Thursday, August 01, 2013

How Was I To Know He Was With The Russians Too, Ctd

 Vlad the Emancipator

Quick quiz.  
This quote --
“I can’t point to any country of the world today that is a model for the rest of the world, except perhaps for Russia, which has just taken the very important and frankly necessary step of..."

-- can be correctly completed as follows:

  1.  "...acting as an information clearinghouse and safe-harbor for crusading journalists around the world." -- Human Rights Watch executive vice president, Omega Peril.

  2. "...providing asylum Edward Snowden, one of the world's great heroes of free speech who is being ruthlessly hunted by an outlaw American government." --  Glenn Greenwald

  3. "...criminalizing homosexual propaganda to protect the society from being ‘homosexualzed.’”  Scott Lively, American conservative activist largely credited for inspiring legislation in Uganda that would impose the death penalty on homosexuals.
Although Vladimir Putin has, indeed granted Mr. Snowen temporary asylum in bosom of Mother Russia, sadly the correct answer is "3".  In fact, rabidly anti-gay conservatives have been lining up to say nice things about Putin's Heterotopian Paradise:
..."Russians do not want to follow America's reckless and decadent promotion of gender confusion, sexual perversion, and anti-biblical ideologies to youth," Peter LaBarbera, of the outfit Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, proclaimed on his website. 
"You admire some of the things they're doing in Russia against propaganda," Austin Ruse, president of the U.S.-based Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, told the Associated Press last month, before lamenting, “on the other hand, you know it would be impossible to do that here.” Ruse recently traveled to Russia, and wrote a piece for the Daily Caller entitled, “Putin is not the gay bogeyman,” in which he defended the draconian legislation.
And no, Putin's Russia is not exactly known as a beacon of civility towards nosy journalists either ("Russian Journalist Murdered: Is Russia's Press Freedom Dead?"

And while some people may be momentarily stunned by the sight of the world's most famous leaker, privacy-advocate and possessor of "...enough information to cause more harm to the US government in a single minute than any other person has ever had" having his luggage red-capped to his new digs by Putin's notoriously friendly and hospitable FSB, anyone who had troubled to notice whose legal services Mr. Snowden retained while stuck in transit area limbo doing the June Sky Mall sudoku for the 100th time will not be too surprised by his latest change--of-address:
Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who helped Snowden file an application for asylum in Russia earlier Tuesday, told AFP the fugitive former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor was happy with his treatment at the airport.
Kucherena said he met Snowden at the airport on Tuesday to file the asylum request, with a translator the only other person present.
A supporter of President Vladimir Putin who supported Putin's election campaign last year, Kucherena also has a legal practice in Moscow that takes on high-profile cases. 
He also sits on the "public council" of the Federal Security Service (FSB), which was created by Putin in 2006.

According to its website, the council works to "develop a relationship" between the security service and the public. Its fifteen members have to be approved by the head of the FSB.
But wait.
There's more.  
Snowden has also retained a Russian lawyer: a man named Anatoly Kucherena. Fine, in and of itself. The man needs a lawyer. But it’s an utterly bizarre move considering that Kucherena reportedly sits on the Public Council for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Until 1995, the FSB was known as the Federal Counter-Intelligence Service (FSK). Before that, it was two agencies: the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAPSI). And before that? It was the Committee of State Security. The acronym: KGB.
In other words, Snowden, who claims to be highly suspicious if not totally disdainful of spy agencies, has hired a lawyer with direct ties to the spy agency formerly known as the KGB. But there’s more. Kucherena is connected with President Vladimir Putin, who, in turn, was a lieutenant colonel with the KGB earlier in his career and, to date, doesn’t have a stellar human rights record. Kucherena was also the lawyer for a pro-Putin filmmaker named Nikita Mikhalkov who publicly supported a plan for Putin to remain in office even after his term had expired.
There’s still more. Kucherena is the founder of the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, a conservative think-tank that was established in part by the Krelim as a PR front. The institute is essentially a form of pay-back against western nations that have questioned Russia’s elections and human rights record. It’s not a surprise considering how Kucherena has been critical of protesters who called for the overturning of dubious election results.
On top of all of that, Kucherena has expressed public support for banning internet anonymizers: software that’s used to mask a user’s IP address. This is particularly hilarious considering how Snowden and his acolytes have probably used similar technology, as well as encryption, to safeguard their privacy.
And now he’s Snowden’s lawyer...
Of course the parts of this drama which focus on NSA surveillance and the need for FISA court reform remain important and consequential.  As for the rest of it, I will content myself by sitting here quietly and watching to see just how far down this particular rabbit hole the some libertarians (civil and otherwise) are willing to gallop.



kfreed said...


