The Snowden Revelation That Might Start a War

(Photo: Indonesian soldiers, left, and navy special forces line up during a security parade last year. AFP)

For the first time since June, a Snowden revelation could have serious life and death consequences.

Not widely reported in the United States, a November article by The Guardian‘s Ewen MacAskill revealed that in 2009 Australia’s NSA counterpart, the Defense Signals Directorate (DSD), eavesdropped on the cellphone of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as his wife Ani.

The timing of the article couldn’t have been worse. Australia and Indonesia have been struggling to curtail what’s known as “people smuggling,” a refugee crisis in which people from the Middle East and South Asia have been using Indonesia as a launching-off point for harrowing journeys across the Banda and Timor Seas to seek asylum in Australia.

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott was elected last year on a platform that included a promise to crack down on the people-smuggling issue. Meanwhile, Indonesia had been working with Australia to curb the problem.

As a consequence of the MacAskill/Snowden news, however, National Police Chief General Sutarman announced that Indonesia would no longer help Australia turn the boats around, further exacerbating a seriously low ebb in diplomatic relations between the two nations.

It gets worse.

Late last week, as part of Australia’s now unilateral struggle to turn around the refugee boats and tow them back, several Australian Navy vessels sailed into Indonesian waters, a move which Australia claimed was an accident. Accident or not, this move prompted Indonesia to ramp up its military presence, deploying its Navy and concentrating Air Force radar to monitor the waters along the nation’s border.

According to The Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s deployment includes: “frigates, fast torpedo craft (KCT), fast missile craft (KCR) and corvettes as well as maritime patrol aircraft.” The Indonesian Air Force’s 11th squadron could also be deployed against Australia if another incursion takes place, accidental or otherwise. The 11th squadron includes “16 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flankers.”

One official said that a maritime clash between the two nations was “imminent.”

To be clear, Australia/Indonesia tensions didn’t begin with Snowden, but that makes the publishing of this Snowden revelation even more irresponsible and ill-conceived. Consequently, relations have heated up and worsened as a direct result of it. Had it not been for this particular Snowden revelation, it’s very likely that Indonesia would’ve continued to assist Australia in patrolling for refugees, and a shooting war at sea wouldn’t be “imminent.” Indeed, The Guardian‘s article was the inciting incident leading to the current military dilemma.

This might be the clearest example of the recklessness of the Snowden leaks — how the former NSA systems administrator indiscriminately dumped thousands if not more than a million documents to a growing roster of journalists with nothing more than a gentleman’s agreement about making sure the articles were in the public interest. In that regard, it’s unclear how this news fits the ongoing narrative of a rogue, unconstitutional American/British surveillance state.

If the goal of Snowden and his team of reporters has shifted to something broader than alleged NSA and GCHQ trespasses, and will now include the exposing of any and all nations who spy on other nations irrespective of how those revelations might spark military tensions and possible war, we’re looking at a very different and very dangerous new chapter in the Snowden saga.

It’s worth mentioning that in addition to the Australia/Indonesia revelation, there was also a revelation published in Norway’s Dagbladat tabloid about Norway spying on Russia. (How the Dagbladat received the Snowden document is unclear, while this news once again raises the salient question: is there anyone who doesn’t have copies of Snowden’s files?) And there’s no way of knowing what’s next or how deeply The Guardian and others will dig for a Snowden-based story. But if we’re already down to Australia spying on Indonesia, the Snowden saga has descended into the deadly serious game of instigating military standoffs.

  • treespotter

    A lot can be said about Edward Snowden and I’m sure there are still a lot more to come but most of it – like the article above – tend to look almost exclusively on how that affects American interests. Much like the rest of the world, apart from being a single probable subject among the millions in their dataset, I didn’t think Snowden revelations has any direct relevance.

    Of course just as the author pointed out, this once case, the revelation certainly increase the regional tension and dramatically alter policies. This isn’t even new, the ID-AU tension had existed even before the break of the violence in East timor. Again, of course, that might seem worrying to policywonks in Washington DC and elsewhere who relies on doing their job in predictable manner, preferring that everyone stays calm and moving on. The Snowden revelations directly affect this delicate status quo, yes, no doubt about it.

    But is that really a bad thing?

    I could safely say that much of Indonesia find it a good thing. As much as we respect our southern neighbors, Indonesia does have its own concerns for security and sovereignty. That means respect for the laws, better informed citizens and an effective democracy.

    While most arguments tend to frame ID-AU relationship within a bilateral framework post East Timor (Bali Bombs, People Smuggling), it is important to remember that the biggest benefit from that relationship – with Australia and the rest of the Five Eyes block – also worked as external pressure and scrutiny, with these same neighbors helping Indonesia building its fragile democracy after the bloody days of Soeharto in 1998.

    Indonesia understands this very well. We learn how to operate a free press environment, removing the military and security apparatus from the civil functions, direct elections, etc. Australia (and its 4 siblings) has always been a close part of this process. We respect and appreciate the assistance and continue to expect on working on this together. I didn’t say those things – President Yudhoyono did.

    In this context, the revelations serve as a wake up call. For Indonesian power structure that there were public scrutiny and accountability even among friends, that with the free press publicly disclosing the measures, it gives Indonesia the pause it needs to recalibrate its own national security. For the Indonesian public, much less legislated and practically protected by almost no jurisdiction on the planet – in many ways, among the least informed of any citizens of proper democracies – they rightfully demand accountability. Both from the neighbours as well as from their leaders. In the local twist, most popular was the demand for the DSD to release the tapes from the Prez and the First Lady to confirm public suspicions that a lot of dodgy dealings were happening directly from the top. Wikileaks did say she was a cabinet of one.

    So yeah, i get that it’s hard to get for most, but a bad thing? Bad for who? You can’t really be doing things that affect the rest of the world and not expect everyone to have a sense of entitlement – for transparency or accountability of sort. That’s just not realistic.

  • Barbara Striden

    Snowden and Greenwald seem to believe that America is the primary source of evil in the world, and so they focus all their fire on their own country. They remind me of the father who beats his son regularly and claims that he’s doing it “out of love”, and “for his own good”, when in fact the motivation is simple bile and hatred.

  • angriestdogintheworld

    This is not “the clearest example of the recklessness of the Snowden leaks.” It is a clear example of the recklessness and stupidity of the Australian Government.

  • rosemariejackowski

    I wonder how many here still think that the killing of 500,000 Iraqi children was ‘worth it’. That’s what Madeleine Albright said.

  • Wolf Revels

    This is just one more reason why we need to catch Snowden and prosecute him to the fullest extent possible. He is not just a traitor he is reckless and irresponsible with the information he has stolen. Reckless to the point that he not only harms the security of the nation he betrayed, but risks war around the world. The only reason I do not believe we should just shoot him on site is because that will just make him a martyr to the morons who think he is some kind of hero.

    • angriestdogintheworld

      The people who are risking “war around the world” are the idiots in governments who would rather fight a war than be embarrassed. Snowden has revealed crimes by governments and deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. He has certainly done more for humanity than the likes of Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama.

      • Wolf Revels

        Right. The great freedom fighter Snowden. Who immediately ran seeking refuge to the few countries that actually treat their minorities, and alternative lifestyles people even worse than we do. Yeah makes perfect sense. If you are a glenn greenwald sheep and as acquainted with facts, logic and the real world as the average fox news junky

  • Sam Wallace

    its clear this is no human rights/privacy crusade.
    its an attack on the democratic nations most likely fostered by russia/china.

    snowdenovich/greenwald/asshat assange may you rot forever more

  • Dread73

    What’s laughable is that people think prior to this Indonesia was assisting stem the tide of asylum seekers flooding out of their country. Across all levels of government and its military the Indonesians have been complicit in the trade of humans out of their country. It has always been an autocratic corrupt nation and always will be.

    If the entire TNI Airforce and Navy haven’t been able to spot the several thousand boats that have now flooded out of their nation over the past decade – how the hell are they going to find the Australian Navy or their own sea borders??

    Lastly – unlike their own unarmed people and unarmed East Timorese – the ADF tend to shoot back, and pretty damned well. Plus, they have all that spare ordinance they bought in bulk for Afghanistan that’s no longer needed there. So I believe their dance card is now clear, if the Indonesians fancy their chances.

    • Jason

      You will excuse me if i am not feeling quite so gung ho about an armed conflict with Indonesia.
      While our military is well trained, it is tiny, and there is a whole lot of coastline to cover.
      And lets remember, it is Australia being the douche bag here not the Indonesians

      • Aaron Litz

        Yet again you force yourself to see things as a dichotomy.

