Melissa Harris-Perry today had 2 back to back segments on her show today that contradicted each other. Her nonsense attempt to explain the contradiction fell just short of absurd. The earlier segment was about how inhumane our prisons are and that solitary confinement is torture. Then, in her "letter" today, she tells Ed Snowden to come back to the U.S.A. to be placed into solitary confinement for what she says will only be for several years, but the reality is more likely to be for the rest of his life.
I can't really say it would be for the rest of his life, but Bradley Manning's case is a good predictor of what could happen to Snowden in U.S. custody. Manning's pre-trial confinement is described as torture and his post-trial sentence hasn't been announced. Please note that at this writing Bradley Manning hasn't been formally convicted of any crime yet, but the kangaroo court overseeing his conviction has had their rubber stamp at the ready for months. Manning's jury & judge will have to convict if they want to continue their military careers and the military judge will have to give him a severe sentence or her career is over too. (Manning's total sentence could be as much as 149 years. Snowden's current charges have a maximum of 30 years, that's much more than "several years".) Ignoring Bradley Manning while encouraging Ed Snowden to come back to the United States is fairly typical of our soon to be State Sanctioned Press Corp.
A lesser known case of pretrial detention for spurious reasons is Barrett Brown. He's been in jail, denied bail awaiting trial for 300 days for posting a link..... a link to unencrypted credit card number and security code which somehow indicates he's part of a credit card fraud scheme. He's facing 105 years in prison. I'm not sure Barrett Brown is quite the danger he's purported to be. I think his problems stem from publicly aligning himself with anonymous.
MHP, for some reason, doesn't think it's worth acknowledging the poor treatment of people like John Kiriakou, Thomas Drake, Aaron Swartz, Barrett Brown or of Baltimore's A. F. James MacArthur before they are convicted of anything is a reason for Snowden to remain prudently away from U.S. territory.
Melissa Harris Perry writes/says:
I understand that you don’t want to come back. To do so would mean giving up your freedom, definitely before the trial, and likely for several months or years thereafter.MHP's rationale is that Ed Snowden would have the "protection" of his celebrity to protect him while in U.S. custody. That's ridiculous with the ultra secretive "Q Group" on the hunt for him. How she can decry the human rights violations in one segment and turn around a few minutes later and tell Snowden to willingly submit himself to human rights violations makes no sense. I guess the main reason she wants him back in the U.S. is so she can get on with talking about things that are important to her. You know, like about the cruelty of our jail and prison system.
I get it. It’s in its prisons where the U.S. commits actual human rights violations.
More than 80,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement, some for years, some indefinitely, despite the fact that solitary is cruel and psychologically damaging.
I know those aren’t the human rights violations, though, that you’re complaining about, Ed. But you might not have nothing to worry about anyway. Unlike most of the people in solitary confinement–including Private Bradley Manning, on trial for giving data to Wikileaks–you have cultivated a level of celebrity that itself will act as protection if you ever find yourself in U.S. prison. You’ve made a spectacle of yourself, and the Obama Administration will be very careful about how it treats you. Unlike all those other prisoners.
So come on home, Ed. So we could talk about, you know, something else.
Edward Snowden's status of whistle blower vs. traitor is a distraction from what the real conversation should be. We should be insisting on going after James Clapper for lying to Congress. We should be asking ourselves how we came to be a country where someone can put together a viable request for asylum from the United States. We should be debating both the costs and benefits (if there are any) of our horrific detention facilities and criminal justice policies and not Snowden's choice to dodge them. We should be asking how much is too much for the NSA to know. We should clarify if we really are getting into a cluster of unfettered privatization, financialization, militarization, and criminalization of our marginized population. I don't care if Snowdon stays in that airport longer than Tom Hanks. I do care about these other issues Snowden exposed.
How we jail people prior to conviction is barbaric. The conditions of how we house suspected traitors, alleged criminals, inconvenient investigative journalists and whistle blowers is often deceptively described as "Protective Custody" (aka solitary confinement). How we treat prisoners after conviction is worse.
Up until Edward Snowden's very public disclosures, it was easy to read about horrid pretrial incarceration; then conveniently forget about it. I haven't broken the law. This isn't about me. That person was stupid for doing what they did anyhow. They're just reaping what they sowed.
That doesn't cut it anymore. How many of us who post regular critiques of the government or intelligence gathering private corporations are now considered "targets" for surveillance? How many activists face charges for what amounts to bullshit dressed up as serious charges that will imprison them for decades?
Separating paranoia from reality used to be easy; but after researching story after story of similar atrocities done in the name of the U.S.A. or one their private contractors and....well, it's looking less like paranoia and more like our government is run by thugs intent on shaking people down. Who knows what can happen if you offend the wrong shaker or mover?
The mainstream media seems to have decided to take Edward Snowden to task for myriad of issues. Some call him a traitor. Some thank him and call for him to go to prison. Most criticize him for leaving the United States. Criticisms aside, I totally understand why living in the transit zone of an airport is better than living in a 7x10 cell with no accoutrements 23/7. Why personalities like
Dick David Gregory, Chris Matthews and now both Karen Black and Melissa Harris Perry make the U.S. government's case is deeply concerning. They spend their time criticizing the government on their pet issues, but when a serious issue like abridgement of our 4th Amendment rights pops out in front of them; they blink and find an excuse to shoot the messenger.