Why Snowden shouldn’t get clemency

January 7th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Fred Kaplan writes at Slate:

I regard Daniel Ellsberg as an American patriot. I was one of the first columnists to write that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be firedfor lying to Congress. On June 7, two days after the first news stories based on ’s leaks, I wrote a column airing (and endorsing) the concerns of Brian Jenkins, a leading counterterrorism expert, that the government’s massive surveillance program had created “the foundation of a very oppressive state.”

And yet I firmly disagree with the New York Times’ Jan. 1 editorial (“Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”), calling on President Obama to grant Snowden “some form of clemency” for the “great service” he has done for his country.

Kaplan is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who specialises in military and foreign policy.

It is true that Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens—far vaster than any outsider had suspected, in some cases vaster than the agency’s overseers on the secret FISA court had permitted—have triggered a valuable debate,leading possibly to much-needed reforms.

If that were all that Snowden had done, if his stolen trove of beyond-top-secret documents had dealt only with the NSA’s domestic surveillance, then some form of leniency might be worth discussing.

But Snowden did much more than that. The documents that he gave the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald have, so far, furnished stories about the NSA’s interception of email traffic, mobile phone calls, and radio transmissions of Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s northwest territories; about an operation to gauge the loyalties of CIA recruits in Pakistan; about NSA email intercepts to assist intelligence assessments of what’s going on inside Iran; about NSA surveillance of cellphone calls “worldwide,” an effort that (in the Post’s words) “allows it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect.” In his first interview with the South China Morning Post, Snowden revealed that the NSA routinely hacks into hundreds of computers in China and Hong Kong.

These operations have nothing to do with domestic surveillance or even spying on allies. They are not illegal, improper, or (in the context of 21st-century international politics) immoral. Exposing such operations has nothing to do with “whistle-blowing.”

Some of what Snowden did was whistle-blowing and it is a good thing we can now debate the extent and acceptability of these activities. But as Kaplan states, Snowden went well beyond that and has revealed info which are seriously detrimental to his country’s interests.

The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson, who has called on Obama to “pardon” Snowden, cited Jimmy Carter’s pardoning of Vietnam-era draft dodgers as “a useful parallel when thinking about Snowden’s legal situation.” This suggestion is mind-boggling on several levels. Among other things, Snowden signed an oath, as a condition of his employment as an NSA contractor, not to disclose classified information, and knew the penalties for violating the oath. The young men who evaded the draft, either by fleeing to Canada or serving jail terms, did so in order to avoid taking an oath to fight a war that they opposed—a war that was over, and widely reviled, by the time that Carter pardoned them.

There are no such extenuating circumstances favoring forgiveness of Snowden. TheTimes editorial paints an incomplete picture when it claims that he “stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency’s voraciousness.” In fact, as Snowden himself told the South China Morning Post, he took his job as an NSA contractor, with Booz Allen Hamilton, because he knew that his position would grant him “access to lists of machines all over the world [that] the NSA hacked.” He stayed there for just three months, enough to do what he came to do.

That is key – he took up the job with the intention of stealing classified documents.

Is a clear picture emerging of why Snowden’s prospects for clemency resemble the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell? He gets himself placed at the NSA’s signals intelligence center in Hawaii for the sole purpose of pilfering extremely classified documents. (How many is unclear: I’ve heard estimates ranging from “tens of thousands” to 1.1 million.)  He gains access to many of them by lying to his fellow workers (and turning them into unwitting accomplices). Then he flees to Hong Kong (a protectorate of China, especially when it comes to foreign policy) and, from there, to Russia.

And who is he now allied with?

Did the Times editorialists review the statement that Snowden made to a human rights group in Moscow this past July, soon after Vladimir Putin granted him asylum? He thanked the nations that had offered him support. “These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador, have my gratitude and respect,” he proclaimed, “for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful.”

Yes those countries are all great defenders of human rights.

 

Tags:

85 Responses to “Why Snowden shouldn’t get clemency”

  1. igm (859 comments) says:

    Snowden is a treasonous mongrel who deserves no consideration from any quarter. He, along with types such as Dotcom, are blights on decent society, they should be tried and punished for wrongdoings like anyone else. These are the types Russel Norman (give me my flag back) champion . . . God help us!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 18 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Longknives (4,047 comments) says:

    Treason- Deserves a firing squad.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Francis_X (143 comments) says:

    So what you’re saying, David, is that government and state power should be allowed to grow and intrude into our lives and anyone who fights back by whistleblowing state activities deserves to be prosecuted?

    Prosecuted for what?

    For daring to question the growth of State power?

    So what was your position on the late USSR again? North Korea?

    Plenty of state surveillance in North Korea, eh?

    And tell me, what would be your stance if precisely the same thing was happening in the US, under a left-wing government?

    Don’t forget, David, that the material that Snowden took belongs to the taxpaying citizens of that country. They paid for it. As such, they (and we) have a right to know what our governments are getting up to. Otherwise, if you ever find yourself under surveillance by a leftwing government here in NZ, I’ve no doubt you’ll be spitting tacks about it on your blog!

    Just remember that you took the side of the State, and not the Individual.

    Have a nice day, comrade.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 21 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    The more the US insists its Stasi style surveillance of the planet is acceptable and the more it persecutes those who would draw attention to its crimes the greater the resistance will grow to its imperial ambitions.

    I think people like Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden make fantastic martyrs. There is nothing the US can do to prevent them doing more ‘damage’ as most of the information is already out there (although there is a suggestion that the pardoning of Snowden is an attempt to prevent even more damaging material being released through offering him amnesty in some kind of deal, it reeks of desperation on the part of the NSA). Every time the US, through its corporate media proxies, attempts to smear any of these young heroes the public is reminded of the large scale sinister activity that is US foreign policy.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 27 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Longknives (4,047 comments) says:

    Have you ever thought about visiting planet Earth Yoza?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. J Bloggs (100 comments) says:

    Francis: He should be prosecuted for the knowing and deliberate violation of the conditions of his security clearance. When he signed up for the job, he agreed to the conditions and would have been fully informed of the consequences of breaking those particular laws. He chose to do so, then ran away to avoid said consequences. Whether he was justified in his whistleblowing or not, he KNOWINGLY AND WILFULLY broke the law and his oath to do so.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. V (660 comments) says:

    As far as I can see he was loyal to the Constitution, the ultimate law of the land, and that is all that matters, not some supposed oath/contract he signed at the NSA.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Manolo (12,622 comments) says:

    Put the bugger against the wall facing the firing squad.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 13 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. EAD (315 comments) says:

    DPF – It’s a shame that you seem to be too reflexively authoritarian to understand the real good that Snowden has done, and indeed that all state whistle blowers do.

