The Orwellian Press and Our Right to Know

O EDWARD SNOWDEN RUSSIA facebook

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden is the source of leaks that allowed the American people to learn that their government had them under surveillance. 

Not, mind you, that the government had suspected terrorists under a legitimate, court-ordered surveillance based on some sort of evidence that gave probable cause of wrong doing. 

Nope.

The government had and has all of us, or at least those of us who use email and cell phones, under surveillance. It is scooping up our private thoughts and dumping them in a database to be analyzed. Then, if the analyzers want to go forward, they go to a shadowy, non-public, hidden away, behind closed doors “court” to get permission to read your mail and listen to your conversations.

Or, at least, that’s the way it’s supposed to go. We have to assume that our government, which has lied to us about so much, is telling us the truth … this time. If they aren’t, the truth may be much worse even than this sinister scenario. 

Just to make a point, I want everyone to raise their hand if they know who is on this “court,” or where it meets, or, what its rules are?  

Anybody?

Now, here’s the cherry on top this particular little scoop of ice cream. The prez says — and members of Congress have acceded to this claim — that he informed our “duly elected representatives” about what he was doing and that they signed off on it. 

That means that the elected officials who are owned by the left were in on it. And the elected officials who are owned by the right — Republicans and Democrats both — were also in on it. 

To make this even more bi-partisan, the Democratic president is only doing what the Republican president before him had done. The law which allows the most massive surveilance fishing expedition in the history of spying since the late, great Soviet Union was authored by Republican members of Congress.

In other words, everybody’s wholly-owned puppet Congressperson was in on it. 

1984

Which mean that the press that toadies to the interests that own these Congresspeople, in other words, the press that serves the same master as our “duly elected officials,” had to swing into damage control. 

They aren’t going to do anything about the most massive violation of civil liberties in the history of the Republic. 

The press won’t even go there. 

Their plan is to kill the messenger. 

It turns out that the person who told the American people what I think anyone with half a brain would agree we have a right to know is a man named Edward Snowden. He’s the leaker who “violated” the agreement he made as a condition of his employment to not talk about the things he saw on his job. 

I ask you: Which has pre-eminence; the “agreement” Mr Snowden signed, or the oath every single one of these elected officials took to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution?”

Every one of the elected officials who signed off on this travesty of putting the American people under surveillance violated their oath of office. Every. Single. One. 

Another question is, do the American people have a right to know their government has them under surveillance? Or is the Orwellian press correct, and the whole problem is really about how Mr Snowden “compromised” what they like to call “national security?” 

The same government that put us all under the gun of government surveillance has done its best — along with its puppet press — to make Mr Snowden into evil personified. They’ve gone after him with everything they’ve got. 

James Rosen

In the meantime, they’ve done all they can to harass and punish the reporter who wrote the story. 

Because, you see, a government that puts its people under surveillance is just naturally going to be a bit hostile to the First Amendment. Governments who do things like this need darkness, not the light of a free press, to do their spying. 

All this puts certain sections of the press under enormous pressure. On the one hand, their “mission” is to bring down President Obama and replace him with someone who is owned by the same folks who own them. So, they see this scandal as raw, juicy meat. On the other hand, it turns out that “their” boys and girls in Congress are just about as responsible for using gestapo tactics on the American people as the guys on the other team. It’s hard to do this right without goring their own precious ox. 

The press on the “other” side of the divide has long accused the politicians they try to bring down (you know, the ones in the opposite political party) of violating “civil rights.” How to defend their guy in the White House and all his minions?

The answer my friends is obvious. Demonize the man who decided that the American people’s right to know these things trumped his employment agreement. 

This is not, as the press and government claim, about “national security.” 

Mr Snowden did not sell information to our “enemies.” He gave it to the American people. 

And we have a right to know. 

The reason people in government are so apoplectic about all this has nothing — and I repeat, nothing – to do with “keeping the American people safe.” They are enraged because they got their pants pulled down in public. Mr Snowden let everyone know that they — not him, but they — are the traitors here. They are the ones who have attacked the Constitution. They are the ones who have violated our liberties. 

But that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that the government watchdogs, the “free press” that is supposed to keep us safe from tyranny by letting us know these things, is in the bag for the government. 

The corporate press is not a free press. It’s a propaganda machine that protects the interests of its owners. It appears that in this case, the interests of its owners lie in supporting the government against the one thing that the American press has always staked its banner on — the American people’s right to know. 

  • FW Ken

    Rebecca, it’s hard to say how completely I agree with you.
    But I have one additional thing to add: the press is playing to an audience that agrees with it, and (more importantly) buys the products they advertise. Follow the money as much as you follow the ideology.
    It’s interesting to consider whether a Republican president following Bush 43 would have gone as far with all this as Pres. Obama has done. It’s entirely possible, but irrelevant. This is only partially about who is president. A lot of it is about us, the voters and the news industry consumers.
    I don’t have an answer. I’m chatting with some folks on a conservative blog about immigration (I’m “soft” on it). They seem to think 2016 will hinge on that issue, but I don’t thing so. It will probably turn on the economy, but it should turn on this issue of our fundamental freedom. I doubt the press will let that happen, though.

