Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 26, 2013

Snowden Case Reveals Obama's Personal Arrogance

What does it say about a country when it has to assure another country that it will not torture a fugitive should he be returned?

U.S. Says Snowden Wouldn't Face Death Penalty - Holder Also Rules Out Torture in Bid to Reassure Russia

U.S. authorities say National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden wouldn't face the death penalty—and also promise he wouldn't be tortured—in a new letter hoping to persuade Russia not to grant him asylum or refugee status.
The Obama administration is handling the Snowden case the most stupid way it could. Wasn't there once some bureau for public diplomacy and strategic communication in the State Department?

The administration should have shut up as soon as Snowden went public. Instead it is creating a hero in the eyes of many U.S. people and in the eyes of everyone in the rest of the world. Trying to justify its spying on the whole world, threatening other states over Snowden's asylum and pushing "allies" to bring down foreign presidential planes will endear the U.S. to no one.

Besides that - who will believe anything Holder promises? Wasn't it the U.S. which redefined torture into "enhanced interrogation"? Is that the plan for Snowden? Wasn't it the Obama administration and Holden who refused to prosecute anyone but the victims over torture? Isn't the Obama administration accused by the UN special rapporteur on torture of cruel, inhuman and degrading treating of a prisoner in a case similar to Snowden's?

By writing that Holden letter the U.S. has publicly humiliated itself. It is a total embarrassment.

Putin has made it clear from the very beginning that any extradition of Snowden is not going to happen. Fullstop. Russian officials have repeated that again and even today:

Asked by a reporter whether the government's position had changed, Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies that "Russia has never extradited anyone and never will."
Is that so difficult to understand? Why then is the U.S. even trying?

It seems that this an Obama personality issue. He personally asked Putin to extradite Snowden even after Putin had publicly (thereby leaving zero chance to later change that decision) said he would not. Now Obama is miffed. How can HE get rebuked by country like Russia?

Two weeks ago, Obama phoned Putin and asked him to send Snowden back to the U.S., but Putin refused, according to one official who was briefed on the call. Following that perceived rebuke, the Obama team doubled down on its new policy to show the Russian government the cold shoulder.

“The Snowden affair is definitely affecting U.S.-Russia relations, no question. When you make it clear that something is very important to the U.S. and we are asking for cooperation and that request is rejected, that rejection is going to have an impact on the broader relationship,” said Samuel Charap, senior fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “There’s only so many times you can thumb your nose at a U.S. president and not expect consequences. When the president himself has gotten involved personally and been rebuffed, the rule book kind of goes out the window.”

Ahh - the rule book is out of the window. Screw public diplomacy. Just don't care how the world sees the U.S.. It is all about Obama miffed that Putin is "thumbing his nose" at him. Who is this President of the Russian Federation that dares to do so to King Obama of the United States?

Obama's open personal arrogance will cost the U.S. dearly. 

Posted by b on July 26, 2013 at 01:36 PM | Permalink

Comments

Obama also asked Iran to return the captured drone; and asked Pakistan to release Davis; this taste for personal exposure (and humiliation) on impossible tasks is weird; maybe there's a masochist trait

Posted by: claudio | Jul 26, 2013 2:21:27 PM | 1

Fiona Hill tells Josh Rogin:

These guys are basically giving us the finger, so we are saying ‘Why are we going out there and doing these things?’ You could say that by standing up to Russia, the US is finally getting some balls.

Fiona Hill is a major dude: currently Director, Center on the US and Europe at The Brookings Institution; Past: National Intelligence Officer for Russia & Eurasia, National Intelligence Council; Director of Strategic Planning at The Eurasia Foundation; Associate Director, Strengthening Democratic Institutions Project, Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. For “the US” read “Obama” in her final sentence about “getting some balls”

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 26, 2013 2:24:17 PM | 2

Nerobama.

