Larry Flynt

Posts Tagged ‘Snowden’

FROM BLOOMBERG TV- Larry Flynt: I Don’t Think Snowden Is a Hero

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) –- Larry Flynt Publications President Larry Flynt discusses building and expanding his media empire and protecting the 1st Amendment with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” (Source: Bloomberg)

(To watch full interview on Bloomberg TV, click here.)

Who’s the Traitor?

Monday, November 4th, 2013


by Robert Scheer

Thanks to the patriotic courage of Edward Snowden and the once-secret documents he leaked to the media, we now know in frightening detail the danger posed to our freedom by the new information-age technology combined with the hysteria of the post-9/11 surveillance state. If I communicate the rough draft of these thoughts that I am now typing in personal correspondence to a colleague through Skype or Gmail, I have been forewarned that Microsoft, which owns the former, and Google the latter, will turn the substance of my communication over to the NSA, the world’s most powerful top-secret spy agency.

The rough draft of my column, intended only for the eyes of my editor before I refine it—or your most intimate communication in a Skype call—is routinely shared with the CIA and FBI through the NSA’s massive Prism data gathering system. As an NSA analyst stated in a document released by Snowden, this interagency cooperation underscores “the point that Prism is a team sport.” Except you, the unsuspecting customer whose privacy has been promised in promotions for Microsoft and Google services, are the ball being kicked around in that clandestine bureaucratic sport.

It was alarming enough to first learn about the massive metadata sweeps that the NSA conducts on all Internet traffic signaling the origin and destination of communication. But the disclosures printed in the Guardian newspaper, based on the documents Snowden leaked, show that the surveillance included the actual video and audio texts of Skype messages. The traffic turned over to the NSA tripled in the nine months since Microsoft bought the previously independent company. The snooping is no less intensive with Google chats and emails.

Any thought is no longer private and beyond the purview of government spying. That is the powerful truth revealed by Snowden, which has occasioned the U.S. government’s international manhunt for a whistleblower accused of espionage. Snowden’s real crime is not that he endangered our national security, a hoary Espionage Act charge for which the government has yet to produce any substantial evidence. Rather, it’s that he exposed the government’s spying on its own people.

The government’s anger with Snowden—a fairly low-level employee of a private contractor to the NSA—is not over leaking classified information, which politicians do incessantly. Its grievance is that he embarrassed our political leaders by demonstrating the extent to which they have strayed from the promise of our founding documents.

Basic to that promise and underwriting the unfettered right of the people to freedom of speech, press and assembly was the inviolate notion of private space to collect one’s thoughts that was spelled out in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches. …”

But suddenly we have no right to be secure from any searches that the government deigns to initiate. In fact, the totalitarian vacuum cleaner approach enabled by modern technology guarantees that there will be no limits to the searches ordered by government agencies. Thus, the most sacred right the founders sought to preserve—the fundamental sovereignty of the individual—has been shredded. If thoughts cannot be germinated, reexamined and communicated in a zone of privacy, they cannot be developed freely, unrestrained by the coercive intrusion of the state.

What stark hypocrisy. Government hacks in high places not only have subverted the meaning of our Constitution but dare to call Snowden, the man who exposed this danger to our freedom, a traitor. As Ben Franklin, the most experienced of the wise men who founded this nation, warned: “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” Just the sort of subversive statement that could get Franklin, were he alive today in the nation he helped create, placed on the government’s watch list or worse.

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