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Edward Snowden is another one of the several high profile altruistic whistleblowers that meets my definition of what a true patriot really is, namely a citizen who openly and vocally rejects the “my country, right or wrong” type of false patriotism and publically engages in a lover’s quarrel with his nation when he or she sees it going awry.
Edward Snowden became an officially designated outcast (and a future prisoner of conscience) when he exposed the top secret US surveillance state’s massive overreach utilizing sophisticated Gestapo-like domestic spying when he revealed the existence of a number of well-established secret, taxpayer-paid-for “black arts” programs that needed the full cooperation of many previously respected multinational communication corporations.
Snowden’s revelations about the secret government’s massive spying program on all foreign governments and even on every private American citizen (who communicates by telephone, cell phone, the internet and other wireless technology) rudely awakened the media and shocked the thinking world, especially those sentient American citizens who value the US Constitution, especially the free speech and freedom of the press rights granted in the first amendment and the privacy rights protecting against “unreasonable search and seizure” in the fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights. Sadly there has been nothing but embarrassing silence from the second amendment “my country right or wrong” folks whose only political agenda they seem to get exercised over is the right to arm bears – or some such hot button issue.
Snowden grew up as an “army brat” in a patriotic military family that loved America- right or wrong - and served it militarily, even in illegal aggressive wars like the American War in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, none of which even came close to meeting the criteria of the Christian Just War precepts. Like so many doomed soldiers who were misinformed about how the three World Trade Center towers “came down” on 9/11/01 and therefore weren’t able to see through the massive amount of evidence that disproved the official conspiracy theories coming out ot The Cheney/Bush White House. What folks like Showden had hidden from them was that the dramatic pulverization of the towers did not occur because of self-extinguishing office fires that resulted from two jet planes but by high explosives pre-planted by as-yet-unknown demolition experts. For the well-documented evidence substantiating those claims, see: http://www.ae911truth.org/evidence.html).
Following 9/11, Snowden, like so many others who got their “news” from the corporate-controlled media, joined the US Army to fight “bad guys” overseas rather than the bad guys within the government who ordered, paid for and orchestrated the 9/11 demolitions. However, being a person who had not lost his conscience (like Bradley Manning), Snowden found himself in a situation that presented a huge conflict for him.
Both Snowden and Manning were obligated by their Oath of Allegiance to expose domestic enemies of the US Constitution
As a talented computer expert Snowden landed a job with one of the many war profiteering surveillance corporations (in Snowden’s case it was Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc) he had access to a lot of state secrets. In order to get that job (not to mention to enlist in the US military, to serve in the US Congress or become a naturalized citizen) he had to take an oath of allegiance pledging to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.
And there was the dilemma faced by Manning and Snowden as well as altruistic protestors like the prisoners of conscience in the Catholic Worker’s anti-nuclear weapons Transform Now Plowshares Three who accessed and then symbolically poured blood on the Highly-Enriched Uranium Manufacturing Facility at Oak Ridge, TN. Duluth’s own Greg Boertje-Obed is one of the three rotting in prison while awaiting sentencing. When all of those heroes of freedom had powerful evidence of domestic enemies of the US Constitution, they felt obligated to speak up in the spirit of the See Something/Say Something campaign.
Here is the oath that every member of the US House and 1/3 of the Senators pledges every two years:
“ I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”
People of Conscience need not apply for government jobs or military service
Not too many Congresspersons are publically supporting the honorable and courageous whistleblowers like Snowden. It seems to me that by their silence they are not discharging their sacred oaths, particularly in regards to the Crime and Cover-up of the Century that justified the eternal war on terrorism and the attempts to control the world’s oil supplies, the.so thoroughly exposed in the science and literature of the 9/11 Truth movement.
Orwell’s quote about truth-telling in times of universal deceit being a revolutionary act has never been so true as in modern America. It takes considerable courage to defy one’s errant government or military institutions and expose them as possible enemies of the Constitution. The courts seem to be stacked against truth-telling that goes against so-called “conventional wisdom” that has been established by 24/7 propaganda from the Powers-that-be who have near total control of the media through lobbying via endlessly wealthy, anti-democracy right-wing think tanks (see www.alecexposed) who are funded and therefore take their orders from right-wing multibillionaires like the Koch Brothers (see http://www.kochbrothersexposed.com/) and the conscienceless, amoral multinational corporations that have achieved effective monopolies of virtually everything that might make money to satisfy their greed, now soon to include palatable drinking water.
Consider this essay a call to action. There has been a bloodless rolling coup d’etat going on since the Reagan administration that has been gradually subverting democracy and “disappearing” the US Constitution.
Legislation and court decisions such as the Patriot Acts and Homeland Security Act that rapidly followed 9/1 without our congresspersons reading them before voting on them, the right-wing dominated US Supreme Court’s outrageous decision in the shameful Bush vs. Gore decision that handed the presidency to George Bush without allowing the counting of all the votes, the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling and its recent Supreme Court eviscerating the Voting Rights Act are all signs that we are descending into a form of American (no longer friendly) fascism. (See one of my columns about Friendly American Fascism at: http://www.lewrockwell.com/2008/09/gary-g-kohls/it-cant-happen-here-3/ and http://baltimorechronicle.com/2010/020410Kohls.html).
I conclude this column with these quotes that I have compiled over the years that should frighten every pro-democracy person and hopefully to inspire resistance efforts and support for the whistleblowers for justice.
for These Times
“The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.”
- Mohandas Gandhi
“Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic.”
- Dresden James
“Those who take oaths to politically powerful secret societies cannot be depended on for loyalty to a democratic republic.”-- President John Quincy Adams
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
“Anyone who has proclaimed
violence his method inexorably
must choose lying as his principle.”
- Mikhail Gorbachev
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” -- James Madison, Chief Architect of the Constitution
“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.”
- Thomas Paine
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- Edmund Burke (British Statesman and Philosopher, 1729-1797)
”A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
- Edward Abbey (1927-1989)
“The most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”
- John F. Kennedy, American University commencement address, Washington, 10 June 1963. (Four months later Kennedy was assassinated.)
“Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder and it is the working class who fights all the battles, the working class who makes the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely sheds their blood and furnishes their corpses, and it is they who have never yet had a voice - in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. They are continually talking about their patriotic duty. It is not their duty but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches.”
- Eugene V. Debs