When Edward Snowden blew the whistle on Government spying by the US on its own citizens, he did the world a favour. But the newspaper he chose as the conduit for his revelations did its source no favours. It is now clear that Snowden should have gone straight to Ecuador or Venezuela or even Cuba.
But the Guardian was content to see him onto a plane from Hawaii to Hong Kong, knowing full well that the Chinese government were unlikely to harbour a enemy of the United States at this delicate juncture in the relationship between the two superpowers.
With one of its main sources holed up int he Ecadorean embassy in London and another destined for a difficult time as he tries to fly to safety, the Guardian looks increasingly like a newspaper to avoid. If you want to get an important but controversial message into the public domain, much better to publish it on a small web site and then anonymously inform the mainstream media.
At the moment Snowden cannot even fly to Havana because the Aeroflot flight from Moscow touches down at Shannon en route. And the US government is seeking an arrest warrant from the IRish. But why were the Guardian’s lawyers not in court to protect their source?
Despite President Obama’s bluster, it is fairly clear that Edward Snowden is a hero and not a traitor. True, the young freelancer chose to take the glory and the limelight for his revelations, and that is a choice he made himself. There is, however, no doubt the Americans were interrupting the phone calls and emails of hundreds of millions of innocent people. Whether or not you consider this moral, it certainly should take place with a backdrop of informed consent at the very least.
Whistleblowers: protect yourself
The mystery of The Guardian’s lax attitude to Snowden’s safety is hard to fathom. Its easier to see why the rest of the mainstream media has not raised critical questions: the establishment is closing ranks – they will not stick it to one of their own.
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