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Traitor or whistleblower?

Written By: - Date published: 8:01 am, July 13th, 2013 - 149 comments
Categories: accountability, human rights, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags:

A correspondent on Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning claimed that, while the polls are all over the place, US-ians tend to see Edward Snowden as more traitor than whistleblower.  She also said that in the US, there is a lack of widespread outrage at the extent of spying by the US agencies at home and abroad.  [edit] However, as indicated below, a recent poll shows 55% of the respondents see Snowden as whistleblower, and not a traitor.[/edit]

Dictionaries tend to give two main definitions for the word traitor:


[trey-ter]  Show IPA



a person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.


a person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.

I had assumed that, in the context of Snowden’s revelations about state surveillance, the accusation applied to hi would more likely be the second.  Furthermore, some of the relevant polls focus on whether Snowden had betrayed his country.

With regard to the first definition, who has violated the trust in them to carry out the duties allocated to them on the behalf of a democratic state and country? State agencies spying on all their citizens, violating their privacy and treating them as potential criminals?  Leaders of countries, instructing their country’s state agencies to spy on its citizens on the behalf of powerful corproate interests?

Or an employee working for  a state surveillance agency deciding to whistleblow because he thinks these agencies are betraying the trust invested in them on behalf of a democratic country?

Tech Eye reports (my bold added):

A Quinnipiac University poll has revealed US voters consider Edward Snowden to be a “whistle-blower” and not a “traitor”, despite establishment efforts to paint him as such.
55 percent considered him a whistleblower following the Prism and NSA revelations. Just 34 percent considered him a traitor.

Support for Snowden as a whistleblower was largely unchanged by divisions such as political party, gender, income, age and education.

In the recently released second part of the Snowden / Guardian interview, he predicted he would be tarred as such and gave his reasons for the leak. Snowden said he had not passed on intelligence to foreign governments and exposed the scandal because of his loyalty to the Constitution, not in spite of it.

Also on Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning, a spokesperson for Amnesty International made some significant claims in relation to Snowden’s claim for temporary asylum in Russia. She said it would be illegal for Russia to grant such temporary asylum on the condition that Snowden did not reveal any more NSA information.  It would also be illegal for the US government to demand that Russia set this condition.

149 comments on “Traitor or whistleblower? ”

    • Jenny 1.1

      True garbage joe. But herein there is a message for all those who think they have nothing to fear from state surveillance of your private communications.

      Witness how Peter Dunne has also had his private email conversations with Andrea Vance spread about to embarrass and blackmail him.

      Good try joe.

      Now get lost.

      • Rosetinted 1.1.1

        Your link was interesting. I welcomed reading it because it is helpful to understanding differing viewpoints and the skew that can be put on Snowden’s actions. I don’t think that others should take negative positions against people who reveal the background to controversial actions.

        I don’t think he is going to be enjoying fame. But reading his past posts shows him to be an impulsive actor with emotional response, so perhaps if he looked at policies being adopted and found them far below the standard expected, he could act emotionally against them.

    • Te Reo Putake 1.2

      Nice work, Joe. I’ve been wondering what Snowden’s motivation was and had heard previously about his support of right wing loon Ron Paul. Ok, it’s possible that in the last 3 or 4 years he’s switched political positions, but more likely he’s just the same. It certainly makes Assange’s support for him more understandable, given that they seem to share the same individualist ideology.

      • Jenny 1.2.1

        Next week. With his express permission the GCSB reveal all Te Reo Putake’s past written correspondence, love letters, personal emails, facebook messages, blogpost comments, and any illicit photos, audio and video they hold, in an invitation for all trolls to pick apart to discredit him.

        • Te Reo Putake

          Point missed, Jenny. Your enemies enemy is not your friend. I’m interested in why Snowden did what he did. And what he hoped to acheive. I also find it fascinating that a whisleblower would seek asylum in countries like Russia who routinely kill whistleblowers.

          • tricledrown

            TRP your assuming the US and its allies and freinds don’t

          • Colonial Viper

            Lol mate the Snowden personal drama is relevant only to those who are keen to avoid focus on the material and substance of his revelations.

            Karol, good post, but you’re pushing the US MSM meme here.

            • karol

              CV, I can see what you mean by that. I was responding to the Al Jazeera segment this morning, and aiming to turn the “traitor” debate on its head, especially when I said this:

              Or an employee working for a state surveillance agency deciding to whistleblow because he thinks these agencies are betraying the trust invested in them on behalf of a democratic country?.

              But, maybe I was being a bit too subtle, or could have worded it better.

              However, I see Blue Leopard has picked up on this line below. @ 4.25pm.

          • Jenny

            Needs must. There can be very little doubt that Snowden is in mortal danger. And that his eventual fate hangs in the balance. And despite what you claim Snowden did not willingly seek safe in Russia. Did not choose to go there, and was forced by circumstance and lack of other options to attempt to transit through Russia. Unfortunately due to the machinations of the US state is now trapped there in limbo against his will.

            So what is his position and the position of the major players?


            Snowden has sought and been granted asylum in a number of sympathetic Latin American countries, most of whom have at one or or another, have been on the receiving end of US backed coups invasions or pressure.


            One of the three sympathetic to Snowden, Latin American countries that have promised Snowden asylum. However Venezuela defying US threats has gone one further in issuing Snowden temporary travel documents.


            Russia is playing real politic. Trying to placate the angry American Super Power by half heartedly distancing themselves from offering any overtly official support to Snowden. While at the same time trying to use Snowden as a bargaining chip.
            However just as the Communist Chinese rulers of Hong Kong were held captive by popular support for Snowden. Putin has to balance how the Russion people would react if Putin did a deal and handed Snowden over. Will the Russians risk US ire and possible trade repercussions if they let Snowden depart for Venezuela? Or will the Russian leadership risk a public back lash and loss of popular support if they arrest Snowden. He has committed no crimes in Russia and their is no legal precendent under which they could act against him that could not be challenged by his supporters in court. The Russians are caught in a cleft stick and so the impasse continues.

            The US:

            The American State Department has said that they will make every effort (presumably legal and illegal) to detain Snowden. Even vowing to to use their influence to force down planes that enter any US allied country’s airspace. Even diplomatically protected flights by heads of state have not proven immune to this threat. The secret links between allied government’s security agencies as shown here in the Dotcom raids show that this is no idle threat.

            How all this will be resolved is anyone’s guess.

            • Jenny

              How will the political impasse over Edward Snowden be resolved?

              There are three possibilities.

              The first is that it won’t be resolved, and that like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Snowden will remain trapped in the no man’s land of the Moscow airport departure transit lounge indefinitely.

              Two that the Russion government will hand over Snowden to the US.

              Three that some third force will intervene to see that Edward Snowden is free to continue his travel to safe haven in South America.

              In past eras, differences between the elites the world over, over someone like Snowden, would have been overcome through secret diplomatic channels, involving both pressure and threats, this would be followed by negotiation and agreed, secret reparations and/or removal of the threat. The final terms all agreed in secret behind closed doors.

