Thursday, February 25, 2021

Home City Life Park City Life Live From Russia With Edward Snowden
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Live From Russia With Edward Snowden

“It’s good to be back in the United States.” Edward Snowden said with a laugh, “And I didn’t even need a pardon.” So began opening night at Park City’s Eccles Center—an evening that Park City Institute’s Terri Orr acknowledged was an unusual booking for the music and dance venue.

Snowden wasn’t really in the United States, of course. His face was on the screen of a bizarre Robot looking thing on wheels, streaming live from Russia, where he has been hiding from the United States government with Vladimir Putin’s blessing since he released documents above top secret to journalists in 2013.

The event was moderated by KUER’s Doug Fabrizio, who the program says was “vetted and approved” by Edward Snowden in advance.


Snowden seemed nothing if not well-rehearsed through the 90-minute Q&A session. But, to this observer, his insistence that he did what he did for the love of liberty rang a little hollow, given the location of his current residence.

He walked the audience through his version of the events that led to his fleeing the country, “I was exposed to things that I recognized were immoral and wrong,” Snowden told the not-quite-sold-out-crowd, “But like others in the intelligence community, I justified it… These are good people doing bad things.” And so, eventually, he says, he reached a point that he could no longer justify the government’s actions—and that’s when he contacted journalist Glen Greenwald and others with what he knew.

“I never published a single document. I worked in concert with journalists who then make a public interest decision,” Snowden explained, saying he instructed the journalists he worked with to tell the government what they planned to print before they printed it, to give the government a chance to respond or make an appeal based on public safety.

At times during this part of the conversation, Snowden seemed to railroad Fabrizio—interrupting him and determining the direction of the conversation. He bristled at Fabrizio’s mention of former C.I.A. Director James Wooley’s claim that Snowden has blood on his hands for the Paris attacks last month. Snowden defended himself against the claims by noting that the PRISM documents he released mentioned text messages and Skype, both of which were used by the Paris attackers. “This is a indication,” Snowden said, “That terrorists were not reading these documents.”

Snowden then upped the ante. “I haven’t talked about this publicly because I don’t think it’s right to play politics with people’s lives,” he said. But, he claims that the programs he uncovered have not stopped a single terrorist attack. “Paris. San Bernadino. This is the strongest evidence yet that mass surveillance does not save lives.”

Snowden claims he has offered to go to trial for his crimes. “Political exile as a political strategy has worked for thousands of years,” he said. Later noting that he and his lawyers are waiting for the government to call him back. He cited the inequality in the American justice system, noting Hillary Clinton’s Justice Department emails as a good example of what he suggested is a double standard.

And though his self declared love of freedom and liberty is what created his self- imposed exile to Russia, a place that has very little freedom and liberty, Snowden remains steadfast in his justifications for leaking the documents. When asked by Fabrizio if he was going to vote by mail in the 2016 election, Snowden smirked and said, “I might go to the embassy.”

Snowden took no questions from the audience before he wheeled off the stage in his robot-machine.

A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬

Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @hearth_and_hill for Opening Doors⁠

As the pandemic ravages independent restaurants, Hearth and Hill has reaffirmed its commitment to small businesses in Park City and used its large dining room as an informal gathering space for the city. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @oquirrhslc for Betting the Bottom Dollar⁠

When COVID-19 hit Salt Lake City, Oquirrh co-owners Andrew and Angelena Fullers' dream was seriously damaged. But the Fullers keep trying to follow the rules. 💙⁠

A wind storm #tbt for your feed today. 🌬️🛹⁠

2020 was a long, long, loooong year, so we asked local photographers to share what the new normal looked like through their eyes. The link is in our bio!

Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

Read the full story through the link in bio.⁠

📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism

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