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23 May 2015

Rethinking Edward Snowden

May 23, 2015

To: Cryptome

RE: Snowden, my two bits (or bytes)

I think the conundrum of Edward Snowden is beginning to offer glimpses that somewhat validate an early and tentative hypothesis of mine. I supported his actions and even called him another "Thomas Paine" (of sorts), but I also suspected how his political philosophy was shaping an outcome altogether undemocratic and oligarchic. Having voted for Ron Paul and now supporting Rand Paul, Snowden is promoting capitalistic/libertarian movements. Such movements, often wrapped in the flag of the "Republic" singing anthems to "Liberty", are enterprises - including those created around him (e.g., Greenwald) - that exploit anti-government sentiments while whitewashing, even omitting the dangers of neoliberalism in America as well as in the world.

I share the concerns of many about the surveillance state and, in particular, those authors and analysts who correctly include mention of state-corporate partnerships, a collusion being concealed and/or whitewashed by those framing the cyber privacy debate for public consumption. Generally, the overarching role of the Silicon Valley Stasi has been kept to a bare minimum by "liberty"-seeking cyber technophiles, journalists and "owners" of data arguably meant for the public domain.

Although journalist Glenn Greenwald's loyalties lie with libertarianism - a conflation of corporate neoliberalism, individualism, and independent wealth - I am not altogether certain of Mr. Edward Snowden's loyalties. He stated he voted for Ron Paul in 2012 and to the best of my knowledge has not adequately addressed the privatization and "lock-down" of his documents by libertarian billionaire Mr. Pierre Omidyar. Snowden had inferred they are for the American people. Did he think the American people are best served by private wardens and censors or by for-profit enterprises that now control his documents? Did he approve? Nor am I convinced that Mr. Snowden is a lone "rogue" actor purged of cross-loyalties to intel and/or to a sector of the privatization movement now sweeping the country. My questions are speculative and do not intend to prematurely judge Mr. Snowden, his ethics or his efforts.

According to The Intercept (May 21, 2015), "NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Thursday praised Sen. Rand Paul’s ten-and-a-half hour takeover of the Senate floor on Wednesday in protest of the Patriot Act.... [I]n a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” discussion [Snowden said] that Paul’s action “represents a sea change from a few years ago, when intrusive new surveillance laws were passed without any kind of meaningful opposition or debate.”

Well and good for Rand Paul's presidential campaign and for promoting anti-government libertarianism, but it will take the votes a majority of Congress before a "sea change" is achieved - and that is an impossibility today.

My hypothesis is that Mr. Snowden, wittingly or unwittingly, is serving to facilitate the goals of neoliberal libertarianism and the corporate state, which together seek to become the government sans all agencies serving the common good as well the confiscation ("pennies on the dollar") of all property now considered "public". He is a Trojan Horse, if this be true. The generation under-30 barely voted last November, but will too many millennials follow Snowden into the polls in 2015 and put in the White House one of the most anti-social and autocratic Senators in Congress: Rand Paul?

Michael T Bucci