FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Earth’s Most Wanted Man Finds a Refuge

by STEPHEN LENDMAN

On June 23, he arrived in Moscow. He applied for asylum. He’s been stuck in Sheremetyevo Airport transit zone limbo.

Putin was clear and unequivocal. He won’t extradite him. No treaty obligation exists. Official requests don’t matter.

Snowden’s initial ordeal ended. A greater one awaits. He’s able to travel freely.

On August 1, Itar Tass headlined “Edward Snowden gets asylum and leaves Sheremetyevo transit zone,” saying: He’s “formally in Russia’s territory.”

“Earlier, a source close to the matter reported this information explaining that the customs officers received the required papers from Federal Migration Service giving Snowden the right to stay in Russia.”

“He added that the former CIA employee currently has all the necessary documents to legally stay in Russia.”

He “cannot be deported to the United States, even if the country makes an official request, a source in the Russian law enforcement agencies told Itar-Tass on Thursday.”

“The granting of temporary asylum protects Snowden from deportation, because under the law a person, who was granted temporary asylum, cannot be returned against his will to the country, a citizen of which he is, or to the place of his permanent residence.”

On August 1, Russia Today headlined “Snowden granted 1-year asylum in Russia, leaves airport.”

His legal representative, Anatoly Kucherena said: “I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone.”

Kucherena told state broadcaster Russia 24:    “I have just seen him off. He has left for a secure location. Security is a very serious matter for him.”

Kucherena told Reuters:  “He is the most wanted man on planet Earth. What do you think he is going to do?”

“He has to think about his personal security. I cannot tell you where he is going.”

“I put him in a taxi 15 to 20 minutes ago and gave him his certificate on getting refugee status in the Russian Federation. He can live wherever he wants in Russia. It’s his personal choice.”

He left accompanied by WikiLeaks lawyer Sarah Harrison. She twittered saying: “We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle – now the war.”

He’s granted temporary asylum through at least through July 31, 2014. He can extend it annually on request.

Doing so lets him stay in Russia permanently. He can make a new life there if he chooses. He’s got plenty of time to decide.

He won’t be sent back to America. At 15:30 Moscow time (11:30 GMT), he left Sheremetyevo Airport transit zone limbo.

According to Kucherena, his location’s secret. It won’t be made public.

“He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority,” he said.

“He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer.”

He’s America’s public enemy number one. Safety’s his main concern. He’s got good reason to worry. He’s a wanted man.

He knows how NSA operates. He knows the system. It’ll try every way to monitor him. He’ll do his best to stay out of its dragnet. Whether he succeeds remains to be seen.

Washington has human intelligence everywhere. CIA agents infest Russia. They’ll search him out. They’ll learn where he’s staying.

They’ll monitor his every move. They’ll likely watch but not touch. At least for now. What happens later remains to be seen.

Snowden acted responsibly. He connected important dots for millions. He exposed lawless NSA spying. He did so courageously.

He sacrificed financial security and personal safety. He did so saying: “You can’t come up against the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and not accept the risk.”

“I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end.”

“There’s no saving me.”

“The only thing I fear is the harmful effects on my family, who I won’t be able to help any more. That’s what keeps me up at night.”

He doesn’t expect to see home again. Returning assures arrest, harsh treatment, prosecution, police state injustice, and longterm hard time.

At the same time, he acted out of high ethical and moral principles.

“I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded,” he said. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

“I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy, and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

“I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.”

“I had been looking for leaders, but I realized that leadership is about being the first to act.”

“There are more important things than money. If I were motivated by money, I could have sold these documents to any number of countries and gotten very rich.”

“The great fear that I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change.”

People “won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things.”

“And in the months ahead, the years ahead, it’s only going to get worse.”

Snowden’s currently in seclusion. Eventually he’ll talk to the press. He needs quiet time to decompress, settle in, and decide what’s next.

He need permanent quarters, work, and a new life. He needs to learn a new language and customs. He needs trusted associates. He needs protection. America’s long arm won’t rest.

As long as he’s free, he’s a wanted man. He understands. He took the risk. He acted responsibly. Doing the right thing is its own reward. Millions thank him for it.

How his status affects US-Russia relations remains to be seen. They’re less than cordial. They’ll unlikely deteriorate further.

Greater major issues remain unresolved. Snowden’s minor by comparison. He’s a thorn, nonetheless, in bilateral relations.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.  His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

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

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail