29th January 2005
Continuing off this thread
It's been a busy couple of weeks for Edward Snowden. The NSA contractor turned whistleblower has been stuck in an international transit zone in the Moscow International Airport after arriving there from Hong Kong. Following this the US revoked Snowden's passport and warned Russia not to allow him to move. A bit of a mess developed when President Morales of Bolivia had his plane forced to land in Austria for no clear reason as he returned from a trip in Russia, though it was later speculated that someone had suspected he try to sneak Snowden out. This prompted several Latin American countries, including Bolivia's allies of Nicaragua and Venezuela, to offer Snowden asylum.
On Snowden's end though, he has no practical way to accept these offers. Peru was considered as well, which had also extended the same offer to Julian Assange who still remains in their embassy in London. It is reported that Snowden had even appealed to Russia for asylum.
Snowden's revelations of the NSA PRISM program was a pretty big confirmation of suspicions as to the extent of the surveillance programs that had been expanded following the PATRIOT Act's passage and the organization of the Department of Homeland Security. The government confirmed the existence of the program but insisted it was only using the meta data to help trace terror cells and dismissed worries of it being an infringement on privacy, a position echoed by Republican and Democratic legislators. Much as they had reacted to the leak of documents by Private Manning (who is currently in trial), they saw such actions as treasonous and demanded the government take steps to recover Snowden and try him for his actions. More so some feel he is compromising state security if his claims of carrying even more data on himself is true.
US press (IMO) has largely tiptoed this approach too, focusing on trying to cast Snowden as hypocritical for previous statements on whistleblowers and leakers when he was a new employee, or his decision to apply for asylum at states the US and other countries consider to be lacking in privacy and speech rights. Indeed, from my perspective it seems that they focus so much Snowden himself without really acknowledging the scope of what Snowden had uncovered in the form of the PRISM program or criticizing the government. It has taken the usual political dimensions- Republicans are suddenly acting like they're for personal liberties now that they are out of office, and Democrats are making up excuses to try and keep it from hurting Obama's image.
I think it is important to keep this up. With events in the Zimmerman trial or over in Egypt and Syria, it's easy for things like this to get pushed to the background.
7th December 2003
It looks like he'll stay in Russia. Putin can turn it into propaganda and the FSB may get some additional info out of Snowden in exchange for making his life a bit more comfortable than Sheremetyevo's international terminal.
In theory he'd be eligible for asylum in Germany, but considering how the German government benefits from US wiretapping even though such wiretapping is illegal, it is unlikely that he'll end up here.
29th January 2005
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a letter sent to the Russian minister of justice this week that the United States would not seek the death penalty against Edward J. Snowden, and would issue him a passport immediately so he could travel back to the United States.
So the US is trying to cover its position here by assuring that Snowden won't be tortured nor will they seek death penalty against him. Snowden has repeatidly said that he is uncomfortable with returning to the States because of those reasons. It doesn't seem this letter has allayed his fears, and his father seems to agree stating that it is better for him to remain outside the country.
I suppose this says something about the US being conscious of just how much a (bad) reputation they've built up in the past decade with the War on Terror, all the more bizarre considering Putin is a former KGB official.
The asylum request is tied up of course as Russia is wanting to use this in their own tit-for-tat against the US, claiming the US is hypocritical in its own criticism of Russia (as true as they may be!) while it allows certain people Russia considers to have broken the law to live in the US.
I suppose Snowden seems to be reeling from the experience of Bradley Manning whose detainment while he stood trial has been criticized. Coincidentally the verdict in that military trial will come in tomorrow.
Faktrl is Best Pony
10th September 2007
Sucks when someone steps on the cake doesn't it? :p
"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.