              The sort of secret dirty dealing needed to override natural justice and normal jurisprudence and agreement to set aside the laws of the states involved. Would be followed up with some sort of face saving charade for public consumption to gloss over and quickly bury all the behind the scenes cloak and dagger treachery, threats, pressure, bribery and dirty wheeler dealing and corrupt bargaining.

              What comes to my mind is the deal worked out behind the scenes that saw New Zealand capitulate to France over the release of the convicted Rainbow warrior killers Mafart and Prieur. Marfart and Prieur had been sentenced to ten year prison sentences for their crime. New Zealand had them. France wanted them. The dirty deal was done.

              The prepared cover story for public consumption was that it was all decided by the UN in arbitration.

              However later when out of office the former United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar when asked to explain his binding decision to the release the convicted killers to France. De Cuellar explained that the terms of reference for the arbitration agreed to by the two countries, were so restrictive that his hands were tied. The deal to release Mafart and Prieur to France had been done well beforehand. Ultimately the Charade of UN arbitration was being performed to mollify public outrage against an already unpopular New Zealand government.

              However time has moved on, and we live in a surprising new era, where nothing is secret. Fortunately this is two way street. No longer is high level networking just the preserve of the world elites.

              This has seen a new force enter into national and international affairs, the networked masses.

              How will Snowden get out of the Moscow airport transit lounge and continue his journey to a safe haven of his own choice?

              The answer may well depend on the intervention of international “Team Edward”.

              • Jenny

                My aim in making comments on this issue, (as well as all others). Is to avoid if I can, commentary that just laments the facts. Instead I always endeavor to raise discussion around a program, or way forward, to resolve the question under discussion.

                Operation FOLLOW “Flight of Liberty” Over the World.

          • Tim

            I think that’s really quite simple TRP.
            When one feels at risk of somehow being ‘taken out/stifled/smothered/whatever’ by someone/something/some country, one might be tempted to seek haven somewhere that is perceived to be at odds with them.
            In this case – if he perceives that the Yanks or their allies are about to do him harm, then he’s naturally going to try and find somewhere that disagrees with the Yanks’ policies.
            No point in reading more than there is into it.

            Oh, and btw – what does it matter which side of the ‘left-right’ political spectrum (a simplistic means of categorisation these days anyway) he comes from?

            Oh Oh Oh – I see there are others that have put it better than I have below.

            • Populuxe1

              And isn’t so nice of the Russians to treat him so much better than Pussy Riot or LGBT Russians. Gosh I feel so warm and fuzzy right now.

              • Colonial Viper

                This is the thing: Pussy Riot got their time in a full court open to the public and media, and are now serving a very limited sentence in a standard prison.

                After watching Manning, I doubt that the USA will treat Snowden anywhere as nicely or as kindly.

                • Populuxe1

                  It was a show trial and they suffered brutal conditions and imprisonment simply for protesting. Snowden, on the other hand, has actually committed a crime in violating state secrecy. Don’t downplay it because it’s inconvenient for your hero worshipping

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Brutal conditions? Like being held without charge, continuous sleep deprivation, being forced to stand naked in stress positions, and being held in solitary incommunicado for days at a time?

                    Nah mate you don’t know what “brutal” is.

                    Snowden, on the other hand, has actually committed a crime in violating state secrecy.

                    So? According to you Snowden didn’t reveal a single thing that every thinking person in the world didn’t already know.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Actually, Pussy Riot were treated exactly like that you waste of space.
                      And wow, you are naive, aren’t you. You actually don’t understand this law stuff, do you – it doesn’t actually matter that he has revealed something most people have long suspected, he still broke the law doing it. Did you suddenly forget Waihopai existed? And if he’s only giving the media this tame shit, what might he have told the Russians and the Chinese?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Actually, Pussy Riot were treated exactly like that you waste of space.

                      Link please. Or it is you, my good sir, who is “full of shit”.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Because show trials and prison labour camps are just such a cakewalk

                    • karol

                      So, 2 Pussy Riot members were sentenced to 2 years in penal colonies in Russia, as on your WikiP link:

                      Tolokonnikova is incarcerated in IK-14, whereas Alyokhina was sent to IK-32 in Perm.[10] The latter is a colony for first-time offenders, which houses a sewing factory, and an experimental vocational program to re-train women prisoners to become digital cartoon animators.[103] Circumstances in IK-32 are relatively favorable, and neither prisoners nor human rights monitors have filed complaints about its conditions. Meanwhile, IK-14 has a harder reputation.[104]

                      In November 2012, Alyokhina requested to be voluntarily placed in solitary confinement, citing “strained relations” with her fellow prisoners.[105] Tolokonnikova also has experienced friction with inmates at IK-14, who have regarded her “at best with contempt, at worst with hostility”, according to a report by Aleksey Baranovsky, Coordinator of the Human Rights Center “Russian Verdict”. However, Tolokonnikova avoided the need for solitary confinement, through intervention on her behalf by “influential prisoners”, including Yevgenia Khasis, a neo-nazi ultranationalist who is serving an 18-year sentence in IK-14 for plotting the murder of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov.[106]

                      Exactly like Gitmo then? And exactly like, as you stated, pop,

                      Brutal conditions? Like being held without charge, continuous sleep deprivation, being forced to stand naked in stress positions, and being held in solitary incommunicado for days at a time?


                    • Populuxe1

                      I don’t imagine conditions are all that idyllic, karol, a bit better than the gulags of Solzhenitsyn’s time – but I do find it interesting that the narrative you seem to be buying into is that the conditions inflicted on Russian women for civil dissobedience is of lesser importance than might or might happen to bonnie prince Snowden for knowingly breaking the law. Internalising the misogyny much?

                    • karol

                      Pop, I was just responding to the comparison saying Gitmo conditions are exactly the same as what Pussy Riot internment conditions.

                      Once again you’ve just slid off in another direction when your statement is shown to be wanting.

                      Where did I say anywhere that Pussy Riot member’s internment is “idyllic”?

                      And still you fail to acknowledge that the US state surveillance systems breach their own values. Sometimes civil disobedience and law breaking is required to stand up to an unjust state – as the UK suffragettes did.

                      I should imagine Snowden doesn’t see the Russian state as “idyllic” either. But he has limited options – is probably why he is only seeking “temporary” asylum in Russia, and is trying to move elsewhere.

                      The US regime is pretty scary. Myself, I’d rather not have to choose between the US and Russia.

                  • Mike S

                    It’s not a crime if you are doing the right thing or what you truly believe to be the right thing.

                    Is it better that people know about the extent of corporate backed spying on US citizens and other countries citizens by their own government? Damn right it is, no crime there mate. The illegal spying is far more of a crime than telling people about it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Its been amazing to see how complicit the US and UK media has been. NY Times, BBC etc. giving totally minimal courage to the NSA factual revelations, and mostly just focussing on Snowden/Snowden asylum trivia.

          • Murray Olsen

            “I’m interested in why Snowden did what he did. And what he hoped to acheive. I also find it fascinating that a whisleblower would seek asylum in countries like Russia who routinely kill whistleblowers.”

