The Snowden Debate

Chris Hedges was on fine form last month, when he opened a formal debate at the Oxford Union. The proposition was: This house would call Edward Snowden a Hero. Speaking for the yays were Hedges, Annie Machon, a former intelligence agent with MI5 and MI6, William Binney, a former American intelligence agent, and Chris Huhne, former Secretary of State for Energy. Speaking for the nays were Charles Vaughan, a member of the Standing Committee from St John’s College, Jeffrey Toobin, a legal analyst for CNN and the New Yorker, Stewart Baker, former General Counsel for the NSA, and Philip J. Crowley, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (you can find all these speeches on the Oxford Union YouTube channel). The yays won the vote by quite a narrow margin, 212 to 175.

Amongst other things, in his speech, Hedges talks about how speaking truth to power can put one’s life in danger, and he also touches upon the NDAA lawsuit (Hedges vs Obama) in which he is the lead plantiff (you can find one of my posts about it here). As an aside, one of the other plantiffs in the case is Tangerine Bolen, a civil rights activist and founder of ‘Revolution Truth’, a small, international organization dedicated to defending whistleblowers, rule of law and legitimate democracies. Tangerine has been struck down by a ‘mystery illness’ which has left her in a very grave condition. You can find out more about it here.

Anyhows, here’s Chris Hedges; and whatever side of the debate you’re on, all of the participants gave feisty speeches and are well worth listening to. Stewart Baker, who used to work for the NSA, and was arguing for the nays, is of particular note. His speech is included below.

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