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Nothing to Fear


UPDATE: An interesting article in The Guardian points out that Snowden is not a spy, despite claims by US authorities.



  1. Scott David Daniels wrote:

    Show up.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink
  2. Arthanyel wrote:

    So let me play the advocate from Limbo (I can’t advocate for the devil in this case). While the literal statement in this photo is correct, there are several things being glossed over. ONE NOTE PLEASE – when I use the word “illegal” below I don’t just mean in violation of the strict letter of the law (because, lawyers) I mean actions that violate the spirit and INTENTION of the law. So, for example, I would consider whistle-blowing on torture appropriate even if the specific method used has been weaseled to not officially be “torture”.

    1) If you take a job that requires a security clearance, you are required to keep your mouth shut and not disclose classified information. I am willing to make an exception for a whistle blower revealing ILLEGAL activity, but several of these leakers are not doing that (or just that) they are publicly revealing appropriately classified information. And for that they should be punished.

    2) There are MANY things in the “sausage making” of diplomacy and politics which can be incredibly damaging if they are made public – and are necessary to the process. Total transparency is as bad as total secrecy unless your goal is to grind everything to a complete halt.

    3) Deciding to give up your life to blow the whistle on illegal activity takes courage and honor. Using the public forum thus created to bad mouth, insult and damage your own government over and above the disclosure is juvenile and potentially treasonous.

    Bradley Manning did more than blow a whistle, he released a huge volume of classified material MOST of which was neither illegal nor inappropriate under the circumstances. And even so, at least he didn’t go on CNN and pour gasoline on the fire. Snowden has been a poster child for why we should arrest and prosecute people like Snowden. Although I find the actions that led to the Bolivian President’s plane being diverted to be ENTIRELY unacceptable.

    I think having something like Wikileaks and the ability for people to anonymously blow whistles on illegal activity is necessary, but using that avenue to advance your own ideological agenda in violation of your oaths is reprehensible.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  3. Hassan wrote:

    Hmm, so drone killing Iraqi civilians (something leaked in wikileaks) is to kept secret because your are going to promote not killing of civilians.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  4. ThatGuy wrote:

    Well said, Arthanyel. Secrets are necessary to keep a country running, hell even businesses need secrets. Wikileaks equates telling secrets to whistleblowing, that isn’t the case.

    If it were a chatty friend, it would believe telling a buddy their wife was cheating on them and telling everyone in the neighborhood that a couple is infertile are the same thing. As Arthanyel points out, disclosing diplomatic secrets serves no purpose other than to embarrass and make diplomacy more difficult. Something anyone who is anti-war should think about.

    Hassan, tragic as it is, drones killing civilians wasn’t a secret. Nor was the general occurrence of civilian casualties. Any time there’s a war, one should know there are civilians dying. No one is promoting the killing of civilians.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink
  5. PO8 wrote:

    Our country is screwed.

    The people who come to this particular blog are likely more intelligent and discerning than the vast majority of our population. That they are thinking the way they are at this critical juncture means that we do not possibly have time to find a way to stop the increasingly rapid descent of our government into tyranny, violence and madness.

    We have a President who has arrogated the power to murder anyone he likes, secretly, without a trial. We have a Congress that has openly run a torture camp for over a decade, filling it with victims whose only proven “crime” is foreignness. We have an enormous Secret Police that has the power not just to watch our every thought and action, but to “disappear” anyone they deem dangerous enough.

    If times like that don’t call for the breaking of oaths in the service of calling attention to the reality of our situation, indeed in the service of hoping against hope that our sleepy, sleepy populace can be roused to some sort of actual action for change…well, our country is screwed.

    I pray that the legacy I have left my son is more than this. But I decreasingly have faith that it is so.

    Iron, you were right. Shut the damn thing down. I’m done.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
  6. Arthanyel wrote:

    Hassan – in your attempt to refute my comment you actually proved it. I think Wikileaks serves a critical purpose. I think the need for whistle blowing has been repeatedly proven. And I think when someone allows their honor and their character to rise to the fore, then sometimes you have to say something even when your oaths are to keep silent, because it is the higher “truth” to go public with illegal activity.

    Now, on the subject of drones killing civilians, that too is a multi-facted issue. Using drones (a military weapon) in carrying out military operations is appropriately classified. Many military actions have collateral damage and while the fact it occurs should NOT be a secret, the specifics of the missions may well have to be secret as they can reveal how we learned where to strike. And if we are indeed in a war against al Qaeda, then their leaders are valid military targets and people that associate with them should consider themselves on notice that they may well become collateral damage if they continue that association.

