Daily archives: October 11, 2013

Edward Snowden Gets Sam Adams Award

Ray McGovern and the Sam Adams party have presented the Sam Adams award to Edward Snowden.  I am delighted.  This from Ray’s account of the event:

In brief remarks from his visitors, Snowden was reassured — first and foremost — that he need no longer be worried that nothing significant would happen as a result of his decision to risk his future by revealing documentary proof that the U.S. government was playing fast and loose with the Constitutional rights of Americans.

Even amid the government shutdown, Establishment Washington and the normally docile “mainstream media” have not been able to deflect attention from the intrusive eavesdropping that makes a mockery of the Fourth Amendment. Even Congress is showing signs of awaking from its torpor.

In the somnolent Senate, a few hardy souls have gone so far as to express displeasure at having been lied to by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA Director Keith Alexander — Clapper having formally apologized for telling the Senate Intelligence Committee eavesdropping-related things that were, in his words, “clearly erroneous” and Alexander having told now-discredited whoppers about the effectiveness of NSA’s intrusive and unconstitutional methods in combating terrorism.

Coleen Rowley, the first winner of the Sam Adams Award (2002), cited some little-known history to remind Snowden that he is in good company as a whistleblower — and not only because of previous Sam Adams honorees. She noted that in 1773, Benjamin Franklin leaked confidential information by releasing letters written by then-Lt. Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson to Thomas Whatley, an assistant to the British Prime Minister.

The letters suggested that it was impossible for the colonists to enjoy the same rights as subjects living in England and that “an abridgement of what are called English liberties” might be necessary. The content of the letters was so damaging to the British government that Benjamin Franklin was dismissed as colonial Postmaster General and had to endure an hour-long censure from British Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn.

There has been a determined attempt by government to justify the need to intercept everybody’s communications, all the time.  We have, yet again, had MI5 claim there are many thousand violent Islamic terrorists running around the UK, (yet somehow not managing to kill anybody).  The cry of “paedophiles” is raised, as always.  I can imagine them suggesting the entire population be shot dead, and justifying it as making sure they get the paedophiles.  The tabloids would go with that.

There still had not been a single credible claim by the mainstream media that any named individual has died, despite that contingency being trotted out all the time as the reason Snowden and Manning should not have revealed state crimes and abuse of power.  I am hopeful that, with the internet still largely free to the dissemination of information, out next massive whistleblower is only weeks away.

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Time Travel

I was just reading the Guardian’s piece about the rediscovery of episodes of Dr Who, The Web of Fear.

It took me back so strongly that it felt quite uncanny.  I have strong memories of watching this on TV with my sister Celia, when I must only have been eight years old.  I remember the dark mouths of the tube tunnels, and the yeti – who for the most part got glimpsed briefly – coming out of them with strange lights for eyes.  I remember the deadly fungus that made soldiers sort of flash in oscillating light then fall down dead – there was a kind of clumpy stuff, but in my memory there was a kind of horizontal layered cobwebby stuff across the tube tunnels too.  I don’t imagine I will actually watch these recovered episodes, but it would be interesting to know how much of that memory is accurate.

I remember the detail of the carpet and the furniture in our home.  A bit like Proust’s madeleines, this little recovered memory brings back so much.  Television was a shared experience then – Mark and Martin and Clive would all have watched the same thing, and we could discuss and play it together.  I was fortunate to have an extremely happy childhood.  It is strange how it makes me so terribly sad to recall it.

Weirdly enough – I have had a strange life – the article also gave me a vivid flashback to the first time I entered Jos, where the tapes were discovered.



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