So... actual Russian & Chinese Communists R Our Friends, but "Socialist" "Marxist" "Communist" U.S. President Barack Obama is Our Enemy? According to the mind fuck that passes for tea bagging Koch Libertarianism, that makes perfect sense:)

In this world nothing can be said to be certain except 1) Ye Olde John Birch Society never disappoints and 2) stupid never sleeps. All this time, we thought it was "death and taxes." Go figure.

mahakal said...

So Edward Snowden was supposed to stay trapped in the airport forever because Russia has serious issues regarding gay rights?

I expect he is saying what he needs to say to be given his liberty for the next year, and despite whatever nice things he may say to his host he will probably not remain there longer than necessary to arrange transportation to another country where he would also have asylum.

I certainly wouldn't expect him to voluntarily return back to the United States for torture (that we promise not to do, but we do) and life imprisonment under whatever horrific conditions of isolation that may be imposed. Would you?

Anonymous said...

I see the purity police on the left just lost the argument regarding Snowden. Thanks for playing...

Let's hope Snowden plays by Putin's rules so that he doesn't end up isolated in some prison under whatever horrific conditions that may be imposed if he didn't play along with them..

-Mike from Somerville, love the podcast..

Neo Tuxedo said...

"Well, isn't the enemy of your enemy like, your friend? Or whatever? Can't they team up?"
"Not exactly. In this setting, the enemy of your enemy is still a floating, greasy, armored brain."
"Well, what about his enemy? Maybe you could be friends with him."
"No, because that guy is a mechanical horror in an undying battle shell. He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope."

gratuitous said...

Seems kind of embarrassing that the beacon of freedom and hope for those who oppose extraordinary rendition, secret courts and indefinite detention would be any country other than the United States.

But then, when the exceptionally exceptional greatest nation on the face of the earth, which birthed the greatest generation, does it, that means it's automatically greatly and exceptionally exceptional.

Can someone put that Lee Greenwood song on again? I keep forgetting the words.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

the enemy of your enemy is still a floating, greasy, armored brain."

Keith Laumer would like a word with you.

mahakal said...

As for Snowden getting a politically well connected Russian lawyer to handle his temporary Russian amnesty case, it just makes sense to anyone who gives it even a moment of thought. Unless the idea is to martyr yourself by losing your petition, that's what you do, but some people think he should do exactly that in one way or another to assuage the guilt they think he should feel for betraying their precious surveillance state.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have been wondering...

Putin's anti-gay crusade is its own ugly thing. However, there is now a law against "homosexual propaganda". I heard the story of the Dutch tourist who was jailed for wearing a rainbow shirt, so it's pretty serious.

Snowden's media advocate is a man who moved to Brazil to legally marry his husband.

The longer Snowden stayed in Russia, I have been wondering if the wrong kind of comment about Greenwald would have been enough to arrest him and confiscate his belongings.


zombie rotten mcdonald said...

it just makes sense to anyone who gives it even a moment of thought.

Really? You seem to be retconning the events.

Neo Tuxedo said...

But then, when the exceptionally exceptional greatest nation on the face of the earth, which birthed the greatest generation, does it, that means it's automatically greatly and exceptionally exceptional.

I'd say a lot of people think that, but that would imply they give the matter any conscious thought. If they put it into the crude medium of language, they'd be baffled by the phrase "My country, right or wrong", since that implies MURKA NUBBER WUN!* could do something wrong, other than refusing to act on its status as Top Nation in a way that extends that status indefinitely and thus protects us from the risk that history might resume.

