Edward Snowden: ‘Faith in Elected Leaders’ Is a Mistake Americans Keep Making

by Emma Niles

American whistleblower Edward Snowden recently gave a lengthy interview at an event hosted by acTVism. “Freedom & Democracy—Global Issues in Context,” moderated by acTVism Munich founder and senior editor Zain Raza, also featured interviews with philosopher Srecko Horvat, Real News Network founder Paul Jay, economist Richard D. Wolff, Intercept founding editor Jeremy Scahill, and German writer Jürgen Todenhöfer.

Speaking via video link from Russia, where he has been living since the U.S. revealed espionage charges against him in 2013, Snowden began by discussing the dark history of intelligence agencies and what it says about the U.S. government today. His remarks begin at the 2:58:30 mark in the video above.

“This is what they do in the dark,” Snowden states after highlighting past instances of illegal behavior by the government. “This is what happens when you’re not looking.”

He continues:

The government [is] not actually concerned with saving lives, protecting programs, ensuring that human sources or the efficacy of our security apparatus continues unimpeded. What they’re looking for are easy arguments. Things that sound persuasive at first glance.

Snowden also talks about whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose prison term was recently commuted by President Obama; weaknesses in mainstream media; mass surveillance; and the newly inaugurated President Donald Trump.

“I think the focus on Trump is a mistake,” Snowden argues. “Faith in elected leaders to fix our problems is the mistake that we keep repeating.”

“When President Obama was elected to the White House, he said all the right things,” Snowden continues. “If we’re hoping for a champion, if we’re waiting for a hero, we’ll be waiting forever.”

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