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Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now (rt.com)
413 points by message on July 24, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 221 comments



I wish him all the best. He's done many countries a great service. He inspired the search for truth and he made us realise that our politicians (and technology providers) are a bunch of disgusting LIARS.

I hope that he will be able to have a good life in Russia, in peace and security. And that his deed will inspire future whistleblowers.


Granting asylum to Snowden will just influence relations between US and Russia,and is not done to be coherent with previous standings of the country on the topic of human rights,almost always different.

We have to be careful not to associate concepts like "freedom of speech" and "example of democracy" with countries like Russia, given the actual situation the people there live under I am not sure we can say Russia holds human rights in the highest regard in my opinion.


Can't agree more (Russian here). In Russia it's all about putting up a show of anti-americanism, because that's what the voters like (the one thing that brings back memories of relative security of late Soviet days). Think Osama bin Laden granting asylum to Snowden in some remote Taliban camp.


For Russia it's more about showing the world that they are the only country that can't be intimidated by the U.S and thus that they are the only hold out against American world domination. Any other country would have handed him over eventually. I'm sure the Chinese and Central Asian governments are thinking that without the Russians to counterbalance things geopolitically they'd have to all be client states of the U.S.


I'm not sure China would care. They'd just become the second superpower (which, I would argue, they already are). Their economy is much larger than Russia's, their trade relations diverse (the US isn't even their #1 trading partner), their land more habitable (though smaller), their technology better, they have a large army and nuclear arsenal, and they're in an ideal location to put up significant resistance against US incursions.


Plus China is in a great position geologically (if that makes sense). The Asia-Pacific region is only going to get more important as the years go on, and China is right in the thick of it all, while Russia is camped out with Siberia.

Who knows though, once the Arctic ice sheets melt maybe that position will become more important than it appears.


  Think Osama bin Laden granting asylum to Snowden in some remote Taliban camp.
Strange, I am Russian and have been living in Russia for 5 years now (and before that for 20 years in the UK and Holland). And I cannot agree with your Taliban analogy even remotely. Actually, life in Russia today in some ways feels more free than in Europe. For example you don't need to be politically correct (self-censoring) when expressing your private or political views. And one can still (for now) smoke in pubs here ;)


I'm sure Russia is a fine place if you're not a journalist, particularly invested in the democratic process, gay or in any other LGBTQ group. Why, it's all worth it for smoking in pubs!


> For example you don't need to be politically correct (self-censoring) when expressing your private or political views.

Right.


What if your views are that homosexuality is not a crime you should be locked up for talking about?


Right. In Russia you can pretty much insult anyone as much as you like. Just hope they don't have a traumatic handgun on them.

Give me a break. Nobody moves back to Russia, because they are free to smoke at the pubs there.

I was also born in Russia and 3 years ago, I spent a year there. It is just as shit country as it has always been. Nothing changed. It's got some new paint on the facade.


Appreciation of reality in Russia is seriously depend on who you are. If you feel bad inside, it rather caused by your own personality.


I hear there are no homosexuals in Russia. They are all very manly and masculine. Even the women. So there is no reason for a Russian man to be homosexual.


Maybe you should rephrase that as: almost no one likes Russia, it's very hostile to anyone who is different.


So Russians feel sympathetic and supporting lending a help to a mere human who just tried to help his country and now his country hunts him down like a wild animal.

But that is somehow bad, eh? o_O

P.S. Hey, Alex, why stop at Osama?! You forgot to mention Hitler! That would be more dramatic, and equally cheap brainwashing tactic.


Exactly, imagine how the situation would've played out if Snowden were gay (or a woman).


I don't think anything would be different if he was a woman.


How deftly you dodged half of the question. What if he were a gay woman?


I didn't dodge the question, because I agree with the first part -- Russia is a horrible country with a corrupt government that imprisons/kills activists and journalists.

I only disagree with a minor detail you mentioned -- there would be no difference if he was female, because in Russia there is no discrimination against women (at least not more then in any Western country).


Let me think... it would be... the same?



> ... our politicians (and technology providers) are a bunch of disgusting LIARS.

I never thought otherwise.


It's safe to assume that most of us accepted that the mass surveillance programs existed. This doesn't diminish the importance of what Snowden did.

It was more of an emperor-has-no-clothes moment than some unexpected, shocking revelation. It forced a lot of people to stop avoiding the problem and to actually start talking about it openly.


I think Snowden has lots of courage for doing what he did, specially since it is the type of revelation that may cost him his life.

I have been downvoted already on the parent post, but coming from an European country that experienced dictatorship for 41 years, I have a tendency to not believe in politicians.

Many fellow Europeans had to endure similar governments in the last century.

So how could in the land of free, citizens expect it would be any different?!


What should we have in place of politicians?

It's a serious question.


I really don't know.

However tries to change the system, either becomes one of them or ends up being forced to leave with consequences from not playing with the rest of the gang.


This question fascinates me.

Everyone seems to hate politicians, yet we rely on them.

And in theory, they're acting as our proxies.

Why does this seemingly good situation turn out so badly?

(I don't know, per se. I know a number of theories. I'm mulling them over, like a fine wine or whisky or whatever it is that one mulls.)


Classic joke, even more true today: "How do you know when a politician is lying? He opens his mouth."


It seems he accepted Putin's terms to not release anymore information. I wonder if that means no more information coming out, period, or that since most/all of the information is now with third parties that it's their responsibility. I doubt Putin likes being disrespected with loopholes and technicalities, but I more-so doubt that Snowden would halt the revelations altogether for the sake of his own safety. I suspect this was discussed and that Russian officials agreed to the continued release of what is no longer under Snowden's control.

