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"U.S. Tells Russia It Won’t Torture or Kill Snowden"

Pretty amazing Obama even has to say that.

Or not, eh?

UPDATE Looks like there's a campaign going:
WaPo: Senate bill authorizes sanctions on Russia or any other country offering Snowden asylum

FOX: Snowden's secret trove of documents unlikely to be bargaining chip against US prosecution. There's such a paucity of reasoning in this story I'd bet it's planted.

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Bryan's picture
Submitted by Bryan on

This set of lies is a standard statement in extradition filings that have hung up other US extradition requests from EU countries.

Russia could care less about these issues, they only care about Russian issues, and there is no indication that the Russian issues are being discussed.

No one believes the US on these issues, so it was a waste of paper to issue them.

Snowden was a hacker, not a systems administrator, so he has a 'doomsday package' sitting out on the 'Net that will deliver things the US government really doesn't want people to know about to multiple addresses if they really go after him. He worked for the CIA before this NSA contract, so he would know where the the nasty stuff was stashed.

If the administration was smart, they would leave him alone. After a while what he has will become 'history', which is much less destructive than 'news'.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Where "pro forma" means:

"Cross my heart, toes and eyes and hope to die" (while crossing fingers behind back).

Obama exits stage left, grinning malevolently, proud of his little performance on the International Stage.

Submitted by Hugh on

I agree with Bryan. If the powers that be were smart they would talk tough and let Snowden quietly go to asylum wherever he wants, but then no one ever accused them of being smart. And an authorization for sanctions isn't the same thing as placing sanctions and isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

The story this past Monday was that Snowden would be “granted papers” (a “certificate,” according to his attorney Anatoly Kucherena) allowing him to leave the airport “by Wednesday”—that is, two days ago.

On Wednesday  Der Spiegel reported (in an interview with Kucherena) that “Russia's immigration service has…provided Snowden with documents that will give him permission to move freely within Russia for now,” On Wednesday also the Guardian (without specific reference to the Der Spiegel story) mentioned “contrary reports” in saying that “the expected confirmation certificate” had not been issued.

All this confusion seems to mean (to me) that Snowden and the Russian authorities were very close to some deal earlier in the week giving Snowden at least temporary asylum and the US was and is working furiously, perhaps desperately, to scuttle that deal. The longer this situation goes on, the worse it is for Snowden, I think, unless the US overplays its hand (which, given the powers that be, may not be so unlikely).

(Two technical comments:

I wonder what exactly this “confirmation certificate” is. Confirming what, exactly? [I keep thinking “letters of transit.”]

And let’s say the US and Russians reach a deal. Snowden’s not going anywhere. He’s right now in “territorial limbo” and doesn’t have a valid passport—so even  Snowden himself agreed to return to the US, he seems stuck where he is. I wonder if the State Department’s thought that through.)

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

... that's not exactly what the guy says. He hedges and hems and haws, and then says something about that it's possible assuming that immigration authorities in countries of departure and arrival and airline "don't care" (whatever that means) and then some garble about authorities being the ones that decide whether these parties "care" or not ...

I'd like to see what treaties and laws govern this specific issue. Unless it's all "diplomatic courtesy."

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I took him to say that it "is possible," although this is clearly not a common situation.

IOW, how often does a situation arise where this would be considered as an alternative--not often, right?

But, it is possible, IF the highest authorities (whatever that means--Presidents, rulers--whatever) are willing to grant you the right to travel, without formal papers (passports, etc.).

But maybe I misunderstood him. ;-)

Jeff W's picture
Submitted by Jeff W on

Matt Lee's comments are more like "Not necessarily."

US law requires some sort of documentation when leaving the country, at least according to this United Airlines page (which is not the same as seeing the treaties or laws):

U.S. law requires all customers, regardless of citizenship, age or destination, to hold a secure document to depart the United States by air (one-way or roundtrip itinerary). A secure document is a passport, U.S. permanent resident card, Refugee or Stateless travel document, Re-Entry Permit, NEXUS card, U.S Merchant Mariner Card, military ID or emergency travel document issued by an embassy or consulate.

My impression—and that's why I raised it—is that something similar in Russia is the reason why Snowden is stuck in Sheremetyevo Airport—if he could fly to Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua, all countries that have said they would grant Snowden asylum, he undoubtedly would have.

(And the answer that to the question that I raised in my initial comment is actually in the piece referred to by lambert: in order to return or be returned to the US—and be "returned," not "extradited," is the wording that applies to the Russian Federation, which does not have an extradition treaty with the US—Snowden would be issued "immediately" "a limited validity passport good for direct return to the United States." A "limited validity passport" is "any passport issued with less than full 10-year validity for those 16 years and older and less than 5-year validity for those under age 16," according to this State Department page, not something dreamed up on the spot by Attorney General Eric Holder.)

[Correction to my earlier comment: "even if Snowden"]

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

when I first posted it here: "Issue Of Revoked US Passport Not Necessarily A Huge Hindrance."

Bingo! I thought that was what I was saying.

From all that I've read, most nations do normally "require documents."

But in reality, this requirement CAN BE RESCINDED, if the PtB (all concerned--not just on one end) agree to allow travel.

And from all that I read, I take it that Putin (although he postures with very anti-American rhetoric, for public domestic consumption) is loathe, and very unlikely, to defy the U.S.

Hey, there are no rules that can't be broken. ;-)

Submitted by jawbone on

Snowden --

I thought it interesting that actually any reader of that letter would have to know the definition of torture that Holder had in mind as he wrote the letter.

1) Was it clearly understood international law?

2) Or was it some hybrid of what John Yoo had come up with for Bush/Cheny mixed with what the Obama legal beagles had come up with on its own?

3) Or, even, some new hybrid of international law and US hegemonical legal interpretations and executive orders?

It was meaningless, essentially.

Plus, I think Obama and his crew would much rather torture Snowden with a lifetime of solitary in some super supermax prison than execute him. Vindictive lot, it seems to me.