White House Believes Ed Snowden Shouldn't Have Any Free Speech Rights, Attacks Russia For Letting Him Speak

from the sickening dept

The White House’s attacks on whistleblower Ed Snowden have already been pretty bad, but they took it up a notch in response to Ed Snowden’s brief press conference with various human rights groups last week from the Moscow airport where he is stranded. There are all sorts of ways that the White House could have responded to this — and it chose perhaps the worst. It sent out press secretary Jay Carney to scold Russia for allowing Ed Snowden to speak, claiming that it provided him a “propaganda platform.”


The White House criticized Russia on Friday for allowing National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to meet with human rights activists, calling it a “propaganda platform” for the man who seeks to avoid prosecution for leaking classified information about secret U.S. electronic surveillance programs.

Think about that for a second. This is the US government, directly trying to shut up a US citizen, who has blown the whistle on various illegal secret surveillance programs. Part of the very basis for the US is supposed to be our support for the First Amendment, and the belief in free speech. That includes speech we don’t like, in the belief that speech can be countered by other speech. But the US government seems to think that the First Amendment does not apply to people who criticize them.


“Providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government’s previous declarations of Russia’s neutrality and that they have no control over his presence in the airport,” Carney said. “It’s also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests.”

Frankly, the only one spewing propaganda here is Jay Carney and the administration, for claiming that merely allowing Snowden to speak is the equivalent of doing “further damage to U.S. interests.” The problem, it seems, is that the White House seems to think that damage to their own reputation and future spying efforts is the equivalent of “damage to U.S. interests.” But that’s clearly ridiculous. Many in the American public feel that the real damage to U.S. interests was having this illegal and unconstitutional program in the first place.

And, it wasn’t just a specific phraseology that Carney just happened to come up with on the spot. The State Department said nearly the same thing:


“We are disappointed that Russian officials and agencies facilitated this meeting today by allowing these activists and representatives into the Moscow airport’s transit zone to meet with Mr. Snowden despite the government’s declarations of Russia’s neutrality with respect to Mr. Snowden,” Psaki said. “Our concern here is that he’s been provided this opportunity to speak in a propaganda platform.”

When the US government is directly trying to silence the speech of an American citizen, and arguing that it’s some sort of violation to let him give a pretty basic statement on how the US is persecuting him, is really sickening. What kind of country have we become when the federal government is directly trying to shut someone up like that?

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “White House Believes Ed Snowden Shouldn't Have Any Free Speech Rights, Attacks Russia For Letting Him Speak”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
58 Comments
Ninjasays:

What kind of country have we become when the federal government is directly trying to shut someone up like that?

I wonder if Germans asked themselves the same question in the past.

The astonishing part here is how blind the Government is to the damage it’s causing to themselves. I know some pretty alienated people living in complete denial and eve those people are outraged.

Anonymoussays:

We shouldn't be surprised by this

I mean, look at what they’re doing to the 4th amendment? That amendment clearly has no meaning to them whatsoever. Is it any stretch at all to believe the 1st amendment also doesn’t mean anything to them?

They are every one of them corrupt to the core, from the top down, every branch.

It is absolutely sickening. I don’t trust any of them.

Anonymoussays:

Censorship check. Or are you still trying to silence the voice of your number one critic? Do as you say, not as you do. Right, Mike? You’re just as bad as the people you criticize. Funny how you turn into the biggest censor their is when it suits you. Too bad you can’t just address my criticisms on the merits and instead have to turn into a censor yourself. I know you see the irony, Mike.

Rikuosays:

I have an honest question for Mike and the others at Techdirt. Just how scared are you when you publish these articles decrying the US government?
After all, you can see the measures they go to to try and stop Snowden from talking. They’ve revoked his passport, they’ve prevented him from travelling, they’ve grounded the official plane of a democratically elected leader all on the baseless assumption he was on it (Snowden was in a completely different airport to that president), all because Snowden is constantly talking about and revealing information on these programs.

Given that it is now clear there is no protection for free speech rights in the US, how worried do you guys get? Do you have genuine worries that suits in black cars will show up and shut down Techdirt?

out_of_the_bluesays:

Re:

@ “Given that it is now clear there is no protection for free speech rights in the US, how worried do you guys get? Do you have genuine worries that suits in black cars will show up and shut down Techdirt?”

