Can’t blame him, I hear the weather is lovely there.
OK, I have to say I’m conflicted about the entire Edward Snowden thing. I think domestic surveillance is something we need to have a long and uncomfortable talk about – a conversation that we should have been having all along. (Trust me, I have been annoyed about domestic surveillance forever. I didn’t like it when Bush was president, I don’t like it now.) I don’t know if there is any other way he could have made people aware of what was going on, but he obviously felt very strongly about it, and he did what he did. Criminal? Probably a little. Hero? Goes a little too far. Traitor? No, that also goes too far.
When I heard he’d been charged, I wasn’t surprised. Theft of government property, OK. Espionage? I don’t have the exact statute they’re using to charge him, but to in my mind, espionage is spying to provide information to an enemy of the state. Given that his aim was to inform the US public, that makes us all an enemy of the state, and I don’t like that a whole lot.
But, where I have been most fascinated by all this is today. I woke up this morning and BBC’s Breaking News alerts informs me that he’s left Hong Kong and headed for Moscow – and that Hong Kong had rejected the extradition request the US had sent. About a half hour ago, it was announced that he would be seeking asylum in Ecuador.
Watching the governmental/political talking heads on TV this morning, I was astounded at the flailing. How could Hong Kong “complicate” our relationship like that? How could Moscow allow him to land like that?! How could he go and consider settling in a *gasp* authoritarian country? Why won’t he just come home and take responsibility for himself?! He’s put us all in jeopardy!
Quick, get a fan, our guests have come down with the vapors. But seriously, I couldn’t believe they were asking these kinds of questions and just shocked that things are progressing the way they are.
– Hong Kong can do whatever the hell they want. If they didn’t feel the extradition request was sufficient, they can reject it – which they did. “China must have had a hand in this!” So what? Hong Kong is part of China. It seems that everyone expected that the minute we said “extradition” they would just put him on a plane back home, no questions asked. Sorry, guys, the world is not obligated to jump just because we say so. Sure, Regina Ip’s comment of “I don’t think we need to be concerned about any consequences.” is a bit of a “fuckyouverymuch,” but we don’t run the world.
– Seriously, is anyone really surprised that Moscow is helping arrange transit for him? We don’t have the greatest relationship with Russia right now, and I am sure Putin is absolutely loving this. (It also distracts from the whole Super Bowl ring story, which is nice for him.)
– We have our authoritarian moments, too. We’re not perfect. He pointed that out. Maybe he’d rather be somewhere that he knows is authoritarian rather than being hypocritical about it.
– Why on earth should he trust anyone in a position of power in this country?
– On Face the Nation this morning, Bob Shieffer asked if the information Snowden leaked actually put Americans in any kind of imminent danger. The answer was an unqualified, “No.”
I think what confounds me the most about this entire thing is that people are absolutely shocked that he did it. I’m not. We all have our breaking points. Points where we can’t deal with the hypocrisy anymore. Where we are just sick and tired of civil liberties getting chucked out the window in this nebulous concept of “national security” and speaking out against it makes you un-American. When we stand up and have to say something.
Edward Snowden hit his breaking point. It’s just that simple.