May 18

Snowden, Greenwald, Poitras and More

In Brief—Democracy is even now being stolen from us by the purportedly well-meaning but overreaching American government. Overreaching is bad enough, but unconstitutional illegality is part of their conscious modus operandi. The excuse used is that they are protecting us from terrorists; the reality is that they are stealing our democracy along with our privacy.


 “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

                                                                                                                          Benjamin Franklin

Democracy is Ebbing Away—

You are losing your constitutional rights and may not even know it, or even if you do know it, you don’t care. You should if for no other reason than the democracy given to us by the founding fathers, and that we take for granted, is ebbing away. Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, our government is legally and illegally snooping on us in the name of security. It’s bad enough that peaceable Muslims in America are spied upon, but our government is spying on ALL OF US.

A few months after 9/11, when I asked one of my former friends if he was willing to give up his constitutional rights, he replied that he would gladly give up some freedom in return for security for himself and his family. What freedoms would you give up in exchange for the government promising you security? Hell,in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist. Security? Don’t you believe it. You are having your rights and freedom stolen.

Before I urge you to read Glenn Greenwald’s newly released book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the U.S. Surveillance State, here are some facts that may have faded from your memory.

A Trip Down Memory Lane—

Whistleblower, Edward Snowden, in his position with the government, discovered disturbing facts regarding the depth of the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) snooping into the lives of essentially all Americans and a number of foreign leaders by means of what they had written in emails or said on the phone in what was assumed was privacy.

Further documents uncovered by Snowden alarmed him to such an extent that he brought the illegality to the attention of his superiors. Seemingly uninterested, they told him to forget the big problems he was finding and just do his job. Unable to get assistance from his bosses and understandably fearing reprisal, he eventually turned to documentarian Laura Poitras and constitutional lawyer/journalist Glenn Greenwald. Belatedly realizing the implication of the documentation, Greenwald approached his employer, England’s The Guardian, and other news organizations that agreed Snowden’s revelations were newsworthy and began publishing the documents. American and British governmental officials were outraged that their dirty little secret was revealed.

At first, the American government denied the scope of the intrusions and, through James Clapper, the Director of National Security, even lied in testimony before Congress. Threatened and called a “traitor,” Snowden rightly feared government prosecution and assorted death threats and fled first to Hong Kong where he met with Greenwald and ultimately to Russia where Vladimir Putin, always eager to put a thumb in the eye of the American government, provided Snowden with asylum and assurances that he would not be turned over to the threatening Americans.

Snowden temporarily resides in Russia, steadfastly refusing to aid Russia with his findings, while the United States continues to threaten him with prosecution under the old but recently-revived Espionage Act that is being zealously used to prosecute whistleblowers. The simple fact is that were it not for Edward Snowden’s bravery and revelations, we would not know of the government’s extensive and secret intrusions into our private lives under the pretense of providing security against terrorism. It pays to remember Benjamin Franklin’s warning.

If this still seems to be a yawn to you despite the documented illegality and the intrusiveness, please read Barry Eisler’s revealing piece “Motive, Means, and Opportunity: Why NSA Secrecy Should Worry Us All” posted on his blog “the heart of the matter” on May 13, 2014. Read it all including Eisler’s column (“Read the rest here”) in the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s newsletter and the other links provided in the Eisler piece. All you have to do is click on the highlighted areas to get the shocking facts.

After you’ve read Eisler’s piece, I urge you to read Glenn Greenwald’s No Place to Hide. It’s all documented and Greenwald provides chapter and verse. Be afraid, very afraid. And get involved before it is too late.


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  1. I hope all your readers write something like “Thanks, Don, I knew all this but thanks for putting it out here.” I fear that some will say “I didn’t know this,” and if so I worry how they could not. And I dread that some of your readers, most of whom seem pretty clued in, will say “So what’s the big deal.” That worry, which you include above, is about the worst possible thing that can happen to a democracy, that the people don’t recognize the dangers and just allow freedom to slip away. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing” can be amended to include “know nothing and don’t care.”

      • Don Bay on May 18, 2014 at 10:08

      Hear! Hear! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Linda on May 20, 2014 at 23:07

    Greenwald has been making the TV circuit rounds. Here’s a good one:–1

      • Don Bay on May 23, 2014 at 16:21

      Despite several attempts, I have been unable to access the Colbert/Greenwald interview. I hope readers have been more successful than I.

      Nevertheless, Glenn Greenwald has done an excellent job of demonstrating the duplicitous hollowness of the American government’s shabby efforts to tar Edward Snowden and his revelations about the extent of the American government’s hijacking of our democracy. In the name of a greatly exaggerated fear of terrorism, the government and the Obama administration have covertly and illegally snooped into the lives of all Americans as well as numerous foreigners, both friendly and unfriendly. Even now the American government and the so-called “intelligence” community are vigorously opposing even modest and reasonable efforts to rein in the illegality.

      Whether you can see the Colbert/Greenwald interview or not, I strongly urge you to read Greenwald’s book, “No Place to Hide…” It’s your democracy. For crying out loud, protect it.

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