Posted by: revenire | Jul 26, 2013 2:37:07 PM | 3

Rowan 2

sounds like there are more harpies coming through, like Samantha Powers and the other one whose name I forget off hand, who quite like a good war when they can sit in their nice offices, directing things and other people take the hit.
Its never about DC and what They do, its always about what is done to DC.

Posted by: heath | Jul 26, 2013 3:05:25 PM | 4

The administration should have shut up as soon as Snowden went public.

Amen - especially when one considers the long list of subjects successive US Administrations have been (noisily) coy about.

Gore Vidal once described George W Bush as "eerily inept." Were he alive today, he'd probably be improving that epithet and applying it to Obama - with a subtle reference to Tr-radition.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 26, 2013 3:12:20 PM | 5

And NONE of you are suspicious as to WHY the US basically forced Snowden to stay in Russia through its - the US's - blocking of Snowden's entry into any of a number of geographically closer countries just crawling with American intelligence?

Nope. Nothing to see here.

Putin can now be publicly reviled by officaldom and used as an excuse for any number of exacerbating provocations.

And when Putin finally hands over Snowden to the US, every fanboy - ahem - in America is gonna get their Putin-hate on something fierce.

"Waaaaaah Putin's America's bitch!!! Yup, just like Putin - always against freedom, right?"

I can't wait to hear the squeals.

And I will be here to laugh as you've all gotten played by TPTB once again.

Posted by: jsfontine | Jul 26, 2013 3:39:10 PM | 6

And I will be here to laugh as you've all gotten played by TPTB once again.

Should I be holding my breath?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 26, 2013 3:47:56 PM | 7

There is also the case of the yemeni journalist

Above Mother Jones link is an example of sheepishness

The U.S. government insists that Shaye is no mere journalist. "Shaye is in jail because he was facilitating Al Qaeda and its planning for attacks on Americans and therefore we have a very direct interest in his case and his imprisonment," says Gerald Feierstein, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. Is that true? I have no idea.

But which do I find more likely? That Shaye is indeed affiliated with al-Qaeda based on evidence that hasn't been made public? Or that Barack Obama is a sociopath who pressures foreign leaders to keep innocent journalists in prison based on the fact that they very slightly annoy him? Call me what you will, but I have to go with Door A. U.S. attacks within Yemen might be bad policy. The entire war on al-Qaeda might be bad policy. What's more, Obama — along with the entire security apparatus of the United States — might be specifically wrong about Shaye. But I don't believe that they're simply making this story up because of a basically inconsequential piece that Shaye wrote two years ago. That just doesn't add up.

It actually adds up as Manning is accused of "aiding the enemy", so in the Obama administration Orwellian speak writing on destroyed villages (and showing the photographs of killed women children) is aiding Al Qeida. It adds up down to Obama's phone call to the Yemeni president not to release the journalist.

Of course it is stupid PR, you are supposed to ignore these people and boast that it is a free country.

I think it is psychological. Obama has spent so much effort coopting the left by faking the progressive fighter for human rights he has to destroy the people who really are and might expose him.


Posted by: somebody | Jul 26, 2013 5:23:14 PM | 8

#6 do they even need Snowden for that?

I just saw a headline of US LGBT groups calling for a boycott of Russia because of Putins "anti gay stance".

More likely the real issue is his refusal to bend over for the Americans.

Posted by: guest77 | Jul 26, 2013 6:08:51 PM | 9

@claudio #1
Correct, it's a pattern, if Obama isn't seen at failing at something, it's like he isn't doing anything. Claudio listed the captured drone and Raymond Davis, I would add: gun control (after shootings), Syria (Assad must go), Benghazi, AfPak, social security, Obamacare and immigration to the list.

And now the reset with Russia is making him a laughing stock -- so he's happy to throw a fit about Snowden. But really, what could anyone expect, installing a junior senator with no accomplishments as president.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 26, 2013 6:23:27 PM | 10

It really is sad to see the American head of state humiliate himself. He seems to have a Louis XIV complex.
He may be sicker than any of us could have imagined. I personally don't give a shit as long as he doesn't get us all incinerated.

