A message to France from Edward Snowden

The gift of France, and focal point of the irony framed by Snowden

Guillaume CHAMPEAU
In Numerama, February 9, 2016

Translated from French by Tom Winter, February 12, 2016

Bronner: “The Assembly votes the insertion about the State of Emergency in the Constitution: 103 Deputies for, 26 against. And 441 deputies absent.”

Snowden: “Abandoning a free society for fear of terrorism is the only way to get beat by it.”

Edward Snowden took to his keyboard in French to address French internet users, warning against being tempted to give up liberties in order to fight against the terrorism that has attacked them.

“Giving up a free society for fear of terrorism is the only way to get beat by it.” 

Currently a refugee in Russia where he found asylum after his revelations about mass surveillance programs of the NSA and the Western Allies, Edward Snowden has entered the French public debate.

While the National Assembly passed Monday night Article 1 of the draft constitutional law which inscribed the state of emergency and the special powers that the Constitution would allow, Edward Snowden responded to warn the French against being tempted by security in the fight against terrorism. 

He posted in support of his comments a copy of a tweet which noted that 441 MPs, out of the 577 elected to the Assembly, had been conspicuously absent for the vote on this fundamental issue for Liberties in France.

Article 1 of the bill called “Protection of the Nation” grants the government power to declare a state of emergency “when there is imminent peril resulting from serious breaches of public order, or in case of events presenting, by their nature and gravity, the character of public calamity.” 

- Advertisement -

It grants Parliament the power to set by law whatever administrative police measures it deems necessary to confront this state of emergency, the Constitutional Council then being virtually devoid of any power of censorship.

“France, who gave us the Statue of Liberty, has voted to abandon her own” 

The text of the measure provides that the state of emergency can be declared for 12 days and then authorized by Parliament for maximum of 4 months, renewable. 

Silent for years after his revelations, Edward Snowden got on Twitter last September, where he regularly comments on current international events related to public freedoms. However this is the first time he has published in a language other than his native English. 

Before publishing his warning in French, he had published an earlier message of concern about the decline of freedoms in France: “France, who gave us the Statue of Liberty, has voted to give up her own,” he tweeted, referring to a communique from Human Rights Watch, one of the most influential organizations in the world for the protection of fundamental rights.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.