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article imageOp-Ed: Edward Snowden warns of loss of privacy in Christmas message

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 26, 2013 in World
Moscow - Whistle-blower and former NSA analyst Edward Snowden remains holed up in Russia. From Russia Snowden has sent a Christmas message to those prepared to listen. It is a warning about an increasingly totalitarian future unless we heed the warning signs.
When he became persona non grata around the world, Russia offered Snowden, who was stuck in limbo land in a Russian airport, one-year temporary asylum.
There was no place for American Snowden to hide in the west, as countries closed their borders to him. One South American country, Venezuela, offered Edward asylum but getting there from the Russian airport proved impossible.
Obviously, when Russia offered even just temporary asylum Snowden quickly accepted it. Perhaps what happened next showed the true extent of spying, which Snowden was gradually revealing; it was just the tip of the iceberg.
President Obama acted like a person with a terminal illness, going through a range of emotions from anger to denial to eventually acceptance and then remorse. Recently Obama promised changes.
The Queen's official Christmas message and Channel 4's alternative Christmas message
In the UK the reigning monarch delivers a Christmas message to the country. Once aired on radio, for some years it has been broadcast on television. Queen Elizabeth has ruled the UK for more than 60 years and is well practised in delivering her "Queen's speech" but she has an annual rival Christmas speech, and this year it was delivered by former NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
As a child this writer had to listen to the official speech and watch the Queen's speech, or at least pretend to, as it was listened to intently by her parents. Most people in 50s and 60s Britain listened to the speech in such a way.
These days people are more relaxed about the speech though, which is recorded well before Christmas, and Channel 4 in the UK now traditionally broadcasts an alternative Queen's or Christmas speech.
It is years since I watched the Queen's speech but some years I watch the alternative Christmas message, and this year I was not going to miss Edward Snowden.
Edward Snowden the alternative Christmas message.
The former NSA analyst and whistle-blower Edward Snowden sent footage from his country of temporary asylum, Russia.
The alternative Christmas message was broadcast at 4:15 p.m. GMT, Christmas Day, and only lasted five minutes. Snowden once again showed that he is a thoughtful and eloquent young man.
He referenced George Orwell and the lack of real privacy future generations may face unless they take action now.
Some people have applauded US President Barack Obama for promising to tighten up on NSA spying but, remember this, if the US and its administration had been successful, following Snowden's first information leak, he would have been captured and by now be rotting in some American prison.
Instead he was offered temporary asylum in Russia. This means the US and other world leaders, who were involved in excessive surveillance, had to have a re-think. It forced their hand.
Without asylum for Snowden, though, nothing would have changed. The next time you feel like saying kudos to Obama, or others, for promising to make changes regarding NSA spying, remember that.
They were backed into a corner and forced to act and for that you can thank Mr Edward Snowden.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Edward.
Note: Both Christmas Day speeches can be watched via this report.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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