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John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

It is well known that Obama has a strong distaste for whistleblowers. The man is an ugly fanatic on secrecy.

And so too, Bloody Hillary.

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Another reader comment: I recall Snowden saying something like courage is contagious. This is good news. I’m hoping for a pandemic.

 

I hope so too.

The real truth is that you cannot have a truly democratic state and massive secrecy at the same time.

It is a fundamental almost like the Uncertainty Principle in physics.

And America, by any reasonable reckoning, today is not a democratic country. It only has the props and staging of one. It also is not a genuinely free society.

The truth is that the massive vaults of secrecy in Washington – literally billions of documents – mostly serve two purposes, neither of which has anything to do with genuine national security.

One, they hide a great deal of embarrassment for members of the government over failures, stupidities, and even crimes.

Two, they hide the fact that government is doing things – things of great consequence – about which they have never consulted the people, let alone sought their consent.

In a country like the United States, the total of military and secret services (17 agencies, no less) have been bloated into a major portion of the economy. You simply cannot have a free society this way, which is the kind of pattern one expects in an East Germany or North Korea.

The military and security services effectively form a government within the government, an ongoing one, never elected, and answerable to almost no one. Even Presidents often are not privy to its secrets. This known to have happened with a number of Presidents, including Eisenhower and Kennedy.

And the security services have a claim, allowed to stand, that even in Congressional investigations and other authorized agency investigations, they have a right to simply lie. Richard Helms, former head of CIA, once openly made this claim.

So how can they ever be accountable? They cannot. And if they cannot, given their vast budgets and resources and privileges, it follows that you do not have a free society.

It is not just an academic argument but goes to the heart of the very nature of our society. This is only going to get worse, too, without serious change. The government of today’s America has literally arrogated to itself the right to decide life or death, or to subject to torture, and to interfere in the internal workings of countries across the planet.

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By the way, while I salute Edward Snowden for what he has done, my heart always goes out to Chelsea Manning for unparalleled courage and ethical concern.

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