HAVANA TIMES — Former technology consultant and ex-CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden is the man making headlines these days. At least, he is one of the people that the international media is following most closely – another informant who has joined the cyber-crusade to reveal compromising secrets to the world.
The information that Snowden has revealed, however, isn’t anything we didn’t know or suspect already, not the way I see it, at least. At best, what Snowden has done is produced evidence that fully confirms our suspicions. I believe that Snowden, just like young Bradley Manning, merely awoke from his dreams about the “heroic grandeur of the United States.”
These men have come to the realization, or, better, have discovered, that they have lived under the lies of a regime which, proclaiming itself the “guardian of world peace”, has really done nothing other than trample on true democracy, the democracy it has so often claimed to respect and defend.
The cyber-espionage scandal in the United States has prompted all manner of petitions from many governments around the world, which are now demanding an explanation from the Obama administration. A great fuss has been kicked up across the social networks.
Snowden has requested – and been denied – political asylum in several countries. Four European countries denied Evo Morales’ plane authorization to fly across their airspace, in a regrettable incident that put the Bolivian president’s life at risk.
A web-page has even launched a videogame where the objective is to steal information from the US National Security Agency (NSA), a clear allusion to the mole that unmasked the United States’ vast secret surveillance program.
As I hinted at above, if this piece of news reveals anything we didn’t know already, it is the fact that the United States not only spies on its enemies, but on its supposed allies and its own citizens as well. And it would not surprise me at all to find out that other countries do the same – perhaps not so compulsively, or at such a large scale.
Who could deny, for instance, the far-reaching espionage network set up by the KGB during the Cold War? (If such a network was not more extensive, it is because spy technology was incomparably more limited at the time). Who could tell me other security systems do not tap phone lines and hack into computer accounts, even private ones, and keep a straight face?
I cannot help but recall director Florian Henckel’s first feature film, “The Lives of Others”, which tells the story of a GDR secret police (Stasi) officer who spies on a playwright, which reveals that, under these kinds of regimes, the Party-State literally controls the public life of citizens.
As we know, politics is the dirtiest of games – in both capitalism and socialism. In any event, I feel it is positive that these excesses are brought to light.
Snowden is going to be hard pressed to find a country willing to grant him political asylum. Even if he secured this, that could entail serious consequences for the relations between the asylum country and the United States. In the meantime, Snowden awaits in a Moscow airport, unwilling to go the road of his compatriot Bradley Manning, whose trial will extend to August and who could be sentenced to as many as 154 years in prison for providing Wikileaks with classified US government information.
Many countries have already denied Snowden asylum. Others have simply washed their hands of the whole affair. Yet others, particularly left-leaning Latin American governments, have been more receptive to the idea. Some have been slightly more than receptive, as is the case with Venezuela, whose president has repeatedly offered Snowden the asylum he seeks. The former agent, for some reason, does not appear to take him at his word.