Did Ed Snowden Actually Write His Latest 'Statement'?

from the english,-do-you-speak-it... dept

Update: Over the weekend, Glenn Greenwald received confirmation from Snowden that the piece was written by him. It sounds as though someone at Wikileaks screwed up in posting it. Still, given the political nature of what's happening, it seemed like a fairly reasonable question to ask.

Original post below:

So a lot of folks are talking about Wikileaks releasing the latest statement from Ed Snowden from Moscow. It honestly doesn't say much, beyond criticizing the report that VP Joe Biden has been pressuring Ecuador into rejecting Snowden's request for asylum:
On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
Of course, some quickly noted that the choice of phrases is a bit odd. Farhad Manjoo correctly points out that it's quite unlikely for any American to write "the United States of America have been..." An American would say "has been" not "have." It's a much more European use of English to say "have been." It's entirely possible that someone else "edited" the statement, or perhaps it was a mis-transcription of spoken words, but it at least calls into question how much of the statement is actually from Snowden.

Given everything that's been going on, there has been growing concern that Snowden is quickly becoming a pawn of a variety of other political actors with a variety of other motivations. It does seem odd that Snowden has aligned himself with Wikileaks (a site he's mocked in the past). Hopefully, the full statement can be confirmed in some manner, because that language choice really does raise some serious questions about its authenticity.

Update: And... just as I finished this post, Manjoo tweeted that they'd changed the text to "has been." However, that's not what it was originally. Here's a screenshot of it from my screen with the wrong "have been" in there.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Jay (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:02pm

    Assange prints...

    Sorry, but reading Edward's interview and comparing it to this leaves a feeling of being off. This thing has been embellished.

    " This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile."

    This is way to grandiose for the more plain spoken Edward. Edward has a wry humor to him.

    Remember how he talked about dying for country? Simple. To the point.

    " In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless."

    Again, this is prose. Poetic. It doesn't vibe with Snowden's history. This is a man that has been more at home with a computer. Analyzing and sifting data uses more analytical thought which doesn't coincide with speech. You learn to talk and I doubt that Edward had that kind of interest.

    My thoughts? He had a rough draft, but Assange decided to use Snowden for his own purposes. Take that as you will.

     

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      Pseudonym, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 8:49pm

      Re: Assange prints...

      Of course, that doesn't mean that Snowden didn't sign off on it. Lots of statements in press releases are written by the PR person, but they always ask the subject if they can quote them saying this.

       

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    gojomo (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:06pm

    Plural 'United States' not unheard of domestically...

    While less common, Americans do sometimes treat "United States" as plural, and there's even some evidence the usage is making a comeback. See for example this about Obama saying "These United States..." recently:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/05/these-united-states-how-obamas-vocal-tic-rev eals-a-polarized-america/275739/

    I think it's most common if wanting to emphasize states' rights or distinct characters... so you also see it sometimes in the rhetoric of some right-wing/originalist groups. (["these united states" "ron paul"] = 744K hits; ["these united states" "barack obama"] = 244K hits)

    So it *could have been* a consciously chosen affectation of Snowden's... though Wikileaks' editing makes it seem like their own error of clumsy group-composition.

    Why isn't the statement signed with a PGP key, such as the one Wired thought could be Snowden's? Quite possibly, where Snowden currently is, he doesn't have confidence he could unlock his key for signing without compromising it to nearby minders.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:19pm

      Re: Plural 'United States' not unheard of domestically...

      I think it's most common if wanting to emphasize states' rights or distinct characters... so you also see it sometimes in the rhetoric of some right-wing/originalist groups. (["these united states" "ron paul"] = 744K hits; ["these united states" "barack obama"] = 244K hits)

      The use of "these United States" is a bit different, in that that's more poetic license, trying to make a statement sound grander. This was just an ordinary verb choice... a bit different, I think.

       

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      Starke (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:38pm

      Re: Plural 'United States' not unheard of domestically...

      The issue there is the definite article. In context, as an American, "These United States" is a plural, and "have" would make sense in context. It's a bit grandiose, but acceptable.

      "The United States", with the singular article, should be followed with "has", not "have", as a mater of normal American English conjugation.

