For those who still believe in bourgeois democracy, the Snowden case reveals all the falsity of the allegedly “inalienable” character of rights and freedoms. The accumulation and seizure of personal data such as visited websites, emails and telephone conversations are now proved to be commonplace, officially “justified” by the need for accumulating information that might serve national security purposes. In fact, Barack Obama, the supposed post-Bush liberal, extended those monitoring programs while, at the same time, the acts of terror committed by the U.S. government with its drones and special teams in regions such as Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen increased with impunity.
Economic and police terror also increased under Obama through school closures, housing eviction, and higher rate of imprisonment of Afro-Americans—this is something we in Canada should learn from. That is, we should have no confidence in the democratic-liberal wing of the bourgeoisie’s supposed ability to oppose Bush and Harper’s politics. Such a confidence only propagates illusions about the so-called “democracy” of the capitalist system.
The Snowden case moved to Moscow on June 23 and gave rise to diplomatic rivalries amidst harsh inter-imperialist contradictions. For example, even though they blamed China for espionage, it is now clear that the U.S. was spying on technological and military advances in China. Moreover, despite their denial and protests, it is likely that the Canadian government and various European governments were aware of the NSA scheme and that they fully cooperated in collecting and sharing information.
Four European countries have prevented the plane of Bolivian President Evo Morales from entering their airspace because they suspected that Snowden was on board. Edward Snowden was offered political asylum by Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela but, since it would be very risky for him to fly across the Atlantic, he is likely to remain in Russia under promise to stay quiet so as not to annoy Moscow-Washington relations.
Meanwhile, Private First Class Bradley Manning is facing a political and military trial after having spent three years in a maximum-security prison. When he was assigned to Iraq, he revealed videos and more than 700,000 documents proving the massacre of civilians by the U.S. Army. The evidence contained in these documents demonstrated that these massacre were well known and even ordered by the military leadership.
Unlike Vietnam, where journalists possessed a significant level of freedom of movement and information, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are totally under the control of the imperialist propaganda system—one more reason for Manning’s “treason” to be taken seriously by the bourgeois state, as they want to prevent any similar leaks in the future. His trial will be held in camera and 170 of the 350 journalists who applied to attend have been denied. Bradley Manning could be sentenced to life imprisonment. Since the prosecution is using against him the fact that he does not hide his homosexuality, more than 2,000 people formed a contingent calling for his immediate release within the Pride demonstration held in June in San Francisco.
We must support the just struggle of both Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning to reveal the abuses committed by U.S. imperialism outside and inside its borders. The national security interests are those of a state apparatus that is only concerned by the imperialist’s, not the peoples’, interests.