    As is often the case, those who ought to be sceptical about the efficacy and honesty of big government in general, turn out to be believers in big government as soon as it puts on a uniform and talks about security or order.

    Your denigration of Snowden goes totally against your supposed principles and shows you as an apologist for the surveillance state.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Longknives (3,636 comments) says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Have you ever thought about visiting planet Earth Yoza?

    I know you struggle with this, Longknives, but there are far more of us who are uncomfortable with the expectation that we should happily lick the boots of the Washington masters than there are those who see boot licking as the noblest of pursuits.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 17 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. ross69 (3,637 comments) says:

    Snowden went well beyond that and has revealed info which are seriously detrimental to his country’s interests

    First you’d have to explain how it’s in the US’s interests to spy on Angela Merkel et al, and how revealing this has been “seriously detrimental” to those interests.

    “Merkel’s days of going out on a limb to support the United States, it seems safe to say, are probably over. … Still, there’s a sad irony in the fact that the European official least likely to indulge in anti-Americanism, the one who had an un-ironic attachment to the American dream, turns out to have been the NSA’s highest-profile target.”

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115442/angela-merkel-spying-us-just-lost-very-good-friend

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. ross69 (3,637 comments) says:

    “On October 24, 2013, The Guardian said in a report that the NSA had monitored the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders.”

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/01/03/343554/merkel-agrees-to-inquiry-into-nsa-spying/

    I wonder how many terrorist attacks were prevented by spying on these leaders? Yeah nah, but let’s blame Snowdon, not the idiots who ordered and approved such spying.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Pete George (21,806 comments) says:

    Manolo, you’ve claimed to be a Liberal, shooting people you don’t like doesn’t fit with that.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    I would even question whether his alliance with the Russians started before or after he took the NSA job.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. OneTrack (1,960 comments) says:

    ross69 – Can you explain how it wasn’t detrimental to US interests for Snowden to reveal the surveilance of Merkel? Can you explain how it wasnt detrimental for Australian-Indonesian diplomatic relations for Snowden to reveal the surveilance?

    You, no doubt, argue that the surveilance shouldnt have been happening. nb I was under the impression everybody knew that thats what countries did, if they could. But, assuming it was happening, how did Snowdens release of the security documentation help the US-German relationship?

    Sorry, but thanks to this guy, the world is now a more dangerous place than it was. Is that what he intended -if so, high five, he’s a winner.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. EAD (315 comments) says:

    “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-15/orwellian-america

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. J Bloggs (100 comments) says:

    NK: I doubt that it would have. After he did his runner, the US government will have gone over his background with a fine tooth comb looking for evidence of just that. if they’d found it, it would have come out by now. As it is, he’s broken his security clearance and revealed classified information. If there was evidence of prior collusion with a foreign nation, then it becomes Espionage, which has substantially greater ramifications for him.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Nookin (2,887 comments) says:

    “..shooting people you don’t like doesn’t fit with that.”

    There has even been a suggestion that such recourse is frowned upon in a civilised society!

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. V (660 comments) says:

    @Onetrack

    The world is now more dangerous thanks to two failed wars in Iraq (al Qaeda now present) and Afghanistan (US now negotiating with Taliban), as well as drone strikes in Yemen that are killing civilians and making it increasingly difficult for people their to tolerate their own government. That is what is harming global security and breeding terrorists, nothing that Snowden has released.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Keeping Stock (9,788 comments) says:

    I might have some sense of sympathy for Snowden had he not deliberately sought a job that would give him access to records that he could steal and release publicly. He is not a “whistle-blower” as some like to portray him. He made a deliberate decision to act against the best interests of his country and its government, and there should be no clemency for him.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. EAD (315 comments) says:

    @ Keeping Stock

    Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people?

    Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    Revealing the extent to which the government spies on its citizens. GOOD

    Revealing the extent to which your own country spies on other countries. BAD

    Its simple and anyone who is genuinely interested in freedom can see it.

    What did he set out to do? The fact he praises Russia, Venezuela, and Bolivia of all places and that he took no steps to leak only documents from the first group makes it all too clear that he wasn’t interested in protecting individuals.

    He dumped everything and didnt care what it was or how it would impact anyone. That’s not the act of a patriot looking to defend ‘liberty’.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Graeme Edgeler (3,216 comments) says:

    DPF – what penalty do you think is appropriate for Snowden?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. jakejakejake (128 comments) says:

    He should have only leaked about spying on USA and other civilized white countries. Any slant eyed countries and arabs deserve to have their emails read, trash gone through and drones shooting hellfire missiles at their foreheads.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Tom Barker (92 comments) says:

    Daniel Ellsberg received identical levels of vilification when he released the Pentagon Papers, and is now quite rightly regarded as a secular saint, even by the author of this article. I have no doubt that Snowden will be regarded in the same terms by posterity, even if not by the vicious fools who infest this site.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. EAD (315 comments) says:

    So what if he chose asylum in Russia? Snowden is not under threat from Russia – he is under threat from the US. The very fact that Edward Snowden feels safer in Russia than in his own country is a terrible indictment on what the USA has become. Shake off that Cold War mentality as times have changed.

    Russia is Russia and Putin makes no claim to be the world champion of “freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, gays, lesbians,asylum seekers,African Americans, liberty” etc etc, the US does – but it is not .

    Notice the uniformity of the media, from country to country, “left” or “right”. They are pretty much all trashing Snowden with the exception of the Guardian FFS. I always thought 1984 and it’s Ministry of Truth was meant to be science fiction not an instruction manual.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. flipper (3,269 comments) says:

    The mistake many are making here is to treat the pompous, self-important, narcissistic New York Times seriously.

    Only the chattering classes in Washington and New York bother with this dinosaur-like publication. Its proclivities have never changed.

    But seriously, should Snowden be charged? Yes. But ” with what, precisely” is the problem.

    There are two further problems: 1) The actual Snowden “crime” is one of embarrassment for the NSA/GCHQ/GCSB et al group, and 2) Most, and even more, of what Snowden has said was published in Tom Clancy’s books over the past five or six years, dating back to “The Teeth of The Tiger”.

    When Clancy revealed what was happening, and what would happen, we thought it fiction. But we now know it wasn’t. The force orange mob (Russia, China, etc. ) did not need Snowden to tell them anything. They knew, and they were/are doing something similar. As lay commentators we do not know how successful they were/are.

