He may be a wanted fugitive, but Edward Snowden is still a worthy hire in the eyes of many around the world.
The former National Security Agency contractor was elected Tuesday to the role of student rector at Glasgow University in Scotland, where he would represent more than 20,000 students for the next three years.
Students backing the “Snowden for rector” cause believed electing him to the position would send a loud, international message about government surveillance.
“Having Edward Snowden as rector would give us a megaphone with which we can project our views to a global audience particularly on the issue of state surveillance and the very valid and welcome role of whistle-blowers in a democracy,” student and spokesman Chris Cassells told Scotland’s The Herald over the weekend.
The rector position has previously been held by several notable people, including Nelson Mandela’s wife, Winnie, and Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician, as well as Adam Smith and Edmund Burke, 18th-century thinkers who remain mainstays in economic and philosophic discourse.
The selection isn’t the first gig Snowden has earned since leaking some 1.7 million top-secret government documents to a handful of journalists last year. Last month, the Freedom of the Press Foundation announced Snowden’s appointment to its board of directors, a cohort that already included Snowden allies Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, as well as the actor John Cusack. Snowden’s lawyer also told reporters last year that Snowden had taken a digital maintenance job with a Russian website.
Snowden is currently somewhere in Russia, where he has been living since the country granted him asylum last year.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.