By The Progressive on December 26, 2013

In a surprise Christmas message aired Wednesday night on Britain's Channel 4, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reminded citizens of countries around the world that if there's something the government wants to know about them, it's always easier to ask than spy.

"Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do," he said. "Great Britain's George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book -- microphones and cameras and TV's that watch us -- are nothing compared to what we have available today."

He went on to say that the true price of carrying sensors in our pockets everywhere we go is that future generations will have "no conception" of privacy, and not a single moment of their lives will go unrecorded. "And that's a problem, because privacy matters," Snowden said.

"Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying," he concluded. "For everyone out there listening, thank you and Merry Christmas."

Snowden's Christmas message comes on the heels of a lengthy interview with The Washington Post, in which the whistleblower announced that his mission "is already accomplished."

"I already won," he said. "As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."

Watch his Christmas message below:

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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