As Edward Snowden, whistleblower-come-spy, remains persona non grata in many countries around the world, US President Obama has tried to trivialize the PRISM fiasco. Thursday he reportedly said "I will not be scrambling jets for a 29-year-old hacker" but in spite of those words the hunt is on to capture and silence Edward Snowden. The latest news is that The Guardian website is off-limits to US military personnel.
According to an army representative, in the US access to The Guardian is being filtered and restricted for use by its personnel due to the publication of classified information.
Gordon Van Vleet, spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, claims that the censorship is part of "network hygiene" measures to prevent unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information.
It does, of course, raise questions about what information is censored in the US and how far the censorship goes. After Snowden blew the lid off PRISM, the US spy mechanism monitoring people's online and phone activity around the world, there were further shocking revelations.
The UK has apparently been working hand-in-glove with the US, and utilizing similar spy systems, to monitor and control its people. It is now obvious how the Occupy movement was easily beaten into submission.
Of course, where there is a will there is a way and the real terrorists, the ones to fear, will have already changed their method of communication.
In the UK there have been various court cases related to abusive tweets; comments and posts that have been allegedly reported to the police as a step too far. We now know that this has been possible due to the UK's mini version of PRISM monitoring citizens.
In March, Russia Today reported that cops in the US were trawling Facebook for the purpose of "predictive policing." It should be noted that the time and money spent doing so did not prevent the Boston Marathon bombings nor the many gun massacres in the US.
In the UK this writer is thankful for the dogged determination of journalists at The Guardian. With much of the mainstream media owned by media moguls, who have links to governments and big-money, publications such as The Guardian and small independent websites are vital.
The Manchester Guardian was founded in the UK, in 1821, by John Edward Taylor, from ideals of liberty. It was first published May 5, 1821, with the intention of promoting liberal interest in the aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre and the growing campaign to repeal the Corn Laws that flourished in Manchester during this period.
The Peterloo Massacre (or Battle of Peterloo) occurred at St Peter's Field, Manchester, August 16, 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 that had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation. The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 had resulted in periods of famine and chronic unemployment, exacerbated by the introduction of the first of the Corn Laws. By the beginning of 1819 the pressure generated by poor economic conditions, coupled with the lack of suffrage in northern England, had enhanced the appeal of political radicalism. In response, the Manchester Patriotic Union, a group agitating for parliamentary reform, organised a demonstration to be addressed by the well-known radical orator Henry Hunt.15 people were killed and 400–700 were injured.
Stamp duty payable on newspapers in the UK in the 1800s limited The Guardian to a weekly publication. When that duty was repealed in 1855, newspapers became more affordable to readers and it became a daily publication.
So in the 1800s, in the UK, keeping abreast of the news and current affairs was easy for the rich but difficult for the poor. Who wants a return to such limited awareness?
Thankfully we live in enlightened times these days, but it has to be said, only just.
Sources: Russia Today, The Guardian, Wikipedia