Edward Snowden is currently embroiled in the biggest worldwide game of catch, or hide and seek. He’s also the centrepiece for this year’s Great Scandal; there are charges of espionage against him, by those best versed in the crime: the American Government.
The only manhunts that the initial chase could have been compared to (in recent times) was the search earlier this year for the Boston Marathon suspects (the Tsarnaev brothers) and the long-lasting pursuit for Osama Bin Laden that came to its conclusion in 2011.
Both of these suspects were guilty of terror crimes and taking innocent lives. Both of these hunts ended in at least one fatality. Both of these hunts had numerous casualties along the way.
So why is the Land of Freedom now submitting a man, who in terms of casualties and infliction of physical pain, is completely innocent, to the same ordeal?
A country that so often sits upon its pedestal and criticises the world’s approach to democracy and human rights is now blocking the right of asylum of a man who acted in the interests of helping educate and inform, and stop human rights infringement not taken innocent lives.
And how are the big names in the global community responding? They’re panicking. Panic over losing the ‘trust’ and support of a great superpower, coupled with the panic over what the superpower now knows about them.
On the other hand, you’ve got Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, countries that are relatively small fish in the massive sea of world politics, all offering Snowden asylum, or the chance to “live away from the imperial North American persecution” as President Maduro of Venezuela put it.
Right now, the American government is in a flux, and rightly so. The time has come for them to stop throwing their angry, bullying weight around and reassess their definition of democracy (clue: it really is not all that similar to totalitarian states).
Instead on tackling whistleblowers is a heavy-handed and undemocratic way, my advice to the American government would be this:
Don’t do something people will blow the whistle on in the first place.
As an elected government, they need to understand that if something “would be best kept from voters,” it is most likely not to be in the best interests of those voters, who rely on the government to represent them.