NSA, Power Concentration and Industrial Espionage: Rand Paul and Edward Snowden
Helmet Joachim Schmidt, Toshiyo Tanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Edward Snowden is either highly admired or loathed but unlike the state apparatus of America he is transparent and more beholden to the Constitution. Rather than President Obama focusing on capturing Snowden and basically providing “a show trial;” why doesn’t Obama focus on the “democratic angle” in relation to the political party he belongs to? Of course, all nation states of significance will collect data in many important areas in relation to national security and based on respective political systems. However, the authoritarian approach in relation to “power concentration” and “manipulation” is rather worrying when it applies to modern day America.
In truth, any democratic system that is overtly based on a two-party system does lead itself into many “gray areas” in relation to foreign policy and “real democracy.” Surely, given the mass complexity of America in relation to geography, culture, ethnicity, development – and so forth – then it is rather surprising that such a limited political system basically caters for the same two political parties controlling the nation state.
On top of this, in recent times you have the Bush and Clinton branches of power concentration and clearly Hillary Clinton desires to maintain this strangulation of “democracy” in America. It is clearly true that issues related to family dynasties also exist in many other nations but within Western democracy it does appear that America is going backwards. This doesn’t imply that both families have ill intentions against the people of America. However, it indicates that the leverages of power are being constrained within a limited base and the same applies to national security whereby the same faces hold power concentration roles within the political system.
Snowden clearly highlights the excessive nature of power concentration and how savvy politicians like Obama are hoodwinking the Constitution of America – which is meant to preserve freedom and liberty. The American people are fully aware that national security must be protected but it mustn’t become a convenient tool in order to dismantle the power of the Constitution. In other words, if Snowden is going to be held accountable then why isn’t the current state apparatus also going to be held accountable? Who is the real threat to America based on the Constitution – is it Snowden or political elites and security agencies that are spying on all and sundry?
Rand Paul stated in relation to the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Constitution that “I would say that there are times when we are going beyond what we should be doing when we’re exceeding the restraints of the Constitution, that there is a form of tyranny, and we need to be aware of that.”
Ironically, in relation to the influence of the Bush and Clinton families, Rand Paul hails from a family that is equally involved in shaping the political map of modern day America. However, the Paul family remains outside the trusted mechanism of big business and supporting futile wars that appear to only favor vested interests. Therefore, it remains to be seen if Rand Paul can reach the top position based on his noble words about defending the Constitution and being opposed to military ventures that are not directly related to America. If the past is to be viewed, then clearly Rand Paul may hit a nerve with many of the electorate but can he overcome the business like venture to obtain enough funds to challenge the “shadows?”
Snowden continues to provide snippets to the “real America” being played out “in the shadows.” He stated in relation to industrial espionage by the NSA in Germany that “If there is information at Siemens that they [the NSA] think would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they’ll take it.”
Brazil openly condemned America about this issue. In another Modern Tokyo Times article it was stated: “President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil recently lambasted the Obama administration over electronic espionage. Rousseff made her feelings crystal clear during her speech at the UN General Assembly.”
Rousseff also stated: “We face, Mr President, a situation of a grave violation of human rights and civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.”
It now appears that “big brother” in America can openly spy on all and sundry, irrespective if in America or outside of this nation. Of course, other nations like Canada and the United Kingdom are involved in areas related to spying but the sheer size of what America is doing is certainly mind-boggling. This notably applies to the wording of the Constitution of America.
Snowden in an interview with ARD broadcasting firm in Germany commented about why he became a whistleblower. He says: “I would say sort of the breaking point was seeing how Director of National Intelligence James Clapper directly lied to Congress when under oath,” Snowden said. “There’s no saving an intelligence agency that believes it can lie to the public, and to legislators, who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions.”
Individuals in America who support the Constitution clearly have a right to know about the shenanigans of the NSA. Likewise, the people of America need to know how high the chain is and if the chain involves mega-corporations and other areas of vested interests that are well outside of the remit of national security.
Rand Paul told ABC that “I don’t think Edward Snowden deserves a death penalty or life in prison; I think that’s inappropriate, and I think that’s why he fled, because that’s what he faced.”
“I think, really, in the end…history’s going to judge that he revealed great abuses of our government and great abuses of our intelligence community.”
In the New York Times it is reported: “Mr. Paul suggested that James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, might deserve some prison time for his misleading testimony in March — before the Snowden revelations began to emerge. Asked at an open congressional hearing whether the security agency collected “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” he replied, “No, sir,” adding, “not wittingly.”
Of course checks and balances are needed in order to protect national security and individuals working in various areas in relation to this must take this on board. However, when the abuses of power become so excessive that they endanger the Constitution, the rights of individuals, national governments, and the business community; then individuals like Snowden have a civic duty to expose the abuses of power and the threat to civil liberties.
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