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Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. History of U.S. Intelligence Activities
  3. NSA Agent Edward Snowden Went Public
  4. Lessons Learned from Mr. Snowden's Testimonies
  5. Choosing Hong Kong to Go Public
  6. Departing Hong Kong
  7. First Press Conference in Moscow
  8. Tip of an Iceberg
  9. U.S. Offensive Cyber Operations and Intelligence Program Funding
  10. Preemptive Strike on Another Whistleblower?
  11. Why do I care if I have nothing to hide?
  12. Implications of Project Souvenir: 2013 Canada Day Bomb Plot in Victoria, British Columbia
  13. Responses of the World
  14. Hero, Traitor or Double Agent?
  15. Stay Focus
  16. Who Is The Real Winner?
  17. Popular Culture References

Insight from Edward Snowden


After 911, Americans placed paramount importance in homeland security. Understandably, this is a reasonable and necessary action that a sovereign nation should take. The U.S. government is on moral high ground. Like after the Pearl Harbour attack in 1941, Americans rally behind their government, scream for revenge and are prepared to pay a high price in securing safety. Costly War on Terror, global pursuit on the lives of those responsible, legislation of laws that are potentially oppressive and unconstitutionally, sacrifice of privacy and inconvenience on airport security check are generally accepted by most Americans without qualification. The 911 atrocity has inadvertently garnered public support to further American hegemony and undermined civil liberty and human rights.

Noble cause is seldom opposed and often hijacked by special interests for purposes that may not serve the original cause well. We focus on information disclosed by a NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in June 2013 and investigate how modus operandi of bureaucracies with absolute power and unlimited financial resources parallel one another under the pretext of safety and best interests.

History of U.S. Intelligence Activities

Information is power. Knowledge on enemies is vital in defeating them. Sun Tze (孫子) wrote the last chapter of his famous treatise "The Art of War" (孫子兵法) entirely on espionage over 2,500 years ago. "If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt." Many American military victories were won in no small part on accurate intelligence obtained from wiretapping and communication code secretly deciphered. The Battle of Midway in 1942, killing of the commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese Combined Fleet Isoroku Yamamoto 山本五十六 in 1943 and and the defeat of Nazi German U-boat attacks in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II are results of successful intelligence collection, interpretation and analysis. On the other hand, the U.S. suffered military setback when intelligence provides inaccurate or insufficient information to assess a situation. For instance, failure to correctly assess the number of Chinese troops moved into Korea in late 1950 and underestimated their combat capability led to the first UN setback after the Inchon landing. UN commander Mark W. Clark became the first American general signing an armistice without achieving total victory.

After World War II, the United States separated intelligence service from its military and created several intelligence agencies with different mandates governed by different legislations. The 911 attack changed the organizational structure of the U.S. intelligence services. According to the classified intelligence budget provided by Snowden, there are 107,035 military personnel and civilian employees and contract workers worldwide working in the U.S. intelligence community which comprises of 16 agencies. Intelligence activities are coordinated and overseen by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence created in 2004. Its mandate is to advise the U.S. president and Homeland Security on national security issues. Its goal is to effectively integrate foreign, military and domestic intelligence in defense of the homeland and of United States interests abroad. Its operating budget has risen to $1.7 billion in 2013 (a 341% since 2004).

The most powerful agency is the National Security Agency (NSA) founded by President Harry S. Truman on 4 November 1952. With its headquarter in Fort Meade, Maryland, the mandate of NSA includes surveillance on other U.S. intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the FBI. It has been described as the world's largest single employer of mathematicians and the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers. To best serve its secretive function, it keeps a low profile. For many years, its existence was not acknowledged by the U.S. government, earning it the nickname, "No Such Agency" (NSA). It was also quipped that their motto is "Never Say Anything".

Hover your mouse to pause the slide show and to view photo description.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the United States has spied and mounted surveillance on China. After the Korean War, Lockheed U-2 high altitude spy planes were used until replaced by spy satellites. America's fanatic interest in Chinese military hardware turned into a laugh stock when U.S. spy satellites mistaken 1,000 years old Hakka Earthen Castles (aka Fujian Tulou) in the province of Fujian as missile silos in 1985 during the Reagan era. The Americans were not at ease until their spies visited the site as tourists and confirmed that the earth towers are civilian houses built long before the United States was founded. As the resolution of spy satellite photos improves in recent years, embarrassing mistake like this is unlikely to recur. U.S. spy satellites can now see the fine print of the newspaper you read in your backyard.

On 7 May 1999, a subtle spy war with China transpired when the U.S. B-2 stealth bombers bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo War. The bombing killed three Chinese reporters and injured 20 others. On the surface, it appears to be an accident caused by faulty geographic coordinates provided by the CIA. The following provide shred of evidence to refute the accidental bombing theory:

  1. NATO had no authority over the B-2 stealth bombers flying directly out of Whiteman AFB, Missouri to carry out the mission. It is unclear if other NATO leaders approved or even know about the strike. Hence, the bombing was conducted by the United States alone outside the framework of NATO. U.S. allies were kept in the dark of the American unilateral action that could put them at the risk of war with China.
  2. Embassies are frequently used as espionage centres to collect information because of their unique status of sovereignty on foreign soil. Many military attachés attached to embassies are spies. Chinese embassy was collecting U.S. military data in the First Gulf War and the Kosovo War. Before the bombing, an F-117A Night Hawk stealth fighter was shot down during that air war. The wreckage was scooped up by the Chinese and stored in the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. It was about to be shipped to China for further analysis. This attracted U.S. attention. Bombing the embassy has military value.
  3. Central Intelligence Agency director George Tenet testified before a congressional committee that the bombing was the only one in the campaign organized and directed by his agency. Why an intelligence agency is authorized to organize the only air strike in the Kosovo War outside the NATO framework that went south? What is the intent and the objective of such extraordinary mission?
  4. Meticulous satellite scanning of intended targets is a standard pre-strike preparation in the U.S. military. Using an outdated map to program the target package of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) precision guided bombs is a lame excuse that could fool no one but the gullible public.

If the bombing was deliberate, what is the U.S. trying to accomplish? In view of the disparity in military strength (China was about 20-30 years behind in 1999) and the small loss inflicted, China will not risk going to war. The following are some logical reasons to explain such calculating act of aggression:

  • prevent or at least mitigate the Chinese ability to collect tactical military data during the NATO air war in Kosovo, above all, to destroy the wreckage of an F-117A Night Hawk stealth fighter held in the Chinese embassy (the only practical option available to the U.S.);
  • intimidate the Chinese and test the response and the quality of decision making of the Chinese leadership under Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji;
  • to send a subtle message to both allies and potential enemies that collecting information on the U.S. carries consequences, including sneak military attack conducted under the pretext of accident.

