Edward Snowden Gets Russian Citizenship
grarpamp at gmail.com
Mon Sep 26 22:56:24 PDT 2022
Putin approves Snowden's Russian Citizenship application.
Unfortunately the US will still be able to,
and indeed will, abduct him from far too
many global vacation spots.
“They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it
absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy
in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.” ―
Did you know that whistleblowers are sentenced to more time in prison
than corrupt officials who trade secrets for sex—more time than even
actual spies? The government has made *telling* the truth a greater
crime than *selling* it.
Continuing Ed — with Edward Snowden
America’s Open Wound
The CIA is not your friend
“Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil
secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can
treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under
their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so
do they against the citizens in time of peace.”
― Baruch Spinoza
It hasn’t been a month since President Biden mounted the steps of
Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, declaring it his duty to ensure each
of us understands the central faction of his political opposition are
extremists that “threaten the very foundations of our Republic.”
Flanked by the uniformed icons of his military and standing atop a
Leni Riefenstahl stage, the leader clenched his fists to illustrate
seizing the future from the forces of “fear, division, and darkness.”
The words falling from the teleprompter ran rich with the language of
violence, a “dagger at the throat” emerging from the “shadow of lies.”
“What’s happening in our country,” the President said, “is not normal.”
Is he wrong to think that? The question the speech intended to
raise—the one lost in the unintentionally villainous pageantry—is
whether and how we are to continue as a democracy and a nation of
laws. For all the Twitter arguments over Biden’s propositions, there
has been little consideration of his premises.
Democracy and the rule of law have been so frequently invoked as a
part of the American political brand that we simply take it for
granted that we enjoy both.
Are we right to think that?
Our glittering nation of laws observes this year two birthdays: the
70th anniversary of the National Security Agency, on which my thoughts
have been recorded, and the 75th anniversary of the Central
The CIA was founded in the wake of the 1947 National Security Act. The
Act foresaw no need for the Courts and Congress to oversee a simple
information-aggregation facility, and therefore subordinated it
exclusively to the President, through the National Security Council he
Within a year, the young agency had already slipped the leash of its
intended role of intelligence collection and analysis to establish a
covert operations division. Within a decade, the CIA was directing the
coverage of American news organizations, overthrowing democratically
elected governments (at times merely to benefit a favored
corporation), establishing propaganda outfits to manipulate public
sentiment, launching a long-running series of mind-control experiments
on unwitting human subjects (purportedly contributing to the creation
of the Unabomber), and—gasp—interfering with foreign elections. From
there, it was a short hop to wiretapping journalists and compiling
files on Americans who opposed its wars.
In 1963, no less than former President Harry Truman confessed that the
very agency he personally signed into law had transformed into
something altogether different than he intended, writing:
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way CIA has been
diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational
and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to
Many today comfort themselves by imagining that the Agency has been
reformed, and that such abuses are relics of the distant past, but
what few reforms our democracy has won have been watered-down or
compromised. The limited “Intelligence Oversight” role that was
eventually conceded to Congress in order to placate the public has
never been taken seriously by either the committee’s majority—which
prefers cheerleading over investigating—or by the Agency itself, which
continues to conceal politically-sensitive operations from the very
group most likely to defend them.
"Congress should have been told," said [Senator] Dianne Feinstein.
"We should have been briefed before the commencement of this kind of
sensitive program. Director Panetta... was told that the vice
president had ordered that the program not be briefed to Congress."
How can we judge the ultimate effectiveness of oversight and reforms?
Well, the CIA plotted to assassinate my friend, American whistleblower
Daniel Ellsberg, in 1972, yet nearly fifty years of “reforms” did
little to inhibit them from recently sketching out another political
murder targeting Julian Assange. Putting that in perspective, you
probably own shoes older than the CIA’s most recent plot to murder a
dissident... or rather the most recent plot that we know of.
If you believe the Assange case to be a historical anomaly, some
aberration unique to Trump White House, recall that the CIA’s killings
have continued in series across administrations. Obama ordered the
killing of an American far from any battlefield, and killed his 16
year-old American son a few weeks later, but the man’s American
daughter was still alive by the time Obama left.
Within a month of entering the White House, Trump killed her.
She was 8 years old.
It goes beyond assassinations. Within recent memory, the CIA captured
Gul Rahman, who we know was not Al-Qaeda, but it seems did save the
life of Afghanistan’s future (pro-US) President. Rahman was placed in
what the Agency described as a “dungeon” and tortured until he died.
They stripped him naked, save a diaper he couldn’t change, in a cold
so wicked that his guards, in their warm clothes, ran heaters for
themselves. In absolute darkness, they bolted his hands and feet to a
single point on the floor with a very short chain so that it was
impossible to stand or lie down – a practice called “short shackling”
– and after he died, claimed that it was for his own safety. They
admit to beating him, even describing the “forceful punches.” They
describe the blood that ran from his nose and mouth as he died.