Does anybody have any more information on that?


My guess is Putin requested this to placate the US rather than out of concern. Yesterday the US and Russia both announced they'd be arming opposing sides in Syria, so placating the US might not be as big a priority now.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-russia-simultaneously-annou...


Oh goddammit! I thought we were over Russia and the US doing that cold war bullshit.

Seriously, if you're going to fight a war fight an economic war, much less destructive to other people than the little proxy wars the big boys seems to love so much.


Wars don't end until the underlying issue is settled. In this case it is very much as it was in 1914, which is "which large conglomerate of regional interests will rule the world," with participants being Russia, Europe and the USA. In the intervening years, we have added China, India and South America to the competition.

But otherwise... "same as it ever was."


War is politics by other means.

When a war ends without the politics being settled, the seed of conflict remains.

However, most either people lack this longer term vision and falsely perceive a physical wins as an ultimate "victory", or don't care because they won't be around then.

"This isn't a peace, it's a twenty year truce!" - Ferdinand Foch, regarding the Treaty of Versailles

As an aside, the U.S's failure to predict the Collapse of the USSR was probably their greatest intelligence failure, with the consequence being Russia beginning a hurtling into the Abyss, arrested by Putin, and a partial reversal of the Democratic trend of Gorbachev. I don't think Demonizing Putin is really going to be helpful. Ignorance of the historical circumstances of Russia brought him in power is analogous to the belief that a Utopian Democracy could simply be imposed on Iraq from above. Take a Spherical Cow in a Vacuum, add some Democracy...


The various three letter agencies had no interest in correctly predicting the USSR's collapse as it'd get them defunded. I'm not saying that there was a conspiracy to not forewarn the various US administrations, I'm just saying that all the analysts slightl skewed things the other way, and the effect accumulated.


> The various three letter agencies had no interest in correctly predicting the USSR's collapse as it'd get them defunded.

You make a really good point here.

It's not that there's a conspiracy, or they censored themselves. There's simply zero reward in pursuing any path that leads to the conclusion that one's job is obsolete or soon will be.

With a minor caveat, I guess. Those who can figure it out without much effort will then be those who seek new employment before it happens. It's hard to predict these things however.


I enjoyed reading your reply. I like the "spherical cow" metaphor.

Foch was proven right. It must have been maddening for him to know the truth of the situation, but be over-ruled by popular sentiment toward ending a disastrous and suicidal war.

This makes me want to reconsider all of my own knowledge of course, because as your examples illustrate, it's possible that there is something worse than being wrong, and it is to not notice something important.


same as it ever was


You may find yourself in another part of the world.


Economic wars can be just as destructive in an insidious way...


I think that Putin simply cares about appearing cooperative with his American "friends", so as to avoid any repercussions. Also there is definitely some play on words here, since we know that Snowden cannot have any control about the information he has already given to various individuals. So yes, he probably won't release any more info personally.


He _is_ cooperative. Inside, he claims we're under an attack of US spies or US propaganda, etc. But when it's time to act abroad, he is too weak to make anything substantial that would annoy the neocon US President.

Just as Italy replied to Snowden that he should have brought the request personally, our ministry of immigration finds excuses like "the procedure takes time..."


Also, when Putin says "don't release" he is NOT saying "don't give to me"....


For Putin harboring an "active" foreign dissident would make it just a little bit harder to make live less awesome for the internal dissidents. On the other side, giving protection from "evil" Americans to a young naive guy who is being too harshly pursued by the whole overwhelming force of the said Americans' government for possibly violating some obscure laws in order to defend and promote democracy and openness, etc.. - well, Putin looks almost like a good Samaritan (God forbid that Samaritan come to your help like he came for Snowden) and, by proxy, a democracy defender and promoter :)


But imagine he violates the requiements and releases more information. Would that actually be a problem for him?

Putin already said that he won't send him to a country where he may be sentenced to death. So even in that case, he probably won't be sent to the US but to some other country than grants asylum to him.


I can't imagine why he would do something like that, in the open. After all he needs any friends he can get! But even if he was to break his promise of not releasing any more info, it would make more sense if he did it "under the radar". I think he is quite capable of that. Or maybe, he could do it while the Russians are looking the other way :)


Now the headline has changed to: "Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now - lawyer"

... so it seems RT popped their cork too early. Explains why the Guardian didn't cover this yet.


Yep. Got this from a live blog that Greenwald tweeted a little while ago.

"Federal migration service has not issued documents allowing Edward Snowden to leave the airport yet, there was a misinformation today in the media, said Kucherena."

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_07_24/Edward-Snowden-leaves-Sher...


It's quite possible Snowden has already passed on all his information to other parties. There's no need for Snowden to be the messenger any more.


It's not quite possible, it's factual: http://rt.com/news/snowden-leaks-guardian-greenwald-264/

(well, maybe 'almost all' rather than 'all.')


Which is the right thing to do. Perhaps then people start paying more attention to the leaks instead of the messenger.


Snowden will halt the revelations abruptly. He would be a fool to break the agreement with Putin.

Putin is a man of his word, and expects the same from Snowden.

Information may continue to leak, but not from Snowden. His part of the show is finished (and luckily for him, he's not even bruised!).


My guess is that Putin would be happy to have Snowden break the agreement, as long as he doesn't go to the press and take credit for it. Putin's government has been working constantly to undermine America's foreign influence, and these leaks go a long way towards doing that.


