UG:s reportrar Sven Bergman och Fredrik Laurin träffade journalisten Glenn Greenwald i Rio de Janeiro tidigare i höst för att prata om NSA-dokumenten som Edward Snowden läckt. Här är intervjun i sin helhet i både text och bild.
UG: - Thank you for having us, Glenn. Since all this started, how many non NSA days have you had?
Glenn Greenwald: - I haven’t had very many at all, I think you could pretty much count the ones I’ve had on one hand. Just sort of forced weekend vacations and the like. But you know obviously, when you get tens of thousands of NSA documents, and it’s one of the biggest stories of the decade u tend to spend most of your time working on them instead of relaxing and working on other things so that’s pretty much my life for 6 months or so.
UG: - Is it possible to describe the pressure on you from media, authorities back fire…
Glenn Greenwald: - Yeah, the pressure has been… nonstop. I think the greatest pressure is knowing that the documents you are dealing with are extremely serious, that the choices you make journalistically can have an effect on a lot of different people. It’s something that you are very aware of, in terms of mistakes you might make can have much bigger impact than the normal mistakes you might make.
Glenn Greenwald: - On top of that you are constantly making all sorts of powerful factions angry with the reporting that you are doing, which increases the risk level, causes lots of attacks to be launched on you. Obviously in my own country where most of the reporting has been done about an American agency, there’s a great deal of hostility and therefor an attempt to discredit the reporting or discredit me personally.
Glenn Greenwald: - And then on top of that there’s media all around the world to... I’m quite happy to say, are eager to do a lot of this reporting, it does create a lot of pressure as well, having to choose the correct media partners, and have to manage all the journalists who want things. So there’s a lot of pressure there’s a lot of risk, it’s fairly intense and nonstop, but at the same time when you go into journalism this is what you want to be doing, and so I look at it as a sort of the prize you pay as a journalist for doing real journalism.
How did it start? Tell us about the unique source that contacted you earlier this year?
Glenn Greenwald: - It was actually December of 2012, so at the very end of last year. I received anonymous email, from someone who very vaguely said that they had information that they thought that I would like to see. But would only communicate with me if I first installed some fairly sophisticated encryption technology. That I had not yet installed, and wasn’t very familiar with.
Glenn Greenwald: - Then, because the person who emailed me, wasn’t very clear at all about what kinds of things they wanted to talk to me about, let alone, what sort of information that they had, I didn’t take it all that seriously, I didn’t really prioritize it. I kept it sort of, saying: yes this is something I do, but I never really got around to doing it. Over the next month or so, he kept emailing me with increasing levels of pressure and at one point even… kind of taking me step by step of what I needed to do to install the encryption, and another time actually making a video. Showing me very, in very clear and simple ways what I had to do to install the encryption technology.
Glenn Greenwald: - But it’s just something I never found the motivation to do. Because I was working on so many other things and didn’t realize its importance. And so… he got frustrated at some point… and went Laura Poitras with whom I had worked on other issues. And... said to her, who did have encryption, he gave her a little bit more information, asked her to involve me, and that’s how the three of us began to work together on the story.
UG: - And eventually you flew to Hong Kong to meet the source. And on the plane you started to read some documents. What went through your mind reading them?
Glenn Greenwald: - I had actually bef… he kept wanting me to come to Hong Kong, and I told him that before I would come to Hong Kong I needed at least some… sampling of the documents he had to know that he was real, to know that it was worthwhile to come. And he sent me maybe two dozen docs, before I got on the plane.
Glenn Greenwald: - And I read them, and started reading them instantly, and… it was shocking, I almost couldn’t breathe because it was the first time ever the top secret documents had leaked from the NSA, and as you said, I had been writing about surveillance for many years. So to be able to read through actual documents, one which was the prism document, detailing just how extensive the surveillance was, was just shocking, it was ecstatic, it was difficult to believe.
Glenn Greenwald: - And I flew to New York the following day, and as you say, the next day we flew to Hong Kong, before I got on the plane, Laura had told me that she actually had received a huge number of documents from him the day earlier, that she would give to me to read on the plane. And it was really on the plane for the first time I understood the true scope of what he was giving us.
Glenn Greenwald: - Just the sheer magnitude … not only of the documents but also the scope of the surveillance that was revealed. And it was pretty much then when I understood that this was going to be one of the biggest stories journalism, in politics in many yrs. That it was going to implicate countries around the world, not just United states. And.. I think that was when I really started feeling the intensity and the pressure of what it was that we had become involved in.
