Edward Snowden is on a virtual book promotion tour these days and he seems to be everywhere. You can read about his favorite food, his favorite season in Moscow, that time Russia’s FSB allegedly tried to recruit him, and that time he secretly married his girlfriend.
It’s not boring, though, even though there’s lots of it. But after all, since the whistleblower almost ruined his own life back in 2013 to serve the rest of the world by exposing the shocking levels of digital surveillance that law-abiding citizens are exposed to – the world owes him at least to listen, when he has something to say.
Especially when his statements, like those cited in this report by Germany’s state-operated outlet Deutsche Welle, have to do with his “original claim to fame” – and that’s exposing and explaining the unlawful and damaging activities and actions of that “arch villain and enemy” in his story, the powerful US spy agency NSA.
No doubt, Germany is currently the big dog in Europe; but Germany has had a long-time big dog of its own, and that’s the United States. With that in mind, it’s not hard to believe that when it came to America’s covert and highly controversial digital surveillance efforts, especially after the 9/11 attacks that shook the country to the core – Germany would have been a willing participant in the schemes, right out the gate.
In fact, Snowden’s memoir, dubbed “Permanent Record,” describes Germany as a “primary example” of cooperation in NSA’s mass surveillance programs.
But Snowden makes a clear case here that the will of the citizens stands opposite to the actions of their country’s authorities. “The countries whose citizenries were most opposed to American mass surveillance were those whose governments had most cooperated with it,” Snowden asserted, to then cite Germany as a primary example.
Snowden seems to be suggesting some Marie Antoinette-levels here of disconnect between the ruling class and the people – but Deutsche Welle frames the revelations and the aftermath as an alarm bell that has served the country well, resulting in improved practices over time.