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Exonerate Edward Snowden Unconditionally!
Exonerate Edward Snowden Unconditionally!
by Stephen Lendman
It's long past time to stop Obama's war on whistleblowers. It's time to hold him accountable for waging it.
Whistleblowing is a national imperative. Exposing government wrongdoing is essential. Responsible parties must be punished.
Whistleblowers deserve praise, not prosecution. Snowden is a world hero. He connected important dots for millions.
Lots more vital information awaits revealing. Everyone needs to know. The NSA operates lawlessly. It's a power unto itself. It's an out-of-control agency.
Global spying is espionage. It's stealing other countries' secrets. It's doing so for political and economic advantage. It's not about keeping us safe.
Domestic spying has nothing to do with national security. It's for control. It's transformed America more than ever into a police state.
NSA works jointly with CIA, FBI and other rogue US spy agencies. They're waging war on freedom. They want it entirely eliminated.
They're complicit with corrupt politicians, bureaucrats and corporate bosses. They want what no one should tolerate.
They want America more dystopian than ever. It's already unfit to live in. They want worse conditions for millions.
Hundreds of Snowdens are needed. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Whistleblowers need to be heard, not silenced.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) calls them anyone "who discloses information that (he or she) reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety."
"Typically, whistleblowers speak out to parties that can influence and rectify the situation."
"These parties include the media, organizational managers, hotlines, or Congressional members/staff, to name a few."
Sibel Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). She did so to aid "national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods."
Today is the most perilous time in world history. America is waging war on humanity. Bipartisan complicity created a homeland police state apparatus. Obama heads it.
Fundamental freedoms are targeted for elimination. Government wrongdoing is worse than ever. Exposing it is essential. It's a national imperative.
Whistleblowers with vital information need to reveal it. The 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act protects federal employees who report misconduct. Federal agencies are prohibited from retaliating against those who do so.
Whistleblowers are obligated to report law or regulatory violations, gross mismanagement, waste, fraud and/or abuse, or acts endangering public health or safety.
The Office of Special Council is empowered to investigate whistleblower complaints. The Merit Systems Protection Board adjudicates them.
The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the only judicial body authorized to hear whistleblower case appeals.
Since the Whistleblower Protection Act's 1994 revision, it ruled on over 200 cases. Only three times did whistleblowers prevail. It's high time they got full legal protection.
At least 18 federal statutes protect private sector whistleblowers. They fall woefully short. Whatever corporations want they get.
On November 27, 2012, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) was enacted. It protects government employees from reprisal for:
• disclosing misconduct;
• revealing it to co-workers or supervisors;
• disclosing policy decision consequences; or
• doing any or all of the above in relation to their position or duties.
It doesn't matter. Obama targeted more whistleblowers than all his predecessors combined. He does so on fake national security grounds.
He does it to harden police state ruthlessness. It's long past time to challenge him. It's vital to hold him accountable. It's essential to stop what can't be tolerated.
Snowden committed no crimes. He acted responsibly. He's wrongfully charged with espionage. He's accused of violating 1917 Espionage Act provisions.
It's a long ago outdated WW I relic. It has no relevancy today. It belongs in history's dustbin. It belonged there decades ago. It should be declared null and void.
Snowden is wrongfully charged with:
• "Theft of Government Property
• Unauthorized Communication of National Defense Information (and)
• Willful Communication of Classified Intelligence Information to an Unauthorized Person."
These and similar charges reflect police state injustice. Challenging it is vital. Exonerating Snowden is a good beginning.
London Guardian editors agree. On January 1, they headlined "Showden affair: the case for a pardon," saying:
"(T)hrough journalists, in the absence of meaningful, reliable democratic oversight, (he gave) people enough knowledge about the nature of modern intelligence-gathering to allow an informed debate."
It's "actively happening." Federal District Court of the District of Columbia Judge Richard Leon called NSA spying unconstitutional. It's "almost Orwellian, he said.
"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary' invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," he explained
"Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment."
It prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Mass NSA surveillance does it writ large.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) defends vital digital rights. It called 2013 "a principled fight against global mass surveillance."
