tv Democracy Now LINKTV September 30, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
09/30/19 09/30/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this iss democracy now! whenever the government faces a whistleblower, it is revealing some kind of wrongdoing that makes them uncomfortable, that implicates them in some kind of activity they should not be doing. they're going to try to change the conversation from the their actions,of of their policies in government. amy: as a whistleblower
complaint against president trump rocks washington, democrats begin an impeachment inquiry and trump threatens the consequences for the person who came forward. we bring you part two of our conversation with one of the world's most famous whistleblowers, edward snowden. now in exile in russia. six years ago, he shocked the world and he leaked a trove of secret documents about how the united states had built a massive surveillance apparatus to collect every single phone call, text message, and email come and pry into the private lives of every person on earth. snow and has just published a moir calleled "permanent record." hadvery level of government been in on the violation of our constitutional rights, so they created an entirely different document that basically said, oh, nothing to see here. amy: we spend t the hour with na whistleblower edward snowden.
all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the democratic-led house is quickly moving ahead with its impeachment inquiry of president trump for abusing his power for personal gain after an intelligence whistleblower revealed trump had pressed the president of ukraine to investigate his political rival joe biden and his son hunter. on sunday, house intelligence chair adam schiff revealed the anonymous whistleblower would soon testify before the committee. of there taking all precautions we can to make sure that we do so, we allow that testimony to go forward in a way that protects the whistleblower's identity because, as you can imagine with the president issuing threats like we have to treat these people who expose my wrongdoing as we used to treat traitors and spies and was to execute them, you can imagine thehe security
concerns here. amy: on saturday, lawyers for the whistleblower wrote a letter to the chairs of the house and senate intelligence committees expressing fears for their client's safety after trump compared the whistleblower to a treasonous spy and demanded to "meet my accuser." the lawyers wrote -- "the events of the past week have heightened our concerns that our client's identity will be disclosed publicly and that, as a result, our client will be put in harm's way." over the weekend, president trump repeatedly took to twitter to attack the whistleblower as well as a range of officials and journalists. he accused c chairman schiff of committing treason. he described schiff and a group of other democratic lawmakers as "savages." he claimed impeachment is "unlawful." and he reposted a message from a supporter warning impeachment could lead to a "civil war-like fracture in this nation."" republican congressman adam
kinzinger of illinois tweeted trump's civil war retweet was "beyond repugnant." congressmember kinzinger wrote -- "i have visited nations ravaged by civil war. @realdonaldtrump i have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a president." in other developments related to the impeachment inquiry, three house committees have subpoenaed secretary of state mike pompeo to turn over documents related to the administration's dealings with ukraine. this comes as trump and former new york mayor rudolph giuliani are facing accusations they ran a shadow foreign policy in ukraine outside of normal channels. but on sunday, giuliani insisted secretary of state pompeo was aware of what was happening. meanwhile, the trump administration's special envoy for ukraine, kurt d. volker,r, s reresigned. more than 2 million people took to the streets in a massive global climate strike friday. from bangladesh to uganda to
chile, demonstrators walked out of work or school totoemand world leaders act to solve the climate crisis. one million people protested throughout italy alone. in montreal, canada 600,000 , people joined the strike, including greta thunberg, the 16-year-old swedish climate activist who sparked the fridays for future movement. >> this week, world leaders all around the world -- from all aroundnd the wororld gathered iw actctionthe u.n. climamate summit. they disappointed us once again with their empty words and insufficientnt p plans. [applause] them to unite behind the science, but they did not listen. [boos]s]
soso today, we are millions arod the world striking and launcnchg again. and we will keep on doing it until they listen. amy: the protest followed the september 20 global demonstration that brought more than 4 million people into the streets. 350.org founder bill mckibben called the week of protests "almost certainly the largest demonstration our planet has yet seen about climate change." in related news, nearly 70 climate activists were arrested saturday in new hampshire after marching onto a coal power plant to demand an end to fossil fuel use. they were part of a group of hundreds attempting to shut down merrimack station -- one of the largest coal-fired power plants in all of new england. in immigration news, a federal judge has blocked a trump administration rule that would have allowed the government to indefinitely detain migrant children and their families.
