SHOULD EDWARD SNOWDEN BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE? – The U.S Government’s law enforcement branches have looked pretty inadequate lately. Their pursuit of Edward Snowden, the PRISM whistleblower, could have quite easily been a comedy sketch from the keystone cops era as they attempted to track down and arrest Edward Snowden for leaking sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) data.
After Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong the federal authorities attempted to extradite him but with the failure to produce the proper documentation the Hong Kong authorities refused which gave time for Edward Snowden to flee Hong Kong and arrive in Russia soon after.
Once again the federal authorities pursued Edward Snowden though pleading with Russia to arrest him in the transit lounge and then extradite him back to the U.S to face charges of data theft and treason.
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The Russian Government refused stating that the ‘transit lounge’ was international territory and that Edward Snowden had broken no laws in Russia. Under Russian immigration law Edward Snowden is permitted to stay ‘in transit’ for up to 24 hours; after which he must apply for a visitor’s visa.
With Wikileads.org founder, Julian Assange, firmly in Edward Snowden’s corner he is appealing to Ecuador to provide Edward Snowden with safe passage and documentation that will allow him to permanently reside in Ecuador and far from the clutches of the U.S authorities.
So what did Edward Snowden do and why? The video above provides the background to this tale that continues to capture a worldwide audience.
According to Edward Snowden the U.S Government Agencies, such as the NSA, are capturing personal and sensitive data on everyone under a self-severing certification that the collection of such data is for the protection and security of the United States.
Edward Snowden goes on to say that it’s not just the amount of data it is collecting on individuals but the fact that they will go to any lengths in which to obtain it and in doing so breaks the constitution in a number of areas.
Initially PRISM was conceived to combat terrorism and targeted foreign nationals in order to glean as much information as possible; but now, according to Edward Snowden, PRISM is targeting all forms of ‘domestic’ communications in order to profile U.S citizens and monitor their every move.
As time went by Edward Snowden became increasingly concerned that he and others had been given the authority to target anyone, including the President, if the NSA deemed appropriate.
There was little Congressional oversight and FISA rarely denied secretive monitoring when asked by the NSA – the whole system was wrapped in a cloak of deceit and black-ops where the NSA had totalitarianism control.
Why did Edward Snowden blow the whistle and go public with his information? According to Edward Snowden he felt that the public deserved an explanation of what the U.S Government is doing, that its very actions are a violation to democracy and that subverting the power of Government it is a fundamentally dangerous move against democracy. No Government should have the power to arbitrarily collect personal data in order monitor and or control its citizens.
The U.S Government has labeled Edward Snowden a traitor and that his actions have placed the country in peril by leaking sensitive data on how and what information is collected; which ultimately, according to the U.S Government, puts U.S citizens lives at high risk from the attack of terrorist organisations.
It could be argued that the intelligence the NSA, CIA and FBI gather is not overly useful or that it is not being used in such a way that prevents acts of terrorism. Look back at the Boston Marathon Bombings where Russia and the Saudis provided U.S security agencies with vast amounts of data on the Tsarnaev brothers and yet failed to adequately monitor their activities which led to the atrocity.
What Edward Snowden has done, in the eyes of many; not just U.S citizens, is to open up a system of Governmental abuse which should never be allowed to happen without public knowledge through open public oversight.
Each Government around the world conducts covert operations and certainly keeps an enormous amount of secrets; for what is deemed as being in the ‘national interest’. It is naïve to assume that our Government’s should be open and honest on every aspect – that is simply not possible and would, as the Government often argues regarding secrets, put assets at risk.
However what the U.S Government, and no doubt other Governments, is doing goes beyond what should be acceptable in a ‘democratic’ society. We cannot at any cost allow our Governments to control and spy on our daily activities. Governments should be afraid of the people, not the people being afraid of their Governments and yet as we develop more covert style systems this is increasingly becoming the case.
Edward Snowden fully realizes that he is and will remain a marked man for the rest of his natural life. He feels it is not implausible for the U.S Government or one of its counterparts to undertake a covert operation in which he would be targeted for kidnapping or assassination.
What Edward Snowden has done is to make a determination of what he feels is right over wrong and that someone has to make a stand. It is an extremely brave thing to do considering that he now stands almost alone and has the entire U.S Government looming down upon him.
I have long believed that democracy no longer exists in any so-called democratic country; we are now merely given the right to democratically elect the next dictator and with the amount of money individuals spend on their campaigns to reach the seats of power the money is always provided by high-powered and wealthy individuals with their own political agenda.
During President Obama’s initial campaign for his Presidency in 2008 his slogan was ‘Change We Can Believe In’ and yet despite this rhetoric there was never any real change. The U.S Government is still led by lobbyists with their own agenda and there can never be democracy in a system that can be brought.
What Edward Snowden did he did for the greater good and there is no doubt he has placed himself in peril due to his belief that the public’s activities should not be stored and scrutinized by Government Agencies with the purpose of being able to use that information against an individual either now or in the future.
There are many, including myself, who admire Edward Snowden for it takes great courage to stand up against such might and tell the world it is wrong.
This will not be the last we hear of Edward Snowden and it is my hope that the public of the U.S will rally and stand firm and not allow the U.S Government to persecute someone for telling the truth in order to protect the public’s privacy.
As the U.S Government continue to pursue Edward Snowden the question remains; “Should the U.S bring Edward Snowden to trial or should the U.S Government be put on trial for crimes against the constitution?”
Do you think Edward Snowden is a traitor? Do you think the Government agencies have too much power to intrude into our lives? Please leave your comments below.