Civil Rights Leader And Congressman John Lewis Says Ed Snowden Latest In The Line From Thoreau To Gandhi To King

from the nsa-defenders-losing-the-battle dept

Civil rights leader, and current Congressman John Lewis, is now speaking out strongly in support of Ed Snowden:
Asked in interview with the Guardian whether Snowden was engaged in an act of civil disobedience, Lewis nodded and replied: "In keeping with the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence, in keeping with the teaching of Henry David Thoreau and people like Gandhi and others, if you believe something that is not right, something is unjust, and you are willing to defy customs, traditions, bad laws, then you have a conscience. You have a right to defy those laws and be willing to pay the price."

"That is what we did," he added. "I got arrested 40 times during the sixties. Since I've been in Congress I've been arrested four times. Sometimes you have to act by the dictates of your conscience. You have to do it."
Later in the conversation, he notes how worrisome the surveillance program is, and relates it back to how the government treated Martin Luther King Jr. (with whom Lewis worked closely), using overly aggressive surveillance techniques to try to destroy activists and protest groups. As public perception seems to keep growing in support of Snowden, the defenders of the NSA program who are attacking Snowden are going to look increasingly isolated and out of touch.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 1:23am

    when those with power are caught doing things they shouldn't, they use that power to suppress or even silence those that have caught them and made the knowledge wide spread. it's this abuse of power both to do the thing(s) they shouldn't in the first place and to try to get out of the consequences when caught, by making the ones that discovered their bad deeds out to be the bad guys. that is very wrong and very dangerous!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 1:27am

    "In keeping with the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence, in keeping with the teaching of Henry David Thoreau and people like Gandhi and others, if you believe something that is not right, something is unjust, and you are willing to defy customs, traditions, bad laws, then you have a conscience. You have a right to defy those laws and be willing to pay the price."

    I don't think society wants whistleblowing to be a normal and expected behavior. It's a big middle finger to the whole society really, it's telling everyone in it "hey, you can't manage your society well enough that the rules you've established ensure just outcomes, so I am going to break all those rules in order to achieve an end you can't."

    Most people want to live in a society where that action isn't necessary. Most people want to believe that their society is one in which that action is NOT necessary, and so there is tremendous scrutiny when someone takes a drastic action like that.

    In order to do what he did, I'd think Snowden had to believe:

    1. That he had sufficient understanding of what he was leaking to make truthful judgments about it;

    2. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Legislative branch and much, if not most, of Congress;

    3. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Executive branch which is headed by a Constitutional lawyer;

    4. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Judicial branch;

    5. That none of the many options he had to address his concerns through established channels for doing so (everything from reporting to one of many inspectors general to walking into Senator Wyden's office directly) would have "worked" (i.e., generated an appropriate and effective response to his concern).

    Unlike many other "whistleblower"-style claims, this is not a situation where a small group of shadowy powerful figures is being accused of pulling a fast one in a dark room somewhere. The accusation here is of at least that, plus a systemic failure of oversight by literally hundreds of other very powerful people who had knowledge of the situation.

    Those are really tremendous claims. And I know from reading posts that many people here have no problem wholeheartedly believing every single one of them (because this is Techdirt, and here, the government is nothing but universally stupid and corrupt).

    But I think the average person sees these claims (especially in total) as being really extraordinary, and as such requiring extraordinary evidence to back them up. Perhaps that evidence exists, and we may even find out that this is the case. But I think given the breadth of the claims we need to be pretty tolerant of a lot of skepticism toward them.

    Socially, we set up oversight so we don't have to rely on individuals and their individual consciences to make decisions for all of society with broad social impacts. Many "whistleblower" cases happen because of lack of oversight. But here, it's hard to argue that there wasn't a TON of oversight, and the claim is far broader - that nearly the entire system failed despite that oversight.

    Whistelblowing is (or should be) already an extraordinary situation, and the claim being made here makes this particular situation yet-more extraordinary. I don't see how anyone (driven by reason rather than emotion) can have come to a well-informed conclusion on this issue yet.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 2:12am

    Re:

    I can. The US Government, as an entity, is at best morally bankrupt, and at worst a modern-day allegory to feudalistic beliefs, up to and including the ownership of someone's livelihood as an item of property (thought not quite to the extent of slavery.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 2:20am

    Re: Re:

    I can. The US Government, as an entity, is at best morally bankrupt, and at worst a modern-day allegory to feudalistic beliefs, up to and including the ownership of someone's livelihood as an item of property (thought not quite to the extent of slavery.)

