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Jul-28-2013 16:00printcomments

'Presstitutes' and Spies

President Obama has charged more government employees under the provisions of the antiquated 1917 Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

(MANAMA, Bahrain) - Some media pundits have used the terms "whistleblowers” and “traitors” synonymously.

Much of the recent status of whistleblowers has arisen out of the difference in the handling of Edward Snowden by both the mainstream media and the fairer columnists writing on the internet and the local press outside of America.

Snowden has been portrayed in the mainstream Western media as a "narcissist", a “scheming traitor", a “Russian agent”, a “Chinese spy”, “a clueless high school dropout”, an “anti-government extremist," and more.

One might expect that the truths revealed by Snowden about America's spying on everything and everybody would arouse a much fairer reaction.

Snowden’s revelation includes the National Security Administration’s (NSA) use of Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and other technology firms to spy on almost everyone. That disclosure alone should have provided a major shock for everyone.

All it got from the mainstream media amounted to a few days of minimal attention, much of which was negative about Snowden.

Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post wrote “Edward Snowden is no hero. Unlike others who broke the law on principle, he lacked the courage to suffer the consequences.”

She compares (or contrasts) Snowden with Martin Luther King and Socrates, neither of whom were whistleblowers.

One might expect more from a writer for a major American newspaper. Would she have Snowden locked up and silenced in torture cells like whistleblower Bradley Manning?

A "liberal" TV channel like MSNBC might at least be even-handed when, in fact, they sounded more like "talking head" robots who couldn't stand the news.

Usually reasonable Ed Schultz blasted Snowden by name-calling him “a punk and a coward”. He growled that Snowden should come home and "face the music".

One commentator got it right when he said "Ed Shultz, the so-called "liberal/progressive television personality, came out today and exposed himself as just another ‘presstitute’ for the government."

MSNBC’S Melissa Harris-Perry replaced a question for a guest with a long rant against both Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who had the National Security Agency (NSA) secret published by the Guardian.

Greenwald accused Harris-Perry of being part of a media outlet dedicated to defending the Obama agenda.

Rachel Maddow, also MSNBC, was more interested in whether James Clapper, director of Intelligence, lied to congress about what Snowden leaked than she was about the NSA's secret data collection on everybody.

Several earlier whistleblowers that very few have heard of make the attention given to Snowden remarkable. Thomas Drake, Bill Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe were all whistleblowers within the past decade. Unlike Snowden, they got almost no public attention.

President Obama has charged more government employees under the provisions of the antiquated 1917 Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined. Eight leakers have been charged with espionage under Obama, compared to three under all previous presidents.

On her way to the Russian airport where Snowden is holed up, the Human Rights Watch representative received a call from the US Ambassador to Russia, who asked her to relay to Mr. Snowden that the US government does not categorize Mr. Snowden as a whistleblower and that he has broken United States law.

Hundreds of millions of people in the US and around the world have fallen victim to the NSA spying program, whether through their telephone records or through the PRISM program that grants the spying agency direct access to stored internet activity of nearly anyone, anywhere.

It is “a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its goal the elimination of privacy worldwide”, wrote Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian.

The laws that these whistleblowers have broken are trivial when compared to the NSA’s massive spying on everyone. Tell the NSA to get out of our computers; and tell the ‘presstitutes’ to stop defending MSA spying.


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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pinkfloyd July 30, 2013 11:17 am (Pacific time)

Actually, this information came to my attention back in 1999. But there is something I did not really think about that I should have been. How high up does this snooping go? Do they have damaging evidence on congress, senate, even the president? Maybe a senator was having some marital problems, he goes out and has a few drinks, picks up a hooker and does nothing but chat with her. That is enough for the NSA to ruin his career, which means they could persuade his/her vote on important legislation with ease. Just something to think about. With bankers and corporations owning the media, massive control over D.C., I doubt we get any truth at all anymore. But the NSA knows what you bought at the grocery store yesterday, and soon they will control every aspect of your life. Corrupt psychopaths controlling our lives. While you were sleeping.

Ralph E. Stone July 29, 2013 7:11 am (Pacific time)

Taking advantage of the public's concern for security in the wake of 9/11, our government initiated the NSA Surveillance Program in 2002. Then security trumped privacy concerns and still does in many quarters. A stunning shock such as 9/11 was the cover needed to implement -- in the name of security -- Draconian measures such as the NSA Surveillance Program, which in ordinary times would have been vigorously opposed by the populace. (See Naomi Klein's book, The Shock Dpctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.)

If the American public is shocked at the NSA Surveillance Program, then they haven't been paying attention. As early as 2005, the New York Times exposed the government's "warrantless eavesdropping," which forced NSA to open the program to broader review. In fact, there is evidence that the surveillance program had been cleansing itself well before Snowden's leaks. No doubt, Snowden's leaks will help speed the cleansing process.

Given the recent Congressional vote, the NSA surveillance will continue in spite of the public outcry.

Commutalsim July 28, 2013 9:20 pm (Pacific time)

How could the classified information be protected for the safety of one Country and also made sure that the citizens of that same Country are not the target of that top secret, like in the 9/11 false flag attack for example? Should State secrets exist? If State secrets were to be eliminated only in a certain Country how could this Country then protect itself? For example, if the United States were to divulge every secret then how could they do it without the risk of remaining victims of their same disclosed secrets? Is it possible to balance the power between secret State Agencies and the right to know of every citizen? Secret State Agencies have always been the stations to enroll new "initiated" and are still today the alcoves where the darkest ideas have been plotted in the name of a “Greater Good”. To accept that such relevant secrecy is reserved for only a few individuals is to also accept that non governmental secret societies will continue to flourish behind closed doors and to advance their agenda while they remain well hidden from the eye of the unaware citizen. Any head of secret service should never become president of a Country, like in the cases of Bush or Putin. To know everything about everyone is a weapon like no others and that is also the shortest course for a Democracy to be turned into a Dictatorship. The secret State Agencies will be those to pave the way for a New World Order. The current system of government seems to offer no other alternative. And from here is the need for a total renewal in the concept of government.

pinkfloyd July 28, 2013 5:03 pm (Pacific time)

He has also spent more money than all the other presidents combined, he also bailed out the bankers who own him, he also lied about killing osama, in fact, every word from his mouth is a lie. He relies on the ignorance of the mass, and here I thought bush and clinton were bad. obama is a traitor to this nation, a total liar, and will turn this country into something worse than a 3rd world country, and if he doesnt get it done, hillary clinton will finish it. But they are being exposed, so look for massive police state and possibly WW3.

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