Tuesday, July 02, 2013

This Time, It's Personal

Edward Snowden has been trapped in the airport longer than most passengers, but somehow he was able to get out this message:
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.
So what to make of it? A few thoughts:

  • Is Snowden really surprised? If you sign up to be a martyr, you have to accept your martyrdom. And martyrdom is never pleasant. (By the way, that link is NSFW.)
  • As Jim Geraghty reminds us, all promises from Barack Obama have an expiration date.
  • It's never wise to piss off Barack Obama.
  • I wonder if Snowden actually wrote this statement. An American would not use the phrase "For decades the United States of America have been..." Wikileaks is involved in the Snowden case and frankly, that phrasing sounds more like Julian Assange than Edward Snowden.
  • There's a larger question involved in everything Snowden is doing, although it's not clear that his agenda is specifically about the larger question, which is the uneasiness Americans have about being an imperial power. It takes a lot of spying and nastiness to be a superpower and we don't like being reminded of it.
  • Other countries may be willing to accept certain realities of American hegemony, but they'll never like it very much.


Bike Bubba said...

Oddly enough, I'm recommending that we do all we can to tick off Mr. Obama. Otherwise he will think he's just getting away with what he's doing.

Gino said...

"For decades the United States of America have been..."

proud to say, i caught that one before i heard anybody else comment on it.

we speak of ourselves in the singular text, the Euros (maybe others, i not sure) speak of us in the plural.

its just one of those things from high school French that stuck with me.