Whistleblower or security threat?

The link between the Edward Snowden story and the theme of this blog is somewhere between tenuous and non-existent. However, I am really fed up with anyone who is passionate about the issue of environmental sustainability being labelled “anti-Capitalist” – and I am equally fed up with whistleblowers being labelled as security threats. Is Edward Snowden a whistleblower or an international security threat? If you are undecided, please read this message from Avaaz:

This 29-year-old just gave up his whole life to blow the whistle on the US’s insane PRISM program — which has hacked all our emails, Skype messages and Facebook posts for years. If millions of us act urgently and get behind him, we can help press the US to crack down on PRISM, not Edward. Let’s stand with him before it’s too late:

Sign the petition

This 29 year-old analyst just gave up his whole life — his girlfriend, his job, and his home — to blow the whistle on the US government’s shocking PRISM program — which has been reading and recording our emails, Skype messages, Facebook posts and phone calls for years. When Bradley Manning passed this kind of data to Wikileaks, the US threw him naked into solitary confinement in conditions that the UN called “cruel, inhumane and degrading”. The authorities and press are deciding right now how to handle this scandal. If millions of us stand with Edward in the next 48 hours, it will send a powerful statement that he should be treated like the brave whistleblower that he is, and it should be PRISM, and not Edward, that the US cracks down on: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_prism_global/?bSkdncb&v=25820 PRISM is profoundly disturbing: it gives the US government unlimited access to all of our personal email and social media accounts on Google, Youtube, Facebook, Skype, Hotmail, Yahoo! and much more. They’re recording billions of our messages every month and the CIA can now or in the future use the information to prosecute, persecute, or blackmail us, our friends or our families! Edward was horrified by this unprecedented violation of individual privacy. So he copied large amounts of files, sent them to the Guardian newspaper for publication and escaped to Hong Kong. His bravery not only exposed PRISM, but has started a domino effect around the world, shining a light on secret spy programs in Canada, the UK and Australia in just days! Now he’s trapped in Hong Kong, waiting to be arrested. A global outcry could save him from extradition to the US, and encourage other countries to grant him asylum. We can’t let the US do to Edward what they did to Bradley Manning. Let’s urgently stand with him, and against PRISM: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_prism_global/?bSkdncb&v=25820 Sometimes the things our governments do are simply breathtaking. When heroic individuals like Edward have risked their own freedoms to bring scandals of this scale into light, the Avaaz community has come together to demand fair treatment — and won. When half a million of us joined with other organizations and activists calling on the US government to stop its cruel treatment of Bradley Manning, he was relocated to a medium-security prison and taken out of solitary confinement. If we act quickly, we might do better for Edward, and help him win the fight he’s bravely taken on, for all our sakes. With hope and determination, Ricken, Emma, Oli, Mia, Allison, Ari, Dalia, Laura and the whole Avaaz team PS – Many Avaaz campaigns are started by members of our community! Start yours now and win on any issue – local, national or global: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bgMYedb&v=25795 MORE INFORMATION: Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance Edward Snowden Contact Glenn Greenwald Should Be ‘Disappeared’, Security Officials ‘Overheard Saying’ (Huffington Post) http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/10/nsa-leaker-and-journalist-should-be-disappeared-overheard_n_3414346.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada NSA PRISM program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data Prism scandal: Government program secretly probes Internet servers (Chicago Tribune) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-nsa-prism-scandal-20130607,0,301166.story PRISM by the Numbers: A Guide to the Government’s Secret Internet Data-Mining Program (TIME) http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/06/06/prism-by-the-numbers-a-guide-to-the-governments-secret-internet-data-mining-program/ Anger swells after NSA phone records court order revelations (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/obama-administration-nsa-verizon-records Data-collection program got green light from MacKay in 2011 (Globe and Mail) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/data-collection-program-got-green-light-from-mackay-in-2011/article12444909/ Greens unveil plan to require warrant to access phone and internet records (The Guardian) http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/11/greens-warrant-phone-internet-records


About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Ethics, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Whistleblower or security threat?

  1. Bill Everett says:

    “Sometimes the things our governments do are simply breathtaking.” Are you supposing that our governments (the politicians and political appointees) have some independent power and freedom to choose their actions? One of my friends has suggested that the following six systems constitute the actual power that controls and runs the political and economic system in most countries: – the military-industrial system – the finance and banking money system – the energy system (big oil, big coal, and the related service industries) – the “other main factors of production” system (big pharma, big food, etc.) – the ideology-entertainment system (media, religions, and parts of academia) – the secrecy (national security) system These six systems involve large multinational corporations or business conglomerates in many cases. You might argue that the military and the different “national security” agencies are not multinational nor are they “businesses” (in the usual sense of the word). Nevertheless, there are indications of international alliances and cooperation in these two areas. Furthermore, a case can be made that these systems most often act in their own interest, frequently contrary to the best interests of the governments that supposedly employ them.


    • Rick Altman says:

      Thanks Bill. Since the words you quote are not mine – they are those of Avaaz – I am supposing nothing. Having just finished watching the last part of a 3 hour documentary on ‘The Iraq War’ – including interviews with all just about everyone apart from GWB – it is clear that the politicians did have choices; they just made a series of very bad ones. Oliver Stone’s ‘Untold History of the United States’ also makes it very clear where Arthur Mol’s “structural design flaw in modernity” is the love of money. Both growth and money have been fetishized by Marxists and Capitalists alike, although the latter has proven the most effective at lifting people out of poverty. Therefore, facilitated by that success, the consequences of the corrupting influence of chasing money have also become much more widespread and obvious.


  2. Thomas Foster says:

    And to the six systems mentioned above I would add AIPAC,which could be interpreted as representing all six.


  3. Edward is a hero, not a criminal. Spying on US citizens is unconscionable and should be stopped.


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