    Aaaand there's the deep and well-reasoned discussion I've come to know and love here. This is the kind of post that proves that the trolls really are full of it and deserve to be run off.

    Attention advertisers - you, too, can reach this high-value demographic...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 2:28am

    America was founded on the idea that citizens should be suspicious of their government's actions, and their words.

    So no, true American's aren't scared or bothered by whistleblowers. The only ones scared are corrupt individuals in government.

    Everything is exactly as it should be.

     

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  6.  
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    Robert, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 3:00am

    Defenders of the NSA program are not so much going to look isolated and out of touch as more like corrupt control freaks who don't really believe in the right to a secret ballot at elections and the democratic principles it protects.
    That a citizen be able to vote for the person of their choice free from intimidation and bribery.
    What secret ballot when they already known exactly who you are going to vote for, and by timing electronic voting with security cameras, having proof.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 3:11am

    I don't see how anyone (driven by reason rather than emotion) can have come to a well-informed conclusion on this issue yet

    Really? Its OK to have everything you do spied on, opened, copied and kept for future use/questioning. That is what is going on and has done for many years. And yes Governments are corrupt as has been pointed out many times: Power Corrupts.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 3:49am

    I watched part of an interview Obama gave this week where he kept condemning Russia and Snowden and I couldn't help but think "Who do they think they are misleading? Haven't they realized that the continued denial will cause much more damage than honestly admitting the errors?" among other similar thoughts.

    This is some Prenda-like tactics. Keep your head in the sand as long as possible hoping the problems will go away. They won't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 3:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Given the examples of the last two administration, and going back as far as the Civil War, the American Government has not learned the lessons that would have avoided the current pitfalls plaguing it.

    For example, the current and previous administrations tortured uses of the word "Transparency" in order to try and quell public fears of executive, judiciary and legislative malfeasance. From Wall Street to BP, from agriculture to welfare, from healthcare to entertainment, the US Government had failed in its collective duty to the most important people: the electorate and the public.

    The current administration, in particular, has repeatedly failed, if not outright abrogated, its responsibilities to the public. Snowden did what he felt was int he best interests of the public. Ghandi did what he felt was in the best interests of the public. Mandela very nearly died for the public.

    One thing to bear in mind about those three people - they were all thought of as Enemies of the State.

    Wages in the US economy and abroad have effectively stagnated in the five years since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell. This alone would merely be cause for concern. But the constant surveiling of everyone in the US is just an extension of the attempts of an out-of-control "secret" mission to extend what was an outward-facing program inward, for probably nefarious reasons.

    And yes, I
    do actually agree with your initial post here - the situation is likely one that cannot easily be resolved by my initial post above, but there are a few things that I can propose that may help resolve the situation and simultaneously aid the perception of the government:

    1) Donations to go into a collective "pot" for campaigns and handed out randomly, using a 1024-AES encryption system;
    2) Immediate revocation of the NSA's surveillance remit, and transferral of its staff to other agencies;
    3) FISA to be repealed and redrawn to only be usable to a criminal standard of "beyond reasonable doubt" of terrorist threat, and to be reviewed by a judge in a full and open hearing;
    4) Should a warrant be issued according to (3), the warrantee will be given a copy of this granting no later than six months from the date of the granting of the warrant;
    5) A law that makes it a Grand Jury Felony charge to not disclose any interests in the creation of a Bill with no Statute of Limitation on that charge;
    6) Agreeing to uphold any and all treaties pertaining to the exchange of prisoners in cases of extradition;
    7) Remove indefinite "secret holds" on legislation - if you're willing to stop it, you should be willing to reveal your name and why you stopped it.

    That's just for a start. I have a number of ideas for the judiciary and Executive branches, but that's a whole other set of posts.

    tl;dr the system is broke, here's my suggestions for how to start fixing it.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 3:58am

    Re:

    By oversight you mean, puppet courts and invitations to oversee things that are not to be accepted let alone used by anyone?

