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Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2008, 03:38 PM
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The NSA Overreach: Parallels between the Treatment of Thompson and Snowden...

Recently, Chris Hedges wrote a piece extolling Edward Snowden's moral courage and, in that piece, he mentions others who have exhibited what he considers to be moral courage. It is interesting to see what Hugh Thompson stated (in his own words) about how he was treated after his act of moral courage. There are parallels to how he was treated and how Edward Snowden has been treated:

Edward Snowdenís Moral Courage
Chris Hedges

Last Thursday Chris Hedges opened a team debate at the Oxford Union at Oxford University with this speech arguing in favor of the proposition ďThis house would call Edward Snowden a hero.Ē The others on the Hedges team, which won the debate by an audience vote of 212 to 171, were William E. Binney, a former National Security Agency official and a whistle-blower; Chris Huhne, a former member of the British Parliament; and Annie Machon, a former intelligence officer for the United Kingdom. The opposing team was made up of Philip J. Crowley, a former U.S. State Department officer; Stewart A. Baker, a former chief counsel for the National Security Agency; Jeffrey Toobin, an American television and print commentator; and Oxford student Charles Vaughn.

I have been to war. I have seen physical courage. But this kind of courage is not moral courage. Very few of even the bravest warriors have moral courage. For moral courage means to defy the crowd, to stand up as a solitary individual, to shun the intoxicating embrace of comradeship, to be disobedient to authority, even at the risk of your life, for a higher principle. And with moral courage comes persecution.

The American Army pilot Hugh Thompson had moral courage. He landed his helicopter between a platoon of U.S. soldiers and 10 terrified Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai massacre. He ordered his gunner to fire his M60 machine gun on the advancing U.S. soldiers if they began to shoot the villagers. And for this act of moral courage, Thompson, like Snowden, was hounded and reviled. Moral courage always looks like this. It is always defined by the state as treasonóthe Army attempted to cover up the massacre and court-martial Thompson. It is the courage to act and to speak the truth. Thompson had it. Daniel Ellsberg had it. Martin Luther King had it. What those in authority once said about them they say today about Snowden.



Here is page 27 of the abridged transcript of the Fall 2003 William C. Strutt Ethics lecture, given to the community of the US Naval Academy:


You said you felt a lot of negative peer pressure. While you were
acting that day, did you feel any sense of regret?

Mr. Thompson
"No, I never felt any sense of regret. When I confronted the
lieutenant and trained the weapons on him, I do remember
thinking that youíre going to spend the rest of your life at
Leavenworth, and to me, I guess it was worth it, because I went
ahead and did it. It wasnít something I planned to do. It was
something I had to do. Believe me, I had tried to help. I tried
talking. You know, I tried everything. I felt like a damn animal
in a cage, being pressed further in the corner. It was time
something had to be done.

After it broke in the United States, I was not a good guy. I was
sure not being invited to Annapolis or West Point or any other
university that Iíve been to since, because I was a traitor. I was a
communist. I was a sympathizer. I was neither one of those, I
didnít think.
I was very confused about why I was being treated
this way, because how wrong can it be helping a fellow human?
And Iím no pacifist either. You know, Iím not one of these
peacenik guys. So I was just very confused, and that went on for
about 30 years.

I became invisible. When it first broke, people thought
everybody was picking on Lieutenant Calley. Believe me,
Lieutenant Calley was very guilty. There is no way to get around
it. But we, being Americans, we cheer for the underdog, so thatís
what people were thinking. They thought the establishment was
picking on this little guy. The turmoil the United States was in
during this time was quite significant. We had demonstrations on
every campus in the United States except about three I can think
of, and I guarantee they were right outside your gate, because we
had been there too long. We were [the demonstrators said]
nothing but a bunch of baby killers, you know, and it was just a
bad time for America. And Congress came after me real hard. A
very senior congressman made a public statement that if anybody
goes to jail in this My Lai stuff, it will be the helicopter pilot
Hugh Thompson.



That kind of treatment certainly seems familiar.

How Little Some Things Change: I Am The Owl...

The Dead Kennedys certainly had a lot to say:

I Am The Owl

I am your plumber / No I never went away / I still bug your bedrooms / And pick up everything you say / It can be a boring job / To monitor all day your excess talk / I hear when youíre drinking / And cheating on your lonely wife / I play tape recordings / Of you to my friends at night /


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