        Just because one side is being a jerk does not automaically make the other side The Good Guys.

        BOTH sides are being douchebags.

        And Indonesia has a far greater record of being a douchebag than does Australia.

        • angriestdogintheworld

          And Australia has distinguished itself by assiduously helping to cover up the war crimes of the Indonesian douchebags. So there’s that.

      • Dread73

        Actually, we’ve been propping up those ‘douchebags’ to the tune of many billions of dollars over the past 40 odd years for nothing in return other than a semi-stable neighbour who likes to point fingers at us every time they need to make a ‘strong statement’ to their own population.

        An Indonesian threat to us is laughable – at best. Only a complete nub with absolutely no knowledge of military doctrine, logistics, transportation etc and the current capabilities of the TNI would even think of suggesting some kind of actual credible military threat by Indonesia to anyone other than the unarmed 3rd world peasants they have rolled over in East Timor and West Papua.

        The Indons are posturing for their own internal politics. If they could get an actual plane in the air and find a ship in the ocean it would be akin to winning Powerball …

  • lex

    its amazing to see “liberals” actully engage in redbaiting tactics about the “evil russians”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-baiting

    • Scopedog

      Uh, that’s because there’s more than enough to tell about the “evil Russians”.
      But hey, ignore it all because DRONES!! NSA!!

      • Jason

        It might help if you understand that many of us no longer consider the USA as the good guys any longer.

        • Aaron Litz

          I get it.

          “We’re Aussies out to fight the Good Fight against the Evil Imperial Americans, and obviously every single American is an Evil Bastard. Bush, Obama, makes no difference.”

          And obviously, since the USA is the Bad Guys, that means now Russia HAS to be the Good Guys!

          Look, I’m not all that happy wih the state of the US, and neither are most of us here. That’s why we spend most of our time bitching about how much things need to change. But acing like ex-KGB agent Vlad Putin is a choirboy is delusional. We do not in any way, shape or form believe that Russians are Evil. But Vladimir Putin? He’s a bit of something to worry about.

          And you KNOW we are talking specifically about Putin and are NOT painting all of Russia with a broad brush, so stop acting so fucking dense.

          Self-righteous fucking little pricks acting like we haven’t been fighting against this kind of shit all our lives and know what the fuck we’re doing (which is NOT what Snowden did!) instead of being trendy jumpers-on when it became popular to bash America. Because you’re coming in here decades too late to understand the bigger picture, with half the information and only a quarter of the understanding, and have the fucking GALL to tell us that WE’RE the one’s responsible for the shitpile Bush made of our country. We’ve been fighting against this shit since REAGAN and we’ve been learning the right way to go about it and the wrong way. And what Snwoden did was the WRONG way and only plays into the hands of the Republicans, helping them get elected, who will enact even more survellience. Does it make you feel big and strong, standing up to the big bad Americans? Do you brag to your mothers about it?

          My GODS, you just… UURRGGGH… you make me so fucking… GAAHHH!

          • Jason

            Chill Winston. It’s going to be ok.
            I don’t think Russia is the good guys. And Australia as a nation is every bit as complicit in most of Americas misadventures..
            That’s the nature of the client state :-)

  • Ken Shabby

    Snowden violated an oath and should cut a deal, come home and face the music so he can do his time and move on with his life. What happens between the Indonesian fascists and the Aussies is their business, I hope the Aussies bloody their noses. The world is full of barbarous regimes we tolerated because of the cold war, Indonesia is on of the worst. Indonesia is the far eastern equivalent of Yugoslavia, except that the Serbs were pussy cats compared to the Javanese Muslims. If you want to strike back at Indonesia arm their enemies, there are still plenty of them. Timor was just the start … New Guinea, Sulawesi, and the Moluccas are next.

    • Trulyunbelievable2020

      “Snowden violated an oath and should cut a deal…”

      He didn’t “violate an oath.” He violated a provision of his contract and the law. Daniel Ellsberg explains the difference here: https://pressfreedomfoundation.org/blog/2014/01/secrecy-oaths-and-edward-snowden

      These two pieces, the first by Marcy Wheeler, in part commenting on the second by Amy Davidson in the New Yorker (along with Snowden himself, in his interview with Bart Gellman)
      are the first I’ve seen making a point I’ve been making for years:
      contrary to the frequent assertions in the last week (including by Fred Kaplan)
      that Snowden is particularly reprehensible because he “broke his OATH
      of secrecy,” neither Snowden nor anyone else broke such a secrecy
      “oath.”

      Such an oath doesn’t exist (look up “oath” on the web). Rather he—and I—broke an agreement (known as Standard Form 312)
      which was a condition of employment. It provides for civil or
      administrative penalties (e.g., losing a clearance or a job) for
      disclosing classified information: serious enough to keep nearly
      everyone quiet about…anything classified, no matter how illegal or
      dangerous.

      The reason this matters is that Snowden, as he said to Gellman and as I’ve repeatedly said, did
      take a real “oath,” just one oath, the same oath that every official in
      the government and every Congressperson takes as an oath of office. He
      and they “swore” (“or affirmed”) “to support and defend the Constitution
      of the U.S., against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

      They did not swear to support and defend or obey the President, or to
      keep secrets. But to support and defend, among other elements of the
      Constitution, the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments in the Bill
      of Rights, and Article I, section 8, on war powers. That’s the oath
      that, as Snowden correctly said to Gellman, he upheld (as I would say I
      eventually did) and that Clapper and Alexander broke (along with most
      members of Congress).

      As Snowden and I discovered, that oath turns out to be often
      in conflict with the secrecy agreements that he and I signed, and which
      we later chose to violate in support of our oath.”

      • Vipsanius

        We shall see.
        Snowden reminds me of Phillip Agee.

      • angriestdogintheworld

        Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

    • Jason

      In this case we Australians are the barbarous regime. Australia is detaining refugees, sometimes for years, in remote detention camps. It is not a crime to seek asylum.

      • Ken Shabby

        I understand that these people are being treated unfairly and harshly and I won’t insult your intelligence by making excuses. The Aussies should send them back to their home countries right away or provide them with decent living arrangements till that’s possible. Every country has a right to police their borders and keep out economic migrants. Is it compassionate and generous? No, but neither is it immoral. I would never defend exclusion on racial grounds but being completely honest I have grave misgivings about Muslim immigration … which it seems a lot of these asylum seekers are.

        • Jason

          I fail to understand why Muslim refugees are any less deserving that any others.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            AGREED.

    • angriestdogintheworld

      On the contrary. Snowden swore an oath to the Constitution. And kept it. Clapper and Alexander broke their oaths.

      • feloniousgrammar

        On what grounds did Snowden swear and oath to the Constitution? If you’re saying that anyone who works with a contractor for the NSA swears the same oath that the POTUS does when he takes office, or soldiers do when inducted, then how about providing a link to that. And an explanation for how being a systems administrator gives him the power to decide what is and is not constitutional, please. I don’t know anyone who voted for this self-aggrandizing, simple-minded piece of shit.

  • Vipsanius

    We shall see how this works out.
    people who go visiting in other peoples lives.

  • Gunnut2600

    Eh…Aussies have been pissing of people in the region for a while. This is a country that doesn’t deport people back to their original country but ships them, off to camps in Papa New Guinea. Men, women, kids, disabled….fuck you, you ain’t white, here’s some malaria.

    The hilarious think…Australia’s industry is getting chocked by low levels of worker populations in critical fields. Pretty much like Japan, their rampant xenophobia is killing them long term.

    God I hated working there. Six months of hell.

    • Jason

      I find it difficult to disagree with anything in this statement. Australia treats refugees and temporary workers abysmally. It is really embarrassing to have someone describe my home as rampantly xenophobic.
      The ill conceived, draconian asylum seeker policies that have been developed under successive governments have created terrible incidents at sea before and will do again, regardless of any NSA revelations.

      • Gunnut2600

        I’ve worked all over and generally, foreign workers are disliked, mistreated, and do the work no one else wants to. Working in the west is better by far. But I have never understood how Australia gets away with what they do.

        • Dread73

          Neither have I to be honest. We have tens of thousands of actual trade qualified people who are trying to get into our own mining industry here, people like sparkies, welders, boilermakers etc yet the International Mining Corporates have been allowed, and are still being allowed, to fly in cheap overseas 3rd world workers who will work for half the national award rates, will work in abysmal conditions and without the facilities the mining companies are supposed to provide.

          And you wonder why people get upset?

          • Gunnut2600

            Yup…heard that a lot over there. The “I don’t have problem with foreigners as long as that look, act, and speak Australian” bullshit.

