You've been drafted into the American national security state. That much is evident from Edward Snowden's revelations. Your smartphone? It's a perfect tracking device if the government needs to find you. Your computer? Hackable and trackable. Your server? It's at their service, not yours.
Many readers have asked whether Snowden was lying in his recent NBC interview, knowing I have worked for the government and corporations spotting lies by how someone behaves. I simply cannot comment on Snowden's veracity. Still, some of Snowden's claims merit consideration.
The intention to send a message to certain communities or to the world at large is hard to reconcile with the original secrecy of those surveillance programs.
In being an advocate of the Civil Rights movement in this country, in being an advocate of peace during the Vietnam War, there was a sense of rightness about it, perhaps one could even say righteousness
John Kerry said recently that Edward Snowden -- who gave up his career, access to his friends and family, and a comfortable life in Hawaii to tell the truth about the illegal, secretive activities of the Obama administration -- is "a coward and a traitor."
The political forces that are trashing the deal to rescue Sgt. Bergdahl are the same political forces that got us into the Iraq war. They are the same political forces who want to keep the Afghanistan war going indefinitely.
We are at home in the new surveillance state, for we barely register all the cameras, all the targeted advertising, all the intrusions into what had previously been considered sacred private space. We are not passive objects of observation. We are active subjects of our own YouTube channels.
Thanks to Snowden, we now know the Internet has become a giant government spying apparatus dependent on the complicity of companies we use everyday. A Reuters poll from April showed that a majority of Americans believe that technology companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon are "encroaching too much upon their lives." It's a rather remarkable statistic given these companies were universally loved not that long ago, widely imagined to be allies of the people against the old oligarchs.
Why would a self-proclaimed "patriot" steal not just information needed to "blow the whistle" on a surveillance program -- but also steal a large trove of unrelated highly sensitive national security and military information?
In an interview last week with NBC's Brian Williams, NSA secret-leaker Edward Snowden set himself a low bar and claimed success: His leaks, he said, have gotten us talking about these important issues. Mission accomplished? Let's think about that.
Now, I'm not a Brian Williams hater. I think he's a fine news anchor. But his interview with Ed Snowden was yet another in a long, long line of deferential, uninformed, unchallenging genuflections before a guy whose story and motivations are more than a little specious.
Somehow, even as I age, I've still got sunshine on a cloudy day. Say goodbye to the month of May.
It's interesting to see how some have foolishly engaged in a debate about why Snowden has not "come home to face the music." What does that mean? he should come home and go to jail? Are we romanticizing and putting nobility on being locked up? Really?
The FBI could greatly expand its applicant pool, thus increasing the quality of its hires, if it simply threw out the rules barring past drug use and focused instead on preventing on-the-job impairment.
To pretend that this issue -- which is at the core of today's digital geopolitics and of the American upper hand over the Internet -- does not exist is like not seeing the white elephant in the living room. Any attempt to advance the debate without addressing their situation will be a farce. That's why I, like thousands of Brazilians, ask: President Dilma, do offer asylum for Edward Snowden and offer Brazilian diplomacy to mediate the negotiations between the U.K. and Ecuador, so that Julian Assange can enjoy the asylum he has been granted by our neighboring country at last.
Since 2003, we have been a country famous for not merely the occasional war, dedicated to the destruction of an enemy by air power (as in Vietnam) or by a proxy army on the ground (as in Nicaragua). We are also the world's innovator of preventive wars, "wars of choice" against selected target countries such as Iraq or Libya. Our leaders in both parties have consented to a state of things in which the fame of the United States is tested and must be proved by continuous engagement in multiple wars. And if not wars, then widely distributed black-ops killings, in faraway places where the United States is said to have vital interests. Those killings now come under the official description counter-terrorism, which is a way of saying: terrorism by the right people.