california judge dolly gee ruled friday that the proposed policy violated the 1997 flores agreement, which caps the jailing of migrant children and families to 20 days. she called trump's attempts to friday that the proposed policy -- proposed rule change "kafkaesque." a federal judge blocked another trump-era immigration policy in washington, d.c., friday, rurulg against new regulations seeking to fast-track deportations without a fair legal process. voters in afghanistan went to the polls on saturday but voter turnout may have hit a record low. preliminary data shows around 25% of the country's registered voters took part in the election, which pitted afghan president ashraf ghani against afghanistan's chief executive abdullah abdullah. abdullah abdullah iss already coming victory. the bbc c reports at least five people were killed in attacks on voting stations. another 80 were wounded.
the prominent egyptian dissident alaa abdel-fattah has been arrested again and a growing crackdown on anti-government protesters. abdel-fattah was arrested on sunday as he was preparing to leave an egyptian police station where he has been forced to sleep at night since being freed in march after serving a five-year prison sentence. a lawyer representing abdel fattah was also arrested. egyptian authorities have arrested more than 2000 people amid an outbreak of anti-government protests. alaa abdel-fattah was a leader of the 2011 uprising against hosnsni mubarak. he spoke to democracy nonow! in 2014. arere on a sentencing frzyzy. this is s not just aboutut me. it is almost as if it is a war on a whole generation. amy: to see our recent coverage of the crackdown in egypt, visit democracynow.org. houthi rebels in yemen are claiming to have killed 500 saudi soldiers and captured ththousands more during a a majr attack into saudi arabia in
august. whilile the houthihis released o of the reported incident on sunday, news o outlets he yet to veverify the claims. the spanish newspaper el pais has revealed the cia worked with a spanish private security company to spy on wikileaks founder julian assange inside the ecuadorian embassy in london where he had sought political asylum. assange lived in the embassy from 2012 until april when he was arrested by british authorities. ecuador had hired the firm undercover global to protect the embassy, but thehe firm reportey also secretltly handed over audo and video to the cia of meetings assange had with his lawyers and others.. the firm installed secret video cameraras inside the embassy and placed microphones in the embassy's fire extinguishers and in the women's bathroom. the head of the firm is now being investigated by spain's national court. to seeee our series of intervies
with julian assange, when he had political exile in the embassy, you can go to democracynow.org. workers at general motors have entered their third week on strike. it is the longest national strike the united auto workers has had and nearly half a century y at gm, which earned nearly $35 billion o over the pt three years. workers are seeking higher pay, protection of their healthcare benefits, greater job security and a commitment from gm to build more product in the united states. and former u.s. ambassador joseph wilson has died at the age of 69. in 2003, he openly challenged president george w. bush's claim that iraq was trying to buy uranium from niger -- a claim the administration used to justify the invasion of iraq. wilson had been sent to niger by the administration to investigate e the claim in 2002 but found no such evidence. despite wilson's findings, the uranium allegation was included in bush's 2003 state of the union address.
shortly after w wilson wrwrote a "washington post" op-ed about bush, theyey outed wilson's wif, valerie plame, as a covert cia operative. in 2004, joseph wilson appearerd on democracy now! >> the title of my piece is "what i did not find an africa." i was acting in response to a question by the vice president to check out allegations that iraq had attempted to purchase significant quantity of uranium from that country. it was a very important question because iraq would only have one use for uranium, that would be nuclear weapons programs and that would have been the one piece of incontrovertible evidence he was attempting to reconstitute nuclear weapons programs. which would have lent to some credence to the notion that the saidng gun might be -- i
there was nothing to this. amy: to see our full interview with the late joseph wilson, visit democracynow.org. his ex-wife valerie plame is now runnining for congress in new mexico. and those are some of the headlines. this is democrcracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as the democratic led house moves swiftly toward impeachment, president trump took to twitter sunday night to attack the whistleblower whose complaint first exposed his dealings with ukraine. in a series of tweets, including one threatening civil war if impeachment proceedings move forward, president accused the unnamed whistleblower of "spying on the president, promising "big consequences." well, today, we bring you part two of our conversation with one of the world's momost famous whistleblowers -- edwardrd snowowden. six years ago, snowden leaked a trove of secret documents about how the united states had built a massive surveillance apparatus
to collect every single phone call, text message, and email and private to the private lives of every person on earth. in may 2013, snowden quit his job as an nsa contractor in hawaii and flew to hong kong where he met three reporters -- glenn greenwald, laura poitras, and ewen macaskill -- who began publishing a series of articles exposing the nsa and the surveillance state. snowden was then charged in the united states with violating the espionage act and other laws. in order to avoid being extradited to the united states, he attempted to fly from hong kong to latin america, transiting through moscow. but snowden became stranded in russia after the u.s. revoked his passport. russia than granted him political exile and he has lived in moscow ever since. ed snowden has just published a memoir called "permanent record"
writing about what led him to risk his life to expose the u.s. government's system of mass surveillance. juan gonzalez and i spoke to him from his home in moscow on -- last week. we talked about his book, his work as an intelligence contractor, the ongoing debate about privacy rights online, and the latest news from washington . the roled him about contractors play in the intelligence community. juan: one of the themes you hit on repeatedly is how the government initially attempted to say you're just an outside contractor, that you really were not key figure. but the reality is, as you explained andd document over and over agagain, the enormous reliancece of our intelligegence community y and the fefederal government on outside contractors to effffectively b g ththem into government and give them enormous power and rely on
them so o dramatically. i'm wondering if you could expound d on that? >> congress has mandated the government has hard hiring cap, a specific headcount they cannot exceed for certain agencies like , no matterke the nsa the particularized budget. if they are more dollars than peoplele, they stitill cannot tt momore people on the books witht getttting an actct of congress o change the headcount. so over the years, over the arisen that have really out of the posost-world war ii come in the government, created a kind of new system, a runaround where they say come all of this extra money we want to put in people can't bring not as formal government employees, what if we giveve that to p private comomp? in the private companies lease us people thatat in all memeanif c can't bring notways are gove.