China never accepted the accidental bombing theory. The U.S. apologized, paid a token reparation and fired several CIA agents allegedly responsible for fatal error. One of them was William Bennette, a former Green Berets (United States Army Special Forces) before joining the CIA.

After Mr. Bennette was fired, he went into seclusion with his wife in Lansdowne, Virginia. He emerged from retirement to join the war on terror after the 911 attack. Almost ten years after the Chinese embassy bombing, his dead body was found around 5:30 a.m. on 22 March 2009 and his wife Cynthia severely beaten. Local police arrested 19-year-old Jaime Ayala and charged him with second-degree murder and aggravated malicious wounding. A Loudoun County judge sentenced the accused to life plus 40 years in prison on 24 August 2011.

The attack on the Bennetts was officially described as a random and senseless assault and robbery. The police found no evidence linking the Bennette's murder and the embassy bombing. A Taiwanese TV production (東森新聞台 《關鍵時刻》aired on 25 June 2013) alleged that Mr. Bennette told the Washington Post that he was about to publish a book and speculated that his sudden death occurred shortly after is a targeted attack. Such coincidental timing provides food for thought on the real motive of his murder. Is this a random assault or a preemptive strike to prevent a scapegoat from going public or publishing information that could embarrass the U.S. government?

American spying activities is becoming more frequent, extensive, sophisticated and aggressive. There is now an American spy satellite scanning China every 10 minutes. Spy planes, drones, ships and submarines cruise in nearby skies and waters to snatch any information they could find. Intelligence agencies (CIA and NSA) actively recruit overseas Chinese to work as spies. Chinese scientists, government officials and businessmen are offered handsome bribes to handover sensitive information and military intelligence. Chinese students studying in America whose parents may be of interest are also targeted. Major Chinese military facilities, especially her aircraft carrier and submarines, are being monitored around the clock and could be accurately targeted immediately after hostility commences.

Aggressive spy activities could easily lead to military standoff and at times are counterproductive. On 1 April 2001, U.S. advanced electronic reconnaissance plane EP-3E colluded with a Chinese J-8 jet fighter about 70 miles (110 km) away from the Chinese province of Hainan known as the Hainan Island incident resulting in the death of a Chinese pilot Wang Wei. Chinese experts and military boarded the plane and thoroughly stripped and examined the aircraft's equipment partially destroyed by the crew before landing. The U.S. ended up losing more top secret information than gaining. As a condition to get the damaged EP-3E back, a source suggested that China demanded the U.S. to exert influence on its NATO ally Turkey to grant permission for the Varyag (the hulk of the first Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning bought from Ukraine) to pass the Bosphorus strait. At 11:45 a.m. on 2 November 2001, the Varyag completed its passage and made for Gallipoli after 16 months of circling in the Black Sea and eventually made its way to Chinese water.

In 2008, American agents infiltrated as humanitarian aid workers to collect military information of the fifth generation Chinese stealth jet fight Chengdu J20 (whose performance is comparable with that of the U.S. fighter Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor) in the Sichuan earthquake on 12 May 2008. They took advantage of the aftermath chaos and the proximity of the earthquake site and the city of Chengdu where the Chinese jet fighter was developed and produced.

U.S. intelligence community is also interested on the personal life, education background, faith and beliefs, sexual and intimate relationships, hobbies and interests of foreign leaders. Any information that may shed light on their decision making and medical conditions is never forgone. Foreign leaders, especially major powers like Russia and China, are closely monitored by teams of analysts. Their speech, act, facial expression, eye contact, body language are recorded and analyzed by in-house psychologists. Signs of aggression, indecision, anger, doubt, change in body weight and health problems are reported to the U.S. president if his attention is warranted. They will hit a jackpot if they find any information (such as extramarital affairs) that could be used to blackmail or embarrass their VIP targets. Whenever foreign leaders visit America, eavesdropping and collection of DNA and other biopsy samples (such as saliva, urine and faeces) are standard procedure. This explains why the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his staff declined the invitation to stay in the prestigious Sunnylands ranch and stayed in a nearby hotel during the 2013 June summit with President Obama in California.

U.S. surveillance interest on China has extended to activities in ultra space. The manned spaceflight of China's Shenzhou 10 (神舟十号) launched on 11 June 2013 was closely monitored by the intelligence services from various nations, first and foremost, the U.S. of course. Electronic signal fingerprint variations during orbit alterations around the space station Tiangong 1, manual and automated undocking and re-docking, seamless real time communication data transfer from space, spacecraft heat insulation and accurate land landing technologies are of particular interest. Despite China's declaration that her space programs are for peaceful purposes, the U.S. Defense Department has highlighted the nation's increasing space capabilities and alleged that Beijing is pursuing a variety of activities aimed at preventing its adversaries from using space-based assets during a crisis. Needless to say, the Pentagon is pursuing the same star war like capabilities to knock out satellites of other nations.

American spying is not limited to rival states. Longtime allies are also being watched. In November 2010, WikiLeaks and its media partners the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel made public that the July 2009 Obama directive to U.S. embassies around the world, including the one in Ottawa, asked diplomats to go beyond collecting the usual information of name, title and phone number. Diplomats were also asked to pass along internet and intranet handles, e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs, credit card account numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, work schedules and other relevant biographical information.

NSA Agent Edward Snowden Went Public

The 29-year old NSA agent Edward Snowden went public in Hong Kong. He confirmed that the U.S. government is using a system called PRISM to launch worldwide surveillance on foreign governments, organizations and individuals (including Americans). Communications such as phone calls, e-mails, fax, video conference, social media, on-line chatting are secretly obtained by state-of-art technology without probable cause. Data are archived and processed by advanced supercomputers with huge storage capacity. NSA supercomputers are stored in underground reinforced concrete structures to enhance protection against nuclear strike. Subjects of surveillance include both friend and foes, Americans and foreign nationals, military and civil organizations, and even universities and other American intelligence agencies. His testimonies in the video interview with The Guardian embarrassed the American government and confirmed the Chinese position that China is a major victim of cyber attacks.

The United States has repeatedly accused China of cyber theft and alleged that military secrets have been stolen. American concerns over cyber security is a major issue in the Xi-Obama summit in June 2013. The pot calls the kettle black. In view of Mr. Snowden's disclosure, Chinese cyber espionage is trivial compared with its American counterpart.