Well, NO.

a) Techdirt isn’t as influential as you seem to believe. They (whoever “they” are) don’t bother with small outlets that actually reduce social pressure by it being expressed.

b) To me, Techdirt, run by Ivy League Mike, looks more loyal opposition than danger to the gov’t. It’s the Rush Limbaugh method: build credibility with obvious items that your audience likes, only to spend it on a few key points that “they” want to put over to entrench tyranny. With Limbaugh it was NAFTA, which he promised would slow immigration from Mexico and build industry here too by selling products to them. Ross Perot was right, though, about the “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the country. — With Mike, what he pushes is obviously Google, the SPY AGENCY, key source for NSA.

c) “suits in black cars” apparently shut down Michael Hastings, who Google says shows up here in only 9 mentions, none of them as topic of a piece.

out_of_the_bluesays:

Re: Re: Re:

@ “For a site you believe to be so toothless and uninfluential, you spend a shitton of time acting like Masnick peed in your oatmeal or something.”

As I’ve said before, you needn’t worry about my wasting time here. Everyone needs a vice; this is one of mine.

Techdirt has a nice mix of wacky and contradictory features, all the web in one place. And comment is still free, unlike most of the rest of the web requiring log in up to Facebook credentials. Free comment is my one definite point of agreement with Mike — or at least I utilize his own “platform” to undermine his credibility (as much as I can with honest disagreement on his notions), which recursively tests his notions on free comment.

And it’s definitely a SMALL enough pond that I’m a big frog here, drawing many comments, though most are trivial, vulgar, and off-topic, such as yours.

Rikuosays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“or at least I utilize his own “platform” to undermine his credibility”

Thanks for admitting to being a tool. You’re not here to point out flaws with stories, or to show mistakes, you’re merely here to try and shoot the messenger. So it doesn’t matter to you if Mike reports a true story of governmental abuse, you’ve got to undermine how credible he is as a source, rather than letting his own reporting and writing do that for him.

Mike Masnicksays:

Re:

I have an honest question for Mike and the others at Techdirt. Just how scared are you when you publish these articles decrying the US government?

Generally don’t worry about it. The government actually does tend to take criticism well (I know that sounds strange given this story, but…) and, if anything, is actually much more open to having discussions about these things than anything else (i.e., fairly frequently, people from the administration have reached out to “explain their side of the story,” including just this weekend, but never tried to do anything to stifle or change what we’ve written).

I think most of the focus by the government is on stopping whistleblowers themselves, not the people who criticize them for the government’s actions. For whatever it’s worth, that has remained from our general respect for free speech. I think they’re completely wrong to try to silence whistleblowers, and will continue to make that clear. But I don’t think that has expanded beyond the focus on whistleblowers.

What worries me more is if that begins to change over time as we chip away at various protections. It doesn’t take much to move away from there, but for now I don’t see anything to be particularly worried about.

Yes, they’re not happy with Snowden, but it’s a bit of a stretch to say “it is now clear there is no protection for free speech rights in the US.” For the most part, there are still strong protections for free speech in the US — stronger than most of the rest of the world. And, as such, I have no specific worries about speaking out, beyond the concern that such rights need to be vigorously guarded over time, and that future governments may look to really stamp them out.

out_of_the_bluesays:

"What kind of country have we become..."

Evidently you’ve missed the decade of illegal, causeless, Iraq and Afghan wars for empire, in which at the very least the entire city of Fallujah was destroyed using depleted uranium and white phosphorous to kill alleged “insurgents”, which is the military term for patriotic resistance to foreign invasion; torture, drone strikes, and wiping out entire villages are routine, systematic horrors worse than the Nazis.

You can’t expect gov’t to respect rights of citizens while savagely murdering people overseas.

You seem to have been silent on those wars with your precious “free speech” during that decade, but now you’re upset that one Snowden is target of harsh comments from the White House? … Well, again, I can only sum up by repeating the John Galt line from Atlas Shrugged, after his speech on how the people let The Rich steal their liberty by slow degrees: “Brothers, you asked for it!”


By the way, part of the overarching plan is to tear down the United States of America as symbol of liberty, and make it hated and despised. — If the globalists can take over here, they can take over anywhere. — I regret helping in that, but facts are facts.

out_of_the_bluesays:

Re: Re: "What kind of country have we become..."

Sheesh! Make up your mind, sonny! 8 minutes prior, YOU introduced “men in black suits” who’d arrive to shut down Techdirt! To which I took time to answer (see), though you won’t care for my answer. I just make obvious connections with a “country” question.

Appears that you know all about editorial policy here, but in fact you’re just projecting your notions and goals as Mike’s, while his remain largely a mystery.

In the intelligence biz, we trust no one.

An Unexplored Question

When did the US government ever return a Soviet/Russian/Chinese/North Korean spy who defected to the US?

