Snowden affair left the headlines of the world media while nothing, I mean, in reality nothing at all has changed.
What is more surprising and disconcerting is that even people from “The Intercept” who justifiably criticize MSM for razor thin spectrum of debate, themselves trying to narrow debate on Snowden revelations and their world impact. The proliferators of false choices, hero vs. villain, are easy to spot in the media and dismiss but other biases are well hidden from observers. In order to have clear view of the situation let’s ignore G. Greenwald and other journalists for a while. Let’s listen to Snowden himself. Let’s examine his motivations for initial disclosure of selected classified documents and rationale as he declares himself.
First, Mr. Snowden stated that his main motivation was to spur debate on NSA massive surveillance of millions innocent U.S. citizens, which may have been a violation of U.S Constitution. We suppose to debate if it is OK and if yes who may be allowed to do it and how much spying would be OK, and for how long. And here is my problem. Why concerned citizen, witness to constitutional crime calls for debate instead of arrest of those responsible including apparently himself and shut down faulting organization. Or at least have debate after arrests are made. Moreover, while disseminating such a shocking news, and in the process, validating, by now, half insane conspiracy theorists, he refused to provide court proof evidences of a crime and IDs of thousands of US victims. All supposedly because of national security concerns?
Instead, Snowden gave us most disturbing but lame, Power Point Presentations and training documents. And there is an issue with Mr. Snowden’s philosophy as well. Is he more concerned about crime and its victims or about perpetrators? Did he or did he not placed himself as a judge, a superior being over citizenry as well as government while trying to bring some sort of balance, of his subjective own. I do not know. However, I know that citizenry as a sovereign of the USA, do not appreciate self declared mediators, of our well being or deciders on what constitute our vital interests. However, that’s exactly what government, Mr. Snowden and other involved journalists are trying to do.
We need Mr. Snowden to release every document he has in his possession immediately without any conditions. Let victimized American people take actions of their choosing within and without official political and judicial framework.
Second, let’s ask question who really benefited from Mr. Snowden revelations? From what I know, he did not, at least not yet benefited in significant way from the whole affair. I assume that his fame, in this context, is not that all the positive in face of serious existential threats, which Mr. Snowden was and is facing from surprisingly different directions.
What about journalist covering the issue? Oh yes, definitely, they benefited, but before that they had to acquire guts to follow this through without certainty of how this was going to end. So, at this point I must conclude that neither Mr. Snowden nor involved journalist have acted solely from some personal, financial or ulterior motives while bringing their stories to attention of readers worldwide which does not mean that they have not been used for other ulterior purposes.
So, who’s benefited? The giant tech companies obviously did not benefit, but did they loose much? Not really, they lost chalk of BRICS market but the trend was there before and Mr. Snowden revelations gave them open excuse to cut off trade of tech products, they’ve already stolen and cloned, without resorting to drastic economic measures. Social media response to spying revelations was a big joke and had no real impact on their business, that is already based on click and like fraud, while users pool continues to drop like a stone.
What’s about U.S. Government. Did U.S. government benefited from Mr. Snowden revelations? My answer is: very likely yes. And here is why. Some say, government was embarrassed, may be or may be not. If you listen to top NSA guys, over last two years, they are proud and not ashamed at all They got 50 terrorist or 5 or 0. They intend to do what they are doing for twice the money now anyway and I see nobody stopping them or cutting off their money.
Were U.S. government international relations hurt, hardly, they had been screwing up things openly long time ago, taking on senseless aggressive, accusatory pasture and spying was just an excuse for what BRICS countries to do, what was planed for long time, namely dump dollar and it’s influence over world markets. Germany upset, on rampant NSA spying, not really, chief CIA in Berlin retired but spying is going on like nothing happened. I see no impairment, (technical or fiscal) to US surveillance capabilities nor any intentional restrains, As far as I know there are no plans to truly restrain US surveillance capabilities as a result of Mr. Snowden revelations.
However, I see at least one benefit for US security apparatus.
It is not unthinkable to presuppose that based on big data analysis, obtained by NSA illegal surveillance, US. government realized that they are facing massive descent of US population from narratives disseminated by ruling elites, in their opinion, due to gigantic failure of MSM propaganda machine in face of rapid economic and social decline. It would be only natural that they move to plan “B” namely imposing or rather reinforcing self-induced censorship within American society.
Similarly to war times, when security services went public with their spying, giving away contact info and addresses to citizens so they knew where to denounce their kin or neighbor for suspicious behavior, in exchange for small benefits such as better food or job or medal. Nowadays security industrial complex see disclosure of massive spying operations without any details or taking any responsibilities, as beneficial for plan “B” operations.
It is very insidious, since now, due to Mr. Snowden disclosures, everybody knows that all or most of our communications , including content and metadata, we have with the world are detected and stored, for the purpose of future investigation, deportation, coercion if not conviction. This fact alone, as they believe, may likely lead to moderation, reduction or cessation of many close interpersonal relationships, enabling more effective propaganda to take hold. It is conceivable that government surveillance establishment, through Mr. Snowden revelations, wanted us to know for sure that NSA is omnipotent and that they could get us anytime. I do not however, think it is entirely true because it would have been too expensive to do diligence analyzing massively collected data on scale of whole population.
Moreover, It would be much more feasible for government surveillance to choose KGB path and simply and cheaply make up records, claiming that they broke encryption, coerce a witness etc. threatening suspects (read innocent US citizen) with horrible crimes, they invented themselves with no need for costly data mining or lengthy investigations.
While that above scenario is at least partly plausible, it probably has nothing to do with Mr. Snowden sorry situation, since he would have been used as possibly unaware conduit for their operation of deceit.
So far the only clear looser, resulting from Snowden affair is American (and world) citizenry, denied their constitutional right to privacy, and effectively stripped of laws against unlawful search ad seizure in way bearing eerie resemblances of 1984.
In order to understand personal act of defiance against power committed by Mr. Snowden and supporting journalists, in broader context and in longer perspective, we need to answer many questions, including ones I have asked here. What we need is to provide encouragement for much needed conscientious objectors against opacity concocted by government supposedly to defend people and not to simply cover up their own crimes, fraud and embarrassment.
[Update: I guest Mr. Snowden got his debate and corrupted congressmen and senators, on orders from NSA , retroactively legalized previously illegal, unconstitutional and treasonous practice of bulk spying on US citizens and additionally indemnified all those who performed, approved and/or supported these criminal activities including highest rank members of US government and IT corporations. If it was not for Mr. Snowden revelations all these criminals would be under threat of prosecution instead of getting license to spy and subvert US constitution at will. He now can feel that he accomplished something.]