Home > Uncategorized > The Snowden Question: If the West Doesn’t Give Refuge, Who Will?

The Snowden Question: If the West Doesn’t Give Refuge, Who Will?

As I have compared and contrasted before, the US can be particularly vicious and relentless, when it comes to hunting its “fugitives”, such as Bobby Fischer, etc..  And it really doesn’t matter how long Bobby Fischer went on the run, the US government doesn’t have much of a history of forgiving (unless you are an elite campaign contributor, which often will get your a presidential pardon).

And in this respect, I doubt very much that any Western nations are willing or capable of giving refuge to a man like Snowden.

UK has even gone to the length to ordering Air Lines to NOT fly Snowden to UK.  (Interesting, what if Snowden lands on the Falkland Island?)

But who can give refuge to “fugitives” from the West??

Many are poo-pooing the idea of Hong Kong giving Snowden refuge, saying that HK is not really independent.  True enough.  But deep down right now, there is a special kind of irony in HK, where many “Democracy” devotees are hoping and wishing that China will give mercy where the West would not.

Some online have snarkly asked, “when will China have its Edward Snowden?”

The answer is simple, China had plenty of Snowden-like figures, except none really leaked any thing remotely global and secretive and damaging as Snowden.

The West has made mockery and idolatry of people like Liu Xiaobo, CGC, etc., even made them into celebrities, with sensationalized escapes detailed in media.

YET, China has simply let most of them go after a while.  Many Pro-Democracy people even returned to China to do business, without the risks of being arrested.

HK particularly, harbors many persona non-grata from mainland China.  China does not go after them, even though they could technically.

Part of this is simply practicality.  China sees no point or value in going through all the troubles of global man hunt to bring back a few noisy activists, most of whom do not amount to much in the asylum of the West.

“Asylum”, aptly, a word that both describes a refuge and a mental hospital.

Political celebrities fade as easily as Hollywood celebrities.

That is a lesson that the West has not learned from China.  And a Democracy is no Democracy without mercy.

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  1. June 16th, 2013 at 21:44 | #1

    At this point, I’m not sure that the US would attempt to extradite him. If they force him to go through a formal extradition process, he’ll remain in the spotlight & give the US bad PR for quite a while longer. Needless to say, the longer he stays in the headlines, the more damage he’ll do. As long as the official extradition demand doesn’t come, neither the HKSAR nor mainland officials have any reason or right to bring him to custody.

    I think the more likely scenario is that the US will create an accident, or simply abduct & disappear him after the media heat dies down; the best course of action for China is to maintain constant surveillance on him – not exactly what he wanted, but hardly a surprising outcome.

  2. Arun96
    June 16th, 2013 at 22:20 | #2

    A very good piece on how the demonization campaign has been started by the U.S. media(at the behest of the Govt.) http://reason.com/blog/2013/06/11/the-demonization-machine-cranks-up-again

  3. Zack
    June 17th, 2013 at 05:20 | #3

    the ‘West’ forfeited its role as ‘figurehead of human rights and democracy’ when they started to persecute people like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and now, Edward Snowden.
    Dare i say it, but looks like the ‘West’ has its own fair and growing share of dissidents lol
    loved the article in the global times today:
    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/789238.shtml#.Ub7-nflmDts

    needless to say, many western media outlets are interpreting this oped as some form of CCP ‘stance’

  4. Black Pheonix
    June 17th, 2013 at 06:44 | #4

    One should keep in mind that US tends not to file “extradition requests” until they know they have the person in custody.

    There is actually no pending extradition request for Julian Assange, except from Sweden.

    And US didn’t request for extradition of Bobby Fischer, until Japan had him locked up in custody.

    This is a typical pattern of US, as far as how they really want to get someone.

    (1) US doesn’t use “extradition” to do “man hunts”. It’s too messy, bad PR, make the target into a folk hero, etc.

    (2) US does prefer to let others catch the target person, and then, file extradition. AFTER which, US doesn’t even care what happens to that person.

    The target person is forced to fight “extradition”, while isolated somewhere and unable to leave or move around.

    Bobby Fischer died in Japanese custody, after months of fighting extradition.

    Julian Assange is literally imprisoned in a small embassy building.

    *And that’s what US is again going for Snowden. US doesn’t want him back, not really.

    Just want to relentlessly hound him until he dies.

  5. pug_ster
    June 17th, 2013 at 18:01 | #5

    Edward Snowden says why he went to Hong Kong and not Iceland

    I had to travel with no advance booking to a country with a cultural and legal framework to allow me to work without being immediately detained. Hong Kong Provided that. Iceland could be pushed harder, quicker, before the public could have a chance to make their feelings known, and I would not put that past the current US administration.

  6. June 17th, 2013 at 22:29 | #6

    @Black Pheonix

    If that’s the case, Snowden might have to stay in HK for quite a while. Iceland would be a lot easier to pressure, whereas local & mainland authorities don’t look like they plan to detain him in anyway.

  7. Keith Munger
    June 18th, 2013 at 03:20 | #7

    snowden seems like a triple agent to me, but i think REAL whistleblowers should be given refuge. iceland is a joke and part of the imperialist mess. it’s not my idea of an independent state. i’d go to russia before i went to iceland.

  8. Black Pheonix
    June 18th, 2013 at 06:52 | #8

    @Mister Unknown

    Yes, HK is a good choice for him.

    China had a long history of leaving HK alone.

    Besides, China is not eager to spend any time or energy to help US or to help Snowden. Why bother?

    Snowden is like a little fish swimming around in a muddy pond of HK. Let US waste its time playing the game with Snowden.

    It’s a predictable tit-for-tat game now. More US throws the hissy fit, the more Snowden embarrass them in public by releasing more information.

    I’m sure China finds it all very amusing to watch.

  9. Black Pheonix
    June 18th, 2013 at 09:45 | #9

    @pug_ster

    Yes, his stated reasoning sounds very rational.

    He needed some place where he could go quickly without applying for a visa, and could stay for at least a few months without the visa.

