NSA Defenders Ratchet Up The Rhetoric: Two Former Gov't Officials Urge Hanging Ed Snowden

from the oh-really-now? dept

It hasn't been a good time for NSA defenders lately, with a court calling the program unconstitutional and the White House's own "independent task force" highlighting serious problems with the programs, and recommending some fairly major changes. This has resulted in many of us suggesting that, at this point, it's kind of crazy to argue that Ed Snowden did something wrong, and rather he should be welcomed back as a hero. After all, he exposed a secret program that has been called unconstitutional. Isn't that the very definition of a whistleblower?

However, it seems the visceral hatred of Snowden has only ratcheted up a notch with two top former officials flat out saying that Snowden should be hanged. This is oddly specific (and ridiculously antiquated). First up, we have former CIA director (under Bill Clinton), James Woolsey who said Snowden should be hanged:
"I think giving him amnesty is idiotic,” said Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993 to 1995. “He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."
Then there's John Bolton, former ambassador to the UN, who similarly attacked the idea of amnesty, while arguing Snowden should be hanged:
"I must say absent some other important piece of information, it has to be one of the dumbest things that I've seen in a long time, to be speculating about it publicly, even if they are contemplating a deal with Snowden some kind of amnesty," Bolton said. "The last thing that people ought to be doing is speculating about it publicly. It will inevitably make it a political football and enhance Snowden's bargaining power."

Bolton continued, "My view is that Snowden committed treason, he ought to be convicted of that, and then he ought to swing from a tall oak tree. But even if you don’t believe that, if you’re gonna say anything publicly, that is closer to what you should be saying to enhance our own bargaining leverage."
The similarity of both comments -- both attacking the idea of amnesty, and focusing on the very specific punishment they're salivating over concerning Snowden, certainly hints at a series of insane talking points being passed around among extreme security state apologists. I expect we'll see more like this. I'm curious, though, how either of these guys can continue making these claims given everything else that's been happening.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:38pm

    Going against the country's 4th amendment and calling those who defend it "treasonous", while advocating the death penalty. Excellent.

     

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  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    Don't you at all have any notion how crazy are the neo-cons who invented the Iraq and Afghan wars out of nothing? I guess most just people just can't believe in evil... As you've never shown any doubt even for Google's press releases, I don't have much hope for your discernment on anything of international scale.

    The Rich are not ideologues: any "-ism" is fine by entrenched elites (especially American "conservatives" who favor fascism) so long as THEY are entitled to live off laborers in practical feudal-ism.

    09:40:34[k-601-7]

     

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  3.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    Syria is going to implode because of neo-con paranoia like yours.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    i cannot believe that people who are or were supposed to be of such high intelligence as to be in charge of so elite security forces could actually come out and say such utter bollocks! are they really serious? do they really think that what he has done, in informing everyone of what America has been/is doing is a more heinous crime than what they have been doing? if anyone wanted hanging, it's those that, under the cover of 'finding terrorists' have betrayed the world, whilst saving no one!!

     

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  5.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    And by the way, I don't know how much of a "nothing" you call the attempted colonisation of Afghanistan by the Taliban and the genocidal nightmare that was Saddam Hussein.

    Do you know how many lives could have been saved had intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo happened earlier than they did? Never mind ANY intervention at all in Rwanda and Darfur?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Here's how

    I'm curious, though, how either of these guys can continue making these claims given everything else that's been happening.

    With their fingers in their ears, their tongues sticking out, saying, "nananananananana we can't hear you"....

    rinse/repeat

    When someone is paid to believe something, it's difficult (short of more cash) to get them to change their "beliefs".... good politicians know when to stay bought...

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:03pm

    - Violates the constitution
    - Spies on innocent people everyone
    - Does not meet any single goal purported to make the program viable.
    - Causes the entire world to distrust US servers and US tech.

    *wants to hang ed snowden for telling the truth. As the GOV betrays everyone on the planet (literally)

    The hypocrisy is so far beyond crazy at this point.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    There are no talking points

    "The similarity of both comments -- both attacking the idea of amnesty, and focusing on the very specific punishment they're salivating over concerning Snowden, certainly hints at a series of insane talking points being passed around among extreme security state apologists."

