NBC’s Putting A Shine On A Traitor: Beware Of Edward Snowden’s Cheerleaders

(3) Zi and PputinTest your memories. What does the name Whittiker Chambers mean to you? Perhaps it will mean more if I add the name Alger Hiss. For those unaware of those, or even those whose recollection may be a little fuzzy, Chambers was an underground Communist operative in the United States in the 1930s who defected from that party in the late 1930s. He then cooperated with the government and exposed those who were in the underground with him.

One of those persons he said was giving information to the Soviets was Alger Hiss. Hiss, who held a high position in the State Department and who influenced our give away of Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union in the Yalta Agreement, denied he was a Communist. Eventually Hiss was tried for perjury and at the second trial he was convicted.

That’s the bare bones summary. For outside forces were at work throughout the Chambers/Hiss episode influencing the public view of the matter. The media and those in power were all pulling for Hiss. Chambers in the late 1940s wrote a book, Witness, that sets out his experience in the Communist party, his dealings with Hiss, and the ways in which he was vilified. I’m reading the book to get a feel for the Communist influence in America in the 1930s in part to better understand J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

Aside from Hoover few seemed to understand the threat to the nation posed by the Communists who had made great inroads into the American government and union movements. When Chambers wrote the book even though he abandoned the Communist movement he still believed that it was going to eventually become the winning side.

History is often a mirror on the present. Chambers book serves as a look at what is happening today. The media and people who flocked to the support of Hiss, who has been shown by later research and documents to definitely having been a Communist, are now lining up to support another traitor to the country, Edward Snowden.

Chambers book clearly shows that the American Communist movement was supported and directed by Moscow with the intent that the American government be overthrown by revolution. Although always denied by the Communists and their fellow travelers, that also seems to be beyond dispute. Snowden now sits in Moscow as a guest of Putin and the Russians. Thus he becomes somewhat of a darling of those who don’t necessarily have the best interests of America at heart. It causes one to wonder how far back Moscow’s reach influenced Snowden.

I mention Snowden because on Wednesday evening NBC will air an hour long interview with him that Brian Williams conducted in Moscow. If you watch it keep in mind Snowden is charged with treason to America. He has stolen NSA and CIA documents and turned them over to others for publication. His actions have damaged America since any diminution in our security is a gain for others intent on harming us.

When Snowden ended up in the hands of the Russians, the reaction from our America was not perceptible. It did nothing to show the Russians our great displeasure that it was harboring a traitor to this country. Relations continued pretty much as usual. Oh, yes, we did one thing. We send a delegation to Putin’s Olympics that was less than stellar, but that was it.

We know that with Snowden snuggling-in with the Russians he has to have given them some of our state secrets. We also know that Putin’s Russia and the Chinese are now joining together and have suddenly become aggressors toward other nations. Russia has invaded the Ukraine, seized part of its territory, and is threatening other parts of it and threatens certain of the Baltic states. China is claiming territory of other nations in the Pacific.

President Obama’s failure to act decisively against Putin when he took in Snowden may have laid the groundwork for these new aggressive behaviors. Regardless of whether it did or not, or whether it was the information disclosed by Snowden, our nation was hurt by the disclosures. We cannot know how much they emboldened those who have ill will toward us.

Snowden has given aid and comfort to the latter. Sadly, we are now going to be treated to a powder puff interview by Brian Williams, who will be assisted by Snowden’s publicist Glenn Greenwald, who finds much wrong with America, which will portray our country as some evil empire while telling us that Snowden should be receiving some type of award, perhaps the highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In the Chambers/Hiss matter we did not get fooled by those who made the enemy of our country, Hiss, into the hero. In part credit is due to J. Edgar Hoover’s knowledge of the great threat Communism posed to this country. Hoover wasn’t perfect, but in this one respect he was critically important.

Keep in mind Snowden is a traitor. His motives for becoming one are not material. Individuals have no right to turn over our state secrets to others to our detriment.

America with all its blemishes is still the shining light when it comes to freedom. The actions of the NSA which have become condemned by many who have deliberately misrepresented them were taken in good faith and under court supervision for the benefit of all of us. I know of nor have I read of anyone one who was adversely affected by anything that the NSA did. Its alleged sins are theoretical while we live in a world that is realistically dangerous.

