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General News    H1'ed 6/13/13

Mandela and Snowden: Heroes With More In Common Than We Know

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Snowden, has  now been denounced for treason and is now in the media eye  but also the target of top politicians and the media that takes them seriously and questions his motives and impact. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a "patriotically correct" call for Snowden to be persecuted.

In both cases, their examples excite admirers who shower them with praise for a gutsy defense of liberty.

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma--who has, in many ways, betrayed Mandela's moral mandates--nevertheless says his country not only admires him but needs him:

"We need him to be with us," he said. "We are all feeling it, that our president, the real father of democracy in South Africa is in the hospital." Snowden's followers seem to be expressing a similar need for someone to challenge Big Brother.

What many in the media chose not to remind us is that South Africa's  "real father of democracy" was actually caught and imprisoned thanks  to a tip from the very forces Snowden is fighting.  

It was the CIA which had been tracking Mandela  ---with the less sophisticated surveillance technologies available then--and then tipped South Africa's secret policy as to his whereabouts

A June 10th 1990, New York Times report "quoted an unidentified retired official who said that a senior CIA officer told him shortly in after Mr. Mandela's arrest, 'We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be.'"

AP quoted Paul Eckel, then a senior CIA operative, as boasting that Mandela's capture "was one of our greatest coups." There were some earlier press reports in the 80's about this CIA role too but they never triggered the scandal  they should have. This American support for apartheid was treated as a footnote.

This is a connection between Snowden and Mandela that may explain why American "intelligence" tends so often to be on the wrong side, or maybe just is the wrong side.  Clearly our intelligence overlords had as their priority then what they do today: the protection of the global status quo.

Despite his many detractors in the intelligence "business,' and its supporters in Congress and rationalizers in the press, Snowden's actions seems to have turned him into a popular figure, writes Gary Stamper:

"Edward Snowden" is coming across as the all-American hero according to a poll today that showed 70% support for him and his actions with the American public. Compare that with the popularity of Congress who is mostly calling for Snowden's Bradley Manning moment. If he continues to elude the CIA and American Security Apparatus can't catch him soon, his stock will soar as Americans pretty much love a heroic underdog.

"One of the reporters from the Guardian newspaper who arranged with Snowden to meet in Hong Kong for interviews told the Associated Press that he had been contacted by "countless people" offering to pay for "anything [Snowden] might need."

The 94  year old Mandela and the 29 year old Snowden come from different parts of the world and fought in different eras.   

Already, Congressman Ron Paul, the libertarian who Snowden supported with a campaign donation is fearing for his life, saying, "I'm worried about, somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile" we live in a bad time where American citizens don't even have rights and that they can be killed, but the gentlemen is trying to tell the truth about what's going on."

A computer genius, Snowden has managed to throw his pursuers off his trail up until this point,  and now  vows to remain in Hong Kong. (This emerged after a erroneous reports that he was on the run!)

Activists there are supporting him. He is likely to leak more secrets.

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at See
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