NSA Whistleblower, Right to Privacy, and…China?

A Momus News Editorial
By E.A. Wicklund

There’s much in the news lately about NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden. He worked with a program code-named PRISM, that allegedly snoops on the conversations of private American citizens. The notion of PRISM was so abhorrent to Snowden that he revealed all to The Guardian and fled to, of all places, China.

I remember talking with friends ten years ago about the government snooping in on private phone conversations. That’s 10 years ago. Discussions about this have hit the presses periodically in all the years since then. My first question is, “Is it really whistleblowing when everybody in the entire figurative football stadium has already blown the whistle?” Is this guy’s news really news to anybody?

Invasion of Privacy?
Source: blogs.scientificamerican.com

I know that some people are personally distressed at the notion of the NSA listening. I do understand these sentiments. I just don’t share them. I don’t care much if the NSA listens to my conversations. Here, I’ll reveal a recent conversation openly:

Friend: Dude
Me: Dude. What up?
Friend: Nuthin. You?
Me: Just Chillin.
Friend: Beer?
Me: Works
Friend: Be there in 30.
Me: Rockin’ Bruh. Cheers.

This is pretty typical. I mean if NSA agents want to listen to things so boring they fall asleep, I’m happy to provide. Listening to my calls is probably more effective and less addicting than Lunesta. That’s just me. But I’m not just here to discuss advantages/disadvantages of the NSA listening to phone conversations. I’m interested in where Edward Snowden went to flee from privacy invasion and Big Brother government. This leads me to my second question:

Why the hell did he go to China?

China is the land where they shoot whistleblowers in the head. Distribute tainted milk? Bullet in the head. Make toys with lead paint? Bullet in the head. That culture of free speech that allowed him to reveal all to The Guardian? In China, it means a bullet in the head. Edward Snowden is now hiding in Hong Kong. Why there? He explains why in The Guardian article:

“they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”

Really? A country that even the mighty Google cannot penetrate is hardly a bastion of Free Speech. According to the RWB (Reporters Without Borders) ranking of countries for Freedom of the Press, China is very nearly at the bottom, but not at the bottom. Iran is worse off. This is like a doctor saying, “we’ve saved the patient, but we had to remove his brain.”

And what about censorship? Well if you want to obliterate any chance whatsoever of political dissent, go to China. According to the RWB, China, Cuba, and (once again) Iran are all listed as “enemies of the internet.” In Iran, political dissent is handled by beating people to death in the streets. China isn’t nearly so barbaric about it. They allow you to kneel comfortably first, then, bullet to the head.

Click here for an interesting article about China in censorshipinamerica.wordpress.com

With all this in mind, I wonder, “What was Snowden thinking?” How could he work for an intelligence agency and still have no clue what’s going on in the world? If he wanted to go to a freer country, go to Finland. They’ve actually got the US beat in that category. Was he using a Chinese search engine to study this?

A Test Case

Getting back to the whole Invasion of Privacy issue, could I write “America Sux” and get away with it? With the NSA listening in, could I express that without anything bad hap…excuse me. The phone’s ringing…

***

Sorry about that. It was the NSA. They say it’s properly spelled, s-u-c-k-s. Well, there you go, I got my chain yanked by, “the man.” Not too bad overall. I’m still at my bloody computer. I’m happy for that. But now it’s…hang on, phone’s ringing again…

***

Sorry again. That was the GC HQ in the United Kingdom. They’ve informed me that the term “bloody” is a rather rude and shouldn’t be used lightly. Plus, they feel it’s inappropriate for an American to use a distinctly British term. I stand corrected.

What I was getting at is, if China is as free as Edward Snowden claims, then I could say, “China Sucks!” And theoretically nothing bad at all should hap…pardon, the doorbell is ringing…

***

Pardon the interruption. Some very nice gentlemen at the door just informed me that it’s unkind to say, “China Sucks,” and that I shouldn’t say it again to avoid…Sorry, doorbell again…

***

At this point, I’d like to say China is filled with very nice, friendly people, and they have a wonderful wall that everyone should visit. Sorry for typing rather slow. My left arm is unexpectedly numb. I have to type this one-handed.

I wish Edward Snowden all the luck in seeking his new found freedoms in China; whatever freedoms he may find.

About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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37 Responses to NSA Whistleblower, Right to Privacy, and…China?