Incidentally, Mr. Snowden's testimonies also shed light on understanding service providers in the child protection industry. Ruses used by bureaucrats with absolute power often mirrors one another and will enhance our knowledge to build a safer future for our children. We will discuss similarities in international politics and the child protection industry. For the ease of reference, we archived the transcript of the interview of Mr. Snowden below.

Lessons Learned from Mr. Snowden's Testimonies

Critics of the child protection industry often call child protection workers secret bureaucratic police. In reality, they indeed play the role of enforcing child protection law. To enhance their job security and to create business opportunities for other service providers, these bureaucrats investigate, persecute and extract punishment on parents under the pretext of child protection and due process of law. The title "child protection workers" or "social workers" is a convenient cover to mitigate the oppressive nature of their job and to put potential victims, parents whom they call clients, at ease, hence rendering them more vulnerable in the forthcoming onslaught.

Like intelligence agencies backed by the military in conducting covert operations, child protection workers are backed by the police if muscle is needed. They have an amateur surveillance apparatus mounting covert operations on unsuspecting parents. It is a miniature surveillance used by intelligence agencies designed primarily to create jobs for service providers in the child protection industry.

While the U.S. intelligence services mount global round the clock surveillance on both friends and foes with no blind spot, the Mickey mouse surveillance arm of the child protection service is target-oriented to catch a breach of supervision order from unsuspecting parents to justify further action or re-removal of their children. Despite their huge difference in spying sophistication and the nature of surveillance, these two distinct regimes have the following in common:


National Security Agency (NSA)

[n] denotes the paragraph number in the video transcript above

Child Protection Service(CPS)

wage and lifestyle of service providers young junior agents could earn US$200,000 a year with good benefits, pension and a privileged life in Hawaii despite the lack of special skills [14], [26] high salary, good fringe benefits and pension in view of their education and job skills
privileged access of confidential information Federate agents are authorized to have unrestricted access of a broad range of confidential information acquired without the knowledge of target using state-of-art technology [6] per Section 215 of the Patriot Act under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act without warrant. Child protection regimes are governed by different legislation. In British Columbia, Section 96 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) allows child protection workers liberal access of all records (including medical history) in the custody or control of a public body as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act without warrant.
peer pressure on whistleblowers discussion of wrongdoing is discouraged and ignored by peers [7] mistakes, negligence, wrongdoing and abuse of power are covered up, peers and superiors rally behind one another when scrutinized, whistleblowers are pressured to quit
destroy the credibility of whistleblowers uncover any information that could destroy the credibility of whistleblowers, the U.S. government alleged that Mr. Snowden has falsified his academic qualification when applying for job and tarnish him as a criminal and traitor are classic example of such ruse lobby the police to arrest and the Crown to lay criminal charges on parents by baiting parents to fall into traps like uttering death threats to child protection workers
self-certification of serving intended cause belief that activities serve national interests [9] belief that activities serve the best interests of children
power to mount surveillance even junior agents like Snowden have the authorities to wiretap anyone including the U.S. President [11] have de facto power to mount amatuer surveillance on unsuspecting parents to create incriminating evidence in child protection hearings and to create business opportunities to service providers in the child protection industry
desire to benefit from a secret action acting against the value of democracy and liberty [13] to further American hegemony under the pretext of national security In addition to the aboveboard child protection activities, CPS mounts secret surveillance and use pseudo science to fabricate evidence in support of child removal decision. This acts against natural justice and the best interests of children and their families but allows service providers to aggrandize at taxpayer's expense under the pretext of child safety
risk of whistleblowers Going public internationally provides some deterrence to being kidnapped or killed by other American secret agents, third-party partners (secret agents of other countries) or the Traids (Mafia in Hong Kong) [16]. If the U.S. wants to kill, it will likely be by way of an accident or a murder suicide involving his girlfriend Lindsay Mills. A more probable consequence is to face criminal prosecution and extradition, which was confirmed by news report on 22 June 2013. The U.S. government has laid criminal charges on Mr. Snowden for theft of state properties and unauthorized disclosure of defence secrets on 14 June 2013, 5 days after Mr. Snowden went public. losing career, face persecution and lawsuit, perhaps murdered in extreme cases
counter productive results extending the capabilities of architecture of oppression, rendering America worse off as a free and democratic nation unnecessary and inappropriate separation of children and parents, placing vulnerable children in risky foster homes resulting in sexual abuse and murder, creating excessive financial burden on society to finance such counter productive activities and to deal with social problems of foster children
why law abiding citizens should be concerned Innocent people could be scrutinized because of a wrong call. Agents could derive suspicion and tarnish targets in the context of a wrongdoer. [20] Naive parents often believe that they have nothing to fear if they have not abused their children. Some parents voluntarily partake in psychological assessment and programs offered by child protection workers and open their families to the risk of incriminating evidence fabrication.
perception of animosity The U.S. government perceives China as an archenemy, while there is little anonymity among its people. Although they will never openly admit, parents, whom child protection workers call clients, are often perceived as the perpetrator and treated with hostility.
prefer status quo grant government more powers unilaterally to create greater control over American society and global communities [27] numb society to believe that state-sponsored child removal is acceptable and for a good cause of protecting children, hence racketeering may continue
use crisis and atrocities to acquire more power take advantage of crisis, dangers, new and unpredicted national threat to acquire more authority and more power [28] use every heartaching real child abuse case to lobby more statutory power and funding, for example, tougher law was sought after the murder of the three young Schoenborn children on 6 April 2008
use subcontract service providers subcontract intelligence related work to external service providers, Snowden is not a direct NSA employee but a subcontract service provider; this will reduce payroll costs (no pension and fringe benefits) and allows the U.S. government to distance itself if operations involving abuse or wrongdoings attract public attention Fund many external non-profit organizations outside the child protection agency or ministry to provide services such as supervised visit, group/foster home operation, surveillance on parents. This gives the added benefit of creating an illusion that many organizations outside government are supporting state-sponsored child removal and allow the agency/ministry to shift accountability if removed children are abused or killed while in care. Despite that these non-profit organizations are not legally linked, they are de facto subsidiaries of child protection agencies because most of them are exclusively funded by the latter.
fabricate pseudo professionalism U.S. officials alleged that intelligence agencies are run by professionals when defending the government position in subsequent congressional inquiry after Mr. Snowden went public. These so-called professionals are not governed by any professional body nor are they credentialed by a recognized academic professional degree. Mr. Snowden admitted that he does not have special skills [14]. How can people with no special skills be considered professional?
  • Child protection workers are often referred by judges, politicians and other service providers as professionals. There is no such credential as child protection professional, not even for degree holders of social work specialized in child protection. If there is, then all children should be surrendered to the care of these "professionals" under the guiding principle of best interests of children.
  • Furthermore, the Social Workers Regulations stipulate that Ministry-employed "child protection" social workers as exempted persons in British Columbia. These bureaucrats are not required to register with any professional governing body such as the British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW), hence not abide by the College's professional code of ethics.
create bureaucrats with absolute statutory power Federate agents are immune for compliance with wiretap under Section 225 of the Patriot Act. Service providers in the child protection industry are immune to legal action by different legislations worldwide. In British Columbia, Section 101 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) protects service providers from personal liability for anything done or omitted in good faith in the exercise or performance or intended exercise or performance of a power, duty or function conferred under CFCSA, furthermore, the Ministry of Children and Family Development often indemnifies in case of lawsuit.
create a self-serving industry that opens government to corruption under the pretext of safety Bureaucrats and service providers define the quality and control the demand of their services and suppress critics to silence different views. Bureaucrats and service providers define the quality and control the demand of their services and suppress parents (whom they called "clients") to silence different views.
act above law Intelligence services may act above law due to their covert nature (law enforcement can only act if wrongdoers are identified and found) and supposedly to serve the best interests of the nation Bureaucrats and service providers can play god in court and often succeed in obtaining custody of removed children because most naive people believe that they protect the best interests of children and judges fail society to act fairly and reduce the judiciary to a rubber stamp. Many child protection workers often blatantly say that they are above law. The 2011 documentary "Powerful As God" on Children's Aid Society (CAS) in Ontario provides evidence to support the foregoing.
targets could be victimized Intelligence agents are paid well and licensed to spy on all communications. Such power could be abused by service providers. They could intercept phone calls of any celebrities, e-mails of any acquaintances, bank records of their colleagues, internet browsing history of their neighbors, fax documents from any politicians. Almost all victims do even know that they have been victimized. Parents scrutinized are oppressed. The fate of their family is dictated by the liking of child protection workers who have the absolute authority to decide the custody of children. Removed children become the toys of service providers. Most are traumatized by the forceful removal from their parents. Some are sexually abused or killed.

