‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

(via guardian.co.uk)

(via guardian.co.uk)

So says Edward Snowden, the former NSA analyst who has come forward as the source of recent NSA “leaks” involving the government’s role in gathering intelligence information.

Some personal perspective: I spent several years as a firefighter, ultimately reaching the rank of Captain. We, by necessity, work very closely with law enforcement. Both agencies are public, para-military organizations. I witnessed first-hand abuses by law enforcement, both physical and constitutional. On one occasion, I saw a deputy take a homeless teen behind a building and “talk to him”…the teen returned ruffled and bruised. It was clear what the “talking to” involved. I don’t have a monopoly on witnessing this kind of “stretching the rules” but I mention it to gain some insight on the matter at hand. The police departments that I worked with were willing to break the law to advance what they collectively saw as a greater good. In many, if not most cases, I agreed with their actions at the time. It’s called “group-think” and it’s very east to succumb to in this line of work.

Now let’s up the stakes by, say, infinity…you are the United States Government and you are mandated with protecting your citizens from an increasingly sophisticated enemy, Jihadists from non nation-states that do not follow the conventional rules of warfare.

After 911, I think it’s safe to say that I and many others felt that “all bets were off” in the immediacy surrounding the horrible attack. But with time comes perspective and a return to sanity, and a return to a “normal” state of non knee-jerk responsiveness that has apparently continued unabated in the security apparatchiks of this country.

I discussed John Kiriakou recently here and my outrage at his imprisonment for essentially calling out his government for not playing by its own rules.

Now Edward Snowden. He contends that the level of governmental intrusion is far greater than we have been led to believe, and based upon my personal experiences, I believe him. We are only being exposed to the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our governments anti-terror programs. Journalist Jeremy Scahill’s new film and book “Dirty Wars” promises to shine further light on these dark recesses of our national obsession with “security”.

Is all this justified?  Is it okay to wiretap and spy on your own citizens and God knows what else will be revealed? Maybe it is…maybe these actions, taken clearly outside the letter and intent of our Bill of Rights are vital to our collective safety. But here’s the deal…in order for us, you know, the citizens of the country that employ you, to make an informed decision, we need transparency. We need to be brought into the loop just enough to know if what you guys are doing is both necessary and just. And right now, with an absolute lack of transparency, we simply have President Obama “assuring” us that it’s not invasive and it’s in our best interest.

Mr. President, I’ve voted for you twice. I admired your background as a Constitutional Law Professor. You are lying to us and you have lost my support. Until you can convince me that these draconian measures are CRITICAL to our well-being, you are simply another corporate talking head. Another minion of the military-industrial complex furthering our descent into fascism.

I have no illusions that this blog will not be “flagged” in some third-party corporate “metadatabase”…and that’s a shame. My father fought and nearly died in two wars to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I served over 20 years protecting the public in the emergency services field and I am not about to roll over on the principles of this country.

I want answers.

I want transparency.

And I want more people like Edward Snowden to come forward and do the right thing…


About Conversations With The Moon

Divorced father of two amazing young adults. College student, plodding away at a liberal arts degree. Formerly a Fire Captain and Paramedic. Dabbler in fashion. Liberal. Believer in Karma. View all posts by Conversations With The Moon

5 responses to “‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

  • kingmidget

    While I believed after 9/11 that we needed to take additional measures for reasons of security, I never thought that giving up basic rights of privacy and freedom of communication should have happened. The more rights we lose, the more the “enemy” wins. The most important thing we could have done was to stay true to our identity and ideals. For the last twelve years, we haven’t done such a good job of that.
    Obama still has my support. I just wish he would turn some of these things around a little more quickly than he has.

    • Conversations With The Moon

      As a Constitutional Law Prof, he is in this knee-deep and eyes wide open…I simply can’t excuse it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s the least objectionable person in that position, I’m just calling him out to do the right thing. The last arena I want to get into is the “conspiracy theory” nut job play land, but I really believe we are not getting even a fraction of the story. And I will still support him against the baseless/racist attacks of the fringe right…

  • Angiedaweeze

    I see that you are discussing the actual issue of government surveillance. And now that the whole “Where is Snowden” issue has come up I am pondering the US’s beef with him. I have been trying, really hard, to understand both sides of this debate. NPR has been helping with what I feel is non-biased information. So Snowden was not employed by the NSA at the time of the leaks(?). He quit because he felt the work they were doing was unethical(?). His job was top secret so his “spilling the beans” was espionage(?). Or was it human rights activism at it’s finest? Ugh. Both scenarios are unethical. To go against privacy laws, as well as speaking up for civil rights. I just don’t know. Nobody in this fucking small town gives a shit so here I am trying to discuss it with my 5-year-old who asks….may I play star wars angry birds if I talk to you about this for 3 more minutes? AAAAHHHH!!!!

  • Conversations With The Moon

    OK, to respond categorically: The US has a beef with him, A)Because he broke the law and B)Because he’s making them look VERY bad politically…they are launching an all-out PR war to discredit him…it’s so transparent as to be sophomoric; quite bush league (pardon the pun). Snowden worked for Booz Allen, a defense/NSA contractor…he was subject to some of the same secrecy clearance requirements as a govt. employee. He quit, IMO, because he wanted to expose what he felt was the gross assault on our civil rights that was going unchecked by the Congress, the press, and the American people. What he has allegedly done is very likely illegal…whether it rises to the legal definition of espionage is above my pay grade but I promise you the Feds will claim this. He had done what Daniel Ellsberg did back in the early 70’s with the Pentagon Papers…and Obama is going after him even more vociferously than Nixon did. Obama’s Justice Department has gone after more leakers and more intensely than Bush’s did. If this was a Republican administration we would both be screaming bloody murder. I just beat you to the punch. Obama can’t defend this or Guantanomo to my satisfaction and now the SCOTUS strikes down the Voting Rights Act? Nice legacy Barack…sorry, but facts are facts and these are beyond the pale in my opinion (and yes I know he has no sway on SCOTUS; it’s just part of the whole package of attacks on our freedoms).

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