While Oliver Stone, the Purple Heart holding US war veteran, may have got The Untold History of The United States broadly right he may not have reached the right conclusion regarding Edward Snowden’s recent activities which he not surprisingly defends. So what is really going on right now?
As for how the Snowden saga will be viewed historically when the fog has gone and the dust has settled it may be worth comparing it all to Abraham Lincoln’s approach to intercepting communications – Prism et al look tame in comparison – in those days dozens of journalists were arrested for espionage! No wonder rumour mills are working overtime at present.
However, even the Anonymous Group has been accused of being a covert front for the CIA following the mysterious death of a journalist called Michael Hastings last month in a peculiar car crash involving only his car which burst into flames. His last email (to colleagues and friends) stated that he was onto a big story and was going “off the radar for a bit”; the FBI denied he was being investigated. Whether his death is linked to the Snowden saga is dubious but investigations continue. So, are journalists safer today than in Abraham Lincoln’s day? It probably depends on which country they work in.
Regarding Snowden’s current whereabouts it is obvious that few journalists have a clue where he is. It is also noteworthy that the Russians are purportedly being painstakingly patient unless Snowden is no longer holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
Since the ambassador’s office in the London Ecuadorian Embassy was known to have been bugged over two weeks ago everything announced since then by Wikileaks, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and probably Russia is almost certainly tainted with disinformation.
Our best guess is he left Russia a while ago and is probably in Cuba. Maybe that is disinformation too! Who knows? How many really care now?
No matter where Snowden goes in southern or central American he will find it hard to make a well informed long term decision because he will no doubt be handed over to the USA in a decade or two when no one really remembers this supposed debacle.
Many South American countries’ loyalties to the USA wax and wane depending upon their political persuasions which historically have for many changed dramatically over the years since the proxy wars of the Cold War ceased.
The performances of many of the stars in this soap opera have been lacklustre to put it generously. One way or another Snowden, Clapper, Obama and Kerry have got it hopelessly if not embarrassingly wrong again and again – indeed Putin is one of the few who has handled the affair with consistency and aplomb.
The USA through the NSA and CIA has emerged looking like a totalitarian bully even if Snowden is as guilty as he appears to be of theft and espionage etc ignoring the entire moral hullabaloo about spying which Faire Sans Dire pointed out in February 2012 had been rampant for many years and involved dozens of countries. At that time no one in the many media organisations we were in touch with on a regular basis even considered it newsworthy!
As we noted yesterday in the Times and the Guardian, Snowden really will become a “banned on the run” for the rest of his life and probably deserves it.
If someone conned his way into a job working for you at a good salary, copied all your computer files, did a runner and then published or threatened to publish all your precious data having de facto admitted his main intent all along had been to do just that I wonder what you’d think?
Next, now imagine you work in intelligence and are trying to track terrorists and some of what he releases or threatens to release might help them murder your citizens. No wonder many are hopping mad – and if you still think Snowden is a hero whose hero is he – Osama bin Laden’s dwindling devotees or your’s? As you do not know what he has stolen or is threatening to publish how can you reach any judgement? You may not like your privacy being penetrated but then who does and we can assure you at the very least several countries allegedly have the Holy Grail within their reach – tracking and storing all electronic communications worldwide.
Snowden may not have agreed with mass monitoring of electronic communications but as everyone who wanted to know could have quite easily found out on the web or by conducting tests in cyberspace that virtually every country in the world had been at it for years why pick on and betray his employer to make the USA look bad when he could have chosen many countries he describes as victims which arguably are more intrusive of their own citizens’ rights and of more danger to their own citizens.
If publishing what was known for years before made you sit up and think then maybe you are reading the wrong newspapers! Those newspapers that first published the Snowden Saga were simply regurgitating the past for profit. The rest of the pack followed as day follows night. We have written on it too because many of our readers and clients have asked us to comment so we fall into that camp as well but at least we wrote about the matters of principle well over a year ago.
We should all pray for an improvement in our free media and press if this is of such crucial interest. Programs like Prism, Tempora, Big Brother, Echelon, Ghostnet, Frenchelon and MTI or their equivalents in many other countries beyond the Five Eyes and others all over the world (see our article dated 24th June 2013) have been common knowledge for many years.
As for where the prism is pointing now we’ll stick with Cuba as Snowden’s current location but ultimately we still believe it points to Ecuador – we’re probably wrong on both fronts but let’s see when the fog of disinformation lifts.
This article was first published on 7th July 2013. On 12th July 2013 Edward Snowden held a press conference in Sheremetyevo Airport thereby dispelling our theory that he had left Russia. Nevertheless it is understood that his planned asylum application for permission to stay in Russia is only a stepping stone in the long road ahead for him to head elsewhere and that Ecuador along with Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have offered him asylum if he can get to their territories. Accordingly we will not cede that we were wrong on Ecuador as well until his final destination is clear. It has been estimated by asylum experts (in organisations such as Amnesty International) that the whole process may take years so don’t hold your breath!