(*as one of the regulars on Duck and Cover paraphrased his woefully accurate idea of Mallard Fillmore's target audience)

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I wasn't aware that Putin knew what the queers are doing to the soil.

blackdaug said...

According to many commenters, I guess the real soul searching question we all should be asking ourselves is:

How soon would Jesus, Ghandi or MLK lawyer up and hop in bed with the KGB?

Pretty damn quick...amirite?

Anonymous said...

This is one of the reasons I have never voted, never even registered to vote, in this pisshole called amerika. I can't make heads or tails out of the "argument" here, except that it purports to dash purity with...purity. My ideological bent is left, even left of left. Libertarianism seems to me nonsense. So why, in the face of egregious, ongoing, routine national violations of clear constitutional strictures, do fairly smart people decide to go all sophist and shit and point out ordinary traps of language, motive, and action to score a dumb victory?

Why? I think because you're too comfortable pretending you have convictions. You record a podcast or two, Photoshop a couple clever images. Hey, you go, pamphleteer. But go out and actually do something (and I don't mean vote--are you kidding me?), such as shoplift or key the car of the manager of a bank or commit insurance fraud? You don't have the dedication for that.

You sure are devoted to nitpicking Greenwald's stuff, though. He's so naive, isn't he? He doesn't understand why one might establish an alliance with a party whose interests are not perfectly aligned with one's own (yet, at the same time, he's a purist...that's weird...). He probably never got the irony and sharpness of Warren Zevon, probably missed out on that scene altogether. Yeah, what a dick.

Compound F said...

Ah, pure scum; not on the periodic table; should be; next to solid odium.

theoretically awesome stuff in its purity.

mahakal said...

Blackdaug proves the point I made above, he would have Ed Snowden be Jesus and be crucified for our sins of surveillance. How nice. Then maybe we will forgive him, as he forgave us.

The man is not required to be martyred to your blood lust. He did a public service. Do not be so quick to lick the boots of your masters.

Anonymous said...

Cognitive dissonance from fundie praise for pinko commies syntax failure PRONOun ERroR does not compute does not compuuuuuuuuuute101111111100011111111100000111111000000111110000000111100000111111

Fiddlin Bill said...

Now and then la politic real will fart at the dinnertable. Where's that nifty photo of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam? Or the one of George Herbert Walker Bush sitting in the CEO's chair at the CIA. Meanwhile, in reality, Doghouse Riley died.

Anonymous said...

DG, I thought you would find this marginally interesting. Bob Somersby (The Daily Howler) remembers when Chris Mathews was different.

"Everyone agreed not to notice—and to this day, that past behavior simply cannot be discussed. The Corns and the Walshes won’t tell you about it. The Finemans won’t ask him why he has flipped."

Lumpy Lang said...

Lick it harder, Droneglass! faster! ok... thaaat's better.

C'mon now, show your DELIGHT at the taste of the imperial boot.

Surely - any day now - the ruling class will start paying you for this (before its too late to do them any good).

blackdaug said...

Hey, malakai.... the point is over there. No...over there. Nope you are still missing it.
Right in front of you...
Never mind.

Pinkamena Panic said...

With all the words our Greenrube friends put out, you'd think there was an actual conversation going on. But no, no, that is not their way; theirs is to take anything they can spin into an attack and spin it with all their might.

At what point do we finally admit it's a lost cause? You can't reason a man out of a position he didn't reason himself into, as they say.

Anonymous said...

Well, if he doesn't get Zevon, yeah, totally a prick. Also, (for DG) doesn't Accidently Like A Martyr somehow apply as well?

Anonymous said...


More nonsense from you. That some of us delight in mocking your desire to canonize Snowden doesn't mean we're all for the Evil Empire.

Its actually kinda sad that you haven't figured out yet that more than half the point of these posts is mocking you cultists.

-- Nonny Mouse

marindenver said...

"But go out and actually do something (and I don't mean vote--are you kidding me?), such as shoplift or key the car of the manager of a bank or commit insurance fraud? You don't have the dedication for that."

