If All These Countries Are So Outraged By Revelations Of US Spying On Them, Why Aren't They Offering Snowden Asylum?

from the telling... dept

Glenn Greenwald makes some really good points in a Guardian column (one of his last) discussing the reactions to the latest revelations about the NSA surveillance on citizens and (mainly) top politicians in other countries. The key one being, if these countries are really so outraged by these revelations, shouldn’t they be offering Ed Snowden asylum, since they appear to be admitting that these revelations are important?

All of these governments keep saying how newsworthy these revelations are, how profound are the violations they expose, how happy they are to learn of all this, how devoted they are to reform. If that’s true, why are they allowing the person who enabled all these disclosures – Edward Snowden – to be targeted for persecution by the US government for the “crime” of blowing the whistle on all of this?

If the German and French governments – and the German and French people – are so pleased to learn of how their privacy is being systematically assaulted by a foreign power over which they exert no influence, shouldn’t they be offering asylum to the person who exposed it all, rather than ignoring or rejecting his pleas to have his basic political rights protected, and thus leaving him vulnerable to being imprisoned for decades by the US government?

Of course, when put in the context of how it’s really just about cutting off the power of American hypocrisy, this situation makes more sense, even as it highlights the hypocrisy of those other countries.

The reality is that none of these leaders expressing outrage are actually shocked by this. Everyone knew this was going on. They’re reacting this way because it’s all part of the theater, in which they have to act shocked and to condemn the US, but it’s really just about the information being revealed. When looked at under that light, of course they have no interest in offering Snowden asylum. He’s the one who created the “shock” by revealing this information which all those officials almost certainly knew about, while pretending not to.

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Comments on “If All These Countries Are So Outraged By Revelations Of US Spying On Them, Why Aren't They Offering Snowden Asylum?”

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52 Comments
Zem (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The bait is the issue of Snowden’s assylum. Apart from totally ignoring the process by which asylum would be requested and granted in these countries, it then moves onto to making a moral judgement about the people of these contries in question for not offering asylum. That’s the switch.

Blaming the victim. By casting a disingenuous analysis, over the issue of asylum, the article seaks to play down the issue of spying, because the targets are not sincere about their outrage.

JMT says:

Re: Re:

I think you might have missed the rhetorical nature of Greenwald’s suggestion. Everybody knows those affected countries won’t offer Snowden asylum; the point was to highlight the hypocrisy of being publicly outraged about the revelations while at the same time refusing to help the person who revealed them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I disagree that there’s hypocrisy there. It’s a very complicated political and diplomatic issue, and any problems that have come as a result of this aren’t going to be solved by paying for Snowdon’s flight from Moscow. However angry these countries are at the US, they’re still at this moment a major trade and military ally, and given how petty US politics can be at times such an act would be waving a red flag at a bull, even if perfectly justified.

Being angry at someone while being unwilling to do something that would invite retaliation isn’t hypocrisy. There’s probably also major legal issue regarding things like extradition that would make such a thing difficult if not impossible, although I’m no expert in that area. Other than being a public gesture, I don’t see how anything positive would truly be achieved here, but I can see lots of negatives.

Davd says:

The answer is likely simpler.

Most countries profiting from Snowden’s revelations are ruled by constitutional governments where the representatives are not above the law.

That means for one thing that asylum may often only be granted once somebody is in the country.

For another, the countries may have an extradition treaty with the U.S.A. Shutting that down or making exceptions to it might not be easy to do in a timely manner.

Third, many of those countries are those where the U.S. claims to have “thwarted” terrorist plots without informing state authorities. That means that they have the means and willingness to bypass local authorities and kidnap or kill on foreign soil of purportedly sovereign allies.

Guaranteeing the safety of Edward Snowden is only possible in countries where the death squadrons of the U.S.A. are not on the loose.

Offering Snowden asylum just to have him kidnapped or executed would be a public relations disaster.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The answer is likely simpler.

The presence of US bases and or forces in or convenient to those countries, and US willingness to use the against people they take a dislike to, make it problematic to offer Snowden asylum. Because of Julian Assange, various embassies in those countries could gain a US marine guard if Ed Snowden made it to them, just they would be in plain clothes and uninvited.

Anonymous Coward says:

that answer is simple! making out you’re outraged is much easier and safer than being outraged. if your people think you are going to take the US President and security agencies to task over what has happened, they will think you’re doing a good job and leave you alone. actually doing that task is much harder, especially when you dont want to upset further the one who has upset you in the first place! being afraid is no excuse. you shouldn’t be afraid, least of all of your supposed allies. the trouble is, the USA is always doing what is best for it whilst never thinking about the consequences for anywhere/one else. unfortunately, sooner or later that attitude is going to cause even bigger rifts than have been caused to date, and they will be even harder to repair. if the USA truly wants to have allies and to help each other to combat any bad actions from those that mean harm, it has now got to do a hell of a lot of back tracking and arse licking. if it doesn’t, as hard as it is going to be, it is gonna end up being isolated. that is a situation it should not relish. as powerful as any nation thinks it is, it cant fight everyone all of the time!

Anonymous Coward says:

is snowden asking for asylum at those places

That might JUST be another reason.

Plus, well it embarrassing that these people COULD be spied on IF THEY ACTUALLY WERE, which is doubtful really.

Lots of people don’t believe Snowden, or even if they do believe him, don’t agree with what he did.

Third, they don’t want to complain TOO MUCH, because they might be ‘leaked’ too, they all do it, well for the right reasons anyway.

are you suggesting they should continue to make snowden a pawn in some political game ???

Lastly, its got nothing to do with Snowden, he’s just the thief, not the story.

