Voices from Russia

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Russian Anti-Gay Law isn’t Draconian: American Response is Snowden Payback

00 Buzzfeed Infographic. The Anti-Gay World. 01.02.14

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Apparently, the USA doesn’t care about dozens of anti-gay nations, only Russia… after Snowden went there, and where gay sex has been legal since 1993. The No Agenda podcast with Adam Curry and John C Dvorak singlehandedly broke the story that American propaganda about supposedly horrendous Russian anti-gay law is bullshit. The legislation is not draconian. In some ways, Russia is more progressive than the USA on gays. The faux outrage only started after Snowden went to Russia. It’s about political payback, not justice for LGBTs.

An astonishing 129-page White Paper (Russian Federation Anti-Gay Laws: An Analysis and Deconstruction) looks at the so-called anti-gay Russian legislation (as the American media labels it). No Agenda debunked it, so, the White Paper author, Brian Heiss, researched the topic. He produced a thorough report, leading to a further discrediting of the thesis. The entire anti-gay and anti-Putin propaganda stems solely from the US government; it’s payback for the embarrassing fact that Snowden uses Russia as a sanctuary from the American government. This is a tremendous humiliation to the US State Department. Creating this false narrative about anti-gay Russian sentiment is part of a seemingly never-ending attack on Russia and its Olympics. Their goal is twofold:

  • We must punish Russia for its “disobedience” (for not handing over Snowden)
  • We need to humiliate Putin (for not handing over Snowden and for cocking a public snook at the USA)

Heiss is gay and works promoting diversity, he initially started his research to prove Curry and Dvorak wrong, then, discovered they were quite correct. You should know that Curry’s daughter is lesbian, and he, his wife, his daughter, and her girlfriend were on a float in the recent Amsterdam Gay Pride Parade. He’s no bigot (and whilst he likes to play the fool, he’s anything but). Heiss said, “The fact that both Adam and John are true supporters/allies of LGBTs made it impossible to dismiss their analysis superficially; so, that Sunday afternoon with great confidence, I became a man on a mission… to completely disprove their analysis. This white paper is the product of that mission. I invite you to read this paper and join me on this journey; a journey which included many twists and turns, a range of emotions and enlightenment, all of which I experienced and have tried to represent in my writing”.

Excerpts from the White Paper:

  • The law never mentions or uses the word gay, lesbian, homosexual, or any other LGBT identifier
  • The law focuses on children; its title is “On Protections of Minors from Propaganda of Non-Traditional Sexual Relations”. The messaging and strategy to bring the ban on propaganda from the law of several regions to national laws is part of a larger family values push, based on the successful anti-same sex marriage push in the USA
  • Statistically, you’re far more likely to be the victim of an anti-LGBT hate crime in the USA than in Russia
  • In Russia, your boss can’t fire you from your job for being an LGBT person, in the USA, they can
  • Since 1993, gay sex is legal in Russia; in 12 US states, gay sex is a crime
  • US President Obama said, “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them”. His policies prove he has nothing but patience

The law itself is nothing like the hysteria we hear in this country. The text of the law bans adults from initiating contact with minors/children who don’t self-identify as LGBT for the express purpose of encouraging the minor/child to explore non-traditional sexual relationships where there wasn’t interest before. There’s nothing in the legislation that prevents a minor/child who doesn’t openly identify as LGBT to seek resources on their own as they come to terms with their sexuality during the difficult period of adolescence (any of us who identify as LGBT experienced that). In fact, nothing in the legislation prevents LGBT youth resources to give services to minors who seek such services themselves. Although there’s much confusion over what the anti-“propaganda” law means, not even its strongest proponents argue that it amounts to criminalisation of homosexuality.

