Yet, while each acted separately from the other, their unrepentant justifications read as though they were unconsciously working in concert. “I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors,” wrote Hammond.
“We need to take information,” wrote Swartz. “Wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world.”
“This is the truth. This is what is happening,” said Snowden. “You should decide whether we need to be doing this.”
Manning said: “I want people to see the truth, because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”
They seek to liberate not land or people, but information. The state seeks to criminalise them as spies. But it wasn’t treachery but patriotism (once blind, now wide-eyed, and arguably always misplaced) that brought most of them to this point. Their aim was neither to enrich themselves nor to aid a foreign power, but to make the power in which they invested much of their identity – America – more transparent, knowledgeable, accountable and honourable.
Anderson, Manning and Snowden, for example, all joined the military-security sector after Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib were in the public domain. They knew what could be done in America’s name. They just never thought they would be put in a position where they would have to choose between doing it, concealing it or exposing it. Raised in the true American ideal that an individual can make a difference, they spoke up.
Apparently, US Senator Dick Durbin asked the NSA Chief at a hearing today how Edward Snowden—the NSA leaker—arrived at his sensitive position of employment with the NSA without ever having graduated high school (I think Snowden eventually got his GED or something equivalent, but don’t quote me on that).
Don’t know about you, but I can’t help but think that a lot of people like him are probably mad because Snowden didn’t get his proper, mandated, US ‘education’, if you know what I mean. Why would you ask that question? Obviously, Snowden was skilled at what he does. He learned his trade by being passionate about engaging with technology and the Internet and teaching himself, like a lot of people of my generation. He was allegedly making upwards of $200,000/year for being skilled at what he does. I don’t have a degree in computer science, but I taught myself a lot starting at a young age and can do and know just about as much as someone who does have a degree.
The formal US education system remains a joke, and so to is the over-reliance on degrees when it comes to employment.
Another joke is Rep. Peter King, who thinks that Glenn Greenwald should be charged with some kind of crime for doing his job as an investigative journalist working for a free press.
In the not-too-distant future, people don’t seek asylum in the United States. They seek asylum from the United States.
In a near-future, hyper-militarized, hyper-networked, dystopian America shaped by fear, every citizen walks around like zombies in a derivative, personalized, corporate-sponsored meta-reality wearing mandatory Google Glass equivalents—crowdsourced surveillance. One of many always-on apps will randomly choose a citizen to receive a drone camera feed that is about to strike a target. As a formal test of patriotism, the citizen is given a choice of remotely ‘pushing the button’ and watching the aftermath (upon which they will receive a bunch of Walmart credit). If they refuse to initiate the strike, they will be ‘disconnected’ and exiled from the networked society to live their life performing menial labor to uphold and maintain the technoclass.
Exclusive: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama administration
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian,requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
Oops! Obama might have to crack a joke on a late night comedy show to get out of this one. Good thing I don’t use Verizon.
While it should be kept in mind that these warrants for the phone logs on Verizon do not include actual contents of phone calls, that doesn’t make this any less venal or despicable. Didn’t The Obama Administration promise to repeal the Patriot Act? Now the President is hiding behind it every chance he gets.
When it comes to the systematic erosion of civil rights, the Obama Administration has been one of the worst offenders in recent history, the (mostly rhetorical and legislatively shallow) bone it threw to folks regarding gay marriage aside.
I lean so far left you have to tilt your head sideways to see me, but fuck Barack Obama. Seriously.
The more you know… (lol @ late night comedy charm offensive line).
I honestly don’t understand this unspoken debt of gratitude everybody’s supposed to have for the US military. President Obama mentioned this in a somewhat admonitory tone today in a speech, that the American people don’t fully grasp the sacrifices made and costs endured by soldiers, and that the military is slipping from the public consciousness. There’s a good reason for this general disengagement with the US military if you ask me (see sexual assault scandal, leadership problems, Iraq debacle/needlessly destabilizing an entire society, indiscriminate droning, indefinite detention, and more). Ever since WWII, I think you can easily make an argument for the negatives outweighing the positives.
This gratitude, to me, is a bullshit sentiment in light of all that stuff. In spite of the tired line repeated over and over, there’s no imperiled freedom being protected while abroad. The US military is mainly an instrument to further agendas (whose high tendency to backfire would be amusing if the stakes and price were not so high). It’s offensive, not defensive or protective. People, I think, see this dissonance at hand, and either they mostly ignore the military as not worth their time, or they’re upset and speak out. If anything, I don’t feel gratitude, but I do feel sorry for the people who get caught up in it out of necessity or idealism and discover it’s not what they signed up for. And I feel angry toward those that consciously contribute to the historical inertia.
In asserting the dictatorship of the dollar over the whole world, the ruling class of the United States will introduce the contradictions of the whole world into the very basis of its own dominance. The economy and the politics of the United States will depend more and more directly upon crises, wars, and revolutions in all parts of the world. The position of ‘observer’ cannot long be maintained formally. I think that America will create the most colossal system of land, sea, and air militarism that can be imagined.
[Potential Bioshock spoilers]
Re America as a religious country: in this new Bioshock game I’m playing, it lays out a vision of an alternate history where a floating American city, Columbia, was conceived around the early 1900s, and the founding fathers and other key American figures in the early history are revered holy figures (Washington, Jefferson, Edison) that people pray to.
This gets worse with every paragraph.
I read stuff like this, and I re-experience this kind of shame of living in and being associated with a country that can (and actually wants to) go around the world and screw people over with relative impunity. The Iraq War was a joke—like a sick, fucked-up joke. I remember watching the bombardments live, and the line of tanks streaming into Iraq with embedded reporters, and feeling like ‘what the hell is going on here?’ And it’s just a nightmare that gets worse and worse, a quagmire, a Vietnam so ironically and painfully soon after people thought that that specific history would serve as a deterrent and an enduring monument to the United States’ sins.
god bless america
I hope this the last remaining photos of our presidents
Is no one going to talk about Ronald McDonald fighting in Clinton’s background.
uh-mazing. lol, this sums up the ethos of the US (Badass Inc.) pretty well. Taming the “wilds” with well-written words and a well-placed fist, apparently. Also, Ben Franklin Wolverine.
A good summary of today’s proceedings, in which Bradley Manning spent over an hour reading a 35-page statement he prepared to the military tribunal trying him for crimes related to the leaking of classified information to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organization. He pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him, which carry in total up to a 20-year sentence. Importantly, he pleaded not guilty to the most serious accusation of ‘aiding the enemy’ (which carries a potential life sentence).
In the statement, Manning details some of the events and thoughts leading up to and after the leak. Another thing of note is that he does not implicate Julian Assange in the leaks.