> Putin's government has been working constantly to undermine America's foreign influence

Can you elaborate on that? Any concrete examples of how they were doing this?

From the same Putin's regime we hear the same about the US, although just guesses, no facts. I'm curious how the west sees that.


I have no doubt its true for the US too. They're competing for influence in many parts of the globe.

Its not a rigorous example, but I think the front page of RT (the Russian - state backed media outlet) is a good example. Most of the US based stories are highly critical of the US government. It's also no coincidence that Julian Assange has his own show on RT.

I also believe Russia's backing of Assad is mostly an attempt to block Western influence in the middle east. But there's probably a number of reason and thats just one.


>Information may continue to leak, but not from Snowden. His part of the show is finished (and luckily for him, he's not even bruised!).

In my opinion, being exiled from your home and living the rest of your life with the world superpower ready to kidnap you is relatively bruising.


> Putin is a man of his word

:-)


Can you provide proof to otherwise? I'd imagine you've done proper research on the topic of Putin's honesty due to the flippant response.


He's a politician.


Basically, he's a politician ;-)


I'm always amazed how the public opinion of putin ranges from "evil dictator" to "clever politician".


To become an evil dictator, it's often necessary to be a clever politician.


I had trouble putting this in words. By "clever politician" I mean people seeing Putin on TV or something and saying, "Ah, thats very clever" or even "Pretty amusing how he dealt with/did x". Media coverage in Central Europe is always very critical towards Putin, and while their stories may be distorted in some respects, I still believe them about many civilian rights beeing violated under his influence.


Isn't it the same for every politician?


Any reasons to believe otherwise?

The only thing I hold against him is his failure, as promised, to hang Georgian president by his balls. Eating necktie is a weak substitute.


Being president of a large country pretty much guarantees you've had to lie and cheat at least a little bit to get there.

For one random example (not being a huge student of 21st century Russia), he promised Bush that he wasn't arming Saddam's troops. Turned out they were outfitted with a lot of Russian anti-tank and night vision gear when we got there.


> For one random example (not being a huge student of 21st century Russia), he promised Bush that he wasn't arming Saddam's troops. Turned out they were outfitted with a lot of Russian anti-tank and night vision gear when we got there.

That doesn't say anything about Russia arming Saddam's troops. I'm sure there are a lot of cases U.S. arming their "allies" and then these weapons in some way became available to terrorists...

I simply don't think it is possible to know and predict how and by whom weapons will be used.


Proof, please? Soviet-designed doesn't mean Russian. Soviet designs are in manufacturing all over the world, including countries much closer to Iraq.



That could be done via 3rd party like Ukraine without direct involvement or even awareness of Russian government.


He's well known to fake publicity stunts, such as:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045848/Vladimir-Put...

Remember, he comes from the KGB, eventually rising to be the FSB director (the KGB successor).


Reason? He's politician.


Didn't Snowden say that this was only temporary so he could secure a flight to a south american country at some point ?


meh. everything's temporary, technically. the line blurs between that and "not temporary"


I suspect the arrangement is he ceases to disseminate any new information during his stay in Russia. This avoids any undue tension in the US-Russian relations.

Once he's left Russia, I suspect he'll be able to continue his activities.


You are not material for politician -> good thing :-) But don't be naive, they say lot of gibberish. Only thing that matters is interest.


I think that 'no more information' is just a temporary thing until he gets out of Russia into a country where he has asylum.


Well I think this is more to do with Russia thumbing it's nose at the US rather than protecting an individual from tyranny. But fair play to Snowden, it's good news for him. But If I were Snowden, I'd be quietly sneaking out of Russia very soon lest the political winds change and he suddenly finds he's a very valuable pawn in a very dangerous game that he can't win.


At the moment I can't think of a more politically stable country for Snowden to be in. Latin American countries are historically fickle when it comes to flip-flopping between pro and anti US governments. Russia seems to be a good choice. Much better than China anyway.


> Much better than China anyway.

Why do you think Russia is a much better choice for him then China?


China is fairly stable politically, but they practice more active censorship and have worse human rights violations compared to Russia today. They have strict visa regulations, a strict national ID system, and they definitely spy on people's e-mails and phone conversations. Skype had to release a special, wiretapped version specifically for China. They lack even a semblance of democracy, and protests are forbidden. Just seems like a very bad fit for Snowden. Russia is at least sort of trying to be a democracy.


I mostly agree but in the end, both countries are a bad fit for Snowden with regards to his activism. Also, China doesn't really have strict visa regulations at all (for example, pretty much anyone can buy a one year visa within a few hours in Hong Kong, no questions asked). On the other hand, it is probably easier to apply for citizenship in Russia and the Russian passport is more convenient for travel. In any case, I don't think Snowden ever really had a choice between Russia and China.


>On the other hand, it is probably easier to apply for citizenship in Russia and the Russian passport is more convenient for travel.

Snowden won't be doing much traveling. The second he shows up in a country that cooperates with the US or boards a flight, he's going to get picked up. I think he's going to be traveling by wheel from now on.


> Skype had to release a special, wiretapped version specifically for China.

I am simultaneously outraged and not in the least surprised. Just curious -- do you have a source for this?


When Internet users in China try to access Skype.com, they are diverted to the TOM-Skype site. While the Chinese version bears the blue Skype logo—and provides services for online phone calls and text chats—it’s a modified version of the program found elsewhere. The surveillance feature in TOM-Skype, which has 96 million users in China, scans messages for specific words and phrases. When the program finds a match, it sends a copy of the offending missive to a TOM-Skype server, along with the account’s username, time and date of transmission, and whether the message was sent or received by the user

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-08/skypes-been-...