31 January 2014

Bob Morris

Politics in the Zeros

http://polizeros.com/2014/01/31/russian-anti-gay-law-isnt-draconian-us-response-snowden-payback/

Editor’s Note:

The Church in the motherland has a nuanced view of homosexual people… as does most of the Church here. Note the term I used… “homosexual people”, not “homosexuality”. HH said that the Church respects all human choices, INCLUDING THOSE OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION, but that it reserves the right to call sin a sin. That is, the Church accepts homosexual people, but it doesn’t bless homosexuality. The Church is against same-sex marriage, but some sources I consulted said that it could accept the state allowing a legal union between two people, but that the Church wouldn’t and couldn’t bless it. As one source wrote:

What the state does is one thing; what the Church does is another. We coöperate… sometimes, we agree; sometimes, not. It’s a vast improvement over 1937

I asked the same sources about Scott Lively, the loudmouthed rightie who claims to be a big influence on Putin and HH. One friend wrote:

He’s not been at the Danilovsky, Chisty Pereulok, or Peredelkino at all. No one’s seen him with Putin at all. His assertions are interesting, to say the least.

I urge all Orthodox Christians to take great care with this topic, especially online and in public. The konvertsy hold acrid views that aren’t in concord with real Church teachings, but they’ve terrorised many into silence. DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. Oppose them, if you must (to defend this-or-that person)… otherwise, steer clear of these demented toddlers and their crackbrained assemblies and overheated online fora. We have a bishop or two who’ve sold out to them, and I wouldn’t want to see any of you hurt. Remember how Podmo and Rose (I reread Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future recently… Rose was as nutty as a fruitcake) sandbagged Lazar Puhalo (Puhalo wasn’t entirely in the right, but he did fall into the snare that they laid for him)… these people have no scruples… don’t give ’em a pretext to cosh you. The konvertsy are ploughing their own furrow; in the end, they’ll leave us, just as Brookline did, just as Podmoshensky did, just as the St Edward the Martyr lot in England did, just as the Osborne clique did, just as the Pashkovsky faction did. It’s what schismatics at heart do, kids. We’re not good enough for them. Yet, I reiterate, and I put it in ALL CAPS:

DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM

That’s not what Christ’s Church is all about. Let the “warriors” like me fight them. However, note well that I don’t haunt the commboxes of their websites, nor do I post on some of their better-known fora. I’ve learnt that it does no good (and the plug-uglies complain to their pals in the higher clergy, and YOU get clobbered). I’d recommend that you do likewise. Oh, one last thing… Russia has allowed transsexual people to “change the sex” on their legal documents since 1997. I asked my sources on that one, and this reply sticks out:

The Church has nothing to say about the state’s requirements for passports and propiskas. We’ve had no need to rule on it, so, we haven’t. The Church doesn’t define something unless it’s in contention, and it isn’t. It doesn’t relate to eternal salvation, so, it’s on a far back burner.

Now, I call THAT good sense… please, don’t believe the rubbish about the Church calling for the criminalisation of homosexuality. There’s been nothing on patriarchia.ru or in the ZhMP… that is, there’s nothing official in the works, not now, not later, not any time at all. Keep focused, pass the jug… and DON’T ARGUE WITH MONOMANIACAL IDIOTS. Your life will be so much more peaceful…

BMD

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Snowden: The Only Solzhenitsyn We Deserve

00 Cuz Freedom Ain't Free. 26.10.13

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Is the former NSA analyst a modern-day dissident? There are many interesting similarities between Edward Snowden and the famous Russian dissident writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008). The most recent example of these is the interview Snowden recently gave to the New York Times explaining his actions; he denied rumours that he’d passed American secrets to the Russian and Chinese special services. This interview came too late. It took place several months after the peak of the Snowden hysteria. In the same way, many viewed Solzhenitsyn’s return to Russia in 1994, 20 years after his exile from the USSR in 1974, as belated… ­ it should’ve taken place in 1989-91 as the Soviet state was collapsing.

