American civilian activists become a major factor in world politics
23 Aug 2013, 17:50
Text: Peter Akopov
Bradley manning, sentenced to 35 years in prison for “espionage and theft of government property,” wrote President Obama a letter asking for clemency. Attitude towards whistleblowers such as manning and Snowden, have already become not only an important factor in domestic politics of the United States, but also a criterion by which to judge how independent policy conducted by a country.
Private manning and handed Wikileaks hundreds of thousands of secret documents about the actions of the American army and diplomacy in Iraq and Afghanistan, has prepared a letter to President Barack Obama – he says he didn’t mean to offend or harm the United States, and acted out of love of country and sense of duty to the citizens. In case of refusal to pardon, he will “serve time with the feeling that sometimes in order to live in a free society, we have to pay a high price”.
“Manning, thanks to which appeared on the Internet a video depicting how a helicopter to shoot civilians, in fact, reported about the crime committed by servicemen, – said a member of the presidential Council on civil society development and human rights Alexander Brod. And this marked a serious problem, its publication was supposed to be the reason for the punishment of the guilty, to serve the prevention of such crimes. And American justice is presented as the offender of manning, which, of course, contradicts the norms of law and morality. This is another proof that America is part of the elite has taken on Board the methods of authoritarian control. Regardless of the law, with a critical look at what is happening, they want to suppress any dissent”.
It turns out that, according to us law, any person able to prove that the military-intelligence establishment, the United States may, at its discretion, to shoot from helicopters on civilians, journalists, but also maintains total monitoring the communications of their own and foreign citizens, such a person can be planted, says the General Director of the Institute of foreign policy studies and initiatives Veronica Krasheninnikova.
The story of Manning as the recent escape of Snowden, again split American society: if the government and half the population see him as a traitor, others a human rights activist and patriot. And a second more – if three years ago, after the arrest of the first whistleblower, manning, only 29% of Americans believed that he was acting in the public interest, now, assessing the situation with Snowden, 49% rated it positive exposure.
Whistleblowers – what became known in the US people, revealing secrets that shows blatant violation of the Washington human rights at home and in the rest of the world. This term appeared in the 70-ies, when he made public information about secret work of the US in Vietnam and Latin America. But during the Obama presidency appeared the loudest debunkers “dirty kitchen” of the US administration – and if at first it was the Australian citizen Assange, then he was joined by American citizens, such as manning and Snowden.
They are impossible to put spies recruited by foreign intelligence, is very apparent that these whistleblowers for all their personal complexes or psychological problems really were outraged by what they saw on duty. The sincerity of these people, surprising to many in our cynical times, is easily explained: they just literally took those ideals on which to educate Americans, but which has long been not in compliance with the American elite.
Freedom, the sanctity of civil rights, state interference in the private lives of citizens, transparency and accountability of power – grew up on this idealistic Snowden and manning.
“The official discourse of the entire American system is the incessant repetition of the “great American values and principles,” says Veronika Krasheninnikova. – People hear it and believe, and the elite not only believe, but in real politics practiced completely opposite things. People have internal conflict – as in the case of Snowden, who believed in principles and were given the oath the America that is described in the US Constitution, and in his official place, he had to do things that violate her. And this internal conflict arose from a large part of society. Whistleblowers are people who no longer believe in the official lies, and having proof of this lies ready to share this information with their fellow citizens. This is a new phenomenon, a new form of civil protest, and it is gaining momentum.”
Indeed, the debunkers just expressed a new form of civil protest era of the Internet disclosure that violates the laws of their own country. This form is much more dangerous than street protests like “Occupy wall Street”, and therefore the reaction to it of the American authorities is very serious. A powerful campaign and pressure to extradite Snowden, has shown how the American authorities fear the emergence of a new “idealists tolerance”. And the fact that more and more people will perceive them as fighters for compliance with the us Constitution and the ideals of the founding fathers.
“American human rights activists and many citizens are in support of manning and Snowden, and similar people who are not willing to put up with harsh authoritarian policies, will become more and more, – said Alexander Brod. – My American friends, public figures, journalists and human rights activists concerned that this negative trend. American society has always been proud of its freedom and pluralism, tried to educate people in this way. The rest of the world they are promoting these values. Including in the human rights reports that the state Department release or “freedom house”, where they record human rights violations around the world, give advice, could not help compare the situation in the United States, which, in their opinion, more prosperous. But as practice shows, American citizens, educated in the free atmosphere are increasingly faced with the arbitrariness, pressure and state interference in their private life, violating their rights, I see elements of censorship. And this gives them a serious protest.”
