Thursday, July 18, 2013

Martyrs, Pundits and Whistleblowers

This seems to be an era of a new kind of "patriot"...that being the individualist who questions or exposes the fascism and cover-ups of their own government.  Some people are calling these people traitors while others are calling them heroes.  I think it is hard to say which it is until we can know the true motivations and circumstances these individuals have acted upon.

There are basically two big cases being the ongoing incarceration and delayed trial of one Private Bradley Manning for his role in the Wikileaks "scandal", and the most recent case of the NSA whistle-blower, 29 year old Edward Snowden.  Unfortunately most of the general public's perspective on these events are going to be determined by media coverage...and it is very difficult to trust today's media with fair and balanced coverage from either perspective...the government's or the accused. Lets suffice it to say most of us will never have a complete picture of the issues from either side.  At the same time, I think we can think about and debate the general issues these circumstances bring to light.

Lets start country's "traitor" is another country's "hero".  In modern nationalism, which we have been thinking and writing a lot about lately, it is obvious the worlds larger battlefield is primarily about ideologies of best forms of government and how much control a particular religion, race or political party should have over defined nations with borders. I have lived long enough to remember growing up with the most basic definition of the "free world"...meaning democratically controlled governments...versus the captive world of communists or socialist countries run by dictators or worse. In that era, most Western citizens were so proud to be "free" and able to vote their leaders in and out of their lives. Capitalism and democracy were THE cause of liberty and justice for all.  Just a few decades later, there are no black and white systems of capitalism or constitutional democracy.  Today's nation/states are quickly reverting to protectionist, individualistic countries who not only spy on each other, but spy on their own citizens en masse.

While globalism is about "pluralism" of nation states...much of the world's current conflicts are about sectarianism, racism and religious divides. For all our education and increased access via technology to communication and information...we remain very naive and uninformed about these differences of ideologies. Out of fear and ignorance, movements propagate the same inane and centuries old conflicts of false ideals and beliefs. Apparently the truths of science are too real or conflicting to be digested by the masses.  The contradictions to these fundamentalist factions are drowned out by simple chants and flag waving exercises which in many regimes is bringing out the guns and water canons...and causing new prisons to be built everywhere to house all "dissidents" and "traitors" found within their jurisdictions. It is my observation that the international institutions such as the United Nations and other blocks of countries united in ideology have been dismal failures at bringing about world unification or even distribution of goods and services. Individual freedom is still a misnomer in most countries of the world.  People are NOT free to come and go as they please...even in their own countries. And now in the USA you have  growing number of malcontents who are challenging big government and the corporate elite that supports them when it comes to our undeclared global wars and conflicts.  Patriots are starting to demand accountability for the economy and injustices within our own borders. In many areas the land of "immigrants" is becoming the land of "intolerance" of diversity.

Lets look at the agencies who are in charge of the USA's "homeland security".  The FBI was founded to be focused on protecting domestic territory from criminals and outsiders within our borders.  The CIA was put together to handle foreign covert activities to protect our country outside our borders.  Now we have FBI operators all over the world (that we pay for as citizens) and the CIA is spying on American citizens inside the USA.  The biggest "criminals" these organizations seem to be going after are not Al Qaeda operatives or Muslim extremists within our country...but young WASPish citizens in the military and government services who are "blowing the whistle" on so many in-clandestine and secretive government activities...most of which in my opinion deserve to be public knowledge. It seems these organizations have learned a lot of their operational approaches from the Gestapo and KGB of old.

A very sinister case has come to light in recent days...the mysterious death of a well known and highly respected journalist, Michael Hastings, who only hours after emailing friends and colleagues that he was on to a big story and would be "under the radar" for a while, was killed in a high speed car crash into a tree. His body was quickly cremated against the wishes of his family.  They have not been allowed to do an independent investigation of the Mercedes in which he crashed.  All of this intrigue was performed by our California LAPD.  There is enough public scrutiny on this that I think more will come out in the wash on this affair eventually...but it surely calls into question the rights and safety of Americans in their own country to know and report what is going on in within domestic governments.  Between this and the treatment of the Edward Snowden whistle-blowing affair, our USA government is making the Russians and Chinese look like the "good guys"  when it comes to human rights and due process of law.

Where will all this end? Will enough of the sleepy American masses wake up and force their government leaders to come clean and change their tyrannous activities and attitudes?  Will the "uprising for liberty" supposedly supported by the USA government in so many parts of the middle east and beyond come to the homeland of the "free and the brave"?  Will our huddled masses continue to be manipulated and herded into attitudes of complacency or blind support of runaway governmental powers...much like the Germans under the Hitler spell early in the last century?  In my opinion, the longer American citizens take to correct these things, the bloodier and more difficult restoring constitutional governance is going to be.

Fortunately for the lovers of freedom and independence, technology is still able to allow us access to truth and data that reveals the ugliness of clandestine government behaviors. For all the money and controls exercised by governments, there are enough smart people who protect our sovereign access to information and communications with each other.  How long this will be the case depends on how long we tolerate runaway governance to do what they like versus honoring OUR wishes.

I just had a childhood memory from when my grandfather was trying to teach me to type on his old IBM typewriter when I was probably 7 or 8 years old.  He had me type a then common line 100 or more times which said "now is the time for good men to come to the aid of the country".  This was used in typing classes because it filled exactly one line of 70 characters. It now has new meaning for me. I believe it is now or never for "good men" to take back control of their countries, the runaway economies, the inflationary practices of printing more empty currencies to cover their multitudes of sins and voodoo accounting over decades. This will be a time for martyrs, pundits and whistle-blowers to step forward, risking everything just like the forefathers of our country, to stand against tyranny, despotism and unchecked imbalances of power.


Eric Jackson said...

Consider the weakness of starting from a presumption that "one country's 'traitor' is another country's 'hero'."

People "defect" or betray their countries for all sorts of reasons. The ones who do it for money, and the ones who do it for ego, are generally not to be liked or trusted by either side. If a guy cheats person / institution / government A, why would you not expect him to cheat you? The woman whose betrayal is based on her not getting the prestige she deserves is to be trusted to be satisfied with the next situation and not do it again?

Manuel Antonio Noriega sold his country to the CIA, took over his country and sold the interests of its people to those who paid him more, then sold out his former American paymasters. Was he a snitch as a prisoner? I would not be surprised.

"Our SOB" tends to be rented rather than bought, and a disgustind and unreliable species of human being.

Better for a country to make friends with old adversaries than to buy new friends.

edward said...

Good points Eric. Not clear what your sentiments are about Snowden. So far, I don't see him "profiting" from his actions. Suffering more like.

Again, my biggest concern is that public opinion is focused on the "traitors" or whistleblowers...and not on the ugly beast of government subterfuge behind these situations. It is easy to see the contrarians. It doesn't seem as easy to see the Devil they are fighting against.

In the case of Noriega...while he obviously needed to be taken out, I am not sure the Goliath that did so has the moral high-ground.