      Here's the thing, and this isn't normal English, as far as I can remember, with "these", the emphasis is on "states" as separate entities, with "the", the term "United States" is effectively a single, and singular, propper noun.

      It's a mistake that most Americans are unlikely to make, because the shifting emphasis on States as a plural and United as a single entity is a familiar idiomatic anomaly.

      To a non-American it's an arbitrary mess without any real logic backing it up.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: Plural 'United States' not unheard of domestically...

        From what I read, he was a pretty strong libertarian.

        It's much more common in libertarian circles to intentionally refer to the United States as plural, as it removes the emphasis from the central power structure.

        This isn't odd, as it was the states that joined together to form the United States. It wasn't until after the civil war that things were generally thought of as a single unit.

        I think that single word choice is far less of a flag than is the general tone and flow of the statement. But who knows.

         

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      aldestrawk (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 11:52pm

      re: PGP key

      It doesn't help if Wired just thought the key might be his. A key to digitally sign a message must be trusted and have a public key already published before he became known. There is one such key on the MIT key server that could well be his. I don't know if that is the one that Kevin Poulsen at Wired used in the secret message to Snowden article. It seems a likely candidate and is much more trustworthy than an digitally unsigned message. It is problematic for him to securely enter a passphrase to access his private key. Let's suppose he still has a secured and tamperproof laptop. If he used a mouse to enter the passphrase and hid the screen from hidden cameras that might be enough.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:36am

        Re: re: PGP key

        A key to digitally sign a message must be trusted and have a public key already published before he became known.

        Dude, maybe you're not paying attention: We're talking about Lon Snowden right now. The father. Not Ed Snowden, who is purportedly in the transit zone at Moscow Sheremtevyo Airport. Lon Snowden, the guy whose name is on the comment.

        If a reputable reporter meets Lon Snowden in person, and obtains a GPG key fingerprint, that's good enough to authenticate a comment. One would hope that a reputable reporter would consider checking a driver's license, but even that might not be completely necessary: Consider, if someone tries to impersonate Lon Snowden in a TV interview which airs on national news. Whether or not the reporter checks the driver's license, an impersonation would probably get caught pretty quickly.

        Good enough to authenticate comments here at Techdirt, at any rate. Don't know about you, tovarisch, but I'm not going to tell the guy any secrets.

         

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          aldestrawk (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 7:52am

          Re: Re: re: PGP key

          One of the threads in these comments, not this one, concerns Lon Snowden. The article is about suspicions concerning the letter written by Edward Snowden.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 7:56am

            Re: Re: Re: re: PGP key

            One of the threads in these comments, not this one, concerns Lon Snowden.

            Right you are. That's what I get for posting at 12:36am.

             

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          aldestrawk (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 7:57am

          Re: Re: re: PGP key

          Perhaps you're looking at the comments in a flattened format rather than the thread format. My comment, though later in time, is clearly before Lon Snowden's comment. I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt here because your reply is actually very silly.

           

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    Lon Snowden, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    Ed Snowden

    Rest assured - I am Ed Snowden's father and those of you suggesting that he did not write the letter, are representative of a public that may in fact not deserve the freedom afforded by our Constitution.

    I know my son - those are definitely his words. BY the way, his IQ has been twice tested in excess of 140 and he was a 16 year old college "drop in," not a high school drop out in the context that has been used. The comment suggesting that he is "plain spoken" is typical of what I've been watching for the last month -- if you don't work for one of the major media networks, you should. Lon Snowden

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:24pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      Rest assured - I am Ed Snowden's father and those of you suggesting that he did not write the letter, are representative of a public that may in fact not deserve the freedom afforded by our Constitution.

      Wow. So, by making a simple observation that questioned the authenticity of this note, which is done in a highly politicized way, makes us NOT DESERVING of being protected by the Constitution?

      I realize you may not be a regular reader, but we've been among the biggest defenders of Snowden and the leaks around so far. It seems fairly ridiculous that we should be told that we don't deserve the Constitution for merely trying to make sure the statement was legit.

      BY the way, his IQ has been twice tested in excess of 140 and he was a 16 year old college "drop in," not a high school drop out in the context that has been used.

      We've made no statements about his intelligence, nor his academic credentials, because we believe such things are not that important to the actual issues.