Choosing Hong Kong to Go Public

Mr. Snowden explained that he chose Hong Kong to go public because Hong Kong has a strong tradition of free speech (as evident by the long tradition of protesting in the streets) and unrestricted internet access.

Hong Kong has been and still is an espionage centre since the 1950's. Its international ethnic mix, well developed financial services, good transportation and communication facilities provide ideal conditions for operatives to spy. It is a window the rest of the world could look into China before economic reform in the early 1980's. When Hong Kong was under British rule, an estimated of 20,000 spies from all nationalities were operating in the former colony anytime. There is no reason to believe espionage stops after Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.

After the handover, street protests are common in events such as June 4 and July 1 anniversaries. These protests are masterminded by a small number of people whose agenda are to oppose the central government in Beijing and, to some extent, a result of British divide and conquer strategy before they departed. Such protests focus mainly on conflicts within Hong Kong society (especially in the uneven distribution of wealth, housing and national security related legislative problems). These protests do not necessarily reflect a pursuit of justice, liberty and freedom per se.

Except national defence and diplomatic affairs, Hong Kong retains a high degree of autonomy. Nature of the Snowden issue is national security and foreign affairs related. Hong Kong government has no jurisdiction in his case and will not move an inch unless Beijing nods. Furthermore, the United States and Hong Kong have signed a bilateral extradition agreement in 1996. We are unsure whether popular support in Hong Kong, if any, is sufficient to protect Mr. Snowden or to prevent his extradition.

It is noteworthy to remark that half a million people marched in Hong Kong to protest against “anti-subversion” legislation of the National Security Bill under Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law on 1 July 2003. Fear of the new law would effectively extend China’s police-state modus operandi into the former British colony garnered huge support. The Hong Kong Government was forced to defer the legislation indefinitely. If people in Hong Kong think that democratic nations such as the U.S. do not have national security related acts, they are wrong. Mr. Snowden is now wanted by his own government precisely under the U.S. anti-subversion legislations. Furthermore, there is a very oppressive child protection act in every American state that could be used to target any individual or groups of people. Those who consider immigrating to English-speaking nations where there is a state-sponsored child removal regime should think twice.

Departing Hong Kong

After staying in Hong Kong for about a month, Mr. Snowden left Hong Kong through civilian channel unmolested on 23 June 2013. While lawyers of the Hong Kong government are wrestling with the U.S. over incomplete submission of legal documents requesting his extradition, Snowden took a flight on a Russian airline and arrived at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow. He is smart to take an airline owned by a nuclear power and a route not over American controlled airspace to avoid being shot down. Journalists reported that his final destination is Ecuador where he will seek political asylum.

At the beginning, it is believed that Mr. Snowden will seek asylum in Iceland, not Ecuador. The U.S. government has repeatedly used military power to enforce American law on foreign soil. Capturing Manuel Noriega of Panama in 1989 and killing Osama bin Laden on 2 May 2011 are examples of the foregoing. Using drones to kill targets (including American citizens) worldwide remains a convenient and enticing option. Staying in Ecuador will risk being captured by Navy SEALs or killed by drones while doing grocery shopping in market. Snowden will be better off to accept asylum offer from Russia or request to stay in China where the U.S. will think twice before giving the order to kill.

The U.S. government has revoked Snowden's American passport shortly laying criminal charges on the intelligence leaker and demanding his extradition. The Obama administration is furious on Hong Kong that Snowden was allowed to leave without a valid passport and threatens that there will be consequences for Hong Kong, China and Russia for not obeying U.S. demand to return Mr. Snowden.

First Press Conference in Moscow

After staying in Russia for more than 2 weeks, Snowden called his first press conference in Moscow. He announced that he is seeking temporary political asylum in Russia and promised to stop releasing leaks that harm Washington to meet the condition of staying set by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In view of the obvious risk en route to those Latin American countries that are prepared to offer asylum, he made a wise choice.