UG: - So then, in Hong Kong how did you meet Edward Snowden? You didn’t know what he looked like?
Glenn Greenwald: - Right, he actually had created this elaborate plan for us to meet. He was very concerned at that time about being surveilled not only by American agents but also by local agents from either the Hong Kong or Chinese authorities, and so he… picked a part of the hotel that he was staying in that he felt was sufficiently free of lots of human communication and human interaction. So that we could meet there without being watched. But not so deserted that it would trigger suspicions if people were there.
Glenn Greenwald: - And he asked us to go there. He gave us a code that we were supposed to use to as a hotel employee shortly before we entered. To signal to him, who would be lurking, that everything was fine, that we weren’t followed, and he then told us that he would enter the room at two designated times, if we didn’t meet him at the first time, to come, to leave and come back and meet him at the second time. And then he would enter the room holding a rubrics cube. And that would be how we would know that it was him. Because as you say, we didn’t know anything about him.
Glenn Greenwald: - We didn’t know how old he was, how he looked like, and... anything. And right at the exact time the second time Laura and I was in the room, he walked in, he was holding the rubrics cube, and we introduces ourselves and walked back to his room.
UG: - And then intense days followed, what was the situation like?
Glenn Greenwald: - It was... it was extremely intense, for everybody. We all knew that we had involved ourselves in what was certainly the most significant episode of all of our lives. There was constantly very significant uncertainty hovering over the room. Because we didn’t know who knew what about what he had done.
Glenn Greenwald: - We also … Laura and I … had a great deal of questions about who this actually was. And… what had motivated him to do what he did. We needed to make sure that we were confident in his motives, and in the decision that he had made. We needed to be very confident that what he was telling us about him, was actually true. And so it took a long time to build a trust level: between him on the one hand, and Laura and myself on the other.
Glenn Greenwald: - And then, once that trust level was established. Which happened more or less after the first day. I spent, I think, 6 hours in the very first day, bombarding him with one question after the next. Not letting him go to the bathroom, not letting him eat, literally just trying to test him as much as I could the rigor of his honesty. And make sure if there were any contradictions that I would know about them.
Glenn Greenwald: - And once I came, became convinced that he was the one he said he was, that the choices that he made was very well thought through, that he understood what the likely consequences were, we all felt much more confident with each other. And then we set out to work on the documents together to devise a plan for how we were going to begin reporting them.
Glenn Greenwald: - And pretty shortly, after that first day, we developed a very close bond, just as human beings, knowing that we were in this extremely stressful, extreme situation, in a very odd city to be in, which is Hong Kong, it’s sort of china, but not china. And… yeah, it was just surreal. We barely slept at all. And we just tried to work as hard as possible to not only write the stories we wanted to report, but to … convince the guardian to be willing to publish them.
UG: - They did, after some days, you published the first articles in the Guardian, why publish so soon?
Glenn Greenwald: - I think there were a few reasons. Number one is that there were just certain documents that were very clear and straight forward about what they were, such as… the court order requiring that the NSA at that, that Verizon turn over all telephone bills of all Americans to the NSA. I felt like there was no reason to hold that document that the Americans had a right to know what was being done to their privacy as soon as possible.
Glenn Greenwald: - Also… there was this amazing courage that had… characterized Snowdens choice. To come forward with all of this material knowing that he would probably end up in prison for the rest of his life at the age of 29. And I wanted to do justice to that courage by being as courageous and fearless in how I reported the story.
Glenn Greenwald: - And I didn’t want there to be this long elaborate process of lawyers and editors and … meeting with the government, watering it all down, and creating all kinds of fear around it. And caution on whether or not this was something we should do, I wanted the reporting to be done in the same spirit that had animated his choice. Which meant reporting this aggressively and with the understanding that this deserved to be made public.
Glenn Greenwald: - And… so I wasn’t really willing to endure a lot of delay or a lot of institutional uncertainty about what was going to be done here. That was important to me that it would be done boldly and quickly.
UG: - At that point, the US hunt started, how did you maintain operational safety?