they work in governmentnt facilities, as i did a as a contractor. you are at an nsa desk working on an nsa system, taking direrection from an n nsa govert supervisor working on government processes, but formally, orally, you work for dell lockheed martin or booz allen hamilton, or any one of these really thousands and thousands of private c companies that have become really extensions of government. this is one of the things that the book goes into detail that people really aren't t quite famililiar with. a significant amount,t, pontntially a smll majorority, f the most important work inin government come in intelligence, is today performed by contractors, not government employees. this is because in the actual contracting language, there are very committed very few tasks that contractors are legally
forbidden from doing. it is s sically ththe only thing contractors can't do is press the red button that fires a missile. a contractor is not supposed to actually commit a crime, something the government could do and it would not be a c crim. else -- building the system of mass surveillance, installing it, applying it, using it to gather or search through allll of this informatin that has already been c collectd -- all of these things are fair game and are done routinely every day right now by peopople who are not formally government employees. that is how the system works and that is what a contractor is. juan: i want to get to that point when the realization of what you were participating in came to you. a reportsometime after had come out on the unclassified report on the president surveillance program in july
2009. it had been releaeased by severl inspector general's of the major defense agencies. already knownen as a systems engineer, and most people don't realize the most important person in an organization or business are the people who run the computer systems because they have enormous access to communications, email communications, and all kinds of other documents. -- and are operating report comes across your desk that is actually the unclassified version of that same report. and you discover that it is completely different from what the unclassified version was. and you say in the book,k, and ththis was about the stellar wid
project. veryay the program's existence was an indication the agency's mission have been transformed from using technology to defend america to using technology to control it by redefining citizens private internet communications, signals intelligence. could you talk about that some more? >> that is correct. for people were interested in getting the bare facts on this, this is, i think, esespecially a good example and a big p part of the book bececause it hahas been published. the classifieied r report, very classified reporort, of the inspector general into what is effectively y the bush era warrantless wiretapping program. internet surveillance program, which was not known to the public at the time, even in the wake of the initial reporting, has been published in "the washington post." wind" search for "stellar
in one where you cananind the report and read d it yourself. this showed incredibly detailed tick-tock history of how it was that at the e direction of the president of the uninited s stas and witith the knowledge andd awareness of only a few key the work ofongress, the united states government and the intelligence agencies was intentionally, knowingly, violating the constitution of the united states on a daily basis. this was a systemic effort that was not a one off. what i saw was this inspector general -- were actually, allllf the inspector general's of the intetelligence, had produced a report on the warrantless wireretapping program t the wae of the scandal when the storory firsrst broke in december 2005 d led to r reforms of law, leled o
panicked congressmen, and of course the president, who were all implicated in this wrongdoing. what they were actually doing was trying to paper over all of the laws they had broken by passing new laws that retroactively made what they did ok. so at the very end of this process, thehey put out an unclassified report. n nowost everyone knonows,, ththanks to things like e the mh report and s so on, the govovert will routinely provide classified documents to the public by rejecting them. it is the same document but it has these blacked out sections where you cannot see this name, this detail, or this program, whatever. what struck me so much about the division between the unclassified report and the classified report was they were entirely different documents. i encourage t the audience to rd these for yourselves. what this meant was the actual truthh o of what t governmenents , t theys so proroblematic
