Thursday, 1 May 2014

Writing - Edward Snowden Rules Ok!

This short is in response to a Readwave question but fits in to my sort of dystopian psyche, if that's a correct term, and shakes the foundations of what we all take for granted.

Edward Snowden Rules Ok!

When Edward Snowden escaped the clutches of the US establishment and defected to the east a storm blew up and, with what seemed to me to be undue haste, he was declared a spy. The decision was swiftly backed up by the British government and those working at GCHQ, the communications centre for the intelligence services. Snowden’s public disclosures, that we’ve been allowed to know about, have not been anti-people but anti-establishment. He has not leaked military, fiscal or political secrets that we know of but rather information about the way the US and UK treat their own citizens.
Edward Snowden worked for the CIA, was a contract worker for the NSA and discovered numerous ways in which the authorities collect information about ordinary people. In his own words he wanted,

 "to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."

It is my contention that he is not a spy but persona non grata and that is in the eyes of the USA and the UK intelligence establishments. So what does that mean for the rest of us? Well at the very least I believe that Snowden has released information that has an element of truth. I’m not claiming that we have been given the whole of the situation regarding Edward Snowden because of course it’s all gone quiet. However, we should look at what this means for each individual living in the Western world in what they consider to be a normal life.
Are we all constantly being monitored by our governments? Do they collect information about all of our activities? When we walk down the street are the cameras monitoring our movements? Is our DNA collected whether we’ve agreed to it or not? In fact didn’t Snowden try to point us towards these possibilities from a position of knowledge that he’d gained from within the establishment?
A case that is running currently in the UK is that of the phone hacking by the newspaper group led by Rupert Murdoch. A number of ex top executives from the press are in court to answer charges on hacking and perverting the course of justice but it is about data collection from ordinary people. The information that case has shared with us can be summed up in the relative ease by which they were able to manipulate and tap into our electronic communications. In fact no one is safe – if ‘safe’ is the correct word.
Governments would have us believe that they need to collect the information to keep us safe from attack by terrorists. My own feeling is that is rubbish. What they are doing is trying to catch terrorists by monitoring as many of us as they possibly can. The frightening thing to consider is that there is no hiding place. Even those people who are without computers or mobile phones are not safe. When you walk down the street, take money from your bank account, go to have medical treatment or interact with government on any level, do any of those things and they have you.
The worry is not so much that they are collecting but what is being done with the data and by whom! Referring back to the phone hacking case, the defendants involved are supposed to be top people. They are friends of our Prime Minister and other leading responsible members of society and yet they were happy to behave in a criminal way with data concerning ordinary folk. All ordinary folk have no choice but to trust those who represent them or act for them in a variety of ways. The bottom line is we are vulnerable. It is my feeling that Edward Snowden felt this vulnerability and decided he needed to do something about it. How many people working at GCHQ, for NSA and the CIA feel some sympathy towards the man, but of them how many have his courage to raise the matter?

It is interesting that the journalists and newspapers receiving Snowden’s information have been recognised.

 In February 2014, for reporting based on Snowden's leaks, journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill and Barton Gellman were honoured as co-recipients of the 2013 George Polk Award which they dedicated to Snowden. The NSA reporting by these journalists earned The Guardian and The Washington Post the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, which Snowden termed “a vindication”.

Case outcome for Edward Snowden – INNOCENT!

God Bless - sleep well!!!!!