Edward Snowden: “The system failed us and it failed us extensively.”
Shane Smith, co-founder of VICE, interviewed Edward Snowden about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The future may be unpredictable, but global pandemics are not. There is not a single government on the planet that has not been repeatedly warned that a virus pandemic will eventually take over the planet and cause countless deaths and economic disruptions.
And yet most of them were not preparing for the new corona virus.
The famous informant Edward Snowden commented in an exclusive interview with VICE co-founder Shane Smith:
Every academic, researcher who saw this knew that this would happen. However, when we needed it, the system failed and we mostly failed.
Edward Snowden, computer security expert.
Snowden is the first guest in the new series “Shelter in Place”, which premieres on VICE TV and analyzes the global response to COVID-19 and its global impact. Smith will discuss these issues, as well as quarantine survival, with a range of thinkers from science, entertainment, business, and journalism.
In the first episode, Smith speaks to Snowden, who in 2012 unveiled the National Security Agency’s surveillance scheme for Americans. In an interview conducted by video chat from Smith’s home in Santa Monica, the two touch on issues such as unwillingness for a global pandemic, how long it will pose a threat to humanity, and whether the power we have as leaders give to the world, return and punish us.
Smith: Why do we seem so poorly prepared?
Snowden: There is nothing more predictable than a public health crisis in a world where we live on top of each other in crowded and polluted cities than a pandemic. And every academic, researcher who examined this situation knew that this was going to happen. And even the secret services, I can tell you firsthand because I read the reports they had planned for pandemics.
Can autocratic regimes handle such things better than democratic ones?
I do not believe that. There are arguments that China can do things that the United States cannot. That doesn’t mean that what these autocratic countries are doing is really more effective.
When we look at countries like China, where the cases seem to have stabilized, how much can we trust that these numbers are really true?
I don’t think we can. In particular, we see that the Chinese government has recently been working to expel Western journalists, at this very moment when we need credible and independent warnings in the region.
It seems that the corona virus is the biggest question of modern times in terms of civil liberties and the right to privacy. Nobody asks this question.
As authoritarianism spreads, emergency laws multiply, we sacrifice our rights, and we sacrifice our ability to stem the flow into a less liberal and less free world. Do you really think that these functions will not be maintained if the first wave, this second wave, the 16th coronavirus wave is a long forgotten memory? Which of these records were not received? Regardless of how it is used, the architecture of suppression is built.
Translated version of Trone Dowd’s article on VICE.