For a second there I thought you were going to suggest something that you considered to be constructive. But then you're the one bragging that you never registered to vote so maybe theft and fraud is constructive behavior in whatever it is that passes for a brain in your head.

mahakal said...

Nonny Mouse writes: "That some of us delight in mocking your desire to canonize Snowden doesn't mean we're all for the Evil Empire."

Except that I have no desire to canonize the man at all. He still performed a public service and does not deserve to be tortured and martyred.

Carmelo Clandestine said...

Lumpy--why should the Malefactors Of Great Wealth waste any of their criminal profits paying Drifty, when he's so obviously willing to defend their Imperium for no more than the hope of receiving a few pathetic crusts of moldy bread from the tables of the lords and barons (those would be the meager, easily revoked gains for which All Good Progs must swear allegiance to the Dinocrats)?

Although I was but a wee lad when the Vietnam War was raging, the ongoing skirmishes on this blog regarding Official Two Minutes' Hate Objects Snowden and Greenwald remind me of the Cold War Liberals vs. the DFHs.

Anonymous said...

Mahakal --

Yeah and no one here wants Snowden crucified either. That is an assumption you just conjured up from another commenter facetiously comparing Snowden to Jesus.

That is why I call your response nonsense. You are arguing against a point no one is making in order erect a flimsy defense of your comrades' insistence on lionizing Snowden.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

"Carmelo" the redneck actually makes a good point that should be acknowledged, this does indeed appear to be a Cold War Liberal mentality vs. the DFHs which I certainly am one of.

As for the Nonny: you seem to not recognize how our country has treated whistle blowers like Bradley Manning, and to expect somehow better treatment for Ed Snowden would be contrary to good sense.

Anonymous said...

Those of you reading along, please pay close attention to what Mahakal is up to with his comments in this thread.

Russia is no better than the US in how it treats its people and its neighbors--in fact, they are much worse in many ways, especially regarding their political corruption and violent suppression of dissent. Snowden's choice of Russia as a benefactor is sideshow to the main issues but nevertheless as good a point as any for illustrating, yet again, why some of us don't buy the "little guy-vs-tyranny" frame libertarians insist on welding to this whole affair.

Mahakal is eager to discuss anything but this finite point-- starting with arguing in favor of Snowden's right to flee the US, rather than his choice of places to flee (missing the point deliberately?), and then moving on to arguing against torture.

Pay particular close attention to Mahakal's post at 12:54 AM, where he deliberately misrepresents blackdaug's post at 10:51 PM, and then begins to argue against his own misrepresentation rather than what blackdaug actually said; an old, dishonest debate trick.

Observe how many of Snowden's advocates in this thread are eager to call anyone not on board with *their* take of the situation sell-outs and authoritarian bootlickers and ask yourself again why DG keeps beating this "dead" horse.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mahakal said...

Snowden's "choice of Russia as a benefactor" has everything to do with him being prevented from leaving Russia (other than to be returned to the United States for a possible lifetime of torture and isolation) than any actual desire to, say, be in Russia or ever to have remained there longer than for a change of planes.

jim said...

Whole lotta folks here trying REALLY hard to make a post that's about the 101st Keyboarders & Co. overtly applauding Russia's homophobic yen for HappyPogromTime 2.0 all about Snowden.

How edutaining!

mahakal said...

Yeah that's why Driftglass didn't mention Snowden at all in the post. It was really not about him at all.

blader said...

Lawyers, Guns and Money is a song about a renegade wannabe in water way over his head, someone more stupid than he is innocent.

Snowden's landing in Russia reminded me of the tune, also.

Look, like the guy who went home with the waitress, Snowden deserves the blame for the life of "torture and isolation" he faces if he leaves Russia. He's allowed himself to be nothing but a puppet.

To the extent that Snowden is a martyr, that makes Greenwald a martyr-builder. And we all know Jesus, like his own martyr-builder, would have died in complete anonymity, otherwise. /rolls eyes/

Stupid Snowden. Stupid Jesus.

mahakal said...

"Look, like the guy who went home with the waitress, Snowden deserves the blame for the life of 'torture and isolation' he faces if he leaves Russia."

This does not even begin to make sense.

