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Interview with Edward Snowden: The Latest Whistleblower
an article by David Adams

Video: Edward Snowden interview

Back in 2004, when Yoko Ono awarded the LennonOno Peace Prize to two "whistleblowers" including Mordechai Vanunu who blew the whistle on Israeli nuclear weapons, CPNN carried the following discussion comment: "As the amount of government secrecy continues to increase, we may expect that the number of whistle-blowers will also tend to increase in the years to come."



click on photo to enlarge

This prediction seems to be coming true. Last year we had Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. And now this year, Edward Snowden, who has revealed the extent that the United States government is now spying on its own citizens . Here are some excerpts from his recent interview with the Guardian.

Guardian question: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?

Snowden: "The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

"I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under" . . .

Guardian question: What do the leaked documents reveal?

Snowden: "That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians."

Guardian question: What about the Obama administration's protests about hacking by China?

Snowden: "We hack everyone everywhere. We like to make a distinction between us and the others. But we are in almost every country in the world. We are not at war with these countries" . . .

Guardian question: Does your family know you are planning this?

Snowden: "No. My family does not know what is happening … My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with …

I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. They [the authorities] will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night" . . .

Guardian question: How to you feel now, almost a week after the first leak?

Snowden: "I think the sense of outrage that has been expressed is justified. It has given me hope that, no matter what happens to me, the outcome will be positive for America. I do not expect to see home again, though that is what I want."

DISCUSSION

Question(s) related to this article:


The courage of Mordecai Vanunu and other whistle-blowers, How can we emulate it in our lives?

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Latest reader comment:

Whistle-blowers may be considered as very important actors for a culture of peace.  As described on the CPNN page for values, attitudes and actions for a culture of peace, the culture of war is characterized by propaganda, secrecy, government control of media, militaristic language and censorship while the culture of peace is characterized by the free flow and sharing of information.  Whistle-blowers break the back of secrecy directly and dramatically.

Mordecai Vanunu's courage continues the tradition of Daniel Ellsberg, who made known the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War and Karen Silkwood, who exposed nuclear pollution in the United States.  Ellsberg was persecuted by President Nixon and Karen Silkwood was murdered, as described some years ago in a very fine film starring Meryl Streep.

As the amount of government secrecy continues to increase, we may expect that the number of whistle-blowers will also tend to increase in the years to come.


This report was posted on June 19, 2013.