THE COMMON OBSERVER UNCOMMON OBSERVATIONS

A Manifesto for the Truth

On Sunday Edward Snowden published a piece in Der Spiegel “A Manifesto for the Truth” where he argues that the United States government’s spying programs and subsequent suppression of dissent are against the public’s interest. Reasonable arguments within the public discourse continue to strengthen his position calling for at least some restraint to be shown by the government such as in this article that looks at how broadly sweeping the spying program is. However, the United States government seems unswayed by any of these rhetorical arguments for clemency. Snowden’s manifesto was written in German, but has been translated by several sources,

Snowden's eyes by flickr user Abode of Chaos

Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, respectful and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to suppress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing of the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly.

 
Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation.

 

Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.

 

You can read the full translated version here. 

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