2:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      03/10/14 3:39 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      4

      From Rich’s link:

      “Fifty years, and yet he missed the 21-day shutdown in 1995/96. This mental lapse notwithstanding, we’re talking about a statement made by Clapper all of two days into the shutdown, a count that had been exceeded five times by federal shutdowns since 1981.”

      BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Clapper is the biggest moron to ever walk the face of this planet. Notwithstanding a liar of biblical proportions. If it weren’t for his stint as Koko the Clown, he wouldn’t know the meaning of laughter. Here he is with all the rest of the NSA
      clowns…

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU66X3AOe0g

      03/10/14 6:49 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      5

      correction…BOZO the Clown. Fits perfectly.

      03/10/14 6:50 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      6

      Ok folks, living proof what the State Department truly is now..

      http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2014/03/10/did-state-department-fail-american-peace-activist-when-she-was-detained-at-cairo-airport/#comments

      We are witnessing Empire’s talking head at it’s most corrupt, vile, psychopathic worst. There are no words that can describe what evilness of the State Department. They’ve proved once and for all, the USG has devolved into a pack of viscous, vindictive, rabidly insane rats. Day by day, they are forcing a policy of retribution on American citizens whom they consider the enemy now. So be it. At some point..they WILL poke the sleeping wolverine.

      03/11/14 1:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      7

      The Department needs to provide equal protection for all American citizens, regardless of political views. There should be no delay or hem-hawing or people may get the idea the neo-cons at the Department do not believe American peace activists are equal under our laws.

      The Department’s Public Affairs needs to do a better job of providing a plausible story – preferably something that really happened, not a disney version.

      Thanks for pointing out the proper procedures, Peter, and the link, Pitchfork, which notes:

      “…AP reporter Matthew Lee managed to get the State Department to admit that they had publicly stated false information about her being in contact with a consular officer. The agency maintained it had tried to provide “all appropriate assistance” in Cairo. But, as Benjamin declared, “When I needed them was in the 17 hours when I was being held in Egypt and they knew where I was. They knew what was happening and they never showed up.”

      Stunningly, even with all the attention and the time spent preparing an official comment, the spokesperson could not say whether the US embassy in Cairo had communicated anything to the Egyptian authorities “about any perceived unnecessarily rough handling of Ms. Benjamin.”…”

      A few days prior to Dissenter’s article, the Washington Post had quoted that Department Spokesperson Psaki stating:

      “…U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said consular officers in Egypt were in contact with Benjamin. “Due to privacy considerations, we can’t provide additional details, but I can assure you that our consular officers in Egypt did provide all of the assistance necessary,” she said…”

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/us-activist-says-egypt-police-assaulted-her/2014/03/04/cd0847e4-a3bb-11e3-b865-38b254d92063_story.html

      When “privacy considerations” get cited — it translates roughly “oh-shit, we (hapless officials who somehow got jobs at the prestigious Department) are about to get caught FAILING to follow proper procedures again. Let’s bail from this interview …”

      Speaking of Gaza ….

      There is all this attention on the Ukraine and other stories, and if it weren’t for what happened to Medea Benjamin — there would be no mention, no matter how minute, of Gaza

      03/11/14 4:30 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Om my, another State miss-spokesman. Must be something in State’s air supply. Speaking of, here’s my take on the cause of the LOST Malay flight:

      Three years ago, a pressure problem resulted in a Boeing airline crash in Greece with the loss of 121 lives. The pressurisation control had been left in manual rather than automatic – a fault not spotted by the cockpit crew.

      It is POSSIBLE as the Malay flight ascended to 35,000 ft, the plane never became pressurised, so passengers and crew did not receive the compressed air which is pumped into the aircraft fuselage to counter the effect of flying at oxygen-thin high altitudes. Reports are the plane took a left turn without warning. Do not suspect it made it to AUTOPILOT. It likely flew for some time before and crashing, killing all on board. When all works well with pressurisation systems, any sudden loss of cabin pressure automatically results in oxygen masks descending. It is vital that pilots don their masks within about 30 seconds so they can then take the aircraft down as quickly and as safely as possible to around 8,000-10,000ft where the air is breathable. Should cockpit crew masks not be put on straight away, the pilots will quickly lose consciousness – with deadly results.