    European nations are not good, because they are literally backyard of US. US would have little trouble in secretly sending agents, to coerce the local governments, to track down Snowden.

    HK was ideal, because it is the backyard of China. US wouldn’t risk pressuring HK too much, because that’s China’s political turf. And on top, HK is independent enough from China for Snowden to enjoy most of the amenities of home.

    Plus, HK’s weather is not that far different from that of Hawaii.

    Why would Snowden want to go to some icy snowy little cities in Iceland or Russia?

  10. Black Pheonix
    June 18th, 2013 at 12:24 | #10

    I saw this really sarcastic comment in reply to an article questioning why Snowden went to China, a place not known for “freedom”:

    The fact that Snowden went to China, suggests that “freedom” in US is not going well.

    *Well said.

  11. pug_ster
    June 18th, 2013 at 12:59 | #11

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/18/19024443-analysis-why-edward-snowden-isnt-a-whistleblower-legally-speaking#comments

    I love reading Western Propaganda of why Snowden is not a Whistleblower because of some idiotic technicality. This law only applies to government employees, not a contractor.

  12. Black Pheonix
    June 18th, 2013 at 13:19 | #12

    Other bizarre technicalities and logics like:

    (1) how a “secret” espionage program known to only select few people is actually “transparent” to Obama.

    (2) How designation of people/groups by “foreign-ness” is NOT in any way political targetting (which made a huge scandal in IRS cases recently), when nationality is not checked. So what’s “foreign-ness” based on? “Un-American” words or beliefs?

    I’m sure some will call me crazy, but “foreign-ness” sounds like a Newspeak for “Un-American activities”.

  13. Zack
    June 19th, 2013 at 05:38 | #13

    i couldn’t help but burst out laughing when i read John Bolton’s piece in the Guardian on how Snowden was a traitor because he gave Beijing ‘moral equivalency’ with the US. Thanks for stating the obvious, Bolton, but you’re still an idiot.

  14. Black Pheonix
    June 19th, 2013 at 06:25 | #14

    @Zack

    If Snowden could give “moral equivalency” to China vs. US, then Snowden might be a God, because I don’t think any 1 person could GIVE “moral equivalency” to any nation.

    If any thing, the NSA documents are genuine, and those documents (and the NSA programs) showed US’s true morality.

    Snowden didn’t create those documents or the PRISM program, he had nothing to give away to anyone.

    He only showed the hidden documents (and the hidden immoralities behind them).

  15. Black Pheonix
    June 19th, 2013 at 09:04 | #15

    On “moral equivalency”, the West would give “moral equivalence” of Snowden and Ellsberg to such “dissidents” as CGC, and LXB, for comparison purposes.

    Seriously, LXB wrote a ridiculous document for money received from West, and that’s the same as a guy who leaked a massive espionage program?

    CGC “exposed” what? He’s not even on par with Ralph Nader, and that’s the same as Snowden’s leak?

  16. Zack
    June 19th, 2013 at 13:50 | #16

    @Black Pheonix
    not to mention, even as a stooge, CGC flip flopped and wouldn’t play ball-and now that he’s being kicked to the curb by New York Univesity, he’s trying to raise as much fuss and cry to get his way.
    That fucker has to live with what he’s got like the rest of us, in fact the NYU professor who go him where he was said as much, that CGC was ‘being influenced by other people’ ahem ahem probably FLG, or some other anti china group

  17. Black Pheonix
    June 19th, 2013 at 21:31 | #17

    @Zack

    Also, Ai Weiwei wrote a post in Guardian recently, in regards to Snowden, and denounced US as “acting like China.”

    Talk about “moral equivalency” for REAL! That guy is just burning bridges left and right. Now who’s going to take him in?!

    *I have “moral equivalency” in general, because I find often that people who reach for “moral equivalency” as arguments are really talking about “moral absolutism”, where usually they are talking about themselves as the absolute moral right, and at the same time, for these people who want to discuss “equivalency”, they don’t really want to do any kind of DETAILED comparison to prove their notions of “equivalency”.

    In other words, they are absolutely correct, and they don’t want anyone challenging their assertions. They just want people to accept whatever BS “equivalency” they say.

    From that boatload of BS logic, come naturally things like “with us or against us” (another way of saying, “Me equal to right, They equal to wrong” moral equivalency).

    But I have seen enough radicals of all political inclinations making the same kind of arguments: To illustrate, Julian Assange equated all forms of government secrets as evil, and he had no problems with people dying as “collateral damages” to his leaks.

    “moral equivalency” inevitably pulls in all sorts of “moral collateral damages”, because LOTS of things are in the moral gray zone, even simple things like killing. (Not all forms of killing are necessarily wrong, some are even justifiable and necessary).

    Ultimately, no one has moral authority to answer any questions of morality, but everyone has the right to ask questions, and “moral equivalency” is just BS propaganda.

  18. June 20th, 2013 at 03:27 | #18

    @Black Pheonix

    *I have “moral equivalency” in general, because I find often that people who reach for “moral equivalency” as arguments are really talking about “moral absolutism”, where usually they are talking about themselves as the absolute moral right, and at the same time, for these people who want to discuss “equivalency”, they don’t really want to do any kind of DETAILED comparison to prove their notions of “equivalency”.

    It is the moral relativist that thinks he is always right and beyond reproach for he says essentially that no one has any right to criticise him or that his views are beyond any one else’s criticisms because they are always right *to him*. It is the moral absolutist (at least the decent ones) that says what is right is not what is relative to me but reality is the arbiter and that my views are subject to change once evidence is given from that reality. That is why I have more respect for absolutists. They are more sincere, more honest, more reasonable, more prone to accept reasoned criticisms without ducking behind the jargon and confusion of post modern jibberish and withdrawing behind a subjective mist of solipsistic denial of the world and everyone in it.

  19. June 20th, 2013 at 03:48 | #19

    @melektaus

    It is the moral relativist that thinks he is always right and beyond reproach for he says essentially that no one has any right to criticise him or that his views are beyond any one else’s criticisms because they are always right *to him*.