  1. Alastair says:

    Apparently it’s Hong Kong. They don’t shoot you in the head there. You just disappear and bits of you turn up all over the place

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      …And apparently in the packaged ground beef, along with the rat meat.

      I believe that Hong Kong is now technically part of China ever since Britain gave it up in 1999. So while Hong Kong enjoys more freedom than most of China, it’s still China; subject to the internet censorship of China.

      Snowden would have been better off in the oppressive nation of Myanmar where he could literally enjoy more Freedom of the Press than China and almost no chance of extradition. China may still give him up, they’ve done so before, and this is even more likely in Hong Kong.

      Like

  2. I read that Mr. Snowden first asked for “shelter” in Iceland and was turned down because Iceland fears the mighty U.S. government. So he ended up in Hong Kong, which has the ability to turn down a US demand of an extradition of Mr. Snowden. I don’t think he is seeking for freedom of speech in China; he is merely trying to avoid prosecution. He should not be punished for speaking the truth, but apparently he could be… That’s the sad part of this whole saga.

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    • EagleAye says:

      Check the post again. He specifically stated that he preferred China’s “commitment to free speech.” It’s in the linked Guardian article.

      Snowden strikes me as unbelievably naive. It’s an open secret that the NSA listens to “electronic transmissions.” That’s their first and foremost task. Snowden accepts a job with the NSA and must sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), which says you cannot reveal what they’re doing. The guy works for 3 months at the NSA and they says, “hey! they’re listening to electronic transmissions!” That’s like training for months to be a butcher and then claiming surprise when required to cut up an animal.

      Lastly, though China may opt to deny extradition, they may also grant it. The US and China are two very large countries that are often at odds. To keep the peace, they often make agreements. So sometimes China does grant extradition. They have in the past, to keep the peace. So he is by no means guaranteed safety.

      He told a truth, but a truth that was already known anyway. And that’s after he agreed to not reveal the activities of his employer. Take a look at the Russian Embassy in San Francisco. It’s covered with aerials and dishes. That’s because they are listening to electronic transmissions, just like the NSA. Nothing can be done about it because it’s an embassy. My telling you this isn’t revealing any shocking secret. It’s already understood. Just like it isn’t news that the NSA is listening too.

      Like

  3. Romayne Wicklund says:

    Rational, cool. Maybe you should be a media mogul or, better yet, run for Congress!

    Like

  4. “Listening to my calls is probably more effective and less addicting than Lunesta.” ROFL Love it!

    Like

  5. Lyn says:

    Over here, the current government recently tried to clamp down on the press; both written and electronic. Personal blogs were also going to be subject to scrutiny. It was obvious they didn’t like what was being said about them – even by the slightly more left-wing papers. It’s interesting though, I used to contribute to a political blog that suddenly disappeared and I haven’t been able to contact the owner of the blog – neither by phone or email.The legislation they tried to put through fell in a heap. I think they’d been paying to much attention to their Chinese counterparts. Thank God it’s only 94 days until the next election!
    Snowden must have rocks in his head to go to China when they have an “extradition treaty of convenience” with the States.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      I certainly hope you’re able to contact that blog again. Cracking down on free speech is a big no-no. It’s no surprise that the legislation fell through. Seems like the govt came to it’s senses. It happens like that in many countries. McCarthyism was a dark time here in the US. Hopefully better folks arise in the next election.

      And Snowden definitely has rocks or perhaps cobwebs in his head. He’s not safe at all there. Nothing more than a bargaining chip to the Chinese. They’ll give him at the first amenable opportunity.

      So Lyn, I must have missed it earlier, but where do you live? I was thinking the UK.

      Like

  6. audrina1759 says:

    I don’t why each time I read this story I feel like there is more to it than what is than what is being reported. Time will tell.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      I definitely agree. It doesn’t add up right at all. If we take all the facts of this, Snowden appears like a brainless dolt. I don’t think the NSA would hire someone that dumb. Or maybe he’s smart yet naive as I think he is. As you say, time will tell.

      Like

  7. audrina1759 says:

    I don’t why each time I read this story I feel like there is more to it
    than what is than what is being reported. Time will tell.

    Like

  8. julespaige says:

    Adore the Lunesta reference. I was laughing out loud over here. Never mind the government the whole post could be turned into a One Act Play – just get someone famouse to play you… then you, at least could avoid the papparazi when it becomes famous. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. And I’m not a fan of politics in general. Fun post. Two Thumbs up… Pat yourself on the back with both hands…well at least when the feeling in the numb arm returns.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      I’ll have to see if any playwrights are wiling to adapt it to the stage 🙂 I’m glad it wasn’t too political. It’s mostly just trying to see the funny side of reality. And there’s a lot of funny stuff with this situation.