    Show me one person that believes that anything checked by the same people producing it will show any flaws to others and I show you a stupid person or liar.

    Further this was not something that caught people by surprise, we all knew it was happening, we just couldn't prove it conclusively, but we all saw the signs.

    In this case you don't need to point to the fire just need to spot its smoke.

    The US apparently is atrophying in the discussion terrain because of all of this secrecy, the lack of transparency is making politicians seem more stupid than they already were viewed, in the past they would debate things in public, get trashed and then be able to decimate anyone elsewhere around the globe this is not what it happens today.

    The lame excuses they give us is a symptom of a governance that doesn't need to ask, it got to accustomed to just force it, that it doesn't even see the need to justify anything anymore.

     

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    JustMe (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    Re: A/C

    "that nearly the entire system failed despite that oversight"

    Not the *entire* system, since the public has the ultimate oversight authority. This highlights the *benefit* of whistle blowers - that sometimes (like now) things DO get out of control and require the public to reign them in. I'll stop typing now, before /rant begins.

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 5:17am

    Re:

    In order to do what he did, I'd think Snowden had to believe:

    1. That he had sufficient understanding of what he was leaking to make truthful judgments about it;


    Given that his job was to analyze the intelligence gathered via this system, I think we can assume that to be true.

    2. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Legislative branch and much, if not most, of Congress;

    More like his understanding and interpretation of what was actually going on was far superior to that of the Legislative branch and much, if not most, of Congress. How many members of Congress have since come forward and said they didn't vote for that kind of spying, or didn't understand how widespread it was?

    3. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Executive branch which is headed by a Constitutional lawyer;

    Understanding the legality is one thing, being willing to stay within the law is another. All the evidence seen so far is that members of the executive branch were either willfully blind to violations of the constitution or else intentionally twisting the interpretation of the constitution in order to justify their actions.

    4. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Judicial branch;

    One court. One that deliberates in secret, that hears only one side of the story, and that produces judgements that are also secret.
    If you don`t think one court can get things wrong, then I`d like you to explain why the rest of the legal system needs to have multiple levels of appeals to higher authority.

     

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  13.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 5:20am

    Re:

    But I think the average person sees these claims (especially in total) as being really extraordinary, and as such requiring extraordinary evidence to back them up. Perhaps that evidence exists, and we may even find out that this is the case. But I think given the breadth of the claims we need to be pretty tolerant of a lot of skepticism toward them.

    The overblown reaction of those in power towards Snowden IS a piece of extraordinary evidence against them. You don't get this kind of reaction from the innocent.

    Also recent polls have suggestsed that the average person is far more in tune with the "techdirt reaction" to all of this than to the government's line.

     

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    Richard (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 5:28am

    Re:

    I don't think society wants whistleblowing to be a normal and expected behavior. It's a big middle finger to the whole society really, it's telling everyone in it "hey, you can't manage your society well enough that the rules you've established ensure just outcomes, so I am going to break all those rules in order to achieve an end you can't."


    I don't think society wants whistleblowing to be a normal and expected behaviour because I don't think it wants whistleblowing to be necessary.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 6:14am

    There are persons advocating that he be called a "hero", classic "whistleblower", etc. Perhaps this has some merit given the nature of some of the information that has been publicly released.

    There are others advocating that he brought to justice for traitorous-like activities. After all, he released information that they believe presents only one side to the various issues, provided valuable information to allies and otherwise alike, violated obligations to retain classified information in the strictest of confidence, and there still exists what is being claimed as a large body of information that is in the hands of third parties at various locations throughout the world, and the contents of that information is largely unknown to those concerned with its public disclosure.

    Quite frankly, I prefer to adopt a wait and see attitude. Certainly Mr. Snowden has brought into the light of day certain things that raise significant concerns within and without the United States about matters such as personal privacy, data collection overreach, etc., etc. Then again, I still have a nagging concerns about him given his statements about "there is much more where that came from", and the complete lack of understanding about what this "much more" comprises. Maybe he will turn out to be a hero of sorts. Then again, I cannot discount that calling him a hero may be putting the cart before the horse. Only time will tell if one or the other applies, or if what he has done is some form of an intermediate blend.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Re:

    If you wanna go with the "average american" you end up with someone sick of the government since it is a majority, though not very vocal since many are voluntarily disenfranchised.