    Did I hear this right? The argument of “moral relativist” is not whether the relativist is right (or wrong), but to say, just because the absolutist think he is right (however he convinces himself he is right) does not per se make it right. Some moral relativist may also go as far to say there is never right or wrong (perhaps that’s what you are thinking about), but even there, it’s not about the relativist being right. It’s about admonishing the absolutist that he should not attack based soleley on the absolutist’s beliefs. It’s about a call to share for common / shared beliefs first. Criticisms should be based on common / shared beliefs. If it is not, then it is just shouting down another with one’s beliefs.

    I personally don’t subscribe to either absolutist or relativist view (I am agnostic whether the world is absolutist or relativist). Perhaps there are universal principles, perhaps not. Neither means much to me. However, as methodologies go, I start with being relativist, out of respect to the other side. I have seen too much of how bad can come from people who are absolutists (religious zealots, imperialists, etc.). Whether there is something absolute comes through discussions – empirically. If people start converging in views after discussions, perhaps there is a universal position. And if people start to diverge again, perhaps not. Absolutism should never be cited as a assumption, a pre-requisite, or the beginning of an argument. Even when there is an absolute something, it’s not important to reference it because that fact should not factor in the argumentation. If there is something universal, it would come forth as a result anyways. It would emerge from the discussion. It would be discovered – not imposed.

  20. Black Pheonix
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:28 | #20

    I would certainly admit that some moral absolutists do appear to be “honest”.

    But how of that is mere self-delusion, (lying to oneself), I don’t know.

  21. June 20th, 2013 at 21:53 | #21

    @Allen

    The argument of “moral relativist” is not whether the relativist is right (or wrong), but to say, just because the absolutist think he is right (however he convinces himself he is right) does not per se make it right.

    You have a very strange understanding of relativism and absolutism. In many ways, it’s exactly opposite from how these categories are commonly understood by philosophers (and probably laymen as well). In fact, a common criticism of relativism from the absolutist is precisely the argument that just because you think something is right or your culture deems it right does NOT make so.

    Absolutism OTOH does not say that just because he thinks it is right, it is right. That’s the *relativist* position. The absolutist is a realist. What is real determines what is right. The relativist says that he (or his culture), not a reality independent from any individual or cultural perspective, is the standard of truth and thus whatever he *thinks* is right or what his culture deems right, is right. See here

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/

    “Most often [moral relativism] is associated with an empirical thesis that there are deep and widespread moral disagreements and a metaethical thesis that the truth or justification of moral judgments is not absolute, but relative to some group of persons.

    Some moral relativist may also go as far to say there is never right or wrong (perhaps that’s what you are thinking about), but even there, it’s not about the relativist being right.

    Sorry but that’s not moral relativism. You could be thinking about either an error theory or a non cognitivist account of meta ethics.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-anti-realism/#ChaMorAntRea

    Moral relativism says that there IS right and wrong but that objective reality is not the standard to judge but individual (or cultural) perspectives are the standard.

    An error theorists says that moral claims makes claims about what is right and wrong but there is no objective moral reality and thus no true or false moral claims. The non cognitivist says that ostensible moral claims are not even moral claims. They don’t talk about what is right or wrong but express something else that are not “truth apt”.

    I personally don’t subscribe to either absolutist or relativist view (I am agnostic whether the world is absolutist or relativist).

    Personally, I share this view and see the world not as in only black and white but in many shades of gray too. But I am far closer to the absolutist in that I think there are far more things in common in human societies and that many (but not all) moral propositions have standards of truth or falsity that are beyond individual or cultural preference.

    However, I see many of the criticisms against modern behaviors of Chinese e.g. that are relativist and morever, irrationaly relativist which I argued for here. They don’t say that there is no right and wrong; they say that the behaviors I talked about are *right* or “correct* from only the Chinese perspective and that outside criticisers are *wrong* to criticize from another cultural perspective. However, if they truly believed in moral relativism, they would not have anything to say other than to say that everyone is right in their own way (including the imperial Japanese or American imperialism) and that it’s useless to argue because everyone is right. If they were error theorists or non cognitivists, they would say that no one is correct (or that everyone is wrong) in any kind of moral judgments.

  22. Black Pheonix
    June 21st, 2013 at 06:58 | #22

    @melektaus

    “However, if they truly believed in moral relativism, they would not have anything to say other than to say that everyone is right in their own way (including the imperial Japanese or American imperialism) and that it’s useless to argue because everyone is right.”

    I don’t think “moral relativists” have a problem with all manners of “moral relativism”, but rather have a problem with a fundamental error of logic.

    I would agree with you that perhaps even “imperialism” may be right according to their own morality.

    However, the “moral absolutism” in “imperialism” has an fundamental error of logic, which is that they don’t want the same “absolutism” applied back to them, to judge them.

    Hey, if the Imperialists want to rule themselves, fine. I don’t think “moral relativists” would care.

    But will they accept Other Imperialists ruling over them? If not, that’s rather “non-absolute”, a contradiction of their own logic, isn’t it?

    I mean, “moral relativists” are not here to suggest that even basic logic should be thrown out of the window.

  23. Black Pheonix
    June 21st, 2013 at 07:20 | #23

    So, I am somewhat “moral relativist” in my outlook on things, so I only represent why I criticize “moral absolutists”.

    I don’t question what they choose to believe as superior “moralities”. I only question why the superior moralities they espouse are not applied more equally across the board, to actually demonstrate the logic behind the superiority.

    For example, some of the expats, I don’t doubt that they believe in their sense of “freedom” and “democracy”. But it makes me doubt their own logic, when they choose to defend NSA’s snooping programs.

    The “moral relativist” in me thinks, OK, so you are “moral relativists” afterall, when it comes to yourself.

    I have no problem with that position in itself.

    I have a problem with a contradiction of logic (Do as I say, not as I do), which is NOT relative to any kind of “morality”.

  24. Black Pheonix
    June 21st, 2013 at 07:32 | #24

    And my “moral relativist” belief is that I don’t really know what my “morality” is, until I am tested.

    And it depends on the situation. So I can’t tell if some “morality” is right or wrong, because I don’t know if I really believe in any morality specifically.

    For example, is it wrong to kill if you are threatened? What if someone kidnaps your loved ones and then order you to kill someone else?

    Honestly, I don’t know, I have not been in those situations.

    I know I don’t spit on streets, but I did grow up in some environment where that might have been the habit or custom.

    So, how do I know that is wrong morally? (which is different than bad for health reasons).

    There are all sorts of other examples: Polygamy, a big one. Religions present all sorts of moralities that are just from books and stories.

    It’s fine that some want to say that they “believe” in those moralities. But I don’t think they really believe them until they are actually tested in real life.

    Especially against hard questions and hard realities.

    Do some really believe that homosexuality is a sin? Whatever their own sons and daughters come out of closet? Do they disown their kids for being “sinners”? (which is not what Jesus would have done). Do they accept it and compromise their own moralities?

    People find out their own “morality” when they are tested by life.

    James Fallows (and others) can write all the morality tales on paper, but he only REALLY demonstrate them when he is confronted by hard realities.

  25. June 21st, 2013 at 13:32 | #25

    @melektaus

    I find your pontificating puzzling and curious. You wrote in this comment that the relativist position start with the absolutist position that they cannot be wrong.

    It is the moral relativist that thinks he is always right and beyond reproach for he says essentially that no one has any right to criticise him or that his views are beyond any one else’s criticisms because they are always right *to him*

    I disagreed and refuted in this comment . You didn’t seem to understand what I wrote and repeated what you wrote again:

    You have a very strange understanding of relativism and absolutism. In many ways, it’s exactly opposite from how these categories are commonly understood by philosophers (and probably laymen as well). In fact, a common criticism of relativism from the absolutist is precisely the argument that just because you think something is right or your culture deems it right does NOT make so.

    I guess I have to repeat what I wrote again. The relativist position is not to defend his position by saying I say, therefore it is. I am relative to me. Prove everything relative to me. That’s the absolutist position. The relativist position is to say, hey don’t step over me with what you think is real, is correct, is ideal. Let’s accept the possibility that things are not absolute until proven or agreed to otherwise. That’s not truth per se. That’s just the methodology that respect demands. So let’s start with what we agree.

    You keep on citing reality. But what is reality? By using the word “reality,” you also presumed that there is a moral, ethical, or ideological truth. But is there? Again I am not saying there isn’t. But is there really? I see it as a mystery… And it’s certainly not very helpful to presume it when allegedly it’s at dispute. In this context, how can you prove moral truth except by referencing what’s in your head? We are not talking about science here, about things with hard measurements that can be repeated by anyone with proper training, about an objective truth that we can all submit to. We are talking about things we each believe in – that to an alien (non-human) – probably means nothing.

    You also cited this quote from another resource:

    “Most often [moral relativism] is associated with an empirical thesis that there are deep and widespread moral disagreements and a metaethical thesis that the truth or justification of moral judgments is not absolute, but relative to some group of persons.”

    I don’t disagree. And I believe this is what was reflected by my original statement. I don’t know how you read into it some error theory tangent.

    The argument of “moral relativist” is not whether the relativist is right (or wrong), but to say, just because the absolutist think he is right (however he convinces himself he is right) does not per se make it right. Some moral relativist may also go as far to say there is never right or wrong (perhaps that’s what you are thinking about), but even there, it’s not about the relativist being right.

    The first sentence maps to the “empirical thesis” part of your citation. Let’s discuss and see what “reality” emerge. The second sentence maps to the “metaethical thesis” part of your citation. When I wrote there is “never right or wrong” I don’t mean it in an absolute sense (which might justify your reading of error theory), but that there is no right or wrong without reference to some culture / paradigm / social norm / ideology / etc. It’s the “metaethical” of relativism if you must. And regarding error theory, depending on what strain we focus on, I find error theory to be just a sub-type of absolute framework – albeit of a nilhist, null, anti-positive type.

    To repeat, moral relativism is not about moral absolutism that there is an absolute moral system, or no absolute moral system. At its most basic, moral relativism, by not presuming a right position and respecting all cultures / paradigms / social norms / etc as valid starting points of inquiry, is about the process learning from each other, and letting the right or wrong emerge. Now some relativist may hold the presumption of moral relativism into a positive and come up with a theoretical truth that truth can only be relative to cultures, that there is no independent right and wrong. Perhaps you can say this is a sort of absolutism – but you are stretching word. It is declaring a universal truth – unlike Einstein’s relativity – that all truths / measurements are relative. But it is a rebuttable truth – a theory. When there is truth that emerges from all cultures / peoples/ paradigms, even relativist will say I think we may have discovered a fundamental universal truth. But critically, the veracity of the truth is built on the convergence of many relativist positions into one, not because there is a truth that can be deduced from just the perspective of one culture / people / social norm / paradigm.

  26. June 21st, 2013 at 15:59 | #26

    To follow up further on my previous comment , one might ask, why should we start out the truth discovering process by referencing the disparate outlooks (truth if you will) of each culture / social norm / paradigm / ideology / perspective? Perhaps no one has yet understood truth – and reference such knowledge is the wrong place to start.

    I definitely allow for that. You ain’t going to discover Einsten’s theory of relativity by taking a poll of all the wiseman of the middle ages, for example.

    So eventually we do have to fall back on a world view. What are we talking about? Ethics, morality, principles, philosophy, outlooks on life, ideology, social norms ….

    For these things, I think the proper place is with individual perspectives and culture outlooks. I admit relativism has to be grounded in worldviews such as this. I suppose since we are talking about worldviews, you can call that absolutist…?

  27. Black Pheonix
    June 21st, 2013 at 17:52 | #27

    On morality, (defined generally as system or doctrine of moral conduct), I think there is a tendency of the “moral absolutists” to think of “morality” as purely in the abstract, like a pure ideal, even if in practice, that moral code is not being practiced prominently.

