Bryan Hemming

short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography

Edward Snowden: A Truly Free Man

Edward Snowden 2NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN, many unsung American heroes still lie buried beneath battlefields throughout the world. Especially on my own continent, Europe. They are the unknown soldiers, whose remains, or identities, were never discovered.

But not all unsung American heroes are dead, and not all are unknown. Not all belong to a glorious past. There are growing numbers of unsung American heroes living today. Unsung because they are slandered, defamed and libelled instead. Brave men who enlisted in the armed forces thinking they were being sent to foreign countries to help free others from oppression, only to discover their government did not share those noble aims, and had lied to them when saying they did.

Nowadays, in the age of drones and cyber warfare, not all are packed off to the front to face enemy fire on a daily basis. Like Edward Snowden, some are even lucky enough to serve their country from the island paradises of Hawaii. Nevertheless, even though Edward Snowden, never did get to serve with the elite Special Services he originally enlisted in, he now lives in constant fear for his life wherever he goes. Not from the enemy he swore to oppose, but from his own countrymen. Fear of death from men who see no patriotic cause  worth fighting for, nor share Snowden’s high ideals, but from men who simply kill for money. Men who are no better than mafia hitmen, men who are even worse. Men paid handsomely by the US government through third agencies to kill brave men prepared to speak out against what they see as wrong. Men the police are highly unlikely to investigate, let alone arrest. To encourage the others, so to speak. Like the vile dictatorships the US is supposed to be against, they kill anyone on the orders of their own cowardly leaders. If, and when, the price is high enough.

None of those, who gave their lives for their country in WW2, would have be derided for their humble origins or their lack of education, for when the moment came they gave their lives in the belief they were fighting for the freedom of their country, and the freedom of other countries. Countries, which were often, far away from their homes and loved ones. Most men were lucky enough to return, but many of those were unlucky enough to return severely wounded. In WW2 no journalist,  senator or congressman would have thought to insult the academic qualifications of someone who had served his country, and certainly not journalist, senator or congressman who not even tried on a uniform, let alone fought for his country, Yet now there are so many armchair warriors ready to condemn Edward Snowden for revealing the duplicity of his nation, there’s no more space for the snakes to lounge in the parlour.

Most men who enlist in the armed forces are ordinary folk. They are young, the sons and daughters of grocers, teachers, factory workers, farmers and dressmakers. Often they come from deprived areas with high unemployment. Some are even the sons of drug dealers and criminals trying to better their lives the only way they know how. But they all have one thing in common, they believe they are risking their lives to bring freedom and democracy to people who have none. Freedom from tyranny. Freedom for people they have been told are living under vicious dictatorships determined to keep their citizens under the jackboot. They believe they are in foreign countries to break the chains of tyranny that allow secret police and agents to spy on their own citizens’ every move, to open their private correspondence, and be privy to every phone call they make to mother, father or girlfriend. They believe they are there to stop these details being noted on files and stored, to be used against them on the slightest pretext at some future date. A great number of these young people in the prime of thier lives gave uo their own lives in the pursuit of those aims. They died thinking they were sacrificing their lives so others could live in freedom from fear. Freedom to breathe the fresh, clean air without worrying someone was watching. But they were lied too.

Though I never suffered life under the jackboot personally, I was brought up on stories of vile dictatorship told by my mother, who spent five years in Oslo during the Nazi occupation of Norway from 1940 to 1945. Five years of deprivation, constant hunger and intense fear, One of the most horrifyiing tales she told me was of the terrifying screams coming daily from Gestapo headquarters in the centre of the city. The Nazis soon learned it pays to advertise. Step by step, the US governement is beginning learning the power that comes from instilling fear into its citizens as well.

Most of those who fight and die in war are not much more than boys. They’re all told they are fighting for a country that stands up for what is good and right. There can be no grey areas. They believe in their country, they love their country, and are prepared to give their lives for it. That’s what the US tells its soldiers. And that was once true, more or less.

Edward Snowden was such a believer. Born in Wilmington North Carolina in 1983 of typical American stock, his father was a Coast Guard and his mother is a clerk at a federal court in Maryand. They are what most Americans would call ´good people´. Edward was what would most people would’ve called ‘good people’ too, once upon a time.