Posted by: Knut | Jul 26, 2013 6:31:22 PM | 11

yeah, we could have gone with that other junior senator with no accomplishments (other than being First Lady) as president...

really... think things would have been any different?

Posted by: Crone | Jul 26, 2013 6:35:10 PM | 12

Obama has serious character problems and with all of his tough talk he makes bad situations worse. Empty threats do not provide credibility, they do just the opposite. "Pivot to Eastern Asia", "Assad must go" and now threats against Russia. He also created a major foreign policy embarrassment by forcing down President Morales plane -- where he accomplished absolutely nothing else.

I was quite amazed to see how quickly Pres Bush weakened US influence in the world. It is unbelievable that Obama is on track to accomplish as much as Bush. I would consider this good news for the most part, except the US remains dangerously strong and some immature reaction on Obama's part, could as mentioned above,get us all incinerated.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jul 26, 2013 7:17:56 PM | 13

b

Full ACK - except one point:

Obama's open personal arrogance will cost the U.S. dearly.

"will"? No. It already *does* cost zusa dearly.

And, I read that like you, holder basically confessed that torture is principly acceptable and used - why else would he need to state that Snowdon would not be tortured.

Being at that, I noticed zusas newest funny blackmail attempt. The state department declares that the Olympic games in Sochi should not be boycotted, read: This *is* an "option on the table".

Frankly, I'm beginning to ask myself whether the big favour Snowden has done to the world actually is the informations divulged - or wether it's his creating a situation in which zusa drops all democracy, political correctness and other disguises and just shows itself in its full arrogance, ignorance for international law and basic human principles, as the thug it is, ready for any and every crime.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Jul 26, 2013 7:18:16 PM | 14

I think it's a huge leap to assume ANY president of the US has much, if any, autonomy. Obama is a front man, like all modern day presidents before him. He does, and says, what his owners dictate.

Posted by: ben | Jul 26, 2013 7:54:36 PM | 15

Obama, 2009:

“The United States is not at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject. But I also want to be clear that America’s relationship with the Muslim work cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaeda. Far from it. We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."

Pew Global Report, 2013
As has been the case in recent years, America’s image is the most negative in parts of the Muslim world, especially Pakistan (11% favorable), Jordan (14%), Egypt (16%), and the Palestinian territories (16%). Only 21% of Turks see the U.S. positively, although this is actually a slight improvement from last year’s 15%. But the Muslim world is hardly monolithic, and America receives largely positive ratings in predominantly Muslim nations such as Senegal in West Africa and Indonesia and Malaysia in Southeast Asia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 26, 2013 7:57:54 PM | 16

"Mohammed Brahmi, the leftwing Tunisian opposition figure gunned down in front of his house on Thursday, was killed with the same weapon used to assassinate another secular politician in Tunis in February....

"The same 9mm automatic weapon that killed Belaid also killed Brahmi," (Interior Minister) Jeddou said....

"He said he believed the same Salafist extremist cell that was behind Belaid's killing was also behind Brahmi's assassination, naming the chief suspect in the killings as French-born Aboubaker al-Hakim, who was already being sought on suspicion of smuggling weapons from Libya....

"The killing of Brahmi saw thousands of protesters gather again in the capital on Friday, while shops and banks closed their doors and all flights in and out of the country were cancelled...

"Amid growing international concern over the situation in Tunisia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned what she called the "cowardly assassination" of Brahmi and demanded that his and Belaid's killers be swiftly brought to justice....

"The news that ballistic reports had confirmed the same weapon was used in both killings is another striking similarities between the two assassinations, which were both carried out by men on motorbikes outside the victim's home."

There is every likelihood that the killers are agents of Prince Bandar. Who reports in turn to Obama. And every Tunisian knows it.

With Obama as a foil, Putin is dominating the diplomatic world, the Bismarck of our era, dancing around the muscle bound zombie that was once US diplomacy like a toreador bestriding a mound of steaks.
In the meantime as Putin gathers up a harvest of allies around the world, Obama cannot even please the Israelis who constantly demand more and offer less.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 26, 2013 8:06:23 PM | 17

Re: the Yemeni journalist - I don't have the links to support this, so I'm going off memory (I know Glenn Greenwald covered this a few times) but I believe what the US was worried about was that this journalist would have proof that the US was conducting drone strikes in Yemen. This may have been prior to the WikiLeaks leaked cable(s) that detailed one of the top officials in the Yemeni gov telling a US official not to worry, he just lies to his parliament about who is conducting the strikes (saying that it's the Yemenis that are doing it). Again, I don't remember the details, but it seems disingenuous for the MJ article to characterize the "Door B" option as a sociopath who is keeping another person in prison over personal annoyances. And he (along with many others) is most definitely a sociopath, but for much meatier reasons.

Posted by: JessicaJessica Sager | Jul 26, 2013 9:12:26 PM | 18

"When the president himself has gotten involved personally and been rebuffed, the rule book kind of goes out the window.”

Unless he is rebuffed by Israel, in which case, the rule book remains firmly in place.

Posted by: Shingo | Jul 26, 2013 10:53:07 PM | 19

Ding! Ding! Shingo

Look at the many times during his time as president that Bibi has made Obama look foolish... here in America.

Posted by: Crone | Jul 26, 2013 11:17:22 PM | 20

Re the Yemeni journalist, the issue was, he interviewed Anwar al-Awlaki at length. Here's the story. WaPo actually commisssioned Shaye to do this interview, but it wasn't the first:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/15/AR2009111503160_pf.html

My own opinion is that 'Inspire Magazine' is a CIA construct, which implies that Awlaki himself was a CIA stooge. Shaye may have discovered this, which would certainly mean the CIA would want him out of the way, if not permanently dead. But of all the various AQ spectacles, this one probably seems like the most incontravertably genuine to most people. After all, we still have Awlaki's dad (an ex Yemeni govt minister), being dignified. We have dignified petitions to Mr Plastic President: "Don't drone me, bro".

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 27, 2013 12:26:58 AM | 21

Well, if having access and reporting what people say is equalled with being a propagandist that is the end of journalism.

It is clear that there is something in the story of al-Awlaki the US deep state wants to keep from the open.

There have been questions for years about when al-Awlaki became radicalized. One largely redacted document from February 4, 2002, contained abbreviated language indicating that al-Awlaki was a member of a terrorist organization and should be approached with caution. The rest of the document's message was not provided, but that item and other documents make it clear he was under investigation. Judicial Watch noted that al-Awlaki spoke at a Pentagon luncheon the next day. The 9/11 Commission report said al-Awlaki had contact with two of the hijackers -- Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar -- the year before the attacks when he served as an imam at a San Diego mosque. He also may have had contact with one of those men and a third hijacker, Hani Hanjour, when he served at a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, in 2001. A December 2006 FBI memo that was part of the FOIA release said the cleric was interviewed in September 2001 after the terror attacks and recognized a picture of one of the hijackers. But the memo said al-Awlaki was never thoroughly questioned about his relationship with any of the hijackers, and "their exact relationship remains unclear."

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27, 2013 2:24:23 AM | 22

The yemeni journalist's case actually proves the stupidity of what the Obama administration is doing - basically they focus everybody's attention on what is going on.

It actually is quite strange (or not) how Obama inherited Bush's war on terror and now defends a policy he had nothing to do with in the first place.

National security defense attorney Edward MacMahon Jr., who represented al-Timimi, told Fox News, after reviewing the documents, that they “certainly” indicate that either Awlaki “was an asset or was put in touch with an asset.”

“It (the document) was requested and I was told it didn’t exist,” MacMahon said, adding the defense team believed Awlaki’s statements would have shown al-Timimi turned down the cleric’s requests to recruit young Muslim men for violent jihad. “Rather than admit that they messed up with Anwar Awlaki, they would rather put Ali al-Timimi in jail for rest of life and withhold all this information from him.”

Fox News in 2010 reported that the Justice Department suddenly pulled the arrest warrant for the cleric, the same week he returned to the U.S. from overseas. The arrest warrant, initiated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force or JTTF in San Diego, was a “holding charge” so that Awlaki could be pressed by federal investigators on his direct ties to 9/11 hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.

The Justice Department, in explaining why it had the warrant pulled, claimed Awlaki had corrected lies about his place of birth on his Social Security card application, in turn making a passport fraud case against him weak. However, Fox News obtained, through FOIA, Awlaki’s Social Security records showing there was no correction – Awlaki only applied for a replacement card using his true place of birth, New Mexico.

The Judicial Watch records also indicate that on Oct. 1, 2002 – before he returned to the U.S. -- a memo marked “Secret” and “Priority” was faxed from the FBI’s Washington Field Office to FBI headquarters. On Oct. 3, the FBI director’s memo was sent to Ashcroft. And on Oct. 10, the day Awlaki entered the U.S., there was a heavily redacted fax from the FBI at JFK airport including the cleric’s plane ticket, customs form, passport and Social Security card.

Based on the new documents, there are at least three possible explanations for the cleric’s return and the FBI’s considerable involvement. The bureau was attempting to recruit the cleric as an asset, he was already considered a friendly contact or the bureau wanted to track him for intelligence purposes once he returned to the U.S. The FBI’s involvement in the cleric’s case, and the actions of the FBI director, raise new questions about the secret decision to place the cleric on the CIA targeting list years later.

“Why would al-Awlaki get the attention of the FBI Director? … Why would a warrant for his arrest be pulled when he’s trying to reenter the country” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “All of that, you know, put two and two together. It seems like he was protected. … And it’s about time this administration and the government generally come clean about their relationship with al-Awlaki. It’s screaming for further clarification.”

Former Sen. Bob Graham, who led the first investigation into 9/11, known as the Joint Congressional Inquiry, told Fox News in 2011 that he wanted access to al-Awlaki but was told the cleric was out of the country and unavailable. The new documents make clear the FBI was aware of the cleric’s travel to the U.S. before the Joint Congressional Inquiry was complete in late 2002.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27, 2013 2:51:50 AM | 23

It actually is not strange as Obama continues Bill Clinton's Bosnian policy in Syria

Closing with some quotes: Western journalists failed to note that the (Bosnia) Muslim ruling party, while portraying itself as thoroughly democratic and impressively multicultural, in fact was run by and for Islamists of a radical bent, whose ideal society was revolutionary Iran. … That the Bosnian jihad was considered a major success by al-Qaida was something no journalist uttered…[Bosnia] has continued its seemingly relentless slide into crime, corruption and extremism. Radical Islam has a stronger hold there than ever before, and it remains a mystery to me why Western governments continue to not give this problem, in the heart of Europe, the attention it deserves.” – John R. Schindler, professor of Strategy at U.S. Naval War College and former NSA analyst, Town Hall, Oct. 18, 2007

So whilst US Foreign policy is vile, stupid and against the interests of its own population, at the same time it has been very consistent.

Who are these counterterrorist geniuses designing a policy of fighting and supporting terrorist groups at the same time? They do not dare to come out about it in public.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 27, 2013 3:21:57 AM | 24


Humpty Obumpty


Posted by: S Haust | Jul 27, 2013 8:18:42 AM | 25

Who are these counterterrorist geniuses designing a policy of fighting and supporting terrorist groups at the same time?

The prime example is of course Afghanistan, or AfPak, where Obama still has over twice as many troops as when he became president. The country, as well as Pakistan, is getting more violent, yet Obama continues to ally with Pakistan when in August 2009 General McChrystal assessed in a report to Obama: "Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ]."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2013 9:44:30 AM | 26

Awlaki and bin Laden, and others, have been assassinated because the US had no proof that they did anything. Endless detention with torture but without justice wouldn't serve for these people, as for others in various prisons, so why not off them. The governments lawyers say it's legal (or they become ex-government lawyers).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2013 9:49:23 AM | 27

Somebody @ 8 -- Kevin Drum wrote the Mother Jones article you linked to about Shaye.