Keep in mind that since Snowden’s betrayal we find ourselves back to the confrontation between those who believe in freedom and those who want to suppress it as existed in Chambers’s time.  We’ve had a few years of relative peace but the storm clouds are on the horizen.

Chambers was wrong when in 1948 he suggested the forces of evil were going to win. We were able to defeat them. But they have not gone away and are planning to come back more powerful than ever with a Russia/China/Iran security alliance. Today we have no J. Edgar Hoover to buck up a wishy-washy administration that has allowed the unthinkable to come about which again may jeopardized our nation. Keep that in mind if you listen to Snowden’s interview.

8 thoughts on “NBC’s Putting A Shine On A Traitor: Beware Of Edward Snowden’s Cheerleaders

  1. Matt:

    Being an old Wobbly, I have to take exception with your monolithic view of the American left.

    When you say “fellow travelers?” Does that mean all non-communist socialists? Socialism developed in the US long before the Russian Revolution. Do you consider Eugene Debbs, Big Bill Hill, Emma Goldman, etc., “fellow travelers” of the Moscow directed USCP? Also, who fought tooth-and-nail to drive labor racketeers like Louis Buchalter, and, Gurrah Shapiro, from New York’s garment district? Not NYPD, not the FBI, they sided with the gangsters, and, the sweat-shop owners, who hired them. Then, there’s also the comrades who volunteered to fight fascism in Spain long before America went to ware against Hitler.
    As far, as Moscow goes, why do you consider Russia a communist state? The modern Russian system is a fascist oligarchy. Fascism is a return to feudal economics, the crudest state of capitalism.
    Hoover destroyed a whole generation of left-oriented foreign studies scholars. Was that a good thing? It left us in the dark about the rest of the world. As I remember, we made a number of costly foreign policy blunders during the fifties, and, sixties, because we couldn’t figure out who, and/or, what, we were dealing with.

    As for Snowden, he’s more like Kim Philby, than, Alger Hiss. Either way, I agree, he’s still a traitor.

    1. Khalid:

      Fellow travelers does not include all non-Communist socialists. It is much narrower. I limit it to those people who are not Communists but have close witting relations with Communists and are interested in advancing their work for the Soviet Union in its attempt to overthrow the U.S. I recognize there were many radicals whose ideas sometimes mirrored those of the Communists but they were not interested in following the dictates of the Soviets or in a revolution in America. I try to look at who is the ultimate beneficiary: our country or another one.
      Many of the Wobblies became Communists.Hill and Goldman who ended up in Russia seemed to me to be interested in bringing anarchy to our country to advance the Communist goals of world conquest so I would consider them fellow travelers; Debs I go back and forth on.
      As for the garment workers, my recollection is that was highly involved with some Communists. Driving out gangsters and replacing them with people with inimical ideas to democracies is hardly and advance. Yes, there was supposedly fascism in Spain but if you are familiar with the writings of Eric Arthur Blair you’d understand that the Spanish people were spared the victory of the much more brutal anti-fascist Communists.
      Fascism is a broad term and used too loosely. We’ve seen Putin call the Ukrainian people who sough freedom in Maiden Square fascists. We cannot get caught up in the idea because fascism is bad then anti-fascism is good. I never saw much difference between the evils of fascism and Communism: both deny to the people the freedoms that they shoud have to go about their lives without too much interference.
      Hoover had a very good idea of what was behind the anarcists and Communists movements and how they presented a threat to our democrati system. I disagree that he destroyed any generation of left leaning scholars; they continued to thrive during his reign – guys like Sidney Hook and his friends never felt intimidated by him.
      We were never quite in the dark about the world as when we did not adequately appreciate the Communist menace that was exposed by Hook. The blunders were in part motivated by a supposed fear of the countries being taken over by Communists based on our experience of what happened in Korea. If we erred, if you agree with the propositions set out in the recent book about the Dulles brothers you’d say we did, it was not because no threat existed it was because it was either unintentioally or intentionally overstated (like the Iraq threat).
      I don’t think we lost the capabilities to figure out who we were dealing with; there have always been diverse opinions on others; it was the beliefs of the persons making the decisions as to which opinion was correct. We can’t expect 100%; unless it is the FBI investigating itself; or the results of a rigged election.
      I’m not too familiar with Philby but I tend to disagree Snowden is like him; nor is he like Alger Hiss. I don’t know whether he was working for Russia or that it was his intent to help Russia as the others sought to aid the Soviets, or whether Snowden had any allegiance to any other government, but he seemed to act out of desire to expose our secrets to our enemies in the world out of pure malice. I see now he is claiming he was some sort of spy for the United States. We’ll have to give him a “hero of the Republic” badge.

