Providing your fellow countrymen with information that the State is spying on them is not traitorous, that is unless your allegiance lies more to the State than to freedom itself.
Prior to the Snowden revelations, if you mentioned to some people that all of our phone calls and emails are being monitored, they would shrug you off and call you a “conspiracy theorist”. Then after the leaks, if you would then again mention to the same people that our phone calls and emails are being monitored, they were then like “no shit, old news, etc…”. To me, the most troubling thing about this is that many people have just skipped “the conversation” all together.
“The conversation” to which I am referring is the one that Edward Snowden gave up everything to start: the conversation of the “Surveillance State”. According to Glenn Greenwald — acclaimed reporter who published many of Snowden’s leaks — when he asked Snowden why he would take such a risk to get this information out there, Snowden replied: “The only thing that I fear is that I am going to unravel my life to bring these documents to the public and there won’t be very much of an impact. That the debate won’t really be galvanized that we need to have. The public will just sort of shrug, the media will suppress it, we’ll dilute the revelations and there will be mostly indifference.”
The definition of treason is aiding the enemy. Snowden aided the public by bringing to light the mass surveillance state that has been secretly thrust upon all of us. So, if Snowden is guilty of treason for aiding the enemy, then wouldn’t that make us the enemy?
There have been many false assertions made as to why Snowden initially went to Hong Kong and then ended up in Russia. According to Greenwald, Snowden told him, “All my options are bad options.” Initially, when Snowden went to Hong Kong, he was demonized as a “Chinese Spy”. Then, when Snowden ended up in Russia. the same asshats claimed that he must be a “Russian Spy”. All the while, the reality of the matter is that when you’re leaking information that a major world power like the U.S. doesn’t want to get out, your options are extremely fucking limited.
Snowden’s initial plan was to fly from Hong Kong to Moscow, then to Havana, then to Latin America where he would then request asylum. It was on the flight from Hong Kong to Moscow when the U.S. government with no due process revoked his passport, forcing him to stay in Russia. Snowden was then forced to remain in a Russian airport for 5 weeks after his passport was revoked. Do you honestly think that if Snowden was in deed a Russian spy, Russia would hold him in a airport for 5 weeks while figuring out what to do with him?
The American mainstream media fails at it’s job time and time again. The purpose of the media should be to report on the State and hold it accountable. The trouble is all too often the media is only the State’s faithful lapdog. Rather than questioning the State and it’s motives, the media reports only what the powers that be want you to hear.
It’s important to remember that even as of now almost 2 years after Snowden’s leaks that nothing he leaked has been proven to have harmed U.S. national security in any way, shape or form.
You can both love your country and hate your government at the same time. Those two emotions are not mutually exclusive. In fact, there are more than many legitimate reasons for both of those two very separate emotions. You just need to understand the difference between the two. Edward Snowden sacrificed all to bring to light a conversation. Don’t let his sacrifice go in vain.