New York Times and the Guardian Calling for Clemency for Snowden

Both the Guardian  and the New York Times published editorials this week calling for Obama to offer Snowden clemency! (See also the Huffington Post for a good synopsis). This is much-heralded news by the activist community for whom Snowden has become a cause celebre for civil liberties and right to privacy and for much of the public who recognize him as a whistleblower and consider him a hero and a patriot.

Snowden’s revelations have resulted in extensive outrage and worldwide demonstrations and have brought the issue of the surveillance state into the light of day so that it can finally be examined and debated by the public.  We at OCV are very grateful to him for this selfless act.  Our position is that Snowden not only did our nation and the world an incredible service, and that he not only should not be charged with a crime, he should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, earning it far more than Barack Obama, and that his leaking of governmental and corporate malfeasance in the face of such personal risk reveals his principled character and high-minded motives. This stands in stark contrast to the utter lack of scruples evidenced by NSA officials such as James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, who told bold-faced lies to Congress, denying what we now know to be true:  that we have been subjected to widespread surveillance that has vacuumed up all manner of electronic data on all Americans and that heads of state, allies, and foreign governments have been spied upon as well.

Exposing intrusive, unconstitutional, and even criminal activity of renegade agencies and corporations SHOULD NOT BE A CRIME, nor should these entities be able to operate in secret, while citizens have no privacy.  This is a reversal of the way a democratic society should function, where the citizenry have a constitutional right to privacy while the government has a duty to be transparent and open. But surveillance is a given in a country whose democracy has been subverted as has ours by corporate interests like Booz Allen Hamilton  who receive government contracts for cybersecurity and whose personnel are cycled through the Washington revolving door and are essentially getting corporate welfare to spy on the very citizens who pay the taxes that pay their salaries.

Chris Hedges, who formerly reported for the New York Times as an investigative reporter, calls an ultra-secret government run by Wall Street and the corporate criminal class an inverse totalitarian state in his book, “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt,” as we are now living in a country where the corporate world is running the government, enabled by a Supreme Court which has ruled corporations are “persons” and money is “speech.”

From Wikipedia:

“In Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt  by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, inverted totalitarianism is described as a system where corporations have corrupted and subverted democracy and where economics trumps politics. In inverted totalitarianism, every natural resource and every living being is commodified and exploited to collapse and the citizenry are lulled and manipulated into surrendering their liberties and their participation in their government by excess consumerism and sensationalism.”

Much has been made of the recent brouhaha tech giants Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others have made of the back-door penetration of their networks by the surveillance state (see Tech Industry Leaders Recent Meeting with Obama), but this is mere posturing, as their interest is in their bottom line, certainly not the privacy of consumers or users of the Internet and their products. Google has been building psychological profiles of its users for some time: http://www.alternet.org/google-using-gmail-build-psychological-profiles-hundreds-millions-people and there is Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State .

Chris Hedges was let go from the New York Times because of his unswerving devotion to reporting the truth and we sincerely hope that this editorial is a sign that the New York Times is becoming more willing to risk speaking truth to power and covering issues important to the 99%.  It is our fervent wish that Snowden’s revelations continue to cause a ripple effect throughout all levels of our society and that it results in government and corporate surveillance being heavily curtailed and monitored so that we can again live in a freer, democratic state wherein our civil liberties and right to privacy are respected as inviolable human rights.

Peace or Profit: an Update

Due to the ongoing imperialism on the part of the U. S. and its allies, here we are again at the brink of yet another war, this one threatening to mushroom into WWIII, given the explosive situation in the Middle East and the clash of alliance between Syria/Iran/China/Russia vs. the U.S./Israel/Britain/rest of the Middle East, over yet another pipeline that threatens the business interests of the U. S. and Israel. http://t.co/A7ZGYTB20f

This is how this endlessly circular scenario always seems to play out:  the U. S. corporate government decides that its interests are “threatened” (read its monopoly of a sector of the global economy is challenged), the U. S. and its allies install dictators, or depose (or assassinate) democratically-elected leaders by funding and arming rebels (aka “foreign aid”), the country in question descends into chaos and civil war, some flimsy pretext is invented in an attempt to justify military intervention that invariably escalates into all-out war, and voila, U. S. corporate interests and profits remain intact.  See: http://www.corbettreport.com/selling-war-to-the-public/

Obama is again appearing to overstep his authority in yet another example of executive overreach by indicating his willingness to “draw a red line” over the use of chemical weapons supposedly by the Assad regime and attack Syria.  Since these weapons have more likely been supplied to the insurgents by the West in order to further destabilize the situation in Syria, one has to ask if the hypocrisy ever ends with this administration.  Claire Daly in the Irish Parliament did just that when she called the Obama Administration out on this issue:  http://disinfo.com/2013/07/obama-called-war-criminal-and-hypocrite-of-the-century-in-the-irish-parliament/  For a historical perspective, see also:  Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran

Obama seems determined to double-down on these wrongheaded policies rather than question whether he has either the moral or legal authority to go on the offensive, which will undoubtedly leave far more victims in its wake.  The Green Shadow Cabinet has weighed in on this issue with a statement that if Obama attacks Syria “without prior explicit authorization by Congress, he will have committed an offense worthy of impeachment” and if he does so without UN authorization, that he will be guilty of war crimes: http://greenshadowcabinet.us/statements/dont-attack-syria

The corporate warmongers and their government shills know very well that their continued profiteering depends on the war machine–why so many peace groups, rallies, and marches are so viciously targeted as the goal of peace as inimical to its continued domination.  In funding and fueling wars in their malevolent, underhanded game of chess, they manipulate behind the scenes to pit different groups/nations against one another in an unending ruse to keep the peoples of the world at each other’s throats, off-balance, and fighting to survive and thereby distracted and diverted from not only the truth regarding who is directing the game but from being able to pursue and enjoy the fruits of peace:  health, justice, education, freedom, and democracy, all the human rights so under attack in a militaristic, authoritarian police state such as ours has increasingly become in the last decade.See:  http://www.answercoalition.org/march-forward/statements/to-my-fellow-sailors-refuse.html for a former sailor’s analysis of this situation.

Throughout history, wars have been waged over resources and profits to enrich the 1% at the expense of the 99%.  Never was the Civil War protest rallying cry of “a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight” more true than it is today, the impoverished young people entering the armed services as the options narrow for economic survival as our Treasury, into which we the taxpayers have paid, is raided to fund yet another war with all the corporate pigs gorging themselves from the war machine’s “defense” contracts and spying programs while paying no taxes. We have become a corporate welfare state heedlessly pursuing endless war for profit hell-bent on destroying all life on this planet if it means an uptick in quarterly earnings regardless of the ever-more disastrous consequences.  The ultimate irony is that we the taxpayers are funding our own destruction and that of the Earth as well as paying to be spied upon by our own government. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/23/nsa-prism-costs-tech-companies-paid

This war, like all the others, has nothing to do with being so offended by innocent casualties but rather, and quite to the contrary, it has to do with the corporate and governmental war criminals who profit from endless war and human carnage, cultural genocide, and ecological destruction. The empire hasn’t a vestige of clothing to cover its naked aggression.  The choice has never been more clear:  we the 99% can have peace, or the 1% can profit from war—which is it going to be?