Posted by Charles II on July 12, 2013
Edward Snowden, The Guardian:
I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”
of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression.
Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless.
I seem to remember predicting that Russia wouldn’t dump Snowden, if only to avoid looking like they were caving to the U.S.
At any rate, the way Snowden got Russia’s agreement for asylum is that, according to RT, he declared that he was not hurting the U.S. and that he loves it. That’s it. While that doesn’t quite make it official, apparently Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin >has said that Russia should provide asylum, since the U.S. still exacts the death penalty.
According to a Google translation of ITAR-TASS linked by the Guardian, this stage of asylum will allow him to apply to our friend Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for refugee status.
Julian Borger has more.
Meanwhile, I want to preserve for all time, this priceless article by Simon Schuster of, eh… Time:
The official story coming from the Russian government since then is that Snowden has been holed up in the transit zone of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, waiting for some third country to grant him asylum. But few experts or officials in Moscow still believe that to be true. The accepted wisdom, unofficially acknowledged by most Western and Russian sources, is that Snowden was taken soon after his arrival — if not immediately — to a secure location run by some arm of the Russian government.
The reason has to do with the secret data Snowden stole from his former employers at American intelligence agencies.
Gordievsky believes Snowden would have gotten roughly the same treatment that the KGB spy got back in 1985. “They would have fed him something to loosen his tongue,” Gordievsky says by phone from the U.K., where he has been living in exile for nearly three decades. “Many different kinds of drugs are available, as I experienced for myself.” Having been called back to Moscow, Gordievsky says his KGB comrades drugged him with a substance that “turned out his lights” and made him “start talking in a very animated way.” Although the drug wiped out most of his memory of the incident, the parts he did recollect horrified him the following morning, when he woke up feeling ill. “I realized that I had completely compromised myself,” he says.
One of the substances the KGB used for such purposes at the time was called SP-117, which is odorless, tasteless and colorless, according Alexander Kouzminov, a former Russian intelligence operative who describes the drug’s effectiveness in his book, Biological Espionage. Now living in New Zealand, Kouzminov worked in the 1980s and early 1990s for the Foreign Intelligence Service, the spy agency known as the SVR, which handles undercover agents, or “illegals,” stationed in foreign countries. In his book, Kouzminov writes that various drugs were used periodically to test these operatives for signs of disloyalty or diversion. Once the drug had worn off, the agents would have no recollection of what they had said and, if their test results were satisfactory, they could be sent back into the field as though nothing had happened.
SP-117 is what is called “truth serum.” In other words, some combination of barbiturates, scopalamine, Valium, or whatever. It’s basically mythological. Says Arthur Caplan:
Harry Potter knew all about truth serum. Veritaserum was used on a variety of miscreants and by evildoers. It was so powerful and feared that its use was strictly controlled by the Ministry of Magic.
In reality, magical thinking is all it really is. There is no such thing as truth serum.
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