            Maybe he wants to stay alive? Although a few countries might want to offer him asylum, what Snowden needs to stay alive is actually military protection. Basically this requires a country where the US and A would not send a drone or a special ops team. The intersection of these sets includes Russia and China. I can’t think of anyone else who would accept Snowden that the US would think twice about attacking in order to get their man. Snowden would have more information on this than either of us.

            If you were in his situation, where would you go?

            • Arfamo

              About a block away from the NSA headquarters if possible. Odds are they’d never look for him there.

      • Bill 1.2.2

        Given that ‘right’ libertarians claim to value individual freedom (we’ll forget about the chains of the market economy) and given that libertarians also value freedom, then it makes absolute sense for Snowden, who has made no secret of belonging to the former camp spilling the beans on the NSA. And given that Assange also values freedon but is from that strand of libertarianism that has deep historical roots in the left – it makes the common concern of both people over the NSA and Assange’s support of Snowdon’s actions perfectly undertstandable in spite of the gulf that seperates their political standpoints.

        I mean, you do appreciate how vast the divide is between the self professed political ideologies of these two men, aye? And you do know that your own position sits within one of the authoritarian ‘filler’ ideologies that wedge that distance, aye?

        Anyway. The Peoples’ View website is a strange one that I’d be wary of in terms of veracity. But even if their web dialogue is genuine, who gives a fuck? Are we saying that only mythical angels who are sans any and all blemishes can do good things?

        • Rosetinted

          How many people constitute the backing of ‘The Peoples View’. One, three, an obedient cult, the Status Quo party who hate examination of present measures?

          • Bill

            Oh, I dunno about the numbers. And in this instance I don’t think it matters. All I know from persusing the ‘About’ page is that Spandan Chakrabarti has political views in line with the Democratic Party (‘deeply zealous about liberal Democratic activism’ no less) and so has every motivation in the world to peddle any line that would undermine attempts to challenge the legitimacy or perceived goodness of the US political system.

            On other matters, ie those within the ‘safe zone’ of social democratic discourse, I’d guess that site could be quite informative, even confrontational and critical. But when we get to the heart of the matter? It’s essentially conservative – or reactionary (bearing in mind a previous discussion on those terms and depending on which definition of those terms you might ascribe to).

        • Populuxe1

          And yet he had absolutely no problem doing the exact same dirty work for George W Bush

          So basically his motivation looks like he’s a Republican shill who only did this to discredit a Democrat presidency. And he has still to actually reveal anything most intelligent people had worked out long ago.

          • Colonial Viper

            Ahh right, the ‘nothing to see here’ talking point. Thanks mate. By the way, they’ve got all your user names, logins and credit card numbers (including the little digits on the back). Don’t rock the boat too much eh.

            • Populuxe1

              What are you, CV, six? Firstly it is entirely relevant to the discussion of Snowden’s politics and secondly bully for them – I think they’ll find it all pretty boring. They might enjoy some of the p0rn I suppose. I’m not a very high risk asset – but you on the other hand…

            • Mike S

              Yup and no doubt along with the old ‘nothing to see here’, he pushes the old ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about’ shite also.

      • RedLogix 1.2.3

        Or to put Bill’s excellent comment above into a nutshell .. who cares what their motivations are?

        All that really matters is that their actions have been so enormously powerful.

        Maybe a few of us around here could do with some of this libertarian passion and consecration to their cause. (Not excluding myself either…)

        • Te Reo Putake

          Wow, that’s pretty interesting RL. I would have thought motivation was essential to understanding Snowden’s actions. Or are you saying Snowden is just a ‘useful idiot?

          • RedLogix

            Let’s imagine for a moment that it turns out Assange and Snowden both turn out to be paid for Russian and Chinese moles who are traitors in the plain ordinary sense of the word.

            Now how does that change the nature of the information that they have revealed?

            Does it make for instance the revealed scope of the NSA’s surveillance any less or somehow more justified?

            • Te Reo Putake

              First question: I don’t see that it changes the nature of the information. That stands in its own right.

              2nd: The release of the info and the info itself are seperate matters.

              The guts of it for me is that I’m interested in why. I want to work out the politics of the action; that’s just the way I am. You appear more interested in the what, rather the why. Not irreconcilable positions in my opinion. I’m starting to think that this is a rightwing political action; a digital bomb thrown under the Arch-Duke’s carriage, if you like. If I’m correct, then the next step is develop a left wing analysis of the implications.

              • Colonial Viper

                Bloody nonsense mate. Working out Snowden’s personal politics is trying to divine from the shit on the bottom of your shoes.

                Especially since he’s already explained his politics.

                If you were being in the least bit serious, you would be trying to figure out the politics of the reaction from the US and the EU, instead of that of one powerless stateless man.

              • Colonial Viper

                Also, left and right wing analyses of the US political parties is fading into extreme irrelevance. They are two sides of the same coin; the Obama Administration is Bush on steroids in all the ways which matter.

                • Poission

                  Obama Administration is Bush on steroids in all the ways which matter.

                  bushs 4th term.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Except for the healthcare reforms, gay marriage and stuff

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You got your gay marriage, and they even have a full record of your plans to propose, your list of wedding guests, the spats over the final arrangements, and what your guests said about you behind your back during and afterwards.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Yet not actually addressing the fact that in terms of social reform the Obama presidency is very different from the Dubbyah one. But hey, ‘Murika.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Social reform is fine, as long as it stays well out of the way of the Banksters and the Shadow intelligence government within a government.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I’d say that the two US parties are the same side of the same coin. Same could be said of National and Labour.

              • RedLogix

                I’m starting to think that this is a rightwing political action; a digital bomb thrown under the Arch-Duke’s carriage, if you like.

                While his motivation may be right wing … so far the evidence is that Snowden has acted pretty much in isolation. One man is scarcely a ‘wing’ of anything.

                Back in the day I used to tangle with Redbaiter and even though we saw everything from completely opposed perspectives, there were the odd moments when I had the sense that we had ‘backed into each other’ as it were.

                Even though right and left wingers view things via completely different lenses, and each come to different interpretations … if they are sincere in their motives, they can agree that it’s the same objects which are in view.

                • Colonial Viper

                  One thing I have learnt in this – under no circumstances should the state or its agents have a massive and unaccountable power differential over its citizens.

                  As in the case where they know everything you do and everyone you talk to, and you know nothing of what the state does and who they talk to.

                  Don’t give a damn whether the government of the day is right wing or left, bind every government down with enforced limitations of due process, transparency and judicial review.

                  • RedLogix

                    Fine sentiments that I agree with completely CV.

                    But … (you knew there had to be one coming) … all governments know how to easily defeat any such bindings, and that is to invoke the spectre of a real or (preferably) perceived enemy.

                    It’s been said many times before, but the USA made exactly, precisely the 180 deg wrong response to 9/11. By massively ramping up their military and security response they handed the victory to bin Laden on a plate. They inflicted vastly more harm on themselves than any conceivable external threat could have ever achieved. Many times over.

