The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. ~Steve Jobs
Edward Snowden is a start-up operation, who when he speaks, tracks the language of old technology: the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the affirmative defenses set forth in the U.S.-Hong Kong Extradition Treaty.
GLENN GREENWALD: Why did you choose Hong Kong?
EDWARD SNOWDEN: The US Government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial.
TREATY ARTICLE 6(3)(c): Surrender must be denied if the person sought is likely to be denied a fair trial or punished on account of his political opinions.
On the merits, Snowden’s contention that “the consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed,” is unassailable. That’s why you have former Federal prosecutor and CNN majoritarian, Jeffrey Toobin, in The New Yorker, unwittingly casting himself in the role of George “Rope-A-Dope” Foreman:
He is a grandiose narcissist who deserves to be in prison….These were legally authorized programs.
Toobin swings and hits nothing but air. Point Propellarhead.
Tom Brokaw, host of The Brokaw Files on The Military Channel (Aren’t they all military channels?) assures David Letterman that Snowden, a former Senior Adviser to the CIA, is nothing more than a “high school dropout who is a military washout.”
Brokaw leveraged The Late Show to lay bare his techie-bonafides:
- “To go, if you will, surfing.”
- “We’re all using cell phones more and stuff that flies through the air.”
Shortly after The Guardian uploaded Snowden — so we could go, if you will, surfing — the President of the United States took pains to say:
We also have federal judges that we put in place who are not subject to political pressure. They’ve got lifetime tenure as federal judges, and they’re empowered to look over our shoulder at the executive branch to make sure that these programs aren’t being abused.
Post “Amnesty” America: What Every Citizen Needs To Know
The law in the United States, unfortunately, is clear: when the executive and legislative branches conspire to violate the constitutional rights of all citizens equally, the judicial branch is automatically boxed out.
The two political branches of government can violate citizens’ constitutional rights en masse — they can do it all day long — and there’s not a damn thing you or anyone else can do about it in the courts, because your claimed injury not only has to be “individualized” — i.e. distinguishable from the masses — but it can’t be “speculative.”
It is not enough to point to the combat drone hovering overhead. You have to survive the missile strike before you can complain.
Amnesty International v. James Clapper, was decided by the Supreme Court last year on October 29th. Pursuant to the First and Fourth Amendments, the plaintiffs — lawyers and journalists — alleged that they could not do their job, which required them to communicate in confidence with individuals outside the United States, and that accordingly, they were harmed by the secret interception of at least some of their private, foreign digital conversations. For the dissenting Justice Breyer it was an easy call:
We need only assume that the Government is doing its job (to find out about, and combat, terrorism) in order to conclude that there is a high probability that the Government will intercept at least some electronic communication to which at least some of the plaintiffs are parties. The majority is wrong when it describes the harm threatened plaintiffs as ‘speculative.’
Mind you, these were perfect plaintiffs. One affiant, a lawyer who represented Khalid Sheik Mohammed, testified that prior to 2008 he had between 10,000 and 20,000 communications intercepted. Yet, a majority ruled that when We The People wrote and ratified the Constitution, we did not authorize the courts to consider injuries like those alleged in “Amnesty.”
Speculative. No standing. Not before the court. Dismissed.
“Amnesty” Incubated Ed Snowden
For DOJ lawyers, secrecy was the lynchpin to victory in “Amnesty” — not because the generic exposure of NSA’s data aggregation processes would harm so-called “U.S. interests” — but because the secret status of all things NSA, allows government defense lawyers to scream “speculation” whenever a citizen makes the lifestyle choice to bring a lawsuit.
Ed Snowden understands this completely. Thanks to him, we know that the plaintiffs in “Amnesty” engaged in zero speculation. Hence, the unglued league of Payroll Patriots.
Russell Tice, a retired NSA analyst-turned-whistleblower tells The Guardian:
I figured it would probably be about 2015 before the NSA had the computer capacity to collect all digital communications word for word. But I think I’m wrong. I think they have it right now.
President Obama’s Feigned Magnanimity
When the President says judges have been “put in place…to look over the shoulder of the executive branch” he means just that. They can look. But, they can’t touch. It is feigning magnanimity to welcome — in the summer of 2013 — the debate of a legal question the Supreme Court resolved against the citizenry in the fall of 2012. Some democracy.
Obama is the master. Jonathan Turley stands in awe of the President’s twisted talent:
It is no easy task — particularly to convince a free people — to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.
The First Amendment Provides
When litigation is not an option, the First Amendment offers the guarantee of publication. One can always contact the press as a tactic for peacefully rallying citizens to get up in the face of their entrenched representatives. Of that there can be no question.
Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of the press.
If Snowden provides purloined documents to his girlfriend, he places her at risk of being charged as a co-conspirator. But, when Snowden blows the whistle to The Guardian, the First Amendment functions as an absolute shield to persons associated with the publication of any resulting stories. A contrary political structure — to quote, New York Times v. United States — “would make a shambles of the First Amendment.”
“New York Times” mentions the First Amendment fifty times, and would not exist in American jurisprudence but for your fellow citizen, Daniel Ellsberg’s willingness to risk life in prison on behalf of your Bill of Rights.
And yet, earlier this week — at a time when any opportunity for litigation has already been foreclosed — a Washington Post columnist actually seethed that any opportunity for publication should also be foreclosed, and that The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald should join Snowden in the next cell.
We don’t know where Ed Snowden is, but we know where he’s coming from:
- The Fourth Amendment enjoins the government from the warrantless seizure of citizens’ digital assets.
- The President of the United States was never meant to be vested with so much unchecked authority.
- The Declaration of Independence characterizes the value of representation in the legislature as “inestimable.”
Snowden challenges you — his fellow citizens — to insist on such representation. Former Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg lead prosecutor, Robert Jackson — who like Snowden, did not attend college — writes:
The very purpose of the Bill of Rights is to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.
At no time did Snowden swear loyalty to the Republic. He took a citizen’s oath to defend the bylaws that created it, and unlike his weak-kneed critics in the Risk Management Industrial Complex, he has remained true to his word.
We know exactly where Harvard educated attorney Jeffrey Toobin is, too: on CNN humping unchallengable “legally authorized programs” in between ads for boner pills.