Thursday, August 1, 2013

Russian Human Rights Diplomacy

Hal Pepinsky,, “peacemaking” at
August 1, 2013

                Yesterday afternoon a military trial judge convicted Bradley Manning on multiple counts of espionage.  Thereafter what were probably the last clips of Edward Snowden’s Guardian interview were broadcast.  This morning the Guardian released what is probably the last of Mr. Snowden’s files to be revealed, describing “Operation Keystroke,” the capacity yes, even to read the president’s email.  At 8am ET in the US the Russians granted Mr. Snowden a one-year, renewable visa on political asylum.
I believe Russian diplomatic timing in this case is impeccable.  The Russian government allowed US “justice” with whistleblower Bradley Manning to run its course undisturbed.  The internationally accepted definition of espionage is aiding a foreign power.  By convicting Manning of espionage while acquitting him of the charge of aiding an enemy, the court in effect ruled that simply putting government secrets on the internet is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment per publication however nefarious the activity the secrets uncover, even if you can’t show the information aided an enemy.  So much for journalists publishing information about the government the powers that be don’t want known about themselves.  The verdict in the trial of Bradley Manning has demonstrated that Mr. Snowden cannot get a fair trial, according to international standards of what constitutes “espionage.”  Therefore the Russian government is justified in granting Mr. Snowden’s request for political asylum.  Quite the syllogism, that.
And so the former villain empire of the US Cold War, led by a president who is a former agent of the notorious KGB, emerges as the defender of freedom of the press.  And in the eyes of an international audience, the US justice system has embarrassed itself, and exposed the fact that congressional oversight of US international crimes and espionage is a farce.  Love and peace--hal

                                         A FURTHER COINCIDENCE, Friday, August 2:

             As the week ends in US duels over who benefits and loses over its "intelligence," the US State Department has partially closed embassies and warned US travelers worldwide to be on alert for unnamed yet somehow pervasive threats to national security centered in the Middle East.  I'm reminded of the yellow alerts we used to get from the department of homeland security at winter vacation travel time--a public reminder of how "our" safety depends on our official protectors knowing more and knowing better than we what is really in the national interest.  Is the US government capable of alerting us to phantom threats to "our" security?  That's what US wars pretexts have been made of from claims of a Mexican act of war, to remembering the Maine, to the Lusitania, to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq...How long will US media be fooled into taking these cries of wolf! seriously?  l&p hal

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