Glenn Greenwald: - We used very extreme forms of encryption. The really fortunate aspect was that Snowden was actually trained by the NSA the most advanced forms of information security. He was trained as a hacker to break into other peoples systems on behalf of the NSA. He worked on defense of information, while at the NSA as well. So there was almost nobody better for being able to work with, to advise us on how best secure these materials. And we spent a good deal of time educating our selves and having him teach us about all of the most advanced methods for how to keep this material safe.
UG: - In the hunt for Snowden, the plane, for example, of Bolivia’s president Morales was forced down and searched and your partner was detained under the Terrorist Act in Heathrow I think … interrogated for 9 hours, the memory sticks were ceased, are you afraid what might happen to you and people around you?
Glenn Greenwald: - I’m aware of the risks. You know if you are in possession of tens of thousands of extremely sensitive documents that numerous intelligence agencies around the world would like to have for themselves, or would like you not to have, there are obviously risks involving that. There is risk involved in any journalism you do that makes powerful factions angry.
Glenn Greenwald: - The US government and the UK government have demonstrated how extreme they are willing to be, to put a stop to this journalism 09 as you just referenced, and there are other examples of that as well. The UK government is overtly threatening criminal investigations now, there is a criminal investigation, there is lots of people who think they will bring criminal charges against … me or Laura, or my partner or Guardian, or all … of those parties.
Glenn Greenwald: - There’s real questions about whether I can safely return to the United States, so... I’m aware of all of these risks. And at the same time, you know, journalism, it can be a dangerous profession. And there are journalists working all around the world under similar threats, if not worse threats. Who may not get as much attention but whose journalism is really important. There are journalists who die in war, who get killed because they do reporting against people who don’t reporting being done.
Glenn Greenwald: - And so you just at some point have to accept what the risks are, take whatever reasonable precautions you can against them. And then resolve not to become paranoid or to focus on them and go about doing your work, and I feel like that’s what I’ve been able to do.
UG: - Do you want another water?
Glenn Greenwald: - No, I am good, thank you.
UG: - You are based here I Rio, what about security here. Are you protected here?
Glenn Greenwald: - Yeah, I don’t want to talk about the details, but the Brazilian government has actually been extremely supportive. Of the journalism I’ve been doing, and part because, some of the journalism has exposed pretty invasive and, and surprising surveillance of the Brazilian population and their democratically elected officials, and their commercial interests, including their oil company.
Glenn Greenwald: - And part of it is because … I’ve been in Brazil for a long time I’m married to a Brazilian citizen. And so there’s been a lot of public support for the work that I’ve done as well. And the Brazilian senate voted formally to offer me security protection... and so … I do feel very safe here.
UG: - Can u explain what these documents are and show?
Glenn Greenwald: - Most of the documents come from the files of the national security agency which is an extremely secretive agency that is within the pentagon the US military. That originally was designed to collect foreign intelligence, but has increasingly become a domestic agency as well. And not only collecting intelligence against foreign governments and militaries, but against populations around the world, including the American population.
Glenn Greenwald: - Some of it comes from its closest ...the NSA:s closest allies, and particularly the GCHQ, which is the British version of the NSA. And… essentially what these documents show, if you put them together and understand what they convey, is that the US government has created a system, in virtually complete secrecy, that has as its objective, the illumination of privacy around the world. Which is not an exaggeration it’s not being dramatic, that is truly its institutional objective.
Glenn Greenwald: - Their goal, that they wake up every day to fulfill, is to ensure that all forms of human electronic communication, things that take place over the telephone, or over the internet, is collected by the NSA, and then stored, monitored and analyzed, so that there is no human communication that takes place, beyond the surveillance reach of the NSA. Ultimately that is the real revelation, of all of these documents.
Would you say these files show surveillance state out of control?
Glenn Greenwald: - They show a surveillance state out of control, by definition. They not only are geared toward collecting everybody's communication, without regard to whether there is a reason to be suspicious of u or whether you’ve done anything wrong. Simply by the fact that u are a human being, they want to have in their possession the information about your communications.
Glenn Greenwald: - But they do that with very little oversight. Very little accountability, in almost no transparency. And so even when the story of the spying of Angela Merkel’s cellphone was disclosed, the Obama White House said: “we, the president, had no idea that this was taken place”. It’s an agency that does what it wants, with almost no real limits, and very few people know what they are doing, let alone are controlling it. And that to me is definition of an out of control surveillance state.
UG: - And these revelation has, have shaken the establishment in country after country I think. But a quite common view on the other hand on the streets of Stockholm for example is well “I have nothing to hide, I’m not a criminal, so I think it is ok for the authorities to monitor us”. How do you respond to that?