      I realize others have made such statements, but to attack us for making such a statement is a bit over the line, don't you think?

      if you don't work for one of the major media networks, you should.

      Dude. Not everyone is out to attack you and your son. Some of us have been defending his actions. Not everyone is out to get you. We just want to make sure his statement was legit, because there were legitimate questions raised.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:39pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        ROFL! Fucking owned! What a dick! I doubt that's really his dad though. Still, even if it is my view of Ed Snowden remains the same. He's a goddamn hero! He's the "I'd let him bang my wife" type of hero that America needs.

        People have the right to know when the government is fucking up.

         

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          Ed Snowden, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 8:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: Ed Snowden

          Still, even if it is my view of Ed Snowden remains the same. He's a goddamn hero! He's the "I'd let him bang my wife" type of hero that America needs.

          Rest assured, I am Ed Snowden.

          Would you happen to have a number where I can reach your wife and does she have a valid passport?

           

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        Suns of the Constitution (in spite of the fact we , Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 4:45pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        I like you guys who comment on techdirt, but other dirt seems to be clouding up our vision - We need to find again the sun
        The Constitution?
        the Sun?
        "the Sun,
        Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
        To smother up his beauty from the world,
        That, when he please again to be himself,
        Being wanted, he may be more wonder'd at,
        By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
        Of vapours that did seem to strangle him."

        If the man is indeed Lon Snowden, we can see why his son was reportedly so confused in the past, about WIkileaks, Assange, . We first learn from our revered parents - and if we learn things like others are undeserving dirt, well then the sins of their fathers will be visited upon their children.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:40pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      Rest assured - I am Ed Snowden's father…

      Sorry.   I strongly suspect I'm being trolled.

      You could try PGP/GPG authenticating your posting here, but how would we establish a chain of trust for your signature? You might try getting a reputable newspaper to print the fingerprint of your OpenPGP key. Not sure if someone like Glenn Greenwald would be willing to do that for you.

      Nice troll, though.

       

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      Nastybutler77 (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:41pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      I can't say I blame you (if you really are Ed Snowden's father... do I not deserve my freedom for questioning an anonymous commenter's identity?) for being defensive with everything that's been going on lately, but slow your roll a tad. Take the time to actually read what's been said before you go off half cocked.

      And if you actually are Ed's father, I wish you and your son nothing but the best. The county owes him a debt it can never pay, and you should take solace in the fact that history will remember him as a patriot, of this I have no doubt.

       

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      S. T. Stone, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:56pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      I am Ed Snowden's father and those of you suggesting that he did not write the letter, are representative of a public that may in fact not deserve the freedom afforded by our Constitution.

      A person who questions the authenticity of a statement — no matter if it comes from Ed Snowden, President Obama, or the whackjob down the street who keeps yelling about dogs and cats living together causing mass hysteria — does not deserve to have their natural right to speak their mind and express themselves taken away because someone else doesn’t like the fact that said questioner decided to speak their mind.

      I don’t give a damn if you fucked Ed Snowden’s mom and helped bring him into existence. You don’t get to tell me I, Mr. Masnick, or anyone else don’t deserve their granted-by-the-nature-of-existence rights — rights protected by the Constitution of the United States, rights you would want to exploit while leaving those questioning the authenticity of this statement out in the cold — because you happened to have stuck your penis into the right woman’s vagina at the right time. You don’t get to tell me I don’t deserve the right to speak my mind, sir.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a few signs about cats and dogs.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:22pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      With all do respect sir, Mike is correct in his response. As a regular reader and frequent commenter, I can attest to the fact that this site and most of the regular commenters have been some of the staunchest supporters of his him and his decision to do what he has done.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:02pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      "Rest assured - I am Ed Snowden's father"

      We're supposed to take your word for that?

      "and those of you suggesting that he did not write the letter, are representative of a public that may in fact not deserve the freedom afforded by our Constitution."

      There is so much wrong with that statement. How are we to know whether he wrote it? We don't have the benefit of having known him since he was born, and only have the words to look at. Words that are coming out of Russia. If Vladimir Putin said it was cold in Siberia, I'd want to launch a weather balloon to verify that.