Short-shackling, as described by survivors
Pages later, in their formal conclusion, the Agency declares that
there was no evidence of beating. There was no of evidence torture.
The CIA ascribes responsibility for his death to hypothermia, which
they blamed on him for the crime of refusing, on his final night, a
meal from the men that killed him.
The CIA claimed the complaints of a man they tortured to death —
regarding the violation of his human rights — were evidence of a
“sophisticated level of resistance training.”
In the aftermath, the Agency concealed the death of Gul Rahman from
his family. To this day, they refuse to reveal what happened to his
remains, denying those who survive him a burial, or even some locus of
Ten years after the torture program investigated, exposed, and ended,
no one was charged for their role in these crimes. The man responsible
for Rahman’s death was recommended for a $2,500 cash award — for
“consistently superior work”.
A different torturer was elevated to the Director’s seat.
The Judgment of Solomon, Rubens, 1617
This summer, in a speech marking the occasion of the CIA's 75th
birthday, President Biden struck a quite different note than he did in
Philadelphia, reciting what the CIA instructs all presidents: that the
soul of the institution really lies in speaking truth to power.
“We turn to you with the big questions,” Biden said, “the hardest
questions. And we count on you to give your best, unvarnished
assessment of where we are. And I emphasize ‘unvarnished.’”
But this itself is a variety of varnishing — a whitewash.
For what reason do we aspire to maintain — or achieve — a nation of
laws, if not to establish justice?
Let us say we have a democracy, shining and pure. The people, or in
our case some subset of people, institute reasonable laws to which
government and citizen alike must answer. The sense of justice that
arises within such a society is not produced as a result of the mere
presence of law, which can be tyrannical and capricious, or even
elections, which face their own troubles, but is rather derived from
the reason and fairness of the system that results.
What would happen if we were to insert into this beautiful nation of
laws an extralegal entity that is not directed by the people, but a
person: the President? Have we protected the nation’s security, or
have we placed it at risk?
This is the unvarnished truth: the establishment of an institution
charged with breaking the law within a nation of laws has mortally
wounded its founding precept.
>From the year it was established, Presidents and their cadres have
regularly directed the CIA to go beyond the law for reasons that
cannot be justified, and therefore must be concealed — classified. The
primary result of the classification system is not an increase in
national security, but a decrease in transparency. Without meaningful
transparency, there is no accountability, and without accountability,
there is no learning.
The consequences have been deadly, for both Americans and our victims.
When the CIA armed the Mujaheddin to wage war on Soviet Afghanistan,
we created al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. Ten years later, the CIA is
arming, according to then-Vice President Joe Biden, "al-Nusra, and
Al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts
of the world." After the CIA runs a disinformation operation to make
life hard for the Soviet Union by fueling a little proxy war, the war
rages for twenty-six years — far beyond the Union’s collapse.
Do you believe that the CIA today — a CIA free from all consequence
and accountability — is uninvolved in similar activities? Can you find
no presence of their fingerprints in the events of the world, as
described in the headlines, that provide cause for concern? Yet it is
those who question the wisdom of placing a paramilitary organization
beyond the reach of our courts that are dismissed as “naive.”
For 75 years, the American people have been unable to bend the CIA to
fit the law, and so the law has been bent to fit the CIA. As Biden
stood on the crimson stage, at the site where the Declaration of
Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted, his words rang
out like the cry of a cracked-to-hell Liberty Bell: “What's happening
in our country is not normal.”
If only that were true.
The Death of Achilles, Rubens
Leave a comment
Writes A Ghost in the Machine Sep 20Liked by Edward Snowden
It's great to have you back! Hope your time off for family has been
enjoyable and rewarding for you and for them.
Thank you for shining a light on these dark corners of the American
Empire, where shadowy spooks wage war on the regular people of the
world, including non-elite Americans, to benefit the private interests
of globalist oligarchs and petty tyrants. Someday, there will be
statues of you in America to honor you as a first-rate patriot,
hopefully in your lifetime.
Sep 20Liked by Edward Snowden
Thank you for this Ed. I’m a tutor and I speak of you to my students
many times a week - year in, year out. I never forget about you and
don’t allow those around me to do so either. Your incredible bravery
and sense of duty should be publicly commended, not kept a dark and
dirty secret. You are not only a remarkably intelligent human being,
but your selflessness and compassion for your fellow human being is,
in my view, quite unparalleled. Please continue to enlighten us with
your interesting articles and musings. And please know that there are
many of us who think of you, support you, and will always remain
indebted to your sacrifices in the name of the public, of human,
fairness and freedom. Be well.
57 more comments…
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