    So, again, should Snowden go down?
    YEP, for 10-20 years (same as Manning?) …. on similar charges.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. KevinH (1,128 comments) says:

    An intercepted phone call from one of his minders lead to the demise of Osama bin Laden, Snowden in his faux outrage fails to admit that intelligence can and does work.
    In a democracy if you don’t like the government you vote them out, simple.
    Snowden will have a long lifetime of service with the Russians to reflect on the error of his ways. He will never be able to return to the West.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. wf (317 comments) says:

    I’m just surprised that people are surprised that someone pointed out the obvious. By definition, those that spy, will be spied on.

    Silly old me, I have always expected that governments and their agencies spied on anyone and everyone if it suited their purpose.

    Probably read too many spy novels in my youth.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    You seem a little confused DPF about why the draft dodgers who went to Canada were pardoned.
    Simple really, the USA does have royalty who are above the law,Nixon and co.
    Now Carter could not pardon Nixon without also pardoning those instant Canadians.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. J Bloggs (100 comments) says:

    But seriously, should Snowden be charged? Yes. But ” with what, precisely” is the problem.

    This seems to cover it nicely. Guess the only question is how many times he can be charged under this section.

    18 USC Section 798. Disclosure of Classified Information

    (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—
    (1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
    (2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
    (3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
    (4) obtained by the process of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—
    Shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. (emphaisis mine)

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Francis_X (143 comments) says:

    You know the funniest thing about all those who view Snowden as some kind of “Enemy of the State”, and de facto support State intrusion in our lives?

    Y’all are using pseudonyms! Funny as fuck really. Do you really think that the State doesn’t know who you are?? Your identities? Where you work? Who your friends and family are? Oh, they know alright.

    As for those of you demanding Snowden be prosecuted (or shot), you guys would’ve fitted in nicely in the old USS of R.

    Kee-rist, and you think THE STANDARD is leftwing?????? You guys are hard-core Stalinists.

    Good day, comrades!

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. ross69 (3,637 comments) says:

    An intercepted phone call from one of his minders lead to the demise of Osama bin Laden

    Oh so Bin laden wasn’t caught because he called Angela Merkel? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    KevinH (1,086 comments) says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    An intercepted phone call from one of his minders lead to the demise of Osama bin Laden, Snowden in his faux outrage fails to admit that intelligence can and does work.
    In a democracy if you don’t like the government you vote them out, simple.

    Possibly one of the sillier statements this thread has spat up. Please Kevin, enlighten us, which party is campaigning for the dismantling of the Stasi style security apparatus? The reason corporations support the Democrats and the Republicans with equal fervour is they are little more than different wings of the same bird of prey. And if the NSA is really only concerned with terrorists, what was it about terrorism they were going to discover by monitoring Merkel’s phone?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    In a democracy if you don’t like the government you vote them out, simple.

    The problem is Government, not who is governing.

    The idea that “it would be fine if we just had the right people in power” is dangerous, but is popular on the Left in their dismissal of the spectacular failure of socialism in the 20th century

    Espionage is always going to exist and is vital to the functioning of a governed society. Knowing what other leaders are saying behind closed doors (both allies and enemies) puts a country in the best position to defend itself; ‘we’ are spying on ‘them’ in order to defend ‘ourselves’.

    Contrast this with a government that uses espionage to keep itself in power and extend its control of domestic society.

    These are two different ends of the spectrum, and at some point between them the issue becomes grey. Leaking information that revealing obviously ‘black’ behaviour is praise-worthy.

    Revealing everything from ‘white’ to ‘black’ means you dont care about the ‘white’ activity, and this means that your supporters CANNOT claim the black portion as your motivation.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. flipper (3,269 comments) says:

    J Bloggs (26 comments) says:

    January 7th, 2014 at 11:21 am

    But seriously, should Snowden be charged? Yes. But ” with what, precisely” is the problem.

    This seems to cover it nicely. Guess the only question is how many times he can be charged under this section.

    18 USC Section 798. Disclosure of Classified Information
    *****

    Yes.

    But all the Snowden data was in five (5) Clancy books, in ever increasing detail.
    Still I suppose it is a bit difficult to prosecute Clancy now. Greaney, on the other hand, is still alive.

    Seriously, given that the info is largely in the public arena making it espionage is a bit of stretch.

    But like Manning, Snowden should do a significant stretch. His was a gross, and deliberate, breech of trust.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. J Bloggs (100 comments) says:

    Flipper: Yes, Tom Clancy had a very good understanding of these and other US military issues (and was investigated a few times because of that, IIRC). But at the end of the day, TC was a writer of fiction, and did not have a security clearance from the US Government. Therefore, whatever he writes, he isn’t actually breaking any laws, unless he has received classified information and knowingly published it. Snowden and Manning on the other hand DID have security clearances, and by passing on that classified information, broke the law.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    First, I would take as a given that all “intelligence services” across the world monitor other countries (and for many, especially internal) communications, to the extent that they are able to. So the French, the Germans, the Russians, the Chinese, etc etc and etc. And they’d intercept anything and everything they could as well, so if the US was monitoring Merkel’s calls, it’s odds on that they weren’t the only ones doing so.

    And in many countries, monitoring the supposedly private conversations and communications of ones citizens is not even illegal, it may even be expected. But in the USA, such actions are indeed strictly illegal and at a fundamental level unacceptable to the US public. What Snowden has revealed is that not only were the NSA illegally monitoring domestic communications, they were overtly lying about what they were doing to almost everyone. Everyone that is except the current administration (and possibly the last one, but that was over 5 years ago now) who are no doubt aware of the surveillance, and benefit from it.

    If Snowden is prosecuted, then Capper should do double his sentence.

    And for those foolish enough to mention tracking Bin Laden, snooping on overseas phones may or may not be moral, but it is, for the NSA, legal.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    I regard Daniel Ellsberg as an American patriot

    The author should refer to Daniel Ellsberg’s opinion on the matter, in which he supports Snowden and explains why it is impossible to expect people in Snowdens position to do as Ellsberg did in his time as the U.S government is far more authoritarian and vindictive.

    Edward Snowden’s actions were heroic and in the best interests of his fellow citizens in attempting to hold their government accountable to them as it was imagined to be when founded.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. flipper (3,269 comments) says:

    J Bloggs…..

    Yep, agreed.

    One point though: Clancy, according to my info, had the very best of “technical” advice, and always, so it seems, was just behind the needle point. His fiction was too close to the mark to be anything less than “authorised”.

    Snowden must go down.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    Oops, I used the wrong link, this is Daniel Ellsberg refering to the consequences of leaking information.

    An except…

    Snowden believes that he has done nothing wrong. I agree wholeheartedly. More than 40 years after my unauthorized disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, such leaks remain the lifeblood of a free press and our republic. One lesson of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden’s leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just as power corrupts.

