Snowden: ‘Economies are built on creativity, curiosity- and privacy’


Unsurprisingly, Edward Snowden chose to submit a statement on paper, rather than appear by weblink at yesterday’s hearing of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. But appear he did – an exile has apparently not compromise his decision to blow the whistle.

In a three-minute reading, Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project read the statement in full, and Snowden kicked off by calling the mass surveillance of whole populations “the greatest human rights challenge of our time”.

We’ve transcribed Snowden’s speech in full:

I thank the European parliament and the LIBE committee for taking up the challenge of mass surveillance. The surveillance of whole populations rather than individuals threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time.

The success of economies in developed nations relies increasingly on their creative output, and if that success is to continue we must remember that creativity is the product of curiosity, which in turn is the product of privacy.

A culture of secrecy has denied our societies the opportunity to determine the appropriate balance between the human right of privacy and the governmental interest in investigation. These are not decisions that should be made for a people but only by the peopler after full, informed and fearless debate.

Yet public debate is not possible without public knowledge – and in my country the cost of one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile. If we are to enjoy such debates in the future we cannot rely upon individual sacrifice. We must create better channels for people of conscience to inform not only trusted agents of government but independent representatives of the public outside government.

When I began my work it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body and in many other bodies around the world.

Today we see legislative bodies forming new committees calling for investigations and proposing new solutions for modern problems. We see emboldened courts that are no longer afraid to consider critical questions of national security. We see brave executives remembering that if a public is prevented from knowing how they are being governed the necessary result is that they are no longer self governing. And we see the public reclaiming an equal seat at the table of government.

The work of a generation is beginning here with your hearing, and you have the full measure of my gratitude and support.

About Thom Prentice

"Thom Prentice? Well, he planted a lot of trees." Rogue thinker. Urban Hermit. We are a part OF Nature — not apart FROM Nature. Lennonist. Poet and Naturalist. Existentialist. Rishi. Living life of the mind and spirit. Journo. Longtime Global Warming alarmist. "Capitalism REQUIRES slavery." thom prentice [at] (g) male dot com..."always musing on the decline and fall of everything, a perfect Greek chorus of one' (stolen from Louis Proyect). *****Knowledge, learning, thinking and critical thinking pusher. Philosophe. Seeker. Searcher. Gentle Spirit. Likes to drive with the windows down and sunroof open. Mindfulness. Diogenes looking for an open-minded person in American civilization. Déclassé Intellectual. Avec sans culottes. Urban Anchorite. Wakefulness. Longtime Global Capitalism-Ain't Working alarmist. *****“The role of public intellectuals is to question accepted dogmas, conceive of new methods of analysis, and expand the terms of public debate.” (The New Yorker). Like Thomas Piketty, when I start reading and thinking, collecting data, evidence and making observations, I have no idea where it will go. Historical Conceptualist, Not Minute Detailist (Francois Furet). A Texas Public Intellectual: Public Intellecty'all. *****Time to get out of the restless amnesia of the news cycle which distracts us from the REAL PROBLEM: Wall Street Neoliberal Capitalism & Austerity. [“No Bishop, No King”: King James I] Anti-fascist. Egalitarian. Democracy first, last and always. “Afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted” in a civilization “which comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.”***** Undermining assumptions. Photographer. Controversialist. Dissenter. “Democracy should rule capitalism but capitalism should NEVER rule democracy.”*****It is time to talk about a socialist alternative. Glasnost, Perestroika, Democratizya. Zapatista. Socialista.” POLITICAL democracy is USELESS without ECONOMIC democracy.” Capitalism is in catastrophic failure as we speak. “The Luddites were right because they were only about managing and controlling their own workplace and production, not some outside, agitating profiteering capitalists”. Democracy should rule capitalism but capitalism should NEVER rule democracy. Democracy should rule capitalism but capitalism should NEVER rule democracy. CounterNarratives and CounterForces. Pushback. Resistance. Contrarian. *****Controversialist. “Asker of awkward and inconvenient questions.” “A privileged citizen of a predatory imperial nation-state within a pathological capitalist economic system.” (Direct steal from Dr. Robert Jensen, UT-Austin) "I think it is primarily getting TRUTH into discussion" -- stolen from my friend Chuck. Dog person. “The more we learn about animals, the more we learned about ourselves.” WhiteGuy, Symbologist [DaVinci Code]. Deconstructioneer, Scribbler, Scrivener, Authentic Journalist, Lifelong Learner*****14 year cancer fighter/survivor (it keeps coming back). WhistleBlower from the ground up. Speaking Truth. “Without Economic Democracy, political democracy is useless and worthless and even deranged.” Evidence is everywhere indicating the looming apocalypses. Failed parallel parking. Post-partisan and post-ideological. People First. Democracy First. TURN OFF THE TV NEWS! INDEED TURN OFF THE TV!

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