Why is one view permissible and the other criminally barred-other than because the force of law is being used to control political discourse and one form of terrorism (violence in the Muslim world) is done by, rather than to, the west?
The promise of the Internet has always been that it was gonna be this unprecedentedly potent instrument of liberation and democratization. It would let you explore things and meet people who you wouldn't otherwise get to know, in completely free and unconstrained ways.
Snowden has enough [sic] information to cause harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had. The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare.
There is thus little or no ability for an internet user to know when they are being covertly propagandized by their government, which is precisely what makes it so appealing to intelligence agencies, so powerful, and so dangerous.
There's a huge cost to freedom in letting people talk about how you print these plastic guns or letting them say these things about arming for tyranny. There's also a cost to letting the government say these ideas can't be expressed, this is treason. It's difficult.
An elite class that is free to operate without limits - whether limits imposed by the rule of law or fear of the responses from those harmed by their behavior - is an elite class that will plunder, degrade, and cheat at will, and act endlessly to fortify its own power.
A: Snowden has enough information to cause more damage to the US government in a minute alone than anyone else has ever had in the history of the United States. But that's not his goal. [His] objective is to expose software that people around the world use without knowing what they are exposing themselves without consciously agreeing to surrender their rights to privacy. [He] has a huge number of documents that would be very harmful to the US government if they were made public.
The term propaganda rings melodramatic and exaggerated, but a press that—whether from fear, careerism, or conviction—uncritically recites false government claims and reports them as fact, or treats elected officials with a reverence reserved for royalty, cannot be accurately described as engaged in any other function.
The single most remarkable (and revealing) fact of the Obama presidency may very well be the lack of a single prosecution of Wall Street executives for the massive fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis.
A lot of these people are Iraqis fighting for control of their own government. Maybe there's an argument to make that outside forces that go in and start bombing that country or invading that country are actually terrorists more so than the people in the country.
It is simply an invariable truth in the history of politics, in the history of government, that whenever a new power is acquired in the name of some threat, it always - not sometimes, not often, not usually -it always extends beyond its original application, beyond its original justification.
All of the evidence highlights the implicit bargain that is offered to citizens: pose no challenge and you have nothing to worry about. Mind your own business, and support or at least tolerate what we do, and you'll be fine. Put differently, you must refrain from provoking the authority that wields surveillance powers if you wish to be deemed free of wrongdoing. This is a deal that invites passivity, obedience, and conformity. The safest course, the way to ensure being “left alone,” is to remain quiet, unthreatening, and compliant.
As always with any discussion of elite immunity, it's crucial to note that what makes this development such a particularly warped travesty is that the very same elites who enjoy this immunity have created the world's largest, and the Western world's most oppressive and merciless, penal state for ordinary citizens.
The many pro-surveillance advocates I have debated since Snowden blew the whistle have been quick to echo [Google CEO] Eric Schmidt's view that privacy is for people who have something to hide. But none of them would willingly give me the passwords to their email accounts, or allow video cameras in their homes.
Americans love to mock the idea of monarchy, and yet we have our own de facto monarchy. I think what these leaks did is, they demonstrated that there really is this government that just is the kind of permanent government that doesn’t get affected by election choices and that isn’t in any way accountable to any sort of democratic transparency and just creates its own world off on its own.
History shows that the mere existence of a mass surveillance apparatus, regardless of how it is used, is in itself sufficient to stifle dissent. A citizenry that is aware of always being watched quickly becomes a compliant and fearful one.
The mythology of the Reagan presidency is that he induced the collapse of the Soviet Union by luring it into unsustainable military spending and wars: should there come a point when we think about applying that lesson to ourselves?
It is always unconscionable for the government to punish people for expressing an idea merely because government officials - or the majority of citizens - decide that those ideas are 'dangerous' or 'wrong.' That is a power nobody ought to possess.
When people in power can operate in the dark, inevitably they abuse that power. So, you need outside forces to bring light and transparency to what they're doing. And, one of the ways you do that is through journalism, and through guaranteeing a free press. That is its purpose, to provide a check on those who wield power.
No matter the specific techniques involved, historically mass surveillance has had several constant attributes. Initially, it is always the country’s dissidents and marginalized who bear the brunt of the surveillance, leading those who support the government or are merely apathetic to mistakenly believe they are immune. And history shows that the mere existence of a mass surveillance apparatus, regardless of how it is used, is in itself sufficient to stifle dissent. A citizenry that is aware of always being watched quickly becomes a compliant and fearful one.
There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,
The second term of the Bush administration and first five years of the Obama presidency have been devoted to codifying and institutionalizing the vast and unchecked powers that are typically vested in leaders in the name of war. Those powers of secrecy, indefinite detention, mass surveillance, and due-process-free assassination are not going anywhere. They are now permanent fixtures not only in the US political system but, worse, in American political culture.
Significant and seemingly impossible social and political change happens more often than we think, and it happens more rapidly than we realize. Even the most momentous change is always possible if one finds the right way to make it happen.
What I do know is that Charlie Hebdo cartoonists have been converted into the closest thing the West has to religious-like martyrs in the war against radical Islam, which means that anything short of pure reverence for them generates tribal rage and vilification.
[I]t's impossible to evade the fact that Endless War will inevitably degrade the citizenry of the country that engages in it. A country which venerates its military above all other institutions, which demands that its soldiers be spoken of only with religious-like worship, and which continuously indoctrinates its population to believe that endless violence against numerous countries is necessary and just - all by instilling intense fear of the minorities who are the target of that endless violence - will be a country filled with citizens convinced of the virtues and nobility of aggression.
There are few things more bizarre than watching people advocate that another country be bombed even while acknowledging that it will achieve no good outcomes other than safeguarding the 'credibility' of those doing the bombing. Relatedly, it's hard to imagine a more potent sign of a weak, declining empire than having one's national 'credibility' depend upon periodically bombing other countries.
You can offer the ability to citizens to choose from one of the two parties and elect their leaders as much as you want. But "democracy" is an illusion - a sham - if the most significant acts taken by those leaders are kept concealed from the citizenry.