Glenn Greenwald: - First of all, people who say that they have … aren’t doing anything wrong and therefor have nothing to hide, almost never believe what it is that they are saying. And the way that I know that is true, is that these are the same people who put passwords on their email accounts to prevent other people from reading what they are writing. Or under social network accounts to prevent people from seeing their photographs or with whom they are chatting.
Glenn Greenwald: - They put locks on their bedroom and their bathroom doors inside of their homes, so that they have a private space in the world where they can go and not have other people watching. Whenever anybody says that to me, well I have nothing to, I’m not doing anything wrong there for I have nothing to hide, I have asked everybody who tells me that: please email to me all of the passwords to your email account and your social media accounts so that I can simply trawl through whatever it is that you are saying and reading, and.. know what it is you are doing. And I have yet have one person take me up on that offer. Because as human beings we instinctively value the … the ability to have, do things in private. We are social creatures, we are social animals, we need to have a public life, that other people know what we are doing. But we also, just as essential we are, crave a private space. Because its only in that private realm that we can explore what it is that we are doing,... test different limits on what we are willing to be, and that’s were creativity reside, is in this private realm.
Glenn Greenwald: - This society which everybody knows who are always being watched, is one that breeds all sorts of conformity you really lose a huge part of what it means to be human of human freedom, when you no longer have a place in the world that you can go and think and read and speak and do things, without anybody else watching.
Glenn Greenwald: - Aside from the political cost of having the state be able to know everything that the population is doing, which makes it very difficult to challenge the state in any meaningful way. He who has all the knowledge is he who has all the power. And it also really threatens and subverts the ability of populations to hold their government accountable. There’s all kinds of reasons why a ubiquitous surveillance state is incredibly damaging to values that human beings hold dear.
UG: - I would like to ask you a few questions about Edward Snowden. How credible is Snowden?
I find him incredibly … reliable as a source. I don’t know a single time that he’s ever told me anything that wasn’t completely true. I think that he has been very true to his word about what his intentions are, I remember when I was in Hong Kong and we were talking about his desire to identify himself as a source, which is an incredibly brave thing to do, he said: “I feel obligated to explain to the world why I am doing this and not to hide”.
But he said: “After I do that I want to basically disappear, I don’t want media attention, I don’t want the focus to be on me, I want it to be on the disclosures”. He was very true to his word. Showing that his goal wasn’t notoriety or fame or attention, but was a real sense on his conscience of what was taking place was wrong. And that he had an obligation as a human being to, reveal it. And so I think almost everything of what he said has proven to be incredibly reliable.
UG: - You are in regular contact with him. How is he doing?
Glenn Greenwald: - He’s doing really well. You know when we were in Hong Kong, the assumption of all of us, was that he was going to end up in US custody, sooner rather than later, and the next time we would see him, he was probably going to be on television when he was inside of a court room, chained to his chair in an orange jump suit that prisoners wear in United States.
Glenn Greenwald: - And so the fact that he’s able to be free, that is especially important to him, able to participate in the debate that he has helped to provoke, and able to monitor it and watch it, … you know is extremely gratifying. And so I think given the alternative, which is being put in a cage by the US by the next 40 years, he is quite happy with his current situation.
UG: - But at the same time, he was well paid and now he’s on the run, he will maybe never be able to return. How would you describe his sacrifices?
Glenn Greenwald: - It’s an enormous sacrifice. He unravelled his entire life. He had a long term girlfriend, who he loved who he now can’t see. As you say he had a carrier that instantly disappeared. He became the most wanted man on earth by the US government. The most powerful government on the planet. He has been called a traitor, and accused of all sorts of horrible things by people around the world.
Glenn Greenwald: - But he knew all of that was going to happen. And he did it anyway. Because he knew that he could only be at peace with himself if he took this step, and he is at peace with himself. And while there are some people who call him a traitor, he is considered to be hero all by millions, of millions of people.
Glenn Greenwald: - I am certain that he has inspired huge numbers of people including young people to think about and to take similar risks, in pursuit of their vision of justice. … so there’s a lot more important things than the ability to return to the US or to have a lucrative carrier.
Glenn Greenwald: - There’s the question of how you view yourself according to your own, the dictate of your conscience. And I think he probably sleeps better at night than almost anybody I know. As a result of that metric.