    What you describe is a system that does not have internal conflicts and turfwars... That system is utopian by nature.

    As for the specific case, I agree that there are good reasons for being cautious, but the lack of transparency in the system is generating myths since people fear the worst. Furthermore, there are several of the leaked documents pointing towards some people not being "least untruthful" and oversight politicians arguments on lawtexts that do not seem to have any allignment with their interpretation.

    While caution is good, too much caution is stupidity. As long as the government still haven't refuted even a comma in the legal arguments, how dare you make the claim that oversight is a'plenty? And how can you trust in "oversight" if the truth can be drowned in bureaucratic jargon several steps down the chain?

     

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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 6:56am

    It's very sad. If Martin Luther King, Jr. had given his famous speech in the current environment, he would have been arrested, charged with a felony and prosecuted by the Justice Department.

    What's sad is that we have a black president who thinks he has the power to persecute a white man (Snowden), a black man in charge of the Justice Department chasing after Snowden because the government has decided that since it didn't like a white man has done, that it's okay for a black man to label a white man as a traitor instead of as a whistleblower and the government says it protects whistleblowers as long as they aren't government whistleblowers embarassing the Democratic party.

    How much do you want to bet that if Obama had been a Republican president and the roles in Congress for the parties were reversed, how much Democrats would be calling for Snowden to be labeled a hero.

    Hypocrisy in government is a wonderful thing.

     

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    MrPendent, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    Well, not exactly.

    I consider what Snowden did to be correct. This was a corrupt system (that many, including myself, predicted when these laws were first passed--and I'm not even all that bright) and it needed to be pushed out into the light.

    BUT, with that said, Snowden is absolutely not following in the trail of Thoreau, King or Gandhi. Those men were using civil disobedience to bring light to the wrongs. One of the tenets of civil disobedience is to accept the punishment in order to demonstrate that corrupt nature of the power.

    I applaud Snowden's leaks, and I do not at all blame him for fleeing (I most certainly would have done so, had I been able to perform the leaks in the first place), but he is no more Gandhi than he is the Queen of England.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re:

    One court. One that deliberates in secret, that hears only one side of the story, and that produces judgements that are also secret.
    If you don`t think one court can get things wrong, then I`d like you to explain why the rest of the legal system needs to have multiple levels of appeals to higher authority.


    IIRC, the different judges can't even talk about a case to other judges in the court that aren't assigned to the case. So they can't even compare notes with the other judges to check themselves.

     

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  20.  
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    Alt0, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    The reactions from the administration are like a child "acting out" when caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
    Wanting credit for being "so clever" as to get their hand in the jar to begin with, or by saying they were actually putting a cookie BACK into the jar. Even with cookie all over their face! Mom told me I could have a cookie (they tell Dad) but...

    Mom and Dad know what was going on, and punishment is only a short time away. (Someone needs a spanking)

     

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  21.  
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    Alt0, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:28am

    Re:

    "What's sad is that we have a president who thinks he has the power to persecute a man (Snowden), a man in charge of the Justice Department chasing after Snowden because the government has decided that since it didn't like what he has done, that it's okay for a another man to label that man as a traitor instead of as a whistleblower and the government says it protects whistleblowers as long as they aren't government whistleblowers embarassing the government"

    ...See Just as powerful without using "race" to sell your point, unless of course your point was racism?

     

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  22.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re:

    The Price of Freedom, is Eternal Vigilance.

    we citizens can NOT simply emplace a system of government that has good, basic, checks and balances to restrain unwise actions on behalf of the people; then walk away and let it go on auto-pilot, leaving it to 'the pros', allowing it to devolve into a hypocritical shadow of itself, a secretive, sick, self-parody with tragic consequences to the planet...

    The Price of Freedom IS Eternal Vigilance.

    the monied puppetmasters and the infinitely rich, practically immortal, immensely immoral, legal-fictions we call corporations, have more rights and power than all mere citizens combined...
    one dollar, one vote rules; not one person, one vote...
    they've stolen our very personhood and perverted it to their service...

