Pro Bono Barrister: My feelings on Edward Snowden

January 13, 2014 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Time To Stop Using ‘9/11′ As Ruse To Excuse Excesses

Now that The New York Times has come out so strongly on the side of famous leaker Edward Snowden, it seems inevitable that this historic character may in fact get his day in court.

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Two-thirds of the American public believe that Snowden did the right thing by disclosing the ugly nature and size of our illegal, almost world-wide surveillance.

He’s drawn some unique support from some odd places. For example,Sen. Rand Paul. Some – in fact, many — may disagree with the routine rantings of the reality-challenged Kentucky solon. Yet by excoriating these stunning NSA probes into the intimate lives of most inhabitants of the globe, Sen. Paul demonstrates at least a little method to his madness.

Libertarians, liberals and people who sense the warning signs of unnecessary and possibly threatening government intrusion are united in their concern–perhaps for this one time only, making common cause with the son of Rep. Ron Paul, who has made running for president a profitable pastime.

President Obama has all kinds of questions to answer, about this vast spying network which tapped into the personal lives of foreign leaders such as Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel.The remarkable absence of appropriate judicial review – the rubber-stamp F.I.S.A. court doesn’t count — has some of us recalling scary literature such as George Orwell’s ‘1984.”

Coming from the political left, Obama has been at a loss to explain the continuing operation of the F.I.S.A. court, whose handpicked members have reflexively been issuing subpoenas to permit government spying to go where it dared not go before 9/11.

It’s ironic that the erosion of our civil liberties is a direct consequence of the heinous acts of Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts. President George Bush justified the admittedly tragic Iraq invasion by leaning on 9/11 sentiment. Now, it seems our president may be doing the same.

Then-Senator Obama opposed the Bin Laden/Cheney-inspired war, which still takes a toll in American lives and treasure. But he has failed to appreciate the connection behind the 9/11-driven Mideastern misadventure and what is going on now under the NSA.

This powerful secretive agency has been given carte blanche to do what it deems necessary. In addition, fearful legislators have given it so much money the NSA could afford to outsource the expensive and illegal accumulation of data which informed – then drove Snowden to blow the whistle on the whole process.

First Jail, Then Nobel Prize!

Edward Snowden committed a crime, for which he must be punished. But, in response to those who refuse to acknowledge reality in such issues, if Snowden had complained more loudly and specifically — while staying visible and seize-able in our country — he would have been jailed and muzzled.

It was reasonable entirely possible that darker elements within the NSA and CIA would have immediately launched a character-assassination campaign to destroy all of his credibility. Or maybe he would be quickly convicted as a traitor and imprisoned in Guantanamo, isolated from the press and meaningful legal representation.

The New York Times was famously duped into supporting the Iraq invasion. Arguably the best newspaper in our country, the legendary Grey Lady has re-learned the bitter lesson that people in government who deal with secrecy often see the truth as irrelevant when pursuing their narrow secretive agendas.

“In retrospect,” the Times editorial concluded, “Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furor do the work his superiors would not.”

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