UG : - The criticism, against Snowden and yourself, has been massive, you have been accused of making it easier for terrorists to avoid authorities legitimate efforts to hunt them down. What is your comment to that?
Glenn Greenwald: - It makes no sense that criticism. Because terrorists have known for many, many, many years, that the us, the UK government, do anything they possibly can do to monitor their telephone calls and emails. Which is why Osama bin Laden used human couriers for his most sensitive information. The idea that the US and the UK are monitoring the internet and monitoring telephone calls for terrorist communication has been known forever. We didn’t reveal anything that people didn’t already know, that terrorists didn’t already know in that regard.
Glenn Greenwald: - What we revealed to the world that they didn’t already know, is that the vast bulk of the surveillance system is devoted not toward terrorism but toward ordinary innocent people. And is being done for economic espionage. And is being done for questions of political power. And not national security.
Glenn Greenwald: - The people who have learned things from our reporting are not the terrorists. They are ordinary people and democracies all over the world, and that’s why this story has resonated the way that it has. And when government leaders say that national security has been damaged, what they actually mean is that what has been damaged are their own reputation and their own credibility as leaders, because they’ve been exposed as having mislead and deceived the rest of the world about what it is that they are doing. And that’s really the nature of the anger.
UG: - Many argue that these documents are classified for a good reason, and to publish them is damaging national security ultimately putting lives at risk.
Glenn Greenwald: - There are.. I will defy anyone person who wants to make that claim. To a point to a single document that we published or a single part of any document that we publish, that in any way jeopardizes lives. This is just a cliché that governments and their apologists start yelling, when you report things that they don’t want reported. The reality is that we have been scrupulously careful with these documents. We have had for 6 months now in our possession tens of thousands of documents and I think we have published so far a grand total of 250 or something like that. A tiny percentage. In fact we’ve been criticized fairly vocally by other people for not publishing enough of the documents. For publishing too little. And that’s probably a much more accurate criticism, than the one that says that we’ve published too much.
Glenn Greenwald: - The governments around the world will misuse their secrecy power to conceal information not because publishing it will harm national security, but because publishing it would be embarrassing to them. And that’s the job of journalist. Is to shine a light of what the most powerful fractions and politics are doing. That the public has a right to know. And we’ve been very careful about not publishing material that could actually endanger any innocent lives… but at the same time, we’ve been aggressive and will continue to be aggressive and making sure that people around the world will know what their democratically elected governments are doing in the dark.
UG: - The same critics have accused you of being more of a campaigner and activist than a journalist.
Glenn Greenwald: - Right.
UG: - Comment?
Glenn Greenwald: - I think the … this is another cliché, that you are either a journalist or an activist. For me, all journalism is a form of activism. Because every journalist makes all sorts of assumptions, when they publish an article, or a broadcast a news story. About what topics are important, about who of that is respectable enough to be heard, about what kinds of opinions ought to be included in the story and which ones ought to be excluded. All forms of journalism serve one faction or another, they promote some interest they undermine other interest. To me the question is not: “do journalists have opinions or don’t they?” Because all journalists have opinions. The question to me is: “are u honest about telling your readers what your opinions are? Or do you dishonestly conceal those opinions and pretend that u have non?”.
Glenn Greenwald: - I think it’s much more honest to tell readers and people listening to your journalism. Here are the views that I have so they can take them into account. But ultimately the only real question about journalism is: are the facts that u reporting true and accurate and reliable? And we have published 6 months of stories in multiple media and numerous countries around the world, and not a single one of those has been retracted or corrected, because we’ve been so scrupulous about making sure that the stories are accurate. And that to me is the ultimate answer to those requests in weather what we are doing is journalism.
UG: - What do you think this story and the reaction from some governments has told us about freedom of the press?
Glenn Greenwald: - I think first of all its critical to understand why freedom of the press is an important value for western democracies. And why every… real western democracy will see the need to protect it. It’s because the theory of human nature on which western democracy is based is that people can’t be trusted to exercise … [sneeze]
UG: - We can take a break.
Glenn Greenwald: - It’s fine I just need to sneeze for a second.
UG: - What about the time Fredrik?
UG: - That’s fine.
UG: - What do you think this story and the reaction from some governments has told us about freedom of the press?
