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IMPERIAL BULLY July 14, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Human Rights, Humankind/Planet Earth, Internet Age.
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The way that power is exercised by the United States Government, brought into stark relief by the revelation of international and national secret surveillance, equally is a focus for the claim that country is, and might be a democracy.

Office , from the presidency downwards is bought and sold, gerrymandering for Congressional districts is absurd, and we are told money determines outcomes in Washington. Once purchased office is an entitlement, and public opinion is to be ignored. So it is not surprising that such a governmental system would care nothing for the democratic processes and laws of other countries. It is the singular country engaging in murder and terrorism by means of its drone missile program. No need to mention, the torturing of innocent people at the  Guantanamo Bay prison by virtue of their status as inmates – although it seems domestic prisoners do not get treated much better.

As has been long noted, a res publica and an empire are inconsistent. In the Snowden case, it might appear as if the US has been outwitted, and as a result is now lashing out to display its brute power of submission, rather than to demonstrate humanity. Of course, when directly asked, the Director of the NSA , could not wittingly tell the truth to the Senate, which admittedly may have been impossible as a “public servant” of  the secret surveillance state.

As Glenn Greenwald observed in reference to an interview with La Nacion (Buenos Aires):

The US government has acted with wild irrationality. The current criticism of Snowden is that he’s in Russia. But the reason he’s in Russia isn’t that he chose to be there. It’s because the US blocked him from leaving: first by revoking his passport (with no due process or trial), then by pressuring its allies to deny airspace rights to any plane they thought might be carrying him to asylum (even one carrying the democratically elected president of a sovereign state), then by bullying small countries out of letting him land for re-fueling.

Given the extraordinary amount of documents he has and their sensitivity, I pointed out in the interview that it is incredibly foolish for the US government to force him to remain in Russia. From the perspective of the US government and the purported concerns about him being in Russia, that makes zero sense given the documents he has.

Further on in his account, Glenn Greenwald observes:

Before Snowden’s identity was revealed as the whistleblower here, I wrote:

“Ever since the Nixon administration broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychoanalyst’s office, the tactic of the US government has been to attack and demonize whistleblowers as a means of distracting attention from their own exposed wrongdoing and destroying the credibility of the messenger so that everyone tunes out the message. That attempt will undoubtedly be made here.”

That’s what all of this is. And it’s all it is: an ongoing effort to distract attention away from the substance of the revelations.

Of course, the US is a large target, and now such behavior, is more transparent, even if that is the paradigm for the conduct of power in the context of international relations. Yet similar examples of this bullying behavior can be observed in interpersonal relations. Threat power is a form of violence.

Scilla Elworthy in this TED Talk poses the problem of how to deal with a bully without becoming a thug.  Could it even be possible to confound force without resorting to violence?

Whether or not, you agree with her comments with respect to bullying behavior is very accurate in relation to what has happened to Edward Snowden. Unexceptionally, I suppose, bullies do understand how power through violence works. What on a personal level is unacceptable, for nation states is unremarkable. I thought her description of what Martin Luther King described as channeling anger was acute. I am not sure about her analogy of anger as a child, but I have observed a mother using empathy with her young one year old with great effect. Empathy and compassion is not simply the expression of our deep human nature as it is the expression of the  imaginative reach of our frontal lobes in action.  That might be the way out of, as was suggested, ” a kind of optical delusion of consciousness”?

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