Wednesday, 3 July 2013


The saga of Edward Snowden the whistleblower who dished the dirt about Prism and who has spent the last couple of weeks looking for somewhere/anywhere that will allow him asylum continues.

Reading the papers and the various blogs on the subject I get the impression that there is a lot of sympathy for Snowden and that the US administration’s attempts to have him extradited back to the States are considered a trifle excessive. This has been compounded by the nonsense when the jet carrying the Bolivian president was refused permission to enter the airspace of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal this on the grounds that there was a suspicion that Snowden was aboard the plane.

But is the reaction – the over-reaction – of the US authorities so surprising? They have invested billions in creating the most pervasive covert surveillance system in the world, one which seems to skirt the edge of legality and good-neighbourliness (at least as far as the Germans are concerned). Now the weak link in this system ( in all systems for that matter) is the people running it so when one of them goes AWOL (as Snowden has) it is essential that those running the system move heaven and earth to bring him to 'justice'. Not because he might have done something wrong (the morality of whistleblowing has to be judged on a case-by-case basis) but because of its deterrent effect on those toying with the idea of following the whistleblower's example.

It is a sine quo non of those organisations that have been betrayed that they bring the miscreant to ‘justice’ otherwise the old adage ‘who watches the watchers’ will be answered with ‘by the watchers with a sense of morality’ and that would never do. Surveillance and morality are the oil and water of the modern world.

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