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Edward Snowden's Unmasking of American Illegitimacy

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From Map for EDWARD SNOWDEN 25/6/2013 14:51 West European time: WHERE IS HE?
Map for EDWARD SNOWDEN 25/6/2013 14:51 West European time: WHERE IS HE? by Imaginary Museum Projects: News Tableaus

The activities of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who reported a massive illegal government data gathering program, have perhaps inadvertently revealed how America is truly viewed by the world's nations. Snowden initially sought refuge in Honk Kong after a series of interviews with Britain's Guardian newspaper identified him as the NSA whistleblower who recently revealed details of the NSA's Stasi-like surveillance program. 

Predictably, the U.S. directed federal prosecutors to file criminal charges against Snowden, which has now become a matter of course in response to whistleblowers. An all-out international effort was launched to secure his immediate return. 

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Revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have confirmed much of what many nations already suspected about U.S. government activities  

 Additionally, the U.S. government, through its compliant media affiliates, initiated a full-scale assault on Snowden. The government's strategy appears to be to use the media to vilify Snowden while ignoring his startling revelations of criminal activity at the NSA. Rather than explore the wrongdoing exposed by Snowden, the media has instead focused on superfluous matters like his salary, his light educational resume, his pole dancing girlfriend and his reticence to subject himself to America's repressive system of justice. 


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The U.S. media has devoted significantly more time to Snowden's "pole dancing girlfriend" than to his stunning revelations of massive government spying

 The most glaring example of the media doing the government's bidding may have been the David Gregory interview of journalist Glenn Greenwald on June 23rd during which Gregory entertained the idea that Greenwald could be federally prosecuted for reporting on Snowden. The following exchange was highly revealing: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?" Gregory asked in the Sunday interview.

"I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themself a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies," Greenwald shot back. "The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence, David -- the idea that I've aided and abetted him in any way." 

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 Greenwald eviscerated media lapdog David Gregory in a widely seen interview

"If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal," Greenwald continued. "And it's precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States."


America's vindictive brand of justice, which results in the world's highest incarceration rate both in number and percentage of its people under lock and key, has been cleverly marketed to its masses as the "fairest system in the world." The pacified domestic population receives what little news it cares to ingest from heavily filtered sources and readily accepts this kind of jingoism. Nevertheless, the actions of other nations involved in the Snowden affair strongly suggest that the true nature of America's justice system has been revealed for the entire world to see. While America continues to posture itself as the model of justice for other nations to follow, conviction in U.S. federal courts is a near statistical certainty. America's obscene and patently illegitimate 99% conviction rate in federal courts may be playing no small part in the decision of other nations to offer sanctuary to Snowden, as his conviction is all but predetermined.    

Just as the U.S. has sought to vilify Snowden, they have similarly criticized those nations standing firm against America's extradition efforts. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during a visit to India that it would be "deeply troubling" if Moscow defied the United States over Snowden, and said the whistleblower "places himself above the law, having betrayed his country." Kerry later made a series of semi-hysterical and utterly baseless comments regarding Snowden. "What I see is an individual who threatened this country and put Americans at risk through the acts that he took. People may die as a consequence of what this man did. It is possible the United States will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves in some way or another, that they didn't know before. This is a very dangerous act." 

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Secretary of State John Kerry belied his statist tendencies, despite a reliably liberal veneer

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer also had harsh words for the Russians. "What's infuriating here is Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden's escape. The bottom line is very simple. Allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States."


Schumer continued with a popular administration talking point, the idea that Snowden's whistleblowing has somehow been de-legitimized by his refusal to subject himself to America's notion of what passes for justice. "Let's look at Snowden here. You know, some might try to say that he's a great human rights crusader. He is not at all like the great human rights crusaders in the past, the Martin Luther Kings or the Gandhis who did civil disobedience because he- first, he flees the country. A Daniel Ellsberg, when he released the Pentagon Papers because he thought it was the right thing to do, stayed in America and faced the consequences." Schumer went on to call Snowden a "coward." 

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Democratic Senator Charles Schumer assumed a leading position in the government's smear campaign against Snowden

What Schumer and others fail to acknowledge is that America is a very different country than it was in Ellsberg's era. Ellsberg did not face mandatory minimums, draconian sentencing guidelines or rules of criminal procedure heavily skewed in favor of the prosecution. His prosecution ended in a mistrial because of gross governmental misconduct and illegal evidence gathering. In today's legal environment, these types of violations have become routine and would almost certainly be seen as "harmless error."

Schumer's assertion also calls into question the acts of others who have battled against and ultimately fled from repressive regimes. Would he similarly label as cowards those who escaped from Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia? The idea that Snowden's claims carry less weight because of his failure to avail himself to a certain conviction and likely life or decades long sentence at the hands of Obama's repressive justice system is laughable. 

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Fleeing repressive regimes, like Nazi Germany or Stalin's Russia, is now a de-legitimizing factor and constitutes cowardice according to U.S. government apologists

Kerry, Schumer and other American officials commenting on Snowden appeared singularly fixated on what they perceive to be the failure of other nations to assist the U.S. "Mr. Snowden's claim that he is focused on supporting transparency, freedom of the press and protection of individual rights and democracy is belied by the protectors he has potentially chosen: China, Russia, Ecuador, as we've seen," said Press Secretary Jay Carney. "His failure to criticize these regimes suggests that his true motive throughout has been to injure the national security of the United States, not to advance internet freedom and free speech." Carney's statement completely misses the point that the world no longer perceives the U.S. to be the bastion of freedom it claims to be. The idea that a U.S. citizen needs to seek sanctuary in China or Russia from American oppression is a shocking reality. Like sociopathic criminals, administration officials see no fault within themselves or the regime they serve and can only respond by lashing out at any nation with the temerity to defy U.S. hegemony. 


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Press Secretary Jay Carney refuses to acknowledge the causes of America's diminished stature among nations   

Russian officials claim there is no authority under which to hold Snowden as there is no extradition treaty between them and the U.S. Part of the irony of the situation is that it was the U.S who refused to enter into an extradition treaty with Russia. The issue was raised by the Russians as recently as 2012, but the U.S. feared that Russian dissidents seeking asylum in the U.S. would be subject to the treaty. Now it is an American dissident who is the seeking, and evidently receiving, protection from the Russian government.


America's wrath has also been leveled against Honk Kong and the Chinese government. Media myrmidons seeking to score points with the administration offered wild and irresponsible speculation about Snowden's "relationship" with the Chinese government. Wholly unfounded suggestions were made that Snowden was working with Chinese security services and was possibly a Chinese spy.  

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Barry Scott Sussman- Born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in Sociology. Graduated with a JD from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law specializing in Federal Criminal Procedure and Federal Prosecutorial (more...)

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It is highly likely the US was collecting economic... by T J on Saturday, Jun 29, 2013 at 10:29:32 PM
Saving imperialist capitalism has become the obses... by intotheabyss on Sunday, Jun 30, 2013 at 9:38:29 AM
The US removed its fuzzy-wuzzy Bastion of Human Ri... by Shireen Parsons on Sunday, Jun 30, 2013 at 4:35:13 PM
Nixon would be proud of President Oblamba.  ... by Toby Seiler on Sunday, Jun 30, 2013 at 5:09:47 PM
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