BY WILLIAM C. HENRY This past May an American patriot by the name of Edward Snowden presented the mainstream media with one of the most startling exposés of government betrayal in our nation’s history. Since that time said Fourth Estate have shown themselves to be some of the most complacent, intimidated and/or ungrateful blockbuster news recipients in the annals of American journalism. So, the question becomes: just whose freedom are America’s vaunted “free press” protecting these days, theirs, ours or the federal government’s? We’ve read and heard reports about unconscionable domestic spying, but where’s the mainstream media’s unyielding denunciation of it? We’ve read and heard reporting on totalitarian-like government surveillance, but where’s the mainstream media’s unrelenting condemnation of it? Is it just me? Do I expect too much? Why haven’t America’s prevailing news outlets been continuously railing against these atrocious abuses of power since the moment of their exposure?! I mean, you damn sure don’t need a PhD in world history to understand the dire consequences of such governmental treachery. So, once more I must ask: where the hell is the unceasing outrage from these so-called protectors of our basic rights and liberties? And especially since they THEMSELVES have been deliberate targets of that very same abuse and treachery!
In this author’s humble opinion Snowden’s courageous act is perhaps the most important American news story of the past century. Why? Because the betrayal that he exposed will have a devastating effect on ALL Americans for generations to come. Rarely before has a nation been subjected to such a breach of trust between its government (Executive, Legislative AND Judicial) and its citizens. The domestic spying operations that Snowden laid bare are a metastasizing cancer on the body of American democracy. Period. Think I’m exaggerating? Show me where a complete loss of privacy has ever accrued to the benefit of a nation’s citizenry. Show me how even an “imagined” benefaction could result from a government making itself privy to the most intimate details of literally every communication its people initiate or receive. And please don’t give me that “What about terrorism?” crap. If you’re willing to relinquish one or more of your most basic freedoms in exchange for alleged “protection” from a government machinated threat, then you have for all intents and purposes acquiesced to life amidst a far worse kind of fear than you had ever hoped to be protected from. Are you familiar with the following: Savak, Stasi (and green with envy today), KGB, DSD and DINA? What about a fellow by the name of J. Edgar Hoover? If not, do yourself and your progeny a favor and become so. Life in an America that your children and grandchildren have every right to expect depends on it.
Still not convinced? Keep in mind that we’re talking about the greatest concentration of suppressive power ever amassed by any government in world history, and they’re not finished yet. A government with the capacity and proven intention to intrude itself into every aspect of your lives. An unapologetic government that had, and in fact still has, every intention of continuing, even increasing, this atrocious breach of trust whenever and however possible. A government that brazenly lies about its appalling conduct and its capacity to carry it out. A government that wants desperately to apprehend, silence and imprison the patriot responsible for awakening you to its deceit. A government that has already sentenced Snowden’s forerunner and fellow patriotic whistleblower Bradley Manning to a term of 35 years, and who prior to said heinous sentencing was subjected to over nine months of some the most torturous, inhumane incarceration ever imposed on a government prisoner — and he hadn’t even been charged with a crime! Good old unblemished American jurisprudence. And then, of course, there’s that pesky little matter of the Pentagon Papers (predecessor to both the Snowden and Manning affairs) and the patriot Daniel Elsberg who more or less started it all. Finally (for now), pay close attention to the plight of Barrett Brown. Who is he? Well, his obscenely unjust circumstance may turn out to be the most foreboding of them yet. It’s crucial that you learn about it.
There is no doubt in my mind that had President Roosevelt been able to divine the future, his words of warning would have sounded a lot more like this: “The only thing we have to fear is the imposition of fear itself.” So, once again I ask, where the hell is the non-stop outrage from America’s titular “guardians of democracy,” the so-called “protectors” of all that we cherish and revere, the unyielding “bulwark” between the would-be-despotic and the want-to-be-free? Why aren’t they nailing the fearmongers and their sycophant profiteers to the wall on a daily, even hourly basis? My friends, the only known antitoxin for tyranny is transparency. It cannot survive in openness. Oppression can only succeed through the auspices of secrecy and subterfuge. In a free society transparency is represented by the major media, and without their undivided and unshrinking attention, tyranny will surely prevail. There are no words more apropos to the nation’s current state of affairs than those of Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo: “Fear is the State’s psychological weapon of choice to frighten citizens into sacrificing their basic freedoms and rule-of-law protections in exchange for the security promised by their all-powerful government.” Or as Edward R. Murrow so succinctly shared it: “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” Mark my words, folks, unless the watchdogs of our democracy start doing their job, the wolves are going to end up exceedingly well sated indeed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.