If nothing else, he will probably have more luck blending in with the local population, if that is the route he wants to go.



Is it me, or does anyone else think that the really surreal thing here is not that Anna Chapman "proposed" to Snowden on twitter but that Chapman is even on twitter in the first place?


Why not, she is now a celebrity in Russia that is hosting a TV show and works as a model. As such it would seem natural to me that she is using social media.

What is surreal to me is that a spy turned into a celebrity in the first place.


What, you mean Snowden's not a celebrity?


Or that she's proposing to someone who, last I heard, was still in a committed relationship with someone else. :P


I would expect that China is much more interested in maintaining good relations with America than Russia is.


Probably. But can any one name one trust-able perfect country that would give a Snowden type asylum purely on principle, rather than for political reasons?

I'll be honest, Im struggling to think of one.


He's probably hoping that Iceland offers him asylum. Their bill granting him asylum wasn't denied, it just wasn't allowed to be voted on. So perhaps there's still faint hope for asylum in Iceland.


Germany should, as explained here: http://ind.pn/12ix0rD

But unfortunately it won't :-/


He applied to Germany and was rejected due to "missing requirements". No official statement was given what requirements exactly were missing. Probably, because you have to be on german ground (or very near) to apply. The application itself is declared confidential due to privacy reasons.

Essentially, our government does not want Snowden to enter Germany.


So, it's obvious that it's not politically convenient for Germany (or most other western countries) to grant Snowden asylum, even if they wanted to.

But legally, he doesn't have a very clear-cut case: The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees which is the legal framework for asylum, defines the criteria as having a well-founded fear of persecution because of one's race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.

The only category that might fit is "political opinion", but holding a certain political opinion is not a license to commit a crime (which, unambiguously, Snowden is guilty of), especially when laws against the exact same activity is on the books in the countries he's applying to.

Has it not been for the much too heavy-handed treatment of Manning, he couldn't even claim fear of prosecution: getting a fair trial in a court of law isn't prosecution.


Maybe he has a prosecution complex? Are you sure you don't mean prostitution? Procrastination? Prostate exam?

Getting a fair trial in court most certainly involves prosecution:

prosecution n. 1) in criminal law, the government attorney charging and trying the case against a person accused of a crime. 2) a common term for the government's side in a criminal case, as in "the prosecution will present five witnesses" or "the prosecution rests" (completed its case). (See: prosecute, prosecutor)


full url is http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/germany-should-h...

please don't use url obfuscators on hn.


Germany was in on the spying act itself. Hypocrites to suggest they have some type of moral superiority over the US.


Are there any countries that don't spy on people?


All countries spy on their citizens. The real questions are twofold: (1) how reliable is the information that the political decision makers obtain from spying, and (2) how democratic and transparent are the spying operations, how much control do the citizens have over the spying operations.

NSA-like spying is probably the most reliable in history, but how the information gets transformed on the way to decision makers, and what democratic control we have probably leaves a lot to be desired and must improve. Snowden is a hero because his actions have given us incentive and data to improve the world of secret services.


>can any one name one [...] perfect country

No.


He should buy a fake identity and go somewhere else, I'm sure fake passport is easy to get in Russia.


Yeah... about as easy as to meet a wild drunken bear with a balalaika on a Moscow street.


Wow, so you'd have to work pretty hard not to receive a fake passport, then.


Nice strawman there, dude


:-)


May be Vatican.


they only offer asylum to child molesters


My high school history teacher taught us something that politicians know:

"My enemy's enemy is my friend".

I'm sure there's a concise Russian saying for this.


"My friend's friend is my friend" ironically enough.


In Soviet Russia, my friend is my enemy's enemy.


to be fair sneaking out of russia is probably not that hard given the huge land borders of the country.


If you've ever been near a russian land border, you'd know sneaking ain't an option - they're still very much into their 30 foot razor wire fences, and mile wide minefields.

AFAIK, the only borders which aren't demarked as such are those which ramble across incredibly inhospitable desert, which serves the same purpose as razor wire and mines.


I'd suggest you look up Russia and the length of its border on Google Maps and then think again about the feasibility of razor wire fences and mile wide minefields.


I'd suggest you go there and see with your own eyes? I'm not sure what your point is. Feasibility isn't really something the USSR ever factored in.


Do you have any proof for your hilarious claims? In numerous Wikipedia articles about Russias border there was no mention of fences and minefields as current security measures, other than in some conflict zones like Georgia.

Also, all that I see on Google Maps satellite images is farmland without any visible security on both sides of the border.

(for example: https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d8021!2d...)


Apart from having fucking been there, and having photos of such, no. Admittedly, my experiences have been Ukraine/Russia, Belarus/Russia, Kaz/Russia, Latvia/Russia, and in each and every case there's been an exclusion zone. The "farmland" you see is in no-mans land, between security fences, which have mines along their inside faces at a minimum.

Re: the link you've posted, that's one of the aforementioned "so inhospitable it doesn't matter" areas. I've been to Aktobe (just down the road from your link), and it's indescribable how butt-fuck nowhere it is. ~£20 for a salad that wouldn't fill a mouse, but £0.02 for a bottle of vodka and a steak. Oh and there's a bowling alley with DDR. Go figure. Nothing grows out there. 52 C in the summer, -30 C in the winter. An over-land trip by foot through that area is death. Here are two photos of that neck of the woods - welcome to check the EXIF. http://imgur.com/kFvjXHy,B16ieLf

The other outstanding feature of Russian borders is the wreckage of failed crossing attempts - there's always the winning combination of burned out cars in fields surrounding any crossing point, along with a cemetery for those who didn't make it across. They take their border security seriously. Getting a gun pointed at you is standard procedure.