                    The correct response was to say:

                    “This was a brutally tragic day for America. We will bury and mourn our dead with the dignity they deserve. We will pursue the perpetrators of this crime with the full vigour of due legal process. We will seek this in the memory and honour of our fallen.

                    But if you imagine you have hurt America you are wrong. If you think you can loosen our grip on our ideals with this puny flea-prick, think again. Our nation was founded on principles that stand vastly more firm than a few tall buildings. The elders of nation have paid for it’s freedom with sacrifice of lives even greater than today’s. Today’s generation, while bloodied and grieving, will pay that same price willingly.

                    You think to have struck against the roots of democracy and freedom. In our turn we will water them all the more freely.”

                    This would not have been impossible. The American people are not all fools, nor blind patriots. There was a few weeks in which there was an open window to appeal to their greater sense of honour and moral courage. It was slammed shut instead.

                    That is the conundrum CV.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Within a year or two of 9/11 Gen Wesley Clark was saying publicly (you can find it on YouTube) that senior administration officials were chomping at the bit to implement a long standing ‘go to war with 5 countries in 7 years’ plan.

                      This is a whole level beyond what we have come to know as “disaster capitalism”.

          • Molly

            I find myself in sympathy with both viewpoints from RL and TRP, and don’t believe that they are mutually exclusive.

            I agree with RL in that IF the information is correct then it is a powerful action in and of itself, regardless of who provides it.

            I also am cynical enough to require some sort of authentication of source before moving on that information, just like TRP.

            I am reminded of a Abe Lincoln quote I came across in a book, which I found repeated on this blog using Google:
            “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything.”

            It strikes me that information released or actions taken, when supported by the populace can take on lives of their own, and achieve much more than originally intended by the person/s responsible. Abe Lincoln’s stand on emancipation created a starting point for the civil right’s movement, and this has achieved outcomes other than he could have anticipated, or perhaps desired.

            So, is he a paragon of equality or a closet racist?

            Perhaps, like most of us he is a human of contradictions, and our need to quantify him is indicative of our own human natures.

            The same could be applied to Edward Snowden – he might be a subversive with ulterior motives, or he just might be an idiot that has done the right thing.

        • Jenny

          Edward Snowden NSA insider and whistleblower wants to reveal to the world details of the extraordinary and vast, intrusive and illegal, internal and international, spy net emanating from Washington and enmeshing governments and secret security forces around the world.

          The astonishing lengths being taken to shut him up, to keep these revelations secret.

          The sheer monumental hypocrisy and arrogance of the guilty agencies responsible, desperately trying to protect their own secrets, while arguing that they should have even more powers to pry into everyone’s private emails and phone messages.

          How will it all end?

          Will Snowden be delivered upto the US Gulag to be kept in solitary isolation and incommunicado for decades, if not forever?

          Will the spies and spooks and their local stooges and agents be confounded and exposed as working against their own peoples interests?

          Will Edward Snowden ever make safe haven in Venezuela?

          Will people around the world get to know the full extent of their own national governments complicity and partnership with the secret international US spy program?

          What might we find out about the illegal Dot Com raids?

          Or the admitted by the police illegal actions taken during the “Terror Raids” against leftists and Maori nationalists?

          Will Snowden’s revelations include the details of the 88 New Zealanders illegally spied on?

          Will Snowden be able to tell us if the illegally gained information on these individuals was then illegally forwarded to the NSA?

      • Morrissey 1.2.4

        I’ve been wondering what Snowden’s motivation was…

        What does his “motivation” matter? Surely what matters is that he has provided irrefutable evidence of massive criminal enterprise by the United States government.

        If you were in any way serious, you would be concerned about the criminal activity he has exposed. Whether he is a supporter of Ron Paul, Ralph Nader or Barack “Martin Luther Mandela” Obama is not the issue.

        It is a concern to me to see just how easily diverted you are.

        • Colonial Viper

          Exactly. The people going on about Snowden’s “politics” “motivations” etc are too scared to look at the substance and implications on all political parties and all politicians of what he has revealed.

          • Bill

            From a certain perspective….shame he isn’t a bit ego centric and have sex (preferably, possibly of a questionable nature) with some people just before he spilled the beans…cos then shit could be thrown and the whole debate wonderfully derailed and surfacing issues buried back beneath an elevated debate centering on personal moral rectitude.

        • Populuxe1

          What diversion? Most of us can think about more than one thing. People like you star trying to forbid what people may or may not discuss if it threatens to blot your precious hagiography

          • Morrissey

            What diversion?

            Diverting attention from the criminals to the people who exposed the criminals. It’s an old trick, perfected in Soviet Russia, and it’s being carried out astutely by the Obama regime. Thanks to useful idiots like yourself, the criminals are not even mentioned in 95 per cent of the discourse. Mission Accomplished, as one of your comrades put it about another illegal enterprise a few years ago.

            Most of us can think about more than one thing.

            Well, no you can’t. From the very first day that Snowden made the headlines, you were diligently repeating ad hominem nonsense about him. You have never once written anything critical of the criminal activities he has exposed. So much for your self-assessed multi-tasking skills.

            People like you star [sic] trying to forbid what people may or may not discuss

            Unlike the U.S. government and its minions, I do not want to forbid discussion of anything.

            …if it threatens to blot your precious hagiography

            My “hagiography”? You’ve been listening to Alex Gibney!

            • Populuxe1

              “Diverting attention from the criminals to the people who exposed the criminals. It’s an old trick, perfected in Soviet Russia, and it’s being carried out astutely by the Obama regime. Thanks to useful idiots like yourself, the criminals are not even mentioned in 95 per cent of the discourse. Mission Accomplished, as one of your comrades put it about another illegal enterprise a few years ago.”

              If the information leaked by Snowden does indeed stand on its own merit, there can’t be any harm in analysing Snowden’s motivations for doing so. It would be a very boring world if we couldn’t.

              “Well, no you can’t. From the very first day that Snowden made the headlines, you were diligently repeating ad hominem nonsense about him. You have never once written anything critical of the criminal activities he has exposed. So much for your self-assessed multi-tasking skills.”

              Yes – I get pleasure from arguing the contrary because not to would be to embrace the stifling complacency of an echo chamber. Nor. do I need to write things that others have already written – unlike you, I don’t regard shrill copypasta as particularly interesting

              “Unlike the U.S. government and its minions, I do not want to forbid discussion of anything.”

              Then respectfully you shouldn’t be having a hissyfit about what people choose to discuss then.

    • Sable 1.3

      Probably American. Its OK Joe, go and watch Fox News and you’ll feel better in no time.

    • @ joe90,

      The article you provide seems to be simply an ad hominem attack.

      Regardless of Snowden’s political views, he has leaked very telling information, and the ‘American’ response is also very telling.

      This is not a left wing vs right wing issue. If someone wishes to make it that way, I suggest that they are conducting a ‘divide and rule’ approach.

