Patterico's Pontifications


Snowden Participates in Pro-Putin Propaganda Piece

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:07 am


Appearing on a televised call-in program, Putin even took a video question from Edward Snowden, the American former intelligence contractor who revealed large-scale U.S. surveillance programs and has taken refuge in Russia. Putin greeted him as a fellow spy, saying, “We can talk one professional language.”

Snowden asked if Russia spied on its citizens the way he said the United States did. Putin denied it, saying that Russian eavesdropping is strictly controlled by the law.

Russia doesn’t spy on its citizens! And you can take that to the bank! Why, it’s as certain as the absence of Russian troops in Crimea before the referendum vote! What’s that? Putin admitted what?

President Vladimir Putin, who repeatedly denied Russian troops had entered Crimea before the March referendum there, changed his version of those events Thursday, telling the nation that they had indeed been there all along.

But the green-uniformed men observed in eastern Ukraine right now, storming buildings and raising the Russian flag, are not Russian, he said. “Those are local residents,” he said.

Snowden is being defended by his cronies, of course, as he was when he revealed information about our spying on China and Hong Kong. Remember that?

Greenwald said he would not have published some of the stories that ran in the South China Morning Post. “Whether I would have disclosed the specific IP addresses in China and Hong Kong the NSA is hacking, I don’t think I would have,” Greenwald said. “What motivated that leak though was a need to ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China.”

Today Greenwald says of Snowden’s participation in Putin’s propaganda-fest:

This is what is known as a “false choice” — Snowden must either go on a pointless suicide mission, or . . . participate in a dishonest piece of propaganda for Putin.

Many of Snowden’s fans are expressing disappointment. Have they been asleep for months?

P.S. I would have thought this is obvious but I’ll say it anyway: if Greenwald is actually saying this is not a false choice — i.e. that Snowden’s choices are 1) be a shill for Putin publicly or 2) be shipped back to the U.S. for trial — then why not say so openly and explicitly? “Sure, Snowden is helping out a worse abuser than we are, but hey, he has to.” Own it.

73 Responses to “Snowden Participates in Pro-Putin Propaganda Piece”

  1. Ding.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. He’s such a tool, and Snowden is too, Greenwald and the Assuange org, have been wrapped around volodya’s pinky since 2011,

    narciso (3fec35)

  3. In the United States spying on its citizens is strictly controlled by law, although some people may not trust the system, and full details may not be known, or were not always known.

    When Putin says spying in Russia is strictly controlled by law, he’s saying absolutely nothing, since he no doubt has laws on he books that authorize everything – except he’s probably lying anyway, and doesn’t comply with all the paperwork.

    I mean they kill and beat people up outside the law, too.

    And threaten people who wrote books with libel suits, so that Cambridge University Press cancelled a book:

    CloseSave this articleClick this to add articles to your Timekeeper reading list. Learn more »

    ..Karen Dawisha is a distinguished Russia expert, who for the past few years has been working on a book about the origins of modern Russian corruption, focussing particularly on the links between the ex-KGB, business and organised crime in St Petersburg in the early 1990s. I’ve read the manuscript (provisionally sub-titled: “How, why and when did Putin decide to build a Kleptocratic and Authoritarian Regime in Russia and what is its Future?” Without giving away the specific sizzling scoops it contains, I can say I found it admirable: lucid, incisive and devastating….But Mrs Dawisha’s publisher has got cold feet. She has just received this letter (posted in full below) from Cambridge University Press, saying that the legal risk of publishing the book is too great:

    “given the controversial subject matter of the book, and its basic premise that Putin’s power is founded on his links to organised crime, we are not convinced that there is a way to rewrite the book that would give us the necessary comfort.” …

    …We have no reason to doubt the veracity of what you say, but we believe the risk is high that those implicated in the premise of the book—that Putin has a close circle of criminal oligarchs at his disposal and has spent his career cultivating this circle—would be motivated to sue and could afford to do so.

    Even if the Press was ultimately successful in defending such a lawsuit, the disruption and expense would be more than we could afford, given our charitable and academic mission.
    President Putin has never been convicted for the crimes or activities which are outlined in the book, and we cannot be sure that any of the other named individuals or organisations have either.

    That the allegations may have been published elsewhere is no defence; re-publication of a libellous statement is still libel if it cannot be proven to be true.

    This happened even though Brtish libel law was changed not so long ago.

    Sammy Finkelman (28600b)

  4. That was no different than an Obama press conference.

    AZ Bob (533fbc)

  5. Putin plays Snowden and the West for the saps and suckers that we are. But it’s hard to sympathize with the state of things when we — in this era of Obama’s “Goddamn America” and a Nidal-Hasan-ized, IRS-ized/NSA-ized-drunk culture — are our own worst enemies.

    Mark (59e5be)

  6. I am shocked, shocked, at the scurrilous implication that a Russian Premier and KGB colonel would lie about spying on his citizens. Really, Patterico! Have you even looked into Putin’s eyes?

    nk (dbc370)

  7. One More Time: Snowden is a Russian spy. They turned him when he worked for the CIA. Catch a f****** clue.

    Glenn (647d76)

  8. Shocker, nk, but it does seem speaking truth to power, is limited somehow;

    narciso (3fec35)

  9. hey!

    ya gotta pay the rent, one way or another… everyone does.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  10. All this PC preciosity over Snowden’s ostensible ‘fifteen minutes’ is a dissipation of passion in effete umbrage.

    When you clean out the frat house at the end of the school year you’re going to break a few dishes.

    Let’s get real.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  11. Well, we know that Volodya would deal with these folks, rather expediciously;

    narciso (3fec35)

  12. In Russia, the law breaks you.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. My daughter told me this one:

    In Russia, the fool pities Mr. T.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. In Russia, TV watches you.

    nk (dbc370)

  15. I saw a hippie-era movie with James Coburn, “The President’s Analyst”. In one scene, the Russian tells Coburn that Russia is becoming more capitalistic and America more socialist and soon we’ll meet. Didn’t mention that our common bond would be authoritarianism.

    In Russia, authority is respected even when it is not respectable.

    nk (dbc370)

  16. Only one word describes the actions (all of them) of Snowden:


    askeptic (8ecc78)

  17. nk, TPA was a great movie.
    Don’t you think you should credit Jakov Smirnoff with that line (TV watches you)?
    And beware of TPC!

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  18. In Russia, the joke steals you.

    Of course I stole it, only I didn’t know it was from that Smirnoff. I stole all of them.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. Snowden has nowhere else to go so he has to make accommodation with Russia if he is to stay beyond the one year he is authorized at present.
    I hold all the reporters and editors and publishers who published the material Snowden borrowed from NSA as just as guilty as he is.
    Snowden is a whistle blower. So far all the press has been devoted to covering how much the government is spying on all the citizens and I haven’t seen a single report that his act burned any of our spies or our allies spies.

    Curt (bd5f4e)

  20. Comment by nk (dbc370) — 4/17/2014 @ 9:44 am

    What? Did you remember reading it on the bottom of a bottle of Silver?

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  21. Comment by Curt (bd5f4e) — 4/17/2014 @ 9:44 am

    If he’s a “whistle blower”, he would have given his files over to the NYT, or the House and Senate Intell Cmte’s, put them all up on the internet.
    As it is, he most likely shared them with both his Chinese hosts in Hong Kong, and now with his Russian hosts in Moscow.
    He’s a TRAITOR, and deserves to hang.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  22. I’m rootin’ for Putin!

    CrustyB (69f730)

  23. at least he’s not doing propagandings for a fascist freedom-hating whore like obama

    And that is very admirable.

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  24. I saw that. Very disturbing.

    carlitos (e7c734)

  25. Obumbler press briefing/Lie-orama… unexpectedly, he tells more lies.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  26. Anecdotal lies… WINNING!!!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  27. President sfb loves him the taste of Puttinesca.

    mg (31009b)

  28. Snowden is a whistle blower. So far all the press has been devoted to covering how much the government is spying on all the citizens and I haven’t seen a single report that his act burned any of our spies or our allies spies.

    Intelligence services are not going to make their damage assessments. That’s as silly a response as Greenwald’s “storming the Kremlin”. As far as Snowden being a whistleblower, what the little homo is blowing is hanging between his FSB’s handler’s legs and it’s not a whistle. Although it’s been called a skin flute. You know, I don’t think that it’s an accident or a coincidence that Bradley Manning is a perv and Snowden’s co-conspirator is Glenn Greenwald. I think there were very good reasons for denying homosexuals security clearances not all that long ago and we are now seeing what those reasons were.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. Intelligence services are not going to make their damage assessments *public*.

    nk (dbc370)

  30. Well no, I think Assuange has got him a handler, his attorney, Sarah Harrison,

    btw, the Donetsk story was ‘false but accurate;

    narciso (3fec35)

  31. Snowden is a whistle blower.

    Not so. A whistle-blower is someone who, in the course of his job discovers criminality and “blows the whistle” on it.

    Snowden has stated that he took the NSA contract with the premeditated intention of collecting as much information as possible and then disseminating it. That is what a SPY does.

    Now, askeptic calls him a traitor in all actions, and I have to quibble. He is guilty of many counts of: espionage, revealing classified information, and delivering classified information to a foreign power. Not to mention oathbreaking.

    But for “treason” Russia has to be the enemy and Snowden has to adhere to their side and give them aid and comfort. Up to now that hasn’t been clear. This video might be the first strong evidence of that.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  32. I left a third guess over at Instapundit — counter-disinformation by the West (it’s something Merkel’s post-Stasi would think up) in the propaganda war.

    nk (dbc370)

  33. Russia, and China, are our enemies – they do not have our best interests in mind, and do wish to do us harm both economically and politically.

    askeptic (8ecc78)

  34. Well it’s left unclear where it came from, Ukrainian nationalism, going back to Petlura and Bandera, is complicated to say the least,

    Yabotinsky, the founder of Likud ideology, grew up in Odessa, and that framed his attitudes,

    narciso (3fec35)

  35. the fact that Snowden shared information with those who explicitly anti American, Poitras (who was once suspected of knowledge about an attack on US forces in Iraq) Greenwald, Gellman, does suggest something,

    narciso (3fec35)

  36. Not that the Poles and the Russians did not hate Jews, but the Cossacks were the biggest Jew-haters of all in that region.

    nk (dbc370)

  37. R.I.P. Gabriel García Márquez

    Icy (164b9c)

  38. Everything the NSA said in the immediate aftermath about ALL of Snowden’s revelations was later revealed and admitted to be lies. So how exactly was he not a whistle blower? He turned the information over to journalists who suffered no home and no foul from releasing it into the wild so why don’t you consider that a crime?

    No. The real deal is that he exposed them all for violating the U.S. Constitution in every particular and they suffered from it. They hate him for it. Me, not so much. His revealed no sources that I know of.

    Curt (bd5f4e)

  39. Much of what Agee revealed was true, however it wasn’t for the goodness of his heart, the KGB’s liason with the DGI had recruited him,

    narciso (3fec35)

  40. Snowden took an oath that he would not do something, and was planning to do it as he said the words. That oath had penalties for violation. Serious, throw your ass in prison for a long time, penalties. ANd he spent every hour on the job violating that oath.

    Some of the stuff that has been revealed probably should get some NSA folks arrested. The revelations about the IC spying on everyone and its extent are important, and IF THEY HAD COME FROM A WHISLE-BLOWER, rather than some cover-release from a spy, it would be a good thing.

    But Snowden collected a lot of information, on a lot of programs. Some of it had to do with the legitimate intelligence gathering of the US government. He has released this, as well, to the public, and, one presumes, to the Russians. He says he is holding other stuff back, but if he is holding it back from the Russians, I’d be very surprised. I mean, he appears to still have his eyeballs and all his other parts.

    His primary mission was to collect as much info as possible, not just on domestic surveillance, but on all NSA activities. He took the job with this in mind. He’s a spy. And probably the most damaging one ever. If he comes home, he’ll be executed, and rightly so.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  41. The NSA is apparently unable to overhear the Russians and their planning in Ukraine. Anyone want to guess why?

    Kevin M (b11279)

  42. they probably need a bigger budget bless their hearts

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  43. Well that’s slightly different, they ignored the troops massing on the border with Crimea,

    narciso (3fec35)

  44. “Pitting Obama against Putin is like pitting a French Poodle against a pit bull… guess who’s gonna win.”

    – Col. Ralph Peters

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  45. 29. I think there were very good reasons for denying homosexuals security clearances not all that long ago and we are now seeing what those reasons were.

    Comment by nk (dbc370) — 4/17/2014 @ 4:38 pm

    Homosexuals weren’t denied security clearances because they could be blackmailed.

    The were denied security clearances because, which was a good thing from the Soviet/Eastern bloc perspective, they didn’t need to be. They didn’t want people who had to be forced to spy for them. They wanted willing partners. And they had psychological profiles of who that might be. This isn’t to say that every gay or lesbian individual was willing to sell out the country. But it was more productive for them try to figure out who the likelier candidates were and then mine that vein.

    Bradley Manning’s online chats with Adrian Lamo about why he did what he did are classic.

    Steve57 (078ed2)

  46. 43. Comment by Kevin M (b11279) — 4/17/2014 @ 6:41 pm

    The NSA is apparently unable to overhear the Russians and their planning in Ukraine. Anyone want to guess why?

    They can’t break the codes.

    Also, they know what sorts of things the NSa does what their capabilities are.

    Snowden is not the reason Russia knows. He didn’t know all that, either.

    Snowden is the cover story.

    Sammy Finkelman (caf2ab)

  47. 43.The NSA is apparently unable to overhear the Russians and their planning in Ukraine. Anyone want to guess why?

    Comment by Kevin M (b11279) — 4/17/2014 @ 6:41 pm

    I would say this is a clue.

    G20 summit: NSA targeted Russian president Medvedev in London

    …The document, leaked by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian, shows the agency believed it might have discovered “a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted”.

    …Medvedev arrived in London on Wednesday 1 April and the NSA intercepted communications from his delegation the same day, according to the NSA paper, entitled: “Russian Leadership Communications in support of President Dmitry Medvedev at the G20 summit in London – Intercept at Menwith Hill station.”

    …The report says: “This is an analysis of signal activity in support of President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to London. The report details a change in the way Russian leadership signals have been normally transmitted. The signal activity was found to be emanating from the Russian embassy in London and the communications are believed to be in support of the Russian president.”

    Steve57 (078ed2)

  48. America is not a French poodle, Haiku. We can slap Russia down so hard it bounces. Starting by cutting off all trade and travel to and from the US, and freezing all the assets of the oligarchs. Step two, lift the export ban on natural gas and increase our production by allowing fracking to let the EU know they can buy from us instead of Russia. Contain and isolate. Selectively use the threat of trade sanctions on other coutries to cut off other essentials to Russia. (The White House might have to go without caviar.) In a year, Russian troops will be needing to grow their own food like they did under Yeltsin. It was total foolishness to think that Russia was not going to be a barbaric, treacherous oligarchy after the fall of Communism. When was it ever not a barbaric, treacherous oligarchy?

    nk (dbc370)

  49. As far as Snowden being a whistleblower, what the little homo is blowing is hanging between his FSB’s handler’s legs and it’s not a whistle. Although it’s been called a skin flute.

    Jeez, nk. Don’t you sometimes imply that I evoke “GLBT” matters a bit too frequently or inappropriately? However, in this age of PC lunacy and tolerance for tolerance’s sake — with tears for hope-and-change like same-sex marriage washing all over the land — I don’t mind your flippancy.