      My arm is felling much better now. Thank you. I just have to avoid writing “China Sucks” at any time and…hang on, someone’s at the door…

      Like

      • julespaige says:

        Hubby had to work there a few years back…
        OSHA…none existant in their vocabulary.

        I didn’t find out until years later…but then not much I could have done about it anyway… that he’d had an encounter with too much electricity and was more than less blown arcross a room. But he only drools just a little bit these days. *chuckling*

        Hey, stop answering your door! 😉

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        I think it would be interesting to visit China someday. I’d love to have Chinese food direct from the source. They have a very long cultural history, so I think that would be incredibly interesting.

        My only issue with China is their present government. It’s a shame that Mao Zedong took power there instead of Chiang Kai-Shek. Now we have this quite large antagonist out there with little interest in following common international law. My issue is with the government, not the people. I would enjoy visiting China and meeting the people.

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      • julespaige says:

        American Chinese food is not what the Chinese eat. Hubby can atest to that. I think he attempted some foods out of his comfort zone to be polite.

        Funny story about hot tea. While dining…he had asked for tea to drink – the ‘natives’ made faces. Turns out most folks bring their own chopsticks along at lunch in the factories… the hot tea wasn’t for drinking. But for sterilizing the chopsticks.

        Most people are very toleralble – even down right nice and neighborly…it’s the hoity-toity muck-mucks in charge that seem to mess things up.

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        That’s funny about the tea. When traveling, there’s always odd things that you never expected to learn about.

        It’s always the politicians that screw everything up. People should never have an idea about a country from the behavior of it’s government. The individuals, the private citizens are almost always far nicer and more generous than any government.

        Like

      • julespaige says:

        Just be careful answering the door…if you hear Banjo music (no slights intended folks…but ‘Deliverance’ is a movie I will not be watching again).

        I have some family in a northern state…and a couple of hikers went missing…(many, many moons ago – never found out ‘who’) …though a bunch of the natives might have had a few clues – they never told the police.

        Just saying you have to be carefule where-ever you roam.

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        Very true. My wife is from the Philippines. And while her home town in the Visayas is wonderful to visit, I’m not going to the more southern islands of Mindanao. The Muslim terrorists there just love to kidnap tourists and hold them for ransom. Traveling is fun, but it’s important to be well-informed about where you’re going.

        Like

  9. List of X says:

    Snowden’s opinion about China (“they have a spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent”) makes no sense, unless it has been edited from ““they have a spirited commitment to free anti-American speech and the right of political dissent from the American policies”.
    There, I fixed it.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Spot on! That’s exactly what I was thinking. What “kind” of free speech are you talking about, Snowden? If you want to say nasty things about the US, then China is happy to oblige. If he ends up staying in China and gets tired of his “watcher” following him around all the time, and then complains about it, he’ll soon have a new view of China’s free speech policy.

      Like

      • List of X says:

        I think that was his plan – that China will want to keep him as an extra thorn in the America’s backside.
        Or maybe Snowden is just that dumb, and the real scandal is not that NSA is doing all that surveillance, but that it’s done by the dolts like Snowden.

        Like

      • EagleAye says:

        I think you’ve hit on it. The only black eye the NSA gets from this is that they employed Snowden at all! 🙂

        Like

      • List of X says:

        To be fair to NSA, they hire contractors to their job, and that was the contractor that hired high-school drop-outs with $200K salary to spy on us.

        Like

  10. DonettaS says:

    This was great because I’m not an airhead by far but I also don’t follow news. I’ll hear a story and usually a friend fills me in with what’s going on. Newscasters should learn some humor like this. My grandparents raised me and even with a rotary phone with a cord that didn’t reach 3 foot, people would discuss ‘conversations being listened to’. lol. I did see he was a high school drop out when I watched a small part of it. I’m not distressed over conversations being ‘heard’. Apparently, my circle of friends only text. Try calling them, they forget how to even answer, much less talk.

    Like

    • EagleAye says:

      Thanks. Sometimes news like this is a bit more palatable if some humor is tossed in. I appreciate you stopping and commenting. Come again as often as you like.

      Like

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