I became furious listening to John McCain, Arizona Senator and President Obama. They called Edward Snowden a traitor who needs to return to the United States to face justice. During the same speech, they stated the National Security Agency needs more transparency. Isn’t that what Edward Snowden did? He forced the NSA to become transparent by revealing the NSA surveillance programs. Despite our leaders, some claim Edward is a hero or a whistleblower because he revealed the United States and British governments are spying on their citizens.
U.S. government encourages whistle blowers to expose a company’s wrongdoing and crimes. Whistleblowers can sue the companies in courts and win a portion of federal money the company used improperly. President Abraham Lincoln encouraged whistle blowing during the Civil War to crack down on companies violating military contracts. Nevertheless, I thought lying to Congress constituted a crime, perjury, and Edward Snowden revealed the NSA lied to Congress about its activities. Consequently, a whistleblower can rat out a company that violates rules and regulations, but a person becomes a traitor if the person reveals a government’s illegal activities.
A government imposes two sets of laws. First, government imposes its laws, rules, and regulations on society that everyone must follow. Then government fines, penalizes, or imprisons any violators. Second, government follows its own rules, exempting itself from the rules that it forces upon everyone else. Government does not write these rules down, so the leaders can change their laws and rules at will. Unfortunately, a broke government will take shortcuts.
Edward Snowden did not profit or made money from revealing the NSA’s secrets. He was a computer specialist who worked for the NSA and CIA. He became concerned over the U.S. and British governments spying on their citizens. He thought President Obama would shift course, and end President Bush’s wars and reestablish civil rights. Instead, President Obama has expanded the military programs. United States military continues fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 even though it killed Osama bin Laden and the top leaders of al-Qaeda. Subsequently, President Obama wants to intervene in Syria, Iran, and North Korea. U.S. military has stationed troops in the Philippines in 2013 to thwart China’s claim to the South China Sea. China claimed several rocks in the sea belong to China, granting the Chinese navy the right to patrol these rocks and protect its territory. Of course, these rocks stretch from the coast of Japan, along the Philippines’ coastline, and ends at Borneo. If China maintains control of these rocks, then China controls the whole South China Sea. U.S. government wants to thwart China. Being an economist, where in the hell does the United States government find money to finance these military operations across the world. We do not have the money!
Snowden’s father plans to challenge the criminal charges from the U.S. government. I wish him luck, but his dad is wasting his time. The U.S. government would hire a team of prosecutors and experts and spend millions of dollars to win the case at all costs. Even if Snowden’s father convinces a federal judge to dismiss the charges, Edward Snowden would experience the wrath of the U.S. federal government. The U.S. government does not play fairly. IRS would scrutinize his previous tax returns, searching for the tiniest mistakes. The State Department would study his passport application, ensuring Edward Snowden dotted every i and crossed every t. When the federal government wants to incarcerate someone, it will find a reason to do so. For example, the U.S. government accused George Norris of importing endangered orchids into the United States, but he never violated the law. Since the U.S. government would not apologize and spent millions investigating the case, the government agents scrutinized Norris’s import documents until the agents found enough paperwork mistakes to imprison him. Consequently, Edward Snowden has little chance of winning his fight against the U.S. federal government. U.S. federal government does not play fair.
Russia has granted Edward Snowden asylum to live in Russia for a year. U.S. political leaders are furious at Russia, and President Obama said the United States will “recalibrate” its relationship with Russia. Of course, President Obama would not launch the drones at Russia because Russia can fight back. The president saves the drones for countries that cannot fight back like Yemen and Pakistan. Since President Obama cannot punish Russia with the military, he will use international trade as a weapon. Now, two bullies can fight it out on the world’s schoolyard.
Why are people shocked the U.S. government spies on everyone? Many people suspected the U.S. government is spying on its citizens. Edward Snowden just provided the proof. As long as I can remember, the U.S. government was encroaching on liberties. After September 11, 2001, the encroachment accelerated while the federal, state, and county governments threw out the Bill of Rights. After the terroristic attacks on the United States in 2001, the Arizona State Police called anyone a terrorist who recited the Bill of Rights to law enforcement officers. The Bill of Rights, a fundamental document to the U.S. Constitution, restricts a government’s power. Thus, a terrorist recites the law to the police. I thought a terrorist creates chaos and disorder in a society by exploding bombs and murdering innocent people. I knew the federal, state, and local governments stopped enforcing the Bill of Rights long ago.
After September 11, 2001, President Bush and Congress passed laws that broadened the federal government’s powers. For example, the U.S. President can label any person a terrorist. Then the U.S. prosecutors can seize a person’s property and try him or her in a tribunal court with no jury trial, violating the Bill of Rights. Everyone thought President Obama would differ from his predecessors. Then he passed a law making it a felony for people to protest near Secret Service agents, even though President Obama had protested at Harvard University as a young man. That adage that parents tell their children– do as I say and not as I do. Unfortunately, leaders become more concerned about maintaining control than doing the right thing.
The U.S. government rules the world like an empire. Unfortunately, this story has happened already. The ancient Roman Empire dominated the world 2,000 years ago. The Roman Empire experienced four eerily similar trends to the United States. First, the emperors kept usurping power away from the local governments. The Roman government’s bureaucracies continued growing in size and scope. Third, the emperor financed a large army and navy. As a Roman colony or province broke away, the emperor sent its army to squash the rebellion. Finally, the emperors kept raising taxes over time to finance the expensive military and bureaucracies. Eventually, the emperor lost control as the Western Roman Empire collapsed around 500 AD. Many people were happy to see it go.
Is Edward Snowden a traitor or hero? He destroyed his life to leak the NSA’s surveillance program, and the U.S. government will hunt him down for the rest of his life. Only a hero risks his life for doing the right thing.