Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ukraine: How it Got Harder for Snowden's Russia Story to Pass the Laugh Test



Ukraine: How it Got Harder for Snowden's Russia Story to Pass the Laugh Test

Spandan Chakrabarti March 3, 2014




Russian forces are occupying part of Ukraine right now in clear violation of

international law. And yet, America's self-proclaimed "anti-war" Left is

eerily silent. There is no petition on MoveOn.org to urge the US and the

international community to do everything possible to end the Russian

invasion. Alan Grayson, the self-declared "Congressman with guts" evidently

lacks the guts to even call Russia out. The dogmatic left, known for their

propensity to scream and yell, is eerily silent. The screeching Left, best

known for hitting the United States for "imperialism", is barely even

breathing a word against Putin's moves to cease land from another sovereign



Could the deafening silence be coming from wanting to avoid the discussion

of an inconvenient reality? Could it be because of Edward Snowden?


No, I'm not simply talking about the reprehensible moral implications for a

man the anti-government Left has joined the libertarian Right to sell as a

hero to remain under the protection of the government running one of the

worst surveillance states in the world. I am not even simply talking about

the scathing ethical implications for a man the anti-war Left has labeled a

hero to continue to enjoy the protections of a government that just invaded

a neighboring country.


I'm talking about credibility. For those who defend Edward Snowden - both

activists and publishers who are benefiting from his theft of critical

American intelligence information - an essential pillar of canonizing him

has been a steadfast rejection of the idea that Snowden may have (willingly

or under force) handed over US intelligence secrets to China (where he first

ended up after fleeing the US) or Russia (where he was finally granted



The idea that Edward Snowden, in possession of a treasure trove of American

intelligence documents, would end up in the loving arms of Russia without

turning over his information always required a good degree of suspension of

disbelief. Still, his defenders, along with the person profiting the most

from his revelations, Glenn Greenwald, argued that Russians couldn't get

anything from him because all the data he had stolen was highly encrypted,

and Russians did not have the capacity to break that encryption even if they

tried. They never answered the question as to why Russia would grant Snowden

asylum if there was nothing in it for them, however.


Just how much disbelief you are required to suspend in order to allow for

their argument to even pass the laugh test, however, has gone up by an order

of magnitude in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, simply because the

invasion has proven Putin's willingness to be aggressive simply to achieve

political dominance. If you are to believe Snowden's devotees, you would

have to believe that the same country that just invaded a neighbor to expand

its political influence in startling violation of international law is also

protecting and sheltering a fugitive out of concern for his interests rather

than their own. Snowden's lackies would have you believe that the man

looking to re-establish the Russian empire would house the possessor of the

largest US intelligence leak in history and ask for nothing in return.


In order to believe in the innocence of Edward Snowden (when it comes to

revealing intelligence information to foreign governments), one has to

believe in the innocence of the Russian government. In order to believe in

the righteousness of Snowden's Russian hideout, one must also believe in the

righteousness of Vladimir Putin.


But the greatest of concerns is not that those who defend Snowden aren't

making these connections - though that is probably a large part of the

story. The greatest of concerns is that the most virulent defenders of

Snowden's innocence are beginning to defend Russia - by the means of

celebrating it as demise of "Pax Americana":


The tweeter account emptywheel belongs to Marcy Wheeler, who is the Senior

policy analyst for Greenwald's new magazine.


It is already happening. Instead of condemning Russia's aggression,

Snowden's chief defenders (and his chief benefactors) are already taking

Russia's side, gleefully celebrating the Russian actions as indicative of

waning American influence.


The reason for this is simple. The people masquerading as the high priests

of the anti-war, dogmatic Left aren't liberals or leftists at all. What they

are is anti-American. They celebrate anything they view as embarrassing or

undermining to American influence and American power. Snowden's revelations

and Russian actions aren't contradictory in their value system, since the

only thing they value is the undermining of the United States.



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