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U.S. now an international laughing stock
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 7:37 pm    Post subject: U.S. now an international laughing stock Reply with quote

Thanks administration, you're awesome!
Edward Snowden gives countries a chance to thumb nose at US

The US has long emphasized the importance it gives to the human rights of the citizens of the nations it is dealing with. Now, countries aiding Edward Snowden as he tries to evade US justice can turn the tables on the US.

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer / June 24, 2013

The carefully planned journey of Edward Snowden from Hong Kong to Russia – then to Cuba possibly, before ending up in Ecuador to seek political asylum? – underscores just how many countries, big and small, are happy to have an occasion to stick it in the eye of the United States.

The US and the Obama administration in particular are quick to emphasize the importance they give to the human rights of the citizens of the countries they are dealing with. Needless to say, however, those countries don’t always take well to American lesson-giving.

With the case of Mr. Snowden – a former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details of top-secret American and British surveillance programs and who is now sought by the US on espionage charges – those countries have a chance to turn the tables on the US.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, “I simply do not see the irony” – that countries whose human rights records are deeply questioned by international rights groups, as well as by the US, seem to be the ones most willing to aid Snowden in his flight from US justice.

China is accused of broadly limiting personal freedoms and targeting dissidents, Russia received an international black eye last year for the high-profile prosecution of members of the Pussy Riot feminist punk-rock group, and Ecuador is under fire from rights groups for a succession of laws limiting personal freedoms – including one this month that prohibits news organizations from publishing classified or confidential government documents.

As Secretary of State John Kerry quipped as he was questioned Monday about the countries on Snowden’s seeming itinerary, "I wonder if Snowden chose Russia or China for assistance because they are such bastions of Internet freedom.”

But those countries’ human rights records are “another matter,” according to Mr. Assange, the noted leaker of sensitive US diplomatic cables who has himself been living at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for more than a year to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Assange did say that “no one is suggesting that Ecuador is engaging in the kinds of abuses the US” is committing on a large scale internationally – which he said range from the Obama administration’s program to “hack and spy on everyone across the entire world” to President Obama’s “assassination program in other countries.”

The US is “trying to bully Russia and other states” into turning over a legitimate asylum seeker, Assange said, adding, “No self-respecting country would submit to ... the bullying by the US in this matter.”

Assange said Snowden is en route to Ecuador, where he expects to apply for asylum, but he declined to offer any details of Snowden’s route, other than what was already known Monday morning – that Snowden on Sunday had flown from Hong Kong to Moscow, where he was said to have remained in the airport’s transit areas.

Snowden had been expected to take a Moscow-to-Havana flight Monday, but he was not on the plane when it departed, according to numerous reports.

Snowden is still expected to make his way from Moscow to Quito, Ecuador, via Cuba and Venezuela, according to other sources – two other countries with antagonistic relations with the US that in the past have jumped at the chance to make problems for Washington.

Perhaps more surprising was Russia and China’s willingness, as some US officials saw it, to cooperate with Snowden’s efforts to evade US justice.

Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) California, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that mainland China “clearly had a role” in the Hong Kong authorities’ decision to allow Snowden to leave. “I don’t think this was just Hong Kong without Chinese acquiescence,” she said.

US officials insisted Monday that the US had done everything required under international law for foreign authorities to honor the US request for Snowden’s arrest.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday rejected the claims of Hong Kong authorities that the US extradition request for Snowden was incomplete. Instead, he said, authorities of the semiautonomous Chinese territory made “a deliberate choice ... to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant.”

Many international legal experts note that political and diplomatic considerations almost always weigh in deliberations on extradition requests and foreign arrest requests.

And how countries treat such requests also has political and diplomatic ramifications, as Secretary Kerry noted in his remarks Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi with India’s foreign minister, Kerry said “there would be, without any question, some effect and impact on the relationship [with China or Russia] and consequences” if either or both countries are found to have aided Snowden in evading US authorities.

The US remained in dialogue with Russian officials about Snowden on Monday, Kerry said.

Mr. Carney was more blunt, saying the decision to allow Snowden to depart Hong Kong “unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship.” He said, “The Chinese have emphasized the importance of building mutual trust,” adding, “We think that they have dealt that effort a serious setback.”

Concerning Russia, Carney noted the “intensified cooperation with Russia after the Boston Marathon bombings and our history of working with Russia on law enforcement matters, including returning numerous high-level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government.” Given that recent cooperation, he said, “We do expect the Russian government to look at all the options available to [it] to expel Mr. Snowden back to the United States.”

In comments made after Carney spoke with journalists, Mr. Obama said Monday that the US is "following all the appropriate legal channels" to bring Snowden back to the US from Russia. US officials, he said, are working with a list of other unspecified countries to press for international application of "the rule of law" in the Snowden case.

Snowden took an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong to Moscow – something international experts say is quite unlikely to have occurred without the knowledge of Russian authorities.

Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin had been evasive when questioned recently about what Russia would do if Snowden sought transit through or even refuge in Russia.

But Russian officials – including Mr. Putin, who has come under growing criticism for perceived authoritarian tendencies from various US and international sources – may have sensed a certain satisfaction in an occasion to tweak the US for what organizations like WikiLeaks consider the persecution of a heroic whistle-blower.

And then there is China.

