Saturday, June 29, 2013

Snowden 1, Obama 0 

New Mexico's two senators, Democrats Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, are among 26 senators who have signed a "strongly worded" letter wanting more information about secret spying on US citizens, and saying that President Obama is justifying domestic spying using secret interpretations of the Patriot Act that amount to a body of secret law. (US corporate media is largely silent about this. Look in The Guardian or Leftist alternative media.)

 Meanwhile, a US representative in on NSA briefings of congress, Democrat Loretta Sanchez, says what Edward Snowden revealed about domestic spying is "only the tip of the iceburg," and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says Snowden has much more, and highly detailed, information about NSA spying and more releases are likely.

The senators' letter, and President Obama's decision to call off his highly public pursuit of Snowden, come as US public support for Snowden remains strong despite two weeks of his being hammered and labeled a traitor by the administration, congressional leaders and the media. Americans don't like being spied on by their own government and don't want to be, and the relenting attacks on Snowden didn't change their mind about that or his whistleblowing.

Black Agenda Report graphic
Russia and China have alternately scorned and ridiculed administration threats about their harboring of Snowden and Russian President Vladmir Putin has humorously told the president to buzz off. Little Ecuador one-upped threats to end favorable trade relations with it if it gave Snowden asylum by ending them itself, and for good measure President Rafael Correa offered to pay for human rights training to help the US avoid "espionage, torture, extrajudicial killings and other acts that denigrate humanity."

Marc Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research attributes Obama's decision to call off his attack on Snowen to the administration's realization that it will be better off if the NSA spying story just "goes away."

"It was quite an amazing, if implicit, admission of defeat," Weisbrot writes.
Rafael Correa

Weisbrot also points out "how our government has traditionally used domestic surveillance to oppose, infiltrate, disrupt, and discredit (sometimes through violent provocations) opposition political movements. In 2011, the Boston police, federally-funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center (note: one of the "fusion centers" I wrote about earlier), and FBI appear to have been so fixated on peaceful activists like the Occupy movement, Code Pink, and Veterans for Peace that they seem to have missed the real terrorists that bombed the Boston marathon, despite having the intelligence on one of them dumped in the FBI’s lap."
"There are tens of millions of Americans who already understand very well that the “war on terror” has been used as a pretext to erode our civil liberties at home and commit terrible crimes abroad. Snowden’s courageous whistle-blowing and Glenn Greenwald’s relentless efforts to inform the public have brought more people into the realm of questioning the whole rotten framework that justifies these abuses and atrocities. Who is our government protecting anyway, when they invade other countries and create new enemies every week by drone-bombing civilians in places like Pakistan or Yemen? Americans are more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist."

In Other News

The president, meanwhile, has been met in South Africa by protestors critical of US complicity in Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and who view his Africa trip as a mission to steal the continent's resources.

And first term New Mexico congress member Michelle Grisham, who is quickly becoming the leader of New Mexico's do-nothing Democratic delegation to Washington, or, if you will, the only one who doesn't spend their time hiding in their office, has introduced a bill that would put an end to "dark money," the secret campaign contributions allowed under current election and IRS law.

Grisham has already made news by criticizing the outsourcing of state jobs at UNM Hospital and by spending a week living on the meager food budget of a food stamp recipient.

In a related matter, I found it interesting that our two aforementioned senators released statements applauding the immigration bill passed this week by the senate, which many immigration rights advocates are calling a travesty, without saying how they voted on it.

Which, for the record, was:

      Heinrich (D-NM), Yea
      Udall (D-NM), Yea


Read more here:

1 comment:

  1. Oooohhh, a Shepard Fairey image (top left). I like it.