Snowden's dad open letter

Dear Mr. President:

You are acutely aware that the history of liberty is a history of civil disobedience to unjust laws or practices. As Edmund Burke sermonized, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Civil disobedience is not the first, but the last option. Henry David Thoreau wrote with profound restraint in Civil Disobedience: “If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.”

Thoreau’s moral philosophy found expression during the Nuremburg trials in which “following orders” was rejected as a defense. Indeed, military law requires disobedience to clearly illegal orders.

A dark chapter in America’s World War II history would not have been written if the then United States Attorney General had resigned rather than participate in racist concentration camps imprisoning 120,000 Japanese American citizens and resident aliens.

Civil disobedience to the Fugitive Slave Act and Jim Crow laws provoked the end of slavery and the modern civil rights revolution.

We submit that Edward J. Snowden’s disclosures of dragnet surveillance of Americans under § 215 of the Patriot Act, § 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, or otherwise were sanctioned by Thoreau’s time-honored moral philosophy and justifications for civil disobedience. Since 2005, Mr. Snowden had been employed by the intelligence community. He found himself complicit in secret, indiscriminate spying on millions of innocent citizens contrary to the spirit if not the letter of the First and Fourth Amendments and the transparency indispensable to self-government. Members of Congress entrusted with oversight remained silent or Delphic. Mr. Snowden confronted a choice between civic duty and passivity. He may have recalled the injunction of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.” Mr. Snowden chose duty. Your administration vindictively responded with a criminal complaint alleging violations of the Espionage Act.

From the commencement of your administration, your secrecy of the National Security Agency’s Orwellian surveillance programs had frustrated a national conversation over their legality, necessity, or morality. That secrecy (combined with congressional nonfeasance) provoked Edward’s disclosures, which sparked a national conversation which you have belatedly and cynically embraced. Legislation has been introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate to curtail or terminate the NSA’s programs, and the American people are being educated to the public policy choices at hand. A commanding majority now voice concerns over the dragnet surveillance of Americans that Edward exposed and you concealed. It seems mystifying to us that you are prosecuting Edward for accomplishing what you have said urgently needed to be done!

The right to be left alone from government snooping–the most cherished right among civilized people—is the cornerstone of liberty. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson served as Chief Prosecutor at Nuremburg. He came to learn of the dynamics of the Third Reich that crushed a free society, and which have lessons for the United States today.

Writing in Brinegar v. United States, Justice Jackson elaborated:

The Fourth Amendment states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

These, I protest, are not mere second-class rights but belong in the catalog of indispensable freedoms. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. And one need only briefly to have dwelt and worked among a people possessed of many admirable qualities but deprived of these rights to know that the human personality deteriorates and dignity and self-reliance disappear where homes, persons and possessions are subject at any hour to unheralded search and seizure by the police.

We thus find your administration’s zeal to punish Mr. Snowden’s discharge of civic duty to protect democratic processes and to safeguard liberty to be unconscionable and indefensible.

We are also appalled at your administration’s scorn for due process, the rule of law, fairness, and the presumption of innocence as regards Edward.

On June 27, 2013, Mr. Fein wrote a letter to the Attorney General stating that Edward’s father was substantially convinced that he would return to the United States to confront the charges that have been lodged against him if three cornerstones of due process were guaranteed. The letter was not an ultimatum, but an invitation to discuss fair trial imperatives. The Attorney General has sneered at the overture with studied silence.

We thus suspect your administration wishes to avoid a trial because of constitutional doubts about application of the Espionage Act in these circumstances, and obligations to disclose to the public potentially embarrassing classified information under the Classified Information Procedures Act.
*** Your decision to force down a civilian airliner carrying Bolivian President Eva Morales in hopes of kidnapping Edward also does not inspire confidence that you are committed to providing him a fair trial. Neither does your refusal to remind the American people and prominent Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate like House Speaker John Boehner, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann,and Senator Dianne Feinstein that Edward enjoys a presumption of innocence. He should not be convicted before trial. Yet Speaker Boehner has denounced Edward as a “traitor.”

Ms. Pelosi has pontificated that Edward “did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents.” Ms. Bachmann has pronounced that, “This was not the act of a patriot; this was an act of a traitor.” And Ms. Feinstein has decreed that Edward was guilty of “treason,” which is defined in Article III of the Constitution as “levying war” against the United States, “or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

You have let those quadruple affronts to due process pass unrebuked, while you have disparaged Edward as a “hacker” to cast aspersion on his motivations and talents. Have you forgotten the Supreme Court’s gospel in Berger v. United States that the interests of the government “in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done?”