In the interview, Snowden explained that he didn’t consider his action anti-American and that he didn’t carry any sensitive documents after releasing the information on the NSA’s surveillance programmes to journalists in Hong Kong. He also defended himself against accusations of working for Chinese or Russian intelligence, stating that he’d carefully protected sensitive data from Chinese intelligence officers because he’d studied Chinese intelligence intensively and was well aware of its capabilities. In the interview, Snowden added that the NSA knew that he hadn’t revealed any secrets to the Chinese. For Snowden’s reputation, these explanations also came too late, ­which brings another comparison to Solzhenitsyn. For several months during the spring and summer, American officials mounted an aggressive campaign against Snowden, calling him a traitor, hinting at possible material interests he might be pursuing by making his revelations in Hong Kong and Russia.

Solzhenitsyn was also very careless in terms of personal PR… instead of protecting himself against the accusations of treason mounted against him by the Soviet authorities, he always talked about the global problems of Russia and the world in general, never revealing details of his personal life or otherwise catering to the public’s curiosity. The disparity between Solzhenitsyn and Snowden is in form, not in substance. In the 1950s and 1960s, when Solzhenitsyn wrote his best books, people still read epistolary novels, with letters written by an author of fiction. In Snowden’s time, people prefer the real thing… genuine e-mail messages leaked on the internet. However, in both cases, the authorities reacted the same way. Both the Soviet authorities in Solzhenitsyn’s 1970s and the American authorities in 2013 didn’t deny that the revelations were true.

The authorities just said that the two authors were presenting atypical phenomena. Leonid Brezhnev couldn’t deny the GULag‘s existence, but he said that they were “deviations from the way of Socialist law” and “individual mistakes”. In the same way, the NSA’s defenders in the USA said that the PRISM programme targeted terrorists. They added that it was unfortunate if the NSA sometimes eavesdropped on ordinary citizens; however, this wasn’t standard practise… even if one could count the “individual mistakes” in millions, just like Solzhenitsyn’s revelation about the “archipelago” of labour camps. Some of their compatriots criticised both Solzhenitsyn and Snowden for revealing their findings to foreigners and not to their own domestic bureaucracy. The people who helped Solzhenitsyn transfer the manuscripts of his novels abroad had problems with the KGB, just as the American and British authorities put pressure on the journalists who helped Snowden publicise his secrets.

In both cases, the truth-seekers found some support and understanding abroad. However, here, the similarities of the stories end. Brezhnev could’ve sent Solzhenitsyn to the GULag, the system of camps was still functioning in 1970s, albeit on a smaller scale, but the Soviet leader preferred to avoid a trial, which would’ve been a public relations disaster for the USSR. Instead, he sent Solzhenitsyn to West Germany. Snowden, however, was already in exile when he made his revelations. Since then, US President Barack Obama has attempted to bring him back to the USA to stand trial. In the case of Snowden, the saying is true that history repeats itself not as tragedy, but as a particularly Orwellian type of farce.

21 October 2013

Dmitri Babich

Russia Behind the Headlines               

http://rbth.ru/opinion/2013/10/21/snowden_the_only_solzhenitsyn_we_deserve_31015.html

Editor’s Note:

The Snowden Affair revealed that the WASP Amerikantsy (and those who suck up to them by imitating them) are amongst the most nasty, cruel, egotistical, and foolish hypocrites that the world has ever known. The motto of America is, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. Note well that Vince Lombardi evaded military service in World War II, hiding behind a deferment as a teacher. That’s what America has become… a violent bully bent on winning at all cost, scorning all duties to the greater society. This is especially prevalent in the Republican Party… after all, they nominated a draft-dodgin’ tax evader as President (who sent American jobs to China during the election campaign… now, that’s patriotism for ya! Marx was right… “Capital knows no homeland”).

