Edward Snowden on Donald Trump, Obama's Presidency, Activism & Liberty & his life in Exile



I like to run one last question from us and then some publix of forgive us if we take a few more minutes of your time in 1975 Senator Frank church we just talked about with the Church Committee appeared on NBC and said if this government ever became a tyranny if a dictator ever took charge in this country the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government no matter how private it was done is within the reach of the government to know this was 1975 and you've been saying this – do you think with Trump in power now this warning will turn into a reality I think the focus on Trump is a mistake you can look anywhere look at any newspaper look at any sort of public commentator and you can see all of the criticisms of the Trump policies and administration's and all of the issues that they have they're right they're clear it's obvious yes we are in uncharted times yes we are facing a period not just a localized risk but of systemic risk but what should we actually be looking at right faith in elected leaders to fix our problems is the mistake that we keep repeating when President Obama was elected the White House when President Obama was elected to the White House he said all of the right things right he said he was going to make a more equal America we were going to move into a period of cooperation rather than partisanship he said he was going to close Guantanamo on day one of his administration it's still gonna be open on his last day of his presidency he said there's going to be no more warrantless wiretapping in America we don't do that we don't need that that's not who we are and in fact he expanded it he made it worse it went deeper it got better it got more sophisticated he got more pervasive and it continues right if we're hoping for a champion if we're waiting for a hero we will be waiting forever because it's not a politician that you're looking for it's the people in this room it's you it's the person sitting next to you all of us have a responsibility we can't fix it by ourselves as individuals but we don't need to what we have to do is make one change a small change a positive change that can be replicated that can be shared we need to create our ideas we need to think about these problems we need to identify not the Trump is a bad person but why he is so threatening and we need to start creating defences for it moreover we need to realize that defense is not enough we need to create an offense for free and open society we need to recognize that one of the central problems right now is one of debate words no longer have the same meaning that they want meant we hear words like terrorism and we go oh that's terrible as long as it's terrorism we have to stop everything and when you think about terrorism like a normal person that makes a lot of sense nobody wants people flying planes into tower nobody wants people detonating bombs and marketplaces or on subways or shootings in the street right but terrorism doesn't have a single agreed-upon definition there are government's charging people with terrorism who are simply acting in ways that are traditionally considered to be political protests right many governments particularly the British government is particularly bad here where they consider any threat to sort of that systemic stability even if it's an act of journalism even if it's an act of speech suddenly is transformed into an act of terrorism right but it's not just terrorism it also happens on the positive side of our language in addition to the negative side of our language when we think about things like freedom and openness democracy Liberty Human Rights right we've moved from a belief that as long as things are proper and appropriate as long as things are moral they're sustainable they're supportable they're things that we should back to a belief that legality is the same thing as morality as long as the government says someone broke the law we infer we believe instinctively it means they did the wrong thing but ladies and gentlemen sometimes the only moral action the only moral choice is to break the law Germans know this far better than many other countries but it's not a uniquely German problem in the United States whether we're talking about the abolition of slavery the prohibition of alcohol whether we're talking about the enfranchisement of women allowing them to vote all of these activities were considered to be threats to some stability of the days these were things that terrorized institutions and government officials these made these individuals uncomfortable it made them feel vulnerable it made them feel threatened as you know what that was exactly the right choice when people are progressing the boundaries that when they're expounded expanding the borders of human rights right that always begins as a riot against orthodoxy whether it happens in the street whether it happens in the newspaper whether it happens in writing whether it happens on the TV it is a contest against the status quo you have to remember that all of these in justices that happen all throughout history the worst things that you can imagine whether it's in your domestic history or international history we're legal at the time abuses of human rights are always legal in the national context when the government wants to do those kind of things at least for the period of operation it may be years later that it's condemned it may be years later that it's disowned it may be years later that someone sees the inside of the courtroom but power is its own law and we have to think about how do we remediate that how do we make things a little bit better there and this is a difficult question I can't claim that I have the answer but I think one of the things that we start forgetting about is to recirculate basic principles basic idea is that everybody needs to sher if we're really going to live in a free society if we're really going to live in a free world and that's the human rights belong to everyone the worst excesses of the u.s. surveillance system our premise upon a single idea which is that Americans get one set of rights everybody else gets basically no rights and you know if you're an American that might sound fine and that's the reason these pop these policies still enjoy some support as they go well it's not happening to me I don't care right I'm not the one being threatened but 95% of the world's population lives beyond the borders of the United States and the same is true of practically every country right the percentages changed here and there but it's a big world and we have a lot of people and if we're going to protect the rights of anyone we have to be able to protect the rights of everyone and this gets back to thinking about well why do we have rights what are we protecting what are we trying to create what are we envisioning where are we trying to go and I would argue this is the idea of Liberty but if you ask people ask the person next to you what Liberty means to them right they might not be able to articulate it very clearly everybody have a different answer right and we need to think again about what Liberty means today I think Liberty is the right to ask sorry Liberty is the right to act without permission it's the ability to take a choice without worrying what it's going to look like in some government databases without having to worry about what some government bureaucrat is going to do are they going to be upset are they going to retaliate are they going to do something that will impact your rights your freedoms right Liberty is being able to live day to day moment to moment in an instant from your own head from your own self from your own community thinking about your family rather than thinking about structures that owe you no loyalty that see you as more of a potential threat than a potential ally right and this is something that really isn't a solution right but it is a beginning if we can agree that in a free country in an open society the number of times people have to ask permission to do things the times people have to register to do things the times the people have to worry that government officials are going to be trawling through their web history they're going to be looking at the records of who is in this room right now because I hate to tell you ladies and gentlemen if you have a cellphone on you right now you've left a permanent record of being at this talk not that it's going to get you thrown in jail but that it's discoverable and an intelligence agent who might be sitting like me in Hawaii or sitting in Darmstadt or Rammstein or one of these other areas about idling could look at these and make inferences about who you are about what you believe about what you're likely to do I don't believe that we should live in a world where every time you pick up the phone to call someone you love to talk to a friend to share an idea to just tell someone about what was happening in your day that you need to think what's this going to look like that is many things ladies and gentlemen but I would argue that that is fundamentally illiberal