Again, you're more than welcome to argue with someone who's actually been across Russian land borders, on many occasions, but that's your prerogative entirely.


What are you talking about, there is clearly ongoing agricultural activities on both sides of the border!

Ukraine/Russia (farmland): https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d4036!2d...

Belarus/Russia (nothing): https://www.google.com/maps/preview#!data=!1m4!1m3!1d3707!2d...

So lets recap: You are unable to produce any proof. Nothing can be seen on satellite imagery. There is no mention of minefields and fences on Wikipedia or any other credible source.


Yeah, as I said, the farmland is within no-mans-land. It's farmed by permit holders who are allowed to go within there - usually subsistence farmers, some (no official figures, but met a few) of whom are stateless and have been trapped in the exclusion zone since glasnost. There are minefields wrapped around the security fences. You're welcome to go for a walk across there, and see what happens.


Again no proof - is it so hard to show me on Google Maps/Earth the fence that supposedly surrounds all of Russia?


> 30 foot razor wire fences, and mile wide minefields.

LOL OMFG!

MILE WIDE !!! MINEFIELDS !!!

May be the confusion is with USA-Mexico border? o_O


No, I knew exactly where I was, each and every time I drove into Russia. Pretty hard to confuse with the USA.


He's already a pawn in a game he can't win. He will have to clear all of his actions with FSB from now on.


That's an over-simplistic view of things and implies that Snowden is perforce the lesser fool. I think it's rather more the reality that Snowden has been quite wise in his planning: he is aware that he is putting Russia in a position where Russia will try its darndest to be on its best behavior in sustaining that "asylum-giving, human-rights protecting" image it has recently gotten.


Russia has an "asylum-giving, human-rights protecting" image? Even if you were to believe that Russia is acting to protect Snowden out of anything but national self-interest -- does refusing to extradite Snowden cancel out Russia's multiplying authoritarian abuses? Pussy Riot? Navalny? Magnitsky? The "Gay Propaganda" bill?

The notion that Russia is beholden to Snowden to protect its image is ludicrous, although given the grandiosity of some of Snowden's statements, I do not hesitate to consider that Snowden himself might believe it.


No, I meant in this limited context Russia has been given the whiteknight image. Hence my use of scare quotes. Sorry if I was unclear.


You can't be serious? wise? You think he planned to be in Russia?

Russia protecting human rights? OMFG


No, he probably did not plan on ending up in Russia, but he has been wise in dealing with the situation he was put in with the very limited number of options he had.

That he is still alive, well, mentally sound, able to freely speak to journalists (and American politicians) at free will -- and finally now "free" to leave the airport is evidence that he's been wise in making decisions.

> Russia protecting human rights? OMFG

That is an irrelevant and uninformed statement with regards to Snowden's situation and his decision to seek asylum in Russia. It was very simply one of the few rational options to pursue in order for him to remain a 'free man', as has been made abundantly clear by now.


Almost as ridiculous as the US protecting human rights.


Good for Snowden that he is not homosexual or leaked "Gay propaganda" so he won't end up in jail in russia ... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/opinion/russias-anti-gay-c...


Yeah. If I were Snowden I wouldn't trust this evil government in the least. Hopefully he's still looking for somewhere else to go.


So true. And people are going around singing Russia's praises on human rights now they are considering his asylum. It's so wrong.


I'm Russian. This is done only to annoy the US. Russian gov-t has nothing to do with freedom of speech etc. It's just to tease the White House.


How the fact that you are Russian makes you know why it was done?


Are you saying he's have the same level of insight if he was from Saskatchewan, Canada?


Be it from Canada his insights would different due to different media coverage but "insightness" measurement would be the same cause levels of media bullshitting both in Canada and in Russia are same


Snowden has completed his historic duty - now he can fade into the annals of history as a man who stood for something.


in a backwards twist of fate... Russia is protecting people from the United states for freedom of speech.


This news made my day. The safety of Snowden has been on my mind for weeks. Hopefully he'll make it all the way to sunny Bolivia.


It won't matter, now he will have to keep watching his back every second.


In an ironic twist of fate, living like Josh Harris, with cameras live streaming him 24/7 from now on might keep him safe.


I actually hope he stays put in Russia. These Latin American countries would be an easy target for the American govt to bully.


For now, Snowden stays in the airport says his lawyer. However, considering the tone of the statement it looks like he will soon receive one.

    cnnbrk: Lawyer: Snowden hasn't yet received document that 
    would allow him outside of Moscow airport. 
https://twitter.com/cnnbrk/status/360047355329921025


So a few questions here: 1. Will he get KGB (or whatever the current equivalent is in Russia) protection? 2. Is this allowing him to leave just being done to make it easier for the US spooks to snatch him up? 3. Where does he go next? And how does he get there?


1. FSB


I don't think He'll be getting any FSB (new KGB) protection. They most likely control him now.


Why?

He is no threat to Russia or Putin what so ever. All the information he has is out or in the hands of others. On top of that, Putin is hardly likely to do anything to him apart from send him to the US as some sort of present, since the worlds media will be watching.

Seem to me a lot of this FSB ownership stuff is prejudiced (pre-judged) scare mongering, and simply designed to undermine Snowden and his actions.

I see no reason for the FSB to "control" Snowden at all. Monitor, of course, but who wouldn't? Even if the UK gave him asylum, we'd monitor his whereabouts.