      1. The history of Soviet relations with the American Left is a great topic to explore. I’m not familiar with Sidney Hook, I’ll have to do some research. Goldman, and, Haywood, lived to rue the day they embraced Russian-style Socialism. The Soviet system Stalinized right before their very eyes. Everything Lenin, and, the old Bolsheviks, had created, was perverted by the will of Stalin. Being fervent idealists, the Americans suffered greatly, as witnesses to the destruction of their dream. The once famous American radicals were assigned to obscurity by the security organs of the totalitarian police state, an awful fate for folks used to the business end of a megaphone.
        Black listing Marxist academics definitely inhibited US ability to fully understand the social and political dynamics of the emerging post WWII third world. During the late forties, through early sixties the quest for ideological purity trumped the pursuit of knowledge. I remember John Dower (Harvard)talking about how his academic mentor, a brilliant scholar of leftist inclination (Canadian), had been driven mad, and, pushed out the upper window of a Cairo hotel in 1957. I can’t recollect the man’s name, but, it will come to me. Dr. Dower thought this man’s demise a tragedy for Asian Studies in the United States. HUAC , Hoover, McCarthy, Nixon, and, Roy Cohn, turned the fifties into an inquisition for intellectuals.
        Hoover was correct in his suspicion that communists were behind MLK, and, the fight for civil rights. They furnished the organizational know-how for the Freedom Riders. An old college roommate of mine was a red diaper baby. On visits to his home in Manhattan, his Dad, a veteran of the Lincoln Battalion in Spain, would regale us with tales about street battles against strike-busting labor racketeers, and, scabs, in the NY Garment District. Old Saul was quite a raconteur, spell binding, in fact. Comrade Dad, and, my pal’s Mom, went down South to man the infrastructure for the Freedom Riders of the early sixties. They were committed to the Revolution all their long lives.
        Orwell had an ax to grind, so did Koestler (Darkness at Noon). Both authors offer vivid reflections on the nature of totalitarian police states. Koestler spoke directly to the Soviet experience, while, Orwell’s perceptions were filtered through his experiences during the Spanish civil war. “Animal Farm” was more about faction fighting, and, purges, in Spain, than the Russian Revolution. Orwell, and, Koestler, were both captured, and, interrogated, by the nationalists, and, the NKVD/POUM. One of the most interesting moments in “Darkness at Noon” is when the prisoner asks his inquisitor why he worships Stalin. The interrogator tells the prisoner that he is from a peasant background. He holds out his wrist before the eyes of the prisoner, on it is a cheap new watch. “Stalin taught me to tell time,” says the interrogator, as if, no further explanation was necessary.

        Regarding fascism’s economic side, “the fascist mode of organization and control of a national economy, to make all economic activities subservient to “national” ends as determined by the ruling group, and, to ensure subordination of all private ends, or, interests, to those—through the imposed social-economic structure of the “corporative state” with its organizations of the industries, and, occupational groups, controlling their members, and, controlled, by the state—all this may be said to represent an effort to revive a mediaeval pattern, and, adapt it to modern conditions.
        On its face, and, to a certain extent in reality, this kind of social-economic order differs from the Communist system, in leaving private property rights and property incomes intact in a sense; and so it appears to preserve private “capitalism” as opposed to Communism, or, any form of true, thoroughgoing socialism. But, the extreme restrictions of all private economic freedoms, the subjection of the management of all properties, and, enterprises, and, decisions on the uses of incomes, and, resources, to arbitrary control by state authorities, who are not bound by any fixed, or, reliable of law, but, make, and, change, and, enforce, their ad hoc rules as they see fit; all this takes most of the meaning, reality, or, substance, out of private property, and, business rights, and, makes the contrast with Communism, or, authoritarian socialism more nominal than real. Yet, there is a point of contrast, both with Communism, and, with free, or, liberal, private capitalism, ie., a lack of effective, concentrated drive toward, and, systematic provisions for, progressive economic development, and, high economic efficiency, which in different forms are present in both of the other systems.”

