And the commuting trials and tribulations of Ed Snowden continues as he searches out the earth for a new home. Although he no longer has Russia on the list, Vladimir Putin addedÂ another shot of bizarre yesterday with a twist on reality: “If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that. If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.”
Indeed. Putin, though, appears to be having fun with the awkward, dumb-shit position of the US — a cold war redux.
(Illustration found here).
Apparently Snowden’s aim is to continue the leaks, so says Putin: “Just because he feels that he is a human rights defender, rights activist, he doesn’t seem to have an intention to stop such work.”
Snowden had sought political asylum in Russia, but after Putin’s remarks, the request was withdrawn — but he’s still got 19 other countries on the asylum list, which includes Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.
Other than those, not much.
The US has been working to keep those countries from accepting Snowden — even Joe Biden called on Ecuador “to please reject” Snowden’s request.
Snowden released a statement yesterday. The former IT guy at the NSA jumped President Obama’s shit and appeared fairly confident.
“I remain free and able to publish information that serves the public interest,” Snowden wrote in a letter to President Rafael Correa 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.”
“While the public has cried out support of my shining a light on this secret system of injustice, the Government of the United States of America responded with an extrajudicial man-hunt costing me my family, my freedom to travel, and my right to live peacefully without fear of illegal aggression,” he continued.
In another statement posted at the WikiLeaks Website, Snowden further continued:
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.
Another East/West confrontation, but this time it seems different.
The empire is getting another slap in the kisser:
Also on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Snowden had not applied for asylum in that country, although he added the world community should support the former CIA contractorâ€™s work exposing â€œthe imperialist elite of the United States.â€
“They spy on friend and foe,” he told reporters after a gas exporters’ conference in Russia.
“They have created a semi-Orwellian system.”
And as we can see, this is another kind of cold war, but this one presents a great, and well-up-to-date chasm with documents showing the nasty side of the US — can we be trusted?
Robert ScheerÂ at TruthDig explains:
As a New York Times account Sunday suggests, â€œA close reading of Mr. Snowdenâ€™s documents shows the extent to which the eavesdropping agency now has two new roles: It is a data cruncher, with an appetite to sweep up, and hold for years, a staggering variety of information.
And it is an intelligence force armed with cyberweapons, assigned not just to monitor foreign computers but also, if necessary, to attack.â€
A surveillance power run amok?
The latest disclosures from Snowdenâ€™s leaks published in the German magazine Der Spiegel on Sunday turn out to have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with a compulsive and unseemly snooping not only into the lives of ordinary citizens throughout the world but also into the diplomatic correspondence, including trade and other negotiating strategies, of some of our closest allies.
How inconvenient to the outraged innocence of the National Security Agency and its private for-profit counterpart Booz Allen Hamilton to find the names of France, Italy, Japan and Mexico among the 38 embassies and missions bugged at will by our electronic spooks, along with the Washington and Brussels office of the European Union.
The code-named Dropmire bugging of the encrypted fax machine at the EU and other invasions of the organizationâ€™s private data were, as The Guardian summarized Sunday the content of the leaked documents, â€œto gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states.â€
Our government is treating Snowden as the most dangerous global outlaw because the information he released does not make us look good.
Quite the contrary, it has, for the first time, forced an international debate on the threat of routine government electronic surveillance to the very notion of individual freedom.
Even President Obama, while vilifying Snowden and insisting that â€œThe American people donâ€™t have a Big Brother who is snooping into their business,â€ has suggested that we need to debate the tradeoffs.
â€œWhen he says he wants to have a debate on this issue, he passed on every opportunity to have a debate about it,â€ Jennifer Hoelzer, a former aide to Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (who attempted in vain to get such a debate going), pointed out to The New York Times on Friday.
â€œYou had to wait until someone illegally disclosed it?
That seems disingenuous.â€
And this another snip from Snowden’s statements, which points at Americans who have sense (via the Washington Post):
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.
And so it goes…on into the week of trials.