The Snowden Scenario by Mike Alivernia

Author of the Month

The Snowden Scenario
By Mike Alivernia

The Mind of Mike Alivernia

Mind of Mike's regular column


What color is your moral mantra?

What would you do, if while working as an accountant, or secretary, or whatever; you are made privy to the practice of your employer's implementation of illegal actions as business as usual? Do you “blow the whistle”? Do you put your head down and feed the family with the job you “felt lucky to get”? Would you have the courage to stand up and stop what could literally put people in jail, if realized; or do you allow your instinctual fear of rocking the boat to the pack's dismay, rule your natural cowering human reactions? No - not what you put up on the internet's vast allowance for unnamed and unaccounted comments....Or even what you tell your children they should do. I mean, if it's really you and your livelihood, and the safety of others in question, what holds the most weight with you?

Even harder yet, what do we do in the case of any one of our individual great grey areas of ever-fluid moral standards of that moment, or ethical practices expected of all; become encroached upon to the point of saying enough is enough? When is that undefinable line in the imaginary sand of our shared communities crossed when no laws are “broken”, and no one is asking you to “look for”, or fix anything? Go ahead and quit your job at a healthcare facility, that you've worked so long and hard for to obtain, if you don't agree with their current policy on abortion. Would you then join the Pro-Life line across from the clinic? By all means, don't stand by and watch you and your coworkers be forced to work in unsafe, or under compensated fashions - quit. Or would you have the courage to promote worker's organization through tireless personal efforts? Would you stage sit ins and boycotts to draw media attention to your otherwise mundane workplace when you realize that the obvious indiscretion in hiring, firing and promoting is indeed prejudiced in some fashion? Or would you make sure you have your next source of income lined up before you forgo the two week notice and walk out on principal? What if the stakes were raised?

What would you do if while working in a “dream job” with an intelligence agency of the federal government - one of world traveling, and working from remote locations of comfort earning upwards of $200,000 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden - you were confronted with information as black and white as it gets, that branches of your said employer, can and do routinely monitor it's own people's every word and mouse click, unbeknownst to them; and have more than certainly participated in actions bandied about by those crazy “government conspiracy theorists” that would happily wait overnight for the pre-screening of an Oliver Stone movie about Michael Ruppert's life http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ruppert ? What do you do? Would you ignore unregulated, and rubber-stamped ways of allowing a select few companies, and the Federal Government to act as free flowing entities of unchecked and unimaginable powers - far surpassing the highly effective, tried and true ways of controlling information and restricting access to resources - by simply allowing such a covert coupling of private and government capacities the ability to tap into this phenomenal plenum of previously privy information stored by every site with your profile, and the up to the second live feed of where you are and what you are talking about with who; that is this ever growing “wireless network”? How many people looking the other way does it take to allow corporations and governments to become omnipresent? More than we'd like to assume! On the contrary, it can take as few as one leaking lip to sink any high flying ship......

America gets Snowed in Moscow, via Hong Kong

This is the story of what may have happened, if Hollywood had written the script to an “Enemy of the State” plot, gone “Catch Me If You Can” in a “Wall Street” minute.....with an Oliver Stone twist? One middle of the country highschool dropout turned “computer wizard”, is able to adapt from life as a forgotten son of parents with nondescript government related jobs; to learning the life of an “intelligence security guard” for both the US and UK governments directly, and contracted to look for new ways to break into the internet and telephone traffic around the world, working from locations like Japan, Switzerland, and Hawaii. (How does one become selected for, or put your name forth for such positions?) Somewhere in the middle of this odd transformation, is possibly that all too reminiscent stink of suspicious serendipity that found an eager young man signing up for the United States Army in wartime, because “he felt like he had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression”. There, he had both legs broken in “training exercises” and was promptly discharged from the Special Forces.

It can go two ways from here: the first, is that this man of high morals and computer savvy, is able to secure his last of many positions of employment with proper clearance to gain access to, and extract enough digital files from (who misses James Bond style microfilms?), to shine light on the shadowy underbelly of the “War on Terror” - in the manifestation of the confusing compiling of any conversation or computing of any completely innocent citizen! Being smart enough to know, that before this outing of secretive government actions, he would need to inauspiciously plan for his escape from perceived personal peril at the hands of the “International Intelligence Community” - he does just that http://www.theage.com.au/comment/snowden-made-the-right-call-to-flee-the-us-20130709-2po7q.html. A pre-authorized trip to Hong Kong is planned, where his hopes for their liberal courts to help expedite his freedom from extradition is only realized for a month. In an unsettling, yet believable twist, the airport in which he lands next, and possibly last, is in Mother Russia......

The next, is this wonderfully paranoid play on Americana and the questioning of his intent.... Somewhere in the midst of “working on a military base in Japan” before enlisting in the Special Forces, he studied Japanese, and Mandarin. Maybe he got mixed up with the wrong crowd of idealists, radicals, or ideologists while working on the side doing “anime”. Maybe it's later, with his abrupt end to military service, he finds a horrid taste in his mouth for the US government in general. Would it be more interesting to throw in China's influence on Hong Kong and it's region, or this prolonged, multinational teeth gnashing that is occurring on Russian soil, as the end game planned for, before his first job in the intelligence community of his country? Surely, the charge of treason, represents some as of yet, undisclosed swiping of a larger swath of intelligence that this administration would rather not currently cop to; in lieu of quite literally disrupting international delegations http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-snowden-20130704,0,1023363.story , in a rabid want for a sitting duck who did nothing more than blow the whistle on what most of us feel were actions no forth rite government would perpetrate on it's own people http://topinfopost.com/2013/06/22/edward-snowden-has-now-leaked-further-information? The presumption that he is in possession of upwards of 5,000 files with specific information as to how this government goes about “knowing everything”, and lord knows what else; makes his landing spots of China and Russia, a little too coincidental, no? Do you suppose a man who is deathly afraid of his own government's reprisal for taking this information, expected to walk in and out of Hong Kong and Moscow without at least “sharing” his afore mentioned bounty with the governments in those friendly, and accepting locales http://news.msn.com/world/its-official-snowden-submits-asylum-request-to-russia?ocid=ansnews11? It's hard for an average American, to accept that the view of their country's global policies in relation to the rest of the world, that is so poor and in some places vehemently hated; could actually be founded in truth....

It's harder still to imagine this man's thoughts and nerves, as he made the choices he knew would lead him down an unbeaten path. How would you go about living, planning and acting as a spy would; if the entity you were fishing and storing information for, is indeed the general public? Will these brave actions someday be remembered as Paul Revere's ride, warning of the redcoats' approach? Is he Philippides, falling dead after his run from Marathon to Athens with nothing more than words as his cargo? Or is he General Lee, so overwhelmed by personal beliefs and loyalty to his ideology; that he assumes the treacherous role of traitor in turn...?

If the unbelievable possibility of him disclosing the information about PRISM, and everything else to the public, was nothing more than the smoke screen used to get his true bounty of information into frenemy countries' hands - than Oliver Stone, eat your heart out.

If not, this man truly did what most of us could and would never do. He has put his life and those he's working with in the most serious of risky positions; for morals which hold the greater good of every individual's right to know what their government is doing, above all else...

What would you have done?

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