We live in a free country. A developed country. A country that is considered part of the Western world, better than all of the other backwards countries who aren’t part of our little gang. What makes us so good is that we are a democracy, our citizens vote for other people who vote based on their political persuasion and so we can all claim that we help make our country what it is. We have a voice, we’re awesome.
A man hits the news. He’s from a third world country, one of the countries that the playground bullies don’t consider to be part of the club. He appeals to the popular people and shouts as loudly as he can that the unpopular kids have been spying on the popular ones. They’ve been reading every message that they’ve sent and listening to every phonecall. Every movement that the popular kids have made has been tracked and recorded by the unpopular kids and this one brave soul has spoken out.
America, the biggest fattest bully of them all, condemns the spying and the evesdropping and the tracking. He says that it is an abhorrent crime to spy on someone and praises the one brave guy who spoke out. England joins in, because they always copy what America says, and suddenly all the popular kids are praising this one whistleblower. But the unpopular country is upset and start calling treason. In their eyes this guy is a traitor and he’s put their entire security system at risk because he’s telling all the popular kids about all of the schemes that the unpopular kids have been concocting. They declare him public enemy number one and tell the rest of the world that under no circumstances should be allowed asylum. He’s a traitor, and under their legal system he should be punished.
But America likes what he did because it works to their advantage so they help him out and they grant him asylum. They declare that whistleblowing isn’t against the law and condemn the actions of the third world country, who they say shouldn’t have been spying in the first place. They offer the guy political asylum. The third world country say that they’re breaking international law but America just laugh. They’re the popular kid, they don’t have to worry about international law. They’re the head of the world, they make international law.
Can you imagine the outrage if we found out that China was spying on us? The international outrage would last for weeks, we would be sanctioning them and declaring their actions illegal. We would laugh at them if they told us that they were doing it for our freedom. But when our government says it we just swallow it up, it becomes part of the normal bullshit rhetoric that they throw around every day and we let it wash past us without any sort of outrage. A quote from William Hague I saw on the news:
"We operate under the rule of law and are accountable for it. In some countries secret intelligence is used to control their people - in ours, it only exists to protect their freedoms."
That could have been spouted by any dictator and England would be among the first there condemning it. Have they heard themselves? Or are they so dulled by the crap that they speak that, like the rest of us, they just filter it out and nod along blindly like a particularly dim puppy. We are being strung along like all the people from the countries we look down on and they are getting away with it purely because of our own arrogance. Of course us Westerners don’t want to think of ourselves as capable of being tricked. There is no way in the Western ideology that our government could be doing something actually creepy and controlling, something that we constantly condemn other countries for doing. It couldn’t happen to us.
The media have unwillingly helped with this false sense of security that all of us have wrapped ourselves in by completely ignoring the important story, that we’re being spied on, and focussing instead on the manhunt for Edward Snowdon. They have turned him into exactly what the American government want him to be, an evil traitor who is running away like a common criminal and needs to be caught as soon as possible, rather than what he would be if he was from any other country, which is a political asylum seeker. If Aung San Suu Kyi was American, they’d have had her on death row before she could eat her breakfast.
The funny thing is, that they are trying to arrest him for the exact same crime that they have committed. But like the murder they also commit, it isn’t a crime when they do it. Somehow the law is always magically on the largest bully’s side, probably because we’re all worried about the calibre of intelligence belonging to the people who have their finger over the actual weapons of mass destruction – the ones that are okay and legal because the ‘right’ people own them. But nobody cares about the clear hypocrisy of the American government trying to arrest someone for spying on the spy programme that they run to ‘protect’ the freedom of their citizens. Everyone swallows the line that ‘its okay because we aren’t doing it to Americans.’ Well I’m not an American, I don’t give a damn about the safety of the American people, I give a damn about my freedom and my privacy. I want to be able to type the word terrorist into google without going on a list. I want to be able to joke about blowing something up on the phone without somebody from another country storming my door down and arresting me. It all comes down to democracy again. If I am going to be convinced in any way by the claim that we are a democracy, how the hell can it be explained away that people from another country, over which I have no say, are deciding things about my personal data? How does anybody consider that and think, wow thank god I’m sat here in a free democratic country?
The truth of course is that they don’t think about it. All the average idiot thinks about, if they pay any attention at all, is that there’s some traitor running around the world and hopefully he’ll be caught soon so that America can go back to ‘protecting people from terrorists,’ terrorists that wouldn’t exist if America stopped murdering innocent civilians from other countries, in the name of American freedom, for just five minutes.
And finally, as I once again despair at the state of this world and feel that familiar American tasting bile rise up at the back of my throat, I have one last thought for anyone who still believes it’s a good thing that they’re spying on all of us ‘free’ people. If America are so good and so wonderful, if they are really truly honestly trying to do the right thing, then why are they chasing someone half the way round the world just because they revealed a secret? Why do they have such evil things locked away in their little bunkers that they need to keep them hidden from everyone if they’re the good guys? Because if you think logically about all the secretive and powerful groups that are and have been, they’re always ‘the bad guys.’ The Nazis, the Communists, the Chinese, the middle Eastern dictators. If America are so wonderful, why is there nothing at all that distinguishes them from their enemies, including the constant assurances that they’re doing it to protect their people.
This time next month they’ll probably have captured the evil traitor Edward Snowdon and he’ll be starting the legal process that leads him to his death sentence (another thing America is hopelessly backwards on) while the people of the world move on completely forgetting that they’re being spied on, and while America keep undemocratically stealing their freedom to protect American citizens from terrorism and spreading their horrific ideology to countries that don’t want it. And if I dared speak freely and blogged about what I sometimes wonder, whether the world would be better off if America didn’t exist, then I would probably be sat up there with him waiting for my own death for the crime of inciting terrorism, in a country that has nothing to do with me but will continue to steal my freedom and steal my voice wherever it can. Sometimes I just want to drown myself in a giant bucket of vimto, or pull out bits of my brain until I'm stupid enough that the world makes sense.