Thursday, August 01, 2013
Snowden Granted Asylum In Russia
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has left his improvised quarters at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow after the Russian government granted him temporary asylum for one year.
The U.S., of course, wanted him extradited for revealing the details of secret and highly intrusive NSA domestic surveillance programs as well as a number of other details on how the agency operates. And they had been pressing the Russian government hard to send Snowden back.
Nicaragua, Bolivia and Venezuela offered Snowden refuge, but there are no direct commercial flights to Latin America from Moscow and he was concerned the United States would intercept his flight.Especially after the Obama Administration pressured four U.S. allies in Europe to refuse to let a plane carrying Bolivia's president home from Moscow to use their airspace because Snowden might have been on the plane.
Needless to say, that did not win us any friends in Latin America.
However, the Russians said 'nyet' and Snowden has now taken up residence in a secret location.He's going to need to stay very under the radar to avoid a convenient accident, although I have a feeling he may have informed the feds that there are a number of highly classified and juicy items that will come out if anything happens to him...sort of a personal insurance policy.
His residence permit allows him to live anywhere in Russia. His Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena told the press that he gave Snowden his certificate and that he left in a taxi accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.
According to his lawyer,Snowden has been passing the time while he was holed up in the airport learning Russian. Another incentive for him to do this is pictured here:
Yes, it's Anna Chapman, the gorgeous Russian spy with the 180 IQ who was arrested by the U.S. back in 2010 and later deported back to Russia in a prisoner swap..and who has already said publicly she finds Snowden "very attractive."
So the question remains...why would Russian leader Vladimir Putin agree with this, at the risk of straining ties with the U.S.? Because there is no risk.
Here's something that's not exactly a secret to anyone with any knowledge of foreign affairs. President Obama is not exactly regarded with much in the way of respect by either our allies or our foes.
In fact, as he's proven on numerous occasions, he's regarded as amateurish, arrogant, easily manipulated and downright deceitful when it comes to anything he says, no matter what public niceties are mouthed before the cameras in the photo-ops.
There is hardly one U.S. ally who now has better relations with the U.S. than they did back in 2009, and in many cases the relationship is far worse.
Putin in particular has every reason to regard him in this way.From the ridiculous START treaty to his cynical abandonment of Poland and the Czech Republic after they went out on a limb and committed themselves to helping our missile defense system to the Russians simply laughing at the Iran sanctions, he's more than proven he's flexible when Putin cracks the whip. Not only that, but the one time Putin actually tried working on something serious with him, a diplomatic resolution to the Syrian Civil War, the entire project collapsed when Putin found out that President Obama had secretly shipped 1,800 U.S. Marines behind his back to the Jordan-Syria border.
Aside from destroying any vestige of trust between Putin and Obama, the president's actions also torpedoed an agreement between Putin and the Israelis not to introduce certain advanced weapons systems like the S-300 missile defense systems into the region in exchange for an Israeli pledge not to attack Assad's troops and facilities in Syria.
So in Putin's eyes this is just one more way to twist the knife as payback. And who knows...if Snowden becomes a Russian citizen, (especially if he gets together with the fetching Ms. Chapman) Vladimir Putin may find a way to put his knowledge and talents to use.