    That previous link was to Daniel Ellsbergs website and a more general discussion of the benefits of Snowdens leaks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    Clancy, according to my info, had the very best of “technical” advice, and always, so it seems, was just behind the needle point

    His story “The Cardinal Of The Kremlin” is a good example of material drawn from what was once secret. It wasn’t when he wrote his book but neither was the story well known at the time as it was recently declassified (IIRC partly because it was required as evidence in the case against Aldrich Ames).

    I liked Clancy’s earlier work, though around the time of “Debt Of Honour” it became unbearable as the work of authors too successful to be restrained by editors often becomes.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    This statement of DPF’s interests me…

    That is key – he took up the job with the intention of stealing classified documents.

    Apparently Snowden deliberately sought access to the information he leaked (I’ve not heard this before so I take no position on the claims veracity) and DPF thinks that condemns him.

    Why?

    Snowden has deliberately used documents to prove what he thinks is immoral and criminal behaviour by the U.S government that is hidden from citizens and ought be revealed. Why does it matter if he concluded that after receiving, or before seeking, the documents?

    The idea that making a decision to do so, then seeking the documents, is worse than receiving the documents then deciding to reveal their contents suggests to me an attitude that only certain people have a right to spy, that citizens do not have a right to investigate their government.

    It is very suggestive to me of a supine attitude to authority – that the unwashed masses have their place and it is never to take action on their own recognizance, as if they must never avoid a chain of command to which they are subject.

    In such attitudes I see a very different way of viewing authority to mine, a fundamental difference of attitude that I’m sure separates many who support and those who don’t people like Snowden.

    I think authority is always suspect and at best a clumsy compromise for organizing society and I have no problem with people disdaining it when appropriate. I cannot understand people who appear to think any authority has a right to restrict their conscience.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. tas (527 comments) says:

    I disagree. The premise is that only domestic spying is bad and worthy of debate and that spying on millions of non-US persons is fine and indeed beyond question. I don’t believe your nationality should strip you of your most fundamental rights.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. J Bloggs (100 comments) says:

    Snowden has deliberately used documents to prove what he thinks is immoral and criminal behaviour by the U.S government that is hidden from citizens and ought be revealed. Why does it matter if he concluded that after receiving, or before seeking, the documents?

    The idea that making a decision to do so, then seeking the documents, is worse than receiving the documents then deciding to reveal their contents suggests to me an attitude that only certain people have a right to spy, that citizens do not have a right to investigate their government.

    I can’t speak for other people, but for me, its the taking of an oath and making a legal declaration to abide by the laws surrounding classified information, knowing IN ADVANCE you are going to break that oath and those laws, that offends me. If he had taken up the job in ignorance, then discovered this information, been horrified by it and gone public, I’d be less offended. But to do what he did, to my mind, is the same as going into court with the intention to commit perjury.

    Probably all that says about me is I have a quaint, and somewhat outmoded sense of what constitutes honourable behaviour.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    J Bloggs, but at some point an oath is just words. Example, you suspect that mass genocide is about to be promulgated, and in order to find out about it you have to join a certain organization. In joining you must swear an oath, which you do. You then find out that your suspicions were correct and genocide is indeed planned and indeed about to happen; the world is unaware of this. Would you really consider your oath more important than genocide ? Or would you only expose this if you hadn’t already suspected genocide and were thus, “surprised” as it were ? Why is that different ?

    Now substitute other peoples belief in the sanctity of, for example, the US Constitution, which the NSA was blithely undermining, and could you possibly extend some understanding to what Snowden did ?

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. flash2846 (132 comments) says:

    Yoza (1,067 comments) says:

    The more the US insists its Stasi style surveillance of the planet is acceptable and the more it persecutes those who would draw attention to its crimes the greater the resistance will grow to its imperial ambitions.

    I think people like Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden make fantastic martyrs

    OMG Yoza – Clearly you have never been in the military and therefore have little or no understanding of the danger traitors pose to our people. Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t some agents been murdered as a result of Assange leaks?

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    Now substitute other peoples belief in the sanctity of, for example, the US Constitution, which the NSA was blithely undermining, and could you possibly extend some understanding to what Snowden did ?

    If that was his intended purpose, but his actions give lie to that.

    Snowden leaked a tonne of information, some of which revealed the extent of domestic spying. If the leak only had the domestic stuff, then that is no problem and you could safely assume that was his purpose and consider his character in that light.

    But he didnt release just the domestic stuff. He released details of legitimate spying on foreign leaders by the US and their allies.

    What noble value did revealing Australia’s spying on the Indonesians serve? Whose liberty was he defending when he lobbed that hand-grenade into our region?

    He didnt “blow the whistle”, he robbed the bank.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. stephieboy (1,126 comments) says:

    Thank you DPF for posting that most timely Slate article that truly puts Snowden and his actions in true and proper perspective . Again thank you for highlighting the key point about him joining with the intention of stealing classified documents as a NSA Contractor
    .I wonder how Snowden would fare under similar circumstances in countries like Russia and China.Its extremely ironical that he seeks refuge in a country run by an ex KGB agent of some 30 years standing who along with his government has been responsible for the murder of a number of investigative journalists /whistelblowers including notably Anna Politikovskaya.
    Putins actions in this area lead me to have nothing but contempt for Snowden and his fanboy club including his biggest fan Glen Greenwald

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    I regard Daniel Ellsberg as an American patriot.

    Here’st the thing about Ellsberg – his actions lengthened the Vietnam war. The stuff he leaked embarrassed the Nixon administration which was at the time in secret negotiations to end the war. His leak had nothing to do with the actions of Nixon, so there was little to gain in that regard.

    Not to say he shouldn’t have done it – just that things are often more complicated than they appear.

    However in Snowden’s case it’s pretty durn clear that his actions are a strong, strange mix of standing up for the right, while doing things that are wrong seemingly for the heck of it.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    for me, its the taking of an oath and making a legal declaration to abide by the laws surrounding classified information, knowing IN ADVANCE you are going to break that oath and those laws, that offends me.

    But what irritates you, I presume, about Snowden is his acting as you think dishonourably to reveal; what he thinks is dishonourable behaviour by people who are lying and breaking oaths themselves.

    What would be protected by silence by Snowden would be the same sort of oath breaking.

    Snowden, it is maintained (I don’t know if it’s true) basically told a lie to investigate what he thought were crimes, do those who think that’s dishonourable also think so of cops and authorities who must tell lies to go about their clandestine business?

