Snowden on the Move
by Stephen Lendman
Where is Edward Snowden? Unanswered questions remain. Supposedly he traveled from Hong Kong to Moscow en route to Havana and Quito, Ecuador. Or did he? More on that below.
On June 25, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) headlined “Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance.”
He said so. “My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he explained.
“That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.” He took less pay “in the course of pursuing specific work. Booz was not the most I’ve been paid.”
On May 20, Snowden arrived in Hong Kong. According to SCMP, he contacted documentary film maker/producer Laura Poitras in January.
He said he had information about US intelligence community activities. He first met her and two UK reporters in Hong Kong. He has volumes of classified US documents. Some were released. Others will be later.
They reveal lawless US spying and hacking. He wants them made public. “I did not release them earlier,” he said, “because I don’t want to simply dump large amounts of documents without regard to their content.”
“I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists.”
“If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.”
He wants nothing released harmful to US security. He wants information revealed important for everyone to know.
He knew the risks and took them. He did the right thing because it matters. He acted responsibly, ethically and legally. He didn’t commit espionage as wrongfully charged. HE EXPOSED IT on a massive, unprecedented scale!
He sacrificed financial security and freedom doing so. He explained, saying:
“You can’t come forward against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and be completely free from risk, because they’re such powerful adversaries that no one can meaningfully oppose them.”
“If they want to get you, they’ll get you in time. But at the same time you have to make a determination about what it is that’s important to you.”
“And if living – living unfreely but comfortably is something you’re willing to accept – and I think many of us are; it’s the human nature – you can get up every day, you can go to work, you can collect your large paycheck for relatively little work, against the public interest, and go to sleep at night after watching your shows.”
“But if you realize that that’s the world that you helped create, and it’s going to get worse with the next generation and the next generation, who extend the capabilities of this sort of architecture of oppression, you realize that you might be willing to accept any risk, and it doesn’t matter what the outcome is, so long as the public gets to make their own decisions about how that’s applied.”
On June 25, Reuters headlined “Top China paper hits back at US accusations on Snowden,” saying:
“The world will remember Edward Snowden.” The People’s Daily praised him for “tearing off Washington’s sanctimonious mask.” At the same time, it rejected accusations that Beijing facilitated his Hong Kong departure.
It harshly criticized massive US spying and hacking into Chinese/Hong Kong networks. It addressed these issues with Washington.
According to Academy of Military Science researcher Wang Xinjun:
“Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong special administrative region for handling things in accordance with law.”
“In a sense, the United States has gone from a ‘model of human rights’ (sic) to ‘an eavesdropper on personal privacy’, the ‘manipulator’ of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad ‘invader’ of other countries’ networks.”
A separate People’s Daily owned Global Times commentary denounced Washington. It did so for targeting “a young idealist who has exposed the sinister scandals of the US government.”
“Instead of apologizing, (and making amends), Washington is showing off its muscle by attempting to control the whole situation.”
A separate People’s Daily editorial defended Hong Kong’s actions. It said authorities acted according to law. They’ll “be able to withstand examination.”
“The voices of a few American politicians and media outlets surrounding the Prism scandal have become truly shrill.”
“Not only do some of them lack the least bit of self-reflection, but they also arrogantly find fault with other countries for no reason at all.”
Doing so shifts US wrongdoing on the backs of targeted victims. It’s standard US practice. Media scoundrels pile on. They support the worst of US crimes. They do so disgracefully.
On June 25, The New York Times headlined “Leaker’s Flight Raises Tension Between US and 3 Nations,” saying:
“Frustrated Obama administration officials pressed Russia” to hand over Snowden. They “warn(ed) China of ‘consequences’ for letting him flee to Moscow.”
John Kerry audaciously “urge(d Russia) to live by the standards of the lawâ€¦.” No country spurns it more abusively, consistently, and shamelessly than America. No nation does so more unapologetically.
White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed “frustration and disappointment with Hong Kong and China.” He called their refusal to cooperate a “serious setback” in bilateral relations.
US officials mocked China and Russia. They did so disgracefully. In his June 24 daily briefing, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell stressed the “negative impact” on US bilateral relations with China and Russia.
Both countries made “deliberate choice(s) not to cooperate,” he said. They refused to arrest a US-wanted “fugitive.” He called doing so “a relatively straightforward law enforcement cooperation matter.”
Ecuador’s a possible Snowden destination. He sought asylum. He got refugee status pending his asylum application. Reports said Ecuador’s Russian ambassador Chavez Zavala met him at Sheremetyevo Airport.
On June 25, the Wall Street Journal headlined “US Talks Tough on Leaker. Washington Rips Beijing, Warns Moscow; Snowden Case a Diplomatic Test for Obama.”
A separate editorial headlined “Portrait in Respect,” saying:
In his first September 26, 2008 presidential debate, Obama said:
“One of the first things I intend to do as President is restore America’s standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago.”
In four and a half years in office, he’s gone way out of his way to make more enemies than friends. He shows no signs of changing.
According to Journal editors, “it isn’t clear where Mr. Snowden is.” Moscow provided no information. Perhaps its FSB “is interrogating him or downloading the secret NSA data he brought with him.”
“A ‘reset’ of US-Russian relations has been one of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy priorities.” From inception, it’s been more illusion than reality.
On June 24, Washington Post editors headlined “Snowden case highlights Ecuador’s double standard,” saying:
“(W)hen it comes to anti-American chutzpah, there’s no beating Rafeal Correa, the autocratic leader of tiny, impoverished Ecuador.”
“Taking in Mr. Snowden would allow Mr. Correa to advance his most cherished ambition: replacing the deceased Hugo Chavez as the hemisphere’s preeminent anti-US demagogue. It would thwart the Justice Department’s attempt to prosecute the fugitive American.”
WaPo editors wrongfully accused Correa of suppressing press freedom. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Organic Law on Communication “matches the changes in the national media landscape and catches up with the new laws being adopted by other countries in the region.”
It “affirms three overarching principles:”
(1) It prohibits any form of government censorship.
(2) It guarantees journalists’ rights “not to go against their beliefs,” protect their sources, and maintain professional confidentiality.
(3) It distributes broadcast frequencies fairly. One-third each goes to state broadcasters, private and community ones.
“Such an allocation constitutes a powerful lever for media pluralism,” said RSF.
In contrast, American and most other Western media are overwhelmingly corporate/state controlled. They substitute managed news misinformation for truth and full disclosure.
WaPo editors are some of America’s worst. Their credibility is sorely lacking. They front for wealth, power and privilege. They support Washington’s worst crimes. They do so consistently. They betray their readers in the process.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino criticized America. He did so for wrongfully targeting Snowden, saying:
“The one who is denounced pursues the denouncer. The man who tries to provide light and transparency to issues that affect everyone is pursued by those who should be giving explanations about the denunciations that have been presented.”
Correa twittered separately:
“We will analyze very responsibly the Snowden case and with absolute sovereignty will make the decision we consider the most appropriate.”
WaPo, Times, WSJ, and other US editors and commentators attack Correa repeatedly. They do so maliciously. Defending Ecuadorian sovereignty is twisted to claim he flouts American interests.
On June 25, Russia Today (RT) headlined ” ‘Groundless and unacceptable:’ Russia lashes out at US over Snowden accusations.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was clear and unequivocal. He called Washington’s accusations “unacceptable.”
“Russia has nothing to do with Snowden’s movements,” he said. “He chose his route himself and didn’t cross the Russian border.”
“For this reason we consider all attempts to accuse Russia of violating American law and conspiring against the US unfounded and unacceptable.”
Where then is Snowden? Did he or didn’t travel according to reported plans?
“When it comes to (his) whereabouts,” said RT, “conjecture” exceeds “concrete fact(s).”
Tracking him down “has turned into a full cloak and dagger affair.” Since Sunday, his whereabouts aren’t officially known. Some reports contradict others.
An elaborate international “cat and mouse” game continues. Washington wants Snowden arrested and extradited.
China, Russia, Ecuador and perhaps other countries want his rights protected. On Monday, Julian Assange said he’s in a “safe place.” It’s secret for his safety.
Washington revoked his passport. Ecuador gave him a refugee document of passage.
RT said he’s reportedly “snaking his way around the globe to avoid capture, with a complicated route which would have seen him fly from Moscow to Caracas via Havana, with the expectation that he would later travel on to the Ecuadorian capital Quito.”
His seat aboard Aeroflot flight SU 150 for Havana was empty. It begs important questions. Did leave on another flight? Does he plan to?
Did he travel elsewhere, not Russia? Were reports of his arrival false? Were they issued for his safety? Is he keeping his final destination secret? It makes perfect sense to do so.
America’s long arm compromises safety everywhere. When US authorities want someone found, extraordinary legal and extrajudicial ways are made to do so.
Snowden’s a wanted man. He’s unsafe everywhere. His best defense is secrecy. It’s help from friendly nations and supportive allies. It’s staying a step ahead of Washington’s dirty game.
It’s living a life on the run. It’s doing so sub rosa. It’s watching your back with help from others. It’s never knowing what’s next.
It’s living a day at a time. It’s taking great risks and accepting them. It’s doing the right thing because it matters.
Nathan Hale regretted having only one life to give for his country. He meant against imperial Britain.
Snowden may feel the same. He represents the best of US patriotism. Dissent is its highest form. Challenging lawless governance is essential. Today it’s more essential than ever.
America reflects rogue state lawlessness writ large. It’s policies are out-of-control. Police state laws govern. No one’s safe anywhere anytime. Washington’s criminal class is bipartisan.
They’re heading America for full-blown tyranny and ruin. They threaten humanity. They do so unconscionably, ruthlessly and unapologetically.
Challenging them matters most. It bears repeating. Today is the most perilous time in world history. Ordinary people alone can make a difference.
Change requires commitment. Doing so involves risks. Taking them matters. Survival depends on it.
A Final Comment
On June 24, the Nordic Page headlined “Pirate Party Norway – Snowden Passed Through Norway to Iceland,” saying:
Party leader Oystein Jakobsen alleged Snowden landed at Oslo’s Gardemon Airport Sunday night.
Co-chairman Olystein Middelthun said party leaders were told he booked tickets from Moscow to Iceland via Norway.
“As events played out,” he said, “nothing indicates that he came through Norway, and we are as much in the dark about his whereabouts as the rest of the world.”
These type reports add intrigue. Perhaps Snowden’s handlers planned things this way. Head fakes work to his advantage. Sun Tzu said “All war is based on deception.”
Protecting Snowden works the same way. Keeping his whereabouts secret matters. It’s his best line of defense.
Vladimir Putin said Snowden’s in Sheremetyevo Airport’s transit zone. US accusations are “nonsense and rubbish.”
Moscow has no extradition extradition treaty with Washington. Snowden committed no crime on Russian territory.
He’s “a free person. The sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it is for him and Russia.”
Clearly, Moscow won’t extradite him to America. It’s hard imagining it being considered.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.