Secrets? Secrets from whom?

One other argument that is being made against Snowden is that by revealing that the US government is spying on practically everyone wherever it can, it has given valuable information to the terrorists and is thus aiding the enemy because it compromises the security of the US. This is absurd.

It is surely is no surprise to terrorists around the globe that the US government is monitoring their phone calls and internet use, so these revelations should hardly be news to them. We know that Osama bin Laden took extreme steps to avoid using any electronic communication for just this reason. The people from whom these secrets were kept were mainly the American people.

I remember the uproar when, during the Nixon presidency and the Vietnam war, his ‘secret’ bombings of Laos and Cambodia were revealed. Again it was argued that this provided valuable information to the enemy. But as people were quick to point out, the bombings were hardly a secret to the people of Laos and Cambodia and the guerillas fighting the US. They could hardly have not noticed the bombs raining death and destruction on them from the sky. The bombings were only a secret to the American people. It was telling the American people the things that were being done in their name without their knowledge that was seen as the real crime.

Julian Assange and John Perry Barlow (co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation) make this point clearly. They also make the point that I think very true: That whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden will be looked on by history far more favorably than those now castigating them, just like no one now dares to say that what Daniel Ellsberg in revealing the Pentagon Papers did was wrong.


  1. left0ver1under says

    When a government silences its critics by force, the public might begin to see the critic as being right.

    When a government can get the public to silence its critics, there’s no one to complain or ask questions. It’s all about inciting the rabble to violence, whether those inciting them be “patriots”, KKK, or anyone else.

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