could not declassified, they could not summarize,e, they coud not redact without indicating that basically every level of government had been in on the violation of our constitutional rights. so they created an entirely different document that basically said, oh, don't worry about it, nothing to see here. this is the challenge only talk about proper channels, talk about inspectors general, when we talk about congressional oversight. when processes only work they harm - -- the e harm that r reporting the people who are responsible for it are willing to correct. so if it i is a littlele bad, me it will work. if it involves one person who the rest of the elite section are willing to sacrifice or in fact very much want to get rid of, then, yes, the kind of oversight processes can work. but if what your reporting is that all the different b branchs of government are e working inin
concerert to violalate the righf the american people, what do y u think ey'rere goingo do whenn ththat report comes across s thr desk? they're going to get rid of you. they a are going to bury what yu have reported. and very possibly, they are going to put you in prison. earlier thentioned cloud and that you're helping to get many of the documents -- i think it was the cia -- into a cloud where any cia agent anywhere c could access thosee records. really inuting is not the clouds. it is usually a farm, a data farm, huge data farm somewhere in an obscure part of the country. and you mentioned, i think itt was amazon, got t a huge contrat from the nsa to build one of these cloud farms. and you note that this is not only a question creating a permanent record that these
government spy agencies are doing, but they're also trying to create a permanent record of everything. not just in the u.s. . but aroud the worlrld. talk about thahat. >> right. when people hear t the word "cloud," today, if they are not technicacal, we genenerally havn understanding maybe of what it means bubut as youou say, , it t of atract. cloud sisimply means other people's computers. the amazon cloud contract you're talking about -- i actually described in the book -- i was directly competing at dell against amazon's bid to build a private cloud for the cia and u.s. intelligence community. -- thihis new method of handling data where all ofof our records of ouour lives -- -r pictures, your emails -- are typically no longer actually held by you.
they are held by google. you log into your account, to your gmail or whatever, and google says, oh, here are your emails. then when you log off, they keep them. the benefit is you can login from another device and see the same emailils. but it also meanans they can gie these emaiails to anyoyone theyt . anand they have ended anand cone to give thehese -- and they have and it and c continue to give these to not only our government, but other governments, andnd corporations and advertisers. they will say they don't and legally in some ways they are correct in the strict just sense, but the reality is the memories that we love the most, the connections that make us who we are that compmprise our families, that fororm our communities,s, are controlled i who do noty people even css customers because we are not paying them.
governments, advertisers, other groups -- those are their customers. we are the product. yeah, what we saw in this internets the whole was moving from this 1990's model of the internet where everybody had their own computer, we had our own data, we connected things, and we shshare things one-to-one. we senent a link to this person, pushshed a file to this person, put something on a floppy disk. remember floppy d disks? and we gave it to a friend. instead now, all of our terminals became phones. they became client devices that were dependent on these larger central servers, data centers. and the only people who ran these data centers, who could control and understand these data centers, were almost a sort of new priesthood. these are the only ones who
could speak along which of technology, who could control these systems. they became more complex. ,nd we, , average p people increasingly became dependent on these companies to the point where we did not really have an alalternativive. this shift in e way our systems work is what is creating, i think, fundamentally , the creeping authoritarianism that we see today. people have all of these arguments about the left and right, but what we see, , say, in many parts of government -- not just in the u.s. but around the worldld -- places likik pol, u.k., hungary, we s see a growig authorititarianism where the let and the rigight have sharp disagreemements on a few particular points -- typically about social policy -- but broadly they're actually gravitating on the north-south part of the political access, not left and right, but toward
authoritarianism rather than libertarianism from which this as born.w strict limits on what it can cannot do, ininstead, we have governments where they go, we forxo dodo this justification and so long as the justification isis persuasive enouough, the public will permit it, in many cases, support it, but yet to remember in this country, there've always been limits on what the government can do. even if they want to cut even if there is public support. the reason we have the constitution is not to prorotect the majority, it is to protect the minority from the m majorit. and that is begiginning to chan. and d corporations are veryy muh bebeginning to act as deputies f governmentnt. they hold more influence in society. occupy quasigovernmental roles such as regulating things that
