No Lamming From the Free World Order

Column by Tim Hartnett.

Exclusive to STR

After hearing how outraged First World leaders are about US government actions recently revealed by Edward Snowden, you’d expect the boy to be a celebrity guest damn near anywhere. Instead, blatant war criminals get better welcomes in places where human dignity is supposedly a government mandate. Powerful regimes are inclined to grant each other absolution for a wide litany of sins, while those who trespass against them may end up in Manning’s hell or Snowden’s limbo.

A good many in the American press claiming to support Snowden oddly disapprove of his present behavior. Dana Millbank says: “The 30-year-old computer whiz seems all too concerned about what happens to him . . . .” Yes Dana, what decent ideologically driven young man wouldn’t gleefully submit to the Bradley Manning treatment? A more principled dissenter would voluntarily accept indefinite solitary confinement and inedible food just to maintain the PR value of his cause. Maybe a martyr instruction manual is forthcoming from the WP writer who spent his adult life enduring conditions at Yale, The Wall Street Journal and The New Republic before getting to the salt mines at The Post. He knows persecution firsthand because George Bush once gave him a nickname “not printable in a family newspaper.”

Only a moron would have stuck around to take the lumps after reports of the circumstances Manning was held in were aired. Ideological warriors may get killed taking their stands, but that doesn’t mean they should fail to take cover under fire. Anyone within normal emotional ranges held in long term solitary probably considers suicide daily. The mediacrats looking down on Snowden must think that only people with the temperament of Job are legitimate when defying Big Brother. This view places anyone taking advisable precautions against apprehension in a similar position a traitorous egomaniac. The standard here requires that any future leakers be willing to walk into a cell that DOJ’s creative legal minds have the key to. That’s a precondition that should thin the ranks of whistleblowers down to numbers the establishment is comfortable with.

The Millbank sentence fragment quoted above finishes: “. . . and entirely unconcerned about what harm he does his country in securing his safety.” But what “harm” that is is never elaborated in the ten remaining long paragraphs of the column. Bruce Fein is cited: “The fixation on asylum is a huge distraction, and it contradicts what he was purporting to do.” A distraction to who, exactly? The leaked documents are there for public debate regardless of what becomes of Snowden. As far as “what he was purporting to do” is concerned, where does Glenn Greenwald report Snowden felt compelled to become a sacrificial lamb? We find out about innocent people who endured jail for decades all the time. It doesn’t take a Harvard Law professor to know that up against all those warehoused pallets of convoluted federal code, Snowden’s only hope is jury nullification. If he has to rely on the “liberal media” that Millbank is commonly deemed to represent, that prospect is awfully dismal.

The article, titled “Sabotaging His Own Cause”, The Washington Post, 7-3-13, A-19, conveniently assembles nearly every conventional distortion about this case. Referring to Snowden’s relationship with Wikileaks it characterizes, “known for its indiscriminate dumping of classified material, and he has been revealing further government secrets that seem to serve no other purpose than embarrassing the United States.”

Of course, none of it embarrasses “the United States” but rather Wall Street, Foggy Bottom, the Pentagon and a hobnobbing lot of special interests that use national clout to feather nests and pressure foreign governments in pursuit of goals no American ever voted on. And besides, that Wikileaks “dumping” is hardly “indiscriminate.” The Manning documents released so far, a mere fraction of the whole, have been redacted to avoid imperiling any particular individuals.

European leaders will gladly hold with the mainstream American media, hoping to avoid any resort to candor about their reasoning. Who knows when a similar type of fugitive might take flight from their side of the pond? All governments have plenty to hide and guys like Millbank convince themselves they aren’t about helping them do it.

A famous tale of the old Soviet Union has it that Stalin once prodded the ruthless prosecutor Vishinsky to garner a confession from a stubborn prisoner with the argument that no man could stand against the great weight of that totalitarian state. Isn’t that precisely the tactic we’ve seen applied to crack Bradley Manning? Right now it looks as though the weight of the world will come to bear on Edward Snowden.

The term “US interests” is promiscuously deployed in American journalism without any effort to define the term. It has been used to justify things from indiscriminate bombing, assassination, strong-arming, propagandizing, bribing foreign governments and on to lots of other plots we only hear about through leaks or rumors in the press. Popular support for such policies is not possible when we barely even know what they are. A secret sate of this breadth is perpetually widening the chasm between itself and any semblance of “consent of the governed.”

A small group of plutocrats and bureaucrats that can act domestically and abroad without restraint or scrutiny can always make the claim that common interest is being served. A population buying into that absurd proposition is as good as enserfed already.

It is not Edward Snowden who is making his present status and whereabouts the primary controversy but rather the mainstream media. When Putin requires his ward release nothing further, how are we to know it isn’t the Western world power structure itself he is not protecting? Does anyone really believe that Europe has become a no-fly zone for the fugitive in the interest of Joe Six Pack?

The only rational conclusion available from this cyber-spectacle is that powerful and privileged people, who’ve been wrecking Western financial and physical security for decades, are afraid of him. So far we’ve not heard the slightest evidence why anyone else ought to be.

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Tim Hartnett's picture
Columns on STR: 20


Paul's picture

Just the Ministry of Propaganda doing its job, Tim. I don't think it is a very successful line of attack however. Most people with two brain cells to rub together won't fault Snowden for keeping his head down.

Thanks for this excellent article.