Lawfare is an anti-civil liberties publication funded by Brookings. Regular contributors to this virtual organization are invariably well-educated, well-spoken, and well-oiled “national security experts” who get off on institutional authority, indefinite detention, and presidents arbitrarily shooting missiles up the ass of their fellow citizens and innocent, unknown foreign nationals who sport facial hair and wear funny hats.
Regular contributors to Lawfare excel at using political language to rationalize, sanitize, institutionalize, legalize, and normalize the unconstitutional; all for the benefit of their incestuous corporate funders in the Risk Management Industrial Complex.
Example? The Fifth Amendment states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.
The guys at Lawfare — who love tanks so much they think in one — read the foregoing simple command as provided by we the people and an awkward pause lingers until somebody farts something like:
If the accused enjoys the right to a public trial, what if we never accuse the poor bastard?
Then someone goes:
Then we could just kill him. Put that up on the board.
Next thing you know the Attorney General of the United States shows up at Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Law, as Eric Holder did in 2012:
Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.
No accusation. No judicial process. No lawyer. No trial. The only thing you’re due is a missile. Isn’t that clever?
All of which brings me to regular Lawfare contributor, Joel Brenner, who obtained his Juris Disingenuous at the once respected, Harvard Law, and, at various times since, has been affiliated with NSA, FBI, CIA and the rest of the alphabet. Brenner throws down herein:
Unless the disobedient citizen takes the legal consequences of his unlawful action – he’s nothing but a criminal or a rebel….You tell me, dear reader, how young Mr. Snowden measures up to Socrates, Thoreau, Ghandi, and King.
So, you have to be Jesus now to challenge the surveillance state?
We’ll get to Thoreau, right after we pause for this message from recent history — yesterday in fact — two quotes — one by the twice elected President and former editor of the Harvard Law Review, and the other from a 29 year old, former high school dropout with a G.E.D.
Can you guess who said what?
“I don’t have any problem with what the NSA has been doing.”
“The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
He came out publicly, he explains his reasons, doesn’t seem to be benefiting financially from this. He’s going to suffer enormous personal costs for doing what he did. Those are the things that traditionally have marked somebody as the right kind of civil disobedient. And let’s be clear. The penalties which he faces for what he has done are extraordinary. Today these guys face life imprisonment, maybe the death penalty. So when somebody comes forward and explains him or herself in a very clear way about what’s motivating it’s hard not to be moved by that.
Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to achieve that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we’ve been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
It’s up to you to hold the system accountable and sometimes upend it entirely.
So magnificently meritorious are the ideals that define Snowden’s understanding of what it means to be a citizen of the United States — ideals that have been under assault for more than a decade by the Democratic and Republican National Committees and their multi-national corporate masters — the best Joel Brenner can do is feebly attempt to distinguish Edward Snowden from the great Dr. Martin Luther King.
Is Snowden a traitor like Dick Cheney says, or is he a citizen who falls just short of being Martin Luther King?
I’m so confused!
Putting off for another day the question of whether Brenner also intended to imply that what Dr. King suffered at the hands of James Earl Ray were “legal consequences,” it is possible — perhaps even likely — that Snowden’s victimless actions may be proven to run afoul of some Federal law. It is precisely for that reason, that Thoreau — who wrote: “Any fool can make a rule and any fool will mind it” — would give up his bottom bunk to have Snowden as his cellmate.
As for the fascists represented by Joel Brenner, without so much as raising a fist, Edward Snowden has already made you his bitch.