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London's Guardian: Out in Front Exposing Lawless NSA Spying

by Stephen Lendman

July 5, 2013

Give credit when deserved. It happens all too seldom. The Guardian's an establishment publication. It's been around since 1821. It's credentials are well-known. 

It published other notable scoops. It was out in front on Rupert Murdoch's News International phone hacking scandal. It caused an uproar in parliament. Related police corruption was revealed.

So did information about Murdoch, son James, as well as other News Corp executives and editors having private meetings with Prime Minister David Cameron never disclosed.

Guardian contributors told readers what they need to know. They told enough to matter. They're reporting responsibly on Snowden. They're doing what journalists are supposed to do - their job.

They broke news about Snowden's revelations. Follow-up reports explained more. Expect others ahead.

A previous article discussed Guardian editorial opinion on Snowden. It bears repeating. It headlined "Edward Snowden: in defence of whistleblowers," saying:

He's no traitor. America's First Amendment matters. It "prevents prior restraint and affords a considerable measure of protection to free speech."

Obama violates its letter and spirit. He's done so by "show(ing) a dismaying aggression in not only criminalising leaking and whistleblowing, but also recently placing reporters under surveillance - tracking them and pulling their phone and email logs in order to monitor their sources for stories that were patently of public importance."

Whistleblower Thomas Drake revealed "a vast, systemic institutionalized, industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance state that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism."

On July 2, Guardian editors followed up with more. They headlined "Edward Snowden: a whistleblower, not a spy."

He's in limbo. He's in Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport's transit area. Washington revoked his passport. Doing so reflects dark side hardball.

"Repeated attempts to continue his journey to sympathetic jurisdictions have failed or been foiled" Guardian editors said.

He acted responsibly. He did so heroically. He deserves much better than he's gotten.

"All this poses the complex and unavoidable question: what should now happen to Mr. Snowden?"

It matters. He deserves support. The Internet's "a global phenomenon." It's "not an American one."

Data NSA lawlessly captures "does not belong to the agency or to the US." It's long past time America was held accountable.

"Mr. Snowden is clear that he leaked his information in order to alert the world to the unprecedented and industrial scale of NSA and GCHQ secret data trawling." 

"He did not, he insists, leak in order to damage the US, its interests or its citizens, including those citizens in harm's way. Nothing of this sort has been published. Nor should it be."

As long as he's in limbo, "the real issue remains clouded. (It) damages (his) cause, which this newspaper supports."

He should leave Russia for safe haven status soon as possible. Washington makes it hard for him to do so. It does it wittingly and maliciously. It's standard US practice.

Snowden acknowledged he'll never again be safe. His rights matter.  His welfare is ours. It's high time world leaders helped him.

It's irresponsible "treat(ing) him as a spy in the cold war sense. Too many US politicians and government officials are doing so."

"This is emphatically not a cold war style national security case." It's a current one pitting right against wrong.

It's about striking an "appropriate balance between the power of the secret state and the rights of free citizens in the internet age."

Charging Snowden with Espionage Act crimes is unconscionable. He's "not a spy." He's not "a foreign agent. He is a whistleblower." 

He reflects the finest tradition of acting responsibly. He revealed what everyone needs to know. He deserves praise, not persecution. He deserves justice for doing the right thing.

Separately, Guardian contributor Glenn Greenwald headlined "James Clapper, EU play-acting, and political priorities," saying:

Much more than "unaccountable spying" remains ongoing. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was caught red-handed.

He lied to Congress. Doing so constitutes perjury. He said NSA doesn't spy on Americans. Guardian revelations forced him to eat crow. He admitted making "clearly erroneous" comments. 

He stopped short of fully apologizing. He keeps lying. He won't admit it. On June 21, he wrote Senate Intelligence Committee members.

He claimed he was misunderstood. Mistakes happen, he added. His lie was ball-faced, not unwitting. It was calculated, deliberate and deceptive. Perjury's a serious offense.

