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Jan-11-2014 12:24printcomments

Defending Good and Evil

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. --George Orwell

NY Times

(MANAMA, Bahrain) - Typically, people argue to defend what they do (or believe), attacking opposing views where they can, and ignoring arguments they haven't considered.

The more that kind of activity serves as American foreign policy--whether it’s in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria or Iraq, the more the USA can expect revenge from understandably vengeful victims of American terrorism.

In the Washington Post on December 28th, Michael Morrell former acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency writes as a member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.

Morrell points to the problem of people arguing to defend what they do (or believe). If you previously concluded that the NSA was doing a good job, you will look for facts to defend that position.

Says Morrell "One of the dangers of a 304-page report on a complex subject is that everyone gets to choose what he or she thinks is the bottom line. Many of those commenting on the report... must have read a different report than the one I helped write."

NSA could improve transparency without harming security says the Washington Post Editorial Board, December 22.

According to the Board, “if there's an excessive use of surveillance, it's not NSA fault but that of Congress and the administration.”

In that expression of the blame game, the Post gives its bias against Snowden away.

The Editorial Board says they don’t share Snowden’s "alarmist assessment or his disparaging view of the United States’ purposes, but his revelations exposed a weakness of oversight and transparency."

The Post, which ran an article by Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who introduced Snowden to the world, seem to be unconcerned by American surveillance activities even on other Americans.

On the other hand, "The New York Times editorial board is calling for President Barack Obama to take mercy on former NSA contractor-turned-leaker Snowden.

"Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service," the New York Times' Editorial Board wrote.

According to the Board "Mr. Snowden was clearly justified in believing that the only way to blow the whistle on this kind of intelligence-gathering was to expose it to the public and let the resulting furore do the work his superiors would not."

The Guardian, a British newspaper who had received and first published revelations from Snowden, echoed a plea to President Obama for amnesty for Snowden.

What does this mean to people outside of America? The programme is large enough to provide surveillance of anyone, anywhere in the world.

Governments, leaders, cabinets, parliaments, regardless of their importance in their own countries, are subject to NSA surveillance.

Snowden has done the whole world a favour to expose the potential evil use of NSA facilities--with everything from the theft of information in financial organizations, including banks, medical facilities and patients, and corporations and their business plans and operations.

Snowden used what he learned about NSA's spying power for good--to expose what's possible. Others could use the same access to information for evil purposes.

Snowden said government surveillance methods far surpass those described in Orwell’s dystopia novel “1984.”

If data--collection is found unconstitutional in America, that doesn't prohibit its use around the world, spying on you and me.

Let the US government know that you don’t want to be an object of their spyware.



Throughout his life as an educator, Dr. Paul J. Balles, a retired American university professor and freelance writer, has lived and worked in the Middle East for 40 years - first as an English professor (Universities of Kuwait and Bahrain), and for the past ten years as a writer, editor and editorial consultant.

He’s a weekly Op-Ed columnist for the GULF DAILY NEWS . Dr. Balles is also Editorial Consultant for Red House Marketing and a regular contributor to Bahrain This Month. He writes a weekly op-ed column for Akbar Al Khaleej (Arabic). He has also edited seven websites, including,

Paul has had more than 350 articles published, focusing on companies, personality profiles, entrpreneurs, women achievers, journalists and the media, the Middle East, American politics, the Internet and the Web, consumer reports, Arabs, diplomats, dining out and travel. Paul's articles on are frank and enlightening. We are very appreciative of the incredible writings Dr. Balles has generated for our readers over the years, and we are very pleased to list him among our most valued contributors.

Indulging the hard subjects that keep the world divided is our specialty at, and with writers like Dr. Paul Balles on our team, we amplify our ability to meet challenges and someday, will see the effects of this exist in context with a more peaceful and generally successful world.


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