Chances are, if you’ve been paying attention these last few months, you are familiar with Edward Snowden. In all likelihood, you probably think he’s a terrorist or a spy, maybe both. That’s because the media has pulled a very interesting trick with the American people. At first, they were a bit more open about what he did, but these days, you’d be hard pressed to find any information about this in their coverage. Why? Because Snowden hurt a lot of powerful people, and they want to send a message stating this will not be tolerated. How did they manage to manipulate most of the country? By glossing over why Snowden is in trouble and instead making the story about HIM.
In my opinion, Snowden has done an incredibly brave thing, and he should be celebrated instead of vilified. But let’s take a look at exactly what he did, and you can make up your own mind.
Americans have known they were under surveillance for a long time. One just needs to look at the cameras everywhere, from office buildings to city streets, to be sure. They have also been fairly certain that their email and phone calls and internet usage has also been under surveillance. This is a vague feeling, but if you’re being billed for something, chances are someone is keeping track of it.
Snowden leaked absolute, irrefutable evidence that this is true to the American people. Technically, he leaked evidence about phone surveillance, but let’s face facts. You all have internet on your phones, and chances are, you’ve been checking your email on them. So yeah, that’s all being watched and itemized by the government.
Sure, take the high road. You don’t have anything to hide. But if you have pictures of your kids on your phone, there might be a government official staring at them. Staring at your private moments. The memories you want for yourself. Or if you want to get vulgar, remember those dick pics you sent to your girlfriend? The government now has a record of what your cock looks like. Or how about that special video the two of you made together? The government is supposedly professional, so chances are good that no officials are jerking off to it. Right?
Everyone has the right to privacy. If you want to flaunt yours, go right ahead. But for everyone else, the government has taken that choice away. Taking choices away . . . hm . . . does that sound like something that should happen in a country that calls itself the Land of the Free?
Snowden said that he wanted “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.” He also said, “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort [sic] of things.” Who would, really? And how about this one? “I can’t allow the US government to destroy privacy and basic liberties.”
This makes him a whistle blower, not a terrorist. And he’s certainly no spy. It’s not like he leaked the information to another country; he leaked it to the media in America, and look at how they’ve paid him back.
Being a whistle blower sucks. Each and every one of them has the best of intentions, and they’re always martyred by the press. Maybe ten years pass, and people look back on them as heroes. Maybe they even get movies made about them. (Think SILKWOOD and THE INSIDER for starters.) But that’s not going to do Snowden any good when he’s got a bullet in his head in whatever Central American country that will take him. And make no mistake, any country that takes him from Russia will be setting a trap for him. And whichever country does this will send us the receipt, since we’ve already paid the bill.
Did he betray his government? Sure. Did he betray his country? Absolutely not. Throughout his life, he’s tried to serve America as best he could. He was in the Special Forces. He was hired at the NSA. He did his time in the CIA, and that’s where he started seeing his government for what it really is. He said, “I felt like I had an obligation as a human being to help free people from oppression.” So he tried to help us, and we spit in his face.
So why is Putin refusing to extradite Snowden back to America? I hear you ask. He certainly isn’t doing it out of the kindness of his heart, if he indeed has one. Okay, I’ll admit, Snowden probably bought his safety in Russia with a secret or two. But he never would have done that if he wasn’t in survival mode right now. He isn’t interested in destroying the country he loves; he tried to save it. If he’s a traitor to his country, it’s because we forced him into it. If we had celebrated his courage instead of crucifying him, he would never have had to do it.
Enough from me. How about you? Is Snowden a hero or villain? Let me know in the comments below.