One of the most amusing aspects of the NSA scandal has been watching national-security state toadies berate Edward Snowden, the man who blew the whistle on the NSA’s longtime secret surveillance system, for being a “coward.”
They say that Snowden should have stayed here in the United States instead of fleeing to Hong Kong. They say that if he were a genuine hero, as his supporters say he is, he would have remained in the United States, where the national-security state would have incarcerated him, tortured him, and executed him.
Well, pray tell, national-security state toadies: Where were you all when those CIA agents skedaddled out of Italy after committing felonious offenses in that country?
Well, I don’t know where you all were but I can tell you what you were doing. You toadies were keeping your lips sealed. Unlike what you’re saying about Snowden, you all have never issued a peep of protest about the refusal of those CIA agents to face the music in Italy, stand before the accusers, and defend themselves against the charges.
Let’s review that case. CIA agents go into Italy and ensconce themselves in luxurious hotels at U.S. taxpayer expense. Then they proceed to kidnap a man on the streets of Milan and forcibly transport him out of the country. They take him to Egypt—yes, the same Egypt that was then headed by military strongman and brutal pro-U.S. dictator Hosni Mubarak. Why Egypt? Because Egypt’s military dictatorship was great at torturing people. And the U.S. national-security state wanted the man to be tortured.
What’s the problem with kidnapping and torture? Well, only that they’re criminal offenses under Italian law, which is precisely why those CIA agents got criminally indicted and later convicted and sentenced to serve time by an Italian court.
By the time charges were brought, however, the CIA agents had fled the country, determined never to return to Italy to face justice.
Equally important, why didn’t the national-security state toadies who are now calling Edward Snowden a coward say the same thing about those CIA felons?
After all, couldn’t those CIA agents have returned to Italy and proudly puffed out their heroic chests and proclaimed:
We are here in Italy to defend ourselves. We are proud members of the U.S. national-security state, the most powerful branch of the U.S. government. In our country, national-security state agents are immune from prosecution for murder, assassination, torture, kidnapping, perjury, or any other felony so long as we are operating to protect “national security.” And we, not you or anyone else, decides what that term means. Therefore, you have to dismiss the charges against us or find us innocent because when we kidnapped, renditioned, and tortured that guy, we were doing so to protect “national security.”
Alas, they didn’t do that. They rushed back to the United States, never to return to Italy.
And the national-security state toadies don’t dare say a word.
Moreover, let’s not forget the unnamed CIA agents who participated in the execution of the young American journalist Charles Horman during the Pinochet military coup in Chile, which the U.S. national-security state helped to bring about. Those CIA killers of an innocent American citizen certainly have never returned to Chile to face justice. Long ago, they decided that discretion was the better part of valor.
What do the national-security state toadies say about those murderers? Nothing. Nothing at all. While they’re screaming like banshees about how Snowden is a coward for refusing to voluntarily return to America to be brutalized, tortured, incarcerated, and executed, their lips are sealed with respect to the CIA agents who murdered American citizen Charles Horman in Chile.
On a related note, what about the Chilean criminal indictment of former national-security state official Navy Capt. Ray E. Davis for purportedly participating in Horman’s murder.
Did Davis, who was indicted in 2011, rush back to Chile to face justice? Of course not.
Have the national-security state toadies criticized Davis for “cowardice.” Of course not. Their lips have remained sealed about the matter.
What about CIA operative Jose Posada Carriles, who was indicted by the Venezuelan government for the bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner, a terrorist act that killed everyone on board, including the young members of Cuba’s fencing team? We don’t see him rushing back to Venezuela to face his accusers. Instead, this accused terrorist chooses to remain right here in the United States, where the national-security state continues to harbor and protect him, notwithstanding the existence of an extradition agreement between the United States and Venezuela.
And what about the national-security state toadies regarding Posada Carriles? You guessed it! Sealed lips and silence.
So, why the difference? Why do national-security state toadies call Snowden a coward while maintaining strict silence, or even support, for the national-security state agents who steadfastly refuse to face justice in Italy, Chile, and Venezuela?
The difference lies in the mindset that the toadies have toward the national-security state itself. The national-security state is their everything. It’s their god. It’s their idol. It’s their daddy. It’s their Big Brother. So, whatever happens to be the position of the national-security state, that’s what the position of the national-security state toadies will be. Since the national-security state wants Snowden to return to the United States to be jailed, tortured, and executed, that’s what the national-security state toadies want. Since the national-security state wants to harbor and protect its kidnappers, torturers, and murderers from crimes they’ve purportedly committed, that too is the position of the toadies.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.
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