    It says more about the mindset inherent to those whose jobs involve some form of patriotism / jingoism.

     

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  9.  
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    lostalaska (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    This week on extreme security state apologists....

    This week on extreme security state apologists, how to demonize someone who made your department look like an overreaching power hungry monster that likes to crap all over the constitution... after the break we have Martha Stewart on showing us all how to tie a hang mans noose and add some red ribbons to keep the bureaucratic lynching festive during this time of year.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

    “He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."

    This actually makes a great deal of sense from their point of view. Snowden is a traitor... not to the country, but to the NSA and their agenda. And the jury of peers they're talking about are his former superiors and ex-coworkers in the NSA.

    A whistleblower like Snowden would've been welcomed with open arms by the US if he was giving out such information on the KGB back during the Cold War. Instead we have a former KGB colonel turned President admiring our surveillance state. Way to go Team USA......

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:55pm

    Isn't hanging considered a cruel and unusual punishment and also illegal? shows how much the guys in the intelligence agencies care about the law and the Constitution.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    Do you know how many lives could have been saved if those fricking idiots over there hadn't chosen to start killing each other? If they want to go to war and start killing each other, why is it anyone else's business to intervene?

     

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  13.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:26pm

    Anybody know Snowden's bitcoin address?

    I believe in rewarding heros with money.

    I want to send him something for Russian hookers and...Fanta or something. (I'd say beer, but it it seems he doesn't drink.) He should get some first-class girls who'll give him a good time for Christmas.

    As a patriotic American, I feel Snowden has done my country a tremendous service (given us a shot at taking it back from the scum who run it now).

    I feel bad for the guy, with all the crap being thrown his way, and being away from his family and girlfriend at Christmas. As a 1st class American hero, he deserves to have some fun. Indeed, he should live like a goddamned king.

    So - where do I send the $$$? (Not just any old bitcoin address, please, but one verifiably Snowden's.)

    And - WHO'S WITH ME?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    "...the attempted colonisation of Afghanistan by the Taliban...". You seem to have forgotten about the foreign invasions, first by Russia then by America.
    "...the genocidal nightmare that was Saddam Hussein". So when should we invade China because of the genocidal nightmare that is the Chinese government?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Question: What sort of man thinks that exposing government corruption should be a capital crime?
    Answer: A man who was complicit in that very corruption.

     

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  16.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    Not everybody in Syria has "chosen" to be involved in that war, despite how you put it.

    And there are many things that are supposedly none of our business: starvation in Africa, India and China, homelessness in our own countries, torture and oppression of the worst kinds in all sorts of totalitarian regimes, etc. To pretend otherwise would be to succumb to typical right-wing, isolationist, "poverty is not our problem and you can't take my property away from me" thinking. It's all too easy to forget that serious crises, including pointless civil wars that can be stopped, happen all the time on this planet while we live comfortable, quiet lives back home and get high on capitalism.

    You may only live once, but you're not the only one alive.

     

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  17.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    I have not forgotten about the crimes of the Soviet Union. And neither have I forgotten about the U.S.'s pushing back against the Taliban's colonisation and oppression of every conceivable minority of Afghanistan. No, I have not forgotten. What is your point?

    And even if I WAS being hypocritical here, by the way, by saying "no" to putting pressure on China (what I do say is "yes" to putting pressure on China to stop its authoritarianism, considering the country's size and what scale of pressure that would be most moral), you would have only proved that I was a hypocrite, and not whether taking out Saddam Hussein after 30 years of fascist oppression was the right thing to do.

     

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  18.  
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    Drew, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 5:13pm

    "I think giving him amnesty is idiotic,” said Woolsey, who ran the CIA from 1993 to 1995. “He should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."

    Hey I was just thinking the same thing about the top brass.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 5:58pm

    Don't hang the messenger!

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Wiseguy, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:40pm

    “He [Snowdon] should be prosecuted for treason. If convicted by a jury of his peers, he should be hanged by his neck until he is dead."

    No.... He deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor and a Wall St. parade for standing up for the Constitution.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 2:16am

    Death penalty

    Well, they are from one of the few somewhat developed countries which still have the death penalty. It is no surprise some of them feel it is acceptable to murder someone they consider to be a criminal.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 2:40am

    Did anyone else get the same image?

    and then he ought to swing from a tall oak tree

    Sounds like he wants a good old fashioned lynching. Maybe because they served the same purpose: scare everyone else and keep them in line.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 3:15am

    "Some people think they can get away with something and just hope people won't see through the bullshit.
    The Internet is way smarter than any of us."
    ~Gabe Newell

     

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  24.  
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    anonymouse, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    Those calling for the murder of Snowdon should be the ones with the pressure around their necks, maybe charging them with the crimes they have committed and supported then just hanging them is the only way that people will get their privacy back. Lets do it, charge them and let them swing, or instead of wasting the time and effort that goes into hanging someone lets just put them against a wall and have them shot to death.

     

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  25.  
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    John P (profile), Dec 25th, 2013 @ 8:54am

    prosecute

    Talk about killing the messenger.

    Is violating the constitution illegal in the USA? I have to wonder. Can someone be prosecuted in a state or a federal court for violating the 4th or the 1st amendment? Is there a law on the books with sentencing guidelines?

    Of course, you would need a prosecutor to bring the case. It seems that in the USA, government officials can violate the constitution with impunity. They eagerly pursue whistleblowers such as Snowden, while they ignore the corruption in their own house.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Re: prosecute

    If the government is found to have violated the constitution, the court basically tells them to not do it anymore. There is no punishment for them. On the other hand, if us peons have been found in violation of the law, we get punished. Good ol' Amerikkkan justice.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 9:57am

    It's amazing that the U.S. is still dwelling on something that's ancient history. GET OVER IT ALREADY, YOU LOST!!!

     

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  28.  
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    Time to Help (Your Turn), Dec 25th, 2013 @ 11:43am

    Official Edward Snowden Defense Fund

    You can send BTC to the following address for the Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund for Edward Snowden:

    1snowqQP5VmZgU47i5AWwz9fsgHQg94Fa

    $89,076 raised so far, 2,006 people have donated.

    https://wikileaks.org/freesnowden

     

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  29.  
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    Dave, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Contempt?

    If a trial was on-going, those sort of comments would presumably be treated as contempt of court or similar. Why should any pre-trial comments (assuming there may ACTUALLY be a trial!) be treated any differently? It serves to pre-judge and bias any court or jury.

     

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  30.  
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    GEMont, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 10:30pm

    A simple note to Mister Snowden

    Watch the sky dude.

    The UberVolken are starting to fantasize that killing you will end the problems that have arisen because of their new public image - Global Voyeurs with a license to Steal - (which is due entirely to your continual exposure of their criminal and immoral activity, through the disclosure of their own private words.)*1

    Because they do not know better, they must and will try.

    *1(An act that I personally believe should win Mister Snowden a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.)

     

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  31.  
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    GEMont, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 11:40pm

    Curious Blue

    "I'm curious, though, how either of these guys can continue making these claims given everything else that's been happening."

    Curious?

    Its not like anything you, or I, or anyone they lie to, could possibly interfere with their plans, their actions, their intentions, or their claims. They do not really work for us anymore, even though you probably think the law says otherwise.

    Politicians merely manufacture the rhetoric from which history will be constructed, and so they create, in andvance, the verbiage which will be recorded, repeated and used by authority to officially prove the necessity of their secret actions and private intentions, should they get caught, or not.

    Because only these "talking points" will ever be recorded for use by the official "recorders of events" they become factual reality, by default, due to there being no contrary commentary for the next generation - and much of this generation - to make comparisons with.

    It is a politician's job to manufacture and disseminate these false events, causes, and reactions, and government's job to insure that only these 'falsified records' make it into postery's tale.

