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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 31, 2014

 
Artistic Solidarity

by digby

This is special:
"Snowden claims that he’s won and that his mission is accomplished," Clapper said, according to a transcript from the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, posted by the Washington Post. "If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed, to prevent even more damage to U.S. security."

So who, exactly, are Snowden’s “accomplices?”

Guardian national security editor Spencer Ackerman, among others, questioned on Twitter whether Clapper was referring to journalists.

HuffPost put the question to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which didn't rule out that journalists could be considered "accomplices."

The office's public affairs director Shawn Turner said in an email that “director Clapper was referring to anyone who is assisting Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.”

The suggestion that Snowden is conspiring with journalists, rather than acting as their source, has come up ever since the National Security Agency surveillance story broke last spring.
Here's the oath that Clapper took when he took the job:
I, James Clapper, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
And here's the First Amendment to the constitution which he swore to uphold in that oath:
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
There is no evidence that Snowden was working with anyone other than journalists who have been vetting the material with the help of editors, lawyers and experts and publishing it via legitimate news organizations. So this cavalier hinting around that there was some kind of espionage conspiracy is completely outrageous. Unless he wants to be remembered in history alongside the likes of Richard Nixon, President Obama needs to put a stop it among members of his administration. (He can't do anything about the congressional miscreants like Mike Rogers.)

One can certainly see why Glenn Greenwald might not feel the need to rush back home right away under those circumstances. Which is why Wally Shawn went to Brazil to perform his show The Designated Mourner. Amy Goodman at Democracy Now talked to Shawn today:


AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you back, Wally. So, talk about Brazil.

WALLACE SHAWN: Well—

AMY GOODMAN: Why did you go there?

WALLACE SHAWN: Initially, it was just an emotional response to the fact that I had invited this writer, who I deeply admire, to come and see my play. And, you know, people like me in show business, we’re show-offs, and I wanted him to see the play. And he kept not appearing in the audience. And eventually, I realized he was not able to return to the United States because of having received the NSA papers.

And on impulse, I said, "Well, we’ll bring the play to you." And my colleagues—I went to Deborah Eisenberg and Larry Pine, who were the two actors in the play with me, and to the sound designer and—Bruce Odland, and the director, Andre Gregory, and they all said, before I had even finished the sentence—they all are old rebels from the ’60s, you could say—and immediately said, "What a great idea!"

So we brought the whole play to Brazil, and we did it for Glenn and some people he invited. We rented a theater, and we—our lighting designer, Jennifer Tipton, talked to the people in Brazil, and we did the complete version of the play, because, you know, you can’t email a play. A play is not the script of a play. You can’t send that in the mail or—you know, if you want to show somebody a play, that’s what you have to do. So it was a gesture of, expression of respect for the fact that he did what we all should be doing. He has risked his neck. He’s risked his physical security and freedom.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the choice of the play, Designated Mourner, the reason—its relevance to our time? Because the play has been out now for more than a decade, right?

WALLACE SHAWN: Yes. Well, it happens to be a play that is on the subject of speaking out, in a way. I mean, you know, one writes out of a personal artistic impulse that you don’t necessarily plan, but it turns out that this play is about a writer, played by Larry Pine, who wrote quite a while ago some essays that were offensive to the regime, a sort of right-wing regime in this is made-up country. And he and his loyal daughter, played by Deborah Eisenberg, are not even gathering guns for the rebels. They’re simply people who are sympathetic to the poor of their country and have written essays.

So, they haven’t really done anything, and yet, as the political space in the country gets smaller and the regime begins to crack down, the people who are on the fringes are threatened, because artistic freedom, artistic freedom of thought, is dangerous freedom of thought, just the way political freedom of thought is. If people are out there thinking on their own, that’s dangerous to governments, if they are repressively minded. And so, it becomes dangerous for the son-in-law—me, my character—to live in the house with these rather dangerous people, or people who are mildly dangerous because they’re thinking freely. So I get out of the house. I play the survivor who is basically cowardly.


Update: Here's a respectable Canadian politician rebutting the Snowden accusation in a rational fashion. Why would anyone feel the least bit concerned about such mature leadership misusing its power?









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