    I think we all know that an investigator must mislead their subjects to gain access to evidence against them, we expect it of our police on occasion, we know spies will do so. What is wrong with citizens doing so investigating their government?

    I see no reason to exclude citizens from using the same justifications as governments which ultimately stand or fall on the veracity of their complaints.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    Again, you are ascribing to him motivations that are dis-proven by his actions.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    I agree with Kaplan. Had Snowden limited himself to exposing the NSA’s potentially illegal mass domestic surveillance programs (which is now before the courts), I would have considered him to be a bona fide whistle blower. But his revelations about what is basically traditional state on state signals intelligence gathering, to include economic espionage, has nothing to do with the right to privacy in the US and all to do with damaging the foreign relations of the Five Eyes network and its partners. Why did he have to expose the fact that Singapore helps spy on Malaysia for 5 Eyes, Canada conducts economic espionage on Brazil, Sweden helps the NSA eavesdrop on Russia, 5 Eyes embassies have tactical signals collections secure rooms and the NSA has a dedicated cell of 600 hackers working exclusively on cracking Chinese cyber communications? Why have his leaks been so one-sided? Given the fact that he undoubtably had access to NSA counter-intelligence reports, why has he said nothing about Chinese or Russian signals intelligence, which just happened to be the countries through and to which he fled? I should note that so far he has not mentioned much about Israeli signals intelligence, which probably is due to his realizing what would happen to him if he did (even in Moscow). I also, based on personal experience, know what the secrecy oaths demand and what the penalties are violating them, so I am not surprised that he has been charged with various counts of unlawfully obtaining and disseminating classified material without authorization (although so far as I know he has not been charged with espionage, which requires him to be doing so at the behest of a foreign state). Then there is the issue of how he got his security clearance (turns out the vetting process was shambolic) and the small matter of his so-called “nuclear” option (where he has arranged for journalists to download the mother load of what he stole in the event something bad happens to him). In any event, I think that there is much more to come from Snowden and that it will be damaging to NZ. I said as much here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11165857

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. cha (3,533 comments) says:

    While Snowden did us all a favour by disclosing the extent of the project this will be the first and last time I’ll ever agree with Bolton, neck the treasonous piece of shit.

    http://joshuafoust.com/a-timeline-of-edward-snowden-associates/

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/snowden-accused-of-impersonating-nsa-officials.html

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/john-bolton-snowden-%E2%80%98ought-to-swing-from-a-tall-oak-tree%E2%80%99/

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    flash2846 (20 comments) says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 1:40 pm
    Yoza (1,067 comments) says:

    The more the US insists its Stasi style surveillance of the planet is acceptable and the more it persecutes those who would draw attention to its crimes the greater the resistance will grow to its imperial ambitions.

    I think people like Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden make fantastic martyrs

    OMG Yoza – Clearly you have never been in the military and therefore have little or no understanding of the danger traitors pose to our people. Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t some agents been murdered as a result of Assange leaks?

    OK, you are wrong. The ‘threat to our informants and agents’ was a canard that has come to nothing. If such an event occurred it would have been widely publicised.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    cha (3,127 comments) says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    While Snowden did us all a favour by disclosing the extent of the project this will be the first and last time I’ll ever agree with Bolton, neck the treasonous piece of shit.

    http://joshuafoust.com/a-timeline-of-edward-snowden-associates/

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/snowden-accused-of-impersonating-nsa-officials.html

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/john-bolton-snowden-%E2%80%98ought-to-swing-from-a-tall-oak-tree%E2%80%99/

    That second link is a little dubious:

    “Anonymous officials also said, according to a new report, that Snowden, while working as a system administrator at Booz Allen, “borrowed the identities of users with higher level security clearances to grab sensitive documents,” and that the ongoing forensic investigation “has already identified several instances where Snowden borrowed someone else’s user profile to access documents.”

    Snowden was a Systems Administrator and, as such, did not need to ‘borrow’ i.d.s to get anywhere, he had access to everything anyway.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    If such an event occurred it would have been widely publicised.

    Because the fate of informants and agents is immediately reported to the press by security agencies.

    They are all about transparency afterall.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    Why have his leaks been so one-sided? Given the fact that he undoubtably had access to NSA counter-intelligence reports, why has he said nothing about Chinese or Russian signals intelligence, which just happened to be the countries through and to which he fled?

    Excellent point.

    By his actions (and inactions) you can get a good idea of what his intentions were.

    Look at those nasty Westerners spying on other people! Thank you to all the South American autocracies for standing up for ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’! Save me mother Russia!

    The Snowden of the fanboy fantasists in this thread doesn’t exist.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. wikiriwhis business (3,286 comments) says:

    ‘Treason- Deserves a firing squad.’

    Longknives

    why do you think the govt took away the treason laws in NZ. so they could commit treason and get away with it

    Absolutely so obvious.

    The Central Bank now has power to empty all bank and trust accounts. Govt won’t tell you that. But John Key did say another Cyprus could happen here…..so it will.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    What a great perspective. Thank you

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    Wiki, Cyprus, that bank, it was broke, there was no money for the government to take. All they did was restrict their payout of deposit insurance to that amount decreed by EU law, that is the first 100K owned by a depositor was officially insured with no extension for multiple accounts. Of course it could and probably should happen here if a bank goes broke; depositors lose their money, that’s what broke means ! Though in most cases banks fail because of cashflow problems rather than outright insolvency, Cyprus however, it was literally insolvent.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Paul G. Buchanan (293 comments) says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I agree with Kaplan. Had Snowden limited himself to exposing the NSA’s potentially illegal mass domestic surveillance programs (which is now before the courts), I would have considered him to be a bona fide whistle blower. But his revelations about what is basically traditional state on state signals intelligence gathering, to include economic espionage, has nothing to do with the right to privacy in the US and all to do with damaging the foreign relations of the Five Eyes network and its partners. …

    The amount of people required to oversee an operation on such a massive scale, as one which collects intelligence from every other country on the planet, would run into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. It seems inevitable that large numbers of those people would be sickened by the terror which results from ensuring obedience to the demands of imperial norms – the rights of corporations overriding the rights of people being one of the more obvious. There will be more Snowdens and Mannings, of that we can be assured.

