Is Edward Snowden a hero or a criminal? A leader or a traitor? In this video blog, we explore key questions about government surveillance, terrorism, individual rights, and personal morality.
Read a transcript of the audio (to translate the transcript, choose your language at the top of this page)
Edward Snowden. Is he a hero or a criminal? Do you think he’s a leader or a traitor? Edward Snowden was an employee at Booz Allen Hamilton, which is a major defense contractor and one of the key players in the military industrial complex, and he has come forward with solid insider information that the NSA has co-opted Microsoft and Google and YouTube and Yahoo and AOL and Apple and other companies. And quite simply, he’s nailed it on what he calls “turnkey tyranny”, passing our information along to the government without our permission and without our knowledge. This is what the Stasi was doing in East Germany, monitoring everyone’s communications. Now, we can’t video the police on the street, but they can collect all of our information?
Many of you probably know about the COINTEL Program (COINTELPRO) back in the ’60s and ’70s when the government was covertly monitoring and infiltrating groups like the Black Panthers, Martin Luther King, and various peace activist networks and then they got busted doing that and needed to stop. Later in the mid-’90s, AT&T, in San Francisco, was busted by an internal whistleblower for covertly diverting copies of all of the communication traffic that was going through their building over to the government. Then, AT&T and other communications companies that were also doing this were then given retroactive immunity by Bush, Jr. Now, Bush, Jr.’s own CIA and NSA Director, Michael Hayden, has actually come forward referring to this type of activity as “digital Blackwater”.
In our movie, THRIVE, we tried to lay it out as clearly as possible:
“Every phone call and email we send is collected and archived and can be inspected at any time.”
I’m not going to be going into the details here of the Snowden case. Fortunately, that’s being done very well by independent journalists all over the Internet. What I do want to do, however, is to ask you to join me in deeply inspecting how all of this lands in our own internal moral landscape. I want to ask you some questions that could help you see more clearly your own ethical compass. What’s needed, in my opinion, is not more righteous authoritarian political zealots, but more independent thinkers, more courageous seekers of Truth and real Justice like this soft-spoken, eloquent, and, to me, very inspiring Edward Snowden.
Question #1: In your opinion, is the government functioning more to represent the people or to serve the elite, would-be controllers? The most recent excuse for this kind of surveillance activity has been to prevent terrorist attacks and we’re told that it’s done that, but the actual cases remain classified. However, in the 22 most recent plots that have been uncovered, more than 14 of those turned out to be FBI sting operations.
Question #2: Is terrorism, when it’s not a false flag event, more a function of bad people who supposedly hate our freedoms or is it actually understandable blowback from human beings whose families are being killed by American wars of aggression?
Question #3: (This is a personal question to each of you.) What is your primary loyalty to? Is it to the law? Or, is it to your own core morality? Would you have protected runaway slaves in America when it was illegal? Would you have hidden Jews running from the Nazis in Germany when it was illegal?
Please don’t let this young man go it alone. I invite you to show your own courage and your own support in any way that you can. One way that at least shows our numbers is to sign the petition to pardon Edward Snowden that’s at the link below.
If you had the evidence that Snowden had, what would you do? When does that risk become worth taking? And when is it too late?
Sign the Petitions to Pardon and Protect Edward Snowden
- Tell President Barack Obama to Ensure Edward Snowden is Treated Fairly
- White House Petition to Pardon Edward Snowden
- Edward Snowden: the Whistleblower Behind the NSA Surveillance Revelations by Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian
- NSA’s Prism Surveillance Program: How it Works and What it Can Do by James Ball, The Guardian
- Government Accountability Project (GAP) Statement on Edward Snowden & NSA Domestic Surveillance