    Hence, there is a risk that “morality” effectively degenerates down to impractical theories on paper, rather than some thing actually useful to guide human behaviors.

    Thus, why talk about some code of moral superiority in the West, when in practice, the morality is not well correlated to good behavior, or the people in the West actually don’t practice it prominently? Would that sort of theoretical talk of morality help anyone else? Not really.

    Similarly, “Democracy” is a great theory (as was Communism), but do they actually work like the theories?? If not, what’s the point of absolutism on such principles?

    I find it equally unsatisfying hearing Conservatives constantly droning on about “American Traditional Values”.

    Seriously, who knows what those “traditional values” actually were? I doubt the Founding Fathers knew. So are the Conservatives just making stuff up as they go along? It certainly feels like it.

    Bible contains a collection of “morality”, some would prefer them in the Absolute, but which version of the Bible?? Who really knew what those Biblical moralities were? Pope, or King James, or the Mormans? Sure they might share some commonalities, but I think even those commonalities are superficial, there are lots of differences underneathe.

    *If one wants to point to some REAL hard differences, let’s just look at the political deadlock in US politics today.

    That’s the REAL symptom of the differences of fundamental moralities of different groups showing up, even among those who thinks they have some commonalities.

    Why couldn’t they focus on their commonalities? I think it is obvious that it is because all the groups are adamant about their “absolute” moral values as being the correct one.

    Such moral absolutism do degenerate down to more than just arguments over priorities. It’s the argument over “who is the absolute right” and “who is the absolute wrong”.

  28. June 21st, 2013 at 18:45 | #28

    @Allen

    You seem to be just repeating yourself. You stated that

    The argument of “moral relativist” is not whether the relativist is right (or wrong), but to say, just because the absolutist think he is right (however he convinces himself he is right) does not per se make it right.

    But as I’ve showed, that is what the relativist thinks (that what is morally right is what he or anyone else thinks is right or what is right is what his culture deems right), not the absolutist. That’s the definition of relativism. The moral absolutist thinks what is right is not what he or anybody thinks is right but the facts independent of what anyone thinks or what anyone’s culture that makes things right. But you offer no rebutal, merely a restatement of what you had already said based on the same errors confusing the two categories.

    You also said that some moral relativists do not ascribe any kind of moral rightness or wrongness. Again I showed with the link to the stanford philosophy encyclopedia that this is a misunderstanding of what moral relativism is. You have essentially conflated (which is a common confusion) a moral error theory (or some kind of a non cognitivist theory, you did not specify enough to express which exactly) with moral relativism.

    The relativist position is not to defend his position by saying I say, therefore it is.

    No, the relativist says something like “what anyone thinks is right is right (and wrong, wrong)” or in the case of cultural relativists “what my culture deems is right is right (and wrong, wrong). So again, I offer the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. please take the time to read it.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/

    But is there? Again I am not saying there isn’t. But is there really? I see it as a mystery… And it’s certainly not very helpful to presume it when allegedly it’s at dispute.

    Isn’t everythinmg a mystery? But how does that help anything? First of all, just because everything is a “mystery” doesn’t mean we are doomed to ignorance. We know somethings and not others (and something we know quite well) because we have some evidence in varying strengths. So ultimately we may not have certainty but who assumes the necessity of certainty for knowledge? Certainly not philosophers and scientists. Yes, I do believe in reality. And the belief (justified) in the existence of reality is what underlies and what makes possible almost all common sense and scientific and philosophical deliberation.

    You keep on citing reality. But what is reality? By using the word “reality,” you also presumed that there is a moral, ethical, or ideological truth. But is there?

    well, yes, if you are a scientists, philospher or a normal person you assume the existence of reality and moreover, you have overwelming evidence of its existence. It is only a very few solispsist that deny it. Surely you are not claiming allegiance to this narrow band of radical skepticists?

    I don’t disagree. And I believe this is what was reflected by my original statement. I don’t know how you read into it some error theory tangent.

    Again, you are clearly misunderstooding the basic gist of the argument both I am making and the link shows. The link says that the *relativist* standard of truth is himself (or his culture). What he thinks is right is right. But you said that that is the absolutist position which is why I said you got thinks exactly backward. Again, I quote you.

    The argument of “moral relativist” is not whether the relativist is right (or wrong), but to say, just because the absolutist think he is right …does not per se make it right.

    You say that is what the *absolutist* say is right is what is right but that is essentially the relativist position (again, see the link). Then you ascribe the relativist as making against the absolutist is actually a common charge the absolutist makes against the relativist (that just because you assert or think something is right doesn;t make it right. what makes it right is some fact beyond you or anyone).

    So let’s no go around in circles not understanding the basic argum,ent shall we?

    I don’t mean it in an absolute sense (which might justify your reading of error theory), but that there is no right or wrong without reference to some culture / paradigm / social norm / ideology / etc.

    This is not clear to me. Please elaborate. I don’t know what an “absolute” reading of error theory is. Again, maybe you have in mind a different meaning of ‘absolute’ than I do (or as it is common used in these kinds of debates)?

    Again, to repeat, the argument you said that one argument the relativist makes against the absolutist is that just because the absolutist says or thinks something something is right, doesn’t make it right. But as I’ve shown, that is what the absolutist commonly argues against relativists. That is why I said you seem to understand things exactly backwards from how these categories are understood in philosophy and among common debates with this area.

    It is declaring a universal truth – unlike Einstein’s relativity – that all truths / measurements are relative.

    “all truths/measurements are relative”? Sorry but that is not what Einstein said nor is it what his theory of relativity says nor implies. So you have misunderstood his theory of relativity to boot. The TR depends on the assumption and implies that the speed of light is a constant for all observers (thus not relative to observers) which Einstein and most working physicists today think is universally true.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_relativity#Special_relativity

    Concepts introduced by the theories of relativity include:


    The speed of light is nonetheless invariant, the same for all observers.