    • James1225

      “It will probably turn on the economy, but it should turn on this issue of our fundamental freedom.”

      What if the surveillance is being conducted in an attempt to ensure our fundemental freedom from the threat of terrorism. Wouldn’t it then make it a good thing and not a bad thing?

      • Dave

        No, it wouldn’t make it a good thing. Even if the intentions behind the program are good (and this is arguable), you know what they say about the road to Hell. It is simply wrong to violate the right to privacy of individuals who have not done anything wrong, period.

      • FW Ken

        According to Thomas Jefferson (I think it was), those who value security over freedom will end up neither free nor secure. In any case, I wasn’t talking merely about government surveillance, but the intrusion of the government into our faith, primary by driving a wedge between the Church at worship and the Church in mission – our schools, hospitals, charities, and social services. The HHS mandates that we engage in proximate cooperation with the evils of contraception and abortion. Coming at the Catholics, the last acceptable prejudice, as they say, and over contraception is cheap and easy, but everyone should note that if they can do it to us over this, they can do it to anyone over anything. Any that doesn’t get to the worst part, which is that some of the “contracption” works by inducing abortion.

  • Dave

    Some of us aren’t trapped in the “one side or the other” mentality, and have disdain for both sides. Rebecca is one of those, and is a Democrat, if you are paying attention. Both sides use different sets of voters, but they do pretty much the same things once they get in office.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    This magnificently written article convinces me the more that you should be President.

    • James1225

      It is highly unlikely that this country will ever elect a pro-life president again. Romney and Ryan were the last chance. Not that Romney was as committed as Ryan.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        They were both frauds. You seem to have missed the speed with which Ryan switched sides.

        • Dave

          True, Fabio…and as for James’ claim, I remember the days when people thought Dems would never win again, too.

          Personally, I look forward to the day when neither of them can win.

  • http://saintsworks.net/ Shin

    Eric Snowden not the traitor, but those who attack him as such the true traitors.

    The attacks on him meant to distract from the crimes of the attackers, a tool.

    The ‘press’.. truly the propaganda machine.. (everytime one reads journalist, read propagandist instead, and realize this is how it works everywhere. Please do this from now on those who have not, and discern and separate from the propaganda.)..

    Thinking of Tweedledum and Tweedledee (apparently different but..) both guilty.. I.e. the Democrats (faster moral evil and progressivism) and the Republicans (a significant part of) (sadly simply slower moral evil and progressivism rather than promoting positive virtue).. One says, fast let’s do this, the other says, slow down, let’s do this slowly..

    So people have a seeming choice to sooth their emotions as evil is implemented.

    Yes the good points put forth in the article…

    So much sense in one article. How can it be permitted for long?

  • AnneG

    Here are the members of the FISC Court: http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/court2013.html
    They meet as necessary to issue subpoenas and warrants. Proceedings are classified, but recorded. Some have been released.
    That the NSA was collecting cell phone and email info was revealed in 2006 by NYT. My biggest problem is caching the info and that, with all that info they did not catch the Times Square bomber, the people in NC, nor the Marathon bombers, though all of them were using cell phones and email and that information was used in the investigation after the fact.
    Snowden stole and revealed codes and programs to the Chinese and Russians and is probably a resident of Lubyanka now, so, “going after him with everything they’ve got” hasn’t worked very well. He is not a hero! He is a useful idiot.
    As for a free press, that ended when Eric Severeid said the press should be change agents and Walter Cronkite declared the Vietnam Nam war lost. They are not free, as you said.
    The only thing that makes our system of government work is the integrity of the elected officials. It will not work if those elected have no basic moral foundation and we are seeing what happens when we lose that.
    Btw, we don’t have to know everything. There are some things that are ok to keep secret and everybody spies on everybody.

    • hamiltonr

      I haven’t heard anything about Mr Snowden giving codes and programs to the Chinese and Russians. I do know that our own American corporations have done this for decades as part of using Chinese labor to build products.

      If our freedoms depend on the integrity of elected officials, we are doomed.

  • bjn

    Excellent article and thank you for writing it. It is interesting the responses I have received from some of my elected representatives and how completely they buy into the “means to an end” error. As long as it benefits “national security,” scooping up and storing every single electronic communication in the country is no problem.
    Makes one wonder what other utilitarian-driven misdeeds are being done on “behalf of the American people” and their security. God help us.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Rebecca, this little punk is not a hero. Currently your phone company and Google and Yahoo do the very same thing as the US government. So what? That is a minor, if not insignifican,t imposition to pure liberty. If it stops terrorism great. I’m much more opposed to body scans at airports. Now that is a real violation. This punk betrayed his country over a minor issue. If you think this was a major violation of our liberties, then I assume you will support an impachment of Obama over this. Ultimately he ran this operation.

