I have the following comments about Snowden:
- In spite of alleged "reforms", I suspect the US still spies on anyone they want, for many reasons, or for no reason at all. That's not going to change.
- In spite of the fact most activities shown in the movie were (and still are) illegal and/or unconstitutional, the number of whistle blowers continues to be extremely small. Legions of CIA and NSA employees and contractors continue to do what they're told.
- Snowden is not going to be pardoned, and he would be a fool to come back. He is now a pawn in the new US-Russia cold war, and a very important one at that.
Now that Trump is talking about bringing torture back (as if it ever left), the MSM is peddling fairy tails again, such as these two whoppers:
“There would surely be Justice Department lawyers who would resign in protest over the adoption of such a memo.”
“They can try to change the laws to bring back torture, but in doing so they'll face massive resistance among our military, intelligence, and law-enforcement communities.”
Source - https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/trump-torture/514463/
That's ludicrous. No one in those communities is either resigning or resisting. The US killing machine is running in automatic, as revealed here, and will continue to do so:
If they're not bothered by spying or killing, why should we think torture would tip the scales for them?
There are two basic facts which normally are being left out of such discussions:
*Fact #1 - The US Constitution was suspended on 9/11/2001. The state of emergency which was declared in response to the 9/11 "attacks" has been renewed annually ever since then. It's pointless to talk about what the US Constitution does or does not allow, because the government is not really following it any more.
*Fact #2 - Our beliefs about the efficacy of torture are clouded by events during the Korean War and Vietnam War that our leaders want us to forget. And that's because those events seem to prove that torture DOES work. It is possible to get unwilling people to reveal true facts under duress. Here are two examples:
(a) During the Korean War, captured US flyers confessed to dropping biological weapons on North Korea and China. And by most believable accounts, they actually had used bioweapons. You can read about the circumstances here:
(b) During the Vietnam War, Senator John McCain, who at the time was a captured US Navy pilot, broke under torture, gave his captors vital information, and consented to make propaganda broadcasts for them. You can read about it here:
These events leave us with two alternatives - either torture DOES work, or all these men were traitors who told the truth without even being tortured.
In deciding which of these alternatives is the correct one, keep in mind that the US response to Korean and Vietnamese torture of our military was to devise programs which help captives resist telling the truth. Would this be necessary if torture didn't work?
No, I suspect the US flyers in the Korean and Vietnam Wars did in fact commit the war crimes to which they confessed, and the US government continues to spin the yarn that torture does not work because they don't want us to know about the crimes our military leaders order their men and women to commit.
By the way, for a completely different take on Snowden, check out this essay by Arthur Silber. If Snowden actually is a "state-sponsored leaker/whistle blower", that might help explain why Congress and the intel communities are so fixated on the Russian "hacks". If Snowden was sent or forced in the direction he took, was it done in furtherance of the new Cold War? Should you doubt this possibility, then consider how complex and lengthy the Lee Harvey Oswald operation was. Someone steered him around for years before his operation bore fruit: