So, Snowden has asylum in Russia. Naturally, he’s delighted to be out of his tedious airport, saying
in the end the law is winning.
But is it? Because the interesting thing is who is making the decisions: Putin. As the Graun says the decision was “almost certainly taken personally by President Vladimir Putin”. In Russia, that would be entirely natural: Russia is his persona fiefdom, and there is no rule of law – the law is whatever Putin happens to want it to be that day (Snowden also said I thank the Russian Federation for granting me asylum in accordance with its laws and international obligations but that is, I think, just self-serving lies; so much for him as champion of truth). So why is Snowden, self-declared champion of freedum-n-mocracy, running to those two noted bastions of such, China and Russia? And the answer is obvious: because he doesn’t want to face the rule of law. Personally, I wouldn’t want to hand myself over to Putin as a pawn; that seems like a really dumb decision to me. But I suppose Snowden is desperate and will collaborate with anyone, no matter how shady, who can keep him out of the US.
But what do the Russians think they’re playing at? Putin gets to piss off the USA, which is always a really good idea as so many people have discovered in the past. In return for what? Some of Snowden’s cache of secrets? A bit of cheap publicity? It seems very odd to me.
Meanwhile, I hear you cry, what about the boost to democratic accountability from the secrets that Snowden has disclosed, thus permitting informed public debate? I’m glad you asked. Because in the Beeb article about the asylum, we find the same old disinformation we had at the start:
The systems analyst also disclosed that the NSA had tapped directly into the servers of nine internet firms including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to track online communication in a surveillance programme known as Prism.
We know this is wrong. We’ve known that is wrong for ages – since about a day after Snowden first said it. But we won’t get that disinformation out of people’s heads.
I’m ranting too much, I’ll start to sound like the Daily Mail if I’m not careful. Feel free to tell me so in the comments.
[Update: I have a couple of rather childish comments along the lines of "What exactly does the 'rule of law' have to do with the U.S.?" The US law certainly isn't perfect, and they can be thuggish at times - for example, their attacks on BP after the gulf oil spill - but these comments are coming from people in the US who unthinkingly accept the protection of US law -W]
* PRISM: any substance?
* Let’s hope that Snowden doesn’t like Bloodhound gang (I do). Someone needs to tell the Russian prosecutors that they don’t own the Ukraine any more although perhaps such niceties are beyond them.