            I forget, did you cats ever stop removing the children of aboriginals and giving them to whites? I mean the US did that….but at least we stopped in like the early 1900′s.

    • Dread73

      The reason it doesn’t automagically deport people to their ‘place of origin’ is because they take them in, feed them. clothe them, house them etc all while identifying who they are, where they have come from, if there is a credible actual threat to returning them and judging if they are actual asylum seekers who need the protection of being admitted into Australia. All of which is made a tad harder when they all have no documentation with them at all.

      But if you’d prefer just rounding them up and dropping them in Afghanistan because they look like a bearded muslim, or in some random Middle Eastern country because they ‘look arab’ as soon as they are picked up floating in the middle of the ocean …because that would be far more ‘humane’ right?

      • Gunnut2600

        Hilarious.

  • http://twitter.com/Cody_K/ Cody

    In which Esquire’s Charles Pierce stomps Bob Cesca’s authoritarian dick in the dirt…. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/indonesia-australia-snowden-effect-012714

    • lex

      cesca has been getting ravaged latly by pretty much all the left, now all he got left with him as an ally is liberal turned to batshit insane islamophobic racist turned to democrat charles johnson of lgf,

      how islamophobic was charles johnson ? this islamophobic
      picture of charles johnson with pamella geller a person who has praised anders breivik and claimed milosevic was innocent of all war crimes also some a picture of articales written by johnson of littlegreenfootballs articales with names like islam immigrant invasion of europe,

      http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2qmgfmt&s=5#.Uub8srTFLWp

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        cesca has been getting ravaged latly by pretty much all the left

        Oh, lex. I must correct you again

        Only your itty bitty little part of the left, lex, you know, those of you who follow Hamsher, Greenwald, and the rest of the fake liberals.

        You guys are the fringe (and are a very small contingent). You really should know that, Lex.

        As to Charles Johnson, he is a reformed conservative, and I am quite convinced that he is far more of a liberal than you and the gang of firebagging dumbasses you hang with.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        Don’t forget John “all that concern about Bush-era civil liberties abuses was just kerfluffle” Schindler. Mr. Cesca seems to get along well with him too.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          Next you’ll be citing T Bogg as an obamabot.

          You and your comrades are so deluded. It’s a sorry and sad thing to see.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Please explain to me where you see any evidence of “delusion” in this comment.

            Cesca frequently includes approving references to Schindler’s writings. (Actually he goes one step further by presenting him as if he were some sort of neutral expert, but I’ll let that slide for the moment.)

            Schindler has indeed referred to the scandals surrounding Bush-era civil liberties abuses as “kerfluffle.” Would you like the link?

            So please tell me how I am “so deluded.”

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            I don’t give a rat’s ass about your Schindler commentary.

            The lot of you are deluded that you even vaguely understand the Snowden deal, and you are also deluding yourselves if you think that you are liberals, a claim that makes me want to lose my dinner.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            One of the things I find hilariously ironic about these discussions is how those who position themselves as champions of moderation in political discourse are almost always the first to turn around and call someone a ratfucker or say that they “don’t give a rat’s ass” about the comment that they were supposedly responding to.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            I have never positioned myself as a “champion of moderation in political discourse”.

            I call it as I see it. And, as far as I’m concerned, the lot of you are ratfuckers.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Very convincing stuff! I can only assume that you’ll soon be coming to us “ratfuckers” with appeals to vote for your next candidate. Presumably you won’t be able to comprehend why pissing on the issues that concern people who ought to be your allies might somehow hurt your own long term objectives. As Cesca might say, that’s “politics 101.”

            Have a nice night. You seem like a really wonderful and insightful person.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            You are not “allies”. Never were.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            I don’t remember any of you “true liberals” complaining when I cast my ballot for Obama in 2008 with the expectation that he would work to reverse Bush’s inflated conception of executive authority.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Sure ya did.

        • Vipsanius

          Does he now?

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            He does!

          • Vipsanius

            Wonders never cease!!

    • BumpIt McCarthy

      Charles Pierce is a treasure with whom I usually agree wholeheartedly, but he is as capable of having a blind spot as anybody. It is not the lamentable positions of the Aussies that are at issue, just as a number of US policies are also lamentable — it’s the reckless disregard with which Snowden et. al. went far beyond their stated purpose, causing needless international incidents among countries that everyone admits spy on each other.

      Moreover, and Pierce does not address this, Snowden and Wikileaks both issue a big ole’ pass to convenient authoritarians, plus extending a loathsome amount of puffery. “Democratic” as hell.

      • Scopedog

        “Moreover, and Pierce does not address this, Snowden and Wikileaks both issue a big ole’ pass to convenient authoritarians, plus extending a loathsome amount of puffery. “Democratic” as hell.”
        Yep, seems Pierce–and a few posters here–does exactly that. Funny thing is, when you try to bring that up, there’s this “We’re not talking about them, we’re talking about America!!” response.

  • John Wolf

    How did Snowden cause the refugee and illegal immigration problems? Oh that’s right, he didn’t

    • BumpIt McCarthy

      Now there’s some fine reasoning. Racism wasn’t started by Jesse Helms, so who are we to accuse him? Misogyny pre-exists Transvaginal Bob McDonnell (look him up, if that issue is outside your blinkered concern), so there.

      Snowden caused tensions to escalate in an already bad situation. If you see two guys glaring at each other on the street, you don’t walk up to one and whisper truths into his ear about what the other has been saying about him, unless you’re Edward Snowden or a gigantic asshat.

      • angriestdogintheworld

        Remind me again of how Snowden forced Australia to spy on Indonesian leaders. And then how he forced the Australian Government to send warships into Indonesian waters instead of just apologizing when its spying was exposed. I think it’s pretty amazing he could do all that while being trapped in Russia without a passport.

  • Trulyunbelievable2020

    What a bizarre view of journalists’ obligation to expose the truth.

    Here’s a hypothetical situation: Imagine that a Syrian official leaks documents to the NYT that show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Bashar al-Assad has been eating babies. Now imagine that Western powers use these revelations to justify military action.

    Who is responsible here? Assad for his cannibalism? Western powers for their conscious decision to respond with military force? Nope. Apparently those who bear the blame are the leaker who exposed this and the journalist who printed the story.

    People on sites like this are fond of telling us all that every nation spies on other nations. That’s probably true. What’s also true is that you’re not supposed to get caught. If you do get caught, you’re supposed to apologize. As Professor Damien Kingsbury said in one of the articles linked here, the Australian government responded “very poorly” to the detection of their bad act: “We needed to apologize and we needed to do it quickly and we didn’t.”

    • Jason

      “We needed to apologize and we needed to do it quickly and we didn’t.”

      Exactly. The Australian prime minister even had the perfect alibi, he was not even in power at the time. Anyone who is familiar with Australian politics was probably surprised that Abbott did not simply apologise and blame the excesses of the previous administration. It would seem this is the one and only issue that Tony Abbott was not happy to lay at the feet of the previous government.

    • BumpIt McCarthy

      It is not journalists’ decision to publish that is at issue here so much, nor the ill-advised behavior of the Australian govt, or of Baby-Eater al-Assad, to use your utterly not-bizarre nonanalogy.

      What is at issue is indiscriminate and uninformed foolery where angels fear to tread, by self-important would-be martyrs, who, never well-connected with humanity in 3D, find something satisfying in wreaking havoc from the safety of an Internet-connected closet sanctuary. The havoc they wreak affects living, breathing humans in ways they couldn’t predict and apparently care little about.

      Snowden claimed paramount concern with Americans’ privacy. But he stole millions of documents having nothing to do with his claimed concern, more documents than he could possibly vet, or that with his limited knowedge of geopolitics, he could even understand. He was helped by an organization that claims transparency for any entity but itself, that was easily cowed/bribed into keeping its yap shut where Russia is concerned, and operates on a heady mixture of 100% double-standard, delivering Snowden into a “Democratic” country where journalists are murdered for covering its Maximum Leader, Snowden’s protector.

      Now Snowden’s stash has rubbed salt into the Indonesian’s wounded pride, and they’ve called out the gun-boats. Coincidence? OF COURSE COINCIDENCE!

      Have a nice shot of Absolute Plutonium, on Vladimir, Hero Of Our Time.

      • lex

        ahh yes those evil russians, still stuck in the cold war era are we ?

        • Vipsanius

          trying sarcasm on for size are we?
          How quaint.

        • BumpIt McCarthy

          The reverse entirely, if you’d been paying any attention. Putin is NOT a communist, have you heard? The US has a delicate detente with Russia, which it would not have, btw, if the Mitts and McCains of this world were in charge.