Edward Snowden’s a hero… those who criticise him are cowardly putzes, all of ‘em, no exception. America’s become a rogue nation… it’s been the main cause of war in the world since 1991. If one can say that any nation sponsors terror, the USA does that in spades with its drone strikes, CIA interventions, and indefinite detention at Guantánamo. The Taliban and Palestinian “terrorists” (the former are mostly Afghan patriots fighting the latest feringhi invader, and the latter have a legit grievance per the UN) are bush-leaguers in comparison… the number of their victims pales in comparison to the pile of dead left by “peaceful” America. The USSR bankrupted itself arming itself to defend itself against American aggression (Iran, Chile, Guatemala, and Nicaragua proved that the USA trampled on all those it considered weaklings)… the USA bankrupted itself reaching for world hegemony whilst coddling the Affluent Effluent at the same time. The two situations are in no way comparable.

WASP Amerikantsy love preaching to all of us (that’s why the konvertsy are forever preaching to we ethnic Orthodox). They’re “better” than all the rest of us, dontcha know… as proven by Wounded Knee, the Trail of Tears, Hiroshima, Agent Orange, and PRISM… I think that I’m going to stop there. Don’t they make you sick beyond all words? God has a special cold corner of Hell for such evil sorts (especially for the Born Agains and their hangers-on… there’s nothing worse than a godless hypocrite spouting religion). May God see this and judge…

BMD

 

Friday, 11 October 2013

11 October 2013. Snowden’s Still in Russia… US Government Slammed it in the Door and Nobody’s Sad… They WERE Caught Doing Naughty Things, After All

00 Uncle Sam. I Want You to Blow the Whistle on Fascism. 06.07.13

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The father of American intelligence leaker Edward Snowden said that he believes that Russia, where he arrived on Thursday with the aim of meeting with his son, is the only country in which his fugitive son can feel safe. On arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, Lon Snowden told reporters that he doubted his son would return to the USA. Edward Snowden’s future and exact current whereabouts remain shrouded in mystery, but his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena says the former US intelligence contractor wasn’t in talks to seek asylum in any other countries and received several employment offers.

Kucherena, speaking to Rossiya-24 news channel alongside Lon Snowden, said that Edward Snowden would be open to extending his one-year asylum status in Russia. Lon Snowden said that he’s received a multi-entry Russian visa and that he plans to visit the country several times. He said that he had no information about what his son plans to do. He said in comments on state-owned news channel RT, “I have no idea what his intentions are, but ever since he’s been in Russia, my understanding is that he’s simply been trying to remain healthy and safe and he’s nothing to do with future stories”. No one saw Edward Snowden at the airport. Kucherena said that other relatives of Edward Snowden might come to visit Russia too, but he declined to provide details. Snowden, a computer specialist and former employee of the US National Security Agency, fled the USA as he leaked classified evidence of US government surveillance programmes to the media. In August, Russia granted him asylum, after he spent several weeks in the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport.

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On Thursday, WikiLeaks said that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden met with former US security officials who now campaign against what they call the misuse of state secrecy. The meeting with former officials from the US Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency (NSA), the FBI, the US Department of Justice, and WikiLeaks representative Sarah Harrison, took place in the Russian capital on Wednesday. WikiLeaks tweeted a link to a Getty Images photo of Snowden, Harrison, and the group, which identified the others as US government whistleblowers who were in Moscow to present Snowden with the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence award. Coleen Rowley, Thomas Drake, Jesselyn Radack, and Ray McGovern, who formerly worked with the FBI, NSA, DoJ, and CIA respectively, gave an interview to the RT TV after the meeting.

Snowden, a computer specialist and former contractor for the US National Security Agency, was the focus of international attention over the summer after he leaked classified evidence of US government surveillance programmes to the media. He fled to Hong Kong, and, then, to Moscow, where he was granted temporary asylum in Russia in late July despite repeated extradition demands from Washington. The US leakers interviewed on RT were unanimous in their praise for Snowden… for both the man and his actions. Jesselyn Radack said Snowden “looked great, he seemed very centred and brilliant, smart, funny […],” whilst McGovern called Snowden “an extraordinary person” who “has made his peace with what he did, is convinced that what he did was right”, and is ready to face “whatever the future holds for him”.

