On the Snowden Affair

The USA is outraged that other nations are not cooperating with the extradition of Edward Snowden. The USA is demanding that the other nations follow the law in this matter. The problem with that is the fact that the USA hasn’t followed other bits of international law, particularly in regards to Snowden’s revelations about how the USA swallowed wholesale their network transmissions.

I’m also concerned about how the USA has targeted Snowden more than it has targeted its massive security apparatus. So far, the only real successes of observing everyone’s communications have been in the area of harassing political opponents and blackmailing leaders of rival intelligence agencies. Never mind the criminality of the electronic harvest: consider the cost! Twelve years of this, and it’s only shown that it can bolster a president’s power against only his political enemies. It’s all so useless and inefficient.

Now for the legality of all that… it’s only needed if the USA is not run by the people. 100 years ago, authors of the day were already remarking on the stranglehold major corporations exercised on the USA’s government. It’s gotten worse since then. Consider why the security apparatus is justified: we must catch the terrorists! Why, then, are there terrorists? They hate us?

Well, why do they hate us? It’s not our freedom-loving lifestyle, I guarantee. It’s the way the USA topples popular governments and supports ruthless regimes in the lands of the terrorists. It’s also in the way the USA raises up terrorist groups to further our foreign policy in some lands, and then abandons them when our aims are achieved.

So what are our aims? Not freedom and justice for all – the support for terrorists and dictators on our payroll gives the lie to that idea. Our aims, all too frequently, are to allow our corporations to have exploitative access to foreign markets and resources, particularly in the oil industry.

So, we have terrorists on our case because ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other oil majors are the real Joint Chiefs of Staff. We need a security apparatus ostensibly to protect us from the terrorists, but that same apparatus is turned on we, the people, to keep us from opposing the powers that be. Edward Snowden revealed something of the extent of that security apparatus, and yet the official outrage from the Senate and House is directed at Snowden, not his former spymaster employers.

I could explain what is going on to Russians about my age or older. We have samizdat in the form of Wikileaks. We have defectors in the lands of our political rivals. (Consider: Gerard Depardieu defected to Russia…) We now have evidence that the apparatchniks are in control and their reach is long and broad and deep.

Snowden violated the law: fine. But Snowden violated the law in order to reveal how we in the USA are ruled by some very, very bad laws that need to go away. The fact that the elected leaders of the USA are not taking on the apparatchniks reveals that they themselves are members of that group.

So is the USA going down the path of Communist Russia? Not at all. It’s going down the path of Mexico. From the 1930s forward, Mexico was ruled first by a single party – PRI – and now by their elites. They have peaceful changes of top political leaders who are beholden to major interests. In Mexico, there is a law for the rich and a law for everyone else. Of course, the metaphor is not a complete one.

In Mexico, the people still turn out for major political rallies. In Mexico, the government does not yet harvest everyone’s electronic communications. And, finally, in Mexico, people don’t just talk about taking up arms to oppose an oppressive, non-representative government: they actually take up arms and fight for their rights.

The fact that gun nuts here haven’t yet risen up in actual insurrections shows how America as a whole has lost its spine to resist. And that’s why the apparatus shown us by Mr. Snowden has not triggered an uprising – and why those same gun nuts aren’t being rounded up by the apparatchniks. The gun nuts are controlled, docile, and not a threat. It doesn’t matter if they have guns or not to protect themselves from an overly oppressive government. They have no intention of actually resisting the government. They just want to pretend like they could. Those guns are a safety valve, believe it or not.

The fact that our political leaders can vilify Snowden without wagging a finger at the security apparatus and not worry about losing their seats in the Senate or House is the ultimate punctuation at the end of the Snowden affair. The USA does not respect international law, sponsors terrorists that we manage to get to turn on us, is run by major corporations, uses the threat of armed conflict to cow smaller nations into handing their economy and population over to those major corporations, justifies a massive security apparatus, and does not fear its own people because they are all bark and no bite. That is what the Snowden affair reveals in its totality.

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