While not a direct US issue, Jordan granted asylum to a Syrian pilot who “stole” his airplane by flying into Jordan.

CNN reported: “Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said, “We welcome this pilot’s decision to do the right thing. We have long called for the military and members of the Syrian regime to defect and abandon their positions rather than be complicit in the regime’s atrocities.” So the US supports “illegal” acts on one hand, but then capriciously condemns them on the other hand. Outrageous.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/21/world/meast/syria-unrest

Anonymoussays:

Just the logic they are using is ridiculous. “Russia has no control over Snowden’s presence in the transit zone.” would by default mean “Russia cannot prevent him from speaking to people in the transit zone.” Thus you cannot blame Russia for not preventing him from doing anything within the transit zone.

Furthermore, the complaints about Russia “allowing these activists and representatives” into the transit zone runs afoul of the fact that Russia has no legal basis for barring them from the transit zone.

Really from the sounds of it, the US is complaining that Russia hasn’t shut down the transit zone, and turned it into a prohibited area so that Snowden will have no one to talk to.

Anonymoussays:

Are we talking about the same President Obama who recently made Susan Rice, the person who fed false information about the Benghazi attack, to the American People. Then Obama ‘rewarded’ her by appointing her his Chief National Security Adviser?

What about James Clapper, who flat out lied to Congress and the American people, while under federal oath. He seems free to spread false ‘propaganda’ and I haven’t heard a peep from the White House over his crimes.

If anyone is spreading false propaganda, it’s the White House. The credibility of US Officials is near 0% right now. Whenever they open their mouths, all I hear is lies flowing out of them like a river now, because that’s what their words are, lies.

We need to rid government of these parasitic leeches who suck the life blood from the hard working American People, by voting them out of office next election cycle.

Anonymoussays:

Russia is in a situation much like Mexico was in the 1980s, when it had one Puerto Rican indepdence nationalist in the country and wanted him out, but did not want to send him to the USA, because they disagreed with the sentence he could have received. They Mexican government convinced Cuba to take him.

I would not be surprised if Russia is trying to find a country somewhere that will take him being that they want him out, but don’t want to hand him over to the USA.

Obama Unearned Noble Peace Prize

To think that Obama received a Noble Peace prize by simply being elected without actually having accomplished anything to promote world peace

Furthermore, Obama has kept the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going (though we have recently withdrawn from Iraq). Now he is arming the Syrian rebels which will keep that civil war going, which will raise the body count. Obama is not accomplishing anything that would promote world peace.

Anonymoussays:

Think about that for a second. This is the US government, directly trying to shut up a US citizen, who has blown the whistle on various illegal secret surveillance programs.

I love how you have no problem stating definitively that the NSA surveillance is unconstitutional and illegal, yet you are completely unwilling to defend your position in the comments on the merits. LOL! Whatcha scared of, Mikey?

Part of the very basis for the US is supposed to be our support for the First Amendment, and the belief in free speech. That includes speech we don’t like, in the belief that speech can be countered by other speech.

Unless it’s me criticizing you, in which case it’s censor hard and censor fast and sweep those dissenting views under the rug. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to run away rather than engage on the merits, right? Do as Mikey says, not as he does. Typically two-faced zealot.

What kind of country have we become when the federal government is directly trying to shut someone up like that?

And what kind of website are you running where you censor critics rather than discuss the issues with them on the merits? Bawk, bawk, Mikey.

TasMotsays:

With a slow wave from Uncle Sam

“There’s no illegal spying here. The criminal you want is Edward Snowden over there. Go look over there. There is no illegal wiretapping going on, we pardoned them and made it legal with a new law.” Ignore that man behind the curtain and pay attention to me repeating “There is no illegal spying going on, you really should be paying to the secret trial of Bradley Manning because we told you he is bad.” STOP LOOKING AT ME, look over there at the whistleblowers for the REAL bad guys.

Anonymoussays:

Re: With a slow wave from Uncle Sam

If Snowden went to the moon NSA would instantly throw a team of CIA and NASA people together and follow him. The man is gonna get maximally secluded from everything the official USA can pressure. We have already seem Greenwald getting a treason sticker by US media and I am sure that he is now on several naughty lists and his personal history is getting turned upside down to find dirt. Being targeted by secret services is no fun and the most nasty secret services you can find are the most technologically developed.

Sychodelixsays:

Good job poking the Putin with a stick. It’s not like we were in a long, dangerously frightening cold war with Russia or anything.

Human rights activists are allowed in just about every situation there is, and it’s usually the US pushing for it to happen. But now the NSA is butthurt because Snowden let their dirty laundry air, and thinks those same things don’t apply.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it