it is fundamentally unfree and it's fundamentally unjust and it should change or Sula from cows where how does a normal day for you look like I do talks in Munich no but seriously uh one of the most extraordinary things about my life past 2013 is that I ended up in exile right my government did absolutely everything it could to make sure that I wouldn't be heard they cancelled my passport when I was flying to Latin America which would consider to be considered to be a fairly neutral region of the world when they knew I was transiting through Russia we don't know why right the government won't actually reveal the decision-making at the time here but no one had informed me my passport had been cancelled by the time I left the government of Hong Kong has said that the US government might have been in the process but they hadn't actually officially cancelled it so far as they were concerned but by the time I landed in Russia I could no longer travel and when I was trapped in the Russian airport I couldn't leave right nah I didn't say hey let's go into Russia this is good enough I applied for asylum in 21 different countries around the world one of which was Germany right others were France places like Norway all of them found reasons not to respond or to say no except those countries those neutral countries in Latin America when it was heard that maybe the Bolivian President Evo Morales during a trade summit in Russia might secretly take me back to Bolivia to enjoy asylum there which by the way the United States itself recognizes what they consider to be a fundamental human right to seek and enjoy asylum this is in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and many other international agreements which in the u.s. systems of law are actually superior to statutory obligations superior to for example the Espionage Act they're on a higher tier law with the Constitution the supreme law of the land because the Constitution has provisions in it about the treatment of treaties but despite this when they thought I might be in a presidential plane that has diplomatic immunity that can't be interfered with crossing Europe to go to Latin America for European countries closed their airspace to block a vote Morales from traveling back home just on the mere rumor that I was on board and this meant I couldn't travel I still can't travel because they were afraid of what I might say they're afraid of what people might think if they heard other opinions other viewpoints right now this is a long way of saying that yeah now I live in exile and you know you would think it would be really difficult and there are costs you know I'm not home I'm away for the holidays it's difficult to see my family and of course there's a lot that anybody misses about being at home you know even speaking their own language on the street right Russia is a very different society but well I put my head down in mind on a pillow in Russia I wake up and I speak every day around the world I'm part of a different conversation global conversation that today thanks to technology can no longer be stopped and this for me is a source of hope because for the longest period governments loved exile it was their favorite tool right for for countering revolutionaries and radicals because they executed people right it would lose them favorability people would think the government was too harsh but if they simply forced people out kept them outside the borders wouldn't allow them to enter freely on penalty of imprisonment or death they could stop the conversation and for them that was the most important part but those old bad tools the political repression are beginning to fail and not just for the United States ladies and gentlemen because the United States is not contrary to what may be popular in summer sources their circles the biggest danger is most bullying threat to human rights in the world there are other countries countries that are even worse countries that are more intrusive we have new surveillance laws being passed in Russia that are incredibly extreme Russians call it the Big Brother law and if Russians are calling it the Big Brother law you gotta watch out the United Kingdom the United Kingdom passed the most extreme surveillance measure in the history of the Western world in a free and open society that was backed by their now Prime Minister called the investigatory powers bill right doesn't sound particularly threatening doesn't sound particularly dangerous but it encoded and enshrined in law the mass surveillance regime the kind of bulk collection that we were discussing before all kinds of different government agencies in the UK can now trade around people's web histories not just the intelligence services not just mi5 not just mi6 not people you would think like James Bond types and not just police but places like tax agencies places like health administration's like local bureaucracies simple government agencies that should never have access to this type of information now can because it's being collected it's being protected it's considered the proper action of government we see in countries like China they're passing new surveillance legislation under the same guise of anti-terrorism legislation that the United States has used a sort of political cover for taling rights and when they were challenged on it Chinese official said why are you bothering us we're doing the same thing the United States did and the sad thing here is that they have a point this should never be the state of the world right the reason we were so successful coming through the Cold War the reason the Berlin Wall falling down was such an extraordinary accomplishment not just for people in Germany but people throughout Eastern Europe and beyond was we had a clash of cultural values where there were governments on one side they said we will Popat nothing particularly in terms of domestic surveillance and things like that organizations such as the Stasi which would be running extraordinary huge informant networks throughout communities and things like that and on the other side we had governments would that would accept some restraints it would say this was actually distinguisher this was what made them good this was made them just this was how you can see that their example was worth emulating because they could foreclose upon these methods at least to some extent we know it's not true in all cases because of what we just described earlier with Martin Luther King jr. but largely in the most aggressive sense they could say we don't need these powers we reject these powers because they are corrosive not just to civil participation right not just to what people feel in their communities but to trust in government if people can't trust us if people can't identify with us we can't be successful and this is something that you see in most societies around the world that have serious struggles with low-level corruption right the question is when somebody encounters upon a police officer what do they think do they think this is a problem do they think they need to get a bribe ready or do they feel safer right I grew up in a mindset in the United States justified or unjustified just the way I was raised the the political systems into which I was indoctrinated when I saw a police officer I feel better right that's no longer the case for me now but not just for me a lot of people around the United States look at police and they go these don't look like police ignore these look like soldiers we have military equipment that's being transferred to police and again and again when we look at these things when we look at how we live when we look at the choices we have you know you ask me how do I live every day I wake up in the morning and I smile glad for the decisions that I took before yes they cost a lot right yes they were not enough yes we got new reforms but they don't make a dent in the level and injustice that we see sort of surging around the world across borders and every place in every region right now but I had an idea of what I can do next and I would ask you turn that question around on yourself I don't mean this as criticism I mean this is an opportunity and think how are you living your life when you wake up in the morning you think about going to work right you think about what you've got to do your obligations to your family you know having to go to the grocery store whatever what shows are on tonight this is normal human life nobody looks down for this nobody should look down for this but think about the opportunities that you have right because there are no heroes nobody's going to save you right there are only heroic actions there are only heroic choices there are only people who moment-by-moment see bad things and recognize maybe I can do something maybe I can't fix everything but maybe I can make progress maybe I can make things better maybe I am the one that I'm waiting for and as soon as you start thinking like that you'll realize that you are Edward Snowden Edward Snowden human rights advocate activist invisiblur thank you so much for joining us today maybe next year we'll revisit okay I will be there




