Op-Ed: In spite of a Q & A session held online Monday with the Guardian as go-between and whistleblower Edward Snowden in the hot-seat the man remains elusive. Just where in the world is Edward Snowden at this moment in time is any person's guess although Monday it was a hide-out in Hong Kong. The less people that know the whereabouts of Snowden the better. Keeping secrets often proves to be a test too far and information can be blurted out accidentally.
According to the results of the Q & A Snowden waited to blow the whistle on US snooping until President Obama had showed that he would not control the issue. When it became abudantly clear he would not Snowden outed the NSA surveillance services dodgy dealings and himself.
Edward made it plain in the interview that if the security services want to access your private data they will. They have the means and apparently no qualms about doing so. He went to say that he felt he had the support of many members of the public but that may not be true in America where he is being painted as a national traitor. Mr Snowden expressed his disappointment with the mainstream media who are joining in his character assassination, simply confirming what most people already knew, that mainstream media is in the pockets of government and other powers, and is far from independent.
His advice to try and outwit the snoopers is using strong encryption when online but he accepts that surveillance bodies can find ways around that. He also said, what we believe, that talk of him being a Chinese spy is stuff and nonsense and offered as a distraction. If he is in the pay of the Chinese why he is still on the run?
As for being called a traitor by Dick Cheney, he said:
Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.................Guardian
You have to applaud Snowden for selecting the British publication the Guardian as his chosen media outlet. It is as far as we are aware an honorable publication unlike many others in the UK. Tuesday the Guardian carried a report about Lonnie Snowden, Edward's father. Lonnie asks his son to 'measure what you're going to do' but says he disagrees with the US surveillance. He has sent a plea to his son to stop leaking information to the World and return home to face the music in the USA.
Whether Lonnie acted independently or has been pressurised to make this appeal is not known. As a parent he is bound to be concerned. Right-minded people applaud whistle-blowers but would not want that person to be a close loved one.
Whatever happens next Snowden has blown it with the US authorities. Will they offer him a plea bargain to "shut the hell up" or will they look him up and throw the key away?
Lonnie went public after reading and seeing so much damning information about his son in the last few days. He wanted to set the record straight and said:
“We want you to be safe, we want you to be happy, but I know you’re your own man and you’re going to do what you feel that you have to do. I believe firmly that you are a man of principle. I believe in your character. I don’t know what you’ve seen, but I just ask that you measure what you’re going to do and not release any more information.
Yes, and that is the point.
So what will happen next? Ed may continue to release information until he is caught or just disappears. He could be hounded, captured, sent to jail or killed. Sadly there are endless possibilities, and all are bad news.
Politicians in the US have been caught with their pants down doing the proverbial on all of us. They may choose to view him as a traitor, whilst those of us who value our freedom and privacy may prefer to see them as treacherous.
They have betrayed the trust of the electorate under a veiled umbrella of terrorism when in fact they have even used the surveillance systems to spy on each other. If you support Edward Snowden keep his story in the news, contradict damning reports and lobby your politicians. None may have any positive effect but we can only try.