An international campaign has launched to pressure President Obama into pardoning whistleblower Edward Snowden.
From the moment The Guardian, The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, and O Globo began publishing leaked government surveillance documents, Edward Snowden has been the subject of controversy.
Publication of the leaks began in June 2013, quickly leading to Snowden being charged under the Espionage Act. After living in seclusion in Hong Kong, Snowden became one of the most hunted men in the world. While attempting to seek asylum in Ecuador his U.S. passport was revoked and he was trapped in an airport in Moscow, Russia. In 2014, Snowden was officially granted a three-year asylum stay in Russia which concludes on August 1, 2017.
In an attempt to defend Snowden’s actions and help him walk freely, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have launched a new campaign that will attempt to pressure the Obama administration into pardoning Snowden. The ACLU says they already have support from over 100 former national security officials, legal scholars, technology and business leaders, human rights activists, and artists.
“Thanks to Edward Snowden’s act of conscience, we’ve made historic strides in our fight for surveillance reform and improved cybersecurity”, the ACLU wrote on Wednesday. “That’s why today, ahead of this week’s release of the Oliver Stone movie “Snowden,” we’re unveiling a major effort calling on President Obama to pardon the NSA whistleblower.”
The ACLU notes that the Espionage Act “doesn’t distinguish between selling secrets to foreign governments and giving them to journalists working in the public interest.” Under the Espionage Act Snowden could not make the argument that he took these actions to benefit the public. Despite the support of the ACLU and others, the chances of Snowden receiving a pardon are slim to none.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee released a report accusing Snowden of lying about his background, feuding with co-workers and leaking secrets that “caused tremendous damage” to U.S. security. The report said Snowden was not a whistleblower and instead accused him of stealing information regarding U.S. intelligence and defense programs which could be useful to foreign enemies. Only a four-page summary of the 36 page was released, but the committee makes it clear that they believe Snowden put American troops in danger. Reuters also reported that Obama is not considering a pardon.
While Snowden has remained in Russia, the documents he shared with journalists have been seen by millions of people around the world. Debate still rages over whether Snowden should be viewed as a traitor, a hero, a spy, or a clever deception whose purpose is still unfolding. Without a doubt Snowden’s action have led to an increase in discussion on mass surveillance in the “mainstream” media, but has that discussion led to meaningful change?
There have been superficial changes, such as the creation of a panel that would review the NSA’s surveillance program. However, this panel was appointed by Obama and it’s difficult to imagine the administration restricting a program they have become accustomed to using on a consistent basis. The U.S. Congress also passed the USA Freedom Act which was touted as an end to the bulk collection of call data, but that turned out to be a hollow victory as well.
Still, the blame for a lack of action and continued corruption does not belong to Edward Snowden. The U.S. government and their corporate intelligence partners have a multitude of options when it comes to monitoring the people. Snowden’s action may have sparked conversations, books, documentaries, and a Hollywood film, but the Surveillance State marches on and much of the political establishment view Snowden as a traitor.
Lastly, for those who may be unaware, there is a segment of the independent media that believes Snowden may in fact be an agent of the U.S. government, carrying out a limited hangout psychological operation on the American people. Think of 2016 as 1984and Snowden is Emmanuel Goldstein, the false hero designed to make the populace feel as if there is hope all the while being controlled and guided by the State itself. Many people question whether or not Snowden should be trusted since he is obviously connected to the intelligence field, while others say that if you had been paying attention you would already know everything Snowden revealed.
Personally, I have seen nothing concrete to support the theory, but I do remain skeptical of the Snowden saga, especially after watching the film Snowden. I came away with the feeling that his entire life seemed to make a perfect script for a Hollywood story. Also, I am sure that the fact that George Soros, founder and chair of the Open Society Foundations (and notorious for funding faux Color Revolutions around the world), is involved in the new pardon campaign will not sit right with some of our readers.
Ultimately, if Snowden is who he says he is, he made a huge sacrifice in an attempt to wake up the sleeping masses to the reality of surveillance. Even if he is not who he says he is, what difference does it make? Lead yourself, educate others, expose the Surveillance State, and free your mind. Don’t allow yourself to be sucked into following false prophets or leaders.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact [email protected]
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