can and cannot be said on the internet. amy: we are spending the hour with national security agency whistleblower edward snowden. his new memoir, permanent record." back with him in a moment. ♪ [music break] amy: t this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman. we continue part two of our conversation with nsa whistleblower edward snowden,
who has just published his memoir. it is called "permanent record." juan gonzalez and i spoke to him from his home in moscow last week where he has lived in exile since 2013. ed snowden talked ababout how he worked at the nsa's office of information sharing. an office of one. him. >> what does the office of information sharing do? well, besides me being way that are e at that than the nsa ever thought i would be, much to their dismay, think about the director of an agency. think about the head of a unit, someone who's supposed to know all of the secrets to everything. they are not technologists and these are very technology goal systems -- technical systems. they don't know how to get the information themselves. that means somebody has all of ththe excesses these directorors have, t these people called
systems ofof ministry are. soso i was sitting for the first time in my career with absolute awareness not of the little picture, but the big picture, how all of the pieces fit together. i created a system called the heartbeat. you can think of it like a news aggregator, the landing page on google news that p pulls from al of these different newspapers and says, here's what is interesting for you based on who you are, whatever. it would go to this office. they should see these kinds of programs. i created a crude proof of concepept system to do this.s. meant iproduct of this was now sitting on top of a mountain of secrets. it turned out a lot of the secrets were criminal. so now had to find a way to collect the evidence of wronongdoing, geget it out o of the mostst highly secured killis
iithe planet, a world war era plane factor that was buried under a pineapple field come and get it to journalists without getting caught. this point, you also discuss that you first considered going to wikileaks but then changed your mind because of some changes in wikileaks' policy that also you felt you could not in good conscience participate i in. if you could talk about that as well? >> so a lot of people miss read this and think it is me denouncing wikileaks. it is not. i think some of the reporting they have done is tremendously important. both the historic record and also for contemporary politics. basically, every story they have
run in the last many years -- of course, whwhen we are talking about ththis in 2013, it is long before the 2016 elelection -- hs beenen c covered by y newspapers around t the wororld. but what h had happened in the wake of the 200009 manning disclosure come e this is where wikileaks published the collateral murder video of used helicopter pilots killing not just a journalalist, butut alsoe first responders that came to their aid. in the classified d histories of the wars in iraq and afghanistan and the state department diplomatic cables that in sosome waysys are argued to have sosorf helped sparkrk or at least catalyze t the arab spring movementnt. what h had happened is inin the early partss of wikileaks reporting, they worked in concert with newspapers, with "the new york times," "the
-- major newspapers. as some point, one of the journalists they worked with wrote a memoir or some kind of book where they published the papassword that julian assange d given them to the entire archive werethat only journalists supposed to have, not the public. the journalists were supposed to go through this process of decidingng which information the public needed to know and what is a legitimate secret. maybe there is no benefit for publishing. publishs journalist this, wikileaks went, well, all of the bad guys in the world, basically, have access to this material because the arcrchive - encrypted archive was available to anyone, you just needed the papassword to unlock it. aand now this bonehead a journalist h had publishshed itd basicalllly unlockedd p pandor's bobox. wikileaks was in a tough place. they basically revised their editorial policy to go, you know what?
we're going to publish everything pristine and unredacted so that everyone is on a common footing, whether you are a good guy or bad guy, at least we have all the access to the same information. it is not my place to agree or disagree. bubut what i d did want toto dos try different model. go, is there a difference? chelsea manning was accused of all the same things i was. said this person is a traitor, this person endanger the troops -- which has never borne out, by the way. we are more than 10 years on from those activitities and the government, even at chelsea manning's trial after they convicted her, the government was invited by the judge to show upopon and ththey could not show anyone was harmed as a result of this disclososure. u upon and they could not showbut could these accusationsf govement be mimitigated by the process of w whistleblowing? could we simimply be more discriminating?