I think I'd rather do 2 years at Club Fed in the US than be under FSB control in Russia. I mean, Putin straight kills journalists.


"I mean, Putin straight kills journalists."

So does the United States of America.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0

The United States government wants to make an example out of Snowden. There's no way he would serve just two years in prison.


Would it stretch your moral intellect too far to identify a key distinction there? Namely, intent matters: The U.S., as far as anyone has demonstrated, does not set out to kill journalists because what they write is inconvenient.


New York Times media correspondent David Carr: “If you add up the pulling of news organization phone records (The Associated Press), the tracking of individual reporters (Fox News), and the effort by the current administration to go after sources (seven instances and counting in which a government official has been criminally charged with leaking classified information to the news media), suggesting that there is a war on the press is less hyperbole than simple math.”

AP president Gary Pruitt: "Longtime sources have stopped talking to the Associated Press in response to the Obama administration’s secret seizure of the wire service’s phone records. This chilling effect is not just at AP, it’s happening at other news organizations as well. Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me it has intimidated sources from speaking to them."

Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News Chuck Todd: "You end up essentially criminalizing journalism when it comes to reporting on the federal government, particularly on national security. You know, I’ve had different conversations with people over the last week who are sitting there not quite comfortable having certain conversations on the phone."

Would it stretch your moral intellect to google any of the above? The US has successfully criminalized real journalism so there is no need to kill. Not a whole lot better.


Now you've moved the goal posts from claims the U.S. "straight kills journalists" to some chilling effects from a variety of leak prosecutions. One can think the latter are a bad thing without drawing a parallel to regimes that murder journalists they don't like!


The killing of journalists may be the most dramatic measure in the context of freedom of the press but it's hardly the only one, and it is absolutely fair to discuss the whole picture. For example, on this Freedom Of Press Index, Russia is far ahead of China which does not kill journalists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index#Rankings_an...

I would also like to address your "some chilling effects" comment. Investigative reporters are only as good as their sources and the sources have been silenced. That's a nuclear winter, not "some chilling effects".

Meta: is it really necessary to imply that whomever you are responding to is lacking in intellectual capacity? What's with all the "would it stretch your intellect to...", "one can think x without drawing a parallel to y..." and so on. If your arguments are strong, let them stand on their own.


> The U.S., as far as anyone has demonstrated, does not set out to kill journalists because what they write is inconvenient.

I remember that prior to the invasion of Iraq, the US said that any journalist that is not embedded with US troops is fair game. That does sound like they didn't mind killing journalists they don't control.

This attitude also clearly shows in the bombing of the Al Jazeera offices in Baghdad, Bush's 2004 idea of bombing the Al Jazeera HQ in Qatar, or the attack on the Palestine Hotel.


I remember that prior to the invasion of Iraq, the US said that any journalist that is not embedded with US troops is fair game. That does sound like they didn't mind killing journalists they don't control.

The quote you're likely thinking of was from then-Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke literally as Baghdad was falling:

Pentagon spokeswoman Clarke said of Baghdad on Tuesday, "It is not a safe place. You should not be there." [1]

Whether journalists thought it would be a good idea to hang out in Baghdad while it was under coalition assault, the Bush administration clearly thought that would be an unsafe thing to do. That doesn't mean they "didn't mind killing journalists they don't control" or that they claimed anything about journalists being "fair game".

[1] http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Baghdad-closer-to-collaps...


The United States government traffics drugs such as heroin [1], has started wars under false pretenses to profit multi-national corporations [2] [3], backs death squads in Indonesia [4], tried to convince Martin Luther King Jr. to commit suicide [5], has conducted covert operations to dismantle and replace government structures across the world [6], has conducted experiments involving drugs like LSD on unwilling participants [7], is known to kidnap and torture people [8] [9], intercepts phone calls in the United States and collects every piece of information they can disregarding the constitution [10] [11] [12], performs drone strikes that kill innocent civilians [13], and kills American citizens without due process [14] [15]. Do you honestly believe they haven't killed any vocal opponents including journalists? If so, that is massively dangerous thinking.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Politics_of_Heroin_in_South...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_war

[4] http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/19/the_act_of_killing_new...

[5] http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/01/21/the-fbi-wrote-a-lette...

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_re...

[7] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture_and_the_United_States

[9] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_el-Masri

[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON

[12] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM

[13] http://dirtywars.org

[14] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anwar_al-Awlaki

[15] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/23/us/us-acknowledges-killing...

Edit: Saw another comment and did some more digging. Found a great article which I'll quote some of. You can find a link to it below.

"On April 8, 2003, during the US-led invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayoub was killed when a US warplane bombed Al Jazeera's headquarters in Baghdad."

"Disturbingly, more journalists were murdered in targeted killings in Iraq than died in combat-related circumstances, according to the group Committee to Protect Journalists."

""Between 2003 and 2010 more than 30 Iraqi journalists were detained and held in prisons in Iraq by the Americans," she explained. "All of these journalists were arbitrarily arrested by the Americans, just as they continue to be arrested by the Iraqi government today.""

http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/04/201348120278145...


Do you honestly believe they haven't killed any vocal opponents including journalists?

I certainly won't believe it until you give me a name of a journalist who was killed because the U.S. government didn't like his or her reporting. A giant wall of links to such 'evidence' as the Wikipedia page on the Iraq war doesn't impress me, nor does your later link, from which you decided to pull a quote about "targeted killings" without bothering to figure out that the people doing the "targeting" weren't Americans.


