Poisoned By Importance

Regarding a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of certain intelligence-gathering activities undertaken by the US government, we welcome the ruling by federal judge Richard Leon, available in its entirety here, that plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of showing that their privacy interests outweigh the government’s interest in collecting and analysing bulk telephony metadata.” The massive NSA surveillance program would thereby qualify as an unreasonable search, as defined under the fourth amendment.

We also take note of an open letter published by Edward Snowden addressed to the citizens of Brazil, home of vaca louca, and a possible future sanctuary for the NSA whistleblower. That letter is available here, and includes the following passage:


We recall the words of another great American patriot, Thomas Paine, writing in Common Sense:


In recent years, the minds of many rulers and their financial handlers have indeed been severely “poisoned by importance,” as we continue to live through a period in American history during which the powerful have become ever more intoxicated by their high octane grandiosity, while brave dissenters are criminalized, marginalized, exiled or disappeared. Further on in his letter, Snowden writes:


This morning, we added our voice to an online campaign to acknowledge the extraordinary service Mr. Snowden has provided his country, in defense of our most fundamental constitutional rights. Will 2013 mark the beginning of a return to our national roots as a constitutional republic, or the beginning of yet another hardening among the ranks of the unfit and the ignorant, as they “lead” us, throughout the dominions, into the darker recesses of tyranny and terracide?



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