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Washington's "shameful" behavior over Snowden is as bad as Russia

By       Message Eric Blackmore     Permalink
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How have the US actually managed to turn Vladimir Putin into the good guy? Washington's wrathful reactions to whistleblowers, who have been exposing the dark and illegal truths at the heart of our own nation, have made the United States seem little more than a totalitarian powerhouse. It has plunged our country's international reputation down the ranks to the same level as Russia -- who, not so long ago, we sought to chastise for similar behavior.

How can Washington possibly cite human rights and then try desperately to suffocate the voice of a hero? Edward Snowden is a man who saw injustice and spoke out against it publically, and now our not-so-democratic government is trying to jail him, going our own constitution in the process.

That the action has taken place in none other than Moscow, home of Russian President Putin who has been tagged as a tyrant, is just so fitting -- because our government's actions are pretty much in line with those of the Kremlin's. Trying to pin Snowden with espionage charges, the US government wishes to put him behind bars for speaking the truth, just like the Russian authorities have been doing to their whistle blowers.   In our bid to be a nation which internationally represents the correct implementation of justice and morality, we've shot ourselves in the foot -- a fact which is highlighted by the Amnesty report on Snowden.

After Russian whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky died in a dirty Russian jail cell, America rightly held Moscow to account. Washington denied access to America for all those responsible, as well as bringing sanctions on Russian trade. Rightly, our country stood up to the oppressive and corrupt regime for those who did not have the chance to do so themselves.


Putin's grip by Guardian


When Magnitsky then got posthumously convicted upon false grounds, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin , a Democrat and author of the Magnitsky Act, called the ruling "shameful" but said "we have come to expect this sort of behavior from the Putin regime." Cardin also added, "What this does is continue the downward spiral of Russia's reputation as a law-abiding state and member of the international community."

Yet US governmental behavior is sounding dauntingly similar to the same Russian actions it once denounced. Putting someone in prison for telling the nation the secrets you shouldn't be keeping? And actions which are fundamentally immoral (not to mention illegal in our own country), like spying on your own citizens? We need to ask ourselves what's become of our own "reputation as a law-abiding state and member of the international community."

"The US attempts to pressure governments to block Snowden's attempts to seek asylum are deplorable," said Michael Bochenek, Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International. "It is his unassailable right, enshrined in international law, to claim asylum and this should not be impeded."

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Bochenek added, "Snowden is a whistleblower. He has disclosed issues of enormous public interest in the US and around the world. And yet instead of addressing or even owning up to these actions, the US government is more intent on going after Edward Snowden."

While Washington tries everything it can to get its hands on Snowden and silence his moral words, Russia is right to call the US out on their hypocrisy. Crawling around at Moscow-level immorality undermines the positive actions the US has previously taken to prohibit Russia from becoming an illiberal disaster. The moral justice behind sanctions made on Russia when they incarcerated whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky now seems obsolete, since it just looks like selective justice.  

If the US government is going to be taking action in this part of the world, it should be focusing on a real threat to democracy, like the expanding sphere of Russian influence. Russian President Vladimir Putin is slyly maneuvering his neighbor nations into his grips, trying to manipulate them to join his customs union whether they like it or not in a move which looks reminiscent of Stalin's Soviet Union.

Most prominently, Putin's beady eye is fixed rigidly on the second biggest country in Europe, Ukraine , which Russia has been attempting to drag into its customs union with the promise of finally lifting the currently exorbitant gas prices Kiev has to pay Russian companies. Washington should be working to remove the threat of corruption and tyranny in Eurasia, rather than adding more.

Why not encourage the former Soviet states in their anxious aspirations to escape the all-consuming Russian machine? Just supporting those nations in finding their energy independence and better integrating into the EU would be an enormous help in cleansing the region of an undemocratic and toxic weight. It's time for Washington to really rethink what it represents. It's supposed to be freedom -- or have our politicians forgotten that?

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Geopolitical consultant based in Washington DC. I take an interest in Europe's diverse political interplay, while speaking out against the failures of American foreign policy and encouraging its successes.

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