Stupid Blader.

Anonymous said...

Snowden was prevented from leaving Russia only because he chose to be there in the first place. Just like he chose to seek refuge with the Chinese before the Russians.

I know it is convenient to pretend that Snowden had no choices other than to stay and get hosed by the Feds or run to an authoritarian country, but it simply isn't true.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Well since the Nonny Mouse has the better escape routes all mapped out, perhaps he should share.

Neo Tuxedo said...

I don't know anyone who's arguing the position that Nonny is objecting to. I'm not saying they don't exist, just that I'm going to need some names named. Because everyone I've seen is arguing that his choices were:
a) stay and get disappeared;
b) run to a country that wouldn't extradite him, but which would allow the Village to paint him as an Enemy of Murika™;
c) run to a country that's friendly to us so as not to be painted as an Enemy of Murika™ and face a significant chance of being extradited and disappeared.

driftglass said...

To clarify what is being discussed, here is the list of all 7 -- not 70, not 700, but 7 -- leakers who have been prosecuted under the espionage act during the Obama Administration.

Half of them were carryovers from the Bush Administration.

None of them have been "disappeared" or thrown into a "supermax hellhole" forever (which Mr. Greenwald keeps implying is the fate of anyone who leaks under the fascist Obama regime.)

Civilians have been tried in civilian court. Military have been tried in military court.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Oh, there you go, bringing facts into an internet debate.

What kind of oBot monster are you?

blackdaug said...


Yep, sounds like a balls out war on uber patriots to me!

mahakal said...

The number of leak prosecutions is a complete non sequitur as to the probability of whether Edward Snowden's would be anything less than 100%. No, Bradley Manning wasn't "disappeared" but he has been tortured and may be subject to lifetime incarceration under possibly horrific conditions. You adduce zero evidence to suggest that it is perfectly reasonable for Edward Snowden to surrender himself to US authorities.

Anonymous said...

Mahakal --

The Wikileaks guy had no problem evading extradition without jumping in bed with Mother Russia. Perhaps you should stop being deliberately obtuse?

Neo Tuxedo --

Well, you are wrong that no one is making the arguments I'm inveighing against. Mahakal, with his insistence in arguing about Snowden's decision to flee in the first place rather than what is actually being argued (his choice of patrons), is implicitly asserting that Snowden's choices were limited to just those two options: getting hosed by the Feds or jumping in bed with Putin.

I disagree, of course, and I think you make good observations about the pros-and-cons of Snowden's options after he chose to leak the information he did. I'm not actually angry with Snowden for looking after his own skin, I'm opposed-vehemently-to the tendency of some of Snowden's advocates to deride all those people who question the wisdom of Snowden's decisions. Scan this thread to get a taste of what I'm talking about.

You'll find that most of the arguments on DG's blog regarding the surveillance scandal are not about the issue itself but about the petty and personal sniping surrounding the issue--just like this one. I agree that it is largely pointless compared to the issues, but I don't fault DG for refusing to lay down and take abuse.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah and pointing out the hyperbole that you Glennwaldo clowns use to justify your belligerence is *never* non sequitur.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

"The Wikileaks guy" by which the Nonny Mouse presumably means Julian Assange is a virtual prisoner in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Hardly at liberty, and unable to travel outside the building without risking arrest and ultimately extradition.

Anonymous said...

I think I heard the goalposts move with that one, Mahakal. So everything Snowden does is justified because of course he has to get the best, most comfortable deal for himself? I thought the point was that Snowden shouldn't be expected to *sacrifice* himself? Assange isn't locked in a hole and being tortured but Snowden should have some luxury and whatever legitimate interests the US has should be screwed if that's what it takes to provide it.

Ok then.

If Snowden is a hero, it is because he revealed what he did in hopes of making his country a better place. Selling out what he knows to rival powers who are more authoritarian than the US is not in service of that goal, it is in service of protecting himself. As I've said before, I don't particularly fault Snowden for covering his own ass, but I do think you sound like a crashing apologist with your serial refusal to acknowledge the costs of his actions.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

It is no mystery to me why Driftglass won't take being called a bootlicking authoritarian by the trolls in this thread.