          The KGB, however, the top-down, brutalistic one-party, one-man rule, remain same as they ever were — with the support, evidently, of bright lights such as Assange and Snowden.

          • feloniousgrammar

            One of the main differences between the Soviet Union and the current Russian Federation is that now, the church and Putin are working together to punish dissenters.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            Aside from all our paranoia about Russia infiltrating the US at every level, and having to check under our beds, because the Reds could be anywhere —- sayyyyyy……

          • feloniousgrammar

            What paranoia are you talking about?

    • D_C_Wilson

      Well, let’s see, in Snowden’s case, we have a leak that has put cooperation in ending crimes against humanity in jeopardy. In your hypothetical, the leaker would release details OF a crime against humanity. So, the former has made it more difficult to end atrocities while the latter has facilitated bringing atrocities to an end.

      See the difference?

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        It’s not the fact that the Australians spied on the President of Indonesia’s wife that has “put cooperation in ending crimes against humanity in jeopardy.”

        It’s not the fact that the Australians have refused to apologize for doing this that’s put cooperation in jeopardy.

        It’s also not the fact that the Indonesians chose to halt cooperation in response to this revelation that has put cooperation in jeopardy.

        It’s Edward Snowden’s fault for telling us about the original bad act.

        Makes sense to me.

        • D_C_Wilson

          You obviously have no idea how international politics works.

          Sad.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Yeah, it’s “sad” that I seem to think that there have historically been consequences when one power is spying on another. It’s sad that I think that leaders of countries bear some responsibility for their conduct and responses to crises. It’s sad that I am unwilling or unable to grasp that it is the people who 1) decided to spy on a neighbor; and 2) refused to apologize when they were caught doing it might just be a little more responsible than the rascal that committed the unforgivable crime of informing the world about that spying. So sad!

          • D_C_Wilson

            It’s called dealing with reality.

          • Jason

            Tapping the phone of a foreign leader and his wife is illegal. Tony Abbott needed to deal with that reality, he didn’t.

          • D_C_Wilson

            All spying is illegal. That’s why it’s done covertly.

          • Jason

            It seems that you don’t know how international politics works.
            Lesson 1.If you get caught spying on the leader of your very populous, very large, and very important economic trading partner to your immediate north, you should not then flip that nation off.
            Well….you can flip them off, but then don’t act indignant if they decide to stop co-operating with you.

          • D_C_Wilson

            Lesson 2: Exposing another countries secrets has consequences.

          • Jason

            Well, that is kinda what spying is all about….exposing another countries secrets.

          • angriestdogintheworld

            Refusing to apologize when you get caught has consequences.

        • Vipsanius

          is it?
          ya think?

        • BumpIt McCarthy

          EXACTLY it’s Snowden’s fault. All over the world, there are situations so complicated that both parties may be bad actors, or who’s to blame is a concept that can’t even be applied, but there’s a fragile balance where no hostilities are being exchanged. Bullets are not entering soft tissue. Refugees are not streaming over the borders — and may not.

          What exposing these countries’ inner secrets to each other does is force hands. There is NO instance you can cite where Snowden’s revelations have led to any life being saved, but here is one where lives are more likely to be shed. And this is entirely without mentioning “terrorists.”

          It’s all very well to have Eddie boy using his “celebrity” to arrange such benign activities as a mass letter-writing campaign about state surveillance, but he’s doing it from effing Russia, while he’s supported by an organization that turns a blind eye to authoritarianism when it’s not actively supporting it (Belarus).

  • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

    Remember when WikiLeaks took credit for sparking the Arab Spring? Good times. Of course, once those conflicts became shooting wars as dictatorships struggled to maintain power, the same WikiLeaks took a loud stand against American intervention in the conflicts. Suddenly they weren’t taking credit for the Arab Spring any more, and instead it was an American plot to take over the Middle East, so the WikiLeaks Party of Australia had to make friends with the Fascist Party and then send a delegation to Syria to make nice with the regime there. So it’s not the first time that Assange’s crew has thrown fuel on fires and then disclaimed responsibility for the chaos they created, is it? In fact, this standoff in the Indian Ocean should become proof positive of how awful the United States is in just 5, 4, 3…

    • Scopedog

      Sean Willentz’s piece in The New Republic on Snowden, Greenwald and Assange was spot-on–they are nihilists, and they don’t give a fig about actual democracy and legitimate democratic power.
      Of course, for saying this, Willentz was hammered in the comments section of the article, but honestly, what he has said is nothing new–Bob has pointed this out, and British writer Nick Cohen pretty much exposed Assange for the charlatan he really is some years ago.

      • Trulyunbelievable2020

        “Sean Willentz’s piece in The New Republic on Snowden, Greenwald and Assange was spot-on–they are nihilists, and they don’t give a fig about actual democracy and legitimate democratic power.”
         
        Yep, they’re anarchists and nihilists who want to destroy representative democracy, and I’ve got proof!  In Snowden’s latest online Q&A, he closed with this statement:
         
        “If you’d like to more ideas on how to push back against unconstitutional surveillance, consider taking a look at the organizations working together to organize https://thedaywefightback.org/.”
         
        thedaywefightback.org is an organization that is calling for a popular campaign of resistance against surveillance efforts on February 11.  They’re encouraging people to loot and pillage, occupy NSA headquarters, and tar and feather NSA employees and tear the system to the ground.  Oh, wait.  They’re not.  They’re urging people to call their congressional representatives and complain.  That’s nihilism, I tell you, nihilism!  Now let me just look up ‘nihilism’ in the dictionary!

        • BumpIt McCarthy

          I believe, “publish, and let the little people perish” would be a good example of nihilism.

          Snowden is very happy to dispense nice, soft-focus handy tips to his followers, who never could have come up with a plan to call their congressment without him. Eagerly anticipating* his next nugget of wisdom. I hope I don’t have to wait for his next samovar-side chat! *edited, or perhaps, honed.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            1. “Snowden is very happy to dispense nice, soft-focus handy tips to his followers, who never could have come up with a plan to call their congressment without him.”

            I don’t think you understand the goals of this campaign. Generally speaking, if one or a handful of people call or write to their representative complaining about a specific issue, those complaints receive a polite response and are then ignored. If a lot of people start calling about the same issue, these complaints actually get forwarded to the representative. The goal is here to
            generate a critical mass of complaints on one day in order to multiply the impact of each complaint. That’s not
            really all that hard to understand.

            But you know what is hard to understand? The phrase “nice, soft-focus handy tips.” I have no idea what that means. I doubt that you do either.

            In any case, it’s absolutely an example of citizens working within the boundaries of the very democratic system that you claim that
            “nihilists” like Snowden and Greenwald are plotting to nihilistically .

            2. “I believe, “publish, and let the little people perish” would be a good example of nihilism.”

            And I believe that you haven’t the faintest idea about what the word “nihilism” means. I believe that you don’t understand its straightforward dictionary definition or its meaning in any historical context in which it’s been used. That’s what I believe.

          • mrbrink

            “…it’s absolutely an example of citizens working within the boundaries of the very democratic system that you claim that “nihilists” like Snowden and Greenwald are plotting to…”

            In other words, “nice, soft-focus handy tips.”

            Which is funny because you were in the middle of deriding the remark.

            Because what you’re describing didn’t happen organically. It was manufactured. So call your congressman and tie up the phone lines demanding national security reforms you can never fully comprehend and will never recognize. I think I’ll call this phenomenon, “Sheeple-herding,” in honor of the lack of respect you have for people and their lack of concern for your vague concerns.

          • Aaron Litz

            11. “Nice, soft-focus handy tips.” Soft-focus, IE poorly-defined, fuzzy, vague, the kind of guidane one would recieve from one’s horoscope, being so vague it could apply to any situaion, therefore being useless.

            Stop being disingenuous.

            And he knows damn-well what Nihilism means, and SNowden is sure as fuck acting like a Nihilist, throwing things into the ether with potentially devastating consequences and not giving a rat’s ass as to what the repurcussions will be. That is Nihilistic behaviour, whih doesn’ require Snowden to be an honost-to-Thanos Lady Death loving subscriber to the philosophy of Nihilism.

        • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

          Right, let’s all call Congress and demand changes to the way the NSA uses metadata about two or three hundred times a year. This is far more important than, say, “stop and frisk” searches.

          • HayesOose

            yeah, because with NSA crowding the news, it’s impossible for stop and frisk to be considered. That’s the ticket.

