Edward Snowden Issues Bizarre Statement Via Wikileaks

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I’ve been following the endless Edward Snowden soap opera just about non-stop for the past few days. I wish I were capable of writing a reasoned, logically argued post right now, but I’m not. This whole story has just become too crazy. I just can’t guarantee that this post will make a lot of sense, so I’ll just begin by posting Snowden’s statement. I’ve added emphasis to a few passages.

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America have [sic] been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013

I’m mystified by this statement. Snowden could have stayed here in the U.S. and fought against the government actions that he claims are criminal. He could have followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther King by accepting the consequences of civil disobedience. He would have probably have gotten a great deal of support from the public if he had done so. Instead he chose to flee first to China and then to Russia–two countries with far worse domestic spying and human rights records than the U.S. And now he’s whining about the consequences of his fleeing.

President Obama did not promise not to take any actions to interfere with Snowden’s life. He indicated that he wasn’t going to do something as dramatic as bringing down Snowden’s plane or go to extreme lengths to negotiate with Russia or some other country for his return.  Snowden’s naivete is amazing. World leaders engage in deception. Countries spy on each other. When you reveal secret information stolen from your government you are engaging in espionage and you become a spy.

Because neither Snowden nor Glenn Greenwald has a coherent political ideology, neither of them is able to make a clear political argument to define and defend Snowden’s actions in reasonable, logical ways. So what we get is whining from Snowden and defensiveness and trumped up outrage from Greenwald and his followers.

Snowden apparently sees himself as a tragic martyr who should be applauded for “revealing the truth.”  He has the gall to compare himself to whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Thomas Drake who faced the consequences of their actions by pleading guilty to crimes. We don’t know yet what the upshot of Manning’s case will be, but Drake is not “powerless.” He served no jail time, and now he is free to make appearances and share his opinions freely. Furthermore, Snowden hasn’t been exiled. I’m sure he could work out a deal to return to the U.S. and face the music. But he doesn’t seem to think the rules apply to him.

As for Greenwald, he has such tunnel vision that he appears to believe that he can simply state that Snowden is a hero who has revealed the most important secret information in American history–and somehow this is so. Anyone who objects or simply asks mild questions about the “revelations” is  an enemy to be dismissed and attacked by legions of Greenwald fans who possess endless reserves of inchoate outrage. As I’ve said before, they remind of the Obot hoards of 2008.

If nothing else, Snowden’s leaks have gotten people talking about what the NSA is doing, although I have no idea if there is serious discussion of the actual content of the leaks outside the of people who closely follow the news and argue with each other on the internet. I have no idea if this episode will end with Americans being more knowledgeable about the government’s domestic spying programs.

The articles written about the leaked documents by Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian and Barton Gellman at the Washington Post have so far been confusing at best. Neither writer seems to have consulted with security and computer experts who could have helped them do a better job of explaining how the NSA programs work. I’ve gotten a much clearer understanding from reading Kurt Eichenwald’s blog at Vanity Fair.

Poor Ed. He’s learning that now that the information is out there, he is no longer that important. Ecuador doesn’t want to deal with him. Even Vladimir Putin has tired of using him to humiliate the Obama administration. Today he announced that Snowden could stay in Russia if he stopped leaking information designed to hurt the U.S.

Glenn Greenwald has also washed his hands of Snowden. Shortly after Putin made that announcement, Greenwald tweeted that “Snowden’s leak is basically done. It’s newspapers – not Snowden – deciding what gets disclosed and in what sequence.” Apparently Glenn is finished with Snowden too. That must have felt like a dagger through poor Ed’s heart.

We’ve learned that Snowden sent copies of the documents he stole to “many different people around the world,” so that he could continue to control the information. But it appears that someone–perhaps Wikileaks–must have all of it now, and Julian Assange has also said that nothing will stop publication of all of Snowden’s files now.

Snowden has become an object of pity at this point. And his whining about his situation isn’t going to help him look like a “hero.” He made the choice to leave his family, his home, and his girlfriend and run away from the consequences of his actions. President Obama did not do that to him.

Please discuss, or use this as an open thread.


48 Comments on “Edward Snowden Issues Bizarre Statement Via Wikileaks”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    There is lots of news breaking about this, so I’ll post links in the comments and hope you guys will too. Here’s Greenwald’s tweet.

    • bostonboomer says:

      More tweets:

      • bostonboomer says:
        • Again with the movies…

          And what the hell is this shit with the stateless crap. Manning is not stateless…Drake is not stateless. Geez.

          Honestly I am still so confused by all this I can’t really say anything intelligent about it, other then this guy is fucked up.

          • bostonboomer says:

            He was saying that he (Snowden) is stateless, Manning is in prison, and Drake is “powerless.” But Snowden could come back to the US if he wanted to. No one would stop him. He’s just not willing to take responsibility for what he did.

          • that is what I thought….he is a pussy.

    • Fannie says:

      What is seen in public is entirely different than what is going on behind the scene………….and that includes what Obama says and does.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    The Guardian: Rafael Correa: we helped Snowden by mistake

    Ecuador is not considering Edward Snowden’s asylum request and never intended to facilitate his flight from Hong Kong, president Rafael Correa said as the whistleblower made a personal plea to Quito for his case to be heard.

