Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!

The story of Edward Snowden circulates the news for almost a month now. Instead of the story growing bigger, however, the "citizens" seems to be growing tired of it. Contrary to the journalist's excitement, the people's comments, even anonymous, are quite scarce. And I don't understand why.  Why people are so quiet? Why my FB friends, quite politically alert people seem not to be interested? Ok, it is wrong to say "not interested", they are interested. But they seem to prefer not to comment on the story. Which I find weird.

Do they feel helpless? Do they feel disappointed? Do they feel afraid of the eventual consequences of their thoughts on the issue? Is this what the idea of democracy and free speech is? To be afraid of your comments on a perfectly legitimate story? If so, what is the point of everything, what is the point of having a government, if its sole purpose is to gain more and more power, instead of to fight for the well-being of its citizens?

I say this in the widest possible context. For a significant part of the people in the USA, it seems very normal and expected that the government won't be their friend, but their enemy. Funnily enough, the same goes for people in Russia, or China. But this was not how the people in Europe felt. And most of my friends are Europeans. Here, we believed in the freedom of speech, in the freedom to express your opinion, in the obligation of the government to serve its citizens' best interests. It is not an utopia. In every EU member state, the government offer various disappointments, corruption, manipulations. But people were not afraid to talk! People believed they have the ultimate right to talk, for any reason, on any issue, on any price. Maybe it was never true, maybe it was only a well-cared for facade, giving the people false sense of freedom. But it existed and worked well. Now, things seem to be changing. People who have carriers and dreams prefer to stay away from the heat, just in case. Which is wrong. If well-educated people don't take a stand for what they believe in, who will? I certainly miss the old Europe. The new one, is getting darker and darker by the minute. And the Snowden case exposed this like never before. Just like the Cyprus crisis did it before. I'm afraid to ask what is next. That's why I prefer to focus on Snowden and the silence. In a desperate attempt to wake up the people for the hidden threat.

Why I am so troubled? Because Edward Snowden risked so much to make those stories known to the world. I guess he kind of hoped to get a wide international support in the social networks, but instead, he got only silence. Those who were the most affected by what he revealed were the first to turn their back on him and pretend nothing happened. Who could have guessed...Even Avaaz, a well know and quite successful organization didn't make a popularized campaign in his defense. After googling for it, I've found it. Avaaz - Stand with Edward Snowden. Please sign it, if you feel for the cause. The journalists seem to be more interested on the way the authorities will get him or he will eventually escape, than on the reason why they are after him. It is like everybody is with eyes widely shut, just in case things get ugly. They like the drama, but they prefer to stay away from the essence. Journalists, governments, citizens, bloggers, everyone.

Well, before I continue, I need to say it, even if it will make unhappy all the known and unknown agencies crawling the web - Edward, thank you! I think you did the right thing! Maybe it won't bring you fame or even well-being, you sure risk your life for it, but still, it's worthy. Every effort to make the world a better place counts. Even if it is not successful. Even when it is controversial. Even when you cause so much trouble to the whole world of hypocrites, it counts. You try to make the right thing, you are not harming any living being, you deserve respect. So thank you for trying to open the eyes of the people!

Back to the rest of the world. I tried to analyse the situation, because I am amazed by the actions and inactions of all the affected parties.

At first, it was fun. The CIA was chasing him, president Putin was making fun of the situation (if you haven't watch this video, it is a must), all seemed normal.
Then it came the huge mess made of the Evo Morales trip. A president plane was denied airspace from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, forcing the plane to land merely because of the RUMOUR that Snowden was on board. Humans lives were risked (!), international diplomacy was violated, a president and its nation was offended, a whole continent felt humiliated. All because of one person, who could (!!!) have been there. Why? With what that person is so important that he deserves all this attention and mess. Why would European nations decide to cooperate in something so obviously wrong, risking so much on a rumour?Because of one person who might get smuggled to Bolivia??? How many women are being smuggled everyday across the planet, to serve as white slaves? How many people are being taken to unknown prisons without any legal frame? How many tons of heroin and cocaine have been smuggled every day to and out of Europe? And now, for one single person, we get into a huge diplomatic scandal?! Note, all of the mentioned countries DENY refusing airspace to that plane. Only Spain half-mouthed admitted that they were notified of Snowden being aboard. But that was the second version of the response, because the first version was - "no, in the second we knew the plane is ready to take off, we allowed it to land in Spain". Go figure.

Now, I realise,for many people Mr. Snowden is a traitor, risking the US national security/interests. And I agree on that. He is a traitor to the US interests. But he is not a traitor to the US people. Because let's face it. This program does not improve significantly their security. The only thing it improves is the security of their government. Which the people may or may not be fine with. And they do have the right to decide.

What's even more striking, however, is that the US government was spying on everyone else on this planet too. So while Mr Snowden really do betray the US interests, he is defending the right of any other citizen on this planet on privacy. Something, which we in Europe value very much. Or at least we used to. Because the story doesn't finish there. And this might be the explanation why European authorities were so eager to catch Mr. Snowden and turn it to the USA, with a very likely death penalty - something which Europe is vehemently opposed.

