Snowden Didn’t “Flee to Russia”: Obama Trapped Him There

When Russian President Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on Monday, the news revived a long-simmering debate about the propriety of his revelations of U.S. government secrets. At the same time, it prompted reiterations of a widely-embraced falsehood: that Snowden “fled to Russia.”

The disinformation-trafficking wasn’t limited to random people on social media. Among others, The New York TimesThe GuardianABC, Christian Science Monitor and Canada’s CBC all asserted in the past week that Snowden “fled to Russia” in 2013 after revealing that the United States government had created a mass surveillance regime targeting its own citizens, in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

What many people don’t realize — and what some people both inside the government and out of it purposefully ignore — is that Snowden wasn’t traveling to Russia, but merely through it.

When he left Hong Kong after meeting with journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras and turning over hundreds of thousands of stolen files, Snowden’s ultimate destination was Quito, Ecuador.

It’s important to note that Snowden says that, before leaving, he destroyed his cryptographic keys that provided him access to the files, and didn’t bring any copies of the files with him.

At the time, the Ecuadoran government was providing political asylum to Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange at the country’s London consulate, and Snowden hoped Ecuador would provide him asylum as well.

Snowden’s itinerary was arranged such that he wouldn’t land in countries that would extradite him to the United States. Nor would he cross U.S. airspace along the way. He was to make four flights in all, taking him from Hong Kong to Moscow, then Havana, Cuba; Caracas, Venezuela and finally Quito.

However, upon arriving in Moscow, Snowden was escorted by Russian security officials to an airport conference room, where they informed him that, while he was flying to Moscow, the Obama administration had invalidated his passport.

He’d spend the next 40 days at the Sheremetyevo airport, during which he applied to 27 countries for political asylum. “Not a single one of them was willing to stand up to American pressure,” Snowden wrote in his memoir, Permanent Record, “with some countries refusing outright, and others declaring they were unable to even consider my request until I arrived in their territory — a feat that was impossible.”

Seemingly tired of the spectacle, Putin granted Snowden asylum, and he’s been in Russia ever since. The essential point, however, is that Snowden is in Russia because the Obama administration deliberately trapped him there.

In 2013 and ever since, rabid Snowden detractors have failed to acknowledge how that move by the Obama White House belied its own assertions that Snowden was a traitor who traveled to Moscow with highly valuable intelligence information and was at high risk of turning it over to the Russian government.

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‘Nothing More Grotesque Than a Media Pushing for War,’ Says Edward Snowden

Exiled American whistleblower Edward Snowden on Friday joined global critics who are decrying news outlets for encouraging war with their coverage of rising tensions between the United States and Russia—where he has lived since 2013—over Ukraine.

“There is nothing more grotesque than a media pushing for war,” Snowden tweeted.

After a flood of responses—some highlighting that Russian President Vladimir Putin has stationed over 100,000 troops near his country’s border with Ukraine and is conducting military exercises in Belarus—Snowden doubled down on his anti-war message.

“When you see snide quote-tweets of this from the boot-licking think-tank crowd, look at the ratio and remember that even if they’re loud, they are in the minority,” he said. “Being pro-war is not smart, cool, or sophisticated, and their performative outrage doesn’t change that.”

Snowden is far from alone in blasting a media march toward war that has been compared to the lead-up to U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

“Here we go again,” Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, wrote in a Friday fundraising email. “With talk of war in Ukraine rising to a fever pitch, U.S. media outlets are once again beating the drums.”

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Glenn Greenwald Exposes Deep State Effort To Stop Trump Pardoning Edward Snowden And Julian Assange

The reason Trump failed to issue a pardon for either Snowden or Assange centers on the deep state trying to protect itself by placing Trump in jeopardy, suggested Greenwald last week in an episode of his System Update show.

In a written introduction for the episode, Greenwald notes that Trump, while president, had both “raised the possibility that he might pardon Snowden” and was “actively considering a pardon for Assange.”

Greenwald, in the introduction, zeros in on a recent interview of Trump by Candace Owens. In the interview, Trump stated he came “very close” to pardoning one of them but did not ultimately do so. Why? Trump said the reason was because Trump “was too nice” to issue the pardon.

Greenwald isn’t buying that explanation. He writes:

The question that obviously emerges from that answer: too nice to whom? To the U.S. security services — the CIA, NSA and FBI — which had spent four years doing everything possible to sabotage and undermine Trump and his presidency with their concoction of Russiagate and other leaks of false accusations to their corporate media allies? Too nice to the war-mongering servants of the military-industrial complex in the establishment wings of both parties who were the allies of those security services in attempting to derail Trump’s America First foreign policy agenda? Too nice to John Brennan, James Clapper and Susan Rice, the Obama-era security officials most eager to see both Assange and Snowden rot in prison for life because they exposed Obama’s spying crimes and the Democrats’ corruption in 2016? Trump’s “I’m too nice” explanation is, shall we say, less than persuasive.

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Ben Rhodes’ Book Proves Obama Officials’ Lies, and His Own, About Edward Snowden and Russia

Ever since Edward Snowden received asylum from Russia in 2013, Obama officials have repeatedly maligned his motives and patriotism by citing his “choice” to take up residence there. It has long been clear that this narrative was a lie: Snowden, after meeting with journalists in Hong Kong, intended only to transit through Moscow and then Havana on his way to seek asylum in Latin America. He was purposely prevented from leaving Russia — trapped in the Moscow airport — by the very Obama officials who then cynically weaponized his presence there to imply he was a civil-liberties hypocrite for “choosing” to live in such a repressive country or, even worse, a Kremlin agent or Russian spy.

But now we have absolute, definitive proof that Snowden never intended to stay in Russia but was deliberately prevented from leaving by the same Obama officials who exploited the predicament which they created. The proof was supplied unintentionally in the memoir of one of Obama’s senior national security advisers, Ben Rhodes, entitled The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House. It is hard to overstate how dispositively Rhodes’ own book proves that Obama officials generally, and Rhodes specifically, lied blatantly and cavalierly to the public about what happened: a level of sustained and conscious lying that can be explained only by sociopathy.

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Edward Snowden says Julian Assange ‘could be next’ after John McAfee dies by suicide in jail

Former NSA consultant and data privacy advocate Edward Snowden tweeted on Wednesday that Julian Assange “could be next,” after antivirus mogul John McAfee died by apparent suicide in a Barcelona prison cell following news that he was being extradited to the US on criminal tax evasion charges.

Spanish outlets broke the news of McAfee’s death by suicide on Wednesday.

“Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair — and prison system so cruel — that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it. Julian Assange could be next,” Snowden tweeted.

“Until the system is reformed, a moratorium should remain,” he added.

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