      No matter what one’s political leanings are, I would hope that everyone would be united in their concern about the breaches of rights that this spying-on-everyone approach is involving.

      • Colonial Viper 1.4.1


        No democracy is possible with this level of absolute surveillance covering the activities, networks and communications of every politician, judge, lawyer, political candidate, corporate director, doctor and military general.

        • blue leopard

          ..ergo we have even less effective democracy than we thought we had.

          …what were those wars about in Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other places again?

          I know they were about democracy…thort they were all about spreading our wundaful system of democracy

          …however I now realise ah musta gotten my wires crossed (only metaphorical; not referring to any spying network mishandling my private information…) ….ah guess ah probably misred the papers or sumthink…ah guess now the wors were all about Amerika & Grate Britin looking around to find out where their democracy had gone missing…ah guess sumone high up somewhere thort that maybe the Arabs were hiding it somewhere…..

  1. Yoza 2

    What was truly appalling was the collusion of the Spanish, French and Portuguese governments forcing Evo Morales’ plane to land in Austria, then the Austrians, suspecting Snowden was on board, searching the plane.

    The arrogance of the US state seems to be quite justified when placed in the context of the sniveling cowardice of the Spanish, French, Portuguese and Austrian administrations, although I have no doubt upper echelons of New Zealand’s public service have been conditioned to reflexively defer to US orders – Nicky Hagar’s Other People’s Wars demonstrated as much.

    In the US there were media outlets calling for Glen Greenwald to be arrested just for interviewing Snowden and publishing details of his plight. When the corporate media in the US is working hand in glove with that country’s security apparatus to crucify a dissenting voice through all manner of character assassination the really big surprise is that anyone there thinks Snowden is more whistle-blower than traitor.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      The Austrians were quite within their rights to search the plane. This works both ways. Should CIA planes be subject to the same rules, for example?

      • Yoza 2.1.1

        Really, so you could imagine a scenario where Air Force 1 (the US president’s plane) was refused air space and forced to land in an unscheduled port then forcefully boarded by that country’s security agents.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          The country that owns the airspace has the right to demand that the plane “make a landing”.

          But I hear what you’re saying. The US bullies other nations in its aim to achieve “full spectrum dominance”. This is widely regarded as “a bad thing”.

          Why would they force Airforce One down when the illegal prisoners are on CIA planes? Good grounds for a search warrant, that. I note there are European warrants out for the arrest of named CIA employees.

        • Bill

          It was officials from a third country (Spain) who turned up and demanded to search Morales’ plane in Austria. Which, y’know, is just fucking wierdly fucked up.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            Perhaps they were looking to check some information they’d received and they had enough cause to distrust the source that they had to check themselves. If they were looking for Snowden, perhaps they think he’s a potential material witness in their ongoing investigation into CIA activities.

            Weird times in Europe indeed.

            • Bill

              Sorry, what?!!!

              Spanish officials assume authority on Austrian soil with regards a Presidential jet and bearing in mind all that stuff surrounding diplomatic immunity and safe passage etc, and that is acceptable given the ‘correct’ imagined pretext? That’s what you’re saying here, right?

              I’m speechless.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Nope, in fact I didn’t say any of it was “acceptable” at all. Would you like to try again?

                • Bill

                  Oh, I see now. Missed the intended sarcasm.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    Not really, I’m just saying the Spanish may not have been there on US business, in light of their ongoing investigations into US business.

                    • Bill

                      And they would have the right to extend their jurisdiction to Austria…how? I mean, next time Australian or French authorities turn up at my door I ought to just let them walk on in? Because, like, NZ law and NZ authorities are only one of of a number of different (and doubtless contradictory) systems of law/authority that I must account to who all operate freely within NZ borders?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Forcing down a diplomatic flight is an act of war. Think about it.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      CV: invoking article 5 of the Chicago Convention is an act of war? Are you sure?

                      Bill, I can’t see how the Spanish would extend their jurisdiction into Austria, no. Morales’ account of the Spanish ambassador turning up with the request is hardy evidence of that though.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Deliberate actions endangering an air force jet on a mission of peace and carrying the leader of a sovereign nation.

                      What more do you need for a casus belli?

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      What more do you need to declare war on Spain, CV? Or the USA? I can see you’ve really thought this through.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      What more do you need to declare war on Spain, CV? Or the USA? I can see you’ve really thought this through.

                      Hey mate, screw you.

                • Sable

                  Maybe you should stop writing before the hole gets any bigger.

                  Spain was the last country in the world to garrotte (read medieval torture) a political activist in the 1970’s, Puig Antich, to death on trumped up charges. A crime the Spanish government have NEVER apologised for.

                  Spain was also more recently responsible for jailing a legitimate journalist because he had the temerity to meet with Osama Bin Laden as part of his legitimate work. This was again a “trumped up” charge brought at the behest of the US who have a hard on for newspaper Al-Jazeera because they don’t report in a way the US likes, that is to say they tell the truth.

                  Austria like Germany has had an American influence since WW2 so there behaviour is not surprising either. Especially given Austria’s pro fascist inclinations which continue to this day in their political system. France too in spite of crap about “liberty, equality and fraternity” is very pro fascist so their co operation is no surprise either.

                  Portugal I find hardest to comprehend save its a relatively poor country and may have had its arm bent or bought by the US.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    The problem you’ve got here is the part where you imagine I disagree with you. I just don’t think there’s any point in alleging any law has been broken. Read the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation if you don’t believe me.

                    There are all sorts of reasons a country might not want a plane flying through its airspace. For example, they’ve just had a call from the US ambassador who’s informed them that if the plane enters their airspace and they do not force it to land and search it X will happen.

                    Now, you or I for example, would tell the US ambassador to go screw himself and scramble jets to ensure Morales’ plane safe passage. Can you see any reasons the Spanish, say, wouldn’t want to get involved?

                  • Poission

                    Austria like Germany has had an American influence since WW2 so there behaviour is not surprising either.

                    Different beast entirely.The Austrian neutrality act of 1955 was a Russian forced mechanism to create a neutral geographical wall through Europe eg Switzerland,Austria Yugoslavia a dampening sponge to counter excesses between NATO and the Warsaw pact group.Molotov was the architect.There is a very good read on this by Freeman Dyson in the Templeton lectures ( of camels and swords)

                    • rosy

                      “Austria like Germany has had an American influence since WW2 so there behaviour is not surprising either. Especially given Austria’s pro fascist inclinations which continue to this day in their political system”

                      Or for a brief outline of the Declaration of Neutrality see wiki. It’s a seriously important part of the Austrian national identity – well, Vienna at least. seeing that’s my experience I won’t speak for how the rest of the country celebrates the day on 26th Oct.

                      Austria has had not just a US influence, but a U.S., British AND USSR influence since WW2 until 1955. It would not be an independent nation without the Declaration of Neutrality.

                      I don’t know that much about it, but I believe your paragraph is not a fair reflection of how politics operates over here.

