Thursday, August 8, 2013

An Aside on Obama's Lame Purusit of Snowden

Edward Snowden recently released a bunch of classified documents to the world. The US now wants to arrest him for that egregious action, but Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum.  Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post reported that Obama was disappointed by Russia granting asylum to Snowden. In an unbecoming un-presidential hissy-fit Obama went on to cancel a proposed meeting with Putin.

Lost in the swirl of events is the hypocrisy of the Obama adminstration concerning asylum. To my knowledge, the US has not returned any defectors to the countries wanting them back to face prosecution for supposed crimes.  Techdirt has a very informative article: US Hypocrisy Exposed: Has A Long History Of Rejecting Extradition Requests.

I commented, as a response to that article, ""While not specifically a US incident, Jordan granted asylum to a Syrian pilot that "stole" a Syrian jet to defect to Jordan. Here is what the Obama administration stated according to CNN.

"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. (emphasis added)

"This is just one of countless instances where Syrians, including members of the security forces, have rejected the horrific actions of the Assad regime, and it certainly will not be the last."

So the Obama administration, on one hand, encourages the committing commission of illegal acts and claims that stealing and defecting is doing the right thing; but then when it comes to Snowden and Manning they claim that vile traitors traitorous acts were committed.

Particularly valuable was the comment by Andrew D. Todd who wrote: "The classic example of that kind of thing is Lieutenant Belenko, who was actually given American citizenship by a special act of congress, after defecting with a Soviet (Russian) Mig-25 fighter".

Wikipedia writes:  "His name became known worldwide on November 10, 1976, when he successfully defected to the West, flying his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 "Foxbat" jet fighter to Hakodate, Japan. This was the first time that Western experts were able to get a close look at the aircraft, and it revealed many secrets and surprises. His defection caused a lot of damage to the Soviet Union Air Force. Belenko was granted asylum by U.S. President Gerald Ford, and a trust fund was set up for him, granting him a very comfortable living in later years. The U.S. Government interrogated and debriefed him for five months after his defection, and employed him as a consultant for several years thereafter.  ... In 1980, the U.S. Congress enacted S. 2961, authorizing citizenship for Belenko. It was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 14, 1980, as Private Law 96-62." (emphasis added).

Bluntly, if the US grants asylum to traitors the US has no moral high ground on which to demand with inane gestures of exaggerated indignation that US "traitors" be returned to the US for prosecution.

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