|Mole on a male mole model.|
In Stephen Alford's book about the secret history of the Reign of Elizabeth 1, "The Watchers", he depicts the amount of secrecy and the reasons for it during the rule of this most interesting of Monarchs. Since she was a Protestant in what had reverted to a Catholic England, everyone from the Pope to the King of Spain used the Divine right of Kings to justify the funding of conspiracies and nefarious plots to murder her and put her Catholic cousin on the throne in her stead. In light of the statements being made recently by the current pontiff, wherein he condemns the trickle down theory of economics, it's interesting to see the state in which the vast majority of Euroland was living when they were under the rigorous, heartless foot of Mother Church.
One of the conspirators who was sent by the Pope was a priest named Snowden, a "subtle, intelligent and self-assured man" who volunteered "in the cause of his native country against its enemies" ie its citizens and their rightful monarch, Queen Elizabeth. But Catholics didn't feel that QE1 had any business leading their country as they deemed her a bastard, an apostate and a heretic; an usurper, and upstart for daring to declare that a woman... a WOMAN ... My God! ... could be the lord's representative on earth.
Now, when I took the final courses I needed at Harvard for my BA, after many years absence, two of them were in American History, from a Prof Allison, who, when I drew parallels to the current state of affairs, was quite adamant that none existed and I should not make such forced comparisons. I totally disagreed with that, but since he was the teacher, and I wanted an 'A', I demured, got my 'A', and now, upon reading about Snowden, am back to my old tricks, having learned nothing. Well, that's not true, I learned a lot, but not drawing parallels wasn't one of them, and the temptation to do so by using the name-freakism of a Snowden spy in Elizabethan England to draw comparisons with our own fugitive Snowden spy while we are engaging in our own brand, methodology and justification for global spying and torture was simply too enticing to let it slip by.
Of course, it seems to need no justification that if a modern world with all the modern weapons of warfare and surveillance can declare a Terror Watch over the entire planet with no end of it ...ever ... all caused by a small cadre of Saudi-funded terrorists, then the justification of QE1 for having a spy network when her weak kingdom was under the attack of the entire European continent, the entire Catholic continent, I might add, to those who think the pope's newly-found humanity in any way reflects the policy of the Church's two-millennium-old bureaucracy, then it seems a slam dunk that QE1 would have practically been criminally negligent if she had NOT had spies, intelligencers, and, as reflected in the title, "Watchers", keeping their eyes and ears open to the innumerable plots being woven in order to bring an end to her reign.
The most vehement and notorious of these would-be assassins and monarch murderers was Cardinal William Allen, who was the one who sent Father Snowden, a priest, over to England to help "engineer plots against Queen Elizabeth". But like our Snowden he was caught before he even landed, and found guilty of high treason, which Edward Snowden has, all but formally, already been found guilty of by the current US administration.
Writing of the captured Snowden, Alford describes a man who,
"Wrote with great self-confidence", whose statement was "Certainly the work of an intelligent, experienced and subtle man: too self confident, perhaps, as he offered, without hesitation to give Queen Elizabeth's government information on plots, treasons, and conspiracies. But he maintained a conscientious scruple as a Catholic. Snowden distinguished absolutely between Catholics whose loyalty to the queen held firm and those who planned for England's invasion by the foreign power of Spain, explaining that he would betray only Elizabeth's enemies, not the Catholic faith."
Although to a modern reader it may seem easy to make this distinction, to a medieval worshiper, separating loyalty to the monarch from loyalty to their religion was not such a simple matter, one being intrinsically connected to the other. But the parallel between the Snowdens that I see is that our Snowden's loyalty is toward the country, not the government, and this is a subtle difference that in modern times is just as hard to separate as the one between Church and State was in those times.
A good example of this is illustrated by the phrase "American Values", by which it is always assumed one means those of the US. But the values of the United States are remarkably different from those of other countries in America, just as much as those values can differ from those of citizens who claim to love their country but hate its government. In order to give the citizens of Iraq the ability to do both, the Bush administration invaded their country to depose a dictator and allow the Iraqi's the luxury of not having to hate their government anymore, but love their country AND their government. So the concept's not one that is foreign to the United States, even as it condemns Snowden for daring to take the actions he did, much less horrible and murderous actions than invading a country, even though it's obvious he did so because he believed his loyalty to his country overrode and is tantamount to his loyalty to his government.
Just as QE's Snowden went against his ruler, the Pope, in favor of his ruler, QE1, Edward Snowden felt that his loyalty belongs to, not his ruler, the US NSA, who was providing him with a paycheck, but to his true ruler, the people for whom he supposedly works and whose tax dollars enable the NSA to issue that paycheck (well supposedly. It's becoming more and more obvious by the day that the Pentagon and its long list of fellow "defenders of freedom" are quite capable and have indeed for some time now, simply minted their own currency). The spied-upon citizens (without their knowledge, although how they didn't know is still a mystery to me) have no one in government that is an elected official to watch over their interests, protect their privacy, or even address their concerns in any but a nominal way. It is only someone like Snowden, operating from inside the beast, that the citizens in a Democracy have any idea of the illegal machinations of its elected and paid officials. Just as we have no idea what goes on inside Corporations unless someone from inside spills the beans, in which case they will lose their job, which then means their access to heatlhcare and soon enough their home.
John Snowden's Vatican is Edward Snowden's Secret government. Both of them perform the same function of spying on the citizens it's supposed to protect and serve, one ecclesiastically, the other materialistically. The Vatican was a corrupt and evil influence in the 1500's, as the US government is now. The difference is that there's no one who can stand up to the US, so only lone moles working on the inside can give us any inkling of what's really being done in our name so that the next time we're attacked by outsiders, we'll have at least some idea of why they felt compelled to do so. On the contrary, most US citizens to this day have no idea that the Saudi Nationals who conspired to wreak destruction on the US and hopefully bring its economic system to its knees, were all funded initially with CIA dollars, funneled through their operative, Osama Bin Laden, in order to join up with the Mujaheddin in their attacks against Russian infidels in Afghanistan. Whipped up into a religious frenzy in order to carry out the US proxy war against godless communism, Saudi's, infused with Wahhabi fundamentalism, (in much the same way that American Fundamentalist Christians were propagandized to believe the Founding Fathers didn't want the separation of Church and State, and so were sent on the warpath against Moral reprobates, unlike themselves who were a "Moral Majority", until time after time it was demonstrated that the only morality they had was just worn on their sleeve) having brought down their original target, successfully ousting the Russians from Afghanistan, turned to the next logical one, the infidel USA.
The other is that if you fund secret organisations to send spies all over the globe and to listen in on all communications anywhere in the world, that very technology will eventually be used to spy on you, too. Which is why the founding fathers made the power of the central government the weakest. The power now centered in Washington has been usurped from the States, most of it since the Second World War, but starting with the first WW, as that is when the roots of the great depression were taking hold, while the States' power was usurped from the Cities and local government, where it belongs. The further from the people that power resides, the more easily corrupted and the more centralized, by necessity, it becomes, and therefore, the less answerable to anyone for its actions. Consequently Washington has increased the number of people it has rule over by a factor of 10, from 30 million to 300 million, yet there is still but one president making decision for 10 times as many people. To do that requires a certain amount of Totalitarianism of its own. And that is what Snowden felt compelled to show us. We should do better to let him know that he didn't do so, knowingly destroying his own life in the process, in vain.