Every July 4th Americans celebrate their independence from British rule, usually a patriotic display of flags, plenty food and fireworks, an excuse for a long weekend, BBQs and getting drunk. What started out as a great plan, a democracy like never before, has suddenly come to a screeching halt, worst of all ,with the most promising President in ages, Obama, at the helm. Come again?
Two words: Edward Snowden. A young ex-CIA analyst, insider speak for government computer hacker, had the audacity to publish proof of the US Government’s most widely known secret, that it is spying on everybody, yes everybody, no exceptions. Political leaders of all countries are outraged, international trade talks are threatened, official explanations are demanded.
Part of America has long suspected wide-spread government abuses of power including spying, deception, assassinations, and other James Bond worthy uses of taxpayer’s money. Mr. Snowden, however, provided irrefutable proof, not only that such programs exist, but also eluded to the extend to which the US government is willing to go to further its imperialist ambitions and the tight connection between government and corporations.
Not only did Mr Snowden leak the information, but he also put a face and voice behind the leak sparking troves of support from all around the world and phony espionage charges from the US. The Empire is Striking Back, with all its might, underscoring the importance the US governments put on apprehending Mr. Snowden. How else could we possibly explain the sudden change of heart of EU countries from fuming about being spied upon to aiding the US in a blatant violations of international laws forcing the Bolivian President’s plane to land in Vienna to allow the local authorities to search it for a stowaway.
Can American democracy survive its betrayal by the government?
The American concept of checks and balance in government has long been lost, with the US government now apparently of the opinion that neither domestic nor international law applies to it. Between wholesale surveillance, mass murder, lying before congress and lack of accountability it is hard to predict the future of the American experiment. It is difficult to know if Americans will actually be able to take back their government, something unlikely to happen using the political and cultural tools currently available.
We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history. Howard Zinn
The good news is, since Mr. Snowden provided a glimpse behind the closed doors of government secrecy the NSA has a much harder time recruiting students for a career in the illegal spying business…
Image Credit: Abode of Chaos