Spying on ordinary people is lawless, it said. "Secret laws are wrong." Digital and telecommunication spying are "as much 'surveillance' as a person peeping through a window."
No one's privacy should be compromised. On December 18, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the first resolution on the privacy rights.
It's called "The right to privacy in the digital age." It's a step in the right direction. It ordered a human rights analysis of digital surveillance law.
In 2014, EFF promised to keep working "for a new era of private and secure digital communications."
Congress is obstructing justice. State courts and legislatures are acting on their own. They're doing so to protect electronic privacy.
Last summer, the Massachusetts Judicial Court ruled that vehicle passengers have a right to be free from persistent GPS monitoring.
Montana and Maine passed laws requiring police to have warrants before using electronic tracking devices.
Texas enacted similar legislation. Perhaps other states will follow. Wisconsin is considering privacy protection.
A pending measure prohibits police from tracking cell phone communications without warrant permission.
Montana lawmakers plan amending the state constitution. Doing so would protect digital privacy. When Congress refuses to act responsibly, it's up to states to do so instead.
It's the best chance for transformative change. If enough states act, it's hard stopping a national trend. Congress may be forced to go along. Anything is possible with enough commitment.
Guardian editors said:
"Parliamentarians, presidents, digital engineers, academics, lawyers and civil rights activists around the world have begun a wide-ranging and intense discussion."
At issue is challenging unjustifiable spying. Snowden can't come home. He's forced to remain abroad. Unjustifiable prosecution awaits him if he returns. Conviction is rubber-stamp certain.
"It is difficult to imagine Mr. Obama giving Mr. Snowden the pardon he deserves," said Guardian editors. Talk circulated about possible amnesty in return for all documents he has.
Why would he return what he feels vital to expose? Why should lawbreaking be concealed?
Why should rogue NSA officials be allowed to continue operating lawlessly? Why should Snowden face prosecution for exposing wrongdoing?
Why should it be for doing the right thing? Former CIA director James Woolsey wants his head. He called for "hang(ing) by his neck until he is dead."
Woolsey is one of many unindicted US war criminals. He's responsible for too many high crimes to ignore. He's not alone. Washington is infested with criminals. Gangster states operate this way.
Snowden's case seems headed for Supreme Court debate. It's stacked with right-wing extremists. It's hard imagining them ruling fairly.
Guardian editors remain hopeful, saying:
If they say Snowden "did, indeed, raise serious matters of public importance which were previously hidden (or worse, dishonestly concealed), is it then conceivable that he could be treated as a traitor or common felon?"
Wrongdoing is essential to expose. Whistleblowing is a noble tradition. Free speech is too important to compromise.
Snowden deserves praise, not prosecution. So do others acting responsibly the same way. Courageous acts need to be encouraged.
Ending whistleblower prosecutions is a good place to start.
Exonerating Snowden would set a precedent. Perhaps Bradley Manning might follow.
Doing the right thing is more important then ever. So is enforcing rule of law principles.
Jamel Jaffer is ACLU deputy legal director. On December 19, he headlined "End His Prosecution," saying:
"Edward Snowden has made our democracy stronger. He should be praised, not prosecuted."
He revealed information everyone needs to know. Without it, "we wouldn't be having (an) extraordinary debate about the proper scope of the government's surveillance powers."
We have state legislatures addressing privacy rights. We have the General Assembly doing it.
We got Judge Leon's ruling. Give credit where it's deserved. Snowden shook the system. It needs transformative change.
"Would it be better if all (he revealed) remained secret," asked Jaffer? Would it be better if ordinary people knew nothing?
Snowden strengthened America. He performed "an immense public service." Charging him "under the Espionage Act is a travesty," said Jaffer.
Efforts should encourage other Snowdens to go public. They should do so to alert Americans that "an agency meant to protect them has become a threat...instead."
Exposing government wrongdoing is essential. Imagine it becoming a national trend.
Imagine it forcing elected and appointed public officials to obey rule of law principles. Imagine America changing for the better.
Imagine what so far never happened. Now is more important than ever to change things. There's not a moment to waste.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen [at] sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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