Voices from Russia

Monday, 1 July 2013

Snowden Breaks Silence… Thanks Ecuador for Helping Him Get to Russia

magic trick magician


For the first time, former American spy agency contractor Edward Snowden broke his silence since he fled to Moscow eight days ago. He stated that he remains free to make new disclosures about American spying activity. In a letter to Ecuador seen by Reuters, Snowden said that the USA was illegally persecuting him for revealing the PRISM electronic surveillance programme. He also thanked Ecuador for helping him get to Russia and for considering his asylum request.

1 July 2013

Voice of Russia World Service



Sunday, 30 June 2013

30 June 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The “Clean Zone” at Sheremetyevo Airport… or… On the Trail of Edward Snowden

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. The 'Clean Zone' at Sheremetyevo Airport… or… On the Trail of Edward Snowden. 2013


Edward Snowdenwanted by the US government for transmitting classified information, “disappeared” in Sheremetyevo International Airport on the way from Hong Kong to Havana. People assume that the ex-CIA operative is in the transit area of the airport and that he can’t leave Moscow, as the he doesn’t have proper travel documents. Snowden arrived in Moscow on 23 June from Hong Kong as a transit passenger. Earlier in June, he made public a secret court order under which American intelligence agencies can get access to all calls made on the largest mobile operator Verizon, as well as information about the top-secret PRISM programme of the US National Security Agency, which tracks electronic communications. The US government said that the leak caused serious damage to American national security. On Thursday, Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser for strategic communication to US President Obama, said that the White House believed that Russia should hand Snowden over to the USA, as he’d revealed details of secret American intelligence programmes. Rhodes emphasised, “Russia has ample grounds to expel him, to coöperate with other countries to bring him to justice”.

Details of the disclosures on RIA-Novosti >>

Details of the material >>

Click here for the RIA-Novosti archive on Snowden

28 June 2013





The USA is getting desperate. The longer that Snowden’s in Moscow, the greater the chance that Russian, Chinese, or Cuban (or all three) special services are getting information from him. After all, they have a trump card… “If you help us, you’d fatally disrupt the American surveillance programme”. Remember, a 2007 law of the Bushies authorised the PRISM programme. The Republicans won’t allow any of the Bushie totalitarian repressive measures to “sunset”. Truly, they’re nasty and barbaric bullyboys… as the Republicans showed abundantly in the McCarthy Era. Then, many Americans had their lives ruined by questionable sorts such as Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, G. David Schine, and Roy Cohn, who used such dubious means as Red Channels and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). The Republicans haven’t changed their spots. William F. Buckley, Jr, the founder of the rightwing political magazine National Review, wrote McCarthy and his Enemies defending McCarthy and his dubious methods, in which he asserted, “McCarthyism is a movement around which men of good-will and stern morality can close ranks”. Don’t forget, loud phoneys such as Rod Dreher wrote for that rightie rag… its troglodyte defence of repression hasn’t changed in the least.

I don’t believe that Snowden’s going back to the USA. Indeed, he may end up in China or Russia; especially, as he lists his religion as Buddhist, and both Russia and China have sizable Buddhist communities (Buddhism is one of the “traditional religions” in both Russia and China). The Republicans wanted to stamp their boot on their opponents by starting PRISM, but just as in the McCarthy era, they stepped on a shit-smeared punji stick instead and publicly disgraced themselves. God willing, PRISM will go the way of Red Channels and HUAC… a nasty footnote in American history. Don’t forget who brought it to you… don’t vote for Republicans under ANY circumstance… this is their preferred mode of governance. We’ve gotten a warning, no?


Saturday, 29 June 2013

As John Robles Sees It… Best Bet for Edward Snowden: Stay in Russia

00 C'mon America. 15.06


There is always a human story of pain and grief, and, sometimes, even victory or exoneration behind every headline making news event, and the case of Edward Snowden, still safe in the transit area at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, is no exception. Lonnie Snowden, the father of the NSA leaker Edward Snowden, certainly, like any father, worries about his son and is concerned for his son’s safety and his well-being. His statements to the press, on the surface, seem to be a plea for his son to return to the USA and the words of a genuinely concerned father, the undertones of his statements speak of a man who’s either under intense pressure and being forced to say what he is saying, or is, in fact, so brainwashed into towing the official “patriotic” American line as to be willing to sacrifice his son’s freedom, and quite possibly, life. On the other hand, he may be naïve enough to believe that his son might have some chance of receiving some sort of a fair trial and some chance of returning to his former life if he returns to the USA.

For starters, Mr Snowden’s father blasts an organisation that’s provided real help to his son, namely WikiLeaks, when there were few other independent organisations that would or could lift a finger to help him, and which has actually helped the younger Snowden to, so far, maintain his freedom and stay alive, a fact that one can’t forget. Another point with WikiLeaks is also the courageousness of all of those who have helped Mr Snowden, knowing full well the future blowback that they might face and the risk one has in aiding an enemy of the US government, especially one bent on protecting its and escaping its own illegality.

