The Snowden Affair
Edward Snowden worked for the National Security Agency in the USA, and he revealed a fairly large spying program where the agency was snooping on American citizens. Now, most Americans presumed this wasn’t allowed, but the rules had changed, and this snooping was legalized. With a fair amount of understatement, John Oliver of the Daily Show “told Obama that the problem isn’t that they broke any laws, but “it’s a little bit weird that you didn’t have to.””
Snowden fled to Hong Kong, which seems pretty weird when you consider, you know, China.
Hong Kong allowed Snowden to leave a few days later, when the American request to detain him was riddled with errors, and didn’t meet Hong Kong’s legal standard. Hong Kong said as much in a statement, followed by “[Hong Kong] has formally written to the US Government requesting clarification on reports about the hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong by US government agencies.”
That’s right, America – you can’t fill out forms, and we’re letting your guy go, and by the way, are you spying on us?
It is to laugh. =D
Snowden goes to Russia – we think. There are no photos of him there, but pretty much everyone thinks he’s there, and the Ecuadorean ambassador in Russia claims to have met him, so… He’s probably in Russia. According to an Al Jazeera reporter, when Snowden first arrived the Russian cops were doing searches of the pre-immigration parts of the airport every few hours looking for him. (No link, sorry, I saw it on TV).
Meanwhile the USA threatens to kick Ecuador out of a lucrative trade arrangement if they dare offer asylum to Snowden, and in response Ecuador tells America they’re pulling out anyway, and offered the 23 million dollars they could have made through the agreement back to America. For human rights training.
That has to sting a little, eh?
America, meanwhile, canceled Snowden’s passport. Without a trial, never mind a conviction, he’s now facing serious difficulties traveling. That seems sort of petty to me, but it’s more or less what I expect from the USA given the sorts of short-term thinkers who’re running the place. And the Ecuadorean consul in Britain offers a safe passage document to Snowden, at the urging of Julian Assange, which is later rescinded because, as is pretty obvious, it’s up to Russia, not Ecuador to grant safe passage out of Russia.
And in Western Europe the French and Germans want to give Snowden asylum, partly because they approve of what he revealed, but also in retaliation for America’s spying on their countries.
France, however, seems a bit confused on the issue. Along with Portugal (and Italy and Spain) they recently refused to allow the president of Bolivia to
land fly over their countries, because they suspected Snowden was on his plane. These two four countries forced the president of Bolivia to divert to Austria because Snowden might have been on board. Now that’s some terrible fear of the USA right there. And if powerful countries like France are shit-scared, imagine what smaller countries are thinking now that America is pressuring them not to grant asylum to Snowden.
Venezuala, at least, is standing strong. President Maduro said Snowden “deserves the world’s protection”. In that same article you’ll see that Russia will consider Asylum for Snowden only if… Well, in Putin’s words: “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition — he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.”
Even the condensed version of this story is so full of baffling, nonsensical and genuinely hilarious buffoonery that I can’t help but giggle as I write it all down.
What a world, eh?
[ Jul 3 2013 ]
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Jul 4 2013
First, it’s interesting that it’s ‘obvious’ you’d have a less positive view of Snowden’s actions. Based on what I read on sites within my usual sphere it seems like it’s the whole world vs America’s government. I had assumed that the only people against Snowden were USgov and old men. THanks for shaking that up a little. =)
Years ago, when I thought America still stood strong for justice and due process I would have been much less likely to approve of Snowden’s flight. Now, however, with ‘hackers’ and leakers and Manning and Mitnick being convicted and jailed for many years without charges, never mind a trial, I’d be pretty tempted to leak and flee too.
I can no longer view the system as trustworthy. Consider where he has fled to, places like Russia and China as safer havens than America? It’s only one man’s opinion, but wow.
I hope it does blow over for Snowden, like it has for others. I also hope America gets its shit together, and starts thinking long term. I hope they stop freaking out every time someone uses a computer without getting permission first. I hope people selling security snake-oil and military toys stop hyping minor threats. I hope America stops fearing the educated, and starts accepting again the idea that freedom comes with risks.
But I don’t expect any of these things to happen soon.
Also, as an update, how about that presidential Bolivian flight, eh? The US suspects Snowden is on board, and commands their flunkies France, Portugal and Spain to deny permission to fly over these countries, forcing them to land in Austria.
No matter what Snowden did, it’s America that looks bad here. Every minute and every day.
Nov 20 2013
Olympus Has Fallen
Jul 3 2013