    But the line is crossed when we intentionally target NON military targets, or when we violate international law in the execution of our attacks which I believe has happened on several occasions. And disclosing the attempts to cover up those violations is, in my book, valid whistle blowing just as the Abu Ghraib incident was valid whistle blowing.

    And I don’t care whether the inappropriately targeted civilians are Americans, Muslims, black, white, or any other categorization. They are all human beings and when the US government (or anyone else) intentionally attacks innocent humans and tries to keep it secret, THAT has to be put on Page 1.

    Friday, July 5, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    PO8 – I think you are over-reacting. We do not have a “secret police that can disappear anyone they like” – that’s conservative propaganda. We do not have a President that”murders anyone he likes, secretly and without trial” – that too is conservative propaganda,. And the vast majority of “descent into violence and tyranny” I see is coming from Republicans and the right, who have flagrantly violated the law to pass their own agenda, disenfranchised millions of people, and would rather see poor people starving to death in the streets than ask billionaires to pay the same tax rate as a middle class family.

    So lets keep things in perspective. Things are not good and I am violently against many of the things Obama has done, but the biggest problem is the social right wing extremists and we need to deal with that.

    Friday, July 5, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    PO8 – this is why I read history. When you talk about a “rapid descent of our government into tyranny, violence and madness” you ignore the fact that we have a very long and dismal record of tyranny, violence and madness. For example, slaughtering native Americans, slavery, the detention of asians during WWII, the robber barons, teapot dome, the Spanish-American war, and on and on.

    I’m not trying to make light of what is going on now, or to say we should not be doing all that we can to fight it. After all, the price of liberty IS eternal vigilance. I am more concerned about how the American people seem to be turning into sheep and just blindly ignoring things done by our government (and corporations). I think a big cause of this is the corporatization of the news media to the point where making money is far more important than their traditional role as the 4th estate, not to mention their huge conflict of interest.

    Friday, July 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink
  9. Diamond Dog wrote:

    yeah, because social right wing extremists are so much worse than social left wing extremists.

    Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  10. holds wrote:

    Personally, I believe the whole Snowden affair, as well as what is currently happening with Bradley Manning, has had its message missed in the media and in meaningful discussion. These people are not spies or terrorists of anything of the sort. They are people who have tried to inform the public of countless secrets being held behind the broad veil of the word ‘terrorism’. When these stories first broke in the news, I thought it would spark some sort of reaction- some sort of meaningful dialogue as to how much power and leeway a government should have in making decisions in the best interest of the people governed. Unfortunately, the only dialogue that has really taken place (in major sources of media, anyways) has been ‘how guilty are these people of being terrorists’. While the spirit of the program (Prism) may have had good intentions, the leaks are proof that the powers bestowed upon the government and its many agencies by themselves has been subject to abuse. Having someone call you out on lies and a lack of accountability or responsibility isn’t an act of terrorism. It’s being kept honest. For some, it’s a harsh reality.
    With respect to the discussion above of military drones, again, while the spirit of what their use is intended to accomplish may be positive and well intentioned, time after time it has been disproved by what they usually accomplish. Yes, sometimes they do hit their intended target. Far too often however has it been innocent people. We, the west, look at it these instances as ‘oops, that’s too bad’ and end of discussion. No calls for accountability or someone to be held responsible as it’s all in the name of fighting “terrorism”. And we wonder why people in Afghanistan (and Pakistan as well as others) hate us. These innocent people- family to others- are murdered by error and they have no recourse and no closure. So what might a reasonable outcome be of a young individual who has just had a loved-one murdered? Prayer- maybe. Bottling emotions- maybe. Fighting against the face of those who caused you this pain? Maybe. My question is why do we consider them terrorists if they want to hold someone or something accountable for their actions?
    Arthanyel, I do agree with you that secrets are necessary to run a country and to keep it running functionally. However, I feel that at some point, a line has to be drawn where certain secrets are not acceptable to be kept. In my opinion, that doesn’t exist in the US. If you must keep a secret, you should be darn sure that it is for the betterment of those who are affected by it and even more sure that those people are going to agree with you when presented with non-biased facts. History has proven- and will continue to prove- time and time again that without adequate checks and balances and accountability, power will be abused.

    Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

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