If you want to make the argument that Snowden is justified in whatever he does because the US government has betrayed him and people like him by all means make that argument with my blessing. But don't browbeat those of us who draw the line of what is legitimate whistleblowing somewhere between Snowden's original disclosures and that point when he started telling the Chinese about US espionage efforts targeting them.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Nobody has charged that Snowden has sold anything to anyone. He hasn't even really told anyone anything that everyone doesn't already know. But it's sure nice to have what we know confirmed so we can take appropriate actions.

Nor do I think that we are currently at war with China or Russia by the way. People are actually allowed to travel there and stuff normally. Not that he actually wants to be there, as we've covered supra.

Anonymous said...

Of all the paper-thin efforts at deflection, I think this last offering takes the cake, Mahakal. Pathetic even for you.

Firstly, I think you know that rival governments have a host of ways - short of warfare - they oppose each other. Revealing outward facing espionage secrets is *not* a service to the American people and it is *not* a harmless thing. The only relevance of the state of peace between the US, China, and Russia, is that we can assert that Snowden is *not* a traitor.

Second -- "People are actually allowed to travel there and stuff normally."

The Hell?

You do understand that Snowden is *not* a tourist, don't you? We're talking about a person traveling there with a pile of sensitive information and becoming dependent on the leaders of those countries for his own safety, not sightseeing.

A few things that are not under dispute:
1) Greenwald has asserted several times that Snowden (and he) are in possession of *very damaging* sensitive information, such as the names of informants, etc.
2) By Greenwald's admission Snowden planned his disclosure and flight from the US months in advance.
3) Two of Snowden's first stops in his world tour were a Chinese territory and Russia. You and others here have already tacitly admitted that this was to secure the best defense against extradition.

Yes, you've covered Snowden's reluctant asylum in Moscow ad nauseum. His feelings are *not* relevant; his actions are. He chose to be in those countries with the information in his possession. The risk of becoming stranded there was foreseeable. It is a more than reasonable fear that sharing the information in his possession will become a condition of his asylum, if it has not already.

I see that you would much rather argue about the validity of Snowden's initial disclosures; Quelle surprise. Snowden's initial leaks were legitimate whistleblowing, but that is not what DG is challenging here. He is commenting on the reckless, unnecessary risks that Snowden has taken with US state secrets since his first disclosure. He is harping on the awfulness of the Russian government in order to illustrate how ignorance is no defense. I would add that neither is carelessness.

The "rabbit hole" DG is talking about is the apologia you're engaged in.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

Whatever secrets Snowden has are encrypted and not being dropped willy nilly on the ground, and the assumption that he is somehow doing so is absurd.

mahakal said...

By the way, I would point out that Driftglass is more than capable of expressing his own views of any matter he so chooses without needing Nonny Mice who wish to express their own views to represent themselves as though speaking for him.

It is enough that Driftglass and I may or may not agree on a matter without having to argue with the misrepresentations of our actual views.

Anonymous said...

In answer, I would point out that Driftglass is more than capable of correcting me if I misrepresent his views.

My representation of *your* views is based on plain observation of your behavior in this thread.

Are you done appealing to the referee now?

As for Snowden's information being encrypted, the man in command of that data is in a position to be subjected to pressure and/or persuasion to give it up. Given that I regard hypocrisy, cruelty, and amorality as constant traits of *every* government (to varying degrees), it is categorically *not* an absurd assumption that Snowden is taking risks that were foreseeable.

I re-iterate for the third time, you are being intentionally obtuse.

-- Nonny Mouse

Anonymous said...

This thread is full of your efforts to deflect and redefine the argument to your liking, Mahakal. You trying to call me out for re-interpenetrating the original post is nothing short of hysterical.

Please blow some more smoke while you're at it.

-- Nonny Mouse

mahakal said...

That isn't even an argument.

Anonymous said...

You refuse to address actual arguments, Mahakal. You either try to change the subject or hand-wave away uncomfortable facts.

If you think I'm being unfair in my observations, you should stop being dishonest in the first place.

-- Nonny Mouse