The name you seem to have trouble pronouncing is: Tareq Ayoub

Do you want me to write it again? Tareq Ayoub

And to stall your obvious response. No, he was not targeted directly but when you bomb a news organization's headquarters one of the things that is going to turn up in the rubble is dead journalists. What's that you say? They didn't mean to target a news organization? Wooopsies. I must have missed the heartfelt apology.

Why don't you try reading that page minus your reality distortion filter goggles? Here, I'll post the link again. http://www.aljazeera.com/humanrights/2013/04/201348120278145... This time, though, why don't you try to read what it says rather than inventing what it says.

How about the first sentence, "On April 8, 2003, during the US-led invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayoub was killed when a US warplane bombed Al Jazeera's headquarters in Baghdad."

So what you're trying to say is that a US warplane is not an American warplane? Have I got that right? Does your head not get a bit sore what with all the cognitive dissonance going on up in there?

How about another couple of quotes? "CPJ research shows that 'at least 150 journalists and 54 media support workers were killed in Iraq from the US-led invasion in March 2003 to the declared end of the war in December 2011.'"

"'The media were not welcome by the US military,' Soazig Dollet, who runs the Middle East and North Africa desk of Reporters Without Borders told Al Jazeera. 'That is really obvious.'"

You may not want to believe it but it's true nonetheless.


I'm not trying to convince you. I'm pointing out atrocities and lies committed by the United States government. We aren't below killing journalists. I figured you would due some sort of due diligence by visiting the link and reading the sections about supposed WMDs.

Here's a great documentary and book on how we were lied into the Iraq war. It's called Hubris: Selling the Iraq War. Watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5FaMbnINwc

I did give you a name, Tareq Ayoub, a journalist that was killed by U.S. bombs when we bombed Al Jazeera's headquarters in Baghdad.


This one's worth a save. Thanks!


That isn't remotely the same thing.


I tried searching for the charges that the US brought against Snowden and then the penalty for those charges. According to Yahoo[1] (which isn't a great source but it is the best I could find in the short time I have), the charges brought carry a max of 30 years in prison, along with fines. That is a whole lot more than just 2 years. On top of that, you can bet that US government is going to go for broke on that case as well in order to discourage such other leaks in the future.

[1]http://news.yahoo.com/understanding-snowden-espionage-act-th...


Max sentence is unlikely. Libby and Kiriakou both got 30 months and they exposed covert agents which Snowden did not (I know Libby served no time, but he was still sentenced). If Snowden is brought home to face charges, he will probably get a worse sentence now because he fled.


Are you talking about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scooter_Libby the one who got off the hook by President Bush's personal intervention? How is that surprising that he got so little?

You really assume that Obama would commute Snowden's sentence? Really?


Maybe they will let Dick Cheney shoot him in the face with a shotgun.


Manning is charged with "aiding the enemy" which carries a life sentence.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/07/18/judge-mann...


UCMJ. He was active duty military, not a civilian.


Whereas Obama seems to "just" imprison them:

http://www.salon.com/2012/03/14/obamas_personal_role_in_a_jo...

I'm not supporting such actions of any president.


If you think that's what's in store for Snowden should he return to the U.S., I think you're really naive. I would expect something along the lines of the Manning treatment (psychological torture).


> Putin straight kills journalists

I haven't seen definite evidence on Putin's involvement. Yes, there's some suspicion. Do you have good evidence?


2 years for alleged treason and endangering the lives of Americans? Some how I think not.


He hasn't been charged with treason and if he were, he'd be acquitted.


So, the fact he hasn't means he will not?

And what crystal ball are you using to predict the out come of a hypothetical trial?


What's the difference?


Well being under their control implies you will do what they say. True, he will be protected but in essence he is 'buying' this protection through submission not 'getting' it.


The situation is still evolving. The article has been updated since the initial HN posting and the title now reads 'Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now - lawyer'.


I wonder how much pay he would get as a sys admin in Russia. He might want to leave that bit about stealing secrets from his employer's client and leaking them to the world off his resume.


"Snowden's temporary asylum request is still undecided and he is to remain in Sheremetyevo airport's transit zone for now, Reuters is reporting, citing the whistleblower's lawyer."

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/24/edward-snowden-m...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SORM: Snowden's next target.


What is there to blow whistle about? Everybody knows about it.


Guess relations between Russia and the US aren't as important after all.

Always found it odd (possibly ironic?) that he left to countries infamous for not being well known for their love of free speech. Then again as one poster here put it, where else would he go that isn't as restrictive and doesn't have an extradition treaty with the U.S.?

Wonder if this will inspire whistle blowers in Russia now?


The irony is that Russians seeking asylum in the US has been a stereotypic event, to the point where it was made into a musical called Chess.

> Wonder if this will inspire whistle blowers in Russia now?

And what kind of secrets, unknown to the Russian public are you thinking about? Whistleblowing is about informing the citizen about secret actions made by the state (or rich company) that shows corruption or lies. If the action is not secret, then there is nothing to blow about. If the state do not deny spying or corruption, then what can the whistleblower say? "Oooo, look! What the government says is correct, and they are indeed doing what they say they are" aren't exactly whistleblowing. News maybe, but not whistleblowing. The government have to first claim to be the land of the free before someone can contradict them on it.


Snowden is just a guy, he doesn't need to be some flawless saint to point out that the US government is lying and spying on it's citizens.


There is a famous whistleblower now running in the elections for Moscow mayor office. And there are a lot of such people, although they haven't dug as deeply as Snowden.

