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Critics of the tactics and personalities of Snowden and Greenwald, and everybody desiring more checks and balances on the surveillance community, would benefit from paying more attention to the following points:

1.    Normal personalities are cowed into silence by fully rational fear of retaliation, so only special personalities take the risk of angering powerful and secretive forces. (An example that should be evocative for Americans of virtually any political stripe is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose publicizing of the Soviet Gulag was valuable regardless of his personality or political views).

2.    Once an individual becomes the target of powerful forces’ retaliatory scrutiny, spinning, isolation, pressure and/or threats, the individual will naturally feel like a martyr.

3.    Even a martyr may retain an instinct for self-preservation, and cannot possibly avoid all missteps under this type of pressure and scrutiny, so it is inevitable that the targeted individual will offend many sensibilities and legitimate concerns of the forces that are targeting him or her, and of bystanders.

4.    Bystanders who are tempted to focus on refining and debating their views on heroes & villains, would be better served by focusing more on:

the present opportunity to strengthen checks and balances in and on the surveillance community (of governments, their private contractors, and other private organizations),

the likely weakening of this opportunity after Snowden and Greenwald disappear from media front pages, and

how to seize this opportunity NOW!  (Hint: pushing for domestic legislation and perhaps international treaties is more important than soliciting or parsing comments on Snowden or Greenwald).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for writing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this thoughtful diary.

    You just happened to post it right when a very big story was breaking -- the verdict in the Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman trial.  A lot of people will be reading the diaries about that for the rest of this evening, so please don't be disappointed if you don't get much readership.

    You might think about posting it again, at another time.

  •  The suffering is what makes the martyr (0+ / 0-)

    It's not that the whistle-blower thinks of themselves that way.  Others see the suffering and make that conclusion.  Most whistle-blowers will tell you they just did what they thought was the right thing to do.  Most will say they thought they were doing their job.  Altruism does come into play when making the decision to disclose.  Greenwald should not be the story as a journalist.  He's supposed to tell the story.  Snowden is a story, but the really important story is the disclosure of the spying of our government on essentially all the citizens in this country.  Everything else disclosed that involves what's being done gets murky, but is still an important story.  It's up to all of us to see that this outrage is not silenced.  It's entirely possible we won't hear from or about Snowden and Greenwald will write on other topics.  That shouldn't change the focus, which should be on ending the global reach of this country into everybody on this planets private life.  This was a country founded on wanting justice and not to have secret courts and secret laws.

    Shine like the humblest star.

    by ljm on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 09:04:29 PM PDT

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