Sure, his son is in Russia, a very fortunate fact, albeit he’s currently in limbo, in the transit area of Sheremetyevo, but he isn’t undergoing torture, inhumane incarceration, or even extra-judicial execution at the hands of the Americans. It’s important to note that Mr Snowden not only was a CIA agent, but also an NSA operative (or contractor), and when workers for these organisations go off the grid or go rogue, and, then, spend time in places like China and Russia, associating with people like WikiLeaks, or even a simple reporter, they’re seen as being guilty of treason and are subject to secret, yet real, lethal consequences. Meaning, when Mr Snowden made his choice, he knew he was forfeiting every aspect of his former life, and, perhaps, that very life as well. This is a testament to his bravery. In light of the Americans’ recently-revealed drone policies, which say that they can target enemies of the USA, even American nationals, anywhere in the world, it’s ludicrous to believe that Mr Snowden, who’s done more than some mere al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist could ever do to the USA, would stand any chance at all if he ever allows himself to fall into American clutches.

The older Snowden says he is concerned that WikiLeaks’ focus isn’t on the US Constitution. I’d argue that since George Bush took office, neither is the US government. Why should WikiLeaks focus on the US Constitution? They’re an international organisation focused on exposing illegality and corruption of governments and the USA proves that they’re the most in need of this kind of exposure. Perhaps, he meant such a statement to play on his son’s patriotic sentiments and get him to return. Regardless, with the US government hunting his son like an animal for exposing an illegal spying programme, it seems ridiculous to make such statements. PRISM not only tramples on the US Constitution, it chews it up and spits it out in tiny unrecoverable pieces.

All of the above makes it seem like Lonnie Snowden is being used in an orchestrated attempt to get his son back into American hands, with the CIA and the NSA pulling the strings. There’s no way the older Snowden could be so naïve to believe the US government could be trusted or has good intentions or is concerned about the well-being of his son. Even more importantly, how can he actually believe that it’d follow the rule of law? That may be true in fairy tales, but not here in the real world, kids. Lonnie Snowden said that his son did break American law, and that one could classify him as a traitor for betraying the US government, but he makes the distinction that his son didn’t betray the American people. This is a very important and an admission that the US government and the American people are two separate and distinct entities. No longer are Abraham Lincoln’s famous words, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth“, relevant or even remotely connected to the current paradigm. All hopes for that government perished on 9/11.

No father wants his son to be assassinated, tortured, or locked up in a small dark damp cell never to see another human face for the rest of his life, enduring torture… and whatever else his handlers want to do to him. However, perhaps, the older Snowden still has the illusion that the US government can be trusted or have good intentions. After talking to many experts, and speaking from experience, I’d say the first thing that’d happen to Snowden if he were to fall into American clutches, after he was renditioned back to America, if he survived, is that he’d be tortured to the point of insanity or near death until the NSA and the CIA were very clear as to whom he spoke to and could make a proper and sweeping damage control assessment and knew every bit of information that he’d passed on to anybody. After that, there’d be a show trial, possibly ending in the death penalty, if they threw in the China and Russian stays and claimed that he’d passed information to Russian or Chinese intelligence. Even if he didn’t, no matter what he’d be charged with, he’d be found guilty and sentenced. The best he could hope for would be to spend the rest of his short life in a damp cell subjugated to torturous conditions and never see another person for the rest of his life. Except, perhaps, very rarely.

 My advice to the older Snowden… pray that your son stays safe and free and whole and out of American clutches, like many people in the world are. For the younger Snowden, listen to people in the know, choose either China or Russia, there are no other countries in the world big enough, powerful enough, or independent enough to protect you. Even though Ecuador means well, there’s already dissent in their ranks, and we all know how widespread CIA operations are in Latin and South America. My sympathies are with the Snowdens, no matter what political leaning we all may have, no father should ever have to face the worry and heartache that Lonnie Snowden has to, and no person should have to face the utter destruction of their life, like Edward Snowden has to, for exposing the truth and illegality. No matter how secret that truth may be.

28 June 2013

00 John Robles. VOR 06.12John Robles

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

The Bushies started PRISM… as was true with the TSA (have you had your grope today?)… the “Department of Homeland Security”… the illegal Guantánamo detention centre… and the undeclared wars on the Asian continent. The Bushies also fomented the South Ossetia War… which started with a Georgian Grad bombardment of sleeping civilians in Tskhinval. If you vote Republican… that’s what you vote for. If you march in a “Pro-Life” march… that’s what you march for. Ugly, isn’t it? That’s not all. If you vote Republican, you vote for McMansions, cuts to the poor, and coddling of the Affluent Effluent. If you march in a “Pro-Life” March, you march for such things… for politicians who scream about “Pro-Life” are usually the worst sort of troglodyte milk-snatchin’ Republican.

