Social Question

ninjacolin's avatar

Have you realized that Edward Snowden is a world hero?

Asked by ninjacolin (14238points) December 13th, 2013
52 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

That’s a question, by the way. Has this been the realization for you?

It’s a lot to think about, really, and I appreciate the summary Mikko Hypponen gave in his talk How the NSA betrayed the World’s trust. Highly recommended that you give it 20 minutes.

It’s been at least a couple days since the NSA spying on “96% of the planet” campaign was revealed to you. Regardless of where you live in the world, do you consider Edward Snowden a world hero?

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Rarebear's avatar

He’s also a traitor.

snowberry's avatar

Oh, sure. He’s a hero to the uncounted masses of people who’ve been the targets of the NSA. Is there anyone outside of the US who thinks he’s a criminal? I doubt it. It all depends on where your allegiance lies.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Rarebear Agreed. What kind of idiots don’t know they’re being spied on and have been for decades, oh, the same ones who wonder how 911 was possible.

rojo's avatar

Nope, not a traitor, Man of the Year.

rojo (24176points)“Great Answer” (11points)
1TubeGuru's avatar

Edward Snowden is a traitor a coward and a enemy of America and its citizens.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo A traitor is someone who betrays his country, to Americans (most) he is a traitor.

ninjacolin's avatar

@1TubeGuru, it sounds like you think American and its citizens deserve more rights and freedoms than the rest of the world’s citizens.

rojo's avatar

Why is it such a bad thing to report on the spying, underhanded dealings, threats of retaliation if anyone tells of the data-mining and such but not to actually do said things?

It is a sad state of affairs, not to mention extremely hypocritical, when the citizens are perfectly willing allow such violations of their privacy by their own government and then turn around an vilify another country for doing the exact same thing.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Rarebear, so that’s a world hero but a US traitor? The US is part of the world though.. that’s a bit confusing. In theory, ought one do something to benefit the whole world over their one country?

ninjacolin's avatar

@KNOWITALL, what do you call someone who betrays the whole world?

1TubeGuru's avatar

@ninjacolin you must have a vivid imagination to make presumptions about my world view.

ninjacolin's avatar

Well, I’m interested! Please share.

And you’re right, I do have a vivid imagination: I had some stray thoughts on this some time ago. I was thinking, what if the NSA simply released everything that they know to the world at large. Making everything public. That would be interesting. And I don’t mean once, I mean like always. Like, that’s just what they do.

I also thought about how each of these american companies have headquarters in various countries. What’s to prevent these companies from offering their information sharing backdoor access to every country who wants it, therby evening the playing field?

Rarebear's avatar

@ninjacolin He’s both a hero and a traitor.

antimatter's avatar

I think the man had a lot of courage to betray what he had sworn to protect. I think to some he may be a hero because he stood up against the mighty infective NSA. Look how good were the NSA in protecting the president of the United States in South Africa at the Nelson Mandela memorial, a wanted criminal manged to stand right next to Obama, well done to American National Security. I think the NSA needed a guy like Snowden to shake them up so in a way he is my hero. I admire the man.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ninjacolin Are you wanting me to name my own country as a traitor to the whole world?

Like no other country ever spied on another country, or it’s own people?

What nonsense, we all know it happens all the time, and if you don’t you’re very naive and no nothing of history.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Rarebear it reminds me of the scenario where a close friend breaks the bond of trust he may have with a suicidal (or anorexic, or runaway, or substance abusing, etc..) person who was confiding in him in an effort to help save that person’s life… for their own good.. for the greater good.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Is he a traitor to his country? Sure. Then again so were Founding Fathers.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

He is a hero, a traitor & a coward. What the NSA is doing is wrong and what Snowden did is also wrong. He should have blown the whistle officially through the proper channels. He may not have been successful doing so but he did not need to go the chickenshit route and surrender himself up to those who would put real national security in peril. I have mixed feelings about this. We should be outraged about the spying, national security or not it is unconstitutional and sets a very dangerous precedent. Snowden needs to face justice here.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“He should have blown the whistle officially through the proper channels.”

What are the proper channels Snowden should have utilized?

SavoirFaire's avatar

I didn’t have to realize it. I knew it from the beginning.

