Is there much to say today? I think so. In the past several days, a young man stepped forward and disclosed a massive personal fact gathering program and institution of the United States government. Every communication is open to surveillance. We did not know this a few days ago.
The person who made the disclosure is, Eric Snowden, an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm, who worked as a system analyst for the National-Security Agency Threat Operations Center. Snowden made information available to the Washington Post and The Guardian which consisted of classified material on top-secret National-Security Agency programs, including the PRISM surveillance program. “PRISM is a clandestine national-security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA)” dating back to 2007. Wikipedia.
From any perspective, one must be concerned about the extent and legality of government surveillance of United States citizens and companies. The constitution provides for the right of privacy. The right is found in numerous amendments to the United States Constitution, including the Fourteenth Amendment, which makes the Bill of Rights applicable to the states. ACLU.
Once again, one sees, as unwise, our response to 9/11 and the so-called religious militants in the Middle-East and elsewhere who say they desire the destruction and annihilation of the United States. The violence inflicted on us, is the source of the creation of physical and death revenge against those we “can find” to be our enemies.
Senator Eugene McCarthy talked of a change which occurred when he was in the United States Senate. He said what was known as the Department of War was being referred to as the Department of Defense. He made it clear: One must have a war to have a department of war. One only need the notion there is danger, real or potential, to have a department of defense. In a way, he was alluding to President Eisenhower’s concern we were creating a “military industrial complex” which would become so powerful our lives would be subject and beholden to it.
Our present circumstances call for a department of defense – a segment of power in America which has a broad mandate to protect the nation. Yet, now we see we are using the department of defense to find out about all citizens of the United States. We, the people, have become the potential enemy. This would have been music to the ears of Senator Joe McCarthy R-Wisconsin and Congressman Joe Pool of D-Texas.
There is a certainty in all of this– there is no one in America, no American citizen or resident, who is not suspect. Citizenship does not remove the suspicion.
What we have has is an unelected group which holds the power of finding those who are a danger to that power. Those who are a danger are then targeted by those who hold the political power. Those who hold the political power are in power because of the money certain interests have devoted to their elections. Those who elected are beholden to, and think like, those who are the sources of their power.
Every citizen who stands up to this hegemony is an outsider, a bad person. He or she will be vilified and driven out of the community, out of the good graces of his or her fellows. Those in power and the apparatchiks of that power will shun and exclude and, in so doing, strengthen their power. An example, is the ad hominem attack on Eric Snowden by none other than a “liberal” “opinion-est” in the New York Times today, David Brooks, The Solitary Leaker, NYT June 11, 2013.
Looking at traditional knowledge, there is nothing very surprising about this. We are all “sinners.” The problem, it seems, is that certain sinners have taken power over the rest of the sinners. There is no humility in their effort. Today, leaders in Washington have said they are going to impose the full weight of the law on Eric Snowden. Eric Snowden, may well be a hero; instead, he is viewed as a horrible person, e.g., an enemy by the power elite.