On her way to the press conference in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, Human Rights Watch representative received a call from the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, who asked her to relay to Mr. Snowden that the U.S. Government does not categorize Mr Snowden as a whistleblower and that he has broken United States law. Governments often incriminate whistleblowers under the cover of law. How can Mr. Snowden effectively act as whistleblower without disclosing confidential U.S. intelligence information to support his allegations? Prosecuting whistleblowers has the following advantages:

  1. destroy their credibility and public image by treating them like criminals;
  2. cover up persecution by the state under law enforcement;
  3. set examples to potential whistleblowers that their life will be very miserable if they dare to speak their conscience.

This tactic is often used in the child protection industry. Using provisions of privacy in child protection and other legislations, whistleblowers who uncover wrongdoings, abuse of power and racketeering are often threatened by the authorities that they have broken the law and legal actions will be taken, at the expense of taxpayers of course. Such laws are made to protect service providers and bureaucrats more than the families and children in question. We came across such threat when we made public the case Removal of 1-Year old S. from Mel in Victoria, British Columbia (December 2007).

While service providers and bureaucrats are ruthlessly looking for excuses to persecute those who speak against the child protection industry, they will disclose personal identifiable information of foster children if it serves their interests. A good example of the foregoing is the propaganda video on foster parents made by the Ministry of Children and Family Development archived under the heading "Why do I care if I have nothing to hide?". Such double standard is nothing but a self-serving and hypocritical act.

This also explains a common phenomenon that new supreme court judges are often appointed when a government first comes into power. This ensures that law made by the new government will not be nullified or interpreted differently by the judiciary.

In his statement released by WikiLeaks on 12 July 2013, he asked for assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing travel to Latin America. The U.S. government is certainly mounting intensive surveillance on him. U.S. intelligence services will track all his future movements. American jet fighters could in-flight hijack, intercept and force land, or simply shot down his plane. Unless Russian President Vladimir Putin personally flies with him, no one could ever guarantee safe passage.

Hover your mouse to pause the slide show and to view photo description.

The U.S. finally tastes the feeling of having its dissident harbored by another country. This is an act frequently contemplated by the U.S. government to embarrass its perceived rivalries. It also implies that America is a land of paradise and freedom that many people are dying to come and live. The most recent case is harboring Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) of Dongshigu, Shandong Province. Chen is a Chinese civil rights activist who is best known for exposing abuses and corruption in the Chinese government. Like Mr. Snowden after going public, Chen attracted intense surveillance in February 2011. He managed to escape house arrest and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in April 2012. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke sheltered Chen and offered diplomatic protection. Once Chen was given a visiting scholar position at New York University and wished to leave China, the Chinese government promptly processed their passport applications and allowed the departure of Chen and his family. China did not pound on the table and scream for retaliation against those who had assisted and harbored Chen.

In June 2013, Chen is visiting Taiwan to preach his cause. Infatuated with his beloved American freedom and liberty, Chen advocates human rights and justice in a country that ardently speaks of them but at the same time mounting worldwide surveillance, intruding domestic privacy and depriving justice by sending drones to kill without giving trial. Furthermore, abuses and corruption in state-sponsored child protection industry is more serious in America and other English-speaking nations than anywhere else in the world. If Mr. Chen is of the opinion that the U.S. will not put its citizens under illegal house arrest and invasive surveillance, he is wrong. Dr. Qian Xuesen (錢學森) and his family was put under illegal house arrest and intense surveillance by the American authorities for almost five years in the early 1950's, long before Mr. Chen was born. If Mr. Chen is appalled that prisoners in China are abused, the U.S. does no less to the detainees (not convicted criminals, some of them are mere suspects) in Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Cuba where they are subjected to cruel and degrading treatments.

Furthermore, the U.S. has an oppressive state-sponsored child removal program, which gives bureaucrats absolute power to remove children at will. Mr. Chen is now being treated like a prima donna by his American host simply because he has propaganda value to tarnish China as a tyranny and an abuser of human rights. The pursuit of Edward Snowden shows the real face of the U.S. if someone had said or done something that uncover its abuse of power. Mr. Chen has reduced himself to a propaganda tool used by a foreign power to badmouth his mother country.

Tip of an Iceberg

Mr. Snowden made himself famous in one day. He is not the first whistleblower and will not be the last. Before Snowden, whistleblowers like William Binney, Thomas Drake, Mark Klein, Thomas Tamm and Russ Tice are critics of the U.S. government for spying on its citizens, conducting excessive surveillance without warrant and purposefully violating the U.S. Constitution. Snowden's revelation on the scale of the U.S. government surveillance on civilians does not surprise us. We are of the opinion that he has only revealed the tip of an iceberg. Telecommunication companies have been sleeping with government for decades. Be mindful that telecommunication is a regulated industry. Business licences are granted by government. As events unfold after Mr. Snowden went public, major companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Youtube, Skype, Yahoo, Google came forward and began a firefighting campaign. They confirmed their compliance with government requests of information and insisted that they have denied some requests. Their effort is nothing but firefighting PR manoeuvre to salvage public confidence.

In view of the fact that American telecom and computer companies have been sleeping with the U.S. government, Mr. Snowden's revelation further suggests that using U.S. made telecom equipment, computer hardware and software like Cisco, Microsoft and Apple could be a national security threat. Testimonies of Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician who leaked knowledge of his employer's cooperation with the United States National Security Agency in installing network hardware to monitor, capture and process American telecommunications, in 2006 confirm the foregoing.

It is said that the U.S. president always carries two sets of launch codes, one is for nuclear arsenal and the other one is for cyber attack. When hostility begins, concealed devices built in computer hardwares and bugs embedded in systems software sold to enemy can be remotely activated by the United States Cyber Command. Before the military takes the first action, cyber attack will commence to paralyze enemy vital infra structures in communications, energy, power, transportations, air control, finance and banking to create chaos, panic and a higher chance of success in preemptive strike. Special ops will move in to control strategic facilities before enemy recovers from shock. Mankind has not experienced cyber warfare before. Some may find it hard to conceptualize what this new electronic war entails. Hollywood movie Live Free or Die Hard (2007) gives a fictional overview of the chaos cyber attack could cause.

