Voices from Russia

Monday, 24 June 2013

Snowden Flight Spotlighted Politics of US-Russia Crime-Fighting

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Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden’s reported sojourn in Moscow this week is the latest in a series of cases in recent years to rattle American-Russian ties over cooperation in politically-tinged criminal investigations. On Monday, Mark Galeotti, a transnational crime and Russia expert at New York University, told RIA-Novosti, “Both sides have tended to regard as a purely criminal investigation [what] the other side thinks of as political”.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that the USA believes that Snowden, who’s wanted by the Americans for disclosing a top-secret surveillance program, is still in Moscow after reportedly flying to the Russian capital from Hong Kong on Sunday. Carney and US State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell both cited bilateral cooperation in expressing hope for Moscow’s help in the Snowden case, saying that the USA returned several “high-level criminals back to Russia at the request of the Russian government”. Douglas McNabb, a Washington-based extradition lawyer, said that in the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries, any Russian help in sending Snowden back to the USA would be a political decision. He told RIA-Novosti, “Only a high-level politician would approve a rendition”.

Russia has been highly critical of US authorities’ extradition of Russians from third countries to face criminal charges in the USA, most notably in the cases of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout and convicted Russian drug trafficker Konstantin Yaroshenko… both of whom Moscow described as targets of politically-motivated American prosecutions. Russia accused the USA of kidnapping Yaroshenko after notification of his arrest was mistakenly sent to a third country and he was transferred from Liberia to New York to face charges without Moscow’s knowledge. He was sentenced to 20 years in an American prison on drug trafficking charges in 2011. Bout, detained in a joint operation by American and Thai authorities in Bangkok in 2008, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the USA in April 2012. Moscow condemned the USA’s refusal to extradite him to Russia. Both Bout and Yaroshenko figured prominently in a 2011 report issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) criticising the USA’s human rights record.

Galeotti said that whilst Snowden isn’t a Russian citizen, Moscow might enjoy the opportunity to “tweak the Americans’ noses” by impeding American efforts to detain the former US National Security Agency contractor. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that that it’d be “deeply troubling” for American relations with China or Russia if either country “wilfully” ignored Washington’s requests for help in returning Snowden to the USA. On Monday, Kerry said in New Delhi, “In the last two years, we’ve transferred seven prisoners to Russia that they wanted. So, I think reciprocity and the enforcement of the law is pretty important”.

Neither the White House nor the State Department provided more specific information about the cases of prisoners returned to Russia that Kerry and other officials cited Monday. However, earlier this year, the USA deported Russian national and suspected narcotics trafficker Stanislav Satarinov back to Russia in order to face criminal charges in his home country, the RF Genprokuratura stated in March. Satarinov, who was extradited to the USA from Germany in April 2011, was one of several Russians in addition to Bout and Yaroshenko cited in the MID report critiquing Washington’s human rights record. However, the Prokuratura said that his transfer to Russia was enabled by the “harmonious” work of law enforcement officials in Russia and abroad, including “the relevant US authorities”.

24 June 2013

Carl Schreck

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/world/20130625/181854221/Snowden-Flight-Spotlights-Politics-of-US-Russia-Crime-Fighting.html

Editor’s Note:

The USA is getting payback for its nasty and underhanded treatment of Bout and Yaroshenko. Russia’s position is clear. US law doesn’t extend to third countries. US law STOPS at the US border… no exceptions. Quite frankly, the USA can do nothing, for the Republicans deliberately tanked the economy (easily done if you wage an expensive war and cut taxes for the rich at the same time) in a crackbrained and illy-considered attempt to rip up New Deal and Great Society programmes. Bush wasted the USA’s substance on needless and quixotic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, there’s nothing left in the cookie jar, thanks to Republican malfeasance and incompetence. None dare call it treason…

BMD 

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Snowden Asked Ecuador for Asylum

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On Sunday, the Ecuadorian newspaper Hoy reported that former American intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by the USA for revealing a highly-classified surveillance program that allegedly monitored phone and electronic conversations of millions of Americans, arrived in Moscow and an Ecuadorian Embassy doctor examined him. Snowden, 30, left Hong Kong on Sunday, a day after the USA formally requested his extradition. A passenger who was on an Aeroflot flight that Snowden is believed to have taken to Moscow told RIA-Novosti that Snowden got into a car with diplomatic plates on the tarmac at Sheremetyevo Airport. However, media reports cited airport officials as saying that Snowden wouldn’t be allowed to leave the premises because he didn’t have a Russian visa and would therefore only be able to fly to a third destination.

Julian Assange, founder of the anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks, which released thousands of classified US government messages, has stayed at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than a year. On Sunday, the AP reported that WikiLeaks said that it was assisting Snowden and that he was bound for an undisclosed “democratic nation via a safe route for the purpose of asylum”. Snowden, who worked for American defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, hit the media spotlight in early June after he leaked to the press information about a US government surveillance program that allegedly monitored phone and electronic conversations of millions of Americans. Days after the leak, the South China Morning Post newspaper quoted Snowden as saying he was “neither a traitor nor hero. I’m an American”. Various news agencies on Sunday reported without confirmation that Snowden could next fly to Ecuador, Iceland, Cuba, or Venezuela.

