Originally Published on OpEdNews
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We've been living in times when heroes are vilified and framed as traitors by politicians and partisan media. These are the people and organizations bought and paid for by the military industrial security complex. They bring along with them their followers and supporters.
Politicians Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham and Peter King see Snowden as a traitor or guilty of treason. Rand Paul would like to see Snowden in Jail along with James Clapper, who Snowden's revelations proved, had lied to congress.
Senator Bernie Sanders wrote , " Love him or hate him, we all owe Snowden our thanks for forcing upon the nation an important debate. But the debate shouldn't be about him. It should be about the gnawing questions his actions raised from the shadows."
Go outside the USA and the lines are drawn differently. A huffingtonpost article, in October reported that " 67 percent of those polled in Canada and 60 percent in the U.K. viewed him as a hero."
And a Time Magazine poll asking people to vote for either President Obama or Edward Snowden made it very clear who the winner of that poll was. Almost two million people weighed in, giving Snowden a win 82% to 18%. But that poll could include people from all over the world.
But polls shouldn't matter when it comes to defenders of freedom. I call people who put their lives at risk to defend freedom heroes. We don't simply pardon heroes. We honor and reward them. We glorify them.
A January 2, 2014 Huffingtonpost article reported,
On Wednesday night, the editorial board of The New York Times published an editorial that not only described Snowden as a whistleblower but also called on the government to give him clemency.Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community.
The Times noted that none of Snowden's revelations have done profound damage to the intelligence operations of the U.S., nor have his disclosures hurt national security. However, his efforts have exposed the federal government's lack of respect for privacy and constitutional protections.When someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government.Snowden gave classified information to journalists, even though he knew the likely consequences. That was an act of courage.
If there was true justice in the USA, Edward Snowden would be awarded the Congressional Medal of Freedom or the Presidential Medal of Honor. And he should not be alone. Chelsea Manning, Thomas Drake, Sibel Edmonds, Jesselyn Radack, to name a few, deserve honors and medals, not ill treatment, not prosecution, punishment or imprisonment.
We desperately need whistleblowers who reveal the secrets that top-down people in power in government, corporations and organizations cover up.
It is not enough to put one bandage on one whistleblower's case, as noble and courageous as Edward Snowden has proven to be. We must dive deeper and change the rules about how whistleblowers are handled. They must be encouraged by honors rewards, medals and they should be embraced as heroes.
There have been a number of politicians, spy agency heads and pundits, like Washington Post's Ruth Marcus who have suggested that Snowden could have done what he has achieved by working within the system, reporting his revelations to higher-ups within the government hierarchy. These people are too smart to attribute such nonsense to naivety. So I'll call them flat out frauds and liars, water-carriers for the criminal government that Snowden has revealed to be operating, subjecting the citizens of the world to its security predations.