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The USA shrugged off the arrival Thursday in Moscow of fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden’s father and denied that he was carrying any message from Washington for his son, who’s been charged with espionage. US State Department spokesman Marie Harf told reporters hours after Edward Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, arrived at the same Moscow airport where his son was sequestered for weeks last summer, “The father really isn’t our concern, and even the father meeting the son really isn’t our concern. Our concern really is Edward Snowden returning to the United States. He’s accused of very serious charges here. He’ll be accorded full due process and protections applicable under US law”. Asked if Snowden had had any contact with American officials in Moscow, Harf said he that hadn’t. In response to a question on whether Snowden’s father informed US authorities on the specifics of his Russia travel plans or if he was carrying any message for his son, she added, “Not to my knowledge”.

Speaking to Russian media earlier Thursday after arriving in Moscow, Lon Snowden said that he believed Russia was the only place where his son was safe now and stated that he had no idea about his son’s plans. In August, Russia granted Edward Snowden temporary one-year asylum after he arrived in Moscow on a flight from Hong Kong, where he fled after leaking reams of sensitive documents on US intelligence electronic surveillance programmes to the media. Many civil rights activists in the USA and around the world described Snowden as a whistleblowing hero. However, US officials described Snowden’s actions as extremely damaging; they said that the media’s mischaracterised some of the information in the leaked documents.

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On Thursday, the New York Times reported on its website that the top US spy agency raised red flags about the behaviour of Edward Snowden in 2009, but nonetheless the fugitive intelligence leaker gained access to details of secret government surveillance programmes that he disclosed to the media this year. A veteran law enforcement official said about a negative report written by Snowden’s supervisor at the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), “It slipped through the cracks”. the Times cited two senior American officials speaking on condition of anonymity as saying that the CIA suspected that Snowden was attempting to access classified computer files that he wasn’t authorised to see. In 2006, the CIA hired Snowden for a technology job; later, he worked under the cover of the US State Department in Genève, Switzerland. In June, Snowden told the Guardian that much of what he saw in Geneva “really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world. I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good”. Apparently, the negative report by Snowden’s CIA supervisor wasn’t passed on to the US National Security Agency (NSA), which later hired him as a contractor and gave him access to troves of classified documents about the US government’s widespread electronic surveillance of American citizens.

10/11 October 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131010/184045684/Snowdens-Father-Flies-Into-Moscow.html

http://en.ria.ru/world/20131010/184056940/Snowden-Has-Secret-Moscow-Meeting-with-US-Leakers.html

http://en.ria.ru/world/20131011/184060758/US-Shrugs-Off-Snowden-Fathers-Russia-Trip.html

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131011/184078163/CIA-Warned-About-Snowden-4-Years-Before-Leaks–Report.html

Editor’s Note:

Widespread spying on Americans, illegal detention at Guantánamo, torture at black sites in Eastern Europe, and two pointless wars (and here) on the Asian mainland, a financial meltdown caused by feckless economic boondoggles favouring the rich… that’s the legacy of the Republican Party. If you tell me that such greedy and barbaric crud are standard-bearers of “traditional morality”, I DO beg to differ.

Oh, yes… I’m NOT alone… most ethnic Orthodox voted for the Prez, not for Wet Willy and his Cayman Islands Millions (and for Ayn Rand-worshipping Paul Ryan. Catholic? Only in the most tenuous sense of the word…). Do keep an eye on loud Republicants such as John Whiteford and Paffhausen… their fawning worship of American Exceptionalism means that they’re enemies of the Orthosphere, as well as being enemies of decency and social well-being for all.