    The Price of Freedom is ETERNAL Vigilance.

    who has been watching the watchers, indeed...
    no one; and THAT is a fundamental violation of ANY and ALL precepts that a functioning small-dee democracy needs to survive, if not thrive... everyone watching everyone; and NO one with the morals to say 'Have you no shame?'...

    The Price of Freedom is Eternal VIGILANCE.

    what do us mere sheeple see but what little we are allowed to see ? ? ? barring a few brave and steadfast few who let us peep behind the curtain on occasion...
    usually, it just confirms our worst, most paranoid speculations...
    ...and isn't that gratifying...

    The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance.

    we got brothers and sisters trying to be vigilant in madison wisconsin, where proto-brownshirts are aborning...
    brothers and sisters in tallahassee florida won't be swayed by empty platitudes of a swindling pol...

    a lot more of us need to be vigilant, ain't nobody else gonna do it for us...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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    Lord Binky, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    What is sickening is that the US government decided not to call the Fort Hood shooter a terrorist, but instead call the incident 'workplace violence', to minimize the effect it would have on a 'fair trial' for him. Yet they vilify and give extreme labels to a person who didn't directly murder a bunch of people for no good reason. This is the kind of thing that destroys people's concepts that our top government officials have a shred of interest for anything but themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    Very well said sir !!

    I cannot believe Snowden is not being compared to the likes of Ghandi !!!

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re: Well, not exactly.

    I'd say that he did accept the punishment, at least as much as he could and still successfully get his message out.

    Ghandi and those others, the most they had to look forward to was jailing, probably some beatings, but the governments of the 'free world' for the most part weren't going to 'disappear' and apply 'enhanced interrogation techniques' to them, something that is most certainly no longer the case.

    Snowden knew, that as soon as he went public as the source of the leaks, he would be hounded and hunted, never able to set foot back in the US, and having to always make sure to stay one step ahead of the US(and even then he was probably surprised at just how insane the US would act regarding him), and yet he did it anyway.

    If that's not accepting the punishment for his actions, to show the corruption in the system, I don't know what is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:52am

    Ghandi and the other made a difference !!!

    They accepted punishment for their civil disobedience, they did not run and hide and ask for help from others.

    Snowden has done none of this.

    We know Snowden will cheat, run, hide, and steal and lie.
    But yet you trust him and want to treat him as a God !!!

    The US should just tell Russia to keep him, and enjoy him.. He's better off there anyway, Russia being so open and free and all.

    It's cheaper to let him rot in Russia that to try to bring him back and charge him.

     

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    sorrykb (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:00am

    Re:

    But here, it's hard to argue that there wasn't a TON of oversight, and the claim is far broader - that nearly the entire system failed despite that oversight.

    Meaningful oversight of any program generally requires an outside party without a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. This is one reason why the Constitution established three branches of government, such that each could provide checks against the power of the others. "Oversight" in the form of a non-adversarial and entirely secret court proceeding and selective notification (or outright lies) to Congress cannot be effective. Indeed, given what we have learned of these programs, they were deliberately designed and managed to limit accountability, or eliminate it outright.

    In that sense, this system did not fail -- It worked exactly as its creators intended.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:09am

    You have a right to defy those laws and be willing to pay the price.

    Except, as we all know, this is not what Snowden did, he is not willing to defy the laws AND PAY THE PRICE, yes, he is willing to defy the laws, THEN RUN AWAY.

    This person also did not put Snowden "in the line of" these other people.

    Just following their discipline, and Snowden did not even do that!

    Snowden did a crime, and ran away, that is not a conviction of your beliefs.
    That's just common criminal activity. Commit a crime and avoid punishment.

    Ghandi never did that, that is why Ghandi has some success and made a difference, and why Snowden did not.

    Again, the US is better off without him, let Russia have him.

     

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  29.  
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    Mike-2 Alpha (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    Myself, I'm not reminded of Prenda Law by the US Government's reaction to the Russia / Snowden thing. Of all people, their behaviour reminds me most of... Russia. Or, rather, the USSR.