One may doubt how such large amount of information in different languages and forms collected from surveillance could be used meaningfully. Since the 1960s, the U.S. government uses supercomputers to translate and to process voice, video, text messages, fax data of all natures (including banking, tax, medical, internet browsing history) obtained by espionage and wiretapping from all sources. At the point of writing, the fastest U.S. supercomputer Titan can perform at 17.59 petaFLOPS, next to the Chinese Tianhe-2 supercomputer that can operate at 33.86 petaflop/sec and process 33,860 trillion calculations per second using a total of 3.12 million processor cores. Relational database is created from time-series records. Useful information could be extracted quickly by user defined selection criteria. Contrary to popular belief, obtaining and processing of huge amount of data worldwide is not only technically feasible but has been operational for decades. Computer technology and well trained analysts capable of filtering relevant information prevent information overload disasters akin to the chaos in the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

As events unfold, Mr. Snowden further disclosed on news aired on 22 June 2013 that the United Kingodm is conducting similar surveillance on its people and is sharing information with the United States. Ironically, these English-speaking nations ardently speak of human rights, civil liberty, freedom and have similar child protection regime. Snowden described that the situation in England is even worse.

To give an example of how invasive such surveillance is, those who have installed home security cameras using a web base system that enables internet viewing have opened their homes to government surveillance. Government agents can see what you do at home without you knowing it. They need not to hack into your computer per se but snatch the video signals directly from the network storage. Are you sure that you do not mind even if you have nothing to hide? Is this what a democracy should be?

Furthermore, a less prominent but much more invasive movement not mentioned by Mr. Snowden is the quiet and gradual migration towards a cashless economy. In the 2012 Canadian federal budget, the penny was eliminated and the Royal Canadian Mint introduced the MintChip. This marks the beginning of a cashless era. We envision that cash will eventually be replaced by electronic cash as legal tender worldwide.

Many issues were discussed in the June 2013 G8 meeting in England. The only issue that all leaders agreed is to secure crackdown on tax avoidance, close international tax loopholes and strengthen global tax standards. In a cashless economy, tax evasion is almost impossible. Governments will no longer need to worry about counterfeit money, bank robbery, underground economy and illegal trading (such as drugs and prostitutes). A state-run central electronic cash clearing system will allow government to monitor and control all financial activities of its citizens. Government surveillance will become a daily routine that all of us must endure.

U.S. Offensive Cyber Operations and Intelligence Program Funding

In August 2013, The Washington Post published a news article titled "U.S. spy agencies mounted 231 offensive cyber-operations in 2011. These operations involved leading edge of a clandestine campaign that embraces the Internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war. This confirms the Chinese position that their government is also a victim of cyber attack. This article further elaborated on the classified intelligence budget provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, which suggested that U.S. intelligence activities can be divided into four main categories:

  1. data collection;
  2. data analysis;
  3. management, facilities and support; and
  4. data processing and exploitation.

The CIA and National Reconnaissance Office are heavy on data collection while the NSA and National Geospatial-Intelligence Program focus on data processing and exploitation as well as auxiliary functions like management, facilities and support. Vital information is provided to the U.S. military to conduct all kinds of operations including using drones to kill at will. The so-called "Black Budget" maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. The top five agencies consumed $45.1 billion of the $52.6 billion total intelligence budget.

Spending on the National Geospatial-Intelligence Program exhibited a remarkable 108% increase from 2004 to 2013. The program generates imagery and map-based intelligence used mainly for national security, military operations and navigation. This sheds light on the aggressiveness of the U.S. hegemony policy and the readiness of the U.S. war machine.

Preemptive Strike on Another Whistleblower?

When a sensitive issue that could destabilize government or jeopardize the interests (especially financial interest) of a powerful industry or a political figure is made public by whistleblowers, the attention of journalists and watchdogs is always attracted. They are dying to seek evidence to make earthshaking news. Some of them conveniently die in accidents, random assault, murder suicide or sudden health conditions before they have a chance to publish any information. The police often finds no evidence linking the sudden death to targeted attack.

Michael Mahon Hastings (January 28, 1980 – June 18, 2013) was an award-winning American journalist and author. He is a vocal critic of the surveillance state and the use of killer drones. Of course, the Snowden case inevitably attracts his interest. At age 33, Hastings died in a single-vehicle automobile crash with a Mercedes C250 Coupé in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles in the early morning of 18 June 2013. Witness heard a loud explosion. The engine, transmission and drive shaft of his new Mercedes blew over 180 feet away. The Mercedes was on fire and burnt beyond recognition. These are consistent with a small explosion device detonated under the engine causing fire from the fuel of the vehicle.

On 22 June 2013, Huffington Post reported that Hastings sent an email to his colleagues, warning that federal authorities were interviewing his friends and that he needed to go "off the radar" at around 1 p.m. on 17 June 2013. At 4:20 a.m. the following morning, the fatal accident occurred. In a rare move, the FBI issued a statement denying that Hastings was under investigation. As expected, the police found no evidence suggesting that Hastings was targeted. The public will never find enough information to refute the official cause of accidental death. However, the particulars surrounding his sudden death provide food for thought on a conspiracy theory. If his death is a result of premeditated attack, this is done by professionals with access to military grade explosive, technical know-how and some very unique skills. Who will benefit most if Hastings is silenced? Who has such motive and capabilities? Why those who may have sensitive information conveniently die before they have a chance to go public?

Government propaganda "Celebrating B.C.'s Amazing Foster Parents" praised foster parents using the testimony of a grateful foster children. Note that the foster child identity (Raven Wright) involved in child protection is fully disclosed when it serves the best interests of service providers to do so. The message delivered is: there are NEVER enough foster homes. To service providers, enough is never enough until taxpayers are milked dry.

It is what government did not tell in their propaganda that matters. News footage below tells another view of "amazing" foster parents.

Foster home run by ex-male prostitute ...

Why do I care if I have nothing to hide?

Most of us believe that government surveillance protects law abiding people and would not affect them if they have not done anything wrong. Many trust the our impartial judicial system will provide sufficient check and balance.

After Mr. Snowden went public, the U.S. government promptly called a press conference to defend its position and alleged that surveillance on civilian communications is necessary to ensure public safety and national security. It is instrumental in stopping several planned terrorist attacks and in apprehending the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing on 15 April 2013. The government selling point is one needs not fear if there is nothing to hide.

Like child protection agencies worldwide, there are no shortage of examples to show how their effort protects families and children. Using real life example supported by personal identifiable information, the child protection industry's propaganda machine could produce touchy video footage to convince gullible people to buy their cause and to silence critics. However, it is what government did not tell in press conference or propaganda that matters.

In his 12-minute long interview, the most inspiring point Mr. Snowden made is the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude to where it gets to the point where you don't have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody even by a wrong call [20]. He is talking about a White Terror (Terreur blanche) witch hunt.