We also find reprehensible your administration’s Espionage Act prosecution of Edward for disclosures indistinguishable from those which routinely find their way into the public domain via your high level appointees for partisan political advantage. Classified details of your predator drone protocols, for instance, were shared with the New York Times with impunity to bolster your national security credentials. Justice Jackson observed in Railway Express Agency, Inc. v. New York: “The framers of the Constitution knew, and we should not forget today, that there is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally.”

In light of the circumstances amplified above, we urge you to order the Attorney General to move to dismiss the outstanding criminal complaint against Edward, and to support legislation to remedy the NSA surveillance abuses he revealed. Such presidential directives would mark your finest constitutional and moral hour.

Bruce Fein
Counsel for Lon Snowden

Seems is time again for the people to demonstrate in mass they want just laws where whistleblowers are honored, because they are exposing the Corruption and Madness Inside the governments.

When you start whistleblowing, it quickly enters in to a whole weird realm. I don’t think that he did anything different than a lot past people have done, including the Watergate scandal. The difference, in my mind any way, is how he came out with the information and the speed at which information moves. Now a days, info moves at the speed of light. In the 70s…Umm…not so much. LOL Hence is the cruxt of this, I think.

Personally, I’m not sure that I would Mr Snowden a hero. But, I certainly would not call him a criminal either. And, presonally, I do not blame him for seeking asylum wherever he can. My suggestion is that he hide out until Obama is gone. Then, he’ll likely receive a full pardon any way.

This whole mess really brings about my questioning of the Patriot Act. I think it’s Unconstitutional and has outlived it’s usefulness. Obama has been hiding behind that law, and I think it and a few others he’s put in place need to go away, like a bad onion. LOL I can’t wait for the next election…neither Hillary nor Joe are worth voting for, so we’ll have to see who the Republicans can get. Hopefully someone worth voting for. Dismantle the Patriot Act, and Snowden comes home, a free man.

In this case, I don’t even find myself staring (primarily …) at issues of Constitutional Law. Instead, I consider how many Trillions of Dollars such programs cost.

… All without any assurances (or, for that matter, concern …) that “they actually do any good at all.”

(Senator Udall, who does hold a TS+ clearance, basically said that they don’t.)

All that you have to do, if you are a well-placed Military Industrial Complex contractor, is to murmur the magic words: “Nine Wun-Wun.” Merely suggest that your program is “to Keep America Safe™” and, presto, the Billions of Dollars A Day(!) come pouring in. Provided only that you “remember to grease the palms that fed you,” you’re all set.

These programs, until Snowden blew the whistle, were “a very lucrative not-so secret” that enjoyed Trillion-dollar funding and Plausible Denial. Officials sat in committee chambers and lied to Congress, under oath. But it really didn’t matter to Congress anyway, because everybody in that room (a) knew better, and (b) was mentally counting just how many dollars were winding up on the Grand Cayman Islands in their name while the boring but obligatory meeting was grinding on.

At the start of the 20th Century, the most-decorated Marine, Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler, said that “War Is A Racket.” Fifty years later, General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower said the same thing. Sixty-five years after that, America still hasn’t learned.

When “Trillions of Dollars of Public Money, leading to (why not?) Billions of Dollars of (call 'em what they really are …) Bribes,” are in play, and all of it is very-comfortably #CLASSIFIED#, then … and let’s be perfectly honest here … nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter whether the program will achieve any militarily-useful or socially-useful results. The one, and only, thing that matters is that the program is Funded.

Yes, all is about money.
And the people in every country is awakening on how really things are. Then someday they will not laugh on the peole trying to make them aware of what is happening as they did in the recent past. But we are not yet there, some more awakening is going to happen in the coming weeks, some people will say “enough is enough” this time.

Whistle blower my butt. Drag him back kicking and screaming and get a rope. Of course he is a criminal and he will go to jail.
Sorry to post why do you people not talk about art.

Yes, that is why I said “we are not yet there” in post 5.
Incredible there are people like kazinger you think? Well, is the matrix and its control. It is called also the veil. And is fragmenting and will disappear, then people will see clearly and have their own thoughts (just now their thoughts are molded by what the matrix dictates (society rules, religions, organizations, mass media, that is the matrix that molds the brains of the people that doesn’t understand what is happening).

When the matrix breaks down as it will do (economic collapse and such) the people that lived great in the matrix will fear there is no future, they will think “all is in chaos” “there is no future”. This is going to happen in the months ahead. A lot of people will feel like that. Well, everyone chooses their way of awakening, someones using their brain, others being disconnnected from the matrix by the hard way.

Whistleblower protection act

“…federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct…”

Eight amendment​nstitution
“…the eighth amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual torture and punishment…”

'cause we’d need someone worth talking to 'bout art

What do you think people demonstrating will do exactly? Maybe give the politicians and bigwigs something to laugh at when they turn on the tv? Maybe if the media actually covered marches against these types of injustices in a positive light, instead of covering trivial stories that divide the people on racial, gender, and economic lines, then marches might do something.

