White House Believes Ed Snowden Shouldn't Have Any Free Speech Rights, Attacks Russia For Letting Him Speak
from the sickening dept
The White House’s attacks on whistleblower Ed Snowden have already been pretty bad, but they took it up a notch in response to Ed Snowden’s brief press conference with various human rights groups last week from the Moscow airport where he is stranded. There are all sorts of ways that the White House could have responded to this — and it chose perhaps the worst. It sent out press secretary Jay Carney to scold Russia for allowing Ed Snowden to speak, claiming that it provided him a “propaganda platform.”
The White House criticized Russia on Friday for allowing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to meet with human rights activists, calling it a “propaganda platform” for the man who seeks to avoid prosecution for leaking classified information about secret U.S. electronic surveillance programs.
Think about that for a second. This is the US government, directly trying to shut up a US citizen, who has blown the whistle on various illegal secret surveillance programs. Part of the very basis for the US is supposed to be our support for the First Amendment, and the belief in free speech. That includes speech we don’t like, in the belief that speech can be countered by other speech. But the US government seems to think that the First Amendment does not apply to people who criticize them.
“Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government’s previous declarations of Russia’s neutrality and that they have no control over his presence in the airport,” Carney said. “It’s also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests.”
Frankly, the only one spewing propaganda here is Jay Carney and the administration, for claiming that merely allowing Snowden to speak is the equivalent of doing “further damage to U.S. interests.” The problem, it seems, is that the White House seems to think that damage to their own reputation and future spying efforts is the equivalent of “damage to U.S. interests.” But that’s clearly ridiculous. Many in the American public feel that the real damage to U.S. interests was having this illegal and unconstitutional program in the first place.
And, it wasn’t just a specific phraseology that Carney just happened to come up with on the spot. The State Department said nearly the same thing:
“We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport’s transit zone to meet with Mr. Snowden despite the government’s declarations of Russia’s neutrality with respect to Mr. Snowden,” Psaki said. “Our concern here is that he’s been provided this opportunity to speak in a propaganda platform.”
When the US government is directly trying to silence the speech of an American citizen, and arguing that it’s some sort of violation to let him give a pretty basic statement on how the US is persecuting him, is really sickening. What kind of country have we become when the federal government is directly trying to shut someone up like that?