    Snowden was Russia’s responsibility and would have to reach Ecuadorean territory before the country would consider any asylum request, the president said in an interview on Monday.

    “Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It’s not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia.”

    The president, speaking to the Guardian at the presidential palace in Quito, said his government did not intentionally help Snowden travel from Hong Kong to Moscow with a temporary travel pass. “It was a mistake on our part,” he added.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Before Correa released this statement, Snowden wrote him a thank you letter for the help he got to get to Russia. Reuters:

      He also thanked Ecuador for helping him get to Russia and for examining his asylum request.

      “I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden said in an undated Spanish-language letter sent to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, seen by Reuters.

      “No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated to the fight for justice in this unequal world. If any of those days ahead realize a contribution to the common good, the world will have the principles of Ecuador to thank,” part of the text read, according to a translation.

    • RalphB says:

      I am not surprised by Ecuador. I believe if they could kick Assange out of their embassy in London, without losing prestige, they would in a heartbeat.

  3. ecocatwoman says:

    BB I agree with you on Snowden’s decision to flee instead of owning what he elected to do. I also agree that he seems to be more of a spy than a whistleblower. What puzzles me the most in all of this are the articles on Alternet that continue to defend his actions. I’ve always found myself agreeing with positions on that site. So any ideas what’s going on over there? One says this:

    Buzzfeed’s Ecuador expose supported a theme increasingly advanced by Snowden’s critics — that the hero of civil libertarians and government transparency activists was, in fact, a self-interested hypocrite content to seek sanctuary from undemocratic regimes.

    Link to the the post here: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/exposing-dark-forces-behind-snowden-smears

    Another compares Snowden to Gandhi: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/why-edward-snowden-and-glenn-greenwalds-fight-against-tyranny-follows-gandhis

    • bostonboomer says:

      The only way I can explain it is based on what I’ve seen on twitter. The people who are defending him are the same types who forced Obama down our throats in 2008. Many of them are pals of Greenwald.

      We desperately need an organized left in this country. Many of these people don’t understand politics. They are ignorant of political theory and frankly, the reality of the way the world works.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Aren’t both Greenwald & Snowden libertarians? Were the Obots libertarians? If we can’t have Ron Paul, Obama is better than McCain/Palin? I’m seriously confused. I think I’ll just settle for Republicans = Bad, Democrats = Not Good/Less Bad. I want a Women’s Party.

        • NW Luna says:

          I’m with you.

        • bostonboomer says:

          These people are all confused. That was the point of my post. They lack a coherent political theory/analysis. Libertarianism is inherently unrealistic.

          • dakinikat says:

            None of it can even be cogently tested with data which is why they are always arguing like dogs chasing tails

          • bostonboomer says:

            The ones who call themselves “progressives” are just as bad. Their method of argument is to shout people down.

      • janicen says:

        And many of them, as we later discovered, were Republican ratf#ckers. Don’t put it past the right wingers to join in the “Snowden is a hero” choir.

      • Fannie says:

        I like that – the reality of the way the world works……………big problem in politics.

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    I have to say I loved this piece from Alternet, quoting comments about women by church leaders, going way, way back: http://www.alternet.org/belief/20-vile-quotes-against-women-religious-leaders-st-augustine-pat-robertson?page=0%2C0

    According to 2 pastors in Colorado, god gets the Denver Post: http://www.alternet.org/christian-wildfires Apparently women and homosexuals are to blame for the wildfires in Colorado. Oh my! Climate change is real – caused by uppity women and LGBT folks – guess that will be the next Truth coming from Republicans.

  5. bostonboomer says:
  6. bostonboomer says:

    How desperate is Glenn Greenwald? He’s going on Fox and Friends tomorrow moring!

  7. bostonboomer says:

    In other idiotic news, CNN held a debate on which word is worse ni***r or cracker.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Wikileaks issues list of countries they applied to for Snowden asylum:

    “The requests were made to a number of countries including the Republic of Austria, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Finland, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of India, the Italian Republic, the Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Kingdom of Norway, the Republic of Poland, the Russian Federation, the Kingdom of Spain, the Swiss Confederation and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,”

  9. bostonboomer says:
  10. cwaltz says:

    I disagree with your assessment. You can practice civil disobedience without being jailed or being made into a martyr.

    And Dave Weigel is apparently confused with what asylum is and the rules that govern it. I’m shocked! Oh wait, no I’m not.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hi CWaltz,

      Who are you disagreeing with? I don’t think civil disobedience requires going to jail. I believe it involves disobeying a law that you think is wrong and then accepting any consequences in order to bring attention to a political cause. In my opinions Snowden and Greenwald haven’t articulated a clear political philosophy behind Snowden’s actions, particular his giving top secret documents to multiple foreign newspapers. I certainly never connected civil disobedience with “being made into a martyr.” Snowden himself is playing the role of martyr. I don’t think you read my post, and if you did you completely missed the point.

      I am disappointed that what began as a possibility to make changes in how the NSA operates has ended up as a story about Edward Snowden and his personal struggles. I fear that what will happen is more secrecy and more severe crackdowns on whistleblowers.

      I can’t find where Dave Wiegel said anything about what asylum is, but I can’t speak for him anyway.

      Anyway, sorry I seem to have rubbed you the wrong way. I wish you all the best. Take care.