    Special relativity is based on two postulates which are contradictory in classical mechanics:

    The laws of physics are the same for all observers in uniform motion relative to one another (principle of relativity).


    The speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of their relative motion or of the motion of the source of the light.

    The theory also assumes and implies many other universal (absolute) truths that are the same for all observers. For example, that particles have definite position (it is thus still a classical theory as opposed to a quantum theory). See the wiki

  29. June 22nd, 2013 at 05:44 | #29

    @melektaus

    I guess we are not going anywhere. You think I have a funny way of looking at things or are misunderstanding things and I think you are the one who is funny and who is misunderstanding things. I will end here. But I will point to your last point about Einstin’s relativity to point out how ridiculous our going in circle is.

    In response to my writing comment 25:

    Now some relativist may hold the presumption of moral relativism into a positive and come up with a theoretical truth that truth can only be relative to cultures, that there is no independent right and wrong. Perhaps you can say this is a sort of absolutism – but you are stretching word. It is declaring a universal truth – unlike Einstein’s relativity – that all truths / measurements are relative. But it is a rebuttable truth – a theory. When there is truth that emerges from all cultures / peoples/ paradigms, even relativist will say I think we may have discovered a fundamental universal truth.

    You choose to focus on this

    It is declaring a universal truth – unlike Einstein’s relativity – that all truths / measurements are relative.

    and then go off pontificating on a tangent about Einstein’s special relativity to the readers and me.

    Besides the fact that I don’t need to learn physics here, did you actually read what I wrote? I was making an analogy. Some moral relativist (e.g. of the first variety I and the stanford citation you quoted provided) take relativism empirically (look around, there are differences, let’s respect them) while some others (the second type I and the Stnaford quote provided) might take it as a religion (e.g., normatively, “metaethically”) – as a universal truth.

    Then I analogized how the second type is like someone purporting theory of relativity (an alleged universal truth, a theory of universal truth) that all facts (i.e. all measurements) must be made relative to one’s own framework. Note the difference – one is empirical, one is a law / norm that is deemed universal. That is the point of the analogy, and it is still a good one despite your puzzling attempt to argue that just because the special theory of relativity (your focus) postulates speed of light to be constant across all inertial frames, relativity is somehow not about relativity.

    In the case of special relativity, you can actually derive why measurements of length and time and mass would appear to be relative based on the postulate that speed of light is presumed constant. The fact that measurements are relative across inertial frames and that speed of light is constant in all frames are corollaries of the same thing. There are no inconsistencies there.

    To push the universal and relative aspect of the analogy further, consider that the general theory of relativity predicts (it no longer takes constant speed of light as a postulate, on faith, as in special relativity) that the speed of light (in a vacuum) is constant across all frames (inertial or not). Of course, to verify that universality, researchers need to take various relative measurements (i.e. measurements taken in various frames). In the case of relativity, the ultimate success of a “universal law” rests on the relative truths we observe in reality (i.e. measurements taken in one or the other frame; yes, all measurements must be taken in the context of a frame, thus all measurements are relative). You might argue that by truth we should be talking about the universal laws, the theories, not relative measurements, but that is not the scientific view of the world; truth is in the measurements, scientific theories are but hypotheses that must be tested against facts, i.e. repeatable measurements. In the case of relativity, that means the universal truths are but theories, and they must be tested against reality, which can only be relative.

    So much for a detour from what is a one-line analogy. It’s such a labored bogged down process whenever we discuss anything touching on universal truth. I am surprised you expend so much energy trying to prove that somehow I am wrong. Seems like you are more interested in pinning me down than having a discussion with me while I am trying to have a discussion … , which is weird and fruitless given I already told you I am not interested in the absolutist vs. relativist way of looking at the world – and given that there are no commonly agreed and robust definitions of relativism anyways (that stanford resource provided at the very beginning “Moral relativism has the unusual distinction—both within philosophy and outside it—of being attributed to others, almost always as a criticism, far more often than it is explicitly professed by anyone”, and I am certainly not interested in refuting the vagaries of what others attribute to relativism; I am only interseted in articulating my views which you characterize as relative)… No wonder we have been going in circles.

    For the readers who are bored from this (don’t blame you), please keep the big picture in mind. I don’t like the term moral absolutism vs. moral relativism because there are a lot of baggage inherent of worldviews and definitions and epistemolgoical qualificiations what nots. I have not found the literature insightful. I noted this already in my original comment.

    In figuring out whether there is a moral absolute truth (and I have never argued that there is none per se, as I also indicated at the beginning of this discussion), think about what morality is. What is the source of knowledge here? Is it like music (is there a universal truth in music, say rock is more “truthful” – e.g. get more at the soul – than classical?)? Is it like beauty (in the eye of the beholder)? Is it like ideology (are there ways of looking at the world, at history, at power, at governance that is universal across all times for all people)? Is it like mathematics (is it a tool for understanding and perhaps even molding the real world or a human endeavor at studying, formulating, and manipualting deductions and postulates?)? Is it like biology or physics (is the understanding about the external world, and is the understanding objectively testable?)? Your answer to these questions and questions like these will inform how what the source of knowledge for morality is (as I touched on in comment #26) and hopefully how you would approach the discussion above.

  30. June 22nd, 2013 at 18:14 | #30

    @Allen

    I’m getting exasperated with this. You are right about one thing. We are going around in circles. But the reason we are is the issue.

    You said

    and then go off pontificating on a tangent about Einstein’s special relativity to the readers and me.

    I find this incredibly insincere. It was you, not me, that went off on a tangent about Einstein’s theory of relativity. You explicitly said that the TR showed that “all things/measurements are relative” which is false as I’ve shown.

    Why did you bring up the TR? Did you really expect to impress me or throw me off with that red herring? I actually have an understanding of 20th century physics. Einstein never said his theory implies that everything is relative. In fact, it implies and depends on many things that are absolute (speed of light, e.g.). The TR says nothing about meta ethical issues. It does not even say much about many areas of physics (quantum theory, e.g.) never mind all truths/ measurements in philosophy or other sciences. This needs to move on.