Just read it :
"In an interview published in the German Der Spiegel magazine on Sunday, Mr Snowden said the NSA operates broad secret intelligence partnerships with other western governments, some of which are now complaining about its programs.
Snowden said that the other partners in the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance of the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand “sometimes go even further than the [National Security Agency] people themselves''.
He highlighted the British Government Communications Headquarters “Tempora” program as an example:“Tempora is the first 'I save everything' approach ('full take') in the intelligence world. It sucks in all data, no matter what it is, and which rights are violated by it. ..."
Snowden also argued that the “Five eyes” partnerships are organised so that authorities in each country can "insulate their political leaders from the backlash" when it became public "how grievously they're violating global privacy". " source 
and furthermore:
"X-Keyscore reportedly processes all signals before they are shunted off to various "production lines" that deal with specific issues and the exploitation of different data types for analysis - variously code-named Nucleon (voice), Pinwale (video), Mainway (call records) and Marina (Internet records). ' source 
This is a lot of traffic and a hell lot of data!  And it is in possession of one (ONE) government. A government who can use it, for whatever purpose it sees fit, without ANY form of control or oversight. How could this be right? It lacks judiciary control, it lacks political control, it lack civilian control. This is a recipe for a disaster! And the history has proven it.

One could argue that the US agencies share the information with their allies, so this is beneficiary to everyone. Well, it is not. Because they might share something, but surely they do not share everything.  European citizens are being observed, they sacrifice their privacy, they probably pay from their pockets for a great deal of those programs, but in return, they get very little.

Or, maybe I should say, they get a lot more than expected. As recent revelations show - the US spied EU offices (yes, the same allies we were talking a minute ago) and probably not only. Those are just the ones we heard of. John Kerry said 'Spying on allies is not unusual' and he's probably right. But still, as a European, I feel offended. France obviously also felt quite offended. As well as the UK and Germany (source). So are we friends, allies or enemies? and question number 2:  if those nations feel so offended, even outraged, why were they so happy to cooperate in trying to kill the person who pointed out this bad behaviour? Do this make sense to you?

The obvious answer is very simple and I think it was Der Spiegel who revealed it. They all spy on each other. We still remember the scandal of the Russian delegation (among others) being spied on by UK agencies on a G20 meeting (source). They all spy on their citizens. They just prefer the society not to know about it. What's even worst - they prefer the elected political officials not to know it. Those agencies are out of control. Out of ANY control. So my question is, if they are out of control, where is the guarantee they serve OUR interests? By our, I mean to the people who pay their salaries and whose security is their raison-d'etre. Because it's hard for me to just take their word on this. They are in kind of conflict of interests, I think.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said the U.S. spying was 'out of control and that 'The U.S. would do better to monitor its intelligence services instead of its allies.'

Well, I would add ALL spying agencies are out of control. And this situation starts affecting people. People do feel scared to talk. We all knew Facebook is monitored, this is not news. The news is that there are dedicated, taxpayers-paid programs to record any bit of traffic over the Internet, the phones, everything!
Remember that freedom of private correspondence? The same which had been denied only during a war? Well, it doesn't exist anymore. In fact, no privacy exists anymore. Technology allowed it and the politicians never dared to catch up with it and to put the legal frame which will defend the citizens from abuse. This is the ultimate question with Edward Snowden posed! How to regulate the technology, so that it is beneficent for everyone. And this is the question from which everyone hides. Because once people start thinking about it, they will get very very scared. And they will require actions.

So this is why I hope Edward Snowden finds his way out. Because he deserves it. International politics has never been clear or nice. Of course, everybody spies everyone, this is part of the game. However now the balance is broken. Now (or soon enough) literally everybody will be spied on in every moment of their life. Every step we make, every word we say, every thought we dared to express will be recorded and kept forever (or for as long as it matters). Every job interview, every grant proposal, every project, every public appearance would be measured by all your previous actions. There will be no forgiveness, there will be no oblivion. And that could be fine, if it was for everyone. But it would not be. It would be only for the selected few who will have absolute power over everybody. And without control, any form of freedom, any form of personal choice will be obliterated. In fact, the democratic society will finally cease to exist.

If that is what you want, continue not to be interested. It is your choice and ours as a planet and civilization.

And I must say it - this time it is not a drill, it is not a conspiracy theory, it is not a paranoia. It is real. As real as it gets! We know it for a fact.
Thank you Edward for that! 

P.S.  Some additional links on the story. 
- Notice the arrogant comment on the UN secretary generalBan Ki-moon: "the  Edward Snowden's digital 'misuse' has created problems" (source)
- Snowden implicates Israel and NSA in the development of Stuxnet!(source)

-  Snowden Claims: NSA Ties Put German Intelligence in Tight Spot (source)
And finally: 
- Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S. (source) - a key article of support to Ed Snowden by Daniel Ellsberg charged in 1971 under the Espionage Act as well as for theft and conspiracy for copying the Pentagon Papers. 
Snowden seems to have accepted the offer for asylum in Venezuela (source). The info, however, has not been really confirmed, besides a deleted tweet. Good luck, Edward!

Newer Posts Older Posts Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds