From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Edward Snowden voted Guardian person of the year 2013
Mark Rice-Oxley, Leila Haddou and Frances Perraudin
Monday 9 December 2013 12.44 GMT
For the second year in a row, a young American whistleblower alarmed at the unfettered and at times cynical deployment of power by the world’s foremost superpower has been voted the Guardian‘s person of the year.
Edward Snowden, who leaked an estimated 200,000 files that exposed the extensive and intrusive nature of phone and internet surveillance and intelligence gathering by the US and its western allies, was the overwhelming choice of more than 2,000 people who voted.
The NSA whistleblower garnered 1,445 votes. …
It is strange to think now, but a little more than six months ago, virtually no one had heard of Snowden, and few people outside the US would have been able to identify what the initials NSA stood for. Though internet privacy was beginning to emerge as an issue, few people had any idea of the extent to which governments and their secretive auxiliaries were able to trawl, sift, collect and scrutinise the personal digital footprints of millions of private individuals.
All that changed in May when Snowden left Hawaii for Hong Kong, where he met Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, and independent film-maker Laura Poitras, and handed over materials that blew the lid on spying technologies, some of which were truly stranger than fiction: a dragnet programme to scoop up digital activities direct from the servers of the biggest US tech companies; a tap on fibreoptic cables to gather huge amounts of data flowing in and out of the UK; a computer program to vacuum up phone records of millions of Americans; a codebreaking effort to crack the encryption system that underpins the safety and security of the internet.
In so doing, Snowden transformed his life, and not for the better. Forced to go on the run, he ended up in Moscow where he now lives in a curious Julian Assange-like limbo, unable to leave Russia for fear of arrest, extradition to the US and a prosecution that would threaten a long jail sentence, if Manning‘s term of 35 years is anything to go by.
It is this personal sacrifice, as much as his revelations, that impressed most readers who voted for him.
“He gave his future for the sake of democratic values, transparency, and freedom,” said Miriam Bergholz. Colin Walker wrote: “We need people like him to have the courage to forget about their own life in the cause of other people’s freedom. Let’s face it, his life is over as even if he goes back to the US he will face decades in prison and the personal sacrifice he has made is immense.” One commenter, identifying themselves as “irememberamerica”, said he voted for Snowden “for his extraordinary and exemplary courage, and the historic value of his daring act. At every step, he has displayed an astonishing integrity and presence of mind. He is a great American and international patriot.”
Snowden writes open letter to Brazil offering to help probe NSA surveillance, mentions need for asylum: here.
Canada’s foreign minister has called on US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to surrender to US authorities and face prosecution—action that Baird knows full well could result in Snowden being executed for treason: here.
- Edward Snowden to give evidence to EU parliament, says MEP British Conservatives oppose video appearance by NSA whistleblower (theguardian.com)
- Interview: MediaFire on the NSA Leaks, Edward Snowden and StopWatching.Us (news.softpedia.com)
- Why the NSA is Depressed Over Edward Snowden (occupycorporatism.com)
- Edward Snowden: Intelligence agents ‘posed as Orcs in World of Warcraft to monitor terrorists’ (metro.co.uk)