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Do the ends of Snowden’s revelations justify the means?

The NBC news interview with Edward Snowden by Brian Williams began to break on NBC’s Today show on May 28, 2014. The major broadcast of the Snowden interview occurred in prime time on NBC on May 28, 2014. The actual interview took place in Moscow on May 21, 2014.

Edward Snowden unmasks US widespread data gathering
Photo by Handout/Getty Images

Today reported that a narrow majority of viewers of the Today show felt Snowden was a traitor as documented on Twitter. The attitude about Snowden shifted dramatically on Twitter towards being a hero after the full interview was broadcast. This illustrates the complexity of judging Snowden's actions.

Many people were aware that the US government could spy at will on private citizens. Few people understood the extent of the spying, and the breaches of the Bill of Rights being done on a routine basis. Snowden opened the kimono on NSA, the FBI, Homeland Security, and the CIA’s disregard for constitutional rights in favor of searching for terrorists. It is an ugly sight.

Spiritualism teaches that personal responsibility is a key. There is no “get out of hell free” card in spiritualism tied to the belief that someone else can accept the responsibility for your actions. There is no avoidance for the consequences of your actions by twirling prayer wheels, chanting or any other means. You reap what you sow in spiritualism. The Universe decides what is good and what is bad.

There is no doubt that Snowden violated the terms of his contract. The government is labeling this as treasonous. Snowden did an immense service to the US citizens and the world by exposing the network of deceit that the US government engaged to search the private lives of citizens and foreign allies, as well as actual potential terrorists. Many are amazed that the police are allowed to lie to a suspect to get a confession. The intelligence community has acted with reckless abandon under the USA PATRIOT ACT to ignore free speech, due process and collection of private information.

Snowden embarrassed the US government by outing them for spying on allies, collecting the contents of hundreds of millions of calls and e-mails of people with no connection to terrorism or subversion of the government, and failing to follow the limited safeguards established to spy on actual terrorists. Everyone was fair game in their sweeping surveillance.

The US government is intent on using the full extent of the law to punish Snowden for his actions, which could result in death or life without parole. If put to a vote by the people today, Snowden would not receive either consequence. If Snowden must have his day of judgment, so should the highest levels of operations for the FBI, CIA, NSA, Department of Homeland Security (DHC) and other government agencies that overextended their surveillance. The CIA charter specifically bans the CIA from domestic operations; any domestic operations.

The US government agencies that are supposed to be conducting a “war on terror” are actually creating a “war of terror” on its citizens, top officials of key allies, and occasionally upon actual terrorists. The USA PATRIOT ACT has suspended major portions of the Bill of Rights. Snowden revealed these abuses of power and the failure of oversight to prevent these excesses. The result is that the citizens distrust the US government more than ever, and they are right.

The claim that Snowden irreparably harmed the US is not nearly as strong as Snowden’s claim that the people had a right to know about the extent of the intrusion of the US government into our privacy. There is no justification of the US government’s monitoring of the private cell phones of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, or the Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff. The US government has severely compromised getting future relevant information to prevent terrorist acts against the US by indulging in petty snooping on its allies.

The whole role of the military, police and these government agencies has changed. We are seeing more and more use of police and National Guard to curb domestic free speech activities as was done against Occupy Wall Street. The declining confidence of US citizens in the true intentions of government has ignited those supporting the second amendment, and against tighter background checks and gun control. Gun control is only secondarily about the guns, and everything about the registration of all weapons no matter what their use. In the meantime, the gun lobby also is thwarting the will of the people in getting tighter background checks and massacres of innocent people continue.

The loss of trust in government by the people is a serious issue. Snowden revealed a huge renting of the fabric of trust in government by disclosing the abuses of technology to eliminate private information. Snowden should be tried for breach of contract, not as a traitor. The heads of government agencies did more treasonous acts in collecting private information than Snowden committed. Everyone involved should experience the consequences of their actions.

You can learn more about the discussions of Williams' interview with Snowden as presented on NBC through a web article by John Passantio of BuzzFeed that is titled 7 Things We Learned from Edward Snowden's First US Interview. You can also see Highlights from Edward Snowden's Interview with Brian Williams that was chosen by Sarah Gray of Solon.

Snowden’s revelations justify his actions to inform the US citizens and the world of the extent that the US has infiltrated all public and many private communications. Let Snowden be tried in the World Court of Human Rights instead of the US judicial system. This will allow a more impartial jury to contrast the consequences of Snowden’s actions versus the consequences of actions of the US government in widespread data gathering around the world.

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