On Sunday, Ecuador’s foreign minister said on Twitter that Edward Snowden, a former American intelligence contractor wanted by the USA for revealing a highly classified surveillance program, requested asylum in Ecuador. Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca wrote on his Twitter page, “The government of Ecuador received an asylum request from Edward J Snowden”.

23 June 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130623/181828331/Snowden-in-Moscow-Gets-Medical-Checkup–Report.html

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130623/181829303/Snowden-Asks-Ecuador-for-Asylum–Foreign-Minister.html

Editor’s Note:

Do note that spying on one’s own people is EXPENSIVE. You need to employ many people… and that ain’t cheap. The Bushies started doing it after 9/11… under the rubric of the “Global War on Terror“. They started the Department of Homeland Security (so similar to “Committee for State Security“, no? Rather Orwellian title, I’d say…) and the TSA (have you had your grope today?). One of the union reps said to me when I was working at Verizon, “Don’t act as if we still have free speech in this country”. Reflect on this… the Republicans want to spend BILLIONS more on warfare and domestic surveillance… they want to spend NOTHING on healthcare and social welfare. That sounds like a dictatorship in the mould of 1984.  In short, President Obama isn’t a bargain, but he’s FAR better than the Republicans are. Don’t forget, the Republicans DELIBERATELY crashed the economy by cutting taxes and increasing war outlays at the same time. They wish to do that so that they can dismantle what’s left of the New Deal, including Social Security.

That’s EVIL… and there are Orthodox clerics who slobber their approval of it. Oppose them and give them no peace. God demands that of you…

BMD 

 

Media Report Sez American Spy Leaker Snowden En-Route from Hong Kong to Moscow

00 Re-examine All You've Been Told. 23.06.13

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On Sunday, AFP reported, referring to the South China Morning Post, that former American intelligence technician Edward Snowden is en-route from Hong Kong to Moscow, heading to a third destination. “American whistle-blower Edward Snowden left Hong Kong and is on a commercial flight to Russia, but Moscow won’t be his final destination”. Previous reports stated that Snowden could seek political asylum in Iceland or Ecuador. According to the newspaper, Snowden boarded Aeroflot Flight SU213, which is scheduled to land at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport at 17.15 MSK (14.15 UTC. 09.15 EDT. 06.15 PDT. 23.15 AEDT).

Snowden, 29, who worked for American defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, hit the media spotlight in early June after he leaked to press information about an extensive surveillance program by the US government, which allegedly monitored phone and electronic conversations of millions of Americans. A source close to Aeroflot told Prime news agency that Snowden was flying via Moscow to Cuba, saying, “He’s flying to Moscow as a stopover and farther on to Cuba”. ITAR-TASS cited an unidentified Aeroflot official as saying Snowden would fly from Moscow to Cuba on Monday and then take a flight to Caracas, Venezuela.

On Sunday afternoon, the Hong Kong government announced that it’d allowed Snowden’s departure from its territory. The New York Times reported that the government statement said that Hong Kong informed the USA of Snowden’s departure. Snowden’s departure from Hong Kong, to which he moved from the USA before leaking top secret documents about American surveillance programs, comes as a setback for the USA, which pressured Hong Kong to surrender him to American law enforcement officials. The New York Times reported that, on Sunday, the Hong Kong government said in its first detailed statement about Snowden that the USA made a legal request for a provisional warrant of arrest against Snowden, but that the Hong Kong government concluded that the request “didn’t fully comply with legal requirements under Hong Kong law”.

 23 June 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130623/181824709/US-Spy-Leaker-Snowden-En-Route-from-Hong-Kong-to-Moscow–Report.html

Editor’s Note:

Russia and China have their backs up. VVP said NYET to America’s juvenile ranting over Snowden, and Xi said, “Amen!” The Americans are flummoxed. You see, America’s cupboard’s bare due to feckless Republican mismanagement and short-sightedness (you don’t go to war and CUT taxes and you don’t advocate an activist foreign policy without raising the revenues necessary to carry it out}. The Republican “tax cuts at any cost” lunacy is coming home to roost. Besides that, the childish aggression of the Bushies set the world’s collective teeth on edge.

Everyone’s smiling that Snowden got away with tweaking Uncle Sugar… everyone’s laughing at how a simple tech could plunge a hot poker up the collective arses of the Inside the Beltway crowd, and get away with it, scot-free. The USA had a chance to make Cuba a friend in the ‘90s… instead, it acted like a spoilt and truculent child, virtually demanding that Castro turn the island over to the Batista runaways who’d taken refuge in Florida. That’s coming home to haunt them, too. Be careful with the Amerikantsy… they’re self-centred and greedy children… with nukes to play with. Scary, ain’t it?

BMD  

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