Snowden: A Manifesto for the Truth

This article by Edward Snowden was published today in Der Spiegel. Since I could not find a translation online, I decided to publish one (suggestions for improvements are welcome). I previously published the full text in German.

In a very short time, the world has learned much about unaccountable secret agencies and about sometimes illegal surveillance programs. Sometimes the agencies even deliberately try to hide their surveillance from high officials and the public. While the NSA and GCHQ seem to be the worst offenders - this is what the currently available documents suggest - we must not forget that mass surveillance is a global problem in need of global solutions.

Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights.

Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, unbiased and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to supress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly.

Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation.

Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.

This text was written by Edward Snowden on November 1, 2013 in Moscow. It was sent to SPIEGEL staff over an encrypted channel.

21 responses
THANK YOU for posting this translation in English. As you said, it's nearly impossible to find one online! I am sharing your post...
Absolutely the first translation in English on the internet of Ed Snowden's "A Manifesto for the Truth." Not one news source on the internet, or print media for that matter, has had the backbone to print the Manifesto. Which is just the latest example of the extent to which people are beginning to self-censor. Of course they all deny it, but with a Manifesto that is only five paragraphs long, why not publish it so the world can read it, rather than giving all that deep background about it?? The answer is 'fear.' The cringing bastards are already starting to parse every report and second-guess every word for fear of retaliation from the total surveillance state. Der Spiegel is to be commended for publishing the Manifesto in German, and you are to be commended for making it available in English.
If I understand the German correctly, there are two corrections to make: P1S2: 'of' should be 'from'--the agencies are hiding the surveillance FROM high officials and the public. P3S1: 'respectful' is not in the German. It says 'ohne Ruecksichten gefuehrt'. Not sure about the correct translation. An unrestricted debate, 'without special considerations'?
Infowars.com link about a neocon that hates you, sent me here. And the story has the neocons picture. Your a hero snoden and might have a statue to remember you by someday like mount Rushmore. The Russians I talked to that live in new jersey said their is no freedom of speach in Russia. Is that true?
Hi guys and thanks for leaving such nice comments! Scytale - I am unsure about the parts of the translation you mention. I think the first one is not even good German in the "original" (I suppose that Der Spiegel translated a text by Snowden written in English). I hope that a native speaker can comment on the phrase "ohne Rücksicht". Perhaps "unbiased" is a closer translation? Even better, perhaps Mr. Snowden is reading this and is willing to send me the original text? church gypsy - You probably know that this is not Snowden's website, but let's hope he checks it out so he can read your comment!
"We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights." You said it, Snowden. Your revelation tells the world how hypocritical US can be, friendly on the front, obnoxious at the back. But might is always right, the superpower will never think it is wrong. (vzc1943)
Thanks again, Scytale, for your comments on the translation! I have now fixed both problems you pointed out. I got approval from a proficient speaker of German to translate "ohne Rücksichten" as "unbiased".
The editors of Der Spiegel surely knew that this manifesto would be of general international interest, and certainly to those in the US and UK. Assuming that they received the text in English (seems a safe assumption) why would they not make that text available, along with their translation of it into German? I'm not suggesting any sort of conspiracy, but I am genuinely puzzled.
You won’t believe what Obama has state police doing. Read "A Note on Uberveillance" by M. D. Michael. Newport News Police and Virginia State Police implanted me w/o my knowledge and consent with a biochip. It enables torture. They use it as a sensor and pulse energy projectiles at you. It enables voice to skull communication. See LRAD white papers or audio spotlight by Holosonics. See Safeguards in a World of Ambient Intelligence by Springer page 9. See Mental Health and Terrorism by Amin Gadit. See Bio Initiative Report 2012. See Forbes and search Brandon Raub. Law enforcement tases citizens into "excited delirium" (nij) to make them act in ways they normally would not. I believe they are directly responsible for the Virginia Tech massacre. All the mass shootings are the work of law enforcement. They want to take away your right to bear arms. People aren’t suddenly going crazy, they're being tortured. I also believe the biochip to be responsible for PTSD. Read Brian Castner's book "A Long Walk". I have the same ambiguous pains, twitches, heart attack, night mares, day mares, gurgling, etc. I never served in the war. What do we have in common? The biochip. Suicide is one way to get relief. Virginia’s suicide rate is higher than the national average and the military suicide rate is unacceptable!
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