Unfortunately, the story here in the media has boiled down to international spying scandal, the original statement - that it violates some US constitution amendment - has been forgotten.


Does that mean he accepted the demands of Russia of not being able to disclose any further information anymore?


This presumes that the Russian government actually cares about that supposed demand.


Oh, I meant that Snowden can't disclose any further information about the NSA, which was given as a condition by Russia if Snowden wants Russian asylum.


Exactly.


I wonder if the non-disclosure is also for the Russians.



Fortunate for him he is not gay (as far as we know) as that's illegal in Russia and would prevent entry?

In any case I hope he stays safe and I thank him for his sacrifice.


Being gay isn't illegal in Russia, “gay propaganda” is. This doesn't make the law less absurd.


I'm curious how Snowden has been living in this airport. Is he literally sleeping in the terminal or is there an airport hotel he is staying in?


Last I read he's staying in a fairly decent hotel. Not sure how he's paying for it(maybe donations, maybe he saved his money).


I wonder if his next target is Wladiwostok. It seems less complicated to get to Latin America from there, if he still wants to.


It's much more complicated to get to LatAm from Vladivostok than an Aeroflot flight from Moscow. I think there's simply no direct flights - it's not an airline hub.


There are no direct flights. You have to connect through Tokyo or Shanghai or the USA.


Well, you can easily make it a direct flight. I have no idea how much hiring a pilot and a plane capable of crossing the pacific non-stop costs, but it's probably well within his (or his supporters) means.

By complicated I mainly meant the countries he does not have to fly over.


Even a 777 or 787 won't fly direct from VVO, around Japan, around US airspace, and around Mexican airspace and reach even Nicaragua safely. Much less will it make Bolivia or Venezuela, if it were even possible to cross foreign airspace to reach those countries.


I feel like the title of this is a lie as the article states something different. I hate being lied to and manipulated.


There's an inch thick of delicious, buttery irony spread over a slice of Onion-tasting bread here. Asylum granted by a state that once sent 14 million people, primarily those who didn't agree with the authorities, into forced labor camps with millions meeting their deaths from malnutrition, exposure, and summary executions.. and which is still attempting to outlaw homosexuality.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire!


Just want to point out that what you're talking about was past, and a different government. It's like saying America is the country where black people were slaves when talking about America's decisions in recent events.


Just want to point out that Russia just passed a law banning "gay propaganda" -- their term for saying anything true or positive about homosexuality. The CURRENT government. Signed by Putin. Passed unanimously by the parliament. Did you ignore that fact because you support that law and don't consider it a violation of human rights?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/11/russia-law-banni...

And black people are certainly still widely discriminated against and treated unfairly in the United States. Have you ever heard of Trayvon Martin? The incarceration rates of blacks versus whites? The Republican Party? Its leader, Rush Limbaugh? Voter suppression? The Southern Strategy? I could go on and on. Do you believe that racism is no longer an issue in the United States, because your glorious leader Rush Limbaugh told you so?


I don't think you need to look that far into Russia's past to find more relevant ironies, just look at the Navalny case: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16057045


I can honestly say I didn't expect this to happen. Hopefully Snowden can rebuild his life in Russia.


For some reason the theme music from "Hunt for Red October" keeps playing in my head...


I wonder why Glenn Greenwald or the Guardian hasn't written anything about this yet?



Quoting Reuters. As far as I understand, Greenwald wouldn't make an aricle that would just involve tracking Snowden's steps like it would of some celebrity. It's exactly the distraction of talking about the messenger instead of the message.


Why should he? It was never about the whistleblower but about the Government of U.S. First Bush administration, now Obama administration and the difference between the things they say and the things they do.


He and other writers at the Guardian have written about Snowden on multiple occasions. I haven't seen any other news outlets reporting that Snowden has been cleared or is on the verge of being cleared.

Edit: I just found some additional sources.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/24/us-russia-snowden-...

http://www.businessinsider.com/report-edward-snowden-is-now-...


Just a stupid question but where did he sleep if he had to stay at the airport?


Sheremetyevo airport’s transit zone encompasses three terminals and includes a capsule hotel and a wing of the Novotel.


I simply wish him good luck!


...after writing down and signing the "pokazaniya" on everything he knew.))


The Tom Hanks movie "The Terminal" seems rather relevant here.


I just want to point out that if Snowden would have been spying for Russia or China, he would not have any these problems. Countries don't return people who spy for them.

His knowledge is very likely still valuable and he could turn into traitor any day and Russia would take good care of him. He would get money, pension, citizenship and nice Datcha to live in. He is this predicament because he has not given up his principles.


The notion that defectors are lavishly rewarded -- a notion that Snowden encouraged in his comment about palaces and petting a phoenix -- is at odds with the historical record. Consider Kim Philby. After the act of defection has been milked for propaganda, the defector is dispatched to guarded obscurity.

It's hard to know what's really happening between Snowden and his hosts. The notion that Russia's hands are legally tied and that Snowden is just hanging out at the airport as a logistically challenged but ultimately free agent is absurd, but it's understandable why Russia is staging that diplomatic farce.

As for Snowden's role, if he has valuable knowledge and he has not "given up his principles" -- so much the worse for him. He'll get a chance to reconsider the boast that he "cannot be coerced into revealing that information, even under torture." It could have already happened, with the bit about resisting torture ghost-written by amused interrogators.


Kim Philby spied for political reasons, not for money as were most spies who fled to USSR. They all got KGB pensions and medals.

Snowden has been accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks. He is not alone and isolated with Russians.


Be careful out there...




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