While support for whistleblowers is growing in the political environment. The attitude of the Obama administration to Snowden and Manning are not shared by very many members of the Democratic party – even former U.S. President, a Democrat, Carter said that Snowden’s actions are beneficial, and democracy in the USA is currently not functioning. Needless to say, that support Snowden and leftist forces, but he has his supporters and from the opposite flank.
The actions of whistleblowers approve the representatives of the increasingly growing power of the right, libertarian wing, and among them the son of a famous Congressman Ron Paul Rand – Senator, one of the most likely candidates for nomination as a presidential candidate in 2016.
The war on whistleblowers has in the American President – when he goes from their and from other.
“This is a significant reputational damage for Obama, says Veronika Krasheninnikova. – Nobel prize winner have to prosecute Americans who wish to uphold American principles. It’s a very awkward position, and this contradiction naked eye sees American society.”
It is significant that the top opposition Republican party and even criticize Obama, but for the softness, that failed to extradite Snowden, in this case fully supports him in “the hunt for traitors.” Moreover, this position is expressed not only Republicans, but even such a fierce critic of the current President, former Vice President dick Cheney.
So, as always happens in matters of principle, disagreements in America are not party and inter-elite nature.
Understanding that the current crisis could cause a severe impact on the entire American political system, and partly explains such a harsh reaction from Washington – he tries to extinguish the noise. On the political level and in the media.
“The security services now are very hard – the other day the British destroyed the guardian’s hard drives with information, stating that “played and enough came to an end,” says Krasheninnikov. Americans will be very hard to suppress the publication of information that managed to get Snowden”.
But to bring down a wave, yet not quite impossible – even in Congress with great difficulty, by a margin of just 12 votes, failed to reject the amendment that reduces the budget of the NSA and minimize electronic surveillance.
However, unlike the Watergate scandal forty years ago, when the story listening to President Nixon its rivals – the Democrats were inflated as a blatant violation of the law by the head of state, current exposure, is much more controversial and ambitious, is unlikely to lead to shocks like the President’s resignation. Then one part of the American elite used Watergate as an excuse for ousting from power of the opponents, and now the elite (at least most of it) trying to work together to confront emerging challenges. Because the problem of whistleblowers, unlike Watergate, is not the inter-character.
Snowden and manning struck the Washington double damage – not only domestically, but also abroad. And it is difficult to tell where the damage is more than. But even more important, that serious problems arose with the world community, because it became clear that the United States together with England watching the world. You cannot say that about this and had not guessed the leaders of different countries, but after the publication of the documents, the situation changed fundamentally: first, they did not know the details of surveillance, and secondly, they began to push public outrage, which is not so easy to ignore. Great resentment has swept across Latin America, and even the closest allies take unprecedented measures – so, Germany has revoked the agreement on intelligence activities concluded with the United States and great Britain. And this is only the beginning.
The unambiguous benefit from the actions of whistleblowers only Russia. And not only because they reveal the secrets of American intelligence. But even more because Moscow stood under US pressure and was not given to Snowden, showing the world an example of an independent policy. After all, even powerful, but tricky China prefer to “throw” the fugitive, in order not to give the Americans an extra reason to put pressure on yourself. The fact that Vladimir Putin has managed to withstand the blow, was another very important confirmation of the unique role played by Russia today in the world. The role of restraint.
“Russia’s decision to grant asylum to Snowden was the only correct one – not just because we stand up for universal values, but also from the point of view of relations with the US, – says Veronika Krasheninnikova. – The problem with Snowden added to their already long list of claims of Washington to Moscow and does not fundamentally changes in Russian-American relations. In fact, Washington is not satisfied with the Russian position on Syria, Iran and other geopolitical issues. Our position does not suit Washington their independence, they would like us to, saying, “rolled off the road and pretend to be dead”. And even better – help them in realizing their national interests.”
But American national interests often contradict Russian national interests, reminds Krasheninnikov, and no self-respecting state may not be at the service of Washington.
“It is not surprising that the Pro-Western part of Russian society is striving to enter the service – NGO and expert community for 20 years lived in American money, and their brains are corrupt it. They believe that the most advantageous position for Russia to take our interests and serve us. To surrender is very handy and for many people even profitable in material terms, but, fortunately, the majority of Russians believe that Russia should be a sovereign state and serve the interests of its people.
Policy of Russia on Snowden is a cold shower for the hotheads in Washington, forcing them to reduce their appetites, says Krasheninnikova. And this rigid policy is the only chance to win, because the American appetite is in principle impossible to satisfy”.