                      Although there is a pro-fascist influence in Austrian politics I think calling it an inclination in national terms is not quite right. Vienna has since WW1, with the exception of WW2 and its aftermath, voted in a leftist government. The rest of Austria is more variable but usually there has been a left/right coalition. The Jorg Haiders haven’t been in charge that much – Nor has his policies ever been widely accepted. The last time the far right was anywhere near power was as a minor coalition partner ending in 2007. NZ anti-immigrant NZ First was in coalition later than that.

                      I made a mistake once and called the Austrian conservative party ‘blue’ (as in NZ’s National Party is blue) when its colour is black, and the extreme right is blue. That led to a very interesting and informative ‘discussion’ although heated, the views were no worse than (or should I say just as bad as) anything I’ve heard at dinner tables in NZ.

                      btw the policies of the grand coalition (conservative and socialist parties) here are further to the left than anything Labour in NZ is promising. Somehow, at the same time as forming coalitions there is also much greater differentiation between left and right. Mayday, or example is something for leftist to rejoice, unlike in diffident NZ, I think because of party politics at the local government level.

                      The politics of the election this year are getting a bit more complicated with a Canadian/Austrian neolib throwing his hat in the political ring and the Greens holding on to 15% in the polls. But the inclination you describe seems to me no worse than in NZ, the far right is just more vocal, as is the far left.

              • Sable

                Well he does call himself Knuckehead (wink)

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        The Austrians were quite within their rights to search the plane.

        Fuck off.

        It is against the Vienna Convention of diplomatic and international protocols to conduct a search of a diplomatic mission or embassy. Which is exactly what Morales air force jet was.

        Get it right, OAK.

        • Populuxe1

          Then why did Morales allow it? It’s the EU, they’re not going to kidnap him.

          • Colonial Viper

            The EU has co-operated with hundreds of extraordinary renditions over the last ten years.

            • Populuxe1

              He’s the fucking president of a sovereign nation – they aren’t going to risk that and only a true moron would think they might.

              • Colonial Viper

                LOL mate you better study up what the US has done with a long list of unsuitable leaders of sovereign nations in the sometimes not distant past. Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Australia…

                • Populuxe1

                  Pretty sure none of that was conducted in full public scrutiny in an EU country, and bringing up Harold Holt in that list just proves you to be a conspiracy nutbar – but then we know you’re a Truther, so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    100% totalitarian state surveillance against ordinary citizens is being conducted in those EU countries. It also seems that elected governments and their agencies were completely aware of it as well. And that’s what we know about at this stage.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Goodness me, is that what the CCTV cameras everywhere is all about. It still has nothing at all to do with the vast unlikelihood that Morales was in any danger. Truther. Go on, tell me the one about 9/11 again.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Being denied planned refuelling stops and having to improvise a new flight plan in mid air is a major safety incident.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Yes, CV! So when the Spanish ambassador and his thugs forced their way onto the plane they were breaking the law, eh.

          All you need now is the part where that actually happened.

    • Sable 2.2

      Agreed they are amoral cowards and US sycophants just like our current pack of political stooges.

  2. Jenny 3

    Us tries to tighten net around Snowden.

    Snowden responds with a press conference.

    Moscow airport 1 hour ago.


    After complaining that his communications to The Guardian newspaper had been blocked. Edward Snowden invites human rights activists and journalists to a press conference at the Moscow airport transit hotel where he has become “trapped” and unable to travel onward.

    Hours before Barack Obama was due to speak with Vladimir Putin on the telephone, senior US officials publicly chided Moscow for facilitating the high-profile event.

    The US State Department says the meeting shouldn’t have taken place.

    “We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport’s transit zone to meet with Mr Snowden despite the government’s declaration of Russia’s neutrality with respect to Mr Snowden,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

    Meanwhile, the White House says President Barack Obama is due to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone later.

    The US government has also issued threats to any country that aids Snowden

    Relations with any country seen to be helping the former NSA contractor would be “in a very bad place for a long time to come”, the official said.

    At a State Department press conference, chief spokesperson Jen Psaki said the US was disappointed that Russia appeared to have facilitated Snowden’s high-profile meeting with human rights activists.

    Echoing the language used by the White House, she said: “Our concern here is [Snowden] has been provided this opportunity to speak in a propaganda platform, that Russia has played a role in facilitating this, that others have helped elevate this,” she said.

    She said that Moscow’s handling of the case risked damaging its relationship with the US, but added: “we are not at this point yet”.

    Psaki said that Russia “still has the opportunity to do the right thing and help return Mr Snowden to the US”.


    US whistleblower Edward Snowden has been meeting human rights groups at Moscow airport to discuss what he called threatening and illegal behaviour by the United States to prevent him gaining asylum, according to the Guardian website.

    Earlier on Friday, in a letter sent to a Human Rights Watch official, the former intelligence agency contractor said that he had invited human rights groups to meet at Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport where he has been holed up since he flew to Moscow from Hong Kong last month.

    In his letter, Snowden said “The scale of threatening behaviour is without precedent: never before in history have states conspired to force to the ground a sovereign president’s plane to effect a search for a political refugee”, referring to the denial of airspace by a number of European countries to Bolivian President Evo Morales.


    Snowden has received a temporary travel document to fly to Caracas, Venezuela, and both Bolivia and Nicaragua have also offered him political asylum, but White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters during his regular briefing that the United States will do what it can to stop him.

    • Sable 3.1

      So Snowden stays in Russia. Putin has no love for the US and they are militarily powerful so the US government may be stuffed. Moreover, Latin America is unstable with parties at opposite ends of the political spectrum , much like NZ. So Snowden might be safe there in the short term but probably not the long term. Russia is a better bet and I wonder if this clever young man did not know this when he touched down. Just took creating the right circumstance to engineer his long term stay there.

      In any case a very brave man to stand up to a pack of cowardly tyrants. I think Putin would not suffer at all in the eyes of the world by supporting him.

      • Populuxe1 3.1.1

        This would be the same Putin responsible for the Pussy Riot show trial, legalising the persecution of LGBT Russians, and is still conducting a brutal war against Chechnya? Oh yeah, he’s such a hero and defender of freedom.

        • Colonial Viper

          Did you hear Putin say somewhere that he was a heroic defender of freedom, democracy and human rights? Because that is the role the USA proclaims for itself around the world.

          • Populuxe1

            Sable: “I think Putin would not suffer at all in the eyes of the world by supporting him.”
            That’s what I was responding to.
            And so fucking what? That retarded “X isn’t so bad because America is evil” shit may work for that mendacious old fart Chomsky and his gullible adorers, but please don’t inflict a similar anti-logic of straw men and silly comparisons on me – I’m trying to keep my lunch down.

        • Poission

          Putin responsible for the Pussy Riot show trial, legalising the persecution of LGBT Russians, and is still conducting a brutal war against Chechnya?

          Chechen” s make up the bulk of non arab fighters in Syria.Like the Saudi and Pakistani elements they are the main players in Drug distribution and trafficking into Europe ,the US and Russia.The funding for the mercenaries is on the Afghan product that has increased under US occupation and product for weapons is mostly through NATO controlled regions of the former Yugoslavia and Albania.

          Similarly in Iraq


  3. Poission 4

    “We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport’s transit zone to meet with Mr Snowden despite the government’s declaration of Russia’s neutrality with respect to Mr Snowden,

    One hour later Putin activated an emergency drill for the Russian East command,sending all military units to their training grounds.Which includes air unit activation and close surveillance of civilian aircraft ( US) with overflight passage.

  4. Sable 5

    You can thank the appalling right wing media in America for the ignorance of the American public. Of course, given they make the news its hard to know if the public in that country really are that naïve or are just being presented that way by the US “gutter press” to justify the wonton criminality of holding an innocent bystander to a crime guilty for exposing the criminals (the US government and its confederates).

    I do remember encountering substantial hostility from fellow posters on one US owned IT site when I suggested that Skype the internet chat program was in bed with the NSA (there is substantial evidence to this effect) and that by extension Microsoft can not be trusted. One or two posters “went berserk” and I found comment after comment hotly refuting my claim. This took place even after I posted links to credible sites outlining the story as well.

    So it may be there is genuine ignorance on the part of the public in the US and equally perhaps an unwillingness to face the bitter truth that they live under the heel of a government run by tyrants.

    • Bill 5.1

      and equally perhaps an unwillingness to face the bitter truth…

      Like the “proud liberal and proud American who believes in pragmatic solutions” sitting behind the ‘The People’s View’ that Joe90 linked to above, who is conservative enough to proclaim that they are “deeply zealous about liberal Democratic activism”…ie, defenders of ‘the faith’ and the ‘unquestional rightness’ of the US political establishment, its motivations and intentions?

      Yup. I think you’re probably right.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Left wing authoritarians with a hyped up faith in Government activities, basically. Get on YouTube and listen to some Glenn Greenwald if you haven’t already.

        • Sable

          If you think nothing can change then why are you here? Nothing objective about “left-wing authoritarians” either. You have an opinion, that’s clear and I suspect its on the right side of the street, its just easier to tear other people down than to have the courage to stand up and say what you stand for.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    June 2011: Microsoft obtains a patent for “legal intercept” technology designed to be used with services like Skype to “silently copy” communications. -Slate

    Heres the the US patent held by Microsoft.

    Aspects of the subject matter described herein relate to silently recording communications. In aspects, data associated with a request to establish a communication is modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent. Modification may include, for example, adding, changing, and/or deleting data within the data. The data as modified is then passed to a protocol entity that uses the data to establish a communication session. Because of the way in which the data has been modified, the protocol entity selects a path that includes the recording agent. The recording agent is then able to silently record the communication.

    US Patents

    THis is how its done!!

    • Poission 6.1

      The concluding response from Microsoft nz is telling.

      There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely . That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.”

      or to put it another way NZ parliamentary sovereign immunity does not count.


      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Microsoft makes a lot of money from government contracts, including assisting the NSA to incorporate their code into every version of Windows since ’95.

        • Sable

          Yes, no secret there chum and shucks since they have been at it for ages its quite alright and gee, gosh, silly old lefties for making such a fuss. As I said state your opinion if you actually have one.

          • Colonial Viper

            So, are you an inquisitor or a prosecutor? What is your opinion, if you actually have one?

            At least people living in Germany in the 1960’s knew that they were being constantly watched and their conversations recorded down.

    • Mike S 6.2

      Scary stuff, as is this:

      The world’s most common RFID chip is manufactured by applied digital solutions, Verichip digital angel.

      They merged with AT&T in 2001. In 2008 the US Federal Communications Commission had an auction of the 700mghz spectrum of the digital signal. AT&T bought enough of that spectrum to cover 90% of the US population.

      Applied digital solutions has sold 9 billion worth of their technology to the UK ministry of defense which will allow them to turn rfid chips on or off remotely without having to worry about where a reader is located. It would seem that chip reader distances will no longer be a problem (due to compulsory switch to digital tv with a set top box for every household).

      comcast is the largest cable operator and internet service provider in the US. Comcast has openly admitted they are installing cameras on their new set top boxes which will make use of body form recognition software to ‘initially’ provide custom taylored services and advertising.

      Keeping in mind that patents are usually applied for once the technology has proved itself to be viable via testing.

      Check out the following US Patents.

      US patent 6506148
      US patent 6488617
      US patent 5159703

      Some of the technology documented uses more bandwidth than the analogue signal can provide so needs to be used via a digital signal. Just a coincidence that New Zealand, USA, Australia, Canada and the UK etc are going compulsory digital TV signal? Think about it, why are our governments so keen to give us a clearer more highly defined experience, because they care about our viewing experience?? There’s more at stake than selling off analogue frequencies.

  6. Secrecy of governments are increasing.


    I accept that some secrecy is required.
    However, too much secrecy, indicates that governments/States, no longer trust the people they are put in place to represent.

    FACT: This is a condition that entirely disables democracy.


    If representatives of the people, no longer trust those who they are there to represent, and feel the need to have them spied on 24 hours a day, then how the heck are they able to effectively represent them?

    This issue is all about legitimacy.

    Why should people continue to trust government actors if government actors don’t trust people?

    My answer is that people are fools to continue to trust government actors under these conditions.

    The secrecy, we are being told is “required to protect national security” is in actuality being caused by pathetic, aggressive, and lacking any intelligence political foreign policies that are creating damage to many people/countries and creating understandable hostility to Western countries. i.e. These policies are creating enemies.

    I ask my government and America to address these pathetic mind-numbingly unintelligent foreign policies before they expect me or anyone else to consider that the power that people have given them and that is now being abused can be in anyway considered legitimate use of power. It is not.

    Additionally, there is also a huge level of psychotic paranoia involved in our National Security issues, where America (in particular) and Western countries such as NZ (in general…acting like sheep) create imaginary enemies such as The Communists The Terrorists. This appears to have the delightful effect of keeping the enormously monolithic, inefficient, expensive and non-freedom-loving military-industrial machine running.

    Anyone who speaks out on such matters is most certainly not a traitor.

    The traitors are the people supporting this paranoid destructive approach to politics, feeding it and continuing it.

    The manner in which ‘America’ is responding to Edward Snowden’s actions has no place in the social contract; it is completely removed from the principles that our society is governed by.

  7. karol 8

    Anyone who speaks out on such matters is most certainly not a traitor.

    The traitors are the people supporting this paranoid destructive approach to politics, feeding it and continuing it.

    The manner in which ‘America’ is responding to Edward Snowden’s actions has no place in the social contract; it is completely removed from the principles that our society is governed by.

    Agreed. Well said, Blue Leopard.

    Also, the “representatives” no no longer represent the 99%, but are aiming more to support the 1%

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      The top 5% are merely better paid lackeys who keep the system running, and who on the whole, are smart enough to realise that they benefit from supporting the status quo to the best of their ability.

      However it is the top 0.01% who really run things.

      Also I wouldn’t be too hard on our democratic “representatives”. Nowadays it is very clear that President Kennedy had fuck all space to move inbetween the CIA, the Pentagon, and the private sector military contractors.