For Drum, if there's any possible way to stick with Obama, he will take it, no matter how illogial or fact-free.

He's a nice, comfortably well-off, Corporatist Dem. And, even writing for Mother Jones, he will not make waves...in case something comes up at a more widely known publication.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 27, 2013 9:59:41 AM | 28

When the news came out that Holder had written his Russian counterpart, promising no death penalty for Snowden and no use of torture, I was so hoping some actual reporter would as Holder if he meant torture as defined under international law...or torture as defined by John Yoo, for one, and the Bush/Cheney, perhaps now Obama, administrations....

No one will ask, and Holder would never actually answer.

Anyway, Holder, like Obama, uses words to persuade and bamboozle, not to clearly communicate.

We are so screwed.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 27, 2013 10:06:12 AM | 29

Also, the US super max prisons, with their 23 hours a day of solitary confinement in a small cell, with solitary exercise permitted but no human contact, is considered by most civilized nations as torture.

It does seem to result in mental degradation and terrible depression.

But, the US is down with that for "bad guys."

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 27, 2013 10:09:24 AM | 30

Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan ... reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI.
I have developed something I call "the push-pull theory" about this: the theory is that certain organisations, (eg al-Shabab in Somalia, Lashkar-e-Taiba which did the Mumbai bombings, the various Talibans and ultra-Talibans, and the al-Qaeda 'franchises' everywhere), are simultaneously "pushed" in the sense of being harassed militarily, and "pulled" in the sense of being induced by CIA or other covert agencies to mount "terrorist" operations (usually against civilian or sectarian targets). For this theory to work, the organisations have to be composed of layers of witting double agents at the top, and useful idiots at the bottom. And those at the top have to know that the US offers them no choice but to engage indefinitely in this double game. If they refuse, it will destroy them completely, using overwhelming military force. If they cooperate, they will be allowed to remain in existence, overtly hunted and covertly sustained by different tentacles of the US octopus.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 27, 2013 10:11:17 AM | 31

aben @ 15 - I sometimes wonder what the NSA or other surveillance programs has on Obama. However, I think Obama is a fully vested and invested Corporatist. Just that, maybe, they could get him to be even more irrational by mentioned little tidbits they could release to the public....

I figure the communications of DC pols in particular, and any others who might interfere with the well-oiled corporate funcitoning of our big bidnesses, are used to keep those pols in line and doing what the PTB's want done. Just a hint here and there, full blown blackmail threats if necessary.

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 27, 2013 10:16:47 AM | 32

@RB #31
If they refuse, it will destroy them completely, using overwhelming military force.

news report, 2006

The US threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age" unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda, President Pervez Musharraf has said. General Musharraf said the warning was delivered by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Pakistan's intelligence director.

So the AfPak charade continues, and will continue, with a cast of thousands of double agents and useful idiots.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2013 10:21:18 AM | 33

I think Obama is a fully vested and invested Corporatist

Black Agenda Report, May 7, 2008

Running to the Right: Barack Obama and the DLC Strategy

DLC endorsement is the gold standard of political reliability for Wall Street, Big Energy, Big Pharma, insurance, the airlines and more. Though candidates normally undergo extensive questioning and interviews before DLC endorsement, Obama insisted the blessing of these corporate special interests had been bestowed on him without these formalities and without his advance knowledge, and formally disassociated himself from the DLC. But like Hillary Clinton, and every front running Democrat since Michale Dukakis in 1988, Barack Obama's campaign has adopted the classic right wing DLC strategy.
[snip]
When he does speak, it won't be good news. Republicans are sure to escalate their demands, insisting that Barack Obama denounce a list of black and progressive organizations, activities, beliefs and individuals to retain his share of their base. And as long as Obama is wedded to the DLC strategy, he will eagerly comply.

