Edward Snowden: Rosenburg, Roeder, Brutus or Rommel?

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Edward Snowden: Rosenburg, Roeder, Brutus or Rommel?

I have fought against the peo­ple of the North because I believed they were seek­ing to wrest from the South its dear­est rights. But I have never cher­ished toward them bit­ter or vin­dic­tive feel­ings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.

Robert E Lee

Conan: A man should have brave ene­mies so he can remem­ber them after he slays them

King Conan #7 Sept 1981

When it comes to Edward Snow­den there are a lot of con­flict­ing opin­ions out there and mixed feel­ings The best exam­ple I can think of was expressed by my friend Tabitha Hale:

Because in our cur­rent soci­ety we tend to look at feel­ings and per­son­al­ize things, this is the ques­tion that has become front and cen­ter, so lets look at the four basic choices on how peo­ple feel about Snowden.

1. Edward Snow­den is a dis­hon­or­able trai­tor who exposed the NSA pro­grams because he wishes to hurt Amer­ica and aid our ene­mies and/​or his friends or be rewarded. (He is Julius Rosenburg)

2. Edward Snow­den is a dis­hon­or­able fanatic who exposed the NSA pro­grams because he believes it is a dan­ger to the free­doms of the United States and it’s peo­ple and must be stopped no mat­ter what hap­pens to him. ( He is Scott Roeder)

3. Edward Snow­den is a Noble char­ac­ter who exposed the NSA pro­grams because he believes it is a dan­ger to the free­doms of the United States no mat­ter what the risk to him. (He is Brutus)

4. Edward Snow­den is a Noble char­ac­ter who exposed the NSA pro­grams because he wishes to hurt Amer­ica and aid our ene­mies and/​or his friends or be rewarded. (He is Rommel )

Since we don’t know what he actu­ally thinks and do not have enough evi­dence to sup­port any of those opin­ions yet the choice you make will likely depend on where you stand.

If you pri­or­ity is the war on ter­ror or one of the author­i­ties, you likely are going with #1. Very clear cut he’s a dirty trai­tor try­ing to bring us down. He can be rejected and hated. Pretty easy.

If you are a per­son who mis­trusts gov­ern­ment power, a con­ser­v­a­tive, you likely are going to go with #2. You many not like these pro­grams and believe they are an abuse of fed­eral power or even immoral, but this is still trea­son. The ends do not and can not jus­tify the means! The rule of law has to trump this and Snow­den needs to be pun­ished severely to dis­cour­age this type of thing in the future.

If you are a pure lib­er­tar­ian, you almost cer­tainly go with #3. He is a brave char­ac­ter who gave up his life liveli­hood and his whole world in order to pro­tect us from a nefar­i­ous gov­ern­ment. It would have been every easy to say or do noth­ing but instead he stepped for­ward no mat­ter the risk. To you this guy is a hero.

I sus­pect Obama polit­i­cal loy­al­ists will choose #4. You respect his as a brave guy. If he had done this under George Bush you would call him friend or hero and cheer­ing with the lib­er­tar­i­ans. But this guy’s actions have real poten­tial to dam­age THE ONE™. and to his admin­is­tra­tions polit­i­cal future. He’s just another enemy that needs defeat­ing or prob­lem to be solved.

I almost cer­tainly fall between 1 and 2. My gut says the pro­gram is wrong, I need to know more about it before I’m pos­i­tive but no mat­ter how he feels about the pro­gram and believes he has done a noble thing, I’m just not going to jus­tify or excuse this kind of ille­gal­ity or treason

Before you pick a num­ber con­sider the basic facts in evi­dence that are not in dispute:

Edward Snow­den vio­lated fed­eral law and his oath.

Edward Snow­den leaked a highly clas­si­fied secu­rity program

Edward Snow­den fled to a Com­mu­nist Coun­try our sin­gle biggest rival/​enemy

No mat­ter what you think of the NSA Prism pro­grams, Mr. Snowden’s moti­va­tions or even the neces­sity of the expo­sure of this scan­dal, these facts are not in dis­pute and I sug­gest peo­ple be very care­ful before declar­ing him Hor­atius at the Bridge.

Update: Jackie Well­founder gives good advice

I think at this point, we need to remain objec­tive and wait for the facts to present them­selves. I have a feel­ing this story has a lot more evolv­ing to do yet.

And Legal Insur­rec­tion and another name to the story

The inter­view with Bill Bin­ney is inter­est­ing because it does, in fact, par­al­lel much of what is revealed in the inter­view with Edward Snow­den. Both inter­views were directed and pro­duced by Laura Poitras.

Pay atten­tion to the last sen­tence in his piece

Inter­est­ingly, one of the last frames in Laura Poitras’ video inter­view with Bill Bin­ney thanks, among oth­ers, Wik­ileaks’ Julian Assange.

Hmmmm.

Update 2: Removed the word “you” from the last sen­tence, sounded AWFUL.

Update 3: I have to dis­agree with Cap­tain Ed here:

Snowden’s $500 ended up doing noth­ing in the long run. He would have done us all a favor — includ­ing him­self — if he’d used the money for sub­scrip­tions to the Guardian and Wash­ing­ton Post and sent the leak to Paul, Udall, and/​or Wyden.

By sup­port­ing the can­di­date most likely to stop these abuses he was doing things the right way, try­ing to sup­port can­di­dates who would stop this pro­gram with­out act­ing dis­hon­or­ably. The ques­tion becomes, if he had leaked this to Paul or Udall or Wyden, would they have exposed it or no?

Mean­while, while Stacy McCain’s head­line is Hero or Trai­tor, his story on Snow­den at Viral Read is Just the facts:

I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them.

Robert E Lee

Conan:  A man should have brave enemies so he can remember them after he slays them

King Conan #7  Sept 1981

When it comes to Edward Snowden there are a lot of conflicting opinions out there and mixed feelings The best example I can think of was expressed by my friend Tabitha Hale:

Because in our current society we tend to look at feelings and personalize things, this is the question that has become front and center, so lets look at the four  basic choices on how people feel about Snowden.

1.   Edward Snowden is a dishonorable traitor  who exposed the NSA programs because he wishes to hurt America and aid our enemies and/or his friends or be rewarded.  (He is Julius Rosenburg)

2.   Edward Snowden is a dishonorable fanatic who exposed the NSA programs because he believes it is a danger to the freedoms of the United States and it’s people and must be stopped no matter what happens to him. ( He is Scott Roeder)

3.   Edward Snowden is a Noble character who exposed the NSA programs because he believes it is a danger to the freedoms of the United States no matter what the risk to him.   (He is Brutus)

4.   Edward Snowden is a Noble character who exposed the NSA programs because he wishes to hurt America and aid our enemies and/or his friends or be rewarded.  (He is Rommel )

Since we don’t know what he actually thinks and do not have enough evidence to support any of those opinions yet the choice you make will likely depend on where you stand.

If you priority is the war on terror or one of the authorities, you likely are going with #1.  Very clear cut  he’s a dirty traitor trying to bring us down.  He can be rejected and hated.  Pretty easy.

If you are a person who mistrusts government power, a conservative, you likely are going to go with #2.  You many not like these programs and believe they are an abuse of federal power or even immoral, but this is still treason.  The ends do not and can not justify the means!  The rule of law has to trump this and Snowden needs to be punished severely to discourage this type of thing in the future.

If you are a pure libertarian, you almost certainly go with #3.  He is a brave character who gave up his life livelihood and his whole world in order to protect us from a nefarious government.  It would have been every easy to say or do nothing but instead he stepped forward no matter the risk.  To you this guy is a hero.

I suspect  Obama political loyalists will choose #4.  You respect his as a brave guy.  If he had done this under George Bush you would call him friend or hero and cheering with the libertarians.  But this guy’s actions have real potential to damage THE ONE™.  and to his administrations political future.  He’s just another enemy that needs defeating or problem to be solved.

I almost certainly fall between 1 and 2.  My gut says the program is wrong, I need to know more about it before I’m positive but no matter how he feels about the program and believes he has done a noble thing, I’m just not going to justify or excuse this kind of illegality or treason

Before you pick a number consider the basic facts in evidence that are not in dispute:

Edward Snowden violated federal law and his oath.

Edward Snowden leaked a highly classified security program

Edward Snowden fled to a Communist Country our single biggest rival/enemy

No matter what you think of the NSA Prism programs, Mr. Snowden’s motivations or even the necessity of the exposure of this scandal, these facts are not in dispute and I suggest people be very careful before declaring him Horatius at the Bridge.

Update:  Jackie Wellfounder gives good advice

I think at this point, we need to remain objective and wait for the facts to present themselves. I have a feeling this story has a lot more evolving to do yet.

And Legal Insurrection and another name to the story

The interview with Bill Binney is interesting because it does, in fact, parallel much of what is revealed in the interview with Edward Snowden.  Both interviews were directed and produced by Laura Poitras.

Pay attention to the last sentence in his piece

Interestingly, one of the last frames in Laura Poitras’ video interview with Bill Binney thanks, among others, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.

Hmmmm.

Update 2:  Removed the word “you” from the last sentence, sounded AWFUL.

Update 3:  I have to disagree with Captain Ed here:

Snowden’s $500 ended up doing nothing in the long run.  He would have done us all a favor — including himself — if he’d used the money for subscriptions to the Guardian and Washington Post and sent the leak to Paul, Udall, and/or Wyden.

By supporting the candidate most likely to stop these abuses he was doing things the right way, trying to support candidates who would stop this program without acting dishonorably.  The question becomes, if he had leaked this to Paul or Udall or Wyden, would they have exposed it or no?

Meanwhile, while Stacy McCain’s headline is Hero or Traitor, his story on Snowden at Viral Read is Just the facts: