67 votes

Julian Assange has reached a plea deal with the US, allowing him to go free

36 comments

  1. [20]
    gowestyoungman
    Link
    The articles keep mentioning that Assange has spent 5 years in British prisons. They seem to be downplaying the fact that he has been pursued and hounded for MUCH longer. He had arrest warrants...

    The articles keep mentioning that Assange has spent 5 years in British prisons. They seem to be downplaying the fact that he has been pursued and hounded for MUCH longer. He had arrest warrants issued 12 years ago and was sequestered in the Ecuadorean embassy for years, which may as well been a prison since he couldn't set foot outside for fear of being arrested. He was pursued for alleged rape by two Swedish women who eventually dropped the charges and one of them admitted lying about the rape. He's basically been under some kind of 'prison' with pending charges for 12 years already.

    Im astounded that he's actually going to be freed. I'll believe it when I see it but I have to admire his strength. I think anyone with a smidgen less mental fortitude would have taken themselves out before this. A lot of credit has to go to his wife and his father who have worked tirelessly to keep his name and his plight in public view and have organized many protests and public campaigns. Without them, Assange would have disappeared from sight years ago.

    33 votes
    1. [13]
      DefinitelyNotAFae
      Link Parent
      That's... How warrants work though. If you run from them, they chase you. If you request "sanctuary" in the Ecuadorian embassy, you have to stay there or the sanctuary is no longer valid. Only he...

      They seem to be downplaying the fact that he has been pursued and hounded for MUCH longer. He had arrest warrants issued 12 years ago and was sequestered in the Ecuadorean embassy for years, which may as well been a prison since he couldn't set foot outside for fear of being arrested

      That's... How warrants work though. If you run from them, they chase you. If you request "sanctuary" in Notre Dame the Ecuadorian embassy, you have to stay there or the sanctuary is no longer valid. Only he can decide if that was ultimately the right choice but I don't really agree with the "he's suffered enough" angle. His current suffering was due to his fleeing the warrant. He certainly had hypothetical suffering through the criminal justice system, I won't deny it, but whether you're Roman Polanski or a sovereign citizen refusing to leave your house to be served, you're choosing the consequences of that deliberately. I'm not inclined to feel bad for those consequences.

      Also, suicide isn't about weakness and not killing yourself isn't about mental fortitude.

      55 votes
      1. [2]
        caliper
        Link Parent
        Much appreciated. I didn’t even think twice when I read it, but your response makes me realize how odd that sentiment is.

        Also, suicide isn't about weakness and not killing yourself isn't about mental fortitude.

        Much appreciated. I didn’t even think twice when I read it, but your response makes me realize how odd that sentiment is.

        28 votes
        1. gowestyoungman
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          His doctor visited him and several times his wife stated that he was not standing up well under the pressure and the chance of suicide was high. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Torture said...

          His doctor visited him and several times his wife stated that he was not standing up well under the pressure and the chance of suicide was high. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Torture said that he was being pyschologically tortured. So yes, sometimes it IS about mental fortitude. When the most powerful nation on earth's highest leaders want your head on a pole and were outed for making plans to kill you, and you've been sequestered from your family and everyone you love for years, with enormous pressure to submit to an extradition knowing that it could easily mean your death, its most definitely about mental fortitude to go on.

          8 votes
      2. [10]
        Johz
        Link Parent
        To add to that, he was granted bail originally but chose to violate the conditions of his bail by fleeing to the embassy and refusing to come out. Like you say, only he can decide what the best...

        To add to that, he was granted bail originally but chose to violate the conditions of his bail by fleeing to the embassy and refusing to come out. Like you say, only he can decide what the best choice was here, but his suffering is very much connected to the decisions he made after the initial arrest.

        17 votes
        1. [8]
          DefinitelyNotAFae
          Link Parent
          Ah thanks I'd forgotten that detail! There are plenty of fucked up things about our criminal justice system. I'll never claim otherwise. I just don't think that the consequences of intentionally...

          Ah thanks I'd forgotten that detail! There are plenty of fucked up things about our criminal justice system. I'll never claim otherwise. I just don't think that the consequences of intentionally missing your court date are on the system as much as on the person. If that all weighs out in the balance of things for a person, OK. But I mentioned Roman Polanski because I think until Assange he was the most mentioned "exile" who just "couldn't even come back for the Oscars" or whatever. I don't feel bad for him either and his life has been less awful than Assange's iirc

          11 votes
          1. [7]
            Promonk
            Link Parent
            You're completely ignoring the whole point of political asylum: that sometimes–perhaps usually–governments are incapable of giving political dissidents fair and impartial trials. Refusing to play...

            You're completely ignoring the whole point of political asylum: that sometimes–perhaps usually–governments are incapable of giving political dissidents fair and impartial trials. Refusing to play along with a kangaroo court is a form of civil disobedience; not only does it not reflect poorly on a person to disobey, arguably they have a duty to do so.

            Assange's situation has been so twisted by political pressure from my own government that I can't in good faith say whether he did the right thing or not. The propaganda around this man from all angles has been effing intense for the better part of two decades. I don't think any of us are in a position to pass judgement, and I doubt at this point that anyone could be.

            A plea deal that considers his exile time served is probably the best outcome that could reasonably be expected, despite the chilling effect it might have on foreign nationals seeking to expose illegal acts by the US or other governments.

            21 votes
            1. [6]
              DefinitelyNotAFae
              Link Parent
              I'm not though! If in fact civil disobedience was the correct answer, and I assume he believes it was, then that's fair. But believe that the isolation he experienced is the natural consequences...

              You're completely ignoring the whole point of political asylum: that sometimes–perhaps usually–governments are incapable of giving political dissidents fair and impartial trials. Refusing to play along with a kangaroo court is a form of civil disobedience; not only does it not reflect poorly on a person to disobey, arguably they have a duty to do so.

              I'm not though! If in fact civil disobedience was the correct answer, and I assume he believes it was, then that's fair. But believe that the isolation he experienced is the natural consequences of the route he took. To be fair I'm also not fully convinced that his leaving Sweden for the UK was actually civil disobedience, but I can agree that the embassy situation could definitely fall into that. Some civil disobedience leads to arrest, in those cases the arrest is the point generally, and it was done so deliberately. Sometimes people are beaten by police as part of the arrest, that would not be part of the reasonable consequence civil disobedience and is just abuse even if it's predictable.

              If he feels his potential suffering under the court systems of Sweden, the UK and the US was so awful that this was the most preferable solution, this was the consequence he chose. I'm not inclined to paint him as a victim for that. He may have been a victim or a potential victim of the injustice of the legal system on political dissidents but that is separate in my reckoning of things.

              This is just my opinion obviously. I don't condemn him or lionize him. But once again, Roman Polanski also felt mistreated by the system. Honestly many defendants do. I'm not sure the solution to the broken system is everyone dipping out on court to other countries when they don't like the potential outcome. And the people most capable of that are the ones most capable, generally, of affording good legal representation regardless of their guilt.

              I don't really want anyone incarcerated who can be in the community safely, so I really am not mad about the outcome, I just philosophically don't think his choice was the "right" answer systemically. It might have been preferable for him, prison is worse, but I think that's rolling with the consequences you choose.I'm not really passing judgement. I think that the post I replied to was particularly sympathetic (and misrepresented some of the sexual assault facts,) and my thoughts were a counterpoint is all.

              10 votes
              1. [5]
                Promonk
                Link Parent
                By that rationale, he chose to piss off war criminals in the Pentagon and White House by bringing their crimes to public attention, and thus deserves no sympathy, I guess. I'm sorry, but that's...

                By that rationale, he chose to piss off war criminals in the Pentagon and White House by bringing their crimes to public attention, and thus deserves no sympathy, I guess. I'm sorry, but that's nonsense.

                Remember that it was well-known at the time that the US was black-bagging foreign nationals for detention and torture in black sites. It would've been madness to trust the authorities to conduct a fair and impartial trial. I don't blame him a jot for telling the pigs to kick rocks, and I wonder about anyone who would blame him.

                12 votes
                1. [4]
                  DefinitelyNotAFae
                  Link Parent
                  That's your opinion and you're free to be as sympathetic of him as you like. I don't feel bad for him for his isolation, particularly when the OP was comparing it to prison, since prison was in...

                  By that rationale, he chose to piss off war criminals in the Pentagon and White House by bringing their crimes to public attention, and thus deserves no sympathy, I guess. I'm sorry, but that's nonsense.

                  That's your opinion and you're free to be as sympathetic of him as you like. I don't feel bad for him for his isolation, particularly when the OP was comparing it to prison, since prison was in fact the alternative option. Prison sucks. I'm sure this sucked. But he explicitly chose this and seems to have considered it his best option.

                  Remember that it was well-known at the time that the US was black-bagging foreign nationals for detention and torture in black sites. It would've been madness to trust the authorities to conduct a fair and impartial trial. I don't blame him a jot for telling the pigs to kick rocks, and I wonder about anyone who would blame him.

                  Feel free to "wonder" about me all you want. I don't know how many Australians the US was black-bagging in 2010, maybe it was a lot, I really don't recall.

                  He successfully dodged prosecution for sexual assault, served time in the UK, fought extradition in court and pled guilty in the US. If he doesn't feel that his time in the embassy was a waste that would make sense to me. But his isolation in the embassy was afaik, his preference given his options of British incarceration and/or extradition as the alternatives.

                  I don't really think any of that qualifies as nonsense. As I noted previously, I don't really think the best systemic solution is that anyone who feels like they're being unduly oppressed by the system books it out of the country, something he did on multiple occasions, not just from the American police. It's not gonna fix anything for anyone who isn't rich or well known enough to get asylum.

                  Can we do this without personal attacks or insinuations please though. It's really exhausting. I've not said anything about your character. I'm really not out here screaming for his head on a pike or demanding he go to prison.

                  10 votes
                  1. [3]
                    Promonk
                    Link Parent
                    You mean asylum. You just described political asylum. You don't believe people who are being oppressed by governments should flee from them? Come on. Assange is certainly no angel, but you might...

                    ... I don't really think the best systemic solution is that anyone who feels like they're being unduly oppressed by the system books it out of the country ...

                    You mean asylum. You just described political asylum. You don't believe people who are being oppressed by governments should flee from them? Come on.

                    Assange is certainly no angel, but you might not be thinking about this clearly.

                    8 votes
                    1. [2]
                      DefinitelyNotAFae
                      Link Parent
                      Didn't say that. "Can we do this without personal attacks or insinuations please though. It's really exhausting." Since you cannot, please desist.

                      You mean asylum. You just described political asylum. You don't believe people who are being oppressed by governments should flee from them? Come on.

                      Didn't say that.

                      Assange is certainly no angel, but you might not be thinking about this clearly.

                      "Can we do this without personal attacks or insinuations please though. It's really exhausting."

                      Since you cannot, please desist.

                      5 votes
                      1. Promonk
                        Link Parent
                        That wasn't a personal attack, and neither was the one you called out before, although I have to admit that I did a piss-poor job of phrasing on that one. What I was "wondering" about was what it...

                        That wasn't a personal attack, and neither was the one you called out before, although I have to admit that I did a piss-poor job of phrasing on that one.

                        What I was "wondering" about was what it is about this particular case that's led to this odd train of thought you're arguing. You've never struck me as the victim-blaming type before, which makes me think there's something about the Assange case that sticks in your craw.

                        You may not think you're arguing against the concept of political asylum, but you described it almost perfectly, and then said you don't think it's a good idea. The fact that you consciously don't subscribe to the point you're arguing makes me think there's some emotional investment, or something else outside of reason at play. That's understandable. I acknowledged as much in my first comment; this case has been such a propaganda storm from the jump that it's a wonder anyone can manage a civil discussion on it.

                        We're clearly reaching the end of productive conversation though, so I'll drop it. I just wanted to clarify my thinking, because I've done a pretty awful job of that up to this point.

                        6 votes
        2. tauon
          Link Parent
          This is not going to be a full defense of Assange, simply because I am not educated well enough on what he did, did not, or may have done; but one thing to keep in mind is that Chelsea Manning had...

          chose to violate the conditions of his bail

          This is not going to be a full defense of Assange, simply because I am not educated well enough on what he did, did not, or may have done; but one thing to keep in mind is that Chelsea Manning had just received 35 years, for, to be frank, doing the morally right thing.

          I’m pretty convinced I’d too have ran from the U.S. government had I been in his shoes.

          11 votes
    2. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      [citation needed]. The only credible sources I can find say that the Swedish prosecutors (not the victims) dropped the charges because the statute of limitations had expired on the alleged crimes...

      He was pursued for alleged rape by two Swedish women who eventually dropped the charges and one of them admitted lying about the rape.

      [citation needed]. The only credible sources I can find say that the Swedish prosecutors (not the victims) dropped the charges because the statute of limitations had expired on the alleged crimes by that point, and Swedish law not allowing formal indictments to be levied without interviewing the suspect beforehand... which they couldn't do because he fled the country, and later hid in the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK to avoid extradition. And there is nothing I can find about either of the victims lying, except by highly questionable sources.

      See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assange_v_Swedish_Prosecution_Authority

      45 votes
    3. [5]
      GenuinelyCrooked
      Link Parent
      How do you think it should have been handled differently? They should have not even attempted to question him about the rape? They should have ignored the warrant and let him do whatever he...

      How do you think it should have been handled differently? They should have not even attempted to question him about the rape? They should have ignored the warrant and let him do whatever he wanted? Those seem like absurd suggestions to me, but they also seem like the only alternatives to what happened, so I'm sure there must be something that I'm missing.

      19 votes
      1. [4]
        qob
        Link Parent
        AFAIR, they actually questioned him about the rape and let him go. Assange was about to go speak on a conference in the UK and he asked the Swedish police if that's ok and they said yes. Only...

        AFAIR, they actually questioned him about the rape and let him go. Assange was about to go speak on a conference in the UK and he asked the Swedish police if that's ok and they said yes. Only after he left the country did they put a warrant on him. He offered to go back to Sweden if they guaranteed that they won't extradite him to the US and they said no, which is is weird since the US had nothing to do with this case at that time.

        This comes from an Interview with Nilz Melzer (in German), who was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture which gave him the opportunity to read all the first-hand documentation from Swedish autorities.

        14 votes
        1. [3]
          GenuinelyCrooked
          Link Parent
          The Swedish Prosecution Service stated that they were unable to get in touch with him for questioning. It's possible that they're not being forthcoming in that interview. At that point unless I...

          The Swedish Prosecution Service stated that they were unable to get in touch with him for questioning.

          It's possible that they're not being forthcoming in that interview. At that point unless I can see those documents myself, it's a question of who to believe.

          14 votes
          1. [2]
            qob
            Link Parent
            I don't have a detailed timeline of the events. I assume they wanted to question him after he offered to answer their questions and they refused to guarantee not to extradite. Another detail I...

            I don't have a detailed timeline of the events. I assume they wanted to question him after he offered to answer their questions and they refused to guarantee not to extradite.

            Another detail I remember now is that Assange offered to answer their questions via phone or video call, and they didn't want that either. Doesn't make sense to me. According to Nils Melzer, "no extradition" guarantees and video calls were normal back then.

            BTW, this is also a quote from the article you linked:

            Stephens also said neither he nor Assange "have ever received a single written word, at any time, in any form, from Swedish authorities on the Swedish investigation against our client."

            At that point unless I can see those documents myself, it's a question of who to believe.

            Do you have a theory why a UN official would lie about this? And why wouldn't the Swedish authorities expose his lies, which they could easily do since they have the best proof possible?

            6 votes
            1. GenuinelyCrooked
              Link Parent
              I don't feel that I know enough about him to form a theory on why he would say anything, true or otherwise. It's also possible that neither is lying. At the time the article was written, Assange's...

              I don't feel that I know enough about him to form a theory on why he would say anything, true or otherwise. It's also possible that neither is lying. At the time the article was written, Assange's whereabouts were unclear. It's tough to send a letter when you don't know where exactly someone is. It's possible that the Swedish authority was truthfully trying to reach him, and that they truthfully did not succeed.

              I can only think of very flimsy reasons why a call or video chat would not work, but I can also imagine there are quite a lot of possibilities that I'm not aware of.

              4 votes
  2. [2]
    ignorabimus
    Link
    I genuinely don't understand why progressives like Assange so much. Unlike Snowden (who seems to have a moral compass, and a political worldview beyond "America bad because DARPA refused to let me...

    I genuinely don't understand why progressives like Assange so much. Unlike Snowden (who seems to have a moral compass, and a political worldview beyond "America bad because DARPA refused to let me publish") he just seems to be a general agent of chaos (and part-time Russian stooge, e.g. with the Hillary Clinton emails). This article outlines some of the issues https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/julian-assange-arrested-london-hero-or-villain-reputation-1.5095027

    20 votes
    1. boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      My theory is that some people are very antiwar. Some people are very against the US projecting power. Some people are very against government secrets. Some people are very pro press freedom....

      My theory is that some people are very antiwar. Some people are very against the US projecting power. Some people are very against government secrets. Some people are very pro press freedom.

      Personally my view of Assange changed for the worse after he leaked the DNC content without also leaking republican content. I still think being held in a British high security prison like Belmarsh in response to bail jumping was extreme and cruel. He served five years of hard time while fighting extradition.

      17 votes
  3. [4]
    balooga
    Link
    There’s a lot of legal technicalities going on here that I don’t really understand. Why is he allowed to go free after pleading guilty? Is that effectively a “time served” sentence? What other...

    There’s a lot of legal technicalities going on here that I don’t really understand. Why is he allowed to go free after pleading guilty? Is that effectively a “time served” sentence? What other caveats come with such a deal? Considering his US crimes were against the Obama administration, of which Biden was Vice President, I expect the current regime doesn’t particularly admire him either, so where is this coming from? And why was this filed in the Mariana Islands? Seems like a strange detail to me. Is is just because of geographic proximity to Australia for some reason, or is there another legal factor at play here?

    14 votes
    1. [2]
      RoyalHenOil
      Link Parent
      I have no clue if the Biden administration has anything to do with it. However, considering that Obama commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence from 35 years down to 7 years, I wouldn't be that...

      Considering his US crimes were against the Obama administration, of which Biden was Vice President, I expect the current regime doesn’t particularly admire him either, so where is this coming from?

      I have no clue if the Biden administration has anything to do with it. However, considering that Obama commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence from 35 years down to 7 years, I wouldn't be that surprised if Biden asked the Justice Department to go easy on Assange as well.

      One of the more interesting things I have observed about Biden is that he seems to publicly share intel a lot more than his predecessors did. It seems to me that Biden favors being more open with the public — or at least wishes to cultivate the appearance of being open — so being more forgiving of whistleblowers may another manifestation of this same philosophy (though, again, I have no idea if he actually had anything to do with this decision).

      25 votes
      1. LewsTherinTelescope
        Link Parent
        The article includes a quote saying "This was an independent decision made by the Department of Justice and there was no White House involvement in the plea deal decision", depending on how much...

        The article includes a quote saying "This was an independent decision made by the Department of Justice and there was no White House involvement in the plea deal decision", depending on how much stock you put in those sorts of statements.

        18 votes
    2. boxer_dogs_dance
      Link Parent
      His sentence is basically time served. I don't know anything more than the article.

      His sentence is basically time served.

      I don't know anything more than the article.

      12 votes
  4. [10]
    slashtab
    Link
    Happy to see sane comments here. I was on Mostodon and people aren't happy about this there. They think both Assange and Snowden are Russian spy and should be dealt with as such. I don't know much...

    Happy to see sane comments here. I was on Mostodon and people aren't happy about this there. They think both Assange and Snowden are Russian spy and should be dealt with as such. I don't know much but from what I can understand wikiLeaks is a good thing for humanity. I don't understand the Mostodon's public sentiment on this. What am I missing?

    10 votes
    1. [8]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      At first, Wikileaks did good things. Then they did many, many bad things over many years. see this thread for more I think the largest loss in all of this is that we don't get to see evidence in...

      At first, Wikileaks did good things. Then they did many, many bad things over many years. see this thread for more

      I think the largest loss in all of this is that we don't get to see evidence in court. Was Assange unfairly hounded? Dunno. He'll keep claiming it for sure.

      What was Assange guilty of? What specifics did the case concern? Was this an attack on the press? Dunno. We'll never know since it isn't going to court.


      Snowden and Assange have clearly, clearly served Russian interests (just ignore anyone who says otherwise. They're gaslighting you or haven't been paying attention). Have they been manipulated or been useful idiots, or have they actually been spies? That's a lot harder to get substantive about.

      It'd be strange not to build animosity to the US when you're at the wrong end of the US apparatus and big stick.


      All in all, the compromise here seems pretty reasonable. Assange has had a large part of his life ruined in what amounts to incarceration/punishment in one form or another.

      It's hard to tell who's getting a good deal or not though.

      For those who sincerely believe a spy who's endangered assets and thousands of people by doxxing them for no reason, I totally understand drawing different conclusions and being upset.

      28 votes
      1. [7]
        vord
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I've heard about Assange's ties, but Snowden's? Last I heard his only real ties to Russia was that he was seeking asylum there, given the USA almost would have certainly disappeared him for the...

        I've heard about Assange's ties, but Snowden's? Last I heard his only real ties to Russia was that he was seeking asylum there, given the USA almost would have certainly disappeared him for the leak. Here was Snowden's inspiration, look what happened to him, and he worked extra hard to not disclose anything classified.

        And the only thing to really come of that since was that he was recently granted citizenship, which makes sense given he's been living there more than a decade.

        18 votes
        1. [6]
          DefinitelyNotAFae
          Link Parent
          It feels likely to me whether he started with ties, or has acquired them since, he's not getting Russian citizenship or asylum out of the goodness of Putin's heart. I have nothing concrete to base...

          It feels likely to me whether he started with ties, or has acquired them since, he's not getting Russian citizenship or asylum out of the goodness of Putin's heart. I have nothing concrete to base that ok other than vibes mind you, but I'm not feeling like those are wishy washy vibes.

          8 votes
          1. [3]
            vord
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            "He looks like a rapist, we should probably convict him of rape." Vibes ain't a great basis for a justice system. Putin may well have just granted it purely because it gives a nice nose-thumb to...

            "He looks like a rapist, we should probably convict him of rape." Vibes ain't a great basis for a justice system.

            Putin may well have just granted it purely because it gives a nice nose-thumb to the USA. He's letting a whistleblower live comfortably that did nothing wrong than make public what the NSA was doing. And there's also a non-0 chance that Putin just rubber-stamped a big-ass list of people seeking citizenship. I'm doubting Biden parses every single application from asylum seekers either.

            Watching the Frontline report is a good primer on this topic as a whole.

            19 votes
            1. [2]
              DefinitelyNotAFae
              Link Parent
              That's a pretty shitty read of my comment. Fuck that. Especially using rape. Double fuck that. I didn't say anything about the justice system and if you've ever read my posts, I'm not a...

              "He looks like a rapist, we should probably convict him of rape." Vibes ain't a great basis for a justice system.

              Putin may well have just granted it purely because it gives a nice nose-thumb to the USA. He's letting a whistleblower live comfortably that did nothing wrong than make public what the NSA was doing. And there's also a non-0 chance that Putin just rubber-stamped a big-ass list of people seeking citizenship. I'm doubting Biden parses every single application from asylum seekers either.

              Watching the Frontline report is a good primer on this topic as a whole.

              That's a pretty shitty read of my comment. Fuck that. Especially using rape. Double fuck that.

              I didn't say anything about the justice system and if you've ever read my posts, I'm not a pro-incarceration, pro-abuse of prisoners person.

              I do think that if someone gets asylum and citizenship in Russia with as high a profile as Snowden he's not getting rubber stamped. And even if asylum was "just" a fuck you to the US, you don't get citizenship there easily or for fun either, once again, especially with that profile. That doesn't say shit about criminality or what criminal outcome there should be if any. Maybe he "did nothing wrong" maybe not, I don't actually care. It's just very unlikely to me that Snowden got mass rubber stamped. By virtue of us knowing his name.

              13 votes
              1. vord
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                To go full meta, my reply was addressing nacho's line: I was calling out for evidence that Snowden was serving Russian interests. Nacho was implying that there is evidence on Snowden, and stating...

                To go full meta, my reply was addressing nacho's line:

                Snowden and Assange have clearly, clearly served Russian interests (just ignore anyone who says otherwise. They're gaslighting you or haven't been paying attention).

                I was calling out for evidence that Snowden was serving Russian interests. Nacho was implying that there is evidence on Snowden, and stating that anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar. But to the best of my knowledge, the only evidence of that is, as you point out, vibes.

                When it comes to whistleblowers and public opinion, propaganda is a very strong tool to get the general public to distrust the leaked information. Implying there are or were Russian ties without evidence is creating a propaganda narrative for the general public. It's irresponsible for random internet commentors, but it should be illegal for reputable news sources.

                "Russia loves when NSA whistleblowers blow" is absolutely not the same as "serving Russian interests". Is Putin leveraging a bit of publicity and/or trying to buy goodwill? Maybe. But all I've been able to find is wishy-washy hearsay propaganda vibe pieces which imply Putin did something beyond just sign some routine beuracracy. I would have expected a grand speech or something if that were the case...or not a two year wait.

                Snowden's name appeared without Kremlin comment in a Putin decree conferring citizenship on 72 foreign-born individuals.

                And Snowden's comment:

                "After two years of waiting and nearly ten years of exile, a little stability will make a difference for my family. I pray for privacy for them - and for us all."

                Should I have maybe picked a different crime then rape to highlight my point? Maybe. But my point stands either way. "She looks like a murderer." "He looks like he's up to no good." "They obviously download child porn." It's all about the court of public opinion....and when it comes to trusting whistleblower information, it's all about dragging their credibility through the mud. Part of the reason I picked rape is that it's one of those crimes where the justice system is especially wonky, much like whistle-blowing. The justice system doesn't give good justice to victims, the accused is automatically assigned a label by the general public (criminal, liar, deviant, enemy of the state, etc) and the actual outcome of any factual investigation doesn't really affect that label once its applied.

                24 votes
                1. Removed by admin: 2 comments by 2 users
                  Link Parent
          2. [2]
            TemulentTeatotaler
            Link Parent
            I think the charitable take is that he ended up in Russia with nowhere to go, and that whether he actively aids Russia his existence serves their goal of sowing dissent and undermining any U.S....

            I think the charitable take is that he ended up in Russia with nowhere to go, and that whether he actively aids Russia his existence serves their goal of sowing dissent and undermining any U.S. claim to moral superiority.

            Assange (who I'd argue has a strong case of being a Russian abetter, if not an asset) got him to go to Russia before looking for asylum in Bolivia. Given the forced landing of Evo Morales, that was perhaps a good choice.

            He's largely been irrelevant since then, afaik. Often critical of the surveillance state, but not positive about the Russian gov't in the way Tucker Carlson or others have been.

            Not especially critical, either, but seeing the treatment of not just Navalny but the threats to his family, it would be risking a lot to do so. A quick look suggests he was upset about the invasion.

            You can argue the morality of being of use while not actively aiding Russia. But you can also argue that he shouldn't be in this situation to begin with. If other countries offered him asylum, or (at least according to him) if he was allowed to have a fair trial, he may not be in Russia.

            So he stays in the only country willing to host him, and Russia gets to say, "Hey! Look at Cuba, look at Operation Condor, look at Laos or the fresh campaign to malign China in the Phillipines by fomenting distrust of Sinovac/PPE!" -- as a way of rationalizing that what they're doing is just real politik.

            Which sucks. You get the same people justifying or condemning atrocities based on their nationality, forming that international brotherhood of nationalists, and you get groups saying it was wrong when the U.S. did it, and wrong when Russia does it.

            15 votes
            1. DefinitelyNotAFae
              Link Parent
              I don't disagree, and my take was not one with any particular amount of judgement or any sort of American superiority involved. I think if you're getting asylum and citizenship in Russia when...

              I think the charitable take is that he ended up in Russia with nowhere to go, and that whether he actively aids Russia his existence serves their goal of sowing dissent and undermining any U.S. claim to moral superiority.

              I don't disagree, and my take was not one with any particular amount of judgement or any sort of American superiority involved. I think if you're getting asylum and citizenship in Russia when you're Snowden someone has decided that's valuable to give it to you. There's some level of obligation and ties going on there, whether it's literally just PR or once you're there you're stuck into it.

              Not sure if it was on tildes or elsewhere, but there was an article about a family that moved to Russia for its "conservative family values" and how restricted their lives were as immigrants without citizenship and how at risk they were if they spoke negatively about the country. That's the every day person's experience, and even they are beholden to the state from a PR lens.

              Tbh this is far more than I care about Snowden, but I wanted to make it clear I wasn't making any moral judgement or statement of his criminality or whatever. I would have explicitly stated so if I did.

              4 votes
    2. sparksbet
      Link Parent
      Worth noting that Mastodon's nature makes the takes you see very dependent on what instance you're on and who the others on that instance are following. What you see there is not reflecting some...

      Worth noting that Mastodon's nature makes the takes you see very dependent on what instance you're on and who the others on that instance are following. What you see there is not reflecting some single cultural consensus on Mastodon and there may be places where the consensus is the exact opposite of what you see.

      5 votes