            My tights chafe. Thanks, Edward Snowden.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Let’s extend that logic one step further. We shouldn’t expend any energy working to reform “stop and frisk” searches because stop and frisk is a less pressing problem than discrimination in sentencing.

            And we shouldn’t expend any energy working to reform discrimination in sentencing, because educational inequalities are a bigger issue.

            And we shouldn’t expend any energy working to fix educational inequalities because, damnit, some people don’t have enough to eat.

          • Aaron Litz

            Nice try! Projection, anyone? The problem is that the screeching SnowdenWald fanbois clogging the Internet are the ones actively deriding anyone who shows concern with anything other than their pet NSA issue, to the point of calling out for alliance with fucking “Ayn” Rand Pual. (Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ayn Rand!) They are the ones focused with laser guidance on one specific issue to the exclusion of all others, and THAT is why we have become so pissed off at them!

            But nice attempt, anyway.

          • Scopedog

            Or making sure that voting rights aren’t taken away from minorities, or women being stripped of their right to choose, or getting jobs, fixing the country’s infrastructure….
            Sadly, Matt, you’re right–the NSA matters more to these people than the real, genuine problems facing the country.

        • Vipsanius

          Please do so.
          You may find it informative.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            nihilism |ˈnīəˌlizəm, ˈnē-|
            noun
            the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.
            • Philosophy extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence.
            • historical the doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party c. 1900, which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            “• historical the doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party c.
            1900, which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.”

            Very good! Now that you’ve cut and pasted it, try reading it.

          • Trulyunbelievable2020

            Bwahahahahahaha… you seriously want me to believe that when you call Greenwald and Snowden “nihilists” you are referencing a specific Russian historical movement? You’re kidding, right? That explanation “strains credulity,” to quote the FISA court.

            If you’re not kidding, then let’s debate it. Let’s talk about the relationship between Russian nihilism (which dates from the 1860s, by the way, and not from “c. 1900,” as the dictionary suggests) and the politics of Snowden and Greenwald. Just to warn you: I happen to know a great deal about Russian nihilism. Do you?

  • condew

    Where is the tweet from Greenwald taking credit for this? Will acknowledgement of this harm be part of Snowden’s next incoherent address?

  • rosemariejackowski

    Snowden is the greatest hero of our time. He single-handedly has changed history.

    • Lodge

      Please, tell me you’re being sarcastic !

      • rosemariejackowski

        Listen to the Snowden interview…

        http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/01/27-1

        • condew

          A legend in his own mind. Yes Snowden will change the world, evils like nuclear proliferation and human trafficking will get worse.

          • rosemariejackowski

            Yes, everything will get worse if US voters continue to vote for democrats/republicans.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Forget to take your meds today? Please do. You are contributing to the continuing glamorization of bold-assed stupidity. As in utterly, completely, and seriously stupid.

          • rosemariejackowski

            Why do you lack the intelligence necessary to debate an issue. Ad hominem attacks are for amateurs. Real debaters know the rules.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Honey, you are not debating. You are making asinine pronouncements. If you can’t take the heat GTF out of the fire.

            Better yet, find your glasses and take a long, hard, sober, and pragmatic look at your anti-hero, aka, the villain, Edward Snowden.

          • Sabyen91

            If you had actually made an argument a charge of ad hom might be valid but you didn’t.

          • LiberalChuck

            Maybe. But, rosemarie made an ad hominem attack even as she cried “ad hominem!”. rosemarie has a problem.

          • Badgerite

            So, I should stop voting for Tammy Baldwin. I don’t think I am going to do that. Thanks anyway.

          • Sabyen91

            Not a chance.

          • CygnusX1isaHole

            rosemarie:

            We should thank these Daily Banter commenters for being honest enough to show the true authoritarian face of the Democratic party. They have kindly drawn clear lines for all to see.

            Everybody who believes in secret courts rendering secret opinions with whistleblowers being charged under the Espionage Act should continue to vote for Democrats.

            Everyone who believes in open accountable government where the 4th amendment is sacrosanct and whistleblowers are afforded full protection should vote for the Green Party.

          • rosemariejackowski

            YES…definitely, YES.

          • LiberalChuck

            Keep telling yourself that bullshit.

            It’s people like yourself (Nader voters) that got us George W. Bush. But yeah, I know, you won’t claim any responsibility for that.

          • rosemariejackowski

            NADER 2016

          • CygnusX1isaHole

            Not even Al Gore blames Ralph Nader.

            We got George W. Bush because Al Gore allowed himself to be out debated by the moron. Then Gore let Bush steal Florida even though he had more votes.

            Why weren’t you out in the street doing whatever it took to protect Al Gore’s victory?

            Then you can review these facts.
            http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/06/1260721/-The-Nader-Myth

            But the question I want to ask you is why do you hate democracy so much that you don’t want the American people to have the option of voting for a presidential candidate that’s anti-wall street and anti-war?

          • LiberalChuck

            “But the question I want to ask you is why do you hate democracy so much
            that you don’t want the American people to have the option of voting for
            a presidential candidate that’s anti-wall street and anti-war?”

            Would love to see a candidate like that win. Not going to happen because a 3-party or more system doesn’t work in this country. The third party manages to help elect the right wing candidate.

            In any case, I am a realist. I want what’s best for this country, and that means that I don’t believe in fairytales, be they from the left or the right.

            Snowden is no hero. He is a nobody who got used by your compatriots on the left to exalt one person in particular. He isn’t even very bright.

            And hey, dude, you were responsible for GWB and his reign of terror. But then again, your little group never takes responsibility for the consequences they incur.

          • CygnusX1isaHole

            The D’s and R’s have held all the power for the last 100 years. Together they have wrecked the environment, climate, economy, food supply, constitution and our most sacred treaties. When are you going to take responsibility for your vote?

            Blaming Greens who don’t hold a single seat in Federal government for the carnage unleashed by the D’s and R’s is just about the most laughable thing I’ve read so far.

          • LiberalChuck

            Go ahead and laugh. Reality will sooner or later bite you in the ass, mr. hole.

          • conundrum

            It’s so easy to carp from the sidelines. Greens can make amazing promises, becausae they are empty; they know they will never be asked to deliver. There’s a reason why Republicans help Greens get on the ballot.

          • D_C_Wilson

            ^ This.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            Since they enabled the climate-denying, warmongering R’s, entirely fair. They didn’t actually perform the destruction; they were just the catalysts.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            “Not even Al Gore blames Ralph Nader.”

            It’s called being a gracious loser.

          • villemar

            Oh, you didn’t just go there, son. Nader is my bailiwick.

            I’ll be back in a little while; I need to make some room in my bowels and unhinge my lower jaw. I am going to eat you live. Give me about an hour or so; that should give you enough time to straighten out your postmortem affairs.

          • Scopedog

            “…the true authoritarian face of the Democratic party.” Dear God, man–have you slipped that far from reality? Have you really fallen into the black hole of your own ignorance?

            The “authoritarian” party is the GOP–and the fact that you seem blind to their abuses is yet another reason to simply take what you say as a heaping pile of bullshit.

          • muselet

            I know I’m going to regret asking, but what does Australia monitoring the mobile phone conversations of the president of Indonesia have to do with the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution?

            –alopecia

          • D_C_Wilson

            Everyone who believes in open accountable government where the 4th
            amendment is sacrosanct and whistleblowers are afforded full protection
            should vote for the Green Party.

            And then vote for the Tooth Fairy, too. You’d have the same impact.

          • villemar

            Good riddance to bad rubbish. We don’t need anarcho-nihilist, Mogashishu-style-Libertarian, Some-people-just-want-to-watch-the-world-burn cultists like you and your other Angry Spoiled White Children’s Crusade members anyways. We’ll get along fine without you. Really, please never vote for a Democrat again. Seriously.

            You can write in Mamie fucking Eisenhower in every subsequent election for the next 60 years; you’re threats are irrelevant. The loudest whiners on the internet in no way near correlate to actual voting demographics.

          • Vipsanius

            yea sure
            whatever you think is fair bub

          • stacib23

            At one time (like during the last administration), didn’t Edward Snowden himself have some rather harsh penalties he thought should befall “whistleblowers”?

          • Scopedog

            Yep, he sure had ‘em, back before the Black Guy was elected President. After that, well, things, er, “changed”.

          • Aaron Litz

            Yes, yes he did. In fact, Snowden was rather vocal in his distaste for people who complained about NSA surveillance and whistleblowers.

            But then, well, I guess Obama didn’t turn the US into a perfect paradise fast enough for him, so he went all Paul Libertarian, or something. It gets confusing. Read his posts on Ars Technica to see the real Snowden.