    Besides the fact that I don’t need to learn physics here…

    Some moral relativist (e.g. of the first variety I and the stanford citation you quoted provided) take relativism empirically (look around, there are differences, let’s respect them) while some others (the second type I and the Stnaford quote provided) might take it as a religion (e.g., normatively, “metaethically”) – as a universal truth.

    I have no gripe with those that take “relativism” empirically. I do have a gripe with those that misunderstand and confuse what I have said about relativism thinking that it is absolutism and thinking that absolutism is relativism. These categories are used in certain ways in normal debates about meta ethics. As I’ve showed, a common objection from the absolutist against the relativist is that the relativist thinks whatever is right depends on individuals or cultures judging it to be right when moral rightness and wrongness cannot be that fickle. That is a common objection but you essentially said that this is an objection from the relativist against the absolutist which does seem to get things exactly backward. This is likely due to a misunderstanding of what I meant by relativism and absolutism (I was using the term as most philosophers or laymen, not anthropologists who tend to use it in the empirical meaning) use the term.

    So let’s not assume we understand each other before we actually do. You assumed that you understood my usage of these two categories when you were likely thinking about something completly different (I still don’t know exactly what).

    And as to the rest of your post, why are you still going off on a tangent about Einstein’s relativity theory? What has that got to do with moral relativism? If it is an analogy, it is a poor one. Like I said, it doesnt even suggest anything about all truths/measurements in physics being “relative” never mind all truths.

    In the case of relativity, that means the universal truths are but theories, and they must be tested against reality, which can only be relative.

    This makes absolutely no sense to me.

  31. June 22nd, 2013 at 23:55 | #31

    @melektaus

    I find this incredibly insincere. It was you, not me, that went off on a tangent about Einstein’s theory of relativity.

    And I find you are the one who’s insincere. See comment #28 for how you first started the tangent. I made a one-line anaology, but it was you who then proceeded to expand on it and lecture about physics (quoting and boldfacing some wiki entry on special relativity) and how I got the physics and analogy wrong. You really ought to read my response to your comment more carefully. It’s not that hard.

    Why did you bring up the TR? Did you really expect to impress me or throw me off with that red herring? I actually have an understanding of 20th century physics. Einstein never said his theory implies that everything is relative. In fact, it implies and depends on many things that are absolute (speed of light, e.g.). The TR says nothing about meta ethical issues. It does not even say much about many areas of physics (quantum theory, e.g.) never mind all truths/ measurements in philosophy or other sciences. This needs to move on.

    If you do understand physics and philosophy as you claim, my response would not have been so cryptic to you.

    I have no gripe with those that take “relativism” empirically. I do have a gripe with those that misunderstand and confuse what I have said about relativism thinking that it is absolutism and thinking that absolutism is relativism.

    I have no gripe with people articulating their perspective in general. I do however with people who pompously (and falsely, as the case may be) pontificate, thinking everyone else is wrong, with themselves so smart and knowing everything.

    So let’s not assume we understand each other before we actually do. You assumed that you understood my usage of these two categories when you were likely thinking about something completly different (I still don’t know exactly what).

    Please take a look at the mirror. In my comments, I have said the same to you, albeit in a more polite way.

    And as to the rest of your post, why are you still going off on a tangent about Einstein’s relativity theory? What has that got to do with moral relativism? If it is an analogy, it is a poor one.

    My perspective on moral relativism does not arise from physics. So in that sense the relativity theory is unimportant. However, my perspective on moral relativism also does not depend on English. Yet we are typing in English. I find the relativity theory a good vehicle to communicate my points – especially given the many confusions you seem to show above.

    In the case of relativity, that means the universal truths are but theories, and they must be tested against reality, which can only be relative.

    This makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Again if you just take the words you quoted, narrowly focus on a passage without understanding the rest, you may be confused. But if you read everything (hint: re-read the paragraph of the quote you cited; I have already taken the time to make it short), it shouldn’t be that hard. Really.

  32. June 23rd, 2013 at 00:23 | #32

    @Black Pheonix

    And my “moral relativist” belief is that I don’t really know what my “morality” is, until I am tested.

    That is very true. Human condition is complex. When discussing things in the abstract, with one set of experience, we may see things one way. But when faced with a different set of experience, different priorities arise. Things that used to be out of focus come in focus and vice versa. What you were certain was right, can quickly become less so.

    Morality relativism – if it exists – may apply not just across space (culture, people, paradigms, societies) but also across time (each as each develops)….

  33. Zack
    June 23rd, 2013 at 02:13 | #33

    Accroding to the HK authorities, Snowden may have already left HK, and indeed informed the US that

    The Hong Kong government confirmed Sunday afternoon that US whistleblower Edward Snowden had left Hong Kong for a third country.

    “Snowden has left Hong Kong through legal and normal means for a third country,” the government said in a statement.

    “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has informed the US government of Snowden’s departure from Hong Kong,” the statement said.

    The US government’s request for the HKSAR government to issue a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden did not fully comply with the city’s legal requirements, the statement said.

    The HKSAR government could not keep Snowden from leaving before getting “adequate information” to handle the provisional arrest warrant which it had asked the US side to offer, it added.

    According to the statement, the HKSAR government has also asked the US government to explain the reported hacking of some computer systems in Hong Kong by certain US government institutions and will follow up related developments to safeguard the legitimate rights of Hong Kong resident.

    i lol’d at the last part. That’s some good followup right there!
    Also, i note that before Snowden left, he leaked some more info to the Guardian, that the NSA had hacked into Tsinghua University, and other Chinese telecom companies. God only knows how much Intellectual Property they stole.

  34. June 23rd, 2013 at 02:18 | #34

    @Allen

    I’m very disappointed to see this. You are being incredibly insincere and unreasonable. Anyone here can see that it was you in post #25 that started this tangent about Einstein’s theory oif relativity when you said

    It is declaring a universal truth – unlike Einstein’s relativity – that all truths / measurements are relative. But it is a rebuttable truth – a theory.

