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The Madera Tribune

The three digital buccaneers

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webmaster | 08/03/13

Edward Snowden, the traitor who broke his vows of secrecy as a contract employ of the National Security Agency in order to become famous and visit China and Russia, has sentenced himself to at least a year in Russia, which is a good start on the punishment he so richly deserves.

For someone who has been among the American elite to suddenly become an unwelcome guest of a state that still reeks of totalitarianism is beautiful irony.

Wait until he experiences his first Russian winter. Wait until he gets worked over by a Russian cop when he gets busted for his first DUI. He will long for the Hawaii he left behind. Good. He is about as welcome in his new home as a case of the shingles.

And then there is PFC. Bradley Manning, who as an Army computer jockey turned more than 400,000 secret documents over to the blabbermouth gossip website Wikileaks, even though he had taken an oath to maintain his nation’s secrets at any cost. The bum may have thought his job was equivalent to that of operating a site on Facebook, as if it were something that had no consequences. But he was wrong.

It tested one’s gag reflexes to see televised pictures of him arriving at court each day in the dress uniform of his country, the same uniform worn by men and women who serve the United States honorably, sometimes at the expense of their own lives. Some of them were put at risk by Manning’s egoistic treachery, and many others, not in uniform, also were endangered.

And let us speak of Wikileaks, operated by accused rapist Julian Assange who is hiding from Swedish justice in the London embassy of Ecuador. Ironically, Ecuador has been sanctioned by Human Rights Watch for its restrictions on free speech, on the press and on its own judicial system. Assange would have a professional life expectancy of about five minutes in the actual Ecuador itself. Ah, well, any old port in a storm for digital buccaneers.

These three men are sometimes seen as heroes by some people in the world, and even in the U.S., for revealing that the U.S. uses technology to defend itself. But so what if it does? Practically the whole world uses technology, for entertainment, to do business and to commit crime. Why can’t it be used to protect the people of the country?

Is our privacy being violated? Of course it is, and it has been for 20 years and longer. That is nothing new. If you think the National Security Agency monitors electronic communications, it’s nothing that isn’t done by private companies in aid of getting us to buy things, or by criminals in aid of stealing from us. Nothing you do online, or on a cell phone, is private and unmonitored. Nothing. You have known this, but have been in self-denial.

If you don’t want to be subjected to electronic snooping, throw away your cell phone and get offline. Oh, and unplug your TV cable, and don’t drive a car that was built before 1996. Cut up your credit cards. Never shop with a so-called rewards card in a store, even if you pay with cash. In fact, pay for everything with cash or check. Never access a bank machine. Never fly on an airplane.

Either that, or get used to the fact that you’re stuck in the great Blue Nowhere, along with all the digital buccaneers.


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