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?
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:
Me: Dude. What up?
Friend: Nuthin. You?
Me: Just Chillin.
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.
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.