      And for merely questioning whether he wrote this particular thing, we don't deserve the protections of the Constitution? Maybe you should save that for the fools who support all the spying on everyone. They not only don't deserve the protections, they don't WANT them.

      But anyway, you DON'T even know for sure that he wrote this. From what I understand you haven't been in contact since this all happened. If it sounds like him, then maybe they've just copied certain elements of his writing style.

       

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        Starke (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:12pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        Except, as Mike, and some other posters have pointed out... they didn't really copy his style.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 7:59pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        Personally I think there is a strong chance he isn't even in Moscow. No pictures or video. Only 3rd party accounts and statements since he "left" Hong Kong. I suspect he actually left Hong Kong, just not on the flight that he supposedly left on. Who really knows where he actually flew to? The best way to keep himself safe is to have everyone looking for him somewhere else. As for whether this is HIS words or not, maybe, maybe not, that doesn't ultimately matter. What matters is do these words accurately communicate his perspective with the world on this matter? I think the answer to that is yes.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:35pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      I too believe your son write this letter, and Techdirt has latched onto to something pointless, the difference in one word from a twice translated letter is no difference at all.

      But Sir, you a wasting your time trying to speak for your son on this web site.

      I understand you believe your son to be intelligent, and clearly he is, but that does not mean smart people can and WILL do dumb things. I am sorry to say your son has most certainly done some very dumb actions in regard to this.

      He certainly had a choice, he made a very bad one (or many).
      If you get a chance to talk to your son, you should act like a responsible father and advise him to 'do the right thing', where were you in teaching your son to respect the law, and to not lie?

      There are liberal whistleblower laws in the US for this purpose, why would someone intelligent like your son take advantage of the protections it affords. Did your son not realise that Russia and China are not nearly as forgiving as the US in this type of thing..

      That is a lesson I assume Ed is working out for himself at the present time, to his great determent.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 7:07pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        > I too believe your son write this letter, and Techdirt has latched onto to something pointless, the difference in one word from a twice translated letter is no difference at all.

        This is not a twice translated letter. There is *another* letter that was translated. Not this one.

        Try again.

         

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        JMT (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 1:21am

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        "There are liberal whistleblower laws in the US for this purpose, why would someone intelligent like your son take advantage of the protections it affords.

        Protection? Are you joking or have you not been paying attention to the recent persecution of whistle-blowers by the USG?

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 9:42am

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        There are liberal whistleblower laws in the US for this purpose, why would someone intelligent like your son take advantage of the protections it affords.


        Because those "liberal whistleblower laws" do not actually give any protection.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 8:37pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      Why would Lon Snowden be monitoring TechDirt?
      "...those of you suggesting that he did not write the letter, are representative of a public that may in fact not deserve the freedom afforded by our Constitution."
      ...reads like it was written by someone who wasn't guaranteed the protections of the Constitution from birth.
      Someone perhaps from a country where such freedoms were not common.
      Someone from a country that recently had similar freedoms, and is now having those freedoms subtly retracted...

       

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        Starke (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 11:42pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        "Someone from a country that recently had similar freedoms, and is now having those freedoms subtly retracted..."

        So, he could be from the US?

         

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      Jay (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:38am

      Re: Ed Snowden

      The comment suggesting that he is "plain spoken" is typical of what I've been watching for the last month

      That seems to be addressed to me.

      So let me explain. I have nothing against your son or his intelligence. But I do study language. Having to read how people speak and talk is interesting to me. All I've stated is more that he doesn't talk as grandiose as Assange. After watched the Wikileaks documentary from a while back, Assange has certain things that he enjoys doing. It's like a calling card. He likes to accuse the US of these issues as well as speak in a more grandiose manner.

      It's not a put down, it's just a different way of talking. No, I don't know your son personally, but I'd love to have a beer with the guy and talk to him about how he worked to save the country similar to other whistleblowers.

      It's not an attack on him, it's just saying that there are things he seems to say differently than Assange who I'm making the comparison to.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 1:24am

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        But I do study language.

        Do you ever code-switch? Speak in a different register? Tailor your speech to both your audience and the setting?

         

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          Jay (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 4:50am

          Re: Re: Re: Ed Snowden

          I speak Japanese and I study economics.

