Yes, things have come this far. There is open talk of killing NSA leaker Edward Snowden via a drone strike.
Remember that saying “Don’t kill the messenger?” This is the ultimate form of doing just that.
There is open talk in the media of killing National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden via a drone strike. The online version of the magazine Popular Science had point and counterpoint articles debating all the reasons why the U.S. government might or might not consider drone striking Snowden in Hong Kong, the city he ran to fearing federal retribution for leaking information regarding the NSA’s PRISM program, a vast spying operation that has been turned against the American people at large at the expense of their constitutional rights.
Truthstream Media reporters Melissa Melton and Aaron Dykes discuss this apathetic acceptance of government assassination of American citizens:
Part of the PopSci discussion centered around the inoperability of large-scale Predator drones, which would potentially cause too large of a collateral damage footprint, thereby triggering a wider diplomatic disaster. The tinier and tidier Switchblade drone, on the other hand, writer David Hambling argues, would be more effective than other drones: “The small size of the warhead means that collateral damage would be limited to anyone else in the room with Snowden.”
Not only did these PopSci writers discuss limiting ‘collateral damage’ and drone strike logistics such as speed and strike range, but the gamut also included whether or not China would appreciate such an attack, and Hambling even asked, “So why wouldn’t the U.S. government just send a guy with a gun to kill Snowden?”
These articles were apathetically written as if outright federal assassination of anyone who speaks out against the government is so commonplace, it’s expected.
Snowden’s constitutional rights or the fact that government assassination of crime suspects would be tantamount to murder were not mentioned even once in either article as reasons why the U.S. shouldn’t go around drone striking American citizens.
Scarier still is the fact that the idea itself is plausible enough to garner such casual banter. The thought of permanently silencing dissenters through targeted strikes would not only eliminate embarrassing disclosure from government employees and contractors like Edward Snowden, but it would effectively freeze free speech by intimidating anyone else from coming forward, all while skirting the real issue at hand (in this case systematic, wholesale spying on Americans by the NSA).
This all came days before Snowden was even charged — albeit ironically — with espionage for reporting on the illegal surveillance of the NSA, which has been going on openly since shortly after 9/11. In our bizarre new reality, the systematic criminality of the government is a blasé fact of life, but those who would dare to uncover, spotlight and quantify this fact are considered criminal, and even treasonous. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that such unwarranted spying is not compatible with a free society, and that the counter-terrorism and national security rationales for concealing the scope of the PRISM program and others like it are insufficient — such secrets are not worth keeping.
Curbing government abuse and protecting the privacy of the populace, on the other hand, remains a worthwhile goal, even in the age of metadata.
Regardless, even if Snowden’s actions had been clear-cut crimes, his flight to Hong Kong poses no imminent danger, so the very thought of taking lethal action defies the basic common law spirit and protections of the Constitution and Bill of Rights which have been so readily degraded in this country.
Ron Paul was the first (former) public official to voice his concerns that Snowden could hypothetically become the target of a drone attack. The former Congressman and presidential candidate told Fox News:
“I’m worried about somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile. I mean, we live in a bad time where American citizens don’t even have rights and that they can be killed. But the gentleman is trying to tell the truth about what’s going on.
I don’t think for a minute that he is a traitor. Everybody is worried about him and what they’re going to do and how they’re going to convict him of treason and how they’re going to kill him. But what about the people who destroy our Constitution? … What do we think about people who assassinate American citizens without trials and assume that’s the law of the land? That’s where our problem is.”
Indeed, due process has effectively been thrown out the window along with any other rights considered inconvenient to the roaming psuedo-anti-terror apparatus that has occupied the once-free United States.
Using the pretext of wider threats and the vague but reaching powers of the National Defense Authorization Act’s (NDAA) indefinite detention clause and its concept of a worldwide battlefield as a basis to justify preemptive strikes on dissidents who pose no actual threat is beyond disgusting.
Yet as reported before, the Justice Department under Holder considers drones and other actions as useful tools in their kit. The justifications for the supposed legality of striking an American citizen with a drone, even on American soil if the circumstances arise, are already on paper, which will in turn erode the protections in place for other cases…and other Americans.