        Taylor, Overton H., “A History of Economic Thought: Social Ideas and Economic Theories from Quesnay to Keynes” New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1960. (p. 405)

        1. Khalid:
          Some radicals were idealists but others were revolutionist seeking to overthrow the government. Stalin indeed personified evil but he was only a symptom of a system that is evil, one that makes the rights of almost all people who have no say in the matter dependent on the whim of a small few. It appealed to those in America who felt they should run the show rather than those elected to do so. Why them? They believed they were smarter than the rest of the riff raft. You would find the leaders of the radicals came from the so-called intellectuals.
          Of course when the American radicals went back to the embrace of Stalin’s Russia they found no one was interested in listening to them, that it was a very cold place for them weather-wise and people-wise, and longed to come back to what they had been preaching was the root of all evil.
          The problem with black listing was that it failed to differentiate between the good and bad radicals. Not all were for anarchy or revolution, some wanted to give the hoi polloi a better life within our present system; some wanted to help people unionize for the sake of the worker and not as a way of gaining power for themselves so they could better serve a foreign power. Certainly some people who could have done good were unfairly stigmatized; but I have difficulty thinking this country with its immense talent of people would be hurt by one or several of people with expertise in specific area being black balled.
          Hoover knew MLK had two top advisors who were Communists. Hoover had life time fear of the Communists taking over the black population. He could look to the writing of I.F. Stone a radical who wrote repeatedly about the black’s planning an upcoming revolution and suggesting that it was justifiable because of white racism. Hoover would have considered Stone a Communist even thogh he wasn’t. Stone’s radicalism was a burr in the saddle to the complacent America as was MLK especially when he took up the opposition to the Vietnam War in his Riverside Church speech in NYC. People like them wanted America to be a fairer place and not a vassal state of the Soviets.
          As for fascism, I’ve always thought it was on the same side of the coin as Communism, quite the same thing. The whole things boils down to who will govern: when one or a handful of men govern and cannot be removed from office then they can do whatever they please; when those in power are subject to the follies of the peoples vote, then they have to be somewhat reasonable.

  2. “Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters at the heart of chronicling the document dump of Edward Snowden of National Security Agency via U.K. press, now says he’s set to publish his most dramatic piece yet: The names of those in the United States targeted by the NSA.

    “One of the big questions when is comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’ Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists? What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted? Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer,” Greenwald said, to The Sunday Times of London.

    Greenwald also pointed to the failures of the NSA to catch Mr. Snowden during his download and theft of 1.7 million documents, and said that’s further evidence of the government’s inability to guarantee data security.

    “There is this genuinely menacing [spy] system and at the same time, [they] are really inept about how they operate it,” he said, Newsmax reported. “Not only was he out there under their noses downloading huge amounts of documents without being detracted, but to this day, they’re incapable of finding out what he took.”

    Greenwald, who’s promoting his new book, “No Place to Hide,” said the list will be published on The Intercept, the website he established after leaving The Guardian.”

    1. Henry:

      Greenwald’s the type of guy Sydney Hook talks about who can find all these things wrong with America but has no problem with countries like Russia. He doesn’t see how contradictory his statements are when on one hands he tells us we are being watched and followed by the NSA but on the other telling us how very incompetent they are. I guess the latter is a new defense to be put up by spies: “hell, they left it out so that anyone could steal it so I just helped myself; they should have protected it better.”
      I await his disclosure of those who were targeted which I suggest will be much ado about nothing but will produce a fury of left wing anguish. Since Greenwald considers the American government to be the terrorists the list he publishes, if he does, won’t contain any terrorists according to him.
      The bottom line is no one has been able to show any harm caused by the NSA actions. All the alleged harm is hypothetical; but we do have knowledge of the harm that can come via shoe or underwear bombers is we don’t remain vigilant.

    2. America isn’t the America of old. Yes its is still better then any super powers but not by that much. The Right considers the American government evil incarnate. America has more people in prison then any country in the world. Mast of them on trumped up charges. War profiteers made trillions on two no win wars that killed hundreds of thousands. It’s not like the people in government give a damn about the country. The Middle Class is being destroyed by the rich. Almost all sources of news are controlled by a handful of people. The Republicans do everything they can to hurt the economy and destroy jobs. And the Democrats are subservient to the Republicans. If anyone in the country had a problem do you think the government would help them. Hell the Supreme Court voted to protect companies that poisoned the water supply. Shinning light give me a break the light you see is a fire that has broken in the dump that once was America.

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