BMD

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Snowden Affair: USA Puts Its Domestic Law above International Law

00 USA Russia flags. Putin quote. 27.09.12

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Russian-American relations are going through rough times. One of the irritants is the issue of extradition of people accused of committing crimes. The most-publicised case is that of former CIA contractor Edward Snowden. The Americans demand his extradition, which threatens bilateral relations. At the same time, it’s quite clear that regardless what the decision will be, it’ll be politically-motivated. Mikhail Remizov, President of the Institute of National Strategy, talked to VOR about the future of Russian-American relations and international norms of extradition and deportation, saying, “The Americans are relying on an accord between us, but the same time, they have no desire to display understanding themselves concerning Russians who’re hiding from justice in the USA. Unlike Snowden, these people committed crimes against people. It seems that this has nothing to do with politics. However, as we well know, if you really wish it enough, an assassin can become a human rights activist, a robber… a dissident, and a bandit… a fighter of an armed opposition”.

It seems that such a metamorphosis occurred in the case of Ilyas Akhmadov and Tamaz Nalbandov. One’s accused of organising an insurgency and setting up an illegal rebel group in the North Caucasus, whilst the other’s accused of smuggling people and blackmail in North Ossetia. Both Akhmadov and Nalbandov are enjoying immigrant status in the USA, for the Americans rejected appeals for their extradition. Naturally, such an approach is puzzling. Remizov commented, “The principle of parity between states as sovereign players is enshrined in international law. The USA hasn’t honoured it for a long time and doesn’t like it. This demonstratively displays that they believe in the supremacy of their own jurisdiction, and its priority, over the jurisdiction of other countries. This is shown by its unwillingness to undertake commitments concerning participation in international institutions, such as the International Criminal Court. Such an asymmetry is quite normal for the USA, although this principle is well-known since the times of ancient Rome, ‘What Jupiter is allowed to do, the bull isn’t’”.

Notably, through Interpol, Russia has actively cooperated with other countries in the fight against international terrorism. The majority of requests on the extradition of terrorists, who try to hide from justice in other countries, are met because these countries adequately assess the danger to society posed by them, and don’t exclude the possibility that they might commit crimes on their territories. However, there’s a setback in the USA concerning this practice. The situation with Akhmadov and Nalbandov is a good example. Andrei Sidorov, Assistant Dean of the World Politics Faculty at Moscow State University (MGU), thought, “The USA puts its domestic law above international law. This concerns not only the exchange of criminals, but also in all other areas. The American policy towards Russia comes down to a few issues, especially the further reduction of nuclear weapons. The USA often said that it’s ready to discuss a wide range of issues, but largely, Russia’s an uncomfortable partner for the USA. Consequently, the relations between the two countries will hardly improve”.

In fact, sometimes, the USA does cooperate. For one, the Americans extradited criminal kingpin Vyacheslav Ivankov AKA Yaponchik. In this case, they applied the mechanism of deportation rather than extradition. The formal reason for this was that Ivankov violated American laws. Meanwhile, Russian law enforcement agencies can’t violate their own country’s laws. A foreigner can be extradited under a court ruling if he violates immigration law. However, Snowden didn’t violate it. Moreover, he hasn’t crossed the Russian border, and stayed in the transit zone of the airport. Americans refer to the rule of reciprocity used amongst diplomats. Nevertheless, Moscow doesn’t sense this from them. Moreover, there’s a belief that their reciprocity is one-way only. Probably, if America abandoned its passion for world hegemony, one can find that understanding that American diplomats keep talking about.

23 July 2013

Sergei Duz

Voice of Russia World Service

http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_07_23/Snowden-Affair-Symbol-of-Double-Standards-0485/

Editor’s Note:

American Neocon Republicans and Interventionist Democrats spout off incessantly about terrorism… and want to arm Syrian Islamist terrorists masquerading as “opposition fighters”. What’s wrong with that sleazy picture? Do recall that America helped another Islamist… Osama bin Laden. We all know where that led to. Methinks that “conservatives” have a major malfunction… and I’m not alone in thinking that.

BMD

 

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