Word has it that Jet-Setting Whistle-blower-cum-Spook Edward Snowden did not get on the plane to Cuba for which he'd booked a seat. Instead, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister made remarks in Hanoi indicating that Snowden's request for asylum was being analyzed and considered by his government.
Typical delaying tactic. While the wheels turn mercilessly in the background -- Brennan on his way to Moscow, Kerry making remarks and not so veiled threats, who knows what spooks deployed for Emergency Extraction of the Fugitive, or whatever they want to do with him when and if they get the chance -- Snowden has once again disappeared. No one in Moscow is saying where he is -- or even if he is still there. [UPDATE 06/25/13: Or if he was ever there. Apparently no one on the plane from Hong Kong that was supposedly transporting him to Moscow could vouch for his being seen on the plane. He was not seen publicly at the Moscow airport -- though there were several reports of people seeing him, there was no way to verify them. This being a Spy Story and all, it's possible he was never there. Well, isn't this something. I just went over to the Guardian, and the top story was entitled: "Edward Snowden Never Crossed Border Into Russia, says Foreign Minister." Who'd a thunk, right?]
The aura of Cold War Intrigue hangs over this tale like a shroud, and it's disorienting to say the least. Many, many commenters seem to be of the opinion that the Implacable Enemies of the United States include Peking and Moscow and Havana -- ruled as they are by Iron Fisted Communist Totalitarian Police States, Stalin in the Kremlin, the inscrutable Mao in the Forbidden City, Castro the Devil in his rotting colonial palace in Havana. Communist spies and Freedom-loving counterspies are everywhere.
Making Snowden a Defector. Or Double Agent. Or Something.
Just the language surrounding this globe trotting reality show is anachronistic and bizarre. We are not living in the Cold War World of the 1950's and '60's but it surely seems like it when the blowhards on the teevee and on the internets and in print get wound up and commence to opine. To them, nothing has changed. The United States defends the Free World from the Perfidious Commies in Moscow and Peking (it isn't even "Beijing" to them yet) and Havana (oh, and Caracas, too, these days) and Snowden is running straight into the arms of his Communist protectors.
Of course, it's all bullshit, but I've tried to fathom some of the nearly hysterical response to skeptics and critics of the Approved Narrative -- regardless of which side is putting it out, and there are distinct sides to the propaganda in this matter -- as practically a revival of Stalinist Era. It's not meant to inform (even if the information is lies.)
It is meant to compel: Obedience. Loyalty. Conformity.
One can only choose sides. One cannot question, speculate, or investigate on one's own. One is told what one is to believe -- by the experts, of course, never mind the fact that they have reverted to Cold Warrior rhetoric. One is required to focus only on one (or less than one) aspect of the story to the exclusion of all others. One is not allowed to speculate or question in public.
The dissonance of being endlessly told "It's not about Greenwald/Snowden!!!" while Greenwald is on every teevee show (yelling "It's not about me!") making it about himself, and Snowden is highly dramatically on the lam and treating with various diplomats and WikiLeaks, is quite deliberate in this form of propaganda. The point is to make it nearly impossible for casual observers to form an objective opinion about what's going on. The point is to obscure and confuse the real issues with dissonant orders so as to enable and require submission and compliance. Cops do this all the time, issuing conflicting commands or making statements that contradict reality, so as to disorient their targets and subjects and obtain their submission and compliance. It's messy, but it usually works.
One of the often-repeated orders is: "Focus on the NSA! That's the Only Story That Matters!" Well, apart from the fact that it isn't true, that makes perfect sense. The truth is, the NSA is a part of a much vaster surveillance apparatus, it's not the only part, and it may not even be the most important part, and it is surely not the only part to be considered -- unless, that is, you don't want the rest of the story to be seen or told...
Oh. Of course. Propaganda.
"Corporations are bit players!" No they aren't. They are at the root and the core of the Surveillance State. They are fundamentally its creators and operators. "Don't look behind the curtain!" Of course not. Wouldn't dream of it.
"Focus on Government spying only!" No. The Government gets most of its information about you and me (all that domestic surveillance and spying) from the private sector. The private sector sells it; the Government purchases it. It's an example of the Free Market in action. What would you do to prevent this free exchange between a willing buyer and seller from taking place? "Don't confuse me with facts! Focus on the only thing that matters! NSA! NSA! NSA!"
And so it goes.
This will continue until the Next Big Thing, and the Propaganda Ratchet will be tightened ever further. It's so obvious to me in this case that certain Stalinist Era propaganda tactics are being used to confine and control The Debate over the Surveillance State, and the use of these propaganda tactics is not confined to one side or the other of the issue. After all, the ever reasonable (though Uppity) President has been making appearances and remarks in which he says clearly disorienting (and false) things like, "It is transparent!" in reference to the FISA court, which operates in secret. OK then.
The point is to obscure and confuse the real issues, and both sides are engaging in it. This can lead a skeptic to believe that the "sides" are not really "sides" at all; they represent a factional struggle within the Inner Party and has nothing to do with the interests of the Proles.