  • Mark W

    Thank you for this. I’ve been saying much the same thing for some time.
    And to those that do think Snowden is a hero, consider these things.

    First, he didn’t give anything to our enemies.

    Second, he didn’t even tell us anything that we couldn’t have found out on our own.
    This story has been out there for some time. I’ve seen news articles dating back to 2005. How could it be treason or espionage if it’s been out in the media for years? He simply brought the story up in a spectacular way. He may be guilty of theft or breaking an oath, but not treason or espionage.
    Here are just a few links:

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/04/70619

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120511973377523845.html

    http://arstechnica.com/security/2008/03/an-overview-of-the-nsas-domestic-spying-program/

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/us/17nsa.html

    http://boingboing.net/2010/03/31/nsas-domestic-spying.html

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9232233/US_Supreme_Court_refuses_to_hear_NSA_AT_amp_T_wiretapping_case

  • Florin S.

    Thank you…if Obama wasn’t tried for treason for deliberately choosing to let Americans die in Benghazi just so he could get on with his campaign then Snowden should be left alone. yes, we need to be secure but everyone knows that each country spies on the other..the American people did not know that massive spying and gathering of personal information was being gathered about them and from them. Thank you Mr. Snowden. Even if all the ‘gathering’ is necessary does anyone trust Obama’s administration not to use it to go after their opponents, anyone who does not agree with them? We need only to look at what the IRS did…and who knows who actually told them to do it? Obama probably would not have been elected for a second term if he had not had the IRS and others go after conservatives…the Dems don’t want voter ideas so they can register dead people and cartoon characters to vote for them. Wake up America…the Dems under Obama are destroying our country and our traditional values…sit on your couch and watch television and see your house fall around you or get up and join others in letting your elected representatives know that they have gone far enough – they are trying to undermine parents’ responsibility for their own children; a school nurse cannot give a child an aspirin without parental permission but she can take an underage girl for an abortion and not report that an older man raped her…they allow abortion drugs (under the guise that they are only for contraception) to be sold over the counter with no prescription…so if a minor child buys these drugs and has an adverse effect from them – the parent may not know the cause…I could go on and on…comic books sent to elementary schools showing how men have sex with other men and women with other women…comic book characters turned gay…stand up now or don’t complain when it’s too late…

    • Bill S

      “.. If Obama wasn’t tried for treason for deliberately choosing to let Americans die in Benghazi just so he could get on with his campaign then Snowden should be left alone.”

      That is one of the most nonsensical statements I have heard in a long time.

  • Bimbula Bambula

    After the crime of a handful of Arabs flying two commercial
    airplanes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the first official
    response of the U. S. Government was to announce “a global war on terror” and to establish a new Government agency called the Homeland Security. The name, speed and the secrecy surrounding this act should have reminded the people of the feared KGB of the Soviet Union, (which was idealized in James Bond movies). The KGB was the national security agency of the Soviet Union. The purpose of this type of agency during the Soviet era, and now in the United
    States is not to prevent foreign terrorism, which it cannot, but to control her
    citizens through intimidation and fear. If this was not yet evident during the years following 2001, it will be in the near future.

    Military cannot fight crime (euphemized as terrorism) and even group’s of people’s crime does not constitute terrorism. Only states commit the crime of terrorism, but not against other states – that would be called war – but against their own citizenry.

    What happened to the American democracy?
    The three branches of the U.S. Government, the legislative, executive and judiciary, without the knowledge of the citizenry, were essentially replaced by two new ones, the media and the lobbies. The former three became
    the new executive branch to whoever running the latter two. The media likes to label this kind of writing as “conspiracy theory”, which it is not. Rather, a system is set in motion that seem unstoppable to destroy the “democracy”, or as was known to our forefathers, The Republic.

  • Dave

    Calling what abortion? When a human being dies because the uterus has been made an inhospitable environment for it to implant and grow? Seems like as good a term as any to me.

    • Bill S

      That hardly seems like a catastrophe. Is that it?

      • Dave

        I guess it’s no big deal, unless you are the human being that dies, of course.

        • Bill S

          You are making a big to do about an absolutely insignificant event when you compare it to the impact that not taking the emergency contraceptive can have on a real person’s life.

          • FW Ken

            Can we please stop calling that abortion?

            You are free to use any language you wish, and that Rebecca will allow. I prefer the truth.

  • Dave

    If you assume that our entire national security depends on surveilling everything, then I suppose you are right.

  • Bill

    This article is full of misconceptions that it is difficult to understand how it was published in the first place.

  • Bill

    I find it difficult to see any invasion of privacy in the manner by which the meta-data is collected and stored. Before you go off half-cocked on this subject perhaps you should become more familiar with the processes being used.


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