          • Aaron Litz

            You know what? I would vote for the Green Party in a SPLIT SECOND if I thought it would actually MEAN ANYTHING. But the party is too small, disorganized, and ineffecive to accomplish anything (not to mention infested with a a minority of really strange fringe whackos who scare me with some of their goals.) So I will continue to vote for the Democratic Party which actually ACCOMPLISHES at least some of the things the Green Party wants done, rather than vote for the Green Party and end up helping the Republicans get elected, and having NONE of our goals achieved.

            Honestly, the vibe your group gives off is something like “If we can’t have everything PERFECT then we’d rather just watch it all BURN.” And it terrifies and infuriates us that anyone would think that way.

            And seriously, anyone thinking the Democrats are “true authoritarians” is deluding themselves.

          • Vipsanius

            Form your own party.
            Build a party organization; get money; get candidates.
            Then, and only then, will you be able to talk.
            if you do not, you are, merely, complaining.
            Good luck to you.

          • rosemariejackowski

            I tried all that you suggest. I have been the Socialist Party Candidate for VT Attorney General for the past 4 or 5 elections. It is impossible to get the word out and spread the massage in a State where the First Amendment has been suspended.

          • Vipsanius

            Whatever you say

    • David Atkins

      Sorry, a hero is someone like that kid who ran into the burning house to save people before his own tragic death.

      Snowden is a nihilist bombthrower who got people killed and sold his country out to foreigners to protect his worthless hide.

    • Badgerite

      Which time would that be. The last five minutes?

    • BumpIt McCarthy

      So did Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Well, perhaps single hoofedly.

      Sorry, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Malala Yousafsai. You thought risking your lives for the sake of your people means anything next to loading some hard drives into a rollaboard and hightailing it to a Fascist dictatorship?

      • CygnusX1isaHole

        “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care for human beings.”

        - Nelson Mandela

        • CygnusX1isaHole

          Apparently Democrats hate Mandela as much as Republicans. Thanks for the confirmation.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            And of course Mandela was rightfully taking down W, but Russian Television, aka Putinorama, was the source for your handy Mandela quote, since they made it into a poster and everything: http://rt.com/news/mandela-sharp-quotes-media-860/

            Vladimir’s unstained escutcheon is so shiny-bright, it must have blinded you.

          • D_C_Wilson

            What? If think his post confirmed that conclusion, I question if you even know what the word means.

          • Aaron Litz

            And what orifice did you pull that confirmation out of?

        • BumpIt McCarthy

          “The former South African president strongly condemned President Bush for
          preparing to go to war with Iraq and accused Bush and British Prime
          Minister Tony Blair for undermining the work of the United Nations and
          what it stands for.”

          Context! Is not your friend.

    • Scopedog

      To use a recent quote from Chez Pazienza….”Just stop…please! Knock it off!”

      Snowden, the greatest hero of our time. You’ve gotta be kidding me. He’s got a long, LONG way to go before he can step into the realm of Dr. King, Ghandi, Havel, Mandela, and others like them.

      • HayesOose

        If Dr King were alive and active today, Banter faithful would trashing him.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          Ah, the stupid it burns.

          • HayesOose

            Clever! Can I use that scathing and unique bon mot sometime?

            Here, let me try one: You’re soaking in it!

        • D_C_Wilson

          Oh bullshit!

        • Scopedog

          Bull-fucking shit.

        • BumpIt McCarthy

          It is gross and a symptom of your privileged oblivousness that you would bring up King anywhere near Edward Snowden. King laid down his life, knowingly, just as he lived his life, facing his oppressors, whom he targeted with much contemplation and precision.

          Comparing Snowden to King? If King had run to apartheid South Africa, or Rhodesia, you might have a point.

          • HayesOose

            I didn’t compare Snowden to King, silly, can you read?

            I pointed out that Dr King would be trashed here were he alive and active in this day. I am thinking of the treatment he received almost fifty years ago when he spoke out against the Vietnam war, from the same sort of establishment apologists who regular The Daily Banter.

          • BumpIt McCarthy

            Of course you compared Snowden to King, and are doing it even as you aver the opposite. Snowden’s detractors are establishment apologists! No chance that there might be anything concerning for people who actually want peace in releasing nearly two million documents having nothing to do with Americans’ privacy into a warlike world.

            Iffen you don’t admire Edward Snowden, you’re an authoritatian King-hater! (Not comparing them, no, not at all)

          • HayesOose

            “Of course you compared Snowden to King,…”

            Good point. Except that I didn’t.

            “No chance that there might be anything concerning for people who actually want peace in releasing nearly two million documents having nothing to do with Americans’ privacy into a warlike world.”

            Wow, hope you were sitting down when you came up with that. Try breathing into a paper bag, or a glass of water, room temp.

            But great example of trying to make something important and true just by sheer force of will. Fits right in here: As long as you are on the right side, establishment apologetics, you can pretty much pretend that *anything* within that bubble is so. You can *almost* let you imagination, such as it is, run wild!

  • Tyler Westbrook

    Thank God for the Patriot Snowden for exposing treason from the highest levels. May a statue be built in his honor in DC!

    • S in DC

      The people who have statues built for them in DC didn’t flee the country or hide. The sat and fought it out, several (Lincoln, King) even died for it. Don’t insult them by putting Snowden on the level of Jefferson, Lincoln, and King.

    • BumpIt McCarthy

      Cheaper to commission it from a Chinese labor camp. Then we could put up copies in the Moscow airport and Belarus, since Wikileaks is so friendly with Lukashenko :http://gawker.com/5889863/uk-mag-links-julian-assange-and-wikileaks-to-brutal-european-dictator

      The advantage there is that it’s so hard to saw the head off a bronze statue!

      • Scopedog

        The whole Wikileaks/Belarus thing is…well, it’s sickening. Nick Cohen spoke of it, and yet, it’s ignored by Wikileaks’ (and Assange’s) true believers.

    • condew

      I suggest it be erected in Blue Plains. [the sewage treatment plant]

    • Badgerite

      Treason! Seriously. And who would that be that committed ‘treatson’ at the ‘highest levels’. Suppose the SCOTUS sides with Judge Pauley who says the bulk collection of metadata is constitutional? What, then, is the ‘treason’?

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Yeah, it could be a giant nut with a giant screw ringed through it to commemorate how Snowden screwed over the country’s intelligence and security. Sprinkle some bird shit all over it, and voila!

  • muselet

    Did Susilo Bambang Ydhoyono know his phone conversations were being intercepted by the DSD? If he didn’t, he certainly had to suspect so. Countries spy on each other. Australia and Indonesia are neighbors, which means they are even more likely to be spying on each other (I’ve got a fiver that says Indonesia’s signals intelligence has been listening in on Australian government officials).

    Unfortunately, articles like the one in The Guardian compel governments to react with very public outrage (while the governments know what’s going on, the average citizen doesn’t and demands action). It happened when Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff cancelled a state visit to the US, it’s happening now with Indonesia and Australia.

    I’m more than half convinced Edward Snowden is not so much a libertarian as he is a nihilist. He’s playing a very dangerous game, one that will lead to mass suffering and death—if Indonesia doesn’t fully cooperate with Australia on people smuggling, more boats will sink and more lives will be lost—and he’s given no indication that he cares.

    Edward Snowden is no hero.

    –alopecia

    • David Atkins

      Nihilist is exactly the word for it. With the firebaggers and the kossacks and the glibertarians and the teahadists, they want to pull down any law and any institution that stands in the way of their having what they want when they want it.

      Another word is kabuki. Frau Fritz puts on a dumb show for the placation of the gullible in Germany, but when she talks with Obama they have a good laugh together before moving on to important matters.

    • Badgerite

      I think Snowden lives off in his own internet universe. Which is why he thinks the searching of call patterns ( metadata) is some great human rights issue.
      To me, it is simply a side show with real world consequences that will probably not be good.

    • feloniousgrammar

      Part of the Paul platform is isolationism. As you can see, there’s been a whole lot of isolatin’ since Snowden opened his big yap. It’s hard to believe that an adult in the 20th Century would argue for radical transparency while placing themselves in a spy fantasy in which by giving words of support for Snowden they think themselves as revolutionaries and even risking their lives.

      I don’t think there’s anything that can be said to change the minds of people who have convinced themselves that the U.S. is the root of all evil and everywhere we are, we’re the villain; but I think it fair to ask them why they remain in the country. If they have the moral compass they think they have, then they are morally obligated to leave. Bitching on the internet isn’t doing anything to change the country. They should all fuck off to a country they think is not evil.

