Thursday, October 15, 2015

So You Think That Snowden Should Return to America to Stand Trial?

I remain an avowed admirer of the NSA whistleblower Mr. William Binney. Here is a video interview of Mr. Binney by Alex Jones, yes, that Alex Jones, on PrisonPlanet. 

There is a lot of preamble stuff, so you can skip ahead to approximately 6:20, which is where the interview with Mr. Binney actually begins. 

At the 11:20 mark he talks about how NSA and DOJ persecuted him and other NSA whistleblowers. If you have not heard this story, you need to hear it. 

This is Why Snowden Cannot Return to America

When critics accuse Snowden, as Hillary Clinton just did during the CNN Democratic Party debate, claiming that Snowden could have filed his complaints internally, that Snowden could have addressed "his concerns" with his supervisors, with his chain of command, and with the Inspector General of the NSA, and with the Congressional oversight committees, Binney explains what happened when he and the other NSA whistleblowers did exactly that. 

They were crushed. They were raided by FBI SWAT teams, they were charged with crimes by DOJ, their security clearances were revoked, they had to retain legal counsel to defend themselves, and after long, stressful, ruinous investigations, DOJ just dropped the charges and walked away from the prosecutions because they were frivolous. 

But Binney and the other whistleblowers were impoverished, losing their security clearances meant that they also lost their careers, and they serve now as cautionary tales, as intimidating examples of what will happen if others follow their precedent. Snowden has stated repeatedly in interviews that he will not permit the DOJ to frame him as a deterrent to other whistleblowers. Snowden is a worthy adversary of the national security state. Make no mistake. 

I believe that what happened to the earlier NSA whistleblowers is the nadir of our history as a Republic, these were high crimes committed against patriots and men and women of honor, they were punished for defending the Constitution. They acted in compliance with their oaths to support the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And they were pulverized for it. There were never any hearings into how they were mistreated, there were never any consequences for those failed investigations, no one was ever held responsible for the failure of those prosecutions. 

Needless to say, no one responsible for this abomination ever rendered an apology or expressed a single regret. 

Why Not Hold Hearings on the Snowden Affair? 

The last thing that the national security state wants is hearings, you never hear any call in the controlled mass media for hearings, for a Joint Special Committee on Mass Surveillance, because hearings which heard testimony from Mr. Binney and the earlier NSA whistleblowers would incriminate ranking mandarins of the intelligence community. It is probable that Generals Hayden, Clapper, and Alexander, at minimum, would be read their rights and charged with grave offenses against the Constitution. 

Truly effective hearings would see luminaries like Darth Cheney, I mean, Dick Cheney, pardon me, charged for their roles in perpetrating warrantless mass surveillance against the American people, Vice President Cheney's lawyers in particular, Mr. Addington, and Mr. Yoo, would quickly find themselves getting sized for orange jumpsuits. 

I believe that President Bush would come out of such proceedings tarnished, as he permitted the President's Surveillance Program to happen and he lent the gravitas of his office and his authority to the plot. But the locus of the conspiracy to foist warrantless mass surveillance on America came out of the Vice President's office, and it was executed when Mr. Cheney just happened to have legislation called the Patriot Act ready on the shelf, and it was shoved through after 9-11 before legislators even had a chance to read it. 

To keep America safe. That was their justification. 

Ask Yourself These Hard Questions. 

So remember this: The next time that someone dismisses Snowden and condemns him for stealing the SIGINT family jewels and leaking them to The Guardian, to the South China Morning Post, and the Washington Post, remember what happened to William Binney and the other NSA whistleblowers. Ask yourself why there were never any hearings on the Snowden affair. Ask yourself why there has been no call for hearings, why there will be no call for hearings. If you need evidence that the mass media is controlled, here it is. 

The earlier NSA whistleblowers were demolished. Snowden knew it. He was acutely aware of it. And he saw how they were marginalized and how they were contained and how their exposés ultimately went nowhere, they accomplished nothing, the sacrifices that they laid on the altar of freedom were wasted, and the national security machine just continued on, it continues to this day, committing a billion felonies a month. 

NSA apologists like General Hayden insist that Snowden should return to American jurisdiction for prosecution. Snowden has already agreed to do so. But not under the conditions of the Espionage Act, where Snowden would be seized, and buried alive, and denied access to his attorneys, and most importantly, where Snowden would be denied the opportunity to make a public interest defense before a jury of his peers. 

