Is Edward Snowden a Hero? A Debate with Journalist Chris Hedges & Law Scholar Geoffrey Stone
Chris Hedges: “Was [what he did] a criminal [act]? Yes,” Hedges confirmed. “I suppose in a technical sense it was criminal. But set against the larger crime that is being committed by the state—when you have a system by which criminals are in power, criminals on Wall Street who are able to carry out massive fraud with no kinds of serious repercussions or investigation, criminals who torture in our black sites, criminals who carry out targeted assassinations, criminals who lie to the American public to prosecute pre-emptive war which under international law is illegal—if you’re a strict legalist, which apparently professor Stone is, what you’re in essence doing is protecting criminal activity. I would argue that in large sections of our government it’s the criminals who are in power.”
The cowardice of The New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde, all of which used masses of the material Manning passed on to WikiLeaks and then callously turned their backs on him, is one of journalism’s greatest shames. These publications made little effort to cover Manning’s pretrial hearings, a failure that shows how bankrupt and anemic the commercial press has become.
We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.