EDWARD SNOWDEN: NONVIOLENT ACTOR? June 14, 2013Posted by wmmbb in Nonviolence.
To fulfill this script, it could be argued that Ed Snowden should have stayed put, and accepted the consequences in full.
By doing so, the point of his action would have been nullified, and it would not have the positive consequences and reverberations it has had. For example, Congress is now asking direct questions about the Surveillance State, including on the operation of the secret espionage court – a laughable concept in itself.
After conceding there is no process to determine secrecy classification, Professor Geoffrey Stone wrote at the Huffington Post that Edward Snowden’s conduct was “more than unacceptable, it was criminal, forgetting by that legal test that everyone of the founders of the American Republic in 1776 were equally criminal. And that is the point of the US Constitution, that public officials swear allegiance to. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights is not merely afterthought, but further evidence to world at large of the justice of their cause. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment is set in the context of a grievance of the powers that were exercising a general warrant to rummage at will through personal effects, correspondence and privacy.
So I am inclined to accept Edward Snowden’s declaration he is an American, and I hope that is an inclusive concept. He has been prepared to accept personal suffering, which in the eyes of some makes him a narcissist, and the possibility of death. The later is very believable,if what happened to John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King is remembered. The state propaganda machine will go to work with the tall poppy syndrome, but the message will cut through the clutter, the distraction and the disinformation, as it always does in similar cases. And in this case, the issue is global, so Hong Kong is as strategic an international destination and cultural entrepot as any other.
At Common Dreams, Robert Shetterley adds to Edward Snowden’s nonviolent credentials:
I was thinking about asymmetry this week as the story of Edward Snowden unfolded. This story, one young man pitted against our national security state, is an extreme asymmetry, but the disparity is not between lesser and greater violent forces. And, for that reason, it could not properly be called a David versus Goliath confrontation. David was small but armed with sling & stone. Edward’s only “weapons” are courage and truth.
In asymmetric warfare, the powerful say, “Come out and fight on our terms! We’ll show you who’s stronger!” The weaker say, “Not on your life! We plan to win, not commit suicide.”
Conversely, in a contest of asymmetric courage, the lone whistleblower says to the powerful institutions, “Come out and fight on my terms — ethics, courage, truth, law!” And there is deafening silence from the powerful institutions because with all their secret knowledge and secret money, their special forces and spies, their torture and secret prisons, they have not courage. They have not ethics, truth or law. They are muscled up with conformity, with arrogance, with self-congratulatory winks and nods. They have the power to easily crush the person of courage, to discredit him in the media, to arrest and convict him in a kangaroo court, to torture him, disappear him, force feed him. They have secret protocol and secret policy, the power to change the law to legalize atrocity. But they have no courage. They have the pathetic vanity of a steroid-pumped-up robots flexing in front of a mirror. With satisfied smirks they ask rhetorically, “Who’s the strongest in the world?” But they have no courage.
I don’t wish to be hypocritical, but it seems that those of us who exist even in what we imagine to be comfortable conformity, are not called on to display courage, or to “not cooperate with evil”.
Dr Martin Luther King addresses the issue of nonviolence with respect to the rule of law:
- Michael Riley, US Agencies Said to Share the Data with Thousands of Firms (Bloomberg)
- Thomas Drake, Snowden Saw What I Saw: Surveillance Criminally Subverting the Constitution (The Guardian)In relation to the argument that Snowden should have gone through official channels, Thomas Drakes testifies from his experience:
I differed as a whistleblower to Snowden only in this respect: in accordance with the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, I took my concerns up within the chain of command, to the very highest levels at the NSA, and then to Congress and the Department of Defense. I understand why Snowden has taken his course of action, because he’s been following this for years: he’s seen what’s happened to other whistleblowers like me.
By following protocol, you get flagged – just for raising issues. You’re identified as someone they don’t like, someone not to be trusted. I was exposed early on because I was a material witness for two 9/11 congressional investigations. In closed testimony, I told them everything I knew – about Stellar Wind, billions of dollars in fraud, waste and abuse, and the critical intelligence, which the NSA had but did not disclose to other agencies, preventing vital action against known threats. If that intelligence had been shared, it may very well have prevented 9/11.
- Edward Snowden – Whistleblower or Traitor? (pbdemocrats.wordpress.com)
- Historic Challenge to Support the Moral Actions of Edward Snowden by Norman Solomon (zcommunications.org)