photo: See-ming Lee 李思明 SML
The US government is in panic mode over the apparently successful escape of NSA leaker Ed Snowden from Hong Kong. US government officials are swinging wildly at any target in sight while howling at the disintegrating illusion of US omnipotence. The rest of the world will not do what they demand. They will not hand over Edward Snowden. The injustice!
White House Spokesman Jay Carney screams at China: "We are just not buying that this was a technical decision by a Hong Kong immigration official. This was a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the U.S.-China relationship."
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia that “[t]here would be without any question some effect and impact on the relationship and consequences."
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King fumed: "We can’t allow Russia to do this without diplomatic consequences. The opportunity will come over the next several months or year, when Russia will need us with something involving trade involving diplomacy, involving finance, where the U.S. will basically say no, and we will make it difficult for Putin. He should know now not to expect any favors."
Senator Lindsey Graham squealed: “If they [Russia] want to be part of the world community, the W.T.O., they want a good relationship with the United States, they should hold this fellow and send him back home for justice.”
What is quite interesting about the Snowden affair, as pointed out by one astute observer, is that what Edward Snowden is accused of doing – of exposing the misdeeds of his own government – is precisely the kind of behavior in others that the US strongly supports overseas.
In the name of “democracy promotion” efforts in places like China, Iran, Belarus, and elsewhere, the US government has spent millions of dollars providing tools and training to “dissidents” so that they could burrow into their governments and expose abuses and human rights violations. When these governments crack down on the activists acting on US instructions, the US issues another State Department Human Rights report detailing the troubling decline in democracy in said country.
When Snowden reports on his government’s abuses, however, he is charged with espionage – of aiding the enemy. But who is the enemy?
Likewise, the US media dutifully repeats attacks on Snowden by US politicians for seeking asylum in countries whose media does not get a clean bill of health from the US State Department. The irony of such a position escapes the US mainstream media, which has long ago traded real investigative reporting for reading out government talking points.
Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said today: “The cruel irony is that there are no press freedoms in either Cuba or Venezuela, yet Snowden -- who supposedly stands for transparency in government -- seeks refuge in police states like these two countries.”
Yet the US mainstream media sounds a lot like the old Soviet press, actively propagandizing in favor of a government crackdown on journalists and activists who challenge the government.
Take David Gregory of Meet the Press, who uncritically repeats US government talking points, such as this Pravda-esque interrogation of Glenn Greenwald: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?," asks Gregory.
As Young Turks host Cenk Uygur hilariously points out (warning: strong language), the mainstream US reporters are very much like Pravda presenters in the days of old. They present the government side of each story without question. When someone harms the government in the hopes of exposing government misdeeds to the people, they always take the side of the government.
So the US government finds itself powerless to demand that the rest of the world do as it demands. It attacks at home that which it promotes overseas. It snickers at the lack of press freedom elsewhere while demanding the prosecution of domestic journalists who expose government abuses. Is this turning into a watershed moment?
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