Snowden’s Statement to European Parliamentary Committee on ‘Greatest Human Rights Challenge of Our Time’
By: Kevin Gosztola
Jesselyn Radack reading statement from Edward Snowden to European parliamentary committee
National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, along with other whistleblowers, submitted testimony to a European parliamentary committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs. The testimony was accepted as part of an ongoing inquiry into alleged spying by the United States and European Union countries that has been exposed by Snowden.
Justice Department whistleblower and Government Accountability Project director of the national security and human rights division, Jesselyn Radack, read prepared remarks. So did NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe and MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon.
While it was Radack’s time to speak to the committee, she read a statement from Snowden, but, before beginning she acknowledged two "unsung heroes" in Snowden’s "harrowing saga," WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison, who she said had rescued him from Hong Kong, helped him obtain asylum and remained at his side at great personal risk to herself.
"They have been not just stops on the 21st Century version of the Underground Railroad, which liberates information from the shackles of security and transports it into the disinfecting sunlight of freedom," Radack declared. "They have been the guardian shepherds who have kept him safe during this difficult journey."
She added, "It’s a tragic irony that in an effort to preserve your liberties and mine they all have given up so many liberties of their own." The treatment they have experienced and the "example being made of them and all other whistleblowers is the ultimate chilling effect on speech."
Radack then read the following statement aloud to the committee and the audience there to hear testimony. (To hear it read, click on the above player.)
What Drake, Machon, Radack and Wiebe all had to say was incredibly important and there will be more coverage of their remarks here at Firedoglake throughout the afternoon.