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Snowden Revelations and Historical Perspective

Glenn Greenwald and Noam Chomsky

Speaking to a sold out audience in Harvard Square, about his new book: No Place to Hide: Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, journalist and constitutional attorney, Glenn Greenwald told some of the dramatic tale of being contacted by Snowden. 

He said that from the beginning, Snowden wished to identify himself and explain why he went to a journalist with classified documents that prove the scope and breadth of U.S. global surveillance and collection of metadata.  Snowden did not want other people falsely accused; he wished to take responsibility for revealing the classified documentation of U.S. global surveillance.

Greenwald said that despite his own knowledge of media malfeasance, it was a truly remarkable experience to see how people in public life spout falsehoods.  Within 24-48 hours after the surveillance revelations became public, major figures in the “punditocracy” labeled Snowden a “fame seeking narcissist” in an effort to discredit the messenger to try to suppress the message. 

The message is this:  the NSA is spying on everyone all the time and collecting all our personal information without warrants, without suspicion of any wrongdoing, here in the U.S. and around the world. 

The questions now are:  how is that information used and how might it be used in the future?

Certainly we can expect that it has been and will be used to curb and suppress dissent. 

In fact, saying that “disclosures help terrorists” and “innocent people will be killed” the representatives of the State and the military create an atmosphere in which the guilty are made innocent and the innocent are seen as guilty for telling the truth.

As our beloved Noam Chomsky reminded us from his deep knowledge of history, power has to operate in the dark.

In this way, populations around the world are controlled, subdued, frightened and misled, and power is maintained by the ruling global elites scrambling to retain control of resources as climate change bears down upon us all.  We are living in one of the most dangerous moments that human history has ever experienced. 

To bring truth before the people of the world, Snowden became an exile.  Several others who assisted him are also exiled from their home countries.

Some things have changed, not least that U.S. global power has been damaged by the revelation of its uncontrolled spying. 

As I left the event, I happened upon a vigil being held by the Harvard Square T for the victims of the Turkish mine disaster.  I joined the vigil, all our struggles are connected. 

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