    Seriously, set this all thirty or forty years ago and flip the countries around, and you could write a half-decent political thriller while keeping most of the other details the same.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Well, not exactly.

    So it's ok for him to run from punishment because he's a coward ?

    So how is he 'paying the price' ?

    No, he ran and hid, and is doing all he can to avoid 'paying the price' for his 'convictions'. He's no Ghandi and never ever will be.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    So when is Snowden going to announce

    That he is revoking his US Citizenship ??

    I am sure the US would be willing to fast track that application. It's very telling he has not already do so ! WHY ?

    If he hates the country so much, it should of been the first thing he should of done.

    Go on Snowden, you read TD, revoke your citizenship !!!

     

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  32.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Well, not exactly.

    He's a 'coward' for running? By that logic running from someone brandishing a gun at you is cowardice, you should stay there and get shot to show how 'brave' you are! /s

    It's very simple, he saw what happened to other whistlblowers that embarrassed the government, knew it would be infinitely worse for him due to how much the leaks were going to make the government look bad, and sensibly got himself away from the tantrums the USG would inevitably throw.

    Keep in mind the country he was fleeing from has no problem with torture(as long as they are the ones doing it, and as long as they call it something else like 'enhanced interrogation'), no problems locking someone up, without trial for years at a time if not indefinitely, and have no problem killing threats or those that might be threats via drone strike.

    'Running' from a country with that kind of reputation after exposing it's illegal or secret actions isn't an indication of cowardice, it's an indication that his brain was working.

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    I don't think society wants whistleblowing to be a normal and expected behavior


    I think people want to live in a society where whistleblowing is unnecessary. I also think people want to live in a society where when whistleblowing is necessary, there are people willing to do it.

    For your numbered points:

    1) I think we can safely assume that this is true.

    2-4) No. We don't have to assume his understanding of the Constitution is superior to others in government. We have to assume that he cares more about Constitutionality than others in government or that he is more aware of what's really going on than others in government. I think that those are pretty safe assumptions.

    5) This is a fact. There are no effective established channels to do this, as demonstrated by the people before Snowden who tried. Snowden himself even made this point.

    Those are really tremendous claims.


    I don't think they are, really. All of those claims are readily backed up by available evidence.

    I don't see how anyone (driven by reason rather than emotion) can have come to a well-informed conclusion on this issue yet.


    But what Snowden revealed was both confirmed by the agencies involved and is plainly unacceptable behavior that is, at best, dubious in its Constitutionality.

    Even if it really is Constitutional, there's still no getting around that this is an incredible intrusion into the lives of every single American. That this was done without informing us, let alone consulting us, is the biggest sin of all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:32am

    Re: So when is Snowden going to announce

    If he hates the country so much


    If he really hated the US, he wouldn't have said a word and in doing so helped us continue these self-destuctive policies.

     

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  35.  
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    Richard (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    2. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Legislative branch and much, if not most, of Congress;

    3. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Executive branch which is headed by a Constitutional lawyer;

    4. That his understanding and interpretation of the Constitution was superior to that of the Judicial branch;


    The constitution is not supposed to be rocket science that only a few cognoscenti can understand and interpret correctly. It is for the people - and so every adult of sound mind should be on an equal footing in their understanding of it.

     

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  36.  
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    sorrykb (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Well, not exactly.

    So how is he 'paying the price' ?

    He's in exile. In Russia. He can never return home.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:46am

    Re: So when is Snowden going to announce

    Revoke your Australian citizenship, darryl! Your government encourages your countrymen to get cheaper Adobe by lying about where they live! You live in a filthy den of pirates, darryl! What's your solar panel dick think about that?

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    How did Thoreau make it onto that list next to Gandhi? The guy was a hack who wrote a crappy book about living in the woods.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Well, not exactly.

    I'd like to ask you what, pray tell, Snowden returning to the US and being thrown in prison would accomplish? If you say something along the lines of to show how corrupt the US government is, he's already done that with the leaks. Wistleblowers and political refugees of years past would have gone with the prison route, hopeful in the knowledge that the good and just governments of the West would hound their oppressors to set them free...but when the ones locking you up ARE the "good and just" governments of the west? Who do you turn to? What good does it do YOU to be locked up for years on end, tortured and probably killed?
    Snowden here has done the smart thing, trying to look out for himself while doing the right thing at the same time. He's already exposed the US government so there's no real need for him to go to jail. Knowledge of Guantanamo and the US torture programs predates him after all, so why would he willingly go to prison to suffer that? There would be no point.