    You might, for instance, note that ALL of their public testimony follows a recognizable set of guidelines for consistency, especially in the face of obviously contrary evidence and that every so often one of the major players: NYT, CNN, ETC., suddenly publishes a bizarrely misinformed (and mis-informing) article that basically gathers all the recent talking points into a nice neat bundle, and then presents the resulting conclusions, as easily repeated proven fact.

    Probably just a coincidence eh! :)

     

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  32.  
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    GEMont, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Contempt?

    "It serves to pre-judge and bias any court or jury."

    Precisely as intended.

     

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  33.  
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    Reality Check (profile), Dec 26th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    Re: Hey, Mike: the neo-cons still want to invade Syria AND Iran.

    Unrelated.

    Start your own incomprehensible blog.

     

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  34.  
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    Michael, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    he ought to be convicted of that, and then he ought to swing from a tall oak tree

    I am outraged by this call to harm an oak tree. Trees are an important part of our ecosystem and claiming that damaging one by using it as a hanging post is completely irresponsible.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    We obviously have some very dangerous people in the federal government at present. All gave some, some gave all, so it seems to me we need to watch the ones pointing fingers, and picking up stones.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 26th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

    I wonder if the NSA officials who believe Snowden should be hung would believe the same punishment should be given to the NSA officials if they are found to be guilty?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    I think the NSA and its defenders are very fine people and we should do what they think is right. And I'm not just saying that because they are watching me.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re:

    I agree. Everyone involved in these unlawful constitutional violations should be put to death for treason. They violated their oath of office in the worst possible way. It would send an adequate message to future would be tyrants. Edward Snowden is a hero for revealing everything he has.

     

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  39.  
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    nasch (profile), Dec 27th, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Bolton

    This is what struck me the most:

    "But even if you don’t believe that [Snowden should be hung], if you’re gonna say anything publicly, that is closer to what you should be saying to enhance our own bargaining leverage."

    So now we know (if we didn't assume before) Bolton will just bullshit about anything and say things he doesn't even believe in order to further his agenda.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Re: prosecute

    Conspiracy against rights

     

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  41.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 27th, 2013 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Bolton

    Funny thing is, if I'm reading that right, saying stuff like that is exactly opposite what they should be saying to 'enhance [their] own bargaining power', because if they're calling for the death of someone for making them look bad and exposing their illegal/quasi-legal actions, now any country out there would have a solid argument against deporting Snowden or handing him over to the US, as they could argue that they'd be sending him to his death.

    With a bunch of countries already less-than-trilled about the NSA/USG's activities that have been exposed by Snowden, add the death threats into the equation and you've got a reason for other countries to refuse to deport Snowden, and a politically acceptable excuse to back it up.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re:

    "And I'm not just saying that because they are watching me."

    Thanks, I needed that. :)

     

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  43.  
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    GEMont, Dec 29th, 2013 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Bolton

    "...and you've got a reason for other countries to refuse to deport Snowden."

    Maybe there is some sort of political, diplomatic, or legal "brownie points" for the US Federal Assassins, if Snowden is no longer a US citizen when they "accident" him.

    Maybe the Fed's attitude till now was based on "...what would the Evil Empire do in this situation..." (as everyone expects they would), but secretly they want Snowden to "defect", or gain asylum in a foreign land, so they can take him out as procedure demands, and "put it all behind them".

    Perhaps if Snowden was no longer a US citizen, the legal ramifications of such an assassination, would be far less embarrassing, than if he was still a US citizen.

    Perhaps....

    These spooks are so perversly deviant that its impossible to see the plan till the day after they put it into action.

    :)

     

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  44.  
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    Pragmatic, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Bolton

    Bolton is a nut, and always has been. Remember the kerfuffle when he was appointed by Bush to the UN?

    Where do we get these guys from? Do we look for the craziest ones we can find and put them on the job because they toe the party line?

    I know this sounds a little off-beat, but what about hiring people who can actually do a good job?

    E.G. not John Bolton.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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