          Linguistics and the language of economic theory have some interesting and different entry points.

          As I said, all this does is point out that there are indeed things that are off, as if it's not an American speaking.

          Yes, I do speak in different registers and use different terms than what people use to avoid buzzwords and loaded terms. But there's a certain way people speak that you tend to notice.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ed Snowden

            But there's a certain way people speak that you tend to notice.

            I may be more of a natural mimic than most. Yet I definitely notice that my “speech”, both oral and written, is influenced not just by where I am and who I'm speaking with at the moment, but also by who I've spoken with and what I've read most recently.

            More concretely, after I've finished reading a legal brief, even several hours later, I often find myself with execrable writing, requiring a great deal of self-correction. Contrariwise, I enjoy the influence that seventeenth and eighteenth century prose has upon my style.

            The point is that people vary their ways of speaking. If you think you've got some stranger's style down cold based on a miniscule corpus—think again. You're not noticing carefully enough.

             

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              Jay (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 6:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ed Snowden

              As I said, I don't know the guy and those are just my conclusions based on reading it for myself. By no means am I an expert. It just doesn't vibe with what came before out of Snowden. Not like it's harmful or anything. It's just different.

               

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                Mikebeth, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:16pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ed Snowden

                It's waaay too much fun to tramp on Jay's language, hope hisconstitution can take it. I won't stop until he accuses me of spewonage!
                Jay, The word you seek here is jibe. Catch my vibe?

                 

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        Moike, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        That would be "grandiosely", mate.
        Julian on'y talk 'Strine with a few more syllables in his mouth than Stout.
        He be eddicated, I'd tell ya if I wuz "Maricun."
        Assange with whom you're making comparison.
        It's apparently early in your study of language, I 'spect.

        Y'all be workin' on your speechifyin', y'hear?

         

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      The Real Michael, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:18am

      Re: Ed Snowden

      When American citizens such as yourself, presumably, suggest that certain individuals shouldn't deserve their Constitutional freedoms, it makes me wonder whether you people have an inkling of an idea of what you're implying. "...those of you suggesting that he did not write the letter, are representative of a public that may in fact not deserve the freedom afforded by our Constitution." Do you really favor empowering this government with the totalitarian authority to arbitrarily decide that certain individuals are undeserving of Constitutional protection? The very fact that your own son (again, assuming you really are his father) has fled from this country, seeking asylum in communist states, of all places, in order to escape from this government is a stunning reflection of our fall from grace as a nation.

      This 4th of July, perhaps we should mourn the loss of our Constitutional republic to the tyranny of elitists who have apparently hijacked it into oblivion.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:57am

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        Maybe he believes you are undeserving of Constitutional protection because his God told him so.

         

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        The Fake, Bogus, Phoney, Ersatz Michael, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re: Ed Snowden

        Dude,
        I got my comment on this in first.
        Signed,
        the Fake Michael - who has mourned the loss of Constitutional govt for many decades, since I and others were imprisoned for merely saying no to unconstitutional laws. Don't wait till July, and don't mourn this morn.
        Exercise your freedoms, in spite of the obese Constitution-stompers.

         

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      Michael McLaughlin, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 1:44pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      Constitutional protections were (hopefully ARE) intended to protect all, not merely those whom private citizens decide are undeserving.
      THe internet is full of individuals - private, public, religious, corporate, and government who constantly screech that some are undeserving and should be assassinated, etc. for their positions or actions.
      We have just read a well-composed letter purportedly by yourself, Mr. Snowden Senior, and it is quite clear that a strongly principled person who knows how to communicate, crafted that letter. Although it might be entirely the product of your legal counsel, hopefully you signed off on it without reservation.
      The ethics and sentiments in that letter are dangerously at odds with the "not deserving" comment above.
      Thank you for your support of your son's difficult ethical decision, which is costing him so much as the US government's response grows continuously less representative of those Constitutional rights you, yourself are unwiling to extend to us, the undeserving.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2013 @ 2:16pm

      Re: Ed Snowden

      if you don't work for one of the major media networks

      Hi Lon. For Mike to work at a major media network, he'd have to do actual journalism. That's not what he does, so it would never work. He instead just publishes ridiculous nonsense that he's too scared to defend in the comments, and when he gets caught saying something stupid (a frequent occurrence), he claims it's all OK since people can just correct him in the comments. See, it's simple! Welcome to Techdirt.