If there was an actual mass-based progressive movement in the US, operating on the ground and independent of political parties and campaigns, it might have a prayer of holding Barack Obama accountable. But there isn't.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2013 10:25:55 AM | 34

Apologies for multiple typos and for not carefully proofreading in my comments above. Ack. I'll blame the pain pills I'm on. Seriously. I get blurry vision at times from them....

Posted by: jawbone | Jul 27, 2013 10:31:21 AM | 35

The Spanish train driver that killed 80 people has been detained for 'reckless homicide.' It was known that he was 'reckless' because of comments he had made. He liked to go fast. Too bad the same reasoning doesn't apply to presidents. The video reminds of US foreign policy -- a train-wreck.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2013 10:49:13 AM | 36

36
That could've been the charge against Zimmerman. Odummy is either a clumsy, inept pendejo. Or he is an evil genius, I am leaning more towards the latter. I wonder if he will go back to being a community organizer once he is done making a mess of things. I wonder if the office of the President shall be privatized one day too, if Jeb Bush finally decides to run.

Posted by: Fernando | Jul 27, 2013 11:54:40 AM | 37

Ob-i-man as medieval monarch! One article I read yesterday said that Putin is not dealing with this personally, a clear *public* refusal to enter these kinds of personal power-plays.

jsfontine:

The US has not blocked Eddy’s asylum anywhere. It has muttered about threats and reprisals, and displeasing the US is not something the poodles are wont to do. Eddy is an embarrassment, a hot potato. This is not just a ‘technicality’ it is the hardball of international politics.

We were not given the opportunity to see how, for ex. Switzerland, Norway, Spain, others would respond to a proper demand for asylum, which Eddy never made...

Eddy being in Russia is a shaming for the US. It is a great relief to European countries (about S. Am. I don’t know), they reckon Putin can deal with it, he’s probably the best man for the job (and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that there has been some informal a-hem support to him from them..)

Let this be a US <-> Russia quarrel! Ouf!

In fact, Obama’s posturing and contacting Putin and so on does the same: it confines the issue to US-Russia relations outside of Int’l law and so on, and by-passes the possibility of other, more public or damaging disagreements or subservience. (1.) Not sure the US sees it that way though. Not that anyone cares about Eddy as a person, he is a symbol.

Everyone (incl. Germany and France) hopes this will all fade away fast...Eddy can settle in Russia, find a new GF, etc...In that way Putin sticks by Russkie principles, scores an unexpected win in the human rights arena (after Pussy riot, etc.) and at the same time helps out the US - note Putin’s previous demand that Eddy stop leaking as a condition for asylum, which Eddy accepted! Win-win for Putin.

1. The flap about Morales being denied air space or landing rights was extremely damaging to all the EU parties involved.

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 27, 2013 12:20:39 PM | 38

The US has not blocked Eddy’s asylum anywhere.

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 27, 2013 12:37:41 PM | 39

Eddy can settle in Russia, find a new GF, etc
Don't forget, Anna Chapman (the old-school glamorous Russian spy, now hostess of a TV chat show) offered to marry him, in a tweet: "Snowden, will you marry me?"

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 27, 2013 1:09:25 PM | 40

By the way, don't forget Bradley Manning
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/12/bradley-manning-tapes-own-words

Posted by: Mina | Jul 27, 2013 1:21:27 PM | 41

Here is Anna Chapman's marriage proposal, just for the record:
https://twitter.com/ChapmanAnna/status/352480982101798913

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 27, 2013 1:27:20 PM | 42

Obama's promise of whistleblower protection disappeared from Change.org website.
The Sunlight Foundation notes that it last could be viewed on June 8, which was two days after the first revelations from Edward Snowden (who had then not yet revealed himself) about the NSA's phone surveillance program. One of the promises Obama made on the website was on "whistleblower :"

The irony of course is without leaks, Barack Obama might never have been elected to begin with.

