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Friday, 22 November 2013

Dear Edward Snowden

Dear Edward Snowden,
                                       Sorry for the rather formal honorific, but I’m not sure what name you prefer.
Do your friends, if you have any left, call you Ed? Ted? Snowy?
If you were Australian you probably would have been given the moniker of ‘Snowy’ or ‘Snodes’ quite early in life.
We usually bestow nicknames on people as a mark of regard or affection. That means, unfortunately, that you won’t be getting an Australian-style name anytime soon, so would it be ok if I just called you Ed?
Perhaps, Ed, your new best friends in the KGB or FSB or whatever they call themselves these days, have given you a nickname. Tedovich, or something.
Not that you would be overly concerned about what Australians think of you, of course. From my limited personal acquaintance with Americans, most of them don’t even know where Australia is, though I assume that you, being in the intelligence business so to speak, will know a little bit more about us than the average American.
I hope you have at least heard of us because it would be a bit depressing to know that you sold a country that you didn’t even know existed down the river.
I dunno, Ed. If I was your President I’d be pretty pissed off at being dropped in the shit. That is just me, though. Watching from all the way down here, it seems that your man Obama gets off on apologising to people – he’s been doing it from the day he was elected – so maybe he is really grateful that you have given him another opportunity to throw the USA under a bus.
The thing is, though, while you and your President may enjoy trashing your country, we actually like ours.
That is why I’m writing Ed. I just wanted to say ‘thanks’. Thanks for fucking up our diplomatic relations with our closest regional neighbour just so you can feel a bit more self-righteous. (I’m using sarcasm here Ed.)
You see Ed, it isn’t just our diplomatic relationship that has been given the deep six, thanks to your weird definition of patriotism.
It is very likely that more than a few men, women and children will be deep sixed as well.
We have a bit of a problem with illegal immigrants here. You, with your heightened sense of human dignity, would probably call them asylum seekers, but whatever we call them it amounts to the same thing: they travel to Indonesia (a country in south-east Asia, just to our north, in case you didn’t know) then pay a people smuggler to put them on a boat for the journey to Australia.
Sometimes the boats aren’t always that seaworthy. At other times, the smugglers call our navy, give their position and then deliberately scuttle the boat so our navy has no choice but to rescue them and bring them to Australia.
The problem is that sometimes the unseaworthy boats just sink without trace. Sometimes the smugglers are a little too enthusiastic with the scuttling and the boats sink long before anybody can get there.
That’s when people die. Men, women and children drown.
The people smuggler trade from Indonesia flourished under our Labor ie Democrat Government, which is one of the reasons we got rid of them recently.
Our new Federal Government was making a determined effort to stop the people trade and was working very hard to convince the Indonesians to help them to do this.
Stopping the trade means that no people drown. Do you see that Ed?
It was going pretty well until a whole bunch of documents, stolen by you, detailing electronic eavesdropping on senior Indonesian political figures by our spy agencies were published by The Guardian and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Result: probably more drowned men, women and kids, but hey, what’s a few dead people and wrecked diplomatic relationships in exchange for you being able to live out your Freedom Fighter for The Rights of the Citizen daydream?
There are a few things I’m having just a little bit of trouble with though Ed.
One of those is trusting your claim that you didn’t give any information to the Chinese or the Russians.
(Just as an aside, that was pretty funny by the way. ‘There’s no way I’d ever give stuff to the Chinese or the Russians. I’m a patriot! Ha ha. Good one Ed.)
The first reason I have a bit of trouble trusting you is that, well, to be honest, you’re a thief.
I’m assuming that you would have signed some sort of document promising not to disclose any of the information you had access to through your job.
I’m also assuming that you didn’t actually tell your friends, family and colleagues that you were only working there so you could steal lots of Top Secret documents and stuff.
If I’ve got those assumptions right you betrayed your friends, family, colleagues, employer and country, stole lots of stuff and did a midnight flit.
If you can stab everybody you know and the country that raised you in the back, I’d be pretty stupid to take you at your word wouldn’t I?
Apart from the fact you’ve pretty much proved that your word isn’t worth jack shit, what did you think would happen after you handed over the information to a journalist?
Do you think that the Chinese and the Russians don’t bother reading the newspaper, trawling the internet or watching Western TV?
See Ed, by giving it to a journalist you have given it to the Chinese and the Russians haven’t you? On a plate.
Also, just out of interest, how did you know that you could trust the journalist you gave the stuff to?
Or did you use your security service contacts or techniques to discreetly background check the journalist to make sure he could be trusted to handle stolen gear?
(That would be pretty funny if you did that, Ed. You know, used the very things you claim to be against, to help screw them up.)
So, I hope you don't mind me asking, Ed, but what did you do with your head?
You know, all that information stored in your head. The same head you took to Hong Kong. The same restricted information-filled head that is now resident in Russia, thanks to whatever deal you have done with KGB or the FSB or whatever it is called.
Oh that’s right. Sorry Ed. Mr Putin is just a really nice guy who wanted to help and you would never do anything to help the Russians because you are a patriot, aren’t you Ed?
Anyhow, I suppose my questions don’t really matter. Like I said, if you can deliberately betray your family, friends, colleagues, employer, country and countrymen and still sleep at night, you aren’t going to care about a nobody from Australia are you?
Still, it’s a shame about the men, women and children who will almost certainly drown thanks to you.
Cheers Ed. Appreciate it. No, really.

You sleep well now, Ed.

PS: If you really, really believed that what you did was right, you wouldn't have run away like a scurvy dog. You would have stayed and fought for what you believed in and accepted the consequences. But that is the Australian way. I suppose self-righteous Americans with a finely honed social conscience such as yours do things differently.

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