      03/11/14 5:08 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      9

      “Due to privacy considerations, we can’t provide additional details, but I can assure you that our consular officers in Egypt did provide all of the assistance necessary,” she said…”

      All the assistance necessary. right. Necessary to follow orders and do nothing. Ya know, I don’t know how these DOS talking heads look in a mirror..other than they don’t. They can’t. Normal human beings would cringe in self loathing contempt. Not these scumbags. They revel in their pathetic little bureaucratic cesspool of arrogance. Fuck every last DOS employee on the face of this planet. You are a disgrace to humanity the world over and an insult to chromasomally aberrant pond scum. In reality, you are a bleating fool, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf, meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done. You are a monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you. You have all the appeal of a paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a fungus, the dregs of this earth. However, one day, you WILL face an eternity in that cesspool of horror. Only this time..it will be YOU who burns in wretching, unceasing pain and misery. I only hope it’s before you die.

      03/11/14 9:02 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      10

      ps..Rich..I agree with your hypothesis. I seems like the only logical reason. I just feel sympathy for those families who lost loved ones, regardless of the cause.

      03/11/14 9:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Bakelight said...

      11

      “Feinstein Publicly Accuses C.I.A. of Spying on Congress.”
      Headline from online NYT 03.11.14.
      Apparently the senator’s computer and files were monitored by the cloak & dagger squad, as well as that of her colleagues and she is reportedly irate. Does it ever cross the mind of the good senator and people like her, vociferous anti-gun, big government pogrom, I mean, program-types, that if you keep giving the executive branch power and money, sooner or later its apparatuses wind up monitoring you, stealing your stuff & opining in on the side of censorship? Could a light bulb possibly begin to be flickering in the irascible lady senator’s mind?

      03/11/14 11:18 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      12

      quote “Could a light bulb possibly begin to be flickering in the irascible lady senator’s mind?” unquote

      While I normally despise Feinstein, I’m sure she knows who she’s about to do battle with so I’ll give her credit for bravery. In reality, the day Truman signed the Central Intelligence Act of 1949 in WDC was the day this nation ceased being what it was the day before. Very few people understand the nature of this insidious law. Unless you read it in it’s entirety, you won’t understand what is happening this very minute between the Congressional Intelligence committee and the CIA, as this battle is a fight to expose the truth of what the CIA REALLY is and has done. Ain’t gonna happen. JFK was living proof.

      After researching every single CIA director, I can honestly say the CIA is a criminal Cartel of unimaginable and unaccountable power. However, James Garrison , District Attorney of New Orleans, who tried to prosecute one of the conspirators in the coup d’etat of November 22, 1963, sums it up succinctly in a Playboy interview circa 1967…….

      quote:
      PLAYBOY: Many of the professional critics of the Warren Commission appear to be prompted by political motives: Those on the left are
      anxious to prove Kennedy was murdered by a conspiracy within the establishment; and those on the right are eager to prove the
      assassination was an act of “the international Communist conspiracy.”
      Where would you place yourself on the political spectrum — right, left of center?

      GARRISON: That’s a question I’ve asked myself frequently, especially since this investigation started and I found myself in an incongruous and disillusioning battle with agencies of my own Government. I can’t just sit down and add up my political beliefs like a mathematical sum, but I think, in balance, I’d turn up somewhere around the middle. Over the years, I guess I’ve developed a somewhat conservative attitude — in the traditional libertarian sense of conservatism, as opposed to the thumbscrew-and-rack conservatism of the paramilitary right —particularly in regard to the importance of the individual as opposed to the state and the individual’s own responsibilities to humanity. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to formulate this into a coherent political philosophy, but at the root of my concern is the conviction that a human being is not a digit; he’s not a digit in regard to the state and he’s not a digit in the sense that he can ignore his fellow men and his obligations to society. I was with the artillery supporting the division that took Dachau; I arrived there the day after it was taken, when bulldozers were making pyramids of human bodies outside the camp. What I saw there has haunted me ever since. Because the law is my profession,I’ve always wondered about the judges throughout Germany who sentenced men to jail for picking pockets at a time when their own government was jerking gold from the teeth of men murdered in gas chambers. I’m concerned about all of this because it isn’t a German phenomenon; it’s a human phenomenon. It can happen here, because there has been no change
      and there has been no progress and there has been no increase of understanding on the part of men for their fellow man. What worries me deeply, and I have seen it exemplified in this case, is that we in America are in great danger of slowly evolving into a proto-fascist state. It will be a different kind of fascist state from the one of the Germans evolved; theirs grew out of depression and promised bread and work, while ours, curiously enough,seems to be emerging from prosperity. But in the final analysis, it’s based on power and on the inability to put human goals and human conscience above the dictates of the state. Its origins can be traced in the tremendous war machine we’ve built since 1945, the “military-industrial complex” that Eisenhower vainly warned us about, which now dominates every aspect of our life. The power of the states and Congress has gradually been abandoned to the Executive Department, because of
      war conditions; and we’ve seen the creation of an arrogant, swollen bureaucratic complex totally unfettered by the checks and balances of the Constitution. In a very real and terrifying sense, our Government is the CIA and the Pentagon, with Congress reduced to a debating society. Of course, you can’t spot this trend to fascism by casually looking around. You can’t look for such familiar signs as the swastika, because they won’t be there. We won’t build Dachaus and Auschwitzes; the clever manipulation of the mass media is creating a concentration camp of the mind that promises to be far more effective in keeping the populace in line. We’re not going to wake up one morning and suddenly find ourselves in gray uniforms goose-stepping off to work. But this isn’t the test.The test is: What happens to the individual who dissents? In Nazi Germany, he was physically destroyed; here, the process is more subtle, but the end results can be the same. I’ve learned enough about the machinations of the CIA in the past year to know that this is no longer the dreamworld America I once believed in. The imperatives of the population explosion, which almost inevitably will lessen our belief in the sanctity of the individual human life, combined with the awesome power of the CIA and the defense establishment, seem destined to seal the fate of the America I knew as a child and bring us into a new Orwellian world where the citizen exists for the state and where raw power justifies any and every immoral act. I’ve always had a kind of knee-jerk trust in my Government’s basic integrity, whatever political blunders it may make. But I’ve come to realize that in Washington, deceiving and manipulating the public are viewed by some as the natural prerogatives of office. Huey Long oncesaid, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I’m afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America…