      Don't worry, though. Mike doesn't think your son did anything wrong, and he will defend him to the end of time. And, of course, Mike won't ever discuss what your son did with anyone who challenges the Techdirt "group think" in the comments. It's so much easier to claim the stuff that Mike claims when he's not bothered by those pesky people pointing out what bullshit he says. So keep your chin up. Techdirt is one of the biggest cheerleaders for your son out there. Mike is so obsessed with your son that it's silly.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:00pm

    Jumping the gun?

    It may be a little early yet for the I am Spartacus! moment.

     

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    jakerome (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:01pm

    This is going to sound like a cheap shot

    but I think we're all witnessing the ongoing mental breakdown of Edward Snowden. From joining an NSA contractor with the goal of stealing state secrets, to his half-planned attempt to flee, to his embracing of Russian autocrats and Wikileaks provocateurs, it looks like the progression of someone who is having difficulty staying sane. His self-created situation has only exacerbated and accelerated the process.

     

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      dennis deems (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:58am

      Re: This is going to sound like a cheap shot

      You're absolutely right. It does sound like a cheap shot.

       

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        That Fake Michael Macbeth McLau-whatever. . ., Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 2:36pm

        Re: Re: This is going to sound like a cheap shot

        Dennis, you indeed deem correctly.

        Since the 19th century, governments have used the budding discipline of psychology to incarcerate dissidents.

        The cheap shot above is obviously politically motivated, bearing no relationship to either the REAL Michael's reality nor mine, nor, hopefully, anyone's.

        Should we conspire to theorize, I submit that the shot is cheap due to constraints of budget sequestration. Whosenose? Doubtless some apologist for or within some administration.

        Oh, what a trail of logic am I!

        "his virtues
        Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
        The deep damnation of his taking-off;
        And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
        Striding the blast, or heaven's cherubim horsed
        Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
        Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye. . ."

        Aye! Say I. Leave your guns off him , ye sightless drones!

         

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    Not Edward Snowden's Father, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Questioning

    In addition to the letter, why was no one questioning the authenticity of this letter? :
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/01/edward-snowden-letter-president-ecuador

    It is written in the same arble-garble that the "Untied States have" statement was written in.

    It also uses the non-American word "programme." It does say it was translated from Spanish... however, shouldn't we confirm that Snowden speaks spanish before assigning this letter to him? Even if he did speak a second language, why would he not write in English?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:45pm

      Re: Questioning

      He's writing to the president of Ecuador. Writing such a letter in Spanish would make sense, if he knew the language. And if it was translated from Spanish, of course the Guardian would use British English and not American English, and any garbling would HAVE to be the fault of the translator.

       

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        Anonymous, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:53pm

        Re: Re: Questioning

        True enough.... but if Snowden doesn't speak..er.write Spanish fluently, then that means we're looking at English translated to Spanish and then back to English when an original English-language document exists.

        Ordinarily, I would see how this might not be an issue. We could just assume it was prepared for him... but in light of the topic of this post, which suggests someone is ghost-writing statements purportedly from Mr. Snowden, I think it raises a legitimate question.

         

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    nat merrill, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    Ed Snowden´s grammar

    Did Ed Snowden Actually Write His Latest 'Statement'?
    I feel that Masnick has grossly over dramatized the title of this short article. His father even doubts that we believe Ed is capable of writing so well and confirms Ed´s impressive intelligence. He may have been provoked by the intervention of the ridiculous "the english,-do-you-speak-it... dept". The insignificant grammar "problem" hardly justifies the article in the first place. In any event if Wikileaks does the publishing can we not accept that UK English is used?
    The NSA must be smiling. We are all forgetting the fact that Snowden is in Moscow and that his precious work must continue at all cost.

     

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    Zos (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:22pm

    seems reasonable since the man's not exactly been seen on camera, and the usage does seem weird. it seems worth questioning to me, without impunging anyone. ffs, unless you translated/transcribed it yourself and your reputations on the line, i'm not sure i understand why there's any hostility based on asking the question about the statements origins.

