Leaks, Drizzles, Floods and Occasional Showers

If government is metaphor for nature (and that may be a leap
of faith), then its health is best assured by occasional watering. But you can’t
grow a lush garden in a long drought. 
Enough figures of speech, let’s get
down to cases. Amazingly to those of us who hoped for better, knowing full well it was too much to ask for excellence, the overwhelming umbrella of
surveillance under which we stumble along is unacceptable. Were it not for a
Bradley Manning here and an Edward Snowden there, along with the access
provided by Julian Assange’s Wikileaks, who would possibly know what’s being
done in our name?
But Snowden and Manning are being made ‘examples’ of in the
hope and expectation, not so much of punishing them, as shutting down anyone brave
enough to let we poor, enfeebled and spoon-fed citizens know what the hell our
government is up to. The deeper hole a leaker is thrown into, the less likely a
source may chance that public burial and media-fed disgrace. Yep, it’s hard not
to blame the press and TV (exception to come), with so few questions being
asked and so much Kool Aid being drunk. I know they’re an easy target, but NBC,
CBS, CNN, FOX and Cable are enablers all the same.
Question: Are Bradley Manning and
Edward Snowden simply unheard voices without Julian Assange? Absolutely. They
are fallen trees in the forest with no ear to hear. So, by themselves, their
known facts are unknown. No contact, no foul.
But there was an ear in the forest to hear. The Guardian Newspaper and the New York Times (here’s the exceptions) were
that pair of ears. They chose to pick up a megaphone and broadcast the news
from that dark, scary forest to the outside world. To answer the old question,
the falling tree of disclosure did
make a noise because there was an ear
to hear it.
So who is guilty of ‘espionage,’ the tree or the ear? No
ear, no sound, no exposure of what our government has chosen to do in the dark.
A thousand people knew what Snowden and Manning knew, perhaps ten thousand. If
they shut the hell up and choked it down, they were legally in the clear. Upset
perhaps, agonized possibly, unable to sleep peacefully we might presume, but
clear of the most powerful nation in the world and its will to force down other
nations’ presidential planes, intimidate any who might provide asylum and
intimidate an already intimidated free press.
Question: Who belongs in the dock,
the tree, the ear or the broadcaster? The tree (falling or not) is un-indictable,
because it’s the biggest tree on the planet and no one either dares (or has a
chain-saw large enough) to trim it, much less cut it down. The ear we know to
be blameless, because there are already thousands of upset, agonized or
sleepless ears and it’s impossible to indict an ear. That leaves the broadcaster and perhaps that’s why media
is so meek and the Guardian and NY Times so brave. As of yet, they are too public and powerful to make victims. As of yet.
Two more points to make and I’m outta here. 
First, Washington,
the nations of the world, corporate entities and you and I are leakers by habit
and for personal gain. Can you keep a
is a child’s giggling game and pretty much no one truly keeps a
secret. We spill the beans regularly, political parties and nations against
each other, corporations for advantage and you and I because we simply can’t
stand being the only ones to know. Obama’s administration and all those before
his leaked like sieves when it suited them and they continue to do so.
Second, there are legitimate top secrets that governments
must keep in order to function. When governments choose to stamp everything top secret and when really
nasty and outrageous activity is covered
by that tag, the rules of forests, trees-falling and ears-hearing changes. Our
national conscience needs to deal with that.
Not a single participant
in the Abu Ghraib, NSA lies to Congress or Afghan helicopter abuses has been
brought to justice. The exposers of
those outrages are holed up in embassies or airports, in fear of a government
out of control.
Our national conscience needs to deal with that as well.

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