    Mark (59e5be)

  50. Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 4/17/2014 @ 5:06 pm

    Yabotinsky, the founder of Likud ideology, grew up in Odessa, and that framed his attitudes,

    I’ve only seen his name spelled Jabotinsky, with a J.'ev_Jabotinsky

    Of course in any language other than English that would be pronounced with a Y sound (except maybe spanish which has its own peculiarties)

    Wikipedia has also ז’בוטינסקי‎; in Yiddish – witha zayin or Z sound – maybe that apostropher makes it into a DZ – more often they did daled zayin but orthographers I guess settled on something that nobody ever used.

    Also: Vladimir Yevgenyevich Zhabotinsky or Влади́мир Евге́ньевич Жаботи́нский. Benjamin Netanyahu’s father was close to him.

    His big campaign point (usually) was that Jews could defend themselves. This was in the context of Russian pogroms circa 1903.

    Sammy Finkelman (caf2ab)

  51. It’s not flippancy, Mark. Rule 13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

    nk (dbc370)

  52. Kevin M, Snowden didn’t take any oath. What gave you the idea that he did? Even if he did is he to be any more bound by it then men like Obama who really did take an oath, hand on a bible, to uphold the laws of the United States and then didn’t?

    Curt (bd5f4e)

  53. Edward is a cool guy I really like him a lot

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  54. it must be so hard to have to seek refuge in another country for so the fascists won’t get you, knowing you’ll probably never see your dentist again your whole life

    happyfeet (8ce051)


    I’d pay money to watch and hear algore pronounce “despicable”.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  56. of course he did to the NSA, and previously to the CIA; Agee, Ames, Nicolson, Hamilton, et al,

    narciso (3fec35)

  57. What happened to the pole dancer? I’m betting she was just window dressing.

    nk (dbc370)

  58. No argument with the idea Russia and China are mortal enemies, I’m just wondering why the US isn’t included in that club.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  59. 61. He says Americans play monopoly and Russians play chess, but the truth is Putin is playing poker, and before he makes animportant mov, sounding out President Obama to see if he understands the value of tghe cards he holds

    Obama doesn’t, but he might play it accidentally, so Putin proceeds cautiously, locking in his gains. So if he loses the next round, he’ll only lose what he went after that time.

    Sammy Finkelman (caf2ab)

  60. you’ll probably never see your dentist again your whole life

    Especially in Russia.

    Kevin M (b11279)

  61. Edward Snowden in the Guardian, Friday 18 April 2014 00.06 EDTL

    Vladimir Putin must be called to account on surveillance just like Obama

    I questioned the Russian president live on TV to get his answer on the record, not to whitewash him

    On Thursday, I questioned Russia’s involvement in mass surveillance on live television. I asked Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a question that cannot credibly be answered in the negative by any leader who runs a modern, intrusive surveillance program: “Does [your country] intercept, analyse or store millions of individuals’ communications?”

    I went on to challenge whether, even if such a mass surveillance program were effective and technically legal, it could ever be morally justified.

    The question was intended to mirror the now infamous exchange in US Senate intelligence committee hearings between senator Ron Wyden and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, about whether the NSA collected records on millions of Americans, and to invite either an important concession or a clear evasion. (See a side-by-side comparison of Wyden’s question and mine here.)

    Clapper’s lie – to the Senate and to the public – was a major motivating force behind my decision to go public, and a historic example of the importance of official accountability.

    In his response, Putin denied the first part of the question and dodged on the latter. There are serious inconsistencies in his denial – and we’ll get to them soon – but it was not the president’s suspiciously narrow answer that was criticised by many pundits. It was that I had chosen to ask a question at all.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  62. Snowden’s claim: if we are to test the truth of officials’ claims, we must first give them an opportunity to make those claims.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  63. shirley, he can’t be serious;

    narciso (3fec35)

  64. 56. it must be so hard to have to seek refuge in another country for so the fascists won’t get you, knowing you’ll probably never see your dentist again your whole life

    Comment by happyfeet (8ce051) — 4/17/2014 @ 11:18 pm

    Apparently it wasn’t a hard call at all for Snowden to seek refuge with the Stalinist to avoid the fascists, Mr. feets.