     

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    FM Hilton, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:26pm

    Sounds vaguely vague

    Most Americans do not use the wrong possessive when referring to the United States of America-if anything, it would indicate that someone else (or some organization, to be specific) is indeed writing/orchestrating and arranging these kinds of incidents to highlight/publicize the Snowden case.

    It appears more like Wikileaks/Julian Assange's fine hand on the pen, and no two ways about it.

    As for Ed's father writing TechDirt, I wonder why he would do that when he knows fully well that he could have gone to any media outlet to explain the letter.

    Is he that savvy? Does he read all the technical forums on the Internet?

    Rather doubt it, because for all of this time, he's been silent about his son and the problems he's been through.

    However, if you are Edward Snowden's father, you should be aware that Techdirt has been unrelenting in its' coverage of your son's case and the issues that he brought out into the open.

    It would require a bit more politeness on your part to realize that we're not the enemy here just for questioning the authenticity of the message.

    We're on your side.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:35pm

      Re: Sounds vaguely vague

      We're on your side.

      “I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side.”

                  ——Treebeard

       

       

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      Mikey M, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 1:59pm

      Re: Sounds vaguely vague

      Amerenglish is the term commonly used to describe y'all's use , yourn & mine.
      Although a bit mixed in connotation, as Ed sez he did what he did 'cuz of the the "bloody instructions" we teach ourselves, and Pappy Snowden just released a supportive letter to Eddie, without such stabs as "undeserving" as in the above comment, I present to you some Queen's English, a couple years back (Seems I'se been quoting Macbeth a whole lot lately):

      "If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
      It were done quickly. If th' assassination
      Could trammel up the consequence, and catch,
      With his surcease, success; that but this blow
      Might be the be-all and the end-all -- here,
      But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
      We'd jump the life to come.
      But in these cases
      We still have judgment here; that we but teach
      Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
      To plague th' inventor:
      this even-handed justice
      Commends th' ingredients of our poison'd chalice
      To our own lips.

      He's here in double trust:
      First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
      Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
      Who should against his murderer shut the door,
      Not bear the knife myself."

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    Anything to distract from the message, really.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:11pm

    Oh MY GOD

    You guys actually believe that this was written by someone else other than Snowden ??

    Because of "has" instead of "have", you guys are SO DESPERATE, it's also NOT a right to seek asylum, and he gave up his rights after stealing documents, releasing them and running away. Running to China the Russia !!!!

    And Ecudador is right, you cannot be given asylum unless you can get of that Country's territory and he cant do that. It's also clear he has been working with Wikileaks, mock them in the past or not, or are you saying he did not receive travel documents enabling him to fly to Russia?

    One thing is VERY CLEAR, Snowden is no intellectual giant he's done a really poor job at what he proposed to do, he even failed to provide any real evidence of wrong doings.

    He is getting increasingly desperate, and trying to trash the US and it's Government is not doing him any favours, especially when he finally works out the US is probably he's best hope for actual justice.

    Snowden is where he is now, and in the position he is now for 2 reasons, 1) he's quite stupid, and did not think this through at all.
    2) he has allowed himself to become a pawn for the gain of others (and so far, NOT the US). His actions and the US's response to them are making the US LOOK BETTER every day, and making Snowden LOOK WORSE every day.

    Masnick your paranoia is rubbing off on your fellow cultists, you really do need to break out the tin hats, if you have not already done so.

     

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      rapnel, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 7:05pm

      Re: Oh MY GOD

      Hey, you must be one of those watchers watching the watchmen. Fine job, fine indeed. When someone does finally let you borrow their clue perhaps you could do yourself a favor and choke on it. Pussy.

      Occupy Washington.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 8:22pm

      Re: Oh MY GOD

      Not surprisingly darryl sees no value in accurate, correct English. He'd speak in arble garble blargha flargha if he were allowed to, but then he couldn't hawk off his solar panels if he did.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 8:23pm

        Re: Re: Oh MY GOD

        The good news is that he's working together with out_of_the_blue to ban Google, because they accept search terms typed in the English language. It's all a part of the great plan by bob, an advocate against Big English, to lock all dictionaries up behind a paywall. Because if you can't afford to be smart, you deserve to be stupid.