    As long as the US and its handmaidens demand global deference to US led Western corporate rule nobody is going to be paying much attention to minor criminals like the Russian and Chinese states. The five eyes network, like most state institutions, exists to protect the authority and influence of the ruling elite from the consequences that arise out of exercising that authority on the general population. The NSA and the GCSB are not there for the protection of the public, they exist to serve the interests of private concentrations of capital.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. wat dabney (3,446 comments) says:

    “Why Snowden shouldn’t get clemency”

    It’s not Snowden who should be seeking clemency, it is all those at the NSA who conspired against the Constitution to spy on everyone. They should be put up against a wall and shot.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    The NSA and GCSB represent two different nations with different values. Government agencies in NZ are responsible and generally act reasonably. The US has a gung ho attitude that scares the living daylights out of the military from allied nations.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Paul G. Buchanan (301 comments) says:

    Sorry Yoza, but I do not subscribe to the belief that the interests of the State are reducible to protecting capital. To be sure, that is an economic imperative at play, as there always has been in the affairs of states dating back to pre-capitaist times. But other motivations factor in so the structural imperative is mitigated. The many failures of the US political system notwithstanding, there is more to ist intelligence gathering than protecting corporate interest.

    The privatization of intelligence analysis via contractors, like the proliferations of private security firms before it, is in my view foolish and leads to the likes of Snowden gaining access to things he should not have. There is now a review being undertaken with regard to intelligence contracting that may tighten the regulations regarding non-government employee access. IMO that would be a good thing, but so would a complete judicial review of the limits of domestic espionage. Unfortunately here in NZ we just expanded the GCSB powers of domestic espionage with even less oversight than currently exists in the US. Go figure.

    I find it interesting that the Snowden-induced uproar is mostly about the intelligence gathering activities of liberal democratic states, the US in particular. It would seem that people just accept that authoritarian states like the PRC and Russia engage in all sorts of spying and so do not bother decrying those activities because, well, that is what despots do. That may be acceptable when it comes to domestic espionage and infringements on civil liberties, where clearly things should be different between authoritarian and democratic regimes (i.e. there should be no Stasi-type surveillance in a democracy). But when it comes to traditional inter-state espionage there is no social contract regulating what can and cannot be done, so what can be done is done in the absence of countervailing measures.

    With regard to the latter what Snowden has done is reveal means and methods of 5 Eyes Signals intelligence collection, which now requires a complete overhaul, change, and replacement of codes, protocols, locators, sensors, mobile collection platforms and the like. If we add to this the Delisle spy scandal of two years ago (when a Canadian military intelligence officer sold Echelon secrets to the Russians), then the damage has been compounded and is, in fact, immeasurable except for the resultant costs of undertaking the overhaul (which taxpayers here in NZ as well as the other 5 Eyes partners will pay for).

    The questions you have to ask yourself is: who benefits the most from his revelations about 5 Eyes inter-state espionage, and why would he expose these activities when his original justification was solely the protection of US citizen’s privacy rights? What does one have to do with the other?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    Snowden has not released information that a lot of people suspected was being gathered. If the US can gather information on innocent people within that particular nation it can no doubt gather information on innocent people outside of it, the blanket approach and Snowden has reacted in a blanket approach. A possible spinoff of the Snowden revelations is that the US might pull its head in and mind its own business a lot more than it does now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. flash2846 (132 comments) says:

    Yes Yoza you are indeed a racist as said on another post. Racism of course stems from jealousy. You wouldn’t know a reasonable argument if it slapped you in the face.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    It is doubtful that Snowden acted alone otherwise there is a big possibility he would be dead by now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    All those who sell out their Nation’s security should be hung.

    That goes for people who advocate that the Muslim population should be more than 2% of the population.

    Once Muslims get 2% they then advocate for Sharia Law. The nation is then finished as it becomes segregated – just look at Maori – and the UK – and some EU countries.

    Treason is on a par with peadophillia.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. MH (558 comments) says:

    a once friendly state can become an unfriendly state both in a short or long term process,all spy agencies must have to bear that in mind and prepare to have contacts in place in existing govt bureacracies and in groups ostensibly at odds with an existing friendly regime. It may be paranoia or the result of interferring gung ho types which accidently bring to fruition various scenarios that should never have occured except in the minds of those who think “what if…” Snowden put those people and those back up systems at risk The rise of pro nazi politicians in France and germany ,the worry over EU monetry policies etc mean some countries have to be prepared. Some call it spying.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. V (660 comments) says:

    The kenyan in chief has used the espionage act more times than all the other US Presidents combined.

    Just reflect on that for a moment.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. cha (3,533 comments) says:

    The kenyan in chief has used the espionage act more times than all the other US Presidents combined.

    That’s a lie V.

    But a closer look reveals a surprising conclusion: the crackdown has nothing to do with any directive from the president, even though he is now promoting his record as a political asset.

    Instead, it was unplanned, resulting from several leftover investigations from the Bush administration, a proliferation of e-mail and computer audit trails that increasingly can pinpoint reporters’ sources, bipartisan support in Congress for a tougher approach, and a push by the director of national intelligence in 2009 that sharpened the system for tracking disclosures.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/us/politics/accidental-path-to-record-leak-cases-under-obama.html?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. V (660 comments) says:

    a proliferation of e-mail and computer audit trails that increasingly can pinpoint reporters’ sources

    Worrying for journalism don’t you think? In other words if the govt. doesn’t like what you say it will hunt you down.

    Note how these actions are all one way. Guys who are reported in the media as “a government source not authorised to speak said ……” are never prosecuted, reason, they are getting the ‘govt line’ out there.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says: 
    January 7th, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Sorry Yoza, but I do not subscribe to the belief that the interests of the State are reducible to protecting capital. To be sure, that is an economic imperative at play, as there always has been in the affairs of states dating back to pre-capitaist times. But other motivations factor in so the structural imperative is mitigated. The many failures of the US political system notwithstanding, there is more to ist intelligence gathering than protecting corporate interest.

    I am struggling with this. It seems obvious, most especially among the ‘five eyes’ states, that public institutions in Western democracies are inherently subordinate to concentrated wealth. As a consequence of corporations controlling the greatest concentrations of capital, outside of the state itself, they exert a disproportionate degree of influence within the decision making processes of their respective countries. Its not that rules are devised to protect the interests of specific companies, rather than those rules are designed to favour corporate interests generally.

    The privatization of intelligence analysis via contractors, like the proliferations of private security firms before it, is in my view foolish and leads to the likes of Snowden gaining access to things he should not have.

    It does not matter that Snowden worked for a private contractor, this is an ideological non-starter. The state, most especially in the US, is a conduit through which public money is directed to corporate welfare programs in the form of government contracts. To suggest eliminating private contracts to reinstate public service careers in tantamount to heresy.

    Unfortunately here in NZ we just expanded the GCSB powers of domestic espionage with even less oversight than currently exists in the US. Go figure.

    I don’t expect a Labour regime to make any dramatic alterations.

