Once more, the spectre of Prism haunts the news agenda. Edward Snowden, a wannabe Julian Assange (what a compliment, by the way) has been periodically releasing tranche after tranche of secret documents on British and American intelligence programmes.
In pursuit of this aim, supposedly about promoting and preserving freedom and liberty in his country of origin, he has fled into the arms of President Putin of Russia - an evil and calculating man - a gay-bashing murderer, whose hands daily drip with the blood of Syrian civilians killed by his best buddy Assad with the tyrant's active approval.
Compare this to the United States of America: home to the finest point of law in the world: the First Amendment. Under this Amendment, journalists and the public are granted freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. There is also the small matter of religious pluralism, and of the secular state - neither of which is too popular in Russia; see the Orthodox Church for further details.
But aside from the irony of his location, there is the small matter of document theft with which to contend. In this thievery, Snowden uncovered the terrifying secret that governments occasionally spy on each other. He also bravely released the fact that sometimes they spy on their own people! I don't know about you, but not only was this cache the opposite of the dynamite stuff Snowden and his cheerleaders claim it to be, it was also downright obvious. Other organisations have been poking (legally, I might add) around this area for a while now, and have already exposed the same conclusions many times.
This did not shock anyone, as it was steeped in the ordinary. But as soon as a would-be martyr and his public relations skilled co-conspirators burst on to the scene, all was suddenly brought to light afresh, and to a more receptive and hysterical public.
No one should have been surprised by this development. For the most delusional anarchists, this would not have been a shock, for, as we have all heard: "the government is out to, like, get you, man". For educated urbanites, allegedly well-versed in the ways of the world, the fact that the state is engaged in this sort of data gathering would have been common knowledge: frequently whispered in mock-conspiratorial tones around chattering-class dinner tables. Finally, for paranoid pseudo-journalists like Glenn Greenwald, who is always on the tail of establishment excess, thoughts such as these would be a common occurrence - swirling, as they do, around the self-aggrandising interior to his cavernous sub-conscious.
Decorating their features with the most fashionable shade of faux horror, these people go out into the general populace and pretend that they did not see it coming.
Unfashionable as it may be (especially on this site) I am a big fan of The Guardian a lot of the time. Journalists such as Gary Younge, for example, are interesting and informative media voices. He in particular is an interesting companion to have when traversing U.S. politics. Opposing the actions of The Guardian in their entirety is short sighted, and demonstrates political and journalistic intolerance. However, in this case, it seems to me to be reasonable to criticise the paper in its actions regarding Snowden.
For me their major error has been in employing Glenn Greenwald in the first place. An anti-American propagandist by nature, he has recently upped his usual output of paranoid rubbish to meet increased demand, and in doing so resorts to using his partner, David Miranda, as an information mule - relaying thousands of classified files via memory sticks - to be gleefully disseminated in an attempt to damage the America he no longer calls home.
Greenwald has promised revenge on the British for the perfectly legal detention of his partner, and the documents he was supposedly carrying. In doing this he has blurred the lines between 'journalism' and 'activism'. Some carry it off: Laurie Penny, for example, but Greenwald has the obvious agenda of an unalterably biased source.
Snowden's work has 'gifted' terrorists and those who would seek to damage western democracy - according to the new MI5 chief Andrew Parker - in an outing which was widely reported on last week. The fact that he does this with the blessing of Putin is doubly galling.
In summary, this whole saga has demonstrated the natural follow on from the narcissistic information theft of alleged rapist Julian Assange. His messianic cadences and generally arrogant demeanour have fed into the culture of Leak Mania. We are bombarded with supposed 'revelations' on a weekly basis, and I for one am beyond just not caring any more.
In fact it makes me quite angry: especially when they are being promulgated by self-promoting data thieves and their smirking accomplices, nestled securely in the bosom of a monster.