Chances are that you have heard about Edward Snowden, the man who started to openly talk about controversial topics relating to US security and intelligence, including CIA torture, mass surveillance and the US’s fight against ISIS.
To put things better into perspective, after blowing the whistle on these secrets, the US Government saw him as a traitor, which is why he decided to flee the country, and seek political asylum somewhere else. He has recently given an interview, and discussed more about the current security status of the US and other regions, while also stating that he is fully comfortable with the choices that he has made.
The interview was conducted over at a hotel in Moscow, where he’s currently staying. The interview started out with him being asked how he was doing. Snowden’s answer was quite intriguing:
“It’s hard for me to talk about what it’s like, because anything I say is going to be used by US critics. If I say good things about Russia, you know, like ‘it’s not hell,’ then they’ll be like ‘he fell in love with the Kremlin’ or something like that. If I say something terrible, then it’s the same thing. Then they’ll go ‘oh, he hates it in Russia, you know he’s miserable,’” Snowden told the journalists.
As he was forced to seek political asylum, Snowden cannot return to the United States. In case he would, he will most likely be arrested by the US authorities, and be convicted to many years in prison. This represents one of the main reasons the journalists proceeded to ask him what he misses most. His answer was:
But I’m very comfortable with the choices I’ve made. I can still see my family when they come here to visit. I can still communicate with anyone anywhere,” he said, adding that the conditions of exile have changed with today’s modern world.
“It used to be, when people were pressed into exile, they’d lose their connections, they’d lose their significance, they’d lose their influence in the political debate…but technology is changing that. Exile as a strategy is beginning to fail,’’
Following this, he proceeded to discuss more about how the US Government managed to hide their torture activities, and how it tried to avoid embarrassment, by hiding the events in questions, instead of admitting their reality, and trying to fix the problems.
During the interview, another interesting aspect was touched. Recently, a certain report stating that in the US drone strikes, only 1 in 10 people killed are the intended targets was released. Snowden proceeded to comment the report, by stating that people aren’t targeted directly, but rather it’s their phones which are used to track their positions, and used as targets for the drones. Snowden also proceeded to add that so far, the drone program has created more terrorists, rather than eradicating the terrorist move, and putting an end to the US war on terror.
Later on, Snowden started talking about the US mass surveillance tactics which he became famous for unveiling.
“It’s not about not having something to hide; it’s about having something to lose. What we lose when we’re under observation is our humanity. What shapes us, what makes us individuals, is the fact that we can think, we can develop. Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide, is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say, or the freedom of press because you’re not a journalist, or the freedom of religion because you’re not a Christian. Rights in societies are collective, and individual. You can’t give away the rights of a minority, even if you vote as a majority. Rights are inherent to our nature, they’re not granted by governments, they’re guaranteed by governments. They’re protected by governments.”
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, it seems like Snowden always has something to talk about, and more information to divulge, about the United States and their ‘unethical’ security practices. For those who do not know yet, Snowden is a former contractor for the National Security Agency, also known as the NSA. In 2013, he managed to make international headlines, after divulging US secrets, and talking about the NSA’s mass surveillance program.
While we do not take the liberty to agree or disagree with Snowden, his remarks do make people from all around the world question whether the security tactics used by our countries can be considered ethical, and whether we are one step closer to living in one of George Orwell’s worst nightmares.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, what do you personally think about Edward Snowden, the recent interview, and his role in helping people from all around the world learn more about the surveillance programs being carried out on the population? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.