        The good news is that the above initiative is destined to be nothing short of a thoroughly complete failure and laughingstock.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 10:37pm

    I am Ed Snowden's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZd_YyFzPD0

     

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    RubyPanther, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:02am

    Not only am I skeptical that he wrote any of the letters, I don't really see any reason to believe he is even alive. Why is it there are all these supposed letters, but nobody claims to have had actual contact with him, or his traveling companion, since they left Honk Kong; and they are supposedly in a hourly rate "hotel" that rents out tiny sleeping berths for people on lay-over. With dozens of journalists sitting around waiting for something to happen. Wouldn't at least one of them need to be coming out for food? Wouldn't it make sense to make a phone call, or do an interview? Surely he has money, and surely there are pay phones in the transit area of an airport.

    In fact it seems to me that the most likely scenario where he is alive is if the FSB is holding him, and can make him write whatever letter they want.

     

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    aldestrawk (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:10am

    confirming style

    There exists software that compares frequency of word usage to compare articles and confirm if the author is the same person. The software could be trained on comments he made on Ars Technica as the "TheTrueHOOHA". I am too lazy to do this right now can someone take up the challenge?

     

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    Emmeri, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 12:34am

    Seemed off when I first read it

    When I first read this statement it seemed off. Compared to the Q&A session on the Guardian and anything he wrote in Ars Technica, it does not seem to be the same writing style or word usage.

    It seemed overlly dramatic and filled with vitrol.

    Here is a link to the Q&A
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/17/edward-snowden-nsa-files-whistleblower

     

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    boomslang, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:09am

    Way to go, Mike, this is a homerun story. Of course no US citizen would dare use correct grammar by treating the word "states" as plural.

    I think you're on to something big here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:19am

      Re:

      Technically, the singular is not incorrect so much as it is a slightly different meaning. The "Uninted States" is a proper name for. SINGLE country made up of the plural "states" acting together as one. So EITHER could be correct.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 5:42am

    Despite what Putin says, (he's a known liar) I'm betting Mr. Snowden has been a guest of the FSB for the last few days, getting a "chemical debrief". Having such a treasure trove of potential information on hand had to have been way too tempting. I feel sorry for him if this is the case. The FSB, as well as the majority of the current Russian Gov't. consists of what was left of the Mafia, and the security services... in other words, thugs. I don't expect him to ever leave "the transit lounge". He'll have a terrible accident or unexpected stroke or heart attack. Just watch.

     

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    Wolfy, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 6:59am

    Something fishy is going on here... not unexpected given the subject of the NSA and spies. One thing that stands out is the claim Mr. Snowden is "hauling around" 3,5,8 laptops (depending on who's talking).

    This claim, I am guessing, is from a high-level person in the government who is not computer literate. We all know all you need is a mess of flash memory and a couple portable hard drives. If you use the "cloud", you could have all the storage you need if you have a way to access it. So why the preposterous claim about hauling around laptops... again, my guess is this someone is trying to bias the media and the public against Mr. Snowden, by implying he's shopping a bunch of stolen computers and their contents.

    I don't know about you folks, but my "Bullshit Detector" (Trademark ACME Equip. Co.) has been pegging on the bullshit side whenever I hear news-people, Gov't spokespeople or anyone else trying to smear Mr. Snowden. The former Ambassador and his lovely wife are correct. The system is out of control.

     

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    McCrea (profile), Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 8:09am

    The Nazis won?

    Am I reading this right?

    National security measures are now going to be decided by Grammar?
    I'm a pedantic son-of-a-bitchin' American but even I wouldn't bother sayin' "the United States of American has been a leader of civil rights." I'd often say simply "America has been abandoning various civil rights concepts" and my norm is "The U.S. government has been a fine play to grow up, but I don't think I want to live here any more."

     

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    Joe, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 8:46am

    date

    The date was also done in the format day month year, rather than month day year as is common in the US.

    Not saying this is fake. I suspect it went through some filters.

     

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    Three Cheers for Ed, Jul 6th, 2013 @ 8:36pm

    Ed Snowden

    Glenn Greenwald tweeted a few hours ago that he had spoken with Ed earlier today he'd said he was "exclusively" responsible for the statement discussed above. @ggreenwald

     

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