Friday, August 2, 2013

Snowden Finally Leaves Russian Airport

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Previous Posts:
Crime or Punishment? Snowden Remains Stuck at Moscow Airport
Opinions Range from Naive Joy to Good Riddance as Snowden Plans to Leave Moscow Airport


From Wired
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year and has finally left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

It’s unclear whether Snowden, 30, plans to settle in Russia for the long term, or pursue safe passage onward to one of four Latin America countries that have offered him permanent asylum: Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

His local Russian lawyer told the Guardian that Snowden left in a taxicab.

WikiLeaks said in its Twitter feed that Snowden remains in the company of WikiLeaks activist Sarah Harrison. WikiLeaks has been helping Snowden since he escaped Hong Kong last month one step ahead of U.S. requests for his arrest.

Update: The US is now on record with a response to Snowden's newfound asylum, with White House spokesman Jay Carney saying the Obama administration is "extremely disappointed" with Russia's decision. The offering of asylum stands to damage an already rocky relationship between the two countries; Carney hinted that the US may call off a summit with Russia that's currently scheduled for September. "We are evaluating the utility of a summit in light of this," he said.
~ From The Verge

There are so many things the U.S. and Russia could be working on together now, and Russia really doesn't have a lot going for it these days. I mean, they have oil production and all that, but there's not much of a way they can leverage the United States. But it's almost as if Putin has now sort of adopted a Hugo Chavez sort of mentality: 'We'll just keep poking our finger in the eye of the giant to show everybody we're big and tough.'
. . . It's just like tormenting, the little guy tormenting the big guy to see if he'll do something. . . . Almost like a high school kind of thing.
~ Bob Schieffer on CBS News

Snowden received immigration papers on Thursday from his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and immediately jumped into a taxi with a pre-packed suitcase and headed into Moscow.
"Snowden is in a safe place. I didn't suggest it to him, it was his decision," Kucherena told Dozhd TV, RIA Novosti reports. "He will decide for himself how to live his life from now on. He has friends with him, including Americans with whom he made contact via his friends from the United States when he was still in the [airport] transit zone."
~ USA Today

It is unclear who those "American friends" are, and how Snowden, who has not had visitors for 39 days, and has never been to Moscow, made them. What we do know is that Moscow is still crawling with American spooks—as we learned from the CIA agent nabbed in Moscow while wearing an obscene blond wig—so maybe those are his American friends in Moscow. Likely, though, Snowden will live in an apartment that is bugged to the hilt, as any of my American (and British) friends in Moscow can tell you. They'd also likely tell you about how the Russian security services will regularly pay visits to your apartment, usually when you're not there, and leave overt "we were here" clues behind: missing rugs, opened emails, a ladder in the bedroom, a gun on your welcome mat. It may not be as excruciating as intercom announcements from a world now closed to you, but it's a close second, believe me.
~ Julia Ioffe on New Republic

Angry people, confused by not enough education and too much information, or unwilling to face their own poor choices in life, or bearing vague grudges about the forces that always seem to deprive them of the right job, or mate, or status among their peers, cheer on a Snowden or a Manning as a kind of self-actualizing exercise.
They’re happy that someone’s finally sticking it to the Man, or the system, or the Coca-Cola Corporation, or whomever they resent for not giving them a round of applause every morning just for getting dressed without help.
. . . Think about it: when people say that Snowden and Manning had the right to do what they did, they’re saying that a 23 year old Army private knows what the hell he’s doing with 700,000 classified documents. No experience needed: his youth and good sense are justification enough.
. . . Snowden and Manning’s supporters constantly wail that they had “nothing to gain” by doing what they did. But that’s exactly wrong: they had everything to gain, because anything would have been better than the stalled-0ut lives they were living — and by this, I mean the lives they think they were supposed to be living. The drudgery of the Army, the slog of government contracting, even a job in Hawaii with a pole-dancing girlfriend with lit cupcakes on her boobs: none of it was enough for hollow young men who craved the frisson of heroism on the cheap.
~ Tom Nichols on The War Room Blog


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