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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Pardon Me?

It Isn’t Snowden Who Needs Clemency

by THOMAS KNAPP

A White House petition asking US president Barack Obama to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has passed the 100,000-signature mark, theoretically compelling a response from the Obama administration (I say “theoretically” because the finish line on these petitions has been moved before).

My own sympathies naturally lie with Snowden, and the petitioners’ hearts are presumably in the right place, but I can’t help thinking that the petitioners have things backward.

Edward Snowden committed no crime. Rather, he exposed the crimes of the very administration being petitioned (and “classification” of information for the purpose of concealing criminal activity is itself illegal). To presume, as this petition does, an entitlement on the part of an acknowledged criminal to pardon — or to persecute — the hero who brings that criminal’s actions to light is, in a word, perverse.

Obama and his associates haven’t just violated “their” own codified laws. They have, by their own admissions, declared and prosecuted war on the very people in whose names they claim their power, wandering well beyond the pale of authoritarianism and raising the totalitarian flag over their battlements.

It isn’t Snowden who needs clemency. It’s Barack Obama, his co-conspirators and his accessories before and after the fact. Nor is it Snowden alone before whom the crooks should be made to grovel for mercy. The fate of the Obama Spy Ring rightfully belongs in the hands of ALL its victims.

Will these telecom voyeurs, these data burglars — and their bosses — be made to truly pay for their crimes? It seems unlikely, as they are made members of the world’s most powerful organized crime syndicate, the government of the United States.

While the gang occasionally finds itself compelled to throw a bit player or two under the bus to simmer things down a bit, the kingpins, ringleaders and shot-callers usually walk without consequence. Which explains why US Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and US Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) are at present freely vocalizing their “fury” at Snowden instead of modeling orange coveralls while making big rocks into small rocks on the grounds of some penal institution.

This isn’t just some random racket ginned up by a few assorted thugs. It’s far bigger than that. If we want to get clear of these schemers and their schemes, we’re going to have to suppress the larger racketeer-influenced corrupt organization. That is, we must abolish the US government — preferably sowing salt in the earth of, and leaving not one stone standing atop another in, Washington, DC.

Otherwise, we’ll just have to be satisfied with absurd and hopeless gestures, like asking Barack Obama to forgive Edward Snowden for revealing, and us for noticing, his crimes.

Thomas L. Knapp is Senior News Analyst at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).