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Limit freedoms will stay long after coronavirus: ‘What is being built is the architecture of oppression’

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Edward Snowden, the Obama-era whistleblower who exposed the National Security Agency’s illicit international surveillance programs, warned in an interview last week that the authoritarian emergency powers being seized by leaders here and abroad could become enshrined in stone and be used to oppress people in perpetuity.

As authoritarianism spreads, as emergency laws proliferate, as we sacrifice our rights, we also sacrifice our capability to arrest the slide into a less liberal and less free world,” he said in an interview with Vice magazine.

Do you truly believe that when the first wave, this second wave, the 16th wave of the coronavirus is a long-forgotten memory, that these capabilities will not be kept? That these datasets will not be kept? No matter how it is being used, what is being built is the architecture of oppression.”

The remarks were part of a lengthy 22-minute interview that may be seen below:

Published late last week, the interview comes as mostly Democrat city, county and state officials continue to implement an exponentially expanding list of draconian mandates restricting their constituents’ rights to function in any normal capacity.

From banning the sale of garden seeds to forbidding travel between residences, Democrat lawmakers have exhibited a disturbingly eager desire to combat the coronavirus pandemic through dangerous authoritarian decrees.

Earlier in the interview above, Snowden explained how America’s own history clearly demonstrates that such seemingly temporary emergency powers almost always inevitably wind up becoming permanent.

“We’re declaring, you know, various states of emergencies here and there. But these have sweeping powers. So we’re sitting here in America quarantined and saying, ‘Okay, what does this mean going forward?’ When I think about the future, when any of us look at where this is heading, we need to think about where we’ve been,” he said.

And sadly, these kind of emergency powers that are born out of crises have a perfect history of abuse. I mean, down the board, whenever you look at these things, the funniest part about it in a dark way is that the emergency never ends. It becomes normalized.”

Take the overzealous security measures still applied by TSA agents. Also consider the mass surveillance operations still being authorized by congressional Republicans and Democrats.

“When you talk about mass surveillance, the Bush-era warrantless wiretapping program, only part of it was shut down, and it’s rolled over and it’s rolled over and it’s rolled over,” Snowden rightly noted.

“And we’ve performed things at the edges, but the basic practices of what was supposed to be a stopgap emergency, which was in response to another stopgap emergency, was which was, of course, the legacy of 9/11 and the Patriot Act. And we are still today engaged in the same wars that we declared nearly 20 years ago that we have not managed to escape.”

True.

“You know, we had, as a result of 9/11, the rise of the nuclear Iran because their counterbalance in Iraq was ruined. We saw authoritarianism begin to creep across western societies, places we wouldn’t expect, like Hungary and Poland,” Snowden added.

He then turned his attention to what he’d said about “the architecture of oppression” and warned the public that, while such “architecture” might not be abused now under the likes of someone such as President Donald Trump, there’s no telling what future political and tech leaders might do.

“You might trust who is dealing with it, you might trust who runs it. You might go, ‘You know, I don’t care about Mark Zuckerberg,’ but someone else will have this data eventually. Some other country will have this data eventually. In your country, a different president will have control of this data eventually, and someone will abuse it.”

That exact scenario played out here in the states after Bush-era surveillance operations were adopted by Barack Obama in 2009 and subsequently used to target the current president seven years later via the Russian collusion delusion hoax.

And then there’s China, the country responsible for the coronavirus pandemic.

“Now, could China use it for something interesting to them? Yes,” Snowden said. “And what happens when they abuse it? And I believe they already have.”

“You know, they’re running internment camps in China. And these practices, when they don’t get pushback, when they don’t get condemnation, when they don’t face sanction, this will become normalized and it will spread.”

It doesn’t help that the American mainstream media has chosen to disseminate the Communist Party of China’s propaganda.

Case in point:

If societies across the globe, including here in the states, don’t stand up to this oppression, they’ll eventually face it themselves, Snowden concluded.

And we’ll face them in Russia, we’ll face them in Iran, and then we’ll face them in Poland, we’ll face them in Hungary, we’ll face them throughout Europe, we will face them in the United States because we will face them everywhere,” he said.

It’s not just about America. It’s not just about your city. It’s about everywhere. Because these systems, if we do not change them, they’re going to make decisions for us on an automated basis to determine who gets a job, who gets a home, and who does not.”

Vivek Saxena

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