Edward Snowden Statement At The Pardon Snowden Launch Event
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[Edward Snowden Statement At The Pardon Snowden Launch Event]
[Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983):] Source: LYBIO.net
Hello. Thank you everyone for coming. I have to say hearing everyone speak is not something that I ever expected to be hearing. The kind of judgments that I’ve heard in the last three years particularly in the immediate aftermath decision come forward or not the kind of thing that would lead anyone to expect that this would be the future. And yet here we are. I have to say I am deeply appreciative, I moved beyond words by the outpouring of support from the people here, all of you for coming and around the world, especially from the world’s three leading human rights organizations who brought us together here today, the ACLU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
And I must say while I am grateful for the support given to my case this really isn’t about me, it’s about us, it’s about our right to dissent, it’s about the kind of country we want to have, the kind of world that we want to build, it’s about the kind of tomorrow that we want to see, a tomorrow where the public has a say.
History reminds us that governments always experienced periods in which their powers are abused for different reasons. This is why our Founding Fathers in their wisdom sought to construct a system of checks and balances; whistleblowers acting in the public interest often at great risk to themselves are another check on those abuses of power.
Especially through their collaboration with journalists today whistleblowing is democracy safeguard of last resort, the one upon which we all rely, when all of the checks and balances have failed and the public has no idea what’s going on behind closed doors.
The case of the 2013 revelations of unconstitutional activities occurring within our country is a clear example after evidence of classified wrongdoing was revealed for the first time by our newspapers.
Some of these programs which had been operating in secret for more than a decade were ended or constrained by Congress and the courts. Technology companies have also begun to act in some cases for the first time to protect privacy and security in ways the benefit not only our people but people around the world. This is a positive result and it’s one that we could not have had but for the ability of an individual with knowledge of the government’s activities to speak in confidence to journalists.
[Edward Snowden:] Source: LYBIO.net
If we are to sustain a free society through the next century we must ensure whistleblowers can act again and safely as a check on future abuses of power.
Under the Espionage Act, which is the law under, which most modern whistleblowers are charged it is not possible to receive a fair trial. I’ve long said that I would return were it otherwise but the Espionage Act does not permit a public interest or whistleblower defense. Those charged under it are silenced by law. they are prohibited from exercising their right to tell the jury ‘why they acted in their belief to protect the Constitution or the public interest’.
In this world war one era law does not distinguish between those who freely give critical information to journalists in the public interest or spies who sell it to a foreign power for their own. My concern here is not just myself, if I and other whistleblowers are sentences to long years in prison without so much as a chance to explain our motivations to a jury, it will have a deeply chilling effect on future whistleblowers. Working as I did to expose government views and overreach.
It will chill speech, it will corrode the quality of our democracy. It will result in a country that is less free and quite simply less American.
The question whether I as a whistleblower should be pardoned is not for me to answer. But I will say this, I love my country, I love my family and I have dedicated my life to both of them. These risks, these burdens that I took on I knew were coming and no one should be in a position to make these kind of decisions. That’s not the kind of place that we’re supposed to be. But it doesn’t have to be of course I look forward to coming home but I cannot support the persecution of those charged under an Espionage Act when they have committed no espionage. And this is a duty that I believe we all owe to those yet to come.
In a final note I’d like to applaud the technologists, our scientists and leaders who since the history of mass surveillance broke have sought to resist this new and accelerating trend of overreach into our private lives. These efforts, their efforts to enforce human rights through new means are protecting dissidents from oppressive regimes the world over. And it is only by this prioritizing the improvement of our computer security above our occasional desire to defeat it that we will be able to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids, air traffic control systems and water supplies in the years to come.
[Edward Snowden:] Source: L Y B I O . N E T
We live today in the greatest crisis of computer security that we have ever seen and in this time when hacking and computer network attacks occur frequently and without warning, we must maintain the courage to remind even the well-intentioned but perhaps ill advised that the science here is clear, reliable, uncompromised encryption is our only effective means for keeping our lights on and our roads open. This technology and the things that have accelerated in the wake of this reporting makes us safer and it must never be weakened.
With that I have to say thank you to everyone. You have my heartfelt thanks. The rest of my life I don’t know where we’re going from here, I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. But I’m glad the decisions that I made and I’m thankful to all of you who are supporting me and believe in the same. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined three years ago such an outpouring of solidarity. But even though I’m far from home your company your support keeps me company in exile. In the end this isn’t about me it’s about all of us and I hope that together we’ll stay free. Thank you very much.
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