Things are rarely what they’re advertised as… that’s particularly true in politics. For Republicans, “freedom” means the freedom to steal, the freedom to torture, the freedom to oppress, and the freedom to feast off the labour of your fellow man. That’s what you march for in a “Pro-Life” March. Don’t forget who pays Potapov, Webster, Freddie M-G, Mattingly, and Dreher… he who pays the piper, determines the tune. One can see why they hate the Orthosphere and pump up the godless West. Oh, yes… JP LOVES the American Enterprise Institute… the last time I looked, that place was Russophobic, too.

Hold the bill up to the light… there be counterfeits circulating…


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Edward Snowden and the Irony of Leaking



When I first heard that Edward Snowden, the National Security Leaker, was chilling out in a capsule hotel in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo 2 airport, I allowed myself a dark chuckle. What a terrible place to land in on a flight to freedom! Flying in and out of that airport in the 1990s and early 2000s was a grim enough experience. However, to actually live in that post-apocalyptic scab pile, drowning in the murk, wading through the miasma of hostility, now, that’s a cruel and unusual punishment. Sheremetyevo 2 was so unwelcoming I always thought it must be intentional, a warning to visitors… “Yeah, this is Russia. We don’t care what you think. Get used to it”. Then, I saw footage on TV and I remembered that they gave it a cosmetic overhaul a few years ago. The shabby brown exterior still exudes Brezhnev-era stagnation, but on the inside, Sheremetyevo more-or-less resembles a functioning modern airport. It’s almost as good as Moscow’s other major airport, Domodedovo, although nowhere near as good as a proper airport, like Amsterdam’s Schipol.

In spite of these improvements, I still don’t envy Mr Snowden, as he lies huddled in his circular sleeping-coffin, trembling in terror as he contemplates his fate. All weekend, important people in the USA vented their fury about him; uttering dark threats against any countries that might help him evade their justice. For instance Chuck Schumer, a senator from New York, muttered that Moscow would face “serious consequences” if the Russians didn’t hand Snowden over. Try as I might, I couldn’t think of what these might be; but if Schumer had been talking about me, I would’ve been very nervous, indeed. Obviously, nobody in the Russian government could think of any serious consequences either, as yesterday, Vladimir Putin seized the opportunity at a press conference in Finland to have a little fun at Washington’s expense, pleading helplessness, “Thank God, Mr Snowden committed no crimes on the territory of the Russian Federation. He’s free to leave…” I wasn’t entirely convinced by this; if an al-Qaeda mass killer was chilling in a capsule hotel in Sheremetyevo 2, something tells me the FSB would be in there pronto.

Was anybody surprised, though? One question motivates Putin, and one question alone, in foreign affairs… “What advances Russia’s interests?” Handing over a man carrying lots of information about America’s spy programmes doesn’t. As time has shown, over and over again, poking America in the eye does. The governments of China and Russia both get highly irritated whenever the USA lectures them about freedom, and this was the perfect opportunity for both countries to throw some of that back in Washington’s face. It was a gift too good for either country to miss. Nevertheless, Mr Snowden would be extremely naïve to think that anybody in the Russian government cares about his fate. Very soon, they’ll give him his marching orders. Maybe, Moscow is dragging it out a little, to allow Ecuador time to give Snowden a passport to replace his revoked American one. If and when he gets it, he can leave for an exciting new life near those big turtles on the Galápagos Islands!

Of course, much has already been said about Snowden’s attempted flight to Ecuador. Most of it is rubbish. “Snowden’s a coward, Snowden undermined his cause, Snowden’s fleeing to countries less free than the USA, etc”. No… Snowden’s sane. Like all of us, he’d prefer not to spend the next 30 years of his life rotting in an American prison, especially as he doesn’t seem to think that he’s done anything wrong. He acted out of love for his country. I myself am inclined to think that Mr Snowden did us a favour by revealing the extent of the government’s snooping. I’m sceptical of claims that this level of surveillance is necessary for security, as it plainly did nothing to stop the Fort Hood shooter, or the Boston bombers who were overt fanatics, and not particularly clever ones. The justification used for the terror in French Revolution was “safety”. One can invoke “safety” to justify many horrible things.

I could be wrong. Maybe, Snowden really exposed Americans to great risks. Even then, there’s still an upside… he revealed the epic incompetence at the heart of America’s security services. They were the ones who gave this weedy space cadet such high-level clearance, after all. In fact, the only thing I’m really sure about is that, when it comes to leaks, irony abounds. The Russians and the Chinese and the Cubans relish the irony of protecting a dissident from the USA, the self-proclaimed champion of human rights. Snowden hopes to escape to a country less free than the one he betrayed in the name of freedom. Let’s not forget the master-leaker, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, who entered the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid prison, and, now, lives in what is, essentially, a prison. After a year of seeing his pasty face around their offices every day, I can’t imagine how much those diplomats must hate him. Those whom the gods would destroy…

26 June 2013

Daniel Kalder



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