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January 5, 2014

Vilifying and Re-Defining Our Heroes

By Rob Kall

It's a step in the right direction, but it's not enough to call for pardons or clemency for Snowden and his fellow whistleblowers.


Edward Snowden
(Image by guardian image photoshopped by rob kall)
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We've been living in times when heroes are vilified and framed as traitors by politicians and partisan media. These are the people and organizations bought and paid for by the military industrial security complex. They bring along with them their followers and supporters. 

Politicians Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham and Peter King see Snowden as a traitor or guilty of treason. Rand Paul would like to see Snowden in Jail along with James Clapper, who Snowden's revelations proved, had lied to congress. 

Senator Bernie Sanders wrote , " Love him or hate him, we all owe Snowden our thanks for forcing upon the nation an important debate. But the debate shouldn't be about him. It should be about the gnawing questions his actions raised from the shadows."

Go outside the USA and the lines are drawn differently. A huffingtonpost article, in October reported that " 67 percent of those polled in Canada and 60 percent in the U.K. viewed him as a hero." 

And a Time Magazine poll asking people to vote for either President Obama or Edward Snowden made it very clear who the winner of that poll was. Almost two million people weighed in, giving Snowden a win 82% to 18%. But that poll could include people from all over the world. 

But polls shouldn't matter when it comes to defenders of freedom. I call people who put their lives at risk to defend freedom heroes. We don't simply pardon heroes. We honor and reward them. We glorify them. 

A January 2, 2014 Huffingtonpost article reported,

On Wednesday night, the editorial board of The New York Times published an editorial that not only described Snowden as a whistleblower but also called on the government to give him clemency.

Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.

The Times noted that none of Snowden's revelations have done profound damage to the intelligence operations of the U.S., nor have his disclosures hurt national security. However, his efforts have exposed the federal government's lack of respect for privacy and constitutional protections.

When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government.

The Guardian, which has been at the forefront of the Snowden story from the very beginning, is also calling for clemency.

Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of courage.

If there was true justice in the USA, Edward Snowden would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom or the Presidential Medal of Honor. And he should not be alone. Chelsea Manning, Thomas Drake, Sibel Edmonds, Jesselyn Radack, to name a few, deserve honors and medals, not ill treatment, not prosecution, punishment or imprisonment. 

We desperately need whistleblowers who reveal the secrets that top-down people in power in government, corporations and organizations cover up. 

It is not enough to put one bandage on one whistleblower's case, as noble and courageous as Edward Snowden has proven to be. We must dive deeper and change the rules about how whistleblowers are handled.  They must be encouraged by honors rewards, medals and they should be embraced as heroes. 

There have been a number of politicians, spy agency heads and pundits, like Washington Post's Ruth Marcus who have suggested that Snowden could have done what he has achieved by working within the system, reporting his revelations to higher-ups within the government hierarchy. These people are too smart to attribute such nonsense to naivety. So I'll call them flat out frauds and liars, water-carriers for the criminal government that Snowden has revealed to be operating, subjecting the citizens of the world to its security predations. 

There is no current way for a patriotic whistleblower to report on serious abuses by the government, not without being subjected to brutal punishment. The Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all past presidents combined. Obama has proven that there is no way he will offer a pardon or clemency to Snowden. He has much to lose since he has played a central role in expanding and authorizing the very violations of the constitution that Snowden has revealed. People like Dianne Feinstein are in the same boat as Obama. She, as the powerful chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has enabled NSA and related agencies to spy on virtually everyone. 

The Snowden saga reveals again, how elected officials, almost all, on both sides of the aisle,  except for a select few, like Bernie Sanders, are unwilling to step out from the broken power system and do the right thing when it comes to whistleblowers. 

It will take a very strong showing by the people of the world,  not just the USA, to make the right thing happen. American citizens must set the media and the politicians straight. Leaders of the scores of nations who have been spied upon by NSA must mobilize their people and send a unified message to Obama and the enablers of the out-of-control, constitution violating NSA. This is not a softball project. The people in the US must make it a high priority issue in elections. The people in other nations can make it an issue that deals with military, security and trade terms. That's already begun to happen. 

Perhaps a whistleblower wiki, or a Snowden repercussions wiki can be established, which shows the damage that NSA and it's spying has done to US relations throughout the world. That might force NSA defenders to change their tune. These defenders have made un-supported, nah, let's call them bogus claims, that Snowden hurt the USA. On the other hand, there are growing examples of how NSA's actions, now that nations have become aware of them, have hurt the USA. 

Bottom line, we need more Ed Snowdens, more whistelblowers, more heroes who unveil the truth. Since the White House and congress will not reward, let alone pardon them, other organizations should. It is a sign of a failure of courage, and complicity with the top-down power system that dominates the planet, that the Nobel Prize committee and Time Magazine person of the year chose to ignore Snowden.  Well, the Nobel prize is the legacy of a war billionaire (in today's dollars.) And Time is the essence of establishment journalism. 

Perhaps it is time for some awards to be created by bottom-up processes, with tens or hundreds of millions of people voting. It's time we stopped depending on the most powerful top-down organizations, individuals and forces to decide who are our heroes. We the people need to embrace the possibilities we face. WE can choose the ones we believe in. If we do it right, we can have a range of such heroes-- heroes for women, for young people for seniors, for minorities. Those awards would represent far more people than the handful of elites who get to choose medals we currently offer. 

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes

Rob Kall/OpEdNews Bottom Up YouTube video channel

Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. 

Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Talk Nation Radio interview by David Swanson:  Rob   Kall  on Bottom-Up Governance June, 2017

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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