     

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  40.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Re: So when is Snowden going to announce

    You can love your country while hating it's government. Of course this point will just zoom over your head.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 10:50am

    I find it absolutely hilarious how one of the leading civil rights leaders, a man as influential in the area as Martin Luther King himself is defending Snowden and people are still trying to claim he's wrong and that Snowden's a no-good dirty spy traitor. I'd wonder if Lewis' comments would make Obama feel ashamed at his actions, but it's been pretty clear that this government hasn't felt a lick of shame in over a decade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re: So when is Snowden going to announce

    If he hates the country so much, it should of been the first thing he should of done.


    Um. I think the whole point of this was that he doesn't hate the country at all, and the reason that he revealed this info is because of his concern about what the government is doing to the country.

     

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  43.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Aug 8th, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    Two months later

    It sure took Americans long enough to start to realize there was a problem.

    What was it, June 6 (give or take a few days) when this whole NSA scandal broke? And each time we thing that the government can't go any lower, a new report comes out revealing "Yes they can!" tearing down people's faith in the government even more.

    So it has only been a few days over the 2 month mark since Snowden/the Guardian released the first leak on the NSA's surveillance programs. Is that the time it takes for a scandal this big to breach the reality distortion field that is "reality tv (along wiht other Hollywood idiocy)" these days?

    From what I can tell, while the specific points and programs involved aren't picked up and brought into the average American's long term memory, the general sense of "Holy shit the government's trying to play Big Brother on Americans" has sunk in and taken hold for the time being [along with some assorted rallying buzzwords of course].

    Whether or not the NSA is actually spying on American citizens intentionally (YMMV on that) and not just foreigners inside and outside the United States is irrelevant at this point.

    For better or worse, another seed of cynicism directed at the US government has taken root in the collective American consciousness. [Must be a damn forest of cynicism by now]

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

    And in the immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi, "B*tches ain't sh*t but hoes and tricks".

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re: Well, not exactly.

    funny that they did not do all those things you say to Bradley Manning ??

    Who do you think it would be different for Snowden ?

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 9:21pm

    Re: Re:

    I cannot believe anyone with any sense of responsibility would let you near a solar panel.

     

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  47.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 9th, 2013 @ 6:18pm

    NEXT DAY REALITY SETS IN: Lewis takes it all back.

    Thou Shalt Not Praise His Name: Rep. Lewis Praises Snowden . . . Then Quickly Retracts Praise

    http://jonathanturley.org/2013/08/08/rep-lewis-praises-snowden-then-quickly-retracts-prais e/

    I don't have to try to be cynical, I just react.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    anonymous, Aug 11th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Society doesn't want whistleblowers

    "
    I don't think society wants whistleblowing to be a normal and expected behavior. It's a big middle finger to the whole society really, it's telling everyone in it "hey, you can't manage your society well enough that the rules you've established ensure just outcomes, so I am going to break all those rules in order to achieve an end you can't.""

    I think you're confusing government with society. Whistleblowers are more accurately described as people giving the middle finger to government, not to society. Laws are rules created by governments, not by societies.

    Whistleblowers aren't defying societal norms, they're defying laws which are often unjust, arbitrary, or just arrogantly imposed upon society.

    As George Mason asked, "What if the Law is an ass?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    Eddie (profile), Aug 11th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: A/C

    "
    Not the *entire* system, since the public has the ultimate oversight authority."

    I take it you mean that 'we are the government' and can exercise power. How do we do that? Voting for one or the other of two indistinguishable candidates hasn't been working for me. Maybe you have another way in mind.

     

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  50.  
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    Jerrymiah, Sep 7th, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Well, not exactly.

    Obama already a drone at the ready with Snowden's name on it to get him killed as soon as he leaves Russia, on top of the whole squad of CIA agents ready to deploy to shoot him.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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