Friday, July 12, 2013

Defend Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden met this morning (in the Moscow airport lounge where he is holed up) with representatives from human rights groups including the UN Refugee Agency. There is no reliable report yet on results of the proceedings but what is now clear is that his right to asylum in Latin America is thwarted by his inability to get there safely.

The commentary about his dilemma has taken a disturbing, dark turn after libertarians entered the discussion with their usual arsenal of conspiracy theories, slanders, & ridiculous accusations against him. Libertarian theoretical methods are poisoning political analyses & discussion in a most malignant & unfortunate way on a whole range of issues. People who call themselves socialists often draw their analyses from Alex Jones, Webster Tarpley, & Global Research, the libertarian think tank.

The brief they’re developing against young Snowden (who one libertarian commentator refers to as “a schmuck”) is that he’s an intentional diversion, a distraction from Syria, from Obama’s several wars, from CIA rendition prisons. Some have the monstrous temerity to imply he’s collusive in all this.

To make their brief against him they ridicule the importance of his revelations, sniffing contemptuously that all his charges have been open knowledge for years now. Well US citizens don’t share that assessment. They’re alarmed; they had no idea their private lives were so monitored. A recent poll showed a shift in public sentiment that just months ago supported government surveillance in the interests of national security but now in the majority think the government is invading privacy.

We now know the US is engaged in unmonitored & global data trawling, surveilling the most private aspects of our lives, & involving all the big telecommunication corporations & governments. If you think that information & that change in public attitudes is small potatoes, you don’t understand a damn thing about politics. And that is the contribution of young Snowden to defending the Bill of Rights!

So let’s put young Snowden’s fate back exactly where it belongs: in the front lines of the fight for democratic rights & the Bill of Rights against the government’s wholesale assault. This is not, as Pepe Escobar so regrettably termed it, “the Monica Lewinsky case. Monica Lewinsky is back & her name is Edward Snowden.” We don’t let our champions for democracy get hung out to dry. We don’t let our Bradley Mannings & Edward Snowdens stand alone after they risked their lives for the Bill of Rights. We don’t let them get fried in the electric chair for espionage. We do the right thing & defend them without apology & without equivocation because they came to our defense & because “an injury to one is an  injury to all.”

Manning is still on trial for several charges. If there had been no international campaign for his defense, he would still be getting abused in solitary confinement. The same kind of relentless defense is deserved & needed for Snowden. If we turn our backs on him under a barrage of spurious innuendoes (mind you, without a shred of evidence!) we become collusive, even if unwittingly, in the US campaign to destroy the Bill of Rights & demoralize all those who defend it.

(Photo by Tanya Lokshina/Human Rights Watch/AP)

1 comment:

  1. Snowden is a hero, a superman to freedom and an icon to rest of the world.