Unfortunately there is too much control in the media, for something to change positively. The only things that I can see changing anything are a revolution, or a coup, and I seriously doubt that the american people can stomach either of those options.

So then, I guess we all go down with the empire… that is if there is a down. As technology advances and makes everything less expensive and more efficient, the government will harness that to keep their heads above water monetarily, and enable them to keep it’s subjects under control at an ever increasing pace.

In the end we’ll probably end up with chips in our head, either that or I’m a paranoid schizophrenic:p

As technology advances, and becomes available to the masses, offside elements like crime emerge. Lately on BBC news was apps in smart phones that some people use to mass communicate with others in a population sector ie taxi drivers, warning of hazards. In this case, the example was of police doing checks of taxi’s carrying more than the allowed limited of passengers. This was in Jamaica I believe.

Well, there are a wide variety of reasons why the people of the US (and, of the world at large) need to be talking about things like this.

(Yes, when multiple millions of people “start talking,” the 850-or-so (that’s all!) people that comprise the upper echelons of The United States Government™ will listen . . . )

This is, first of all, our money that’s being spent. Second, it’s being spent “in the name of national security,” but does it really do that, or does it actually have the opposite effect? (I think so.) Trillions of dollars are being spent, and you’ll never convince me that “the Sequester” was ever really meant to be ‘Congress disciplining itself.’ Human nature is what human nature is, and sometimes that’s 100% self-centered and very ugly. “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and those words were first carved into a mud tablet thousands of years ago.

You can surf to the “National Debt Clock” web-site and see the digits spiraling by much too fast to read. This is money that is mostly being spent “in the name of national security,” with domestic surveillance programs like this one, or “no-fly zones” (billions of dollars a month), “boots on the ground” in a #CLASSIFIED# number of engagements in #CLASSIFIED# locations, or “a #CLASSIFIED# number of military bases arond the world.”

(#CLASSIFIED# is like Harry Potter’s “Room of Requirement,” where all the awkward things are hid.)

“If the ¢at’$ away, the mi¢e will play.” This sort of thing has bankrupted many nations … Rome, Egypt, Babylon … and it’s well on its way to ruining more. Specifically including “the new kid on the block,” the USA.

We have to speak-up and to demand accountability, because the citizens are the first stakeholders in the country in which they live.​ There are people who care nothing about ripping-off a nation, and they have the capacity to do it. Politicians, in their turn, are unfortunately quite an easy “mark.”

Ed Snowden did exactly one thing: he confronted the public with irrefutable proof of what had been, up to that point, “well-known to millions of people with clearances, but officially not-there.” Furthermore, he did it with great discretion: he didn’t reveal unnecessary details about the programs. He simply swept away the “comfort-zone of plausible denability” … This program is going on, and here is proof of it … now, let the public discourse begin.

Because that’s what “governance” is all about. This is our responsibility, and we’ve been stuffing our heads in the sand about it, instead of confronting unpleasantries.

And let’s be frank: it’s never really been such an “incredibly top secret” anyway. News stories about “vast data centers in the Nevada desert, bristling with Internet connections” had already been made public, and we can put two and two together … we just didn’t want to. If you have or can build the capacity to do something, and you can $ell a ¢ongre$$man on it, and thereby reap Trillions of dollars knowing that you’ll never have to officially acknowledge anything … “well, duh.” And this is what’s been happening: Snowden removed all doubt about that. A classic whistleblower, blowing a whistle that very badly needed to be blown.

Awakes more people.
Then the people sees the way Mass Media does and the way Police does and more and more people awakens. Each day more and more, the people learns about the huge corruption, in all the countries. This is happening in the whole World at the same time. Is not just in one or two countries.

Enter the unique value of “the Internet.” You made that comment from Spain … a country that I, as an American, am anxious to visit soon. And yet, we plainly see that we have a common interest. Furthermore, we can comment freely about it, within the context of a computer-graphics forum on a globally-available TCP/IP network. (Courtesy, uhh, of the world’s defense departments … go figger.)

Nevermind: the very human motives that are really at-play here are, shall we say, “distressingly universal.” If you (whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you are) can see your way clear to a fabulously-fat-to-you Government Contract™ … then you “like totally DON’T CARE what happens next.” You’ve got yours!

"How the hell do I know if this really works to ‘catch terrorists?’ Why do I care? The point is, I managed to convince you, Mister (Congressional) Moneybags, either(a) that there really IS a terrorist™ under every toadstool, and so that this is Really A Good Thing … or much more likely (b) that you’ll get a flat 10% of the contract, deposited into a “secret” bank account that can never be tied specifically to your miserable greedy sonofabeech carcass.​ :ba:

In the waning days of the Roman Empire… “hell, yeah, Roman Roads to Nowhere, who-cares, and tens of thousands of armor suits for the poor schlebs, all paid-for at Government Expense.” None of them really gave a tinker’s dam whether it was actually “Good for the Empire.™” It was a Fat Government Contract … “period, stop, end-of-sentence.”