Comments
  1. Did he just say Obama was a liar. And not hate Trump. Hmmmm. Better turn on cnn cause i just heard some truth. Gotta hear Orange man bad and more fake news.

  2. Edward Snowden will go into depth about Nothing. Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is lawless. U.S. citizen s are subject to inferences from near and far. His exile is permanent.

  3. Nothing really has been done Yet! Wen I c thousands arrested for horrors they v committed then THEN I'll say yeah!

  4. SATELLITE TERRORISM ON AMERICAN CITIZENS: – A New Breed: Latest Technology of Satellite Surveillance uses 24/7 real time listening and watching. No hidden mics or cameras. Surveillance is becoming widespread and many innocent people are being abused and tortured.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7M2Db2PfQ0&t=5s

  5. When watching this, don't take from it partisanship, he brought Obama as a continuation of the same old principles. Top versus bottom haves vs have nots .

  6. Bush, Obama are the biggest world criminals , murders chosen by Zionist Bankers Destroyers of the World! You talk a lot of blah, blah, blah .., waisting time.

  7. What america can become if this guys president, but realistically hes to smart to be president…. of america

  8. Obama said all the right things and did nothing but bad things. Trump said ……well he said whatever the fuck he wanted and has done mostly good things

  9. i feel like ive lost my friend and ive allready lost one hero friend who is more of a hero than i could ever be i cant cope with all this now im either far too crowded or impossibly isolated IM CRUSHED

  10. i feel like we are all dying like lemmings off a cliff and all because we are not prepared to get together and make a positive move 99% no less

  11. Has Snowden forgotten how to answer a direct question, or has he always pontificated like this? My recollection is that he's always been a rather big bag of wind.

  12. As much as I respect him, Mr Snowden reminds me of one thing. That he is just a human being like us. He is not our hero and he will not solve everything for us. We have to do it ourselves. Yet his speech gave me great courage. That if I continue improving myself, one day I might be as strong as him.

  13. im curious into knowing how much Intel chips play a part in all this mayhem … im sure its a giant backdoor way into systems all around the world . computers are the way we and all groups (gov and all ) communicate .so it is very vulnerable.

  14. I just liked the video because you are my hero Edward Snowden , your courage is above and beyond Thankyou, I am so thankful for you sincerely in Oklahoma❤God Bless you Edward Snowden to the bravest Patriot that has ever been🙏

  15. our government in uk is behind your country when it comes to war when your country goes to war we follow like sheep, can i stop you there Ed and say you can sometimes make an effect by working in a team on a computer its people like you who change peoples minds who gives them something to shine for when the world seems glum then they can act these computers are really powerfull like the tvs in your home theres something all powerful about these platform computers there would be no point in life for me now without my pc im housebound well partially i just wanted to say its no fault of my own that im housebound but i like to spread my wing accroo the globe on my pc because the thing i fear most is a third world war

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