      in the name of national security.”unquote

      In the name of national security. Indeed. He predicted the United States of today…almost 50 years ago. Look around. I’d submit he was dead on. I also submit we are on the verge of witnessing a fight of biblical proportions that will make Watergate and the Church Committee hearings look like a birthday party. I can hardly wait…

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/wh

      03/12/14 12:23 PM | Comment Link

    • D. Davies said...

      13

      “The problem is that following the events of that one day– 9/11– America went, quite simply, insane. For a short period of time, nearly every American, naw, let’s all look at our shoes and feel ashamed, because EVERY American agreed that anything that even might make us feel safe again was OK. We went out and bought duct tape when told a gas attack might happen, and we eyed our neighbors cautiously.

      But as the dust literally settled, the government realized that they could cite 9/11 as justification forever, for anything. Evil people took this opening to slip a still-metastasizing national security state into the fabric of our lives, then enlarge it to cover the globe. Snowden in his testimony acknowledges that the NSA’s reach covers billions of people. I am certain that if we could ever catch anti-freedom figures like Cheney, Obama and their pig helpers in a private moment, they would all say: “If we knew it was going to be this easy to create an omnipotent executive, we would have done it years ago.”

      WTF Peter? I’m not looking at my shoes. The only thing I wondered on the morning of 9/11 was how many days were going to pass before we got a matching, pre-written Reichstag Decree to go with the latest Fire. The PATRIOT Act was passed on 26 October 2001.

      “Evil people” did’t take the opening of 9/11 to destroy our rights. They MADE that opening.

      How may sentences in supposedly thoughtful analyses will start with “since 9/11”, “after 9/11”, “following the events of 9/11”, before we pivot to look directly at 9/11?

      Please, please Peter develop some sense of history because your child-like avoidance of uncomfortable truths is really not helping. Get some clarity and Remember the Maine.

      03/12/14 5:25 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      14

      OK, you were the exception. But one of very few. Speaking of history, go back and have a look at what people were saying right after 9/11, both individuals and most media. The fear and blood lust were visible things. We, collectively, were traumatized and no longer thinking rationally. Cheney and his dogs sensed that and took great advantage of us. The rest is indeed just history.

      03/12/14 8:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Snowden Warns Us of the Dark Path Ahead | The Leather Library said...

      15

      […] Snowden Warns Us of the Dark Path Ahead […]

      03/13/14 12:29 AM | Comment Link

    • jim hruska said...

      16

      PVB,
      None of this is news since 1917 when individual liberty and rational discourse have taken back seat to the banking/industrial/intelligence and security state that has been elevated to primacy in the new and improved America.
      What started in WW1 with the US involvement is just playing out to it’s logical conclusion in a most predictable manner.
      jim hruska

      03/13/14 7:38 PM | Comment Link

    Leave A Comment

    Mail (will not be published) (required)