Posted by: TikTok | Jul 27, 2013 3:00:30 PM | 43

Well, Obama changes his stated public positions all the time, so he probably can't figure out why Putin can't just to it, too.

I want Snowden somewhere safe asap, already. The longer it takes, the more that can go wrong.

Posted by: catherine podojil | Jul 27, 2013 4:13:30 PM | 44

I’m very much struck by the White House’s increasingly desperate behavior in trying to capture Snowden. Snowden must be in possession of some information that's either incredibly incriminating or awfully embarrassing to the President. This also proves, once again, what a pathological Liar-in Chief Obama is when he stated that he's "not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker."

Posted by: Cynthia | Jul 27, 2013 8:08:05 PM | 45

No american politician can be trusted: they will all lie give the need or opportunity? Snowden should not trust a word from a corrupt regime like Obamas

Posted by: brian | Jul 28, 2013 12:04:20 AM | 46

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 27, 2013 1:09:25 PM | 40

beware honey traps

Posted by: brian | Jul 28, 2013 12:05:16 AM | 47

Re: "The Obama administration is handling the Snowden case the most stupid way it could."

It is my impression that the policy is intentionally sabotaged by pro-Snowden moles in the US administration.

"Mole" maybe too strong a word, but I believe there is widespread support for Snowden in the administration – just as there is in the general population. The tactic is simple: just follow the book – to the letter. This is the safest form of sabotage, as you can never be exposed for too eagerly supporting a fascist dictatorship. Questioning the wisdom of overreaching prosecution and persecution would put you under far more suspicion (and surveillance) and your career in far more danger.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jul 28, 2013 1:38:03 AM | 48

Hm, I don't think it is a matter of Obama's personal arrogance.

Rather it is a way of running the empire which includes audiences as rewards and personal attention form the god king himself as a way to signal the vassals how seriously matters are taken. The Cablegate files were rather instructive. In most cases it appears to work, hence the miffedness when it does not.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jul 28, 2013 2:29:24 AM | 49

Feinstein suggests Snowden might have given info to China, Russia
Aaron Blake, WaPo, Jul 28 2013

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein suggested in an interview Sunday that Edward Snowden could have given sensitive national security information to Russia and China. Feinstein said on CNN’s State of the Union.:

He went to two big cyber-intruding powers, China and Russia, and left China and went to Russia. You’ve got to ask, why did he choose those two? You’ve got to also ask, do the Chinese have all this material? Do the Russians have it?

Asked whether Snowden has shared the information, Feinstein said: “We don’t know.” Feinstein has said Snowden is guilty of treason.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Jul 28, 2013 2:02:39 PM | 50

usually when someone in power attacks the weaklings, it's because they pushed the boss's buttons. Hearing Feinstein attack Snowden sounds like she has dirty laundry Snowden could expose. Anyone as crooked/MIC as Feinstein, well, these "kind" don't stay in power because they are "morally" ethical. power corrupts and people like Feinstein are so corrupt. an example of psychopaths in power/sociopaths in charge who want to "crush" the little ones who get in their way. America today. Living in Versailles/DC, Feinstein and the rest are so disconnected from us, and care not a whit. we, who pay for their largesse. or the Hunger Games, to use a modern example. Snowden didn't play according to their "rules" of engagement.

Posted by: Bernard | Jul 28, 2013 7:31:22 PM | 51

@ 48, an interesting thought. It's consistent with the misspelled name on the extradition request to Hong Kong.

@ 47, Anna would be worth the risk. Besides, it will be a while before Snowden will risk leaving the country on vacation and I doubt the CIA will risk an assassination/snatch&grab inside Russia.

Posted by: Lysander | Jul 28, 2013 11:46:38 PM | 52

larouchepac dot com ---- can save you time.

Posted by: Art | Jul 31, 2013 9:56:23 PM | 53

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