Assange, Snowden, Secrecy And Democracy

 Assange Snowden

 “The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.”

John Adams, (1735-1826)

The Nuremberg Principles

According to the Nuremberg Principles, the citizens of a country have a responsibility for the crimes that their governments commit. But to prevent these crimes, the people need to have some knowledge of what is going on. Indeed, democracy cannot function at all without this knowledge.

What are we to think when governments make every effort to keep their actions secret from their own citizens? We can only conclude that although they may call themselves democracies, such governments are in fact oligarchies or dictatorships.

At the end of World War I, it was realized that secret treaties had been responsible for its outbreak, and an effort was made to ensure that diplomacy would be more open in the future. Needless to say, these efforts did not succeed, and diplomacy has remained a realm of secrecy.

Many governments have agencies for performing undercover operations (usually very dirty ones). We can think, for example of the KGB, the CIA, M5, or Mossad. How can countries that have such agencies claim to be democracies, when the voters have no knowledge of or influence over the acts that are committed by the secret agencies of their governments?

Nuclear weapons were developed in secret. It is doubtful whether the people of the United States would have approved of the development of such antihuman weapons, or their use against an already-defeated Japan, if they had known that these things were going to happen. The true motive for the nuclear bombings was also kept secret. In the words of General Groves, speaking confidentially to colleagues at Los Alamos, the real motive was “to control the Soviet Union”.

The true circumstances surrounding the start of the Vietnam war would never have been known if Daniel Ellsberg had not leaked the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg thought that once the American public realized that their country’s entry into the war was based on a lie, the war would end. It did not end immediately, but undoubtedly Ellsberg’s action contributed to the end of the war.

In a democracy, the power of judging and controlling governmental policy is supposed to be in the hands of the people. It is completely clear that if the people do not know what their government is doing, then they cannot judge or control governmental policy, and democracy has been abolished. There has always been a glaring contradiction between democracy and secret branches of the government, such as the CIA, which conducts its assassinations and its dirty wars in South America without any public knowledge or control.

Edward Snowden’s revelations

The gross, wholesale electronic spying on citizens revealed by Snowden seems to be specifically aimed at eliminating democracy. It is aimed at instilling universal fear and conformity, fear of blackmail and fear of being out of step, so that the public will not dare to oppose whatever the government does, no matter how criminal or unconstitutional.

The Magna Carta is trashed. No one dares to speak up. Habeas Corpus is trashed. No one dares to speak up. The United Nations Charter is trashed. No one dares to speak up. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is trashed. No one dares to speak up. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution is trashed. No one dares to speak up. The President claims the right to kill both US and foreign citizens, at his own whim. No one dares to speak up.

But perhaps this is unjust. Perhaps some people would dare to protest, except that they cannot get their protests published in the mainstream media. We must remember that the media are owned by the same corporate oligarchs who own the government.

George Orwell, you should be living today! We need your voice today! After Snowden’s revelations, the sale of Orwell’s “1984” soared. It is now on the bestseller list. Sadly, Orwell’s dystopian prophesy has proved to be accurate in every detail.

Julian Assange, A martyr to the truth

We do not know what will happen to Julian Assange. If his captors send him to the US, and if he dies there for the crime of publishing leaked documents (a crime that he shares with the New York Times), he will not be the first martyr to the truth. The ageing Galileo was threatened with torture and forced to recant his heresy – that the earth moves around the sun. Galileo spent the remainder of his days in house arrest. Gordiano Bruno was less lucky. He was burned at the stake for maintaining that the universe is larger than it was then believed to be. If Julian Assange becomes a martyr to the truth like Galileo or Bruno, his name will be honored by generations in the future, and the shame of his captors will be remembered too.

The Deep State

What is the excuse for for the massive spying reported by Snowden, spying not only on US citizens but also on the citizens of other countries throughout the world? “We want to protect you from terrorism.”, the government answers. But terrorism is not a real threat, it is an invented one. It was invented by the military-industrial complex because, at the end of the Cold War, this enormous money-making conglomerate lacked enemies.

Globally, the number of people killed by terrorism is vanishingly small compared to the number of children who die from starvation every year. It is even vanishingly small compared with the number of people who are killed in automobile accidents. It is certainly small compared with the number of people killed in wars aimed at gaining western hegemony over oil-rich regions of the world.

The revelations of Edward Snowden and others have shown that the number of people involved in secret operations of the United States government is now as large as the entire population of Norway: roughly 5 million. The influence of this dark side of government has become so great that no president is able to resist it.

“Ye are many, they are few”

Shelly’s poem calls on us to resist governmental wrongdoing:

“Rise like lions, afer slumbers,

“In unvanquishable numbers,

“Shake your chains to earth like dew,

“Which in sleep have fallen on you,

“Ye are many, they are few.”

Many of my freely downloadable books can be found at the following web addresses:

John Scales Avery is a theoretical chemist at the University of Copenhagen. He is noted for his books and research publications in quantum chemistry, thermodynamics, evolution, and history of science. His 2003 book Information Theory and Evolution set forth the view that the phenomenon of life, including its origin, evolution, as well as human cultural evolution, has its background situated in the fields of thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and information theory. Since 1990 he has been the Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Between 2004 and 2015 he also served as Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. He founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and was for many years its Managing Editor. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (19881997). He can be reached at [email protected]. To know more about his works and download his books visit this link.

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