Try to recall those dark days before Snowden’s revelations

Has it only been 10 months since Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations changed the world? Can you even remember what the world was like, before he gave 50,000 — no, 200,000 — no, wait, 2 million– secret documents to Glenn Greenwald: smoking guns that exposed Washington’s global surveillance state, which far outstripped the wildest, wettest dreams of the Stasi, of Stalin, yea of Orwell himself?

Try to recall those dark days — now long since banished, thank God! — when the American imperium thrust its grubby hands and greedy eyes into every single digital pie available, scarfing up emails, URLs, locations, even webcam shots, of anybody and everybody, then storing them all in gargantuan data silos, to sift through and fondle for years on end. Remember that? Remember how this surveillance state, this über-Stasi, was put to the service of a regime that was actually going all over the world and murdering people — without charges, without due process, without defense, without warning. Just circling the world, blowing up a wedding party here, a couple of teenagers there, a village, a funeral, a farm, an apartment block, day after day, week after week, year after year? Innocent people, “guilty” people; guilty of something or other, that is — maybe just behaving in a “suspicious manner” in the eyes of unaccountable officials acting arbitrarily in secret, on the basis of screenshots sent by back by robots, and rumors and vendettas gathered, for pay, by secret agents.

Do you remember how this brutal, barbaric, ugly, inhuman regime would then go around the world condemning other nations for not being moral, holy, freedom-loving and strictly adherent to international law? Do you remember the base, sickening hypocrisy of it all? State murderers — proud state murderers, murderers who would go before legislators and under oath to God Almighty swear how proud they were to be murdering people — telling other nations how to order their affairs according to the principles of law and justice and human rights?

Isn’t it wonderful how much has changed since those days, when we discovered the spine and musculature of the surveillance regime that undergirded this ghastly system of murder and corruption and domination?

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