Anonymous Coward says:

Most of these countries act just as badly or FAR WORSE

That the US, the World has not forgotten Germany in WW2, or the French spies bombing and sinking of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand. Germany being “outraged” is a bit hypocritical (a lot).

Snowden has to also be in that Country to get asylum, plus they would want a known thief with them. Plus they would want to piss of the US, plus its not confirmed that this is even true, its doubtful that it is.

Plus, people (you know THE PEOPLE) would have to actually CARE, and they really don’t.

And, do you really think international policy and politics should be run by thief spies and UK ‘journalists’ ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Most of these countries act just as badly or FAR WORSE

[xenophobia snip]

“do you really think international policy and politics should be run by thief spies and UK ‘journalists’ ?”

Is your issue with the people, or with the information they are leaking?

Because to me it’s simple. Snowden could be Smith, and Guardian could be Wikileaks or BBC or other free press. The people don’t matter, the outlets don’t matter. It’s the information.

Some really bad bad choices by a General whose been running the show in secret.

What use is collecting all of this crap on normal people? For a spying perv maybe, but what actual use is it that outweighs all the damage it does?

And why does he wear a uniform like he’s fighting a battle?? NSA is a civilian role, yet he dresses up in costume, with his shiny badges. Why? It’s like a statement of loyalty in the US, if you’re loyal to the military you wear the uniform, if you’re loyal to the constitution, you wear civilian clothes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Most of these countries act just as badly or FAR WORSE

“Because to me it’s simple. Snowden could be Smith, and Guardian could be Wikileaks or BBC or other free press. The people don’t matter, the outlets don’t matter. It’s the information.

It certainly does matter if the probity of the information might be in questions, as in this situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Most of these countries act just as badly or FAR WORSE

“You’re a lot worse, so we should be able to get away with whatever the fuck we want”? That’s your logic, darryl?

One can scarcely imagine the amount of brain damage one must have had to purchase a solar panel from an intellectually-deprived fuckwit like you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Most of these countries act just as badly or FAR WORSE

and who the fuck cares what you “think” ?? or what you are told to think by your ‘leader’. You know who I am talking about.

And having never sold a solar panel, I guess no one !!

I am rather happy that I make you rage to the degree you do, it speaks far more about your state of mind that mine.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a citizen of Germany, I don’t like the idea of Germany offering asylum to Snowden. Not because I don’t wan’t him protected, but because I don’t think he would be protected here. While I trust our politicians and executive far more than those of the UK or US (who both stray to far into police state territory for my comfort), that does not mean I trust them.

And even if I did trust our government not to change it’s mind, I don’t trust there’s not some loophole somewhere which makes it a legal obligation to extradite him.

And again, even it that was safe, there remains the fact that the US executive has absolutely no qualms to send professional hitmen (‘Special Forces’) to any allied or unallied territory to murder whoever they dislike if the target is just high-profile enough. And murder is the nice alternative, those less lucky end up in clandestine torture camps for life.

Snowden is seriously high profile at the moment, and neither France nor Germany is likely to start a way over a murdered sysadmin. Russia or China just might, so while I feel for Snowden that he has to stay in countries like that, I’m still secretly glad he’s there, because it seems the safest alternative all round.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I guess you have not been taking too much notice about what happens in Russia with journalists and ‘political dissidents’ or even leaders of political parties not crawling up Putins ass.

Perhaps you might want to try to keep up with events in Russia and see for yourself, I could think of a couple hundred countries where he would be safer (in the long run) including the US. Time will tell.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

and if you don’t think there is such a thing as US/Russian double agents, or that Snowden would not at this be time under unprecedented and constant surveillance then you really need to try to learn a little about how the world works.

If American wanted him dead, it not matter in the least that he is in Russia, the US has the means and people to do that job if they wanted it done.

Again, if you really believe that is not the case, you need to pay a bit more attention.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

He’s neither generelly a journalist nor a dissident, he is a whistleblower in a specific case. So far, there is no reason to believe he will become politically active in any way regarding Russia, so while I agree Russia is quite a threat to it’s own free press and whistleblowers, I don’t see where it is a thread to Snowden. Same for China, which is as far from a poster child for free press as you can get.

And yes, IF the Americans want him dead, they will be able to get him more or less everywhere. But Russia or China will have way more caustic responses to US operations in their territories than our tame central European governments ever will.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re:

The answer is simple this: If it comes to the point of one EU countries accept the political asylum of Snowden, then it means that all the relationships between EU and the US are broken off.

Not in the middle of the TAFTA treaty, they won’t. Actually, the spying might give European nations some leverage, particularly in the light of the revelations about industrial espionage.

If the US refuses to trade with a European nation that takes Snowden in, the whole EU might turn around and tear up TAFTA or impose some sanctions of its own. There is also the matter of US bases scattered all over the UK and European countries…

So no, they’d squeal like little pigs, then get over it. However, Snowden would have to watch his back every day for the rest of his life.

Cowardly Anon says:

IMO, it’s b/c they already knew. They are shocked, SHOCKED, that about this information, much in the same way I’m shocked to find that my toddler ate all the chocolate on a plate without asking.

For shame on the US…..for getting caught.

No one wants to take in Snowden b/c they want to make a show of trying to “fix” their so called bruised relations with the US, and taking him in would pretty much burn that bridge. As of right now, on the public stage, they have some leverage over the US and the US politicians have to do some quick dancing and squirming. Taking in Snowden would give the leverage back to the US.

So yah, I’m not surpised.

Anonymous Coward says:

NSA gets caught out but says it still not in the wrong. I have yet to hear the answer to this question “if it was the other way round, how would the US react if it was them being spied on to the same degree?”

Also if I were to hack a goverment computer I’d be locked up yet it it perfectly legal to be hacked by the goverment. Logic anyone?

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