Not a great early achiever partly on health grounds – he dropped out of school for medical reasons – he soon picked up, working on a Masters Degree amongst other things. At some point during this period he decided he wanted to serve his country.

On May 7 2004 he enlisted in the United States Army to fight in Iraq as he “felt he had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”. Once again fate intervened and he could not complete his training for service in the Special Services due to breaking  both of his legs in a training accident. Unlike nearly all of his high powered critics, he was prepared to die for his country, he was ready and prepared to die for his principles. Unlike most of his critics, he still is.

The fac that he was too severly injured to serve in the Special Forces did not discourage him from his desire to serve his country, which he believed was bringing freedom from oppression to the world. He served in both the NSA (National Security Agency) and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in the belief they were gathering evidence to stop terrorist activity and save lives.

Like many other servicemen, at some point during his service he started to become disillusioned with what he saw his country doing. Far from spying on enemy nations they were spying on their allies. That was one thing, but he also learned they were using modern technology to burgle the houses of innocent Americans of private information. They were eavesdropping on private communications, or just recording the number of every single person they were in contact with. Not one or two, but literally billions of records were being stored. This did not fit in with his idea of “helping free people from oppression”. It was not part of the oath he took and he was disgusted.

From the position he took, he was observing all the tools capable of imposing universal oppression being quietly put in place without the peoples’ consent. He was seeing everything necessary for a repressive dictatorship to operate in his own country being installed on the quiet. He saw it, because Edward Snowden was one of the people doing it. He knows what the technology is capable of and, like the people in charge of ordering it, he knows it is unconstitutional and undemocratic. He knows it is exactly the opposite of freeing people from oppression. He also knows it is unAmerican. That is why he is now being hounded: because his government didn’t want its citizens to know just how far they are prepared to go to keep their hands on power. It is the people who are hounding him who are unAmerican and undemocratic. Like the  pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm they have become the very people they claim they are sacrificing American young lives to protect democracy from. They are now sacrificing young American lives to sacrifice democracy.

And now polititicians, journalists and bankers, who have never took up arms, or even volunteered to take uo arms for their country queue up to condemn Edward Snowden as a traitor; a danger to the security of the nation. Those very treacherous souls who have manipulated world markets for personal gain and to the loss of the ordinary American people. Those same economic terrorists who have  brought the nation’s economy to its knees. The biggest danger he poses is the danger he poses to their freedom to pursue their lives of corruption and crime without hindrance. Those are the real cowards and traitors. They use this spying technology to rig markets and manipulate currrencies with illegally gained insider information, Edward Snowden is just somebody getting in their way. An unwanted distraction in their schemes to rob the American people of every cent of their hard-earned savings. They want everything.

Though they bluster and bellow about Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan they have almost certainly never set foot in any of those countries and would have great diffiuclty pointing them out on a map. How dare have the audacity to criticise this man who volunteered o give up his life for his nation? A man of principles not prices. It is time the full force of the law was turned against them, not against one  of America’s heroes. It is time to turn the  tide against those who would conspire to destroy the USA solely in pursuit of personal wealth.

America should be proud of Edward Snowden, and all the people like him, who are still prepared to sacrfice their lives to help free people from oppression. It is a sad day when there are more ordinary people outside the United States, who are prepared to defend true democracy than inside. The USA needs all the idealists and people of principle it can get to gt rid of the vermin that have infested its democracy.

Edward Snowden maybe not be the sort of hero Hollywood wants. But Hollywood is full of heroes who have never been near a war zone.

Edward Snowden, a truly, free man, who believes in true freedom for all.


One comment on “Edward Snowden: A Truly Free Man

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes
    July 13, 2013

    “simply kill for money”. Don’t you loathe such?

    Can you BELIEVE ‘spy on their own citizens’ every move’ even happens, does it REALLY HAPPEN?

    Excellent scribe, Bryan, most particularly your last words “never been near a war zone”. Indeed, indeed.

    I don’t know the full story with Snowden, but that he revealed US secrets. Obviously, he US is highly highly ashamed of what it really is.


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