Friday, August 2, 2013

An Adequate Response

A lot of people here in the United States have a problem recognizing some uncomfortable truths about our government.  Sometimes an outsider can help point things out for us.  Russia had a great opportunity to lend us a hand in this regard.

With Edward Snowden being granted asylum in Russia, we have a great opportunity to refocus ourselves away from the drama about "where in the world is Snowden" and more towards the issues that his selfless actions brought to light. 

The secrets brought to our attention are serious enough that quite quickly even our deeply corrupted congress felt the need to address the issue by attempting to pass legislation which would have virtually ended these offensive and probably unconstitutional programs.  In their first attempt they almost succeeded.  The formerly secret programs aren't exactly winning the approval of a big chunk of the public.

As the Obama administration spent recent weeks huffing and puffing and flexing its muscles by having the great "democracies" of Europe force the plane of Bolivia's president, Evo Morales, to land after refusing entry to their air space, and making it abundantly clear which countries are more independent than others, it has become obvious that the empire doesn't wield the power that it imagines. 

Our Attorney General, Eric Holder, finally tried a less aggressive act by sending a letter to his Russian counterpart promising that if returned, Snowden wouldn't face the death penalty nor would he be tortured.  What an amazing fact that this country would have to clarify such a thing!

As far as I know, a direct response wasn't offered to Holder, but in the end asylum was granted to Snowden by Russia.  Perhaps that was the response.  But if a response would have been given, it could have said the following:

Mr. Holder,

The Russian government appreciates the seriousness of the situation that we find ourselves in.  Although it is likely that Edward Snowden has violated certain laws in the United States, and you have given your personal assurances that Mr. Snowden will be treated fairly by your legal system, also not facing the death penalty or torture, the latter being illegal, we prefer to exercise caution in this matter.

Given the recent history, we cannot be sure that your government's definition of torture meets the standards of the international community.  As we've witnessed your treatment of another of your citizens in a similar situation, Bradley Manning, we know that your courts ruled after the fact that he was indeed subjected to some of the kinds of things which may have been partly the grounds on which Mr. Snowden has requested asylum.

Along with that example, there are other instances which give us pause such as the descriptions of the treatment of prisoners of yours in Guantanamo Bay.  Also, the statements by some former government officials explaining the kinds of treatment they believed to be legal under your laws cause us to question exactly what may be your definition of torture.

We hope that the government of the United States understands and respects our decision on this matter.

Your partner,

The Government of the Russian Federation

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