    I find it interesting that the Snowden-induced uproar is mostly about the intelligence gathering activities of liberal democratic states, the US in particular. It would seem that people just accept that authoritarian states like the PRC and Russia engage in all sorts of spying and so do not bother decrying those activities because, well, that is what despots do.

    That and the fact that China and Russia are limited economically and culturally in their ability to affect the dominance of the US led Western control of global trade. I don’t know if you watch RT News, but the anti-US/Western bias is really in your face, your Western equivalent is much more subtle. Considering the gravity of the Snowden revalations and the Assange/Manning exposé the media response has been quite subdued. If any of these acts were committed by the Chinese or Russians our corporate media would be screaming at us relentlessly.
    The greatest threat to Western dominance of the global economic landscape is the US/UKs reflexive recourse to violence to ‘solve’ problems, that’s really how you make enemies and alienate people.

    With regard to the latter what Snowden has done is reveal means and methods of 5 Eyes Signals intelligence collection, which now requires a complete overhaul, change, and replacement of codes, protocols, locators, sensors, mobile collection platforms and the like. If we add to this the Delisle spy scandal of two years ago (when a Canadian military intelligence officer sold Echelon secrets to the Russians), then the damage has been compounded and is, in fact, immeasurable except for the resultant costs of undertaking the overhaul (which taxpayers here in NZ as well as the other 5 Eyes partners will pay for).
    The questions you have to ask yourself is: who benefits the most from his revelations about 5 Eyes inter-state espionage, and why would he expose these activities when his original justification was solely the protection of US citizen’s privacy rights? What does one have to do with the other?

    I doubt China or Russia learnt anything they didn’t already know about the US’s electronic intelligence gathering capability. The greatest benefit was derived from humiliating the US in front of its allies and forcing it into carrying out some pretty outrageous activity – commanding its European clients to force down Evo Morales’s plane was barking mad.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. V (660 comments) says:

    Yoza, this backs up your first point with regard to corporates/ (financial) elites.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/05/the-quiet-coup/307364/?single_page=true

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    flash2846 (22 comments) says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Yes Yoza you are indeed a racist as said on another post. Racism of course stems from jealousy. You wouldn’t know a reasonable argument if it slapped you in the face.

    I’m guessing this is as a consequence of my dismissal of your,

    “OMG Yoza – Clearly you have never been in the military and therefore have little or no understanding of the danger traitors pose to our people. Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t some agents been murdered as a result of Assange leaks?”

    , post.

    All you need do, flash2846, is provide a link to an example of the death of an agent or informant which is directly attributable to the Wikileaks disclosures.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. Gulag1917 (425 comments) says:

    Let us not forget;
    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
    Lord Acton
    “Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.”
    Groucho Marx

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    Thanks V, that was an interesting article. I’m with the authors in that I do not believe we have seen off the GFC and we will see another collapse before the decade is out. John Perkins and Michael Hudson are interesting commentators on the way corporate finance controls sovereign nations through imposing odious debts.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. SPC (4,639 comments) says:

    It’s all a conspiracy theory about government until some whistle blower reveals it.

    And if they do then they must be charged for breaching the secret… How about every person in government involved in illegal actions exposed by the whistle blower also being charged?

    Yeah Na?

    The hypocrisy is monstrous, they knew they were acting outside of authorisation, even doing things prohibited in legislation and the constitution that they swore to uphold.

    A few years ago some illegal surveillance of Americans was revealed, the FBI Director knew what President Bush asked was not legal and did it anyway. Congress found out and changed the law to make it legal – just as we changed our legislation recently so the GCSB could continue what it was doing earlier.

    This is all that will happen in the USA, more of their illegal stuff will be made legal and what they say they will stop doing will most likely continue. In the meantime they will improve their vetting of staff.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. Mark (1,301 comments) says:

    Seems that there are a number of self defined liberals on this blog who are arguing strongly in support of the US secret service agencies having unfettered powers to breach their own counties constitution not to mentioned countless allied countries laws in the interests of freedom and democracy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. stephieboy (1,126 comments) says:

    Mark I take it its OK to compromise the U S’s intelligence operations overseas in areas of conflict and strategic interest but mot likewise for e.g Russia and the PRC.?
    Has a” Liberal” like you had time to consider the fate of whistleblowers in Putin’s Russia.?

    http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2012/mar/11/journalist-safety-vladimir-putin

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. flash2846 (132 comments) says:

    Response to:
    Yoza (1,076 comments) says:
    January 8th, 2014 at 12:19 am
    flash2846 (22 comments) says:

    No Yoza, I’m not bitchy because of that and have indeed made enquiries regarding murder of agents.

    What really bugs me is when people find it easy to hate Americans (no matter their colour etc). I have trained with some very sensitive, intelligent and selfless American troops, some of whom have lost their lives. Like it or not we owe them.

    As for other wars you seriously need to talk to ‘combat’ vets to get a real perspective on who won or lost wars such as in Vietnam. My good friend’s parents village in Vietnam was annihilated by twice, first by Viet Cong and then by NVA troops. Less than a dozen survivors later rescued by American Army personnel. You guessed it, barely published in the press at the time or since.

    So hate away but man up when it counts because a hater like you doesn’t deserve the protection of brave soldiers (US. Brit, Aussie, Kiwi or our many many allies)

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    flash2846 (23 comments) says:
    January 8th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Response to:
    Yoza (1,076 comments) says:
    January 8th, 2014 at 12:19 am
    flash2846 (22 comments) says:

    No Yoza, I’m not bitchy because of that and have indeed made enquiries regarding murder of agents.

    What really bugs me is when people find it easy to hate Americans (no matter their colour etc).

    I do not hate Americans or even residents of the US – what would be the point?

    What I find appalling is the regular resort to deadly violence that characterises US forign policy. This is a state that has propped up some of the most vicious regimes this planet has witnessed, including Saddam Hussein:

    Iraq received massive external financial support from the Gulf states, and assistance through loan programs from the U.S. The White House and State Department pressured the Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with financing, to enhance its credit standing and enable it to obtain loans from other international financial institutions. The U.S. Agriculture Department provided taxpayer-guaranteed loans for purchases of American commodities, to the satisfaction of U.S. grain exporters.

    The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984, but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this country’s official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82) asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

    The Vietnamese could hardly have been said to have won that war as the US utterly devestated that country during the onslaught it put them through. The US invasion of Vietnam was an horrific crime for which the Vietnamese are still suffering the consequences. During the Vietnam war the US subjected Cambodia to one of the most intense bombing campaigns in the history of the planet. Pol Pot pointed out that before the US started bombing Cambodia the Khmer Rouge were a marginal group with about 5000 members throughout the country, after the bombing had finished the Khmer Rouge could field a 200,000 strong army, the US bombing led directly to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the subsequent tragedy of the killing fields.

