Edward Snowden Reminds Us All Of What Is Most Important

For the first time since taking shelter in Russia this past August, Wikileaks posted an edited video clip this week showing Edward Snowden speaking at a dinner in Moscow after receiving the Sam Adams prize for integrity in intelligence.

Edward Snowden on the Republican party U.S. intelligence gathering programs:

They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. They limit our ability to think and be creative and to have relationships?

Jesus, what did we ever do before the internet?

The U.S. government invented the internet. So, in fact, it is the U.S. government that provided the greatest tool for encouraging democracy, creativity, commerce, and relationships that the world has ever known. You’re welcome, World. Some thanks.

Snowden expounds:

“And there’s a far cry between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement, where it’s targeted, where it’s based on reasonable suspicion, and individualized suspicion and warranted action. This sort of dragnet mass-surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything, even when it’s not needed… if we can’t understand the policies and programs of our government, we cannot grant our consent in regulating them.”

This all-seeing eye failed to catch Edward Snowden stealing state secrets, so obviously it’s not seeing everything. As an expert on espionage, Edward Snowden will decide what is legal, what is needed, and what is reasonable, individualized suspicion. He will decide what written rules of law to circumvent. And if we can’t understand how we got here over the course of over 237 years of progress and industrialization, better just let foreign governments decipher all that information first. Oy.

I’ve asked myself if this has made the country safer. I can’t say that it has.

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  • muselet

    They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely.

    Well, of course they do! Since the 1950s, the gummint has embedded radios in people’s fillings, the better to keep tabs on them. Now, advanced technology allows the gummint to use those radios to read and control people’s minds! And the radios are powered by fluoridated water!

    … [I]f we can’t understand the policies and programs of our government, we cannot grant our consent in regulating them.

    True to a point, but since most of the recent dumps of Edward Snowden’s stolen information have been about other countries spying on each other, it’s kind of irrelevant.

    Snowden’s a crackpot. His paranoia would be vaguely amusing if he weren’t dangerous.

    –alopecia

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      … [I]f we can’t understand the policies and programs of our government, we cannot grant our consent in regulating them.

      Not to mention the fact that GG fumbled the technical explanation of what was really going on. Snowden and GG have actually been responsible for one of the biggest misinformation campaigns in history. They muddied the waters and then complained about the muddy water.

  • Robert Scalzi

    Did the geniuses that give out the Sam Adams prize for integrity in intelligence not see the irony in going to RUSSIA to give this award ?? I guess they are not the geniuses they think they are.

  • Richard_thunderbay

    Edward Snowden will decide what is legal, what is needed, and what is reasonable, individualized suspicion. He will decide what written rules of law to circumvent.

    He’s sounding an awful lot like a teabagger, isn’t he?

  • formerlywhatithink

    Mr. Law and Order hypocritically refuses to face the very same law and order he says he supports.

    They hurt our economy. They hurt our country.

    Says the idiot whose indiscriminate leaks is on course to cause billions of dollars to US tech firms. Says the same idiot who has caused enormous damage to US credibility by completely bypassing the rules of realpolitik and helping Greenwald fulfill his libertarian, nihilist wet dream.

    They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely.

    Hey, Ed, go tell that to Pussy Riot and the LGBT community in Russia. Tell that to LGBT couples around the world who want to adopt a Russian child but are blocked by Russia’s draconian anti gay laws. Tell that to the members of the Russian press who are persecuted, harassed and denied the basic rights of a free press.

    Fucking moron.

    I see Snowden and Greenwald as egotistical nihilists who are quick to decry and condemn the actions of almost every other country in world except for their hosts, countries who have worse human rights records than those countries they criticize, because their hosts are willing to play along and treat them as heroes. Unless, and until, they are willing to turn the same spotlight on their host countries, they are nothing more than self involved, narcissistic opportunists.

    • feloniousgrammar

      I just unfriended some internet buddies who I knew during the Bush years who are very much on this U.S. is the root of all evil train tight now. I can’t believe that they can’t see the differences between the Bush Administration and Obama’s. It makes me sad, but I don’t want to hear it, and all the lying garbage that goes with it. The Bush administration tortured and started a war based on lies. Obama and his cabinet have done nothing of the sort. I’m really sick of hearing this shit from Greenwald, Snowden, and all the emotarian noise machines with their non-stop alarm and their greasy little lies.