The extent of U.S. spying and surveillance has far exceeded reasonable need of national security and homeland safety. Such intensive and extensive surveillance is only required to maintain a hegemony, which could turn into a tyranny if the leadership falls into wrong hands. Do you want to live in a society where government has liberal access to your personal internet browsing history, your phone, e-mail and banking records without your knowledge and could use such information to haunt you as bureaucrats see fit?

In the child protection industry, most innocent parents scrutinized by child protection workers are surprised when welfare and medical records archived by government are used against them in court. If any history of substance abuse, mental illness or psychotic disorders (such as depression, Schizophrenia, delusion, anxiety) is found, getting a continuous custody of children required for adoption is a slam dunk. Some parents are naive enough to seek help from these agencies completely unaware of the danger ahead such risky path. Of course, it is too late when they finally realize what they are dealing with and how hopelessly vulnerable they are. Likewise, information collected by the intelligence community on an unsuspecting populace over time could be misconstrued and used against any individual or any group of people.

The core values of democracy are privacy, natural justice, protection from oppression, right to life, liberty, security and freedom (both physical freedom and freedom of speech and thought). Allowing government to undermine these values under the pretext of safety is dangerous and amounts to betrayal of democracy.

Moreover, mounting such surveillance is a very expensive exercise. Like state-sponsored child protection, it increases tax burden on each and every American. Everyone should be concerned.

Implications of Project Souvenir: 2013 Canada Day Bomb Plot in Victoria, British Columbia

Police in Victoria announced that they foiled a terrorist plot to bomb the crowd celebrating the 146th Canada Day outside the Parliament on 1 July 2013. The explosive devices resemble those used in the Boston Marathon. Two suspects, John Nuttall and Amanda Korody of Surrey, were arrested in Abbotsford and detained.

Police focused on protecting public safety and disclosed little information on how the suspects aroused attention from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). How can two junkies on welfare caught the attention of the Canadian intelligence service? What Snowden disclosed incidentally sheds light to answer this question. We are unsure whether CSIS is mounting massive surveillance on Canadians like its American counterpart. Given our good relationship with the U.S., CSIS and the U.S. intelligence services are sharing information. If either agency obtains information from communications such as internet browsing, e-mail and phone calls that warrants further investigation in another jurisdiction, they will notify each other to take action. If the suspects browsed bomb making information, Islamic, chemical supplies web sites and/or discussed the same in e-mail, they will be red flagged for more intensive surveillance.

Police alleged that the bombs were inert and at no time presented a threat to public safety. Successful prosecution in criminal trial requires the Crown to prove both criminal intent and criminal act beyond a reasonable doubt. The police cannot arrest before the suspects commit a criminal act. This presents a dilemma to the authorities. How can the police ensure that the bombs were inert? Either these amateur terrorists did not learn how to build the bomb right or the chemicals acquired are faulty. Authorities have control on the latter. If the suspects acquired faulty chemicals under the covert control of the police to make and deploy the bomb, public safety and successful conviction are simultaneously achieved. Project Souvenir, a codename used by the Canadian police on this case, is an operation resulted from A PRISM-like application disclosed by Mr. Snowden.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark and opposition leader Adrian Dix promptly praised the CSIS and the police for the success of their coordinated effort. British Columbains are thankful that public safety is protected. At this time, few people see the downside of government surveillance and the negative impacts on freedom and liberty. Incidents that jeopardize public safety strengthen the government's position to take tougher and more invasive measures. Likewise, horrendous real child abuse cases are often used by service providers in the child protection industry to lobby more power and funding.

It is irresponsible for government not to conduct surveillance on criminal activities that jeopardize public safety. However, it is equally irresponsible for government not to maintain a balance on invasive measures and the noble values of democracy such as civil liberty, privacy and freedom. What puzzled us is why these welfare recipients chose to spend their money on making bombs instead of buying food. How can the best place on earth spawns hate-filled people who seek the lives of innocent people and their young children?

In view of the controversy created by Mr. Snowden, this bomb plot hits a jackpot for the intelligence community. It happened at a convenient time to garner public support in favour of government's invasive security measures and silenced critics. Is this an operation orchestrated by the CSIS and the police to instill fear into the minds of Canadians and to condition them to accept more invasive surveillance measures? Conspiracy theory often pops up and provides food for thought.

Responses of the World

Except a few raised eyebrow from leaders like the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and some small protests of people from different nationalities in Hong Kong, there is little response elsewhere. China, the second largest beneficiary of the Snowden revelation, keeps a low profile. Russian president Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer in the rank of lieutenant colonel, warned Snowden not to further disclose any American surveillance secrets that would disrupt Russian relationship with its U.S. partner if he wants to stay in Russia. What Mr. Snowden disclosed does not surprise any major powers. Their own spy network keeps their leaders well informed of the latest American surveillance scheme. There are compelling reasons to believe that they are conducting similar surveillance on their own citizens as Snowden further disclosed that England and France are doing the same. Specifically, England was eavesdropping G20 leaders in the 2009 meeting. Keeping a low profile will help not to wake sleeping dogs and keep their own spying activities outside the spotlight.

The most disturbing observation is the silence of the largest beneficiary and, ironically, the largest victim as well: the American people. Most Americans do not feel any negative impact on their well being and trust that their government conducts surveillance to protect their best interests. They fail to see that the essence of democracy, the American constitution and the core values of humanity are at stake. Like most parents in English speaking nations where there is state-sponsored child removal, their naiveness, apathy, ignorance and blind faith in government provide fertile soil to spawn corruption, racketeering and tyranny.

Hero, Traitor or Double Agent?

Mr. Snowden is clear that his concern is the unrestricted U.S. government surveillance on Americans, not surveillance on foreign governments and military. Despite what his intent of going public is, his career and future are completely destroyed by revealing his identity. Like WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, he may have to stay in exile for a long time. Worldwide discussions on whether he is a hero, a traitor or a double agent begin. The answer to this question depends on one's point of view and definition of patriotism. The notion of double agent is pure speculation. A more meaningful question is whether his act contributes to the pursuit of the underlying values of democracy: civil rights, liberty and privacy.

Mr. Snowden has raised global awareness on a serious threat to privacy and how government could turn into tyranny if people remain ignorant and allow government to run rogue. He compelled the U.S. government and its willful partners to confirm some of his allegations. High ranking U.S. officials maintain that phone conversations and e-mails have not been recorded. We find this implausible that spy agencies will not record and archive these communications when they have a free hand to do so under the cover of secrecy.

