The message arrives on my “clean machine,” a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. “Change in plans,” my contact says. “Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.”
This article is THE READ to acquire an understanding of the behavior and intentions of Edward Snowden. James Bamford reports the remarkable story behind the most wanted man on our planet. Mr. Snowden, one of the for me unarguably bravest men alive, devoted his life to justice in our world. My cognitive empathy towards him could not be higher. While I am currently reading Glenn Greenwald’s ‘With liberty and justice for some’, the sad paradox of a democratic scheme that we are exposed to in Western democracies is omnipresent, but this article goes deeper. It describes the story of a man who is willing to die for the right thing. Why can’t all of us be more like Edward Snowden?
He began to consider becoming a whistle-blower, but with Obama about to be elected, he held off. “I think even Obama’s critics were impressed and optimistic about the values that he represented,” he says. “He said that we’re not going to sacrifice our rights. We’re not going to change who we are just to catch some small percentage more terrorists.” But Snowden grew disappointed as, in his view, Obama didn’t follow through on his lofty rhetoric. “Not only did they not fulfill those promises, but they entirely repudiated them,” he says. “They went in the other direction. What does that mean for a society, for a democracy, when the people that you elect on the basis of promises can basically suborn the will of the electorate?”
What does it mean to abandon your life for the benefit of humanity? Edward Snowden showed us that although he states freely to love and be proud of his country that his true sympathy is with all of us. He is an individual that is willing to suffer for what all of the oppressed urge for - Equality, honey and justice - A hero of modern times.
At the same time, he knew there would be dire consequences. “It’s really hard to take that step—not only do I believe in something, I believe in it enough that I’m willing to set my own life on fire and burn it to the ground.”
Besides his courage to oppose the system, his patience and believe despite continuing ignorance and helplessness among society are most admirable:
Another concern for Snowden is what he calls NSA fatigue—the public becoming numb to disclosures of mass surveillance, just as it becomes inured to news of battle deaths during a war. “One death is a tragedy, and a million is a statistic,” he says, mordantly quoting Stalin. “Just as the violation of Angela Merkel’s rights is a massive scandal and the violation of 80 million Germans is a nonstory.”
Nor is he optimistic that the next election will bring any meaningful reform. In the end, Snowden thinks we should put our faith in technology—not politicians. “We have the means and we have the technology to end mass surveillance without any legislative action at all, without any policy changes.” The answer, he says, is robust encryption. “By basically adopting changes like making encryption a universal standard—where all communications are encrypted by default—we can end mass surveillance not just in the United States but around the world.”
“The question for us is not what new story will come out next. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”