    The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are just the latest bloodbaths in a long line of horrific attacks against relatively defenseless civilian populations.

    We are a party to their crimes.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. flash2846 (132 comments) says:

    Yoza
    It’s getting late and I need my beauty sleep so I’ll just make one or two more observations:

    Firstly you have bought into the anti American propaganda nicely with all the above convenient cherry picked information, and

    Secondly there is nothing more certain than change so perhaps a reasonable leader of a country like say Iraq in the 1970′s could conceivably turn himself into one of the deadliest dictators on record through the 80′s and 90′s. There are many examples of such leaders going from one extreme to another: e.g. Mugabe, Gerry Adams and Mandela to name just a few. One day support is called for and then the opposite is necessary.

    I will agree with you on your point regarding the Vietnamese not winning the war. The South Vietnamese certainly didn’t win it, The Viet Cong were almost non existent after the Tet offensive in 1968 and the NVA lost approximately 2 million soldiers.
    The northern Vietnamese raped their country in the name of communism only to go through another war immediately afterwards; this time with China the propagators of communism. Go figure!

    Anyway looking forward to playing another day
    Bon Nui

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. whistler (1 comment) says:

    In response to the original article of ‘Why Snowden shouldn’t get clemency’ the issue of whistleblowing is addressed. Snowden revealed confidential information and activities to the media and made public allegations of serious wrongdoing by his employer, the National Security Agency (NSA).
    It has been mentioned that Snowden’s potential for clemency relates to the information revealed, which went beyond the boundaries of blowing the whistle. Is whistleblowing limited to domestic matters only? Snowden disclosed information about the NSA’s domestic surveillance of American citizens but went one step further to include confidential information pertaining to international allies or associates also gathered by the NSA. Both the domestic and international information revealed (even if detrimental to the American Government) is considered whistle-blowing. If Snowden had only disclosed domestic information would he be able to stay in America?

    The purpose of external whistleblowing is to disclose an activity where the organisation would be worse off if the public finds out, which is not usually in the organisation’s or in this case, the American Government’s best interests. What defines a whistle-blower is; ‘that the information revealed to the media derived from their work. Being in IT Snowden would have had access to a great deal of classified information and systems. They’re a voluntary member of that organisation and they believed that the organisation, though legitimate, is engaged in serious moral wrongdoing. The individual must believe their work for that organisation will contribute to the immoral and/or illegal action if they do not publicly reveal what they know, and they are justified in their beliefs’ (The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, 2013, Module 2). Snowden meets all of the above criteria and nowhere does it distinguish between domestic and international information.

    In your article you state in reference to the international information revealed; “These operations have nothing to do with domestic surveillance or even spying on allies. They are not illegal, improper, or (in the context of 21st-century international politics) immoral. Exposing such operations has nothing to do with “whistle-blowing”” (Farrar, 2014). All around the world there are laws relating to privacy and information security. In America the Fourth Amendment is about “people being secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” (Gill, 2014), however, this has regularly happened in America by the NSA. You’re right, some of the information revealed doesn’t have anything to do with domestic surveillance but it has a lot to do with ‘spying on allies,’ and exposing such operations is whistleblowing.

    If these activities are not legal, moral or acceptable in America, how can they be justified to be legal, moral or acceptable internationally? Don’t get me wrong, I am not so naïve as to think other countries don’t partake in questionable activities like spying, but isn’t it a bit rich for the NSA and America to try and take the moral high ground here and not be accountable for their actions? Who has the authority to take away peoples basic human right to privacy?
    Snowden believed he had a moral obligation and loyalty to America to uphold the American constitution and share this information. Right or wrong this takes courage and a real sense of responsibility to your fellow citizens. Snowden jeopardized his life, his family, his income, his home, and his security in order to do what he believes is right. Edward Snowden justified his actions by saying “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself” (Snowden: ‘For me…, 2014).

    Part of the oath Snowden took may have been to protect the privacy of the information and knowledge acquired as part of his employment, but under oath Edward Snowden also vowed to ‘support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic…’ (Oath of Allegiance, 2013). Hasn’t this occurred through the actions taken by Snowden? Isn’t whistleblowing about revealing entrusted information to an external source that your employer, or perhaps government would rather wasn’t revealed? Wouldn’t an organisation want the fact that they were disloyal to their own countries laws and constitution kept hidden? Snowden had a moral obligation to expose the NSA’s illegal and immoral activities. He was loyal to America and its citizens and exposed information about activities that were in opposition to America’s constitution and laws. He was loyal to human kind in regards to exposing privacy issues and laws breached by the NSA. Snowden justified where his loyalty lies by (from his perspective) defending his country and their human rights in the way he determined was best.

    Snowden’s decision to whistle-blow on his employer was not made when he was seeking employment with NSA. It has been established that “Mr Snowden said his decision to leak NSA documents developed gradually…” (Risen, 2013). Through the course of his work for the CIA Snowden first came across documents revealing illegal activity through incorrectly classified “2009 inspector general’s report on the N.S.A.’s warrantless wiretapping program during the Bush administration” (Risen, 2013). Snowden had the opportunity and access to questionable documents when previously working with the CIA however never disclosed that information. The decision was made during his time with the NSA. He knew this activity was illegal and eventually through the course of his work for the NSA made the decision to blow the whistle.

    References
    DesJardins, J., & Duska, R. (2001). Drug testing in employment. In T.L. Beauchamp & N. E. Bowie (Eds.), Ethical theory and business (6th ed. pp. 283 – 294). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
    Farrar, D. (2014). Why Snowdon shouldn’t get clemency. Kiwiblog. Retrieved January 4, 2014, from http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/01/why_snowden_shouldnt_get_clemency.html
    Gill, K. (2014). The Bill of Rights – US Constitution Amendments. Retrieved January 9, 2014, from http://uspolitics.about.com/od/usgovernment/a/bill_of_rights.htm
    Oath of Allegiance (United States). (2013). Retrieved January 10, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_(United_States)
    Risen, J. (2013, October 18). Snowdon says he took no secret files to Russia. The New York Times, p. 2. Retrieved January 10, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-he-took-no-secret-files-to-russia.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
    Snowden: ‘For me… the mission’s already accomplished’. (2014). Retrieved January 9, 2014, from http://cir.ca/news/edward-snowden-nsa-leaker
    The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. (2013). Module 2: Ethics and employment relations. In 71203: Business Ethics. Lower Hutt, New Zealand.

    Whistler

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.