Furthermore, everyone saying that Snowden is a traitor is making a straightforward factual mistake. Legally speaking, a traitor is one who commits treason, and treason has a very specific definition under US law. In fact, it is the only crime defined by the US Constitution itself (Article III, section 3). Not even the US Department of Justice believes that Snowden committed treason. The only open legal question is whether he is protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act or whether he violated the Espionage Act. In neither case, however, can Snowden be legitimately called a traitor.

As for why Snowden did not go through “official channels,” there have been several interesting commentaries written on precisely that topic. But perhaps he’s just familiar with history.

Linda_Owl's avatar

To me, Edward Snowden is a HERO to the world.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me And what do you think whistleblowing through the “proper channels” would have done? How can you blow the whistle on something that’s accepted and approved by the people you’re blowing the whistle to?

Kropotkin's avatar

If most Americans think he’s a traitor, America is doomed.

DWW25921's avatar

He did what he thought was right for his country. He’s a hero! We should make a statue.

johnpowell's avatar

Hero in my book..

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Darth_Algar Yeah, it’s a touchy situation I don’t know exactly what the proper way to blow the whistle would be here. I would probably seek legal advice before doing anything. In the end NOTHING has been done about this yet so what did he really accomplish anyway.

Darth_Algar's avatar

He accomplished quite a lot. He gave the people government transparency. Is that not what people claim to want?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

He sure did, now he’s a source of info for anyone who can get to him and get it out of him. Don’t get me wrong though. this needed to get out. I’m just not sure he did it in the best way.

CWOTUS's avatar

I can get that people idolize him without having yet made up my mind on 1) how much of what he has claimed is actually true, and 2) how much of the stories about him are true (and how much about the NSA is true, for that matter).

I’m not ready to jump on any bandwagons – whether to lionize him or hang him – without having more facts than I do so far.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me How is that any different from anyone else who may have sensitive info? Besides, who knows that he even has anything more than what he’s already let out?

snowberry's avatar

It doesn’t look to me like the NSA has backed down even a little bit. So in that respect it hasn’t accomplished anything. It also looks to me like Obama is just fine with what the NSA is doing. At this point, the NSA is so powerful, they can pretty much do whatever they want.

MadMadMax's avatar

I’d have chosen him as Time Mag’s Man of the Year. He’s a hero. He enlightened us and the world and I prefer to know just how far we’ve gone.

ucme's avatar

I don’t care enough to give a shit.

stanleybmanly's avatar

This is another issue where both sides have strong cases. KNOWITALL’s argument (that only a fool would walk around in America assuming that he is unwatched and unlistened to) is to my mind rock solid. If nothing else, Snowden’s revelations remove that sort of naivety from the necessity of future discussion. There is also the disturbing fact that the whistle blowing route usually proves very detrimental to those wielding the whistle. Now from the perspective of the government, it is understandable that Snowden’s actions are not to be tolerated or allowed to remain unpunished. As for Snowden himself, I am in no way convinced that he is necessarily heroic. He just presented me and a lot of other cynics with the opportunity to tell a lot of folks “I told you so”.

deni's avatar

I echo what someone above said, if you are American and you think he is a traitor, we are doomed here! Of course he’s a hero!

bolwerk's avatar

At the end of the day, all Snowden did was reveal to the American people and the world the sheer paranoid, delusional contempt the neo-cons in control of the U.S. government, who have only been strengthened by Obama, have for the most basic human rights. Maybe it doesn’t make him heroic – he was working for them, afterall – but it does mean we all owe him a big thank you.

Traditional liberals would be uncomfortable with this, and even old school conservatives would probably oppose this. Only neo-cons and their ilk in fascist/totalitarian movements can think ignoring their own rules in such a pointless, arbitrary way is acceptable.

Snowden’s flight from the country was not cowardly at all. He escaped the people who would confine him, which is a perfectly reasonable and sensible thing to do. After witnessing the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning, who can blame him?

kritiper's avatar

Not on my watch! He’s a world zero!

Rarebear's avatar

Just so my own position is clear, I’m a Snowden fan. I t hink he did a good thing, and I think our national security aparatus is out of control. I still think he’s a traitor, though, @SavoirFaire‘s objections noted.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, they say he’s a traitor for what he revealed but at the same time state that everything they were doing is legal. If that is the case, why doesn’t the American population have the right to know about it? Please, don’t give me that whole it undermines the whole point argument either, I highly doubt the terrorist that were responsible for 911 where texting their plans to each other.

“HAY letz blow up z wrld trade centr”
“lolz ok!”

whitenoise's avatar

Jesus was a traitor to the jews…

If a government agency does immoral / illegal acts, someone needs to out them…

Of what littel I understand of his motivations… He wasn’t a traitor in my eyes; serving the people, the same people his organization was supposed to serve to begin with.

Given the risks he took… A hero? Maybe…

filmfann's avatar

Snowden is a traitor. Yes, he had a cause, but he still is a traitor.
There has always been a spy game. Nations without some form of spying don’t last.
Pre-World War I, the Russians were afraid of being attacked on two fronts, one in the East by Japan, and the other on the West, by Germany as I recall. Their spy found that Japan had chosen not to attack, and the troops on the East were moved to the West, which saved the Nation.

bolwerk's avatar

Who the fuck did Snowden betray? Every liberal, conservative, minarchist, Marxist, small-R republican, and small-D democrat is intellectually obligated to at least believe this: the state is supposed to serve its people.*

The government is not the people. The pig state betrayed the people it was supposed to serve and answer to. Edward Snowden revealed what they were doing to the people.

And that’s before you even consider the systemic violation of privacy for hundreds of millions of citizens of Planet Earth.

* Fascists, USA Republikans, and other totalitarians aren’t intellectually obligated to believe that. The USA “Democratic Party” is too cowardly to have a position.

SavoirFaire's avatar

It seems to me that @bolwerk asks the most important question. And while it’s not every day I agree with Ron Paul, his answer makes a lot of sense to me: “My understanding is that espionage means giving secret or classified information to the enemy. Since Snowden shared information with the American people, his indictment for espionage could reveal (or confirm) that the US Government views you and me as the enemy.” Yes, Snowden’s information is available to more than just Americans. But his intention was to reveal this to the American pubic.

Homeland Security tells us “if you see something, say something.” Snowden did. He provided proof that the US government was spying on its citizens, so the US government charged him with spying. Nor is Snowden the only whistleblower who has been charged with violating the Espionage Actdespite the president’s promise to protect whistleblowers (a promise that still appears on, but which was removed from shortly after Snowden went public). I guess it’s true what they say: in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act.

Anyway, here is a former CIA officer giving his take on why Snowden isn’t a traitor. And here are two interesting commentaries on the validity of espionage charges. The latter includes a link to this commentary on President Obama’s broken promise to protect whistleblowers.

YARNLADY's avatar

I think what he did was in the best interest of the American people, but I don’t think he went about it the right way.

flutherother's avatar

Governments don’t exist for their own benefit they are there to serve the people and if the powers that governments have are not regulated by law the way is open for a dictatorship. The intelligence agencies have to be brought under control, we are paying for them and we have a right to ensure they work for us and not against us. The power that unlimited snooping might give to an unscrupulous government is something no one has given much consideration to since George Orwell. I hope someone is writing a novel right now. 2084 would be a good title.

If Snowden has helped save us from such a future he is undoubtedly a hero.

Pandora's avatar

I’m willing to bet you that most countries spy on their people and on other countries. If your country has spies, than no doubt they do it to. I bet all those countries that acted out raged and think Snowden is a hero are only helping him because they probably fear what he knows about their country.

bolwerk's avatar

@Pandora: You probably aren’t comprehending the sheer scale of what was revealed. Surely they have ears on the sidewalk, but I doubt any first world developed countries did it to that extent. Everyone, including you, was in the net.

SwanSwanHummingbird's avatar

He is a brave, selfless fool, a hero to the world. I couldn’t care less that he divulged state secrets. This country needs to change and he illuminated that point knowing full well that his entire life would change.

If only the rest of us were so brave…

Blondesjon's avatar

I don’t give a fuck what any of you say. I loved him in Fight Club and American History X.

Zaku's avatar

That was pretty obvious from day one. Same with Manning.

Well, I guess I had my doubts on day one too, which were simply that he may actually have been dispatched to do this as a smokescreen event, rather than being an actual defection. When the story broke, the US was also doing some nastier-than-usual BS in the Middle East, which the Snowden story distracted attention from. And I already had known we did awful spying on ourselves and everyone for a long long time, since at least the 90’s, so…

But as far as the mainstream story where Snowden is a whistleblower who put lots of NSA abuses in front of the public and got many people to think about, know about, and address it to some degree, in that sense I think he’s a hero… however accurate that may be to the real story, I don’t know.

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