Glenn Greenwald: - I think the answer to that is critical to understand the purpose of the freedom of the press, and why most real western democracies view that as a critically important value to protect. And I think that it begins with the fact that the theory of western democracies since the enlightenment is an understanding that human beings can’t be trusted to exercise great power without other institutions existing to provide a check on how that powers are exercised to push back on it, to make sure it’s not exercised in secret. And the leading institution or certainly a leading institution that’s designed to do that, to put a check on power is journalism. It’s designed to be an adversarial force against the world’s most powerful factions. And so when you do real journalism, meaning journalism that actually pushes back against those in power. By definition people in power will dislike it. And there’s a range of reactions that they will typically respond with, which we’ve seen in this story. The full range. So part of it might just be to criticize the reporting to object to it, to contest it. All of which is totally legitimate. And then at the other end is the effort to actually use the force of law to crush it and to smash it and to render it criminal, and outlaw it. And I think we’ve seen in lots of countries... the sort of better reaction, which is just object and condemn it, but in countries like UK in particular, and to a lesser extent but still pretty substantially in united states, there’s an effort to actually attack it. And to make it criminal. And to try and suppress it. And I think interestingly enough what that really illustrates which is that the two countries that are often the loudest about condemning others for attacking press freedoms, the united states and the UK, are probably the two western countries that have the greatest contempt for press freedom, and I think from this story has illustrated that pretty potently.
What do you think about what happened on the Guardian?
Glenn Greenwald: - Well I think it’s really extraordinary. That the Guardian, one of the oldest and largest and most respected newspapers in the world, had agents of the British government literally invade their news room. Physically, and force them through all sorts of threats and intimidation, to destroy the laptops on which the journalistic material that they were reporting on was actually kept. I mean this is the kind of thing that u would expect to hear in Iran or China or Russia. And so here UK government … literally overseeing the physical destruction of the Guardians computers to make sure that they can no longer report on this material. Combined with things like detaining my partner under terrorism law, and overtly accusing our journalism of being tantamount to terrorism and subsequent court filings, threatening criminal investigations against editors and reporters... I think the combinations of all of this is designed to create a very intimidating and repressive environment. For press freedom in a way I think shocked a lot of people around the world, because, as I said, we in the west are trained to think that this is a sort of thing that happens in China or Iran. And yet it’s happening in the UK.
The Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt has repeatedly said that all countries are conducting signal intelligence and “that’s a normal and natural thing” he says, what is your view of his position?
Glenn Greenwald: - Well first of all, not all countries do. But certainly most western countries, most advanced countries that have the capabilities technologically to do it, do it. The question is not: “do you do it, or not do it?” The question is, number one: “what is the extent to what you do it?” And the number two is: “what are the purposes toward which is done?“
Glenn Greenwald: - So … when you talk about the extent of it, there are some countries that target specific people that they know are likely to be involved in violent or other threatening activity. And they monitor those specific individuals whom the court have said there’s evidence to believe are engaged in serious wrong doing. Or they monitor the activities of the military of adversary countries, in order to know what those military’s are doing. it’s very targeted and focused surveillance.
Glenn Greenwald: - Then there are countries that just do bulk indiscriminate collections of the communications of tens of millions of people obviously the vast majority of whom are innocent completely and about whom there is no suspicion. And it is absolutely false to say that every country in the world engages in that type of indiscriminate mass bulk surveillance. The United States does, the UK does, Sweden does… but the vast majority of countries do not.
Glenn Greenwald: - And then theres the question of what is the purpose to which the surveillance is done. And … again I think everybody agrees that if it’s genuinely about national security, targeting someone trying to harm the people of your country, or your country, then it becomes legitimate.
Glenn Greenwald: - If it’s about mass bulk spying on innocent people, or spying on energy sectors of other countries for economic advantage for your country or for your country’s industry. Then if you just look at the pronouncements of the West, in criticizing China for economic espionage, or of Russia, for mass indiscriminate spying, you use those standards, and apply those standards, to these countries, I think you start to get into a much different kind of surveillance which again is absolutely not done by everybody in the world or even the majority.
UG: - Let me put a couple of final questions before we…
Fredrik: - Lampan, slocknat.
UG: - Did it go out?
UG: - Aha.
UG: - A couple of final questions before doing that last piece then.
Fredrik: - I’m impressed that you could repeat yourself.
UG: - Thank you very much Glenn.