could we be overlyly cauautious? could we accommodate to the maximumum extent what the government ought would be appropriate process while still empowering journalists? this is the model i set out to try and improve. can we have, myself, in whistleblower gather evidence of wrongdoing and trust that to the press under the condition that the journalists agree they will publish no story simply because it is interesting butut only publish storieies they're willig to m make an insnstitutional judgment on the public interest to know? an extraordinary check beyond that, , go to the government in advance of publication, warned the government that we are about to publish this story, give the government and adversarial opportunity to argue against this -- say this will calm harm -- this will cause harm, reject this detail? this is why in 2019i think it is so o obvious that no harm to national security has resulted from this process a and disclose
and yet the s same criticisms ce the same allegegations are madeo me as have been everery other whistleblower. what we need to understand is not my model of publication is right and wikileaks model is wrong, but rather to see you levelso very different of caution come of risk mitigation in these publication models. and despite years and yearsrs of investigation b by the most powerfrful government in hisry, in neither c case has the governmentnt ever establisishedr even offered evidence of harm as aa result of this disclosure.. this is ththe fundamental pointi want to o summarize for pelele. whenever the government faces a whistleblower that is revealing some kind of wrongdoing that makes them uncomfortable, that implicates them in some kind of activity they should not be doing, they're going to try and change the conversation from the of their actctions,
of their p policies in governme, and instead try to have a discussision about the theheorel risks of journalism in a free anand open society. and there are risks to having a free press, but we embrace those risks because those are the things i guarantee we are truly free. juan: your decisions to eventually provide the information to glenn greenwald and laura poitras and how those meetings initially went? >> yeah, soo i have to work with to get thems interested in meeting with someone who they do not even know their name. because if i give the journalists my name and they mishandle it because the government is spying, the government will have me in jail before anybody k knows anything. so i had to go to this elaborate
process s of trying to reach out to journalists, convince them to use encryrypted communications, while protecting myself frfrom massss surveillance, driving aroundnd hawaii with specialized system that is basically a gps magnet that i can attach to the roof of my car, run through the window by wire to a laptop which has normatively powerful antenna connected to it, and then basically create a map using that intent t of everywhere aree different wireleless access pois that are either open and unlocked or vulnerable to being unlocked by me that i can use for this covert communicatitionn a way that won''t lead back to me. anand then i h have to convincem i know something serious that you need to know about, the public needs to know about. but i can't tell you what it is yet until you do this. then get them on the line and begin showing them evidence and then ultimately, get them to
meet. this w was a tremendously stressful period that is covered in some detail in the book. but i think i it is extraraordi. i think ththese journalists shod be applauded for the risks they took. it is very likely that could have been meeting with somebody who said, oh, i've got the biggest secret in the world, aliens have landed and they work in the state department. but they came in they look at the documents andnd they authenticated them and eventually thehey won the pulitr prize for p public service journalilism becauseff that. amy: after you met with them and you shared your stories and they were writing them as you were meeteting together in hong kong, describe what it meant to go underground there and then to ultimately -- how you made your way, and it up at the moscow airport and could not leave once you got there.
>> this is a great question. i had been looking at t this entire repororting systemm as a azy system m of a series ofof challengnges that were b becomig increasingly dififficult. but the finish l line was you delivered the secret to journalists that the government has violated the rights of americans in the constitution of the united states. they can then publish that information and that was the end of the process. because i was always planning on getting arrested. and so then when thehe story cos out and my biggest fear was this was going to be a two day story that everyrybody stopped talking about, the government suppresses it, it becameme the biggest stoy on the p planet thatat year.r. susuddenly, everybody was interested in me. the government may be public
enemy nunumberne. i was the most wanted man in the world. there's a question of come all right, what now? i didn't really have an idea. --i talked with journalists sorry, i talked with l lawyers that were i introduced to me b y journalists. human rights lawyers come and try to plan my next page. i triried to talk to o the unitd nations and ultimately the united nations came back and , -- they would not say this publicly and i would not encourage them to go on the record about this, but they went, look, practically the u.s. has enormous swing in organization. they pay in a norma's amount of our budget. the u.s. gets what the u.s. wants. we probably c can't help you.. we wilill try, but it is likelyo work out to your disadvanantage. so i if t the you andnd bang c't
protect you, who o can? my lawyer had this idea that i would go underground with the refugee families that he had been representing that would then -- they themselves were trying to seek asylum in hong kong. suddenly i'm gone from staying in a five-starar hotel wouldld journalists to stataying in anan peoplent shared by fifive where e the kititchen is s e babathroom and the entire e this smaller than most suburban bathrooms. and i'i'm tryingng to communicie with journrnalists and t these peoplele are so brave i still can't believe -- i am in disbelief that they just welcoming to me. and when my face was on the front page of every newspaper. but they knew what it was like to be hunted by a government for having done the right thing. they were escaping violence and persecution.
and d they were e just trying to make their w way -- this is s te thing that always strikes me. they had nothing. these wewere the most vulnererae people on the planets, but it is the people who have nothing that care about others the most because all they have are connections. and so i have been an aggressive advocate since then for trying to get them resettled. we have resettled two of themem, mother and her daughter, in canada after y years a and yearf effort. importantly,y, the trudeau government is still digging in their heheels and trying too prevent the rest of the families from entering g into asylum. in hong kong, the number of people who have their asylum claims, less than 1%, which is actually some of -- those are some of the worst figures in the world for that. and even if they get their
asylum claimims granted, they ae forced to be resettled in third countries rather than in hong kong is south. amy: nsa whistleblower edward snowden telling his story and his new book "permanent record." we will be back in 30 seconds with ed snowden. ♪ [music break] amy: known as the prince of song, he passed away in south florida saturday at the age of 71. this is democracy now!,
i'm amy goodman. we conclude our interview with nsa whistleblower edward snowden, who has just published his memoir "permanent record." juan gonzalez and i spoke to him last week and asked him to describe how he arrived in moscow, where he nowow les. >> ultimately, it is a question of as the u.s. government continues to apply pressure, where do you go? the chinese government is probably unlikely to intervene. they don't want any part of this. the hong kong government is not exactly a beacon of human rights itself. and their courts are unlikely to adjudicate the procecess fairlyn the face of hihistoricic u.s. pressurere. so y you have toto look at what country will be abable to protet someone who is standing on principle. in this case come at thihis toentnt, ecuador wawas trying take real freedom of speech, freedom of the press perspective . they had famously come of course, welcomed julian assange in theheir embassy.
unfortunately, they have since reversed that decision and delivered him to the british police. i tried to go to ecuador. what this meant, if yoyou look t ththe flight maps, therere's no directct flight frfrom hong koko latin america o or at least ecuador, rather, t that does not cross u.s. airspace.e. which would be a a dangerous thg to do for somemeone in myy positition. so you have to go the long way around, and that means going through non-extradition countries. i had to build an air bridge over the flight path, which goes from hong kong to russia, russia to cuba, cuba to venezuela, then from venezuela to bolivia or bolivia to ecuador. and that is what i did. the airport inft hong kong, w we had gone wheels up, theree are press c conferens bebeing called by the secretaryf state and john kerry.
he canceled my passport, which meant when i landed in russia, i could no longer leave. i could not board my onward flight. i am intercepted by security and led into this business lounge. i knew thihis was comiming becai worked for the cia, worked for the nsa, had training on what it is like when governments interfere with your travel. but i have prepared for ththis. prior to l leaving honong kong - because i knew i woululd have to go to these different countries -- i destroyed my access to the archives. it had been provided to journalists and now i have no way of recovering up. i did not know any passwords. i did not have any data. there was nothing i could do to assist these governments. you don't have to think about this, oh, we love and trust ed snowden. think about it in terms of self-preservation. if you know someththing that isf such extraraordinary value any intelligence service, they might you.der actually torturing
obviously, that would be dangerous for them because i'm the most famous pern in the world and somebody will ask what happened to him, but they could just push me off a building afterwards and go, i guess the cia found him stop the only way to be safe was to not have anything of value. i get intercepted nonetheless, which i anticipated would likely be the case. i walk intnto this room m and te are these e different guys in basically identntical suits. as s soon as this oldlder gentln starts talalking, i know who h s bebecause i worked at the cia ad had seen these g guys over a and overer. he is what we call a case officer. when people think of intelligence, they think of james bond. they think that is what a spy is. the reality is, almost every spy as we would think about them who works for the u.s. intelligence service or any other one, is actually just a normal guy who works out of an embassy underer
the cover of a diplomat. his job is not to spy himself. his s job is to talk other peoee into sne. we call this recruiting assets. the e assets themselveves, those the actual spies. the other guy just meets with them and writes down what they say. guys say, i regret to inform your passport has been canceled. after they asked me preliminary cushions like, where you going? are yoyou staying g in russia? i say i'm m going on and i knoww they know this because i'm flying on russian airlines and they wilill have the passenger manifefest. when he says your passport has been canceled, the firirst thini think itit is, this isis a tric. my government would not be that stupid. you have to understand, from the u.s. perspective, if they think i'm actually a traitor, if they think i'm likely to help a foreign government, russia is the last place on earth they would want me to be, right?
and i don't think the government is that t stupid. so instead, the u.s. goverernmet -- which is getting passenger manifests from around the woword -- knows i a am on route to ecuador. why would theyey just let me continue on? but i go and i checked the internet with the witness, a journalist, who is with me, precisely so i cannot be isolated -- >> sarah was with wikileaks. to julian assange help you in getting that ticket from hong kong to russia -- from hong kong beyond so you could make that journey, that escape? ofn no, there is a lolot coconfusion because people are like, oh, julian assange arranged asylum for r me in rusa and d all these e conspiracy theoriries. it is completely untrue. assange was helpful. wikileaks was helelpful. sarah harrrrison espececially ws helpful. are the things wikileaks as an
organization have nothing g to o with russia. it was never a plan to be in russia. he talks to the ecuadorian an embassy-onsul where he was trapped and got him to sign an emergency document from the kind of safe passage wasas you so prominently in worldld war ii.i. unfortunately, this was an unofficial document because they broke protocol and did not really have any legal meaning. the man who signed this is an extraordinarily brave man. and having that document is in a real way, even though it did not have legal force, is what gave me the confidence, the courage to get on that plane toto begin with, the journey. yes, the whole thing about julian assange masterminded me being in russia - -- which i thk is the queststion a lot of peope have -- is simply untrue. amy:y: but not russia that helpd you to leave hong kong so you
can make it to the destination you're hoping for. at the time, wasn't it also true president morales' plane was brought down in austria because the u.s. government thought you might be on board his flight from bololivia? is precisely correct. the e chronology is a little differert, but it t is correct. so what happens is i leave hong kong. i get trapped in russia. these guys pitch me --- for thoe interested in the book, this is anan entire chapter laid out in detail -- i refused them because i'm not going to cooperate with any intelligence service anymore. there is a tape recorder under the table recording this and they're going to use this to try to compromise me, to manipulate me. i go, look, i don't have anything, i'm not going help you. if you want to search my babag,t is rightht here. of course i'm saying this as politely as possibible because i don't want t any more enemies. theyo, are youou sure?
are you sure therere isn't any little thing you can do because life is going to be very difficult for someone in your position without friends? sarah stopped them and said, no, thanks, we will be fine. i will always admire her couragage. so now because i would not cooperate with the russian intelligence services, i am trapped in an airport i cannot leave. i spend the next 40 days in this airport applying for a to countries around the world. this is where the morales incident comes into play. evo mororales, the president of bolivia, has been asked about my situation. he said mr. snowden is defending human rights. he should be protected. it is not bolivia's problem but if you were in bolivia, maybe. he had been traveling to moscow for an energy conference. as his plane left, there was a
rumor that i was on boarard the plane. and so europope closed itsts airsrspace to his presidential aircraft, which is an extraordinary violation of international law that is unprecedented. can you imagine air force one being grounded with the u.s. president on it? and they would not let it leave. it was forced to make an emergency landining in austria, until u.s. ambassador was able to walk through the plane with the bolivian president to prove was not on board. of c course, this was an extraoaordinary insulult to the whole of latin america. they were furious about thihis. it i is after thihis moment come after the u.s. went too far, were finally russia let me out of the airport. i think it was because it had become such a distracting spectacle that was no effect in russia's international relations. we will probably never know what russia's actual thinking was, lest they start writing a far more forthcoming memoir than we expect.
would you look at that situation, my suspicion is they rerealize given russia's problematic human rirights reco, thisis is a rare opportunity for them to do b basically nothing d yet to end up doing the right thing for the world. amy: your thoughts, edwaward snowden, president trumpmp? >> i've said before, donald trump strikes me something not so much as a man who has never known a love that he hasn't had to pay for. i think that forms all of his decision-making. i think that explains all of the things that we seeee. thisis is someone who sees the world through a prism of a very, which is that what he is, who he is, does not today and never has anand never will havave any value. the only thing that matters is what he has, what he can trade.
and i think that really explains all of the transactional corruption that we have seen throughout this administration is simply someone who thinks that is what life is. amy: and your thoughts on president obama? because e your trials and tribulations -- maybe not trial yet -- actually occurred through the obama years? a - -- it is tremendouslyly unpopular i thin, even tododay, for anybody to saa bad word about obama.. because on balancnce when y youk at a l lot of the things that ce out of the obama white house, this is a man i thick most believtried to doo good. the thing is, some of things he failed to do were the most consequential moments of his presidency. and what we saw is that a young senator who campaigned on a platform of ending mass surveillance, saying there will be no more warrantless wireretapping inin the u.s., ths not what we do, that is n not wo
wewe are -- once he sat in the chair himself, did not extinguish the program, rather he extended anand embraced it. a president who said he was officialsold bush erara account to the law and make sure there was accountability for those who had engaged in war crimes, for those who had tortured and very quickly abandoned that. i'm not going to say why because i don't know. i think that is something he's going to have to answer to history. but i think our country has very -- i think experienced the consequences off those decision. amy: nsa whistleblower edward snowden stop his new memoir "permanent record." watch part one of our discussion with him on our website at democracynow.org. snowden condemns president trump's mistreatment of the anonymous whistleblower who helped spread the democrats impeachment effort.
the department of justice has also sued edward snowden for the royalties of the book. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]