      • blue leopard 8.1.1

        “Nowadays it is very clear that President Kennedy had fuck all space to move inbetween the CIA, the Pentagon, and the private sector military contractors.”

        Yes, and neither does Snowden, now that he has spoken.

        It is the people who stand up despite the dangers, who are going to ensure this corruption won’t last. The more who speak out, the less the real traitors can continue in their traitorous ways. That is why the real traitors hate these heros.

        Any condemnation in the main stream of Snowden, Assange and co, should just be seen as the whinging of very unpleasant, thoughtless people who have had it far too good for far too long.

    • Thanks Karol, and for keeping our minds on this issue.

      I was quite surprised when your article said that more Americans though Snowden a traitor, I thought it was a spelling error(!), because I was viewing RT channel last night, where it was conveyed that 55% of Americans supported Snowden’s actions.

      Have done a google search and it seems very conflicting results are being recorded.

      ….kinda shows how polls are being used for propaganda purposes really doesn’t it?

      • karol 8.2.1

        Actually, yes I agree, BL.

        My opening paragraph was referring to what a commentator on Al Jazeera said this morning, about the polls. In my post, I should probably also have stated at the beginning that a recent poll says 55% of US-ians don’t think he’s a traitor.

        I do quote from an article about that 55% poll further down in my post. And some polls show a shift more in favour of Snowden.

        Agreed about the use of polls for propaganda.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.2

        Interesting how the (supposedly liberal/left wing) Huffington Post has put the Snowden reappearance story way down the page and framed it as Snowden asking Russia for help…

        • Sable

          There’s nothing left wing about the Huffington Post-conservative values all the way old boy.

      • karol 8.2.3

        Have edited the post, now, to add a mention of the 55% for Snowden in the opening paragraph.

        • blue leopard

          @ Karol,

          I wasn’t actually criticising your article, however I do think it is good to have both those statistics provided, very cool edit, thank you!

          • karol

            BL, you just drew my attention to a short-coming in the post. I usually try to state the key points in a post in the first/lead paragraph. It can influence how people read the rest of the post. I had put the 55% poll later in the post, and it should have been flagged in the lead paragraph.

            The MSM is very good at skewing an article to one (conservative) view in the lead, then slipping in the opposing view later in the article. They thus give primacy to the more conservative position, and undermining the left wing one – while also being able to claim they have provided “balance” by including “both sides”.

  8. Jenny 9

    Latin American countries stand up to EU and US bullying tactics. Particularly the insult handed to the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales whose plane was forced down and searched in Austria. On suspicion that Edward Snowden was on board.


  9. Poission 10

    oh dear Telstra has opened the doors for a very large class action.as telecom uses the same cables I cannot see them from being exempt.


    Start selling shares in telcos and US based technology stocks its coming.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      I’ve been looking forwards to doing more face to face catching up with people anyways.

  10. Poission 11

    Kim dot-com makes guest appearance at US Berlin embassy.

    Everything is connected.


    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Poission. This is the one you want. I can only imagine how pissed the American embassy staff were.

  11. BLiP 12

    Great article in Time about this . . .

    . . . On the run in a Hong Kong hotel room, Snowden explained in a video interview the reasons for his actions, with pride and a hint of serenity, even as he described how he could be killed, secretly “rendered” by the CIA or kidnapped by Chinese mobsters for what he had done. He characterized the surveillance systems he exposed as “turnkey tyranny” and warned of what would happen if the safeguards now in place ever fell away. He hoped to force a public debate, to set the information free. “This is the truth. This is what is happening,” he said of the documents he had stolen and released. “You should decide whether we need to be doing this.”

    Three years earlier, a 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq named Bradley Manning offered a nearly identical defense for a similar massive breach of military and diplomatic secrets. “I want people to see the truth, because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public,” Manning wrote to a hacking friend in 2010 after he had illegally sent hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the website WikiLeaks.

    Like Snowden, Manning said his worst fear was not that his actions would change the world but that they wouldn’t. Both young men grew up in the wake of the security crackdown that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. They had come of age online, in chat rooms and virtual communities where this new antiauthority, free-data ideology was hardening. They identified, at least in part, as libertarians, with Manning using the word to describe himself and Snowden sending checks to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Neither appeared to believe he was betraying his country. “Information should be free,” wrote Manning before his capture, later adding that he was not sure if he was a hacker, cracker, hacktivist, leaker or something else. “It belongs in the public domain.” . . .

    • Populuxe1 12.1

      And yet he was completely happy to do exactly the same spying for George W Bush when he was stationed in Switzerland. He’s a hypocrite.

      • BLiP 12.1.1

        He is hero. Finally, after years of tolerating the totalitarian workings of the USA he finally spoke up. Show some respect.

        • Populuxe1

          Heroes stand by their convictions, they don’t scuttle off to totalitarian states to hide.

  12. Sable 13

    Don’t trust the Times. Look at the loaded language, “hacked”, “massive breach”, “illegally sent” “anti-authority” and on and on.

    The NY Times another pro government right wing rag said Snowden “sprayed” applications for political asylum across countries. Condescending, depreciating language.

    In my opinion these organisations are little more than holding tanks for “government scribes” who have little time or respect for the facts.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Glenn Greenwald critiques the New York Times in various recent speeches available on YouTube. The NYT parroted Bush Administration talking points for months in the lead up to the Iraq War. They are proud that the Obama Administration considers them a “responsible” news outlet as they run anything sensitive that they are considering of printing past the Administration officials first.

      Lots of relevant stuff at this link


      • locus 13.1.1

        Nice link CV which led to another one at the NYTimes, where Margaret Sullivan considers the question of legal protection for journalists who protect the identity of their sources. And hence the question ‘Who is a Journalist?’

        A real journalist is one who understands, at a cellular level, and doesn’t shy away from, the adversarial relationship between government and press – the very tension that America’s founders had in mind with the First Amendment. Those who fully meet that description deserve to be respected and protected — not marginalized

  13. infused 14

    I think it’s a good thing. I don’t think he’s going to live very long though.

    • Rosetinted 14.1

      Ricin anyone?

      • McFlock 14.1.1

        nah – poison du jour is polonium. No idea what the comparative advantages might be over ricin, though – they seem to have similar results.

  14. mario 15

    …or to turn Karol’s initial question around – who is by definition a hero? Someone who willingly puts himself at great risks for acting in public interest? Did Snowden willingly put himself in great danger by revealing this information? Yes. Is he acting in great public interest? Yes.

    On issue of his leaks alone (and not knowing his opinions on any other issues, which is irrelevant anyway), he’s a hero. That aside, it would be much better if he gets to safety soon so that the full focus can be on the information he revealed rather than on him.

  15. Mike S 16

    “A correspondent on Al Jazeera NewsHour this morning claimed”

    You’ve only got to look at who now owns Al Jazeera and where it’s funding comes from (organisations such as the Rockefeller Foundation) to see that it is no longer an impartial news org but now just another corporate mouthpiece.

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