Glenn Greenwald: - I have spoken about much of this, but I know it’s always a new audience so…it’s
Fredrik: - But it’s super important that you are so eloquent as you are, my mother who is the viewer…
Glenn Greewald: - Yeah, yeah, yeah, you look at it, I mean like, you ask me about I mean, I’ve been writing about these issues for a long time so when you have a platform to reach new people you want to take advantage of it and not get synical and think “I’ve said this a thousand times”. You feel you have a responsibility to explain to people why they should care so.
Fredrik: - Glenn do believe me in Norway this is not a big thing but in Sweden we almost had the government toppled because…
Glenn Greenwald: - I remember that there was a whole party that was devoted to that.
Glenn Greenwald: - What was the name of that party?
Fredrik: - The Pirate Party.
Glenn Greenwald: - Right, exactly, exactly. I remember that, I remember that. I read about that at the time.
Fredrik: - I mean it was a real upheaval.
Glenn Greenwald: - I know.
Fredrik: - The parliament was split, they didn’t manage to get the bill through. But in the end they did by coercion.
Glenn Greenwald: - I remember that.
Fredrik: - I could argue that it is a more important question than in some other countries.
UG: - Du säger till Magnus?
Magnus: - Good to go!
UG: - Mr Greenwald, through the NSA-files leaked by Mr Snowden, you have an unique insight in the world wide government surveillance. In your opinion, what has to be done in Sweden and elsewhere?
Glenn Greenwald: - I think it’s up to the people of each individual country to ask themselves whether or not they want to live in a society in which their government collects massive amounts of information about them and about other innocent people around the world, in which the internet is no longer this force for democratization and liberalization but instead becomes the most oppressive tool of human control ever known. Because the more we do on the internet the more subject to monitoring in control we become, and… and I think that’s the first thing that has to happen, that people are to ask themselves democratically how much they are comfortable living in a society like that. But I think, the other aspect to it, is that much of this surveillance is coming from the United States that is able to exploit its control over the vast majority of the internet system, because it was built in the United States.
Glenn Greenwald: - And there are international ways to remove that level of control from the us government by internationalizing the internet, by building internet… structures that don’t depend upon American infrastructure and American soil. I also think that the private competitive drive will solve a lot of these problems, there are already German email servers advertising that people shouldn’t use Facebook, and hand over their information to the NSA, but should instead put it on German servers where there are information pretty much more protected.
Glenn Greenwald: - So I think you are going to start to see privacy become an important market force. Where people are actually seeking out the companies that will protect their privacy instead of turning it over to the US government but ultimately this will come from populations putting pressure on their government to find ways to prevent these kind of invasive surveillance, from being perpetrated from the United States.
Although this unique insight through the NSA-files How much do we not know about government surveillance?
Glenn Greenwald: - I can’t of course know what it is I don’t know by definition, but while we have a lot of documents we probably have a fraction of what it is that the NSA and its allies are actually doing. So undoubtedly there are a huge...ly consequential programs that the documents that were provided by Mr. Snowden don’t actually reveal. And that’s one of the real questions. Is the kind of transparency that we’ve been able to bring to the NSA for the first time, shouldn’t depend on the willingness of a 29 year old, inside the system to risk his life and to risk imprisonment for the rest of his life to come forward and hand over a bunch of docs to journalist, it should be part of the system itself.
Glenn Greenwald: - That says that democracies is threatened when people in the world don’t know what their governments are doing. And so there are undoubtedly a lot of things that we should know about that even once the Snowden documents are fully reported we still won’t know about and that is a real problem.
Your investigation of governments may have condemned you to life time of it?
Glenn Greenwald: - Yeah that is a paradox. And.. you know, it’s something that I wish wasn’t true, but accept, probably is … when I compare that prize that I’ve had to pay, to the prize that Snowden was willing to pay, or that others whistleblowers has had to pay, you know, I’m perfectly willing to live with that.
Glenn Greenwald: - I’ve also become very familiar with a lot of encryption technologies, that... number one I’ve learned how to use, and no two I know from reading the NSAs own documents they are not able to crack, that can at least give some additional privacy to the communications that you have. But… yeah of course it’s probably true that I have made myself a permanent target for the rest of my life by the United States government, by the UK government, as a result of the reporting that I’ve been doing and there is an irony to it as you say because I value privacy a great deal and yet have I had to sacrifice a huge amount to do this reporting.
UG: - Thank you.
Glenn Greenwald: - Ok, very good, thank you.