Hurtling toward the cold and thence into the ‘OMG it’s motherf#@%ing cold!’ season in Russia. Our boy, used to the climes of Hawaii, shall learn the meaning of ‘Holy shit I’m f#@%ing freezing my ass here!’ Wrote a letter to a friend about The Snowden. Said letter was in a less ‘nails on the chalkboard’ style than most of my posts here, so I thought I’d post it for y’all.
Ed Snowden and NSA? I think he’s an earnest young man who appears to be a bit aspergers to me. I think the justification he gave, that we had set up turnkey tyranny, is incorrect, because to do that requires use of active police power. That gets noticed, and there is no evidence that we have been moving in that direction. We have had those police powers for hundreds of years. I also know for certain that Snowden’s characterization of the fanatic islamists as “a few disorganized guys” is incorrect. They want to take over, believe any means is justified, and seek to extend their power by violence. (Including biological, chemical and nuclear weapons – mostly nuclear if they can get their hands on them.)
I think that the illegal sharing of data betweeen NSA and the DEA was a deal probably brokered by our head of DHS to get the agencies to work together. DEA is viewed as the dumb stepchild, NSA as the brainiacs. NSA guys sit in offices and risk nothing. DEA is out in the field getting captured and tortured to death sometimes – and for what? Little or not change happens in drug supply. For DEA to be told to share everything one-way was probably humanly intolerable – even if it’s the law.
We are living in the age when everything is known and it will only get more so. I think we are heading toward a universal panopticon, where everyone, leaders and the led, are visible if that is desired. I don’t see any going back. I am far more concerned about private companies maintaining such data than NSA. NSA as a government agency has limits, although inevitably there will be trespass. Companies like AT&T are not monitored, don’t require clearances, and nobody is watching them.
I have little doubt at this point that AT&T’s archives are suborned. For example that data has to be of use to wall street traders. How could it be otherwise? But that data could also be of use to drug traffickers, to criminals looking for opportunities to steal, and most of all as a tool of blackmail to suborn everything from legislation and elections, to sales of property for extraordinarily low prices.
So I think the archive has to be in the hands of NSA, and nowhere else, with NSA monitoring. Aside from that, everyone who can do it is doing it. Russia? In Russia it’s the formal right of police to monitor and record anything anytime. China? Anyone who thinks they are not exerting themselves mightily is kidding themselves. No doubt India is as well. Only the lesser nations are not.
So in the end, I think Snowden is wrong and has done serious damage. I think he’s a young man who constructed a fantasy world in his head based on radical libertarian idealism. I think Snowden fell prey also to the myth of power, the idea implicit in far too many of my countrymen that the USA is so much more powerful that the USA can do anything it wants – just ask and it shall be done. Mr. Snowden implicitly thinks that, even in the face of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our side (USA/EU) used to be far ahead of Russia and China. Now they know exactly how far ahead, and best of all, they know exactly what they have to do to pull even or get ahead of us. Isn’t that wonderful?
I have also been appalled, just bollixed over and over by the incredible stupidity of this administration in dealing with Mr. Snowden. First, he got all that and went to HK. While in HK, we pulled his passport, and that put Snowden smack in the paws of the Russian bear. While in the paws of the bear, we made it worse by taking the death penalty off the table. The former was idiotic because if we assume that the USA wants to bring him in, then how does it make sense to strand him in one of the few places we have no significant assets or pull? In South America, the USA has DEA all over the place. And how does it make sense to give Russia an ironclad excuse to separate Mr. Snowden from his luggage and search it? The latter was dumb because that gave Russia grounds for refusing Snowden’s Russian visa on humanitarian grounds. Russia’s FSB is very good at hardball negotiations. I can practically hear them, “Very sorry. Is no grounds your visa. …. Oh, forgot. Maybe, maybe if you give encryption keys we give you visa. Nobody will to tell. You no worry. We not say you traitor. … No? Is no problem. We ok. We like you. …. We come see you next year. Is good crackers in vending machine, no? So wonderful. How you say? Ta ta for now.”
And the spectacle of politicians in my country pleading, “Do the right thing.” was just too much. Excuse me? We wouldn’t do the same in their shoes? Putin must give Snowden asylum, regardless of how much he might detest the young fool. He has to do it so the next guy will know where he can go for safety. Russia really does like all that intelligence, just parachuting into it’s lap. Do the right thing. What claptrap. So outrageously stupid it’s an embarrassment of idiocy.
And after papa Putin was nice, and made Snowden shut the hell up as a condition for his visa, our president snubbed him and called him bad names. Because now, you see, we have grounds for an alliance with the FSB to control Snowden. But noooooooo. Instead, it’s: Dumb, dumber, dumbest, you eedeeot! Who stole your brain?!
We don’t elect them for their brilliance, our politicians. No we don’t. And they return the favor.