    I don’t see why you find that all that admirable or likeable, Mr. feets. Especially because I don’t draw any distinctions between a fascist or a Stalinist.

    Maybe someday you can explain to me, Mr. feets, what’s the difference. And why being a willing tool for the Stalinist is the more admirable choice. Because there’s not doubt that’s what Snowden is.

    Not like I was confused on that point. At the beginning of the Eric Snowden saga, when it came to the question of whether or not he was hero or traitor the jury was still out.

    Then it became clear; traitor. “Privacy activist” whistleblowers just don’t leak to the Chinese what specific IP addresses in the PRC the NSA is monitoring because it’s associated with their hacking. Whistleblowers don’t publicly leak the fact that the NSA has discovered vulnerabilities in Russian leadership comms. Whistleblowers don’t leak the black budget to the world.

    You know who does that? An American traitor.

    The latest idiocy from Snowden. He publicly blew Putin’s whistle and apparently with enthusiasm to spark “public debate” in Russia about surveillance.

    Does everyone realize how stupid that it? Anybody that involves themselves in such a public debate could legally be prosecuted just for doing so. Because unlike our country, the Russians don’t have to lie and pretend there are safeguards against monitoring their citizens every text message, phone call, or email.

    That is the law. In Russia they have no civil liberties the government has to pretend it’s observing. They can legally monitor their activities. In fact, objecting to such monitoring constitutes a legitimate reason to be subject to it. Because if you weren’t doing anything wrong, the Russian courts have ruled, why would you object?

    Some hero, Snowden.

    Steve57 (0124e7)


    Russia to monitor ‘all communications’ at Winter Olympics in Sochi

    Exclusive: Investigation uncovers FSB surveillance system – branded ‘Prism on steroids’ – to listen to all athletes and visitors

    Shaun Walker in Moscow

    The Guardian, Sunday 6 October 2013 10.31 EDT

    Sammy Finkelman (ba30b8)


    …Adding to this controversy will be the fact that Russian prime minister Dimitry Medvedev signed into law a decree which, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, authorises the government to “collect telephone and internet data of the Games’ organisers, athletes, and others, with particular emphasis on journalists. The latter are mentioned twice in the decree”.

    A special clause in the decree singles out foreign news agencies and media outlets, while another clause deals with accredited journalists and photographers.

    Collection of metadata

    The legislation allows for the collection of a huge amount of metadata about the activities being carried out by journalists in Russia during the Games, including personal information, payment details and location data.

    The data will be available to the Federal Security Bureau (FSB) for up to three years.

    The collection of such metadata has become a major talking point in the last six months after documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed the NSA and GCHQ carry out widespread covert metadata collection programmes.

    Sammy Finkelman (ba30b8)


    Telephone and WiFi networks in the Black Sea resort city have been overhauled to allow unimpeded access for a surveillance system known as SORM, the Russian acronym for System for Operative Investigative Activities. SORM – initially developed by the FSB’s Soviet-era predecessor, the notorious KGB, to monitor telephone traffic – has been specifically updated for Sochi, the researchers say. It allows the FSB to monitor all phone calls, e-mails and Internet use, including encrypted traffic such as credit-card transactions. And it’s foreign visitors to the Winter Olympics who will be watched most carefully.

    Andrei Soldatov, one of the researchers who uncovered the surveillance effort, said the FSB appeared primarily focused on tracking what foreigners do and say in Sochi, rather than on intercepting the seemingly much greater threat posed to the Games by Islamist militants based nearby in Russia’s North Caucasus. He pointed out that the head of security at Sochi will be FSB deputy director Oleg Syromolotov whose specialty is counterintelligence, rather than counterterrorism.

    “These guys really believe that the biggest threat is posed not by terrorists but by foreign powers, or maybe spies,” Mr. Soldatov said in an interview conducted via Skype, which he said is – for now – the securest means of communicating since the FSB doesn’t appear to have access to Skype calls. That may not last long.

    Sammy Finkelman (ba30b8)

  68. Lets not grant patience and tolerance for sloth and timidity.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

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