Chinese leaders were not thrilled last year when then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took the side of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng during a visit to Beijing. The US believes "that all governments have to answer our citizens' aspirations for dignity and the rule of law and that no nation can or should deny those rights," Ms. Clinton told her Chinese counterparts.

Mr. Chen was later allowed to leave China for study in the US.

Now might it be that China, and the other countries apparently ready to step up and assist Snowden, are seizing the opportunity for a satisfying tit for tat?

And there is this~
Yea, we got clout.
The fact of the matter is that China, Russia, and others see us as what we have now become, a paper tiger. BHO can go in front of the cameras and spew any kind of threat he wants, and he just gets laughed at now.
Many people in this country consider Snowden as a modern day Paul Revere, haven't seen any polls on that yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a pretty large %'age.
If it was a GOP prez in the WH now, the press would be considering Snowden a hero, and demanding an impeachment.
And I make no apologies for GOP members like Lindsey Graham, calling him a traitor, the GOP does have it's idiots also.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the question remains, is he a hero or a traitor?
I'm not sure yet, so far I think he's a bit of both, but that can change depending on how this plays out.
One thing is for sure, he pulled down the pants of this current approach.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox News would be calling for an impeachment if it was a GOP pres.?
You do recall that this program originated under Bush and O allowed it to continue its natural evolution.
I have seen polls where the majority of Americans are OK with this, in the name of national security.
My crowd has always thought they were doing this since at least the 80s so we regard this news as a big yawn.
The biggest surprise to us is that it started so recently.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the man is a hero. There has been a vast amount of national treasure and blood spent on wars and intelligence while the rest of the world scoffs at us.

The disdain for Obama by Putin, China, Israel and others around the world is palpable. Putin reacts as if Obama is a fool. This is a pity. Why don't we just get back to the business of small business job creation and innovation. Beware of the Military Industrial complex.

I know my friends on the left will scoff at me for saying this, but Obama is ill-prepared to be the leader of the free world. It seems that with tens of thousands of new laws every decade, surveilance, the IRS, Fast and Furious, among other things, that we are no longer free. Except in the pleasures of sex and drugs... Embarassed
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps that is less of a problem than it might seem.
I have never spoken to a non American who thinks the the American President is the leader of the free world. Maybe there was a time that was true.

Many folks think America is the self appointed police force of the world.
Some are glad for it, like some folks in Panama. Others take it for arrogance..
Many others are afraid of what we might do.

This seems consistent with many Americans view of cops in general, so perhaps that reaction to our policing efforts is just human nature.

I think we should reduce our role on this area. It clearly encourages terrorist responses in some groups who have had loved ones killed by accident in American police actions. If the US begins to fire drones at the Mafia, while killing dozens or hundreds of innocent Americans, there will be similar terrorist groups rising up in the US taking revenge on other Americans they hold responsible.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may be right about those new laws Bard but I have trouble understanding how there can be tens of thousands. At the federal level only Congress can write new laws. They have written new legislation at the slowest rate during O administration in my lifetime.
One source online says he has signed 89 bills so far, a record low for a modern prez because Congress rarely sends him any new laws to sign.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I should have said laws and regulations. Regulations are being churned out by the thousands. EPA charges $37,500 per day in the case of the smallest infraction.

How Many Felonies Did You Commit Today?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Traitor, IMO. Just as it's not Bard's right to decide for the country whether war is justified, it's not Snowdens's right to decide what programs should be classified or unclassified; ultimately, only the President has that authority. Reinventing our classification protocols and processes through anarchy will ultimately destroy it, to our enemies' powerful advantage. This could have been almost catastrophic if it hadn't already been leaked by some U.S. media under Bush.

That this program is subject to abuse for political or personal goals is another matter altogether.

The honorable way for Snowden to pursue his premeditated (by his own admission) goal would have been to try first to improve or cancel the program through his chain of command, then when that failed go over its head, then when that failed blow some whistles, but all from his office, not to and from China. That's how I and others, after much deliberation decades ago, fought certain peers' and commanders' corruption and mismanagement, and I've seen no reason to change that sequence.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely a traitor. The man has done a disservice to his country and should be apprehended and prosecuted.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too early to tell whether he is a hero or a traitor. I consider Daniel Ellsberg a hero for publishing the Pentagon Papers, but he would have been prosecuted successfully if the Department of Justice hadn't made so many mistakes that he was eventually acquitted:
Daniel Ellsberg and colleague Anthony Russo were charged with theft and unauthorized possession of classified documents under the Espionage Act in 1971, but were eventually acquitted. The revelation that a special investigations unit created by President Nixon had burglarized the offices of Ellsberg's psychoanalyst was a major factor leading to the president's resignation in 1974.

There were clearly lies in the US run-up to Vietnam--as there were in the run-up to Iraq. Exposing lies that lead to the loss of human lives is a very brave thing to do, and Ellsberg knew he faced jail. It is not yet clear whether Snowden stands on any moral high ground at all--in part because of the secrecy allowed by Congress. It is not clear to be whether the programs exposed by Snowden go beyond those authorized in the revisions to the National Security Act.

But I am disgusted by the hysteria of many on the right who raised no objections while this happened under Bush, but are now eager to have a cudgel to try to pummel Obama with. The United States military remains the strongest in the world, and the lessons of history--which have been repeated since Vietnam--are that military force has limited capacity to solve political dilemmas. That's a fact, not a statement of weakness.

While Obama has had his share of failures in diplomacy, Bush didn't even know what the word meant.
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