    • Badgerite

      I shall forever think of him as FM Snowden. ( Fucking Moron Snowden) I like it.

  • Badgerite

    I wonder? Does he mean like that bastion of freedom, China, did to the artist Aei Wei Wei for gathering and publishing a list of the names of children killed in a school building collapse? They beat him. They imprisoned him. And they destroyed his art studio. It was only under international pressure that he was ultimately released. Or maybe it is his current BFF, Russia? Where they have literally just finished criminalizing SPEECH that seems to them to “promote” a gay agenda of being able to ‘speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and associate freely’? This guy is so not self aware it is ridiculous. You would think he would blush just a little bit saying things like this while getting an “award” in Russia.
    I can’t see any reason to like this guy, let alone admire him.
    He hurt our economy. He hurt our country. And as I recall he threatened the country with even greater harm if “anything should happen to him”.

    • feloniousgrammar

      Or the twelve journalists assassinated in Brazil?

      The U.S. is so opposed to freedom of speech that Greenwald is still publishing and tweeting his garbage and Snowden is still alive. They are, themselves, testimony that what they are saying is a lie but emotarians can’t resist the starbursts of superiority they get when they reassure themselves that they are superior to the rest of us and the only reason we don’t know that is because we’re inferior to them.

    • Sabyen91

      I am still waiting for him to give himself that bullet in the balls he believed leakers deserved during the Bush Administration.

  • Jamie

    you have to remember Snowden is a 29 year old hacker with a rather tilted life experience

  • trgahan

    How does stealing and indiscriminately releasing agency operations manuals that have nothing to do with what your whining about while fleeing to a foreign nation all because the security apparatus you supported pre-November 2008 is suddenly evil in any way, shape, or form meet the definition of “integrity”?

    Also, I think we can see why Snowden has been kept from normal media outlets.

  • Badgerite

    “eye that see’s everything”. What a putz. Most of what the NSA sees, I’m sure, they would prefer not to see. If anything, they look to filter out most of it. They are looking for a specific target. And that target has nothing to do with ‘living creatively’ or freely associating’ or even politics (at least politics of the non violent variety). The potential for abuse does not equal abuse. There is potential for abuse in any power that adheres in a person or a state. That is why our system relies on a series of checks and balances that gives the citizenry an opportunity to reign in abuses of both public and private power centers. Like the man said, the rights are not self executing. It was genuine whistle rs, public and private, who made the difference in bringing the NSA activities into compliance with the law under the 2008 FISA Amendments Act after years of being wholly under the control of the executive. And did our democracy crumble during those years when it operated under the control of the executive. No. It did not. Because there is more to a democracy and its vitality than the specific issue of privacy. A lot more. And that ‘a lot more’ is what really makes the difference in a healthy thriving democracy. Those are the things that are currently missing in Russia, in China, in Brazil, and other countries too numerous to mention.

  • Badgerite

    Check out the ‘stop and frisk’ video at Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0/13/philly-stop-and-frisk-video_n_40940511.html
    And I’m supposed to worry about that the NSA might know who I called last week. There are greater abuses going on in America all the time than anything the NSA can even think of doing. You want important. What this guy had to put up with it important to stop.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      I saw that….it’s pretty bad and it’s definitely something we should be worried about. Or the restrictions on voting…force ultrasounds, etc. The real battle is on the ground in our cities and states…the NSA is the least of our worries right now.

      • Badgerite

        Exactly. And if those other aspects of democracy, such as being able to just walk to work without being harassed or speak your mind freely without fear, which people seem to do a lot of in this country, are alive and healthy, I really don’t see the new technologies employed by the NSA as quite the danger that some people do. I think the intelligence services are far more restrained in this country than probably most of the rest of the world. And I think that an ethic of civil liberties is also imbued in the people that work in the NSA as well. Their interest, I believe, is not to restrain democracy, but to protect it. They want to abide by the law but they also want to protect the country. And the law, with respect to new technologies, will take time to properly sort out. I would be far more concerned with the things you mention, like voter disenfranchisement, than anything the NSA is up to.

  • Jason

    If the intelligence programs were monitoring every conversation and interaction you had before the internet then the same could be said regarding how the current surveillance programs “limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely.”
    The internet just makes the surveillance easier and more pervasive.
    Snowden isn’t asking to decide what is legal. He is merely providing us the information and transparency so we can decide what is legal ourselves ‘cos, you know… A well informed citizenry a vital part of a democracy.