Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Understatement: Snowden in Russia--My Letter to Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald is a brilliant civil libertarian lawyer/journalist who writes for "The Guardian." He is the writer who broke the story and interviewed the former National Security Agency contractor systems analyst Ed Snowden who released thousands of classified NSA documents. This is a huge story as Snowden released many classified documents exposing US foreign and domestic behavior and has in his possession allegedly even more embarrassing documents he is threatening to release if anything should happen to him.

Snowden is now holed up in the transit section of the Moscow airport seeking asylum because if he returns to the US he will face, if he is tried, nearly certain long term or life imprisonment and even death for treason. He is currently seeking or has sought asylum from 20 countries including China, Russia, India, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Italy, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Venezuela and others. Many have already denied his request. Russia and a few others are still considering it.

I have remained critical of Mr. Snowden and Glenn Greenwald for what Snowden has done and about which Greenwald has written extensively. My left of center allies often, about this issue wholeheartedly disagree with my opinion but I remain steadfast in it for what I think is good reasoning. The following is the opinion
I wrote to Greenwald (some edits have been made for clarity):

Glenn, one cannot help but marvel at your civil libertarian analyses. I have heard you speak at Harvard and have thought you a national treasure. Usually, while not always agreeing with your opinion, I share with you a basic political affinity. I keep hoping you will change my opinion about Snowden to be as supportive of him as you but I continue to defend the Obama administration's committed efforts to stop more leaks because I am a pragmatist and a realist. Moreover, I not only love but I trust the former civil liberties Constitutional law scholar and our president to know what he is doing.

Our Founders could NEVER have known the dangers we face as a nation nor the existential threat that indeed exists for the entire planet and for us who live in its shelter. Man now has the capacity to wipe himself and everything else on planet earth out. Indeed, many of our adversaries would not hesitate to attack this nation again perhaps worse than 9/11.

Our Founders could not have known of nuclear peril when they wrote about due process. Beyond even that, there is NO nation -- none -- on earth which does not have its own embedded hypocrisy. Last evening I had the pleasure of watching Larry O'Donnell who interviewed the noted playwright Harvey Firestein. The subject was Russia's war on homosexuals. My thoughts turned to Mr. Snowden because he is asking asylum in that country and will have to endure Russia under Putin's civil libertarian slaughter. Will Snowden or you criticize Russia or Putin? I think not.

Moreover, I suggest if he is granted asylum in Russia that you or anyone you know who is homosexual NOT go there. You can be fined, jailed, hurt or even killed IF they find out that you are homosexual, you associate with homosexuals OR if you even advocate for homosexuals. Indeed, one could be arrested for wearing a rainbow flag T-shirt. That is a country one would NEVER want to choose for asylum especially if one were gay. You tell me a nation to which Snowden would go and I would be able to enumerate all the civil libertarian violations of that state. Russia surely would be on my top ten tyranny list.

We do not live in a sugar coated world and this nation with all of its faults is still worthy of defending and saving. Indeed, personally, I could NEVER conceive doing what Snowden did no matter how noble he thinks his ends are. In the final analysis I suspect Moscow and other states of his choosing for asylum would NOT accord him the ability to criticize the state and if one is homosexual like you are the thought of what Russia and those states like it could or would do to you is unthinkable and that is an understatement.

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