Snowden and Venezuela: My bizarre experience in the surveillance state

Spying? I think you mean that he let Americans and others know that they were being spied on.

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“I hardly think that’s an equivalent to secretly recording the political opposition, and then using the spoils for political reasons.”

I was talking about the media spin on things. Chavez’s political opponents did far worse than bugging though, they staged a coup, with full media participation. A coup in which snipers fired on the crowds.

“Chavez is an ally of Iran, economically and strategically.”

Indeed. Venezuela also seems to currently support Assad in Syria. It seems to me that many of these nations that have been targeted by the US in various ways are deliberately supporting enemies just to annoy the US.

“Those who care about Snowden shouldn’t be suggesting that he might have considered going there.”

Where would you propose that he goes, given that only 3 countries have offered asylum?

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What you call “scattering national security secrets around like birdseed”, I call “letting the American public know how hugely the national security state has been expanded”.

You could also call it, “How our 4th Amendment rights are being eroded with the help of a few unelected secret judges and the ignorant complicity of the Congress”.

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It depends on his real motives. If he leaked classified data because he wanted to harm the U.S. then he should find a country that wants the U.S. to be harmed.

If he leaked to make himself famous then he might as well go to whatever country will give him the most comfort.

If he leaked out of some noble-sounding principles then he needs to go to a country that shares those principles. At this point, if his principles are free speech, then that would be a return to the U.S., as we’re the only ones that want him.

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Snowden’s motives don’t matter imho. I don’t see why they should. Sometimes people with good or bad motives end up doing the right thing regardless. If you want to speculate on them, and be critical of them that’s fine, but it should have no bearing on his whistle blowing. I myself am not comfortable with the way he’s being deified by some*, but that doesn’t change that he’s on the right side of this, no matter what his reasons (good or bad) are.

*especially compared to unsung people who’ve risked more.

How is “we’re illegally spying on millions of US and foreign citizens” a legitimate national security secret?

The NSA thinks they can do whatever they want with no functional oversight and cover it up by calling it “national security secrets”. It should be obvious that exposing that behavior serves the interests of democracy.

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Again, you seem to require that all whistleblowers also be martyrs. “Expose government corruption” and “remain alive and free” are not contradictory motives.

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The motives matter to Snowden, and he’s the one who needs to figure out where he wants to go.

Not everyone thinks he’s a whistleblower.

If the program he exposed is illegal then he could have taken it to the NSA’s inspector general’s office. The NSA has plenty of lawyers around. For example, investigations into the Abu Ghraib scandal began when a soldier took the files to the Army’s CID office.

If Snowden didn’t like that option, he could have taken it to any U.S. Congressman. There’s a bunch in either party who would have gone with it.

Spending the rest of your life in some corrupt backward country isn’t my idea of “alive and free.”

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[quote=“Ion, post:32, topic:2974”]
If the program he exposed is illegal then he could have taken it to the NSA’s inspector general’s office. The NSA has plenty of lawyers around. For example, investigations into the Abu Ghraib scandal began when a soldier took the files to the Army’s CID office.
[/quote]There was virtually no meaningful reaction to that scandal until someone leaked photos and information about what was going on inside that prison. Even if there had been, the American public deserves to know what is being done in its name.

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Sure there was. You just didn’t know about it, although the Army was putting out news releases about the investigations and charges as they happened.

BTW: It was the family of one of the guards who put out the photos in an attempt to muddy the waters. They even said the photos would have been kept secret if the Army had dropped the charges against the guards. Nobody calls them the “whistleblowers.”

It’s hard to get much perspective when you won’t get up out of the armchair.

Venezuela has never claimed to being the cornerstone of liberty and freedom that the USA claims to be.(NSA shows its not) Venezuela is what it is. And has never said otherwise. And for ppl to complain about Snowden being wrong for going to Venezuela because its not up to par is whats really bizarre.

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So all of the hundreds of thousands of NSA employees and contractors who knew that a military spy agency were blatantly violating the fourth amendment and took the money and said nothing are morally superior to the guy who spoke up, risked his life, and ran? You can only do a noble and insanely dangerous act if you are willing to surrender to death or torture?

Asshole.

I’ll take a hero who does his noble deed and then runs like hell over all of the other assholes who simply took the money and kept their mouth shut. Snowden served his purpose. He informed on the mass domestic spying. That was enough heroics in one life, and certainly a shit load more heroics then YOU have ever shown. When was the last time YOU kicked a spy agency that is literally listening to and tracking everyone? He did something noble. If he doesn’t feel the need to dive on his own sword, I won’t begrudge him. If he ends sacrificing everything and living in a minor foreign tyranny that he can never safely leave, he has my sympathy, not my contempt.

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You’re right on the first part, and it’s very tempting to give their government a pass on that. But a lot of people who claim to care about human rights are also very supportive of Venezuela’s government. One cannot be both.

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We don’t yet know that they were blatantly violating the fourth amendment.

If they really had been violating the fourth amendment then taking it to the inspector general would have been enough. If it was something less than that then taking it to an opposition U.S. Congressman would have been enough.

We also don’t know how many other secrets he’s going to spill, or already let out of the bag more quietly. Do you think it’s only the potential violations of our civil liberties that he’s going to disclose?

Other than Wikileaks, who really thinks the world is safer when diplomats can’t talk behind closed doors?

The theoretical risks in that scenario are minuscule compared to the actual damage done by the world being ruled in secret.

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[quote=“Ion, post:26, topic:2974”]We don’t yet know that they were blatantly violating the fourth amendment.

We also don’t know how many other secrets he’s going to spill, or already let out of the bag more quietly. Do you think it’s only the potential violations of our civil liberties that he’s going to disclose?[/quote]

What a laugh. It doesn’t matter what the secret court that has no adversarial process thinks is and is not a violation. Thanks to Snowden we can actually have this out in a court. The EFF was denied to even have this bullshit challenged in ANY court (a real one or otherwise) because the government screamed states secrets and claimed that there was no proof that their client was being spied upon (they were). This shit wasn’t even going to have its day in court until Snowden proved beyond any doubt that a military spy agency is conducting mass domestic spying.

Ion, I have to wonder, are you a coward or are you one of those people who takes money from these vile organizations and says nothing? If you are taking money from these people, you are filth defending your profiting at the expense of the liberty of your Americans.

If you are not taking money, I really can’t think of any reason why someone would find the absurdly small threat of terrorism to be worth mass surveillance and the surrender of basic liberties (not to mention a pile of money) other than cowardice. Only cowards are willing to surrender the obscene amounts of money and liberty that we have pissed away on terrorism. No one is asking anyone to storm a beach head like braver Americans did during World War II. No one is asking Americans to face down a line of police like heroes of the civil rights movements did. The only thing that the American people need to do is control their childish terror at a threat that ranks right up there with death by bathtub. I’m not asking for heroics. I am just asking that you keep your cowardice under control.

Any worthless American who wants these programs is a pathetic coward. A pathetic coward criticizing the bravery of someone on the run from the largest spy agency is absurdly laughable and the absolute height of hypocrisy.

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[quote=“Ion, post:34, topic:2974”]
BTW: It was the family of one of the guards who put out the photos in an attempt to muddy the waters.
[/quote]Those waters WERE muddy. The abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo could be traced to command decisions going all the way up to the White House, which is why widespread knowledge of the crimes was the only thing that provided any real hope of the systemic changes needed to address them.

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Would you consider his actions revealing the NSA’s blatant disregard to 4th amendment rights to just be a byproduct?