Three federal laws prohibit it:

(1) 18 USC 1621 forbids false statements under oath in official federal proceedings.

(2) 18 USC 1623 bars false statements under oath in federal courts or grand jury proceedings.

(3) 18 USC 1622 (subordination of perjury) prohibits inducing or procuring someone to make false statements violating 18 USC 1621 or 1623 provisions.

Violations are punishable by fine, imprisonment up to five years on each count, or both. Ordinary people pay dearly. Clapper's free to lie again. 

Expect scoundrel media support. They cheerlead wrongdoing. They do so repeatedly. They violate journalistic ethics. They betray their readers. They're well paid to do so.

Brazen lawbreaking doesn't matter. Clapper took full advantage. So do other administration officials. They follow a long tradition. Truth-telling's frowned on. Doing so assures short careers.

Getting along means going along with lawlessness. Lying in defense of power and privilege is called normal conduct. Doing the wrong thing is considered right.

Rule of law principles matter most. Obeying them is fundamental. Political officials commit crimes without punishment.

"The only political crimes come from exposing and aggressively challenging those officials," said Greenwald.

EU leaders protested too much. Righteous indignation was fake. They spy like America. Maybe not as sweeping and effectively. It's not because they don't try.

They govern extrajudicially. They obstructed Evo Morales. They violated international law doing so. They blocked his free passage home from Moscow. They spurned his rights. They risked his life. They did it under pressure from Washington.

They obey US diktats. Their nations are virtual colonies. Whatever America says goes. They march in lockstep. They haven't minds of their own. They're easily manipulated pawns. 

The same goes for most other nations. They fall on their swords irresponsibly. They let America get away with murder and much more. They permit unaccountable lawlessness. 

They ignore what this writer repeats often. Doing the right thing is its own reward. Perhaps they'll know if they try sometime and see.

On July 2, the Guardian published an extradition guide. Snowden's partially stateless. Where can he go? If granted asylum, Russia must agree. Putin suggested he will.

He's "a free man," he said. The "sooner he chooses his final destination, the better it will be for both of us and for him." Putin excludes extradition. He's unlikely to block Snowden's departure.

International law prohibits making people stateless. Under the UN Charter's Article 15:

"(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality; 

(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality." 

Individuals can voluntarily renounce their US citizenship. It requires doing so in person at a US embassy.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 13 states:

"(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

Article 14 states:

"(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.

(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."

Article 15 language repeats what UN Charter law states.

Technically Snowden's not stateless. Washington cancelled his passport. His citizenship is unchanged. The State Department offered him a "one-entry travel document."

It lets him return home. It assures brutalizing treatment afforded Bradley Manning. It's an offer made to be refused. Exiting Moscow requires something equivalent to what Ecuador provided.

It issued Snowden a "laissez-passer (let pass)" document. It lets him cross international borders without identity papers. Russia must approve. So must an airline carrier. Private non-commercial travel eliminates that potential obstacle.

Until his status is resolved, Snowden may stay in limbo interminably. Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri remained in Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris, for 18 years. 

From 1956 -1971, Hungary's Cardinal/Archbishop Jozsef Mindszenty lived confined in Budapest's US embassy.

Zahra Kamalfar spent 10 months at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport. In 2007, he flew to Canada.

Snowden's applied to at least 21 countries for asylum. Nine rejected him. Russia accepted him conditionally. Staying requires cease exposing US lawlessness. 

He's committed to do so. He won't quit now, nor should he. It's vital people know what's going on. America's crimes are too extreme to ignore. Everyone has a right to know.

Hopefully one or more world leaders will provide asylum. He deserves it and much more. He merits as much safety as he can get.

According to extradition/international law expert Gemma Lindfield, his best option is "a country (with) historically terrible diplomatic relations with the US."

He's not entirely safe from Washington's long arm anywhere. Snowden understands and said so.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."


:: Article nr. 98997 sent on 09-jul-2013 22:37 ECT


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