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.
Filed Under: ed snowden, grammar, statement, wikileaks