Espionage Act prosecutions can be entirely classified, they can be conducted secretly, completely beyond the public eye. One problem with charging Snowden under the Espionage Act is, if Snowden committed "espionage," to whom did he deliver the documents that he stole? Not to a hostile intelligence service. So where is the "espionage?"

When will Generals Hayden, Alexander and Clapper be investigated? Obviously, hearings are badly needed. And the roles played by the Select Intelligence Committees of both the House and the Senate should be probed. These institutions are failing in their statutory duties, they are failing to serve Americans, and they badly require reform. 

The True Fears of the American Government.

Snowden's claim has always been that he leaked to journalists deliberately, by choice, and that he did not, ever, disclose classified information to hostile intelligence services. Rather, Snowden leaked to the people, he leaked to the population of the United States, and indeed, to the digital proletariat of the world, to the denizens of the internet worldwide. 

If this is treason, then we, the people, are the enemy. 

What Snowden leaked was an ongoing criminal conspiracy by the national security state of the United States government to keep the American populace stupid, uninformed, and hypnotized while they pointed the mechanisms of warrantless mass surveillance at us. The activities of these agencies and these ranking mandarins of the intelligence community were criminal and hypocritical in the extreme: Just remember, they did it to "keep us safe." Yes, they think that you are that stupid. Many of us are. 

Despite abundant detailed evidence that NSA is warehousing the digital minutiae of our lives, for reasons which can have no hope of "keeping us safe," many Americans refuse to read the Snowden documents, many Americans refuse to so much as read analysis like what you are reading now, and many Americans refuse to engage their minds, their hearts and their intellects to act as competent citizens of the Republic. 

Another accusation that is made about Snowden is that he absconded to Russia, that he made a deal with Vladimir Putin. The truth is that Snowden was trapped in Russia, because the Snowden apprehension task force revoked his passport. They did this because they wanted to trap Snowden in Hong Kong, and then lean on the Chinese to expel him back to America. Instead, the Chinese put Snowden on a plane, and they washed their hands of him. 

Snowden spent 40 days in the transit terminal at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. He was interviewed by the Russian FSB. Many times. They made their pitch to Snowden, but he had no classified data in his possession. Snowden was cagey. He knew that he would be vulnerable to interdiction while he flew, ostensibly to asylum in Ecuador, so he handed off all digital archives of his precious documents to Laura Poitras, to Glenn Greenwald, and to Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian, and to Barton Gellman of the Washington Post

No one ever asks, who was disciplined or admonished for maneuvering Snowden directly into the hands of the FSB? Surely that could not have been the intent of the Snowden apprehension task force? I have long said that the most valuable real estate on the planet is the six inches between Snowden's ears. He walks around with a priceless payload in his mind. Few others on the planet have so systematically studied the family jewels of American SIGINT and FVEY like Snowden has, and few others were so equipped to understand and synthesize them. 

I have it on good authority that instead of being criticized for trapping Snowden in Russia, under the physical and digital control of a hostile intelligence service, members of the Snowden apprehension task force were instead praised, promoted, granted bonuses, and had their photographs taken shaking hands with the directors of the intelligence services involved. 

Surely the most ironic, and perhaps the most iconic photograph in modern history. Snowden with General Hayden. 

Something is seriously upside down in America when such malfeasance and epic incompetence is rewarded, rather than condemned. If you want to mount an investigation, mount an investigation into who mishandled the apprehension of Edward Snowden. Ask who refused to make an offer to Snowden to bring him in from the cold, for debriefing. That was surely among the greatest mistakes of the modern era. 

I think that the decision to ground Snowden in Moscow was made because the mandarins of the intelligence community truly fear what Snowden could yet reveal. They are angry about what he has already revealed. They fear what he still could reveal even more. 

In any case there is no evidence that Snowden made any deal with the FSB, and if there were, you can assume that it would be splashed across front pages worldwide. There is no evidence of it, because it never happened, and because Snowden can prove that it never happened. 

I have said elsewhere that evidence that Snowden made a deal would be impossible to hide. Chinese and Russian networks would have quickly gone dark to NSA, but that did not happen. I am sure that NSA feared that their penetrations of Russian and Chinese networks would be quickly turned off, this is a technical feat that is utterly within Snowden's capability, but it did not happen. NSA knows it.

