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by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, Aug. 03, 2013 at 1:35 PM
Heightened Russia Bashing
by Stephen Lendman
Doing so suggests reinventing the Evil Empire. It's back to the future. It's the new Cold War. It doesn't surprise.
Media scoundrels march in lockstep with America's worst policies. They do so disgracefully. They shame themselves repeatedly.
They lack legitimacy. They're managed news manipulators. They're not credible journalists. They never were. They're not now.
They're venting over Russia granting Edward Snowden asylum. They criticize what deserves praise.
The New York Times called Russia "defiant." Granting Snowden safe refuge ignored "pleas and warnings from President Obama and other senior Americans."
Russia gave him "an international platform to continue defending his actions."
Wall Street Journal editors headlined "Snowden's Russian Protectors," saying:
"Russia's decision to grant Edward Snowden asylum is a hostile act against the United States."
"If it forces the Obama Administration to shed its blinders and rethink America's indulgent relationship with Vladimir Putin's 'regime,' then at least this sorry affair might have a silver lining."
Note: despotic ruling authorities America supports are called "governments." Independent nations are called "regimes."
New York Post editors headlined "A withering America," saying:
"Is America still a superpower? Russian President Vladimir Putin sure doesn't think so. (He has) no fear of consequences."
"One thing's clear: The world is watching Obama's response. And America ultimately will feel the consequences of that."
He hasn't "helped on other vital matters, like stopping Iran's nuclear drive or ending the brutality of Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Quite the opposite." Putin supports what America opposes.
Los Angeles Times editors headlined "What Next for Snowden," saying:
"Russia's decision frustrates - for now - the Obama administration's attempt to return him to the US to stand trial."
"We believe the administration is right to try to bring Snowden to justice. (I)n a society of laws, those who engage in civil disobedience should be prepared to accept some legal consequences for their actions."
"That principle assures that individuals will think seriously, as they should, about whether lawbreaking is justified by a higher cause."
"Snowden is entitled to his day in court, but that won't be possible as long as Russia shelters him on the mistaken premise that he is a victim of political persecution."
Christian Science Monitor editors headlined "Snowden asylum in Russia: What now for US?"
Snowden "thr(ew) his lot with Russia, at least for a while…A majority of Americans disagree with (his) actions or motives, according to polls."
False! A new Quinnipiac University poll showed 55% of Americans consider him a whistleblower. Another 34% agree with congressional critics.
"Snowden said he acted to protect 'Internet freedom and basic liberties of people around the world.' But if he had acted as a true whistle-blower, he would have first used" available legal channels.
"He didn't. (H)e fled both the United States and its espionage laws. He fears years in prison more than standing up for his values in court."
He's "hardly qualified to assess whether ending the NSA practices will put the US in jeopardy. For that, he would need to understand the purpose of other values besides liberty."
Snowden's a heroic whistleblower. He's one of his nation's best. He upheld a noble tradition. America's a lawless police state. Mass surveillance threatens fundamental freedoms.
Exposing government wrongdoing is a national imperative. So is resisting tyranny. It's a universal right. In his "Right of Revolution," John Locke said:
When governments fail their people, their "trust must necessarily be forfeited, and the Power devolve into the hands of those that gave it, who may place it anew where they shall think best for their safety and security."
According to St. Thomas Aquinas:
"If the law purports to require actions that no-one should ever do, it cannot rightly be complied with; one's moral obligation is not to obey but to disobey."
Henry David Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" remains a landmark essay.
"Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree resign his conscience to the legislator," he asked?
"The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right."
"All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable."
"Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?"
Mass surveillance is longstanding US policy. It's unconstitutional. Laws and practices in violation of constitutional provisions lack legitimacy.
Whistleblowers are obligated to expose them. They're not criminals. They're upholding a noble tradition. They're heroic. They reflect exemplary patriotism. They deserve praise, not persecution.
Snowden helped expose America's dark side. Out-of-control NSA spying reflects its worst. It "hacks everyone everywhere," said Snowden.
"Everyone, everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten - and they're talking about it."
Lawlessness pervades Washington. Everyone's potentially vulnerable. No one's safe. Exposing wrongdoing is essential. So is sustained commitment to stop it.
On August 1, Russia granted Edward Snowden asylum. It did so responsibly. It's temporary for one year. It's renewable annually.
He's able to stay in Russia permanently. He can make it his new home. He can travel freely. He'll be treated fairly.
He'll be afforded the same rights as Russian citizens. He'll be protected. He'll need it from America's long arm. He deserves that much and more.
According to Snowden's legal counsel Anatoly Kucherena:
"I cannot say where Snowden is at the moment and where he plans to live in the future. I can only say that he has a lot of American friends here who are ready to ensure his secure living here."
Kucherena's arranging for his father's planned visit. He's securing visa permission to do so.
"As soon as the visa is ready," he said, "I am ready to meet Edwards' father and his American lawyer."
On August 1, Russia Today headlined White House 'extremely disappointed' with Snowden asylum."
Obama's "re-evaluating" whether to participate in planned one-on-one talks with Putin. They're scheduled in Moscow ahead of the September 5 - 6 St. Petersburg G20 summit.
According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
"We are evaluating the utility of the summit in light of this." The administration is "extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step." It's an "unfortunate development."
"We will obviously be in contact with Russian authorities expressing our extreme disappointment in this decision and making the case clearly that there is absolute legal justification for Mr. Snowden to be returned to the United States."
At the same time, he suggested Snowden's asylum won't alter US/Russian relations. They include "important and broad" issues.
At the State Department's daily press briefing, deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf called Snowden's asylum "very disappointing."
"(W)e continue to work, to talk to the Russian Government about this today, and we will in the future as well."
"In terms of whether that would be part of (a September) summit, we're still reevaluating that right now. (N)o final decision has been made."
In light of Snowden's asylum, "it behooves us to evaluate where the relationship is, whether the summit makes sense."
"(W)e and President Putin himself have been clear that we don
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