      • Scopedog

        “They should all fuck off to a country they think is not evil.” The problem is that they would end up going to a country that truly IS evil.
        I think the reason why they stay in the US is, well, simple: they can bitch and moan and complain, but at bottom they know that (despite their ravings to the contrary) they will not be disappeared, or put up against the wall and shot. They will face no charges, because in this country that is so evil, so bad, they have the right to say their words (or post them online).

      • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

        What I want to know is when did isolationism become part of the far left mantra? Because that’s what I’m hearing from the GG fanboys now….they only care about what is going on in America now.

        • feloniousgrammar

          Because they’re solipsistic little shits who think the world should turn on their uninformed, ill-considered opinions that are based on their hippy dippy daydreams. Navel gazing ignorance with delusions of grandeur.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Even factoring out Indonesia’s posturing and Australia having to react, the lives of those refugees are certainly in more danger as a result. If Snowden cares nothing for governments does he not care about the women and children on those boats? Probably not…he’s a Paultard, right?…they don’t really like “those brown people”.

      • muselet

        I won’t attribute racism to Edward Snowden without actual evidence of it. I think he simply sees the women and children on those boats as collateral damage in his Oh-So-Noble Fight For Freedumb or some such (not giving a monkey’s about anyone is, in my opinion, worse than being a racist).

        –alopecia

      • Jason

        Australia has been treating refugees abysmally for decades now. Detaining refugees, sometimes for years, in remote locations.
        Implementing dangerous maritime policy to keep refugees at see in unsafe boats. The Siev X disaster happened long before snowden. It is ridiculous to even bring Snowden into this particular issue..

  • ernieneverleft

    “is there anyone who does not have Snowden files”? A more pertinent question should be “Are there any nations NOt spying on each other”?

  • CL Nicholson

    Well didn’t Wikileaks’ cable lead directly to the an international incident and Assange’s response was, well, “Too Bad, So Sad”? What I’ve seen from the anti-spying libertarian types is that they don’t consider consequences.

    I don’t really don’t think Greenwald could care less that Snowden’s random ass leaks could lead not only to more human trafficking , but also to an unnecessary political incident in the Indian Ocean.

    • Scopedog

      “What I’ve seen from the anti-spying libertarian types is that they don’t consider consequences.”
      Exactly.

  • DHaradaStone

    “… any and all nations who spy on other nations …” Not quite. Snowden and Greenwald have limited the spotlight to spying by the U.S. and its allies. Police states, particularly those that afford Snowden shelter, get a free pass.

    • CL Nicholson

      Valid. But then again, hardcore ideologues whether they be Left Wing Anarchists, Old School American Socialists or Religious Right Wing nut cases – tend give a free pass to some of the world biggest scumbags because they’re “on their side”.

      • condew

        In this case, Assange had documents embarrasing to Russia and upon threatening to publish them, he got a visit from Putin’s FSB. Not only did Assange not publish, he now does interviews for Russia Today, and helps Russia identify those opposing the Russian government. And Assange inspired Snowden.

        • Badgerite

          Good point. I truly would be afraid to live under the repressive government that these ‘heros’ would establish.

        • CL Nicholson

          In this case, Assange had documents embarrasing to Russia and upon threatening to publish them, he got a visit from Putin’s FSB. Not only did Assange not publish, he now does interviews for Russia Today, and helps Russia identify those opposing the Russian government. And Assange inspired Snowden.

          For all their John Galt/V for Vendetta BS railing against President Cyborg Killer, these libertarian types are straight up punks. Assange, Greenwald and the rest of the Dude-Bro shilling for the FSB know a real dictator when they seen one. They know good and well that Putin would put foot to ass for those who challenge him.

          While Obama may give a snide remark in a speech to a reporter or John Boehner, Putin has been known to to poison those who oppose him as well as jail musicians who dare to disagree with him.

      • Scopedog

        Exactly. So long as they are against the US or the West, all is forgiven. It worked for Milosovic, it worked for Quadaffi, and even now it’s being used in defense of Assad in Syria, and also for Putin.

        Because, you know, America is really the worst place on earth.

        • CL Nicholson

          Don’t forget Chomsky, Sean Penn and Michael Moore blowing kissing to Hugo Chavez who regularly shut down opposition TV stations (could you imagine the uproar if Dick Cheney tried to pressure the FCC to revoke the licenses of Pacifica or MSNBC? Or if Obama tried to shutdown Fox or Limbaugh?)

          And a personal favorite, the emo-progressive’s short term love affair with Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was speaking truth to power because he hated Bush as much as Chavez, if not more. He was the bomb, you know, before all the anti-Bush lefty types figured out that he really wasn’t a fan of women, or gays, or non-Muslims (especially Jews), or intellectuals….

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      Police states, particularly those that afford Snowden shelter, get a free pass.

      Absolutely spot on.

    • Scopedog

      Yep. Notice how they–Snowden, Greenwald, and their fans–have been as quiet as mice about the er, _amazing_ level of Russian survellience in regards to the upcoming Winter Olympics. And also China’s iron grip on their Internet. But no, you can always count on someone to spout off a pithy defense, such as one I saw that said, “Well, they’re only doing it because the US did!”

      Surprising that no one told this…person that Russia and China have done stuff that make the NSA look like a bunch of choirboys.

    • Chris Carr

      That’s the joke of this whole saga. Police states do get a free pass. The same with Wikileaks, who have even aided a police state in cracking down on protesters who wanted democracy.

  • missliberties

    He is doing this on purpose. He is an anarchist. Snowden is enjoying the chaos.

    Remember Julienne Assange far right campaign platform? These people are NOT human rights activists as Greenwald pretends, they are right wing anarchists in the mold of Rand Paul.

    • Tom Ward

      Your name is “missliberty” yet you can’t appreciate that what Snowden did was in support of freedom not just for US citizens but across the world?

      • DHaradaStone

        How does revealing the details of NSA efforts to penetrate the Chinese PLA’s cyberwarfare unit or monitor terrorist communications support “freedom”?

        • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

          It supports the freedom of the Chinese regime from NSA surveillance. All those billions of Chinese under their thumb will feel the freedom too, I tell you.

      • missliberties

        Try subjecting yourself to a rational assessment of the facts.

        A knee jerk defense of all things Snowden does not cut it.

      • missliberties

        Further, if you think about it, Snowden’s revelations in this case a more along the lines extremist nationalism with the slogan no ‘immigrants’.

        • condew

          Reminiscent of the political parties Wikileaks allied with in Australia — to the surprise and chagrin of just about everyone except Assange.

      • BumpIt McCarthy

        Yeah, striking a blow for Chinese political prisoners, Tibetans, Russian gays, Indonesian boat peop—

        —oh, sorry. I meant a blow AGAINST them.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        Yeah, right. Please explain to us EXACTLY what he is doing for ANYONE (besides Greenwald, et al), and PARTICULARLY, for the people in countries where civil rights are only claimed by those in the ruling class……….like Russia, Brazil, and so forth.

        After all, you did say he was doing this “in support of freedom not just for US citizens but across the world“.

        Jesus.Christ. I can’t bear the stupidity your asinine group keeps spewing, so let’s see if you can back up some of your complete and utter bullshit, Tom Ward.

      • Badgerite

        Really. How so? Explain it to me. All I see is someone who interjected himself through methods of espionage into a process of reform in the US that was well underway and made it about international spying which doesn’t really have anything much to do with ‘liberty’ or ‘freedom’. Indeed, China has one of the most restrictive internet operations in the world in terms of free speech.

      • Scopedog

        “Support of freedom”…sure. I’m sure the people of Russia and China greatly appreciate it.

  • Badgerite

    It seems to me that what is happening now is that the international press is reporting these stories, such as Norway spying on Russia ( which, if I were Norwegian would seem downright prudent to me ) not because it is in the public (or ‘people’s’) interest, but merely because it is news. These are stories that get attention. The consequences simply don’t interest them.

    • David Atkins

      What I learned in the Navy is that there is a huge difference between intelligence and espionage/spying, a difference that easily gets jumbled up in the popular imaginage.

      The former is as commonplace as reading newspapers in the library, while the latter will get you shot.

      Which is highly relevent to Snowden because ignorant people read “NSA gathers intelligence” and they think “OMG! The NSA is watching me masturbate using the wireless devices hacked into my computer! Shut the whole thing down!”

      As you observe with respect to orway and Russia, this hysterical over reaction can have real world consequences.

      • missliberties

        Most excellent point. Intelligence and esponiate are two different animals.

      • feloniousgrammar

        As e-fucking-normous as the 24/7 pool of global electronic data is, it’s wholly ridiculous for any individual to take themselves seriously as a target, so long as they aren’t calling or being called by suspected or known terrorists. I recently compared it to reaching at random in the ocean and expecting to pull out a pearl; but now that you mention other kinds of intelligence gathering, I’d like to compare it to my job in missile warning, monitoring for rocket launches.

        If I said that we watched infrared data on the western hemisphere, and someone responded (ZOMG!) that they could be tracked every time they built a campfire or lit a cigarette, then that would be as ridiculous as this paranoid response to the NSA collecting metadata. In missile warning, we saw a fraction of the heat that the satellite saw, because rocket plumes burn bright and hot. We didn’t need most of the information. The NSA similarly uses very little of the data that is available to them. They have a job to do and it has nothing to do with almost all Americans. Also, not everyone with a phone number in the U.S. is an American citizen.

        By the logic of Snowald, the smartest thing any terrorist group who wants to attack the U.S. to do is to move here and casually conspire by phone and e-mail because PRIVACY.

    • condew

      Whatever sells ads and clicks. Sad.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Just out of curiosity, what does Australia spying on Indonesai have to do with “indiscriminate data collection” of American citizens?

    • Badgerite

      Nothing, of course. Why did Snowden need to steal 1.7 million classified documents?
      He just is not a whistle blower. That isn’t what he has done. What he has done is more akin to the leaking of diplomatic cables. Which is not whistle blowing and has real world international consequences.

      • D_C_Wilson

        But Snowden said “indiscriminate data collection” was the greatest threat we’ve ever faced. If that’s true, he wouldn’t be wasting his time on side issues that serve only to damage international relations, right?

        In all seriousness. can we please stop treating Snowden that he actually gives a rat’s ass about the well-being of American citizens?

        • Scopedog

          “In all seriousness. can we please stop treating Snowden that he actually gives a rat’s ass about the well-being of American citizens?”

          ^This.

      • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

        It’s called doxing.

    • trgahan

      I sometime think, given the reported quantity of documents, Snowden really had no idea what he was taking at BAH. He probably just accessed the most “top secret” folder he could and did a quick copy and paste.

      As the “revelations” continue their will managed drip (and the non-public public appearances), Snowden was probably hoping for an “Obama personally spied on the Paul’s” document or some such smoking gun but so far all he got was a bunch of international intelligence actions.

      • D_C_Wilson

        More and more, I am baffled by the people who call Snowden a hero. Most of stuff he “revealed” about the NSA’s data collection activities was information that was already known and reported in the media. He’s trickled out far more info about how America and its allies spy on other countries, which has nothing to do with the 4th Amendment or the right to privacy of American citizens.

        Some people have speculated that he Russia or China recruited him specifically for info on America’s intel activities. I don’t buy that, but i do think he’s an opportunist who saw a chance to either score some political points or auction off some secrets, but quickly got in over his head. Now he’s stuck, but fortunately, he has Greenwald acting as his PR flack to spin things for him.

        • trgahan

          I’d argue he is a hero to people who were still bummed about how 2012 turned out and had never paid attention to the national security verses civil liberties policy debate (well, maybe smugly saying “You can’t have civil liberties when you dead” when the Patriot Act was passed) prior to June of 2013.

  • HayesOose

    “To be clear, Australia/Indonesia tensions didn’t begin with Snowden, but [we'll publish some breathless insinuation anyway]“…

    • Jason

      Precisely.
      Even forgetting that the Indonesian reaction only came after Australian naval vessels trespassed on Indonesian territory, Bob is completely discounting just how large a bell end our prime minister Tony Abbott is. Tony is turning out to be quite the foreign relations imbecile.

      • BumpIt McCarthy

        It is not whether or how much of a lunkhead Tony Abbott is. It’s that already strained relations were pushed that much farther toward breaking, in a “revelation” which did nothing to further the ends which Snowden claims, just as the leaking of information about hacking Chinese computers did nothing to curb NSA intrusions on American civil rights — but did befoul agreements between the US and China on intellectual property and copyright issues.

        The timing of that leak bespeaks deliberate sabotage; perhaps in the “transparency” culture, the idea of being paid for one’s ideas is held in contempt. Heaven forfend every program not be open-sourced, and young men (mainly) not able to right-click and download whatever they want, for free!

        /ripped-off illustrator

        • Badgerite

          Really good comment. Too true.

      • Badgerite

        Trespassed. Heaven forfend. Someone must pay. With their lives.
        Do you have any idea of how often, back in the days of the cold war, that Russian submarines “trespassed” off the east coast of the United States?

    • Badgerite

      Oh, really. And is there some reason why Norway should NOT spy on Russia, which after all, has a history of invading nearby countries. Often.

    • Badgerite

      To be clear, Snowden ‘revelations’ EXACERBATED Australian/Indonesian tensions.

    • David Atkins

      Really? You suddenly have a problem with breathless insinuations?

  • http://ramonasvoices.blogspot.com/ Ramona

    Those of us who argue against giving Snowden hero status, or clemency, or a break of any kind do it for many reasons, but it’s the sheer recklessness, as you’ve argued, that makes what he has done so egregious. We don’t know where in the world those documents will surface, nor how much harm they might still do.

    This paragraph bears repeating:

    “This might be the clearest example of the recklessness of the Snowden
    leaks — how the former NSA systems administrator indiscriminately dumped
    thousands if not more than a million documents to a growing roster of
    journalists with nothing more than a gentleman’s agreement about making
    sure the articles were in the public interest. In that regard, it’s unclear how this news fits the ongoing narrative of
    a rogue, unconstitutional American/British surveillance state. ”

    Once they’re out there, they’re out there. There’s no getting them back, and if they fall into the hands of master manipulators out to embarrass us or our enemies out to destroy us, what happens after that is completely out of our control,

    I’m always surprised that more people, especially progressives, don’t find that alarming.

    • Churchlady320

      Because it’s not about precious them. They are as reckless and indifferent as Snowden about other people’s rights, especially if they are poor, foreign, people of color.

      • BumpIt McCarthy

        Preach it, Churchlady. I have a charming example for you: this comment was from a Snowden…,er, enthusiast would be the kindest way to put it, at TPM a couple of days ago:

        “And why, pray, should I give a flying fuck about Indonesia’s army when I have to worry that my most private communications are being intercepted for no
        apparent reason but could nevertheless be used against me by a secret court and used to condemn me should it decide I’m a threat to security, In which case my beloved oh-so-progressive president can have me imprisoned indefinitely without trial or, if his death panel agrees, have me murdered in the name of public safety. You’re so besotted with attacking Snowden you’re losing your grip on what’s really important to the American people here and now,
        and in their own country, not in Indonesia. What’s next on your crackpot schedule of absurd accusations against Snowden? Has his expose of NSA endangered the next coconut harvest on the Islands of Tonga?
        http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/snowden-return-to-us-whistleblower#comment-aHR0cCUzQS8vdGFsa2luZ3BvaW50c21lbW8uY29tL0VDSE8vaXRlbS8xMzkwNTc0ODc1LTc3NC01MTI=

  • trgahan

    I think it is a great example of how these leaks will create more secrecy, not less. Indonesia is likely posturing to save face (like every other nation shown to be on the losing side of these leaks), but such situations can get out of hand quickly. All these leaks are accomplishing (other than giving activist reporters a sense they are “sticking it to power, man!”) is making nations review their intelligence operations (in secret) to ensure the leaks, not the spying, don’t get out again.
    Also, still waiting to see what these revelations have to do with phone metadata of American Citizens and our coming loss of civil liberties….Do they have any more documents on this or did they play that hand already?

    • feloniousgrammar

      Yeah, the real politic would be beefing up their own security. Shaking their fists with war machines is not so good. Australia has a right to do what can be done to keep throngs of immigrants out of the country. There are probably much better ways to solve this problem, but it likely requires all countries involved to cooperate and work together.

  • Jon Fox

    Re: the Norwegian article. My guess is that Greenwald is leaking documents to media organs that give him the acceptable level of hero worship.

    • BumpIt McCarthy

      Not much chance of Snowden leaking something damaging about his benign and “democratic” new country, as per Wikileaks: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/23/us-usa-security-wikileaks-statement-idUSBRE95M03L20130623

      So much good to do in the world by fighting the Western hegemonism as embodied by….NORWAY. Why is NORWAY trying to crush brave little democratic Russia?

      • missliberties

        It almost makes the case that Snowden is co-operating with Russia in more ways than are apparent.

        Sickening really.

      • Badgerite

        Their view of themselves and what they are doing is simply not supported by the record of what they have done.