Read 'em and weep. Today, there are more than a million “hangers-on” with American “Top (sic) Secret clearances”and I am quite sure that there’s an equivalent number of people in Spain.

“No one gives-a-damm (and, hell, why should they, from their point-of-view??) if we don’t.”

But we, “the ordinary Janes and Joes,” really are the people-of-interest here … and, oh by-the-by, there are millions of “us.”

Ignorant schleb that I may be, I do think that “this does​ count for something, after all.”

“Do both sides have somewhat of a legitimate point?” Uh huh. And, yeah, the plot just got thickened. (Yes, there really are Bad B*stards out there! :eek: ) Therefore, there is “a balance to be struck,” no question. The problem is that (a) we have not ‘struck’ it, and (b) there are GOBS OF <currency_units> that don’t really give-a-damm if we ‘struck it’ or not.

Yes technology can be used for good as well as evil, but people using cellphones to dodge the cops can’t compete with sophisticated AI programs looking through everyone’s devices.

Think of a world where everyone is wearing a pair of google glasses or something similar. Then imagine governments taking all the video data generated by billions of people, and analyzing it with biometric software. If you’re a criminal in their eyes you get arrested, if your wearing a mask, say at a protest, then you get tracked and arrested. What are people gonna do when smarter than human AIs start going over all the data? It’s kind of hard to out smart something that’s smarter than you.

Maybe it’s true that peoples awareness of problems will grow more and more with each new protest, but so what? What does protesting matter if people still act like cattle?

Look at this video:

The women in the video don’t resist in the slightest when it comes to cops searching their bodily orifices (a little bit more extreme than searching their emails), and I’m sure most men would be just as passive. How would people that are “awake” act differently? They might act different if it happened at a protest when there are thousands of them vs the cops, but alone they would be as compliant as anyone else.

If your raised to be cattle you will likely die as cattle.

This is one case where you and I agree. It became apparent to me that the concerns of “Big Brother” was influencing society to play the same game in self defense with camera phones. Later on David Brins’ book The Transparent Society was suggested by one of the researchers whos’ work I was following. It is a much better quantified postulation of where this could lead.

Some see this as a privacy issue but in that context it wouldn’t be so dire nor would it be so persistent. I think that it’s much more likely to be a trust issue. If the public could trust the establishment to use personal information to the betterment of the individual and society as a whole, then the information would be willingly forfeited due to it being advantageous.

I personally don’t think that privacy has much of a future. I would expect governments to data mine personal information and I would expect whistle blowers to bring it out into the open. Even if the trust issue didn’t exist I would still expect this to occur and it be common knowledge that it did. I fear that this in particular may be a consequence of an information society just as our privacy has diminished significantly with every previous revolution. We can’t ignore the fact that our society and ecosystem is a complex system that we are not capable of understanding and proactively maintaining without some sort of advanced technological mediation. I think that the results that we’ve had thus far are a testament to that.

I think that the awareness of this is very important in that it affords the information to analyze the situation and come to terms with it. This is one of the main reasons I’m expecting a new sub culture to split off. I think that this will be more than some are prepared to accept. I think that the fact that Luddite has become a buzz word is an indication that there’s a general sneaking suspicion that will happen.

Although I’m not confident in privacy being effectively promoted, I think the underlying issue with the application of personal information could go in a more positive direction through the technological mediation that’s emerging. At this point there’s really no telling to what extent.

I am all for data mining, provided it is there for “those who run the show” to pick up abnormalities. In the same vein of thought, even today there people in prison who have been charged for crimes they haven’t, however, thanks to the kindness of a few brave souls, their case details are still researched and doubted by the few brave ones ie google “David Bain”.
But I digress, my main point was that I work with people who have spent time behind the bars, and it saddens me that I was failed on a work test by one who committed the most heinous crime of all in my opinion.

Another assertion I can agree with. The point I was trying to make was; the forced transparency also forces the underlying trust issue. Throughout history privacy has decreased but also the more powerful governments have softened up to the will of the populous. Our standard of living is the Utopia of our ancestors however there are consequences that they would have likely been up in arms about. The people who now stand up and blow whistles are likely to be making that kind of difference by forcing that the condition be addressed as opposed to the symptom. This situation is just as likely to raise our standard of living as have revolutions in the past. It is however just as likely to shatter some of our ideals.

“…These are just the latest depressing revelations about the rise of the military-industrial complex from whistleblower/traitor Edward Snowden as he accepted political asylum in Russia today…”