OpinionTop of the Ticket

Edward Snowden should remember Putin is no free-speech champion

Edward Snowden has escaped the limbo of the transit lounge at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport and now, in the style of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the fugitive leaker is hunkered down in an undisclosed location somewhere in Russia.

Snowden’s father, Lon Snowden, has publicly thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for keeping his son out of the clutches of American authorities who want to prosecute Snowden for revealing details of U.S. cyber spying operations. Unlike the elder Snowden, White House officials are far less grateful and there is much discussion in political and diplomatic circles about whether Russia’s willingness to give Snowden safe shelter will disrupt President Obama’s upcoming visit to see Putin.

Activists in the WikiLeaks movement who pretty much see the United States as the world’s biggest bad guy and believe governments have no right to secrecy are applauding the Russians. Human rights activists are far less enthusiastic. They note the profound irony of the Russians being hailed as protectors of free speech and free access to information when Putin and company have such a horrendous record of suppressing such freedoms.

Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty International Russia, was asked by a reporter from London’s Guardian newspaper how the Russian government would deal with a whistleblower who revealed Russian state secrets. “We could probably expect a diametrically opposed reaction,” he said.

“It should be noted that the Russian Federation is a country that human rights organizations have found to be a serious violator of human rights, including the right to express information.”

The temporary asylum Russian authorities have granted Snowden comes, of course, with a significant restriction: he is not free to reveal any additional information about U.S. and British intelligence gathering schemes. In other words, “Welcome to Moscow! Now, keep your mouth shut – or else.”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • House GOP and Obama are as far apart as Earth and Saturn
    House GOP and Obama are as far apart as Earth and Saturn

    From Saturn, nearly 900 million miles away, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has sent back images of Earth that show our planet as a tiny glowing dot in the dark expanse of space. That vast separation should inspire awe, but, instead, it brings up thoughts of the gaping distance between President...

  • Anthony Weiner should have told a joke before he became a joke
    Anthony Weiner should have told a joke before he became a joke

    If Anthony Weiner had been clever enough to use self-deprecating humor when his private sexting first became public, he might still be in Congress or have a better chance of becoming mayor of New York City. Instead, he’s become the joke.

  • U.N. disabilities treaty deserves ratification
    U.N. disabilities treaty deserves ratification

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should not be controversial: It requires equal access for the disabled and bans discrimination against them in all countries that sign on. There is no question that the Senate should ratify it. The only issue is why it...

  • Congress can, and should, sort out the Internet's tax structure
    Congress can, and should, sort out the Internet's tax structure

    At the dawn of the broadband era, Congress recognized that the Internet was becoming so fundamental to communications and the economy that it barred states from taxing the services that enabled people to log on. But some anti-tax groups and online businesses have hijacked the "Don't...

  • Gov. Brown knows better than to let lobbyists pay for his Mexico trip
    Gov. Brown knows better than to let lobbyists pay for his Mexico trip

    Gov. Jerry Brown is on a four-day trip to Mexico City to talk to government officials there about trade and immigration issues. That's a reasonable thing for a California governor to do. Brown is not traveling alone: Nine administration officials and 15 legislators (some using campaign...

  • U.N. Human Rights Council's anti-Israel inquiry
    U.N. Human Rights Council's anti-Israel inquiry

    Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution, S-21, creating a "commission of inquiry" to investigate human rights violations in the Gaza war. Nowhere does the resolution mandate that the commission conduct a fair, impartial and balanced investigation....

Comments
Loading