At the point of writing, America is the strongest military power in the world. It has ten nuclear powered combat ready carrier groups cruising every ocean to project American power. It has enough nuclear warheads to destroy the world many times. Its armed force uses the most advanced jet fighters and submarines. U.S. drones and Special Ops are ready to strike anywhere on short notice. It operates the largest and the most sophisticated intelligence service. American laws are enforced by military might on foreign sovereign countries. National Defence Authorization Act (2012) obliges the U.S. military to launch preemptive strike against China. The U.S. is prepared to do anything to maintain its hegemony.

"If you want to test a man's character, give him power." Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

Mr. Snowden has embarrassed the U.S. government and compelled it to further reveal its aggressive and oppressive character on those who disagree and blow the whistle. Sovereign countries do not comply with U.S. demand to return Mr. Snowden are threatened that there will be consequences. Incidentally, this phrase is often used by child protection workers to threaten disagreeing parents. Does the U.S. pass the character test set forth by its former president?

Stay Focus

Since Edward Snowden went public to disclose the massive U.S. surveillance program on worldwide communications, the whereabout of Snowden and whether or not he will be extradited become the main media focus. Snowden is a minion in the U.S. intelligence community. His revelation is an open secret in the intelligence community. It is not earthshaking but a wakeup call to the world. He risks his life and freedom to alert all of us. It is time to turn our focus on the United States and ask why its intelligence service hacks into computers of universities, foreign governments, corporations, banks and monitors civilian communications worldwide. What information has been stolen? What is the purpose of such effort? What measures, if any, the U.S. government will take to protect privacy? It appears that a high profile self-ordained cyber police has turned into a stealthy cyber thief. The Hong Kong government has sent a letter demanding further clarification from the U.S. on why computer systems in Hong Kong are being hacked. So far, the U.S. has not responded. The U.S. government owes the world at least an explanation, if not an apology.

Pursuing justice and speaking against an oppressive power always carry a high price. One could lose his head or his freedom. Like child protection, politics and espionage are nasty business. There is no trust on anyone, including one's own people and agents. After Mr. Snowden blew the whistle, all U.S. intelligence agencies implemented a two-man rule in extracting information to prevent theft of confidential information in the future. If you are a mere inconvenience, they will keep an eye on you. If you are a nuisance, they will persecute you. If you are a credible threat, they will kill you. It does not matter whether you live in a democratic or totalitarian state. People in power dislike criticisms, even when they are constructive and not hostile or offensive. We come across this often in assisting distressed parents when scrutinized by child protection workers. Building a safer future for our children is challenging, dangerous, costly and time consuming. We echo Mr. Snowden's concern, applause his courage and pray that his cause to raise public awareness and to bring forth ameliorative reform will prevail.

Who Is The Real Winner?

Citing success in preventing plots of terrorist attack on subway and New York stock exchange, U.S. President Obama defended surveillance on Americans and alleged that it is necessary for national security. Using superior military might and advanced technologies, the U.S. toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, killed Saddam Hussein (who took no part in the 911 attack but foolishly celebrated the atrocity, and possessed no weapon of mass destruction) and seized the oilfields in Iraq, executed Osama bin Laden and revenged the mastermind of 911. These are very remarkable military achievements unprecedented in history. On the surface, it appears that the U.S. is gaining an upper hand in the War on Terror. Most Americans feel content that their national pride is preserved.

Contrary to government propaganda, the real objective of terrorism is not to kill Americans (although innocent lives are inevitably lost during the act of terrorism) but to disrupt their lifestyle, create fear, panic and, above all, compel them to give up the core values of democracy, namely, freedom, liberty, natural justice and human rights. Terrorists are successful in compelling the U.S. government to intensify surveillance on its own people and pay a huge financial cost in surveillance and military actions. National debt is mounting each year. Balancing the budget becomes a nightmare to every level of governments. To the American people, the price of a reduced risk of terrorist attack is to sacrifice the essence of democracy. American constitution is reduced to mere lip service. Government could wiretap phones without warrant, lie about why going to war, institute oppressive and warmongering legislations, fill detention camps with suspects captured by the military without giving trial, torture detainees by cruel and degrading treatments, use the media to scare people into supporting policies that are against their interests and send drones to kill at will. Mr. Snowden told told The Guardian in Hong Kong, "I don´t want to live in a society that does this sort of things." The aforesaid disturbing points justify Mr. Snowden's remark.

National security and safety are of course important. Nevertheless, should people give up so many other vital qualities of life? After all, animosity between the U.S. and Islamic radicals further escalates because of the War on Terror. Terrorism still exists and will continue to haunt the West. Despite losses in the battlefields, terrorists have forced the U.S. government to give up the noble values of the American culture and gradually turning the superpower into a tyranny. Jingoism has betrayed the founding principle of the American nation and the unalienable rights (among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) enshrined in the United States Declaration of Independence. It turned a righteous anti oppressor against British imperialist colonialism to a ruthless oppressor. Through the hand of their own government, Americans now face a new kind of terror: always being watch around the clock. Who is the real winner? We will leave it to the discretion of our readers.

Popular Culture References

After the U.S. government mounts global surveillance (including surveillance on its own citizens), Americans face an unprecedented threat on their privacy and freedom. Unlike other enemies, this threat is invisible, intangible and financed by American tax dollars. The general public will never have a chance to see the sophistication of the U.S. intelligence services in real life unless they become a target. Like the child protection industry, it seriously challenges the core values of democracy. Members of the public know little about the industry until they are scrutinized by child protection workers.

The closet one could get to see how the U.S. intelligence services operate is in movies and documentaries. While information in documentaries is seldom eye-opening because it is limited to the extent allowed by participants, many Hollywood spy movies were produced with the assistance of the U.S. military and ex-intelligence service advisers. They depict reality quite accurately and give their audience a good view of the U.S. intelligence and military capabilities. Despite most of them are fictional, censored and contain some historical and technical inaccuracies, the following movies are good reflections of the U.S. quasi-military intelligence and secret service world:

  1. Midway (1976)
  2. Clear and Present Danger (1994)
  3. Enemy of the State (1998)
  4. Mercury Rising (1998)
  5. U-571 (2000)
  1. Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
  2. The Sum of All Fears (2002)
  3. The Sentinel (2006)
  4. Shooter (2007)
  5. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
  1. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
  2. Argo (2012)
  3. Safe House (2012)
  4. Act of Valor (2012)
  5. The Numbers Station (2013)

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[This page was conceptualized on 16 June 2013, published on 22 June 2013, last revised 27 March 2015.]