But do not take my word for it. The current DIRNSA, Admiral Michael Rogers, confirmed for the record that "Snowden is not a Russian spy." 

It is possible that this is partly what restrains the ambitions of the national security state where Snowden is concerned even now. They fear what could happen if they attempt to render him back to America for trial. They should fear that. I am pretty certain that Snowden set up a deadman's switch, and encrypted files salted across the internet would suddenly be decrypted and untold secrets would suddenly be available for download upon his death or capture. By anybody. 

If the American government wishes to finally get a clue, it should be doing everything that it can to ensure that Edward Snowden is alive, happy and healthy in his Russian exile. Snowden could help both Russia and China to go suddenly opaque and impenetrable to NSA. It would not be difficult for him. That would be treason. If you want to talk about treason in a Snowden context, that would be it. 

Critics of Snowden should temper their condemnations. If Snowden gets pissed off, he could seriously harm American interests. What Snowden could do eclipses what Snowden has already done. I hope that adults are reading my words. I hope that responsible leadership is getting the analysis that it requires for such uncertain times, and I hope that they are making competent decisions. 

What Americans need to understand is that advocates of the national security state like Hillary Clinton and others, who have called for Mr. Snowden to return to America to stand trial, they do not want Snowden to be permitted to mount a public interest defense. That would set back NSA plans for FVEY perhaps indefinitely. And we cannot have that. 

More than that, they fear the prospect of a Joint Special Committee on Mass Surveillance. Which is precisely why we must have such hearings. There is a cancerous rot that is metastasizing throughout the Republic, and we need to exorcise it. These people are not Americans. They are acting against American interests, they are violating American traditions and American values, and they are acting to benefit a Washington power class that encompasses both political parties, and a military industrial complex which is reaping obscene profits from untold black projects subject to no oversight. 

So Snowden will remain in Russia. The American government is pleased to leave him there, where he can make occasional appearances over the internet, and make Twitter sing with his tweets. Because the alternative, bringing Snowden to America to stand trial, or worse, bringing Snowden back to America to testify under a grant of immunity and safe passage under oath, is unthinkable. For them. 

Remember These Facts.

Remember these uncomfortable facts, the next time that some pundit, some Congressman, even the White House press attaché, pontificates that Snowden should return to America to stand trial. Call them on it. Ask them if they would permit Edward Snowden to make a public interest defense before a jury of his peers, and then watch them squirm. 

The mandarins of the intelligence community want to prosecute Snowden under the Espionage Act. They want to bury Snowden alive. They do not want him testifying under oath in front of a Joint Special Committee on Mass Surveillance, and they do not want him explaining himself in a courtroom before a jury of his peers with the accompanying press coverage that such a trial would entail. 

Prosecuting Snowden under the Espionage Act means that the government can simply classify the entire proceedings, they can claim that his evidence is inadmissible due to its classification. 

What are they afraid of? Are they afraid that we will find out that they are committing a billion felonies on a monthly basis? We already know. Snowden told us. We have their documents

Our government fears the spectacle. They know that a Snowden trial would be observed, not just by Americans, but by international jurists, it would be subject to scrutiny that would probably be unprecedented, and any indication that Snowden's rights were violated would quickly devolve into a debacle. 

Stay in Moscow, Ed!

No, our government in the United States is content to keep Snowden bottled up in Moscow. It is not optimal, the optimal alternative would be to bury Snowden alive in a SuperMax, where he would be punished if he so much as had a tube of expired toothpaste, as happened to Chelsea Manning. But failing that--they will leave Snowden in Moscow, and they will watch, and they will wait, and any opportunity to seize him and render him back to American jurisdiction will be seized. 

Stay in Moscow, Ed. Make your snarky comments on Twitter. Make your appearances over the net, and keep explaining to the people of the world that we are now subject to an unprecedented degree of mass surveillance, that the mechanisms of mass population control are being implemented by FVEY. 

It is better than being subjected to the petty disciplines suffered by Chelsea Manning because she had a verboten copy of Vanity Fair with a transvestite on the cover in her cell. 

Stay in Moscow. 

This article was updated on 18 October, 2015, after synthesizing comments and criticisms from subject matter experts. I also added some links, particularly to the STELLARWIND IG Report, and a link to DIRNSA Rogers stating that Snowden is "not a Russian spy."


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