    No one had mentioned anything about it in this thread till you did. Now you are denying what everyone can plainly see. It’s also clear to everyone that you thought (and said explicitly) that the TR shows that “all truths/measurements are relative” thinking that that supports your position on moral relativism when I showed that that is clearly false. Maybe you wanted to pompously impress people. I’m not impressed.

    If you do understand physics and philosophy as you claim, my response would not have been so cryptic to you.

    Sorry, but I’m not the one that needs to review basic college level physics and philosophy.

    Please take a look at the mirror. In my comments, I have said the same to you, albeit in a more polite way.

    No, sorry, but you first responded to my post with

    Did I hear this right? The argument of “moral relativist” is not whether the relativist is right (or wrong), but to say, just because the absolutist think he is right (however he convinces himself he is right) does not per se make it right.

    But you clearly didn’t understand what these categories were/are used. You assumed they meant something other than they are common used (and which you still have not provided and adequate definition for your own meaning). Your criticisms are thus based on a knee jerk reaction to my post without even understanding what I meant. I was very polite with you. It was you that first pompously brought up Einstein’s TR when you couldn’t respond adequately to my arguments.

    I do however with people who pompously (and falsely, as the case may be) pontificate, thinking everyone else is wrong, with themselves so smart and knowing everything.

    A great example of “pompously” “pontificating” on issues is bringing up the theory of relativity in a debate about moral relativism especially when one doesn’t even understand it. BTW, I don’t know everything but I do understand basic college level physics and the basic debate on moral relativism/absolutism.

    My perspective on moral relativism does not arise from physics.

    Right, and that’s why you brought it up….

  35. perspectivehere
    June 23rd, 2013 at 06:40 | #35

    @melektaus

    @Allen

    I find this debate about Einstein tangential and not on topic. For both your sakes, and everyone else’s, please agree to disagree, end this debate and move on.

    If you feel you must continue, please move the debate another post, or add it to this one which seems somewhat more relevant to your debate:

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2013/06/a-note-on-cultural-relativism/

    Thank you.

  36. perspectivehere
    June 23rd, 2013 at 06:50 | #36

    From Washingtonpost.com:

    Snowden departed Hong Kong for a ‘third country,’ government says

    MOSCOW — An Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong believed to be carrying Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked top-secret documents about about U.S. surveillance programs, landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport on Sunday. Snowden left Hong Kong “on his own accord for a third country,” the government in Hong Kong said Sunday afternoon.

    Snowden’s final destination is unclear. Russian news agency Interfax and Radio Ekho Moskvy reported that Snowden was booked on a flight to Cuba and then from Havana to Caracas, Venezuela. The next Aeroflot flight to Havana leaves Monday. Ecuador and Iceland have also been mentioned as possibilities.

  37. perspectivehere
    June 23rd, 2013 at 07:05 | #37

    Some mis-reporting by the Washington Post:

    “It’s unclear so far whether Chinese leadership in Beijing had any role in Hong Kong’s decision. Hong Kong is a semiautonomous region that prides itself on its independent legal system, but the government ultimately answers to the mainland government, whose influence can be difficult to discern. Residents in Hong Kong are deeply resistant to any overt sign of interference from the Communist Party. Residents in Hong Kong are deeply resistant to any overt sign of interference from the Communist Party.”

    But just a day ago it was widely reported that Hong Kong legislators had asked that the Chinese government decide on Snowden:

    HK lawmakers say China should decide on Snowden

    “HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong legislators said Saturday that the Chinese government should make the final decision on whether former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden should be extradited to the United States now that the Justice Department has charged him with espionage and theft of government property.

    ….

    It is not known if the U.S. government has made a formal extradition request to Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong government had no immediate reaction to the charges against Snowden. Police Commissioner, Andy Tsang, when was asked about the development, told reporters only that the case would be dealt with according to the law.

    When China regained control of Hong Kong in 1997, the former British colony was granted a high degree of autonomy and granted rights and freedoms not seen on mainland china. However, under the city’s mini constitution Beijing is allowed to intervene in matters involving defense and diplomatic affairs.

    Outspoken legislator Leung Kwok-hung said Beijing should instruct Hong Kong to protect Snowden from extradition before his case gets dragged through the court system. Leung also urged the people of Hong Kong to “take to the streets to protect Snowden.”

    Another legislator, Cyd Ho, vice-chairwoman of the pro-democracy Labour Party, said China “should now make its stance clear to the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) government” before the case goes before a court.”

    *****************
    The report from AP makes it clear that not all residents were resisting “interference” (a loaded word here) from Beijing. Two legislators were asking China for a decision. These legislators are opposition leaders.

    Washpo makes the statement without citing any facts.

    It is one of these “generalized comments” about China / Hong Kong that is not reporting with accuracy, but simply stating an generalized impression.

    Also, it is a bizarre comment, as it refers to the “Communist Party” and not to China. How is the Communist Party relevant to this story?

  38. Black Pheonix
    June 23rd, 2013 at 08:21 | #38

    Well, at least it ends the trouble for China for now.

    Good luck, Snowden, for being the fox in the foxchase for the next 20 or so years.

  39. Black Pheonix
    June 23rd, 2013 at 09:13 | #39

    It was a rather sneaky decision on HK’s part to let Snowden go.

    It was a flimsy excuse legally speaking. US made a request to detain Snowden, pending a formal extradition request. It’s technically a temporary detention request, which should have been considered more carefully, especially given the flight risk.

    No doubt Snowden’s Wikileak lawyers did their homework in realizing that if they got him out before the formal extradition request, it might make it easier for the HK government to let him go, because the case would not be in court yet.

    So, Bravo, Sara Harrison of Wikileak. Good job researching law.

    But boo, HK, very sneaky and very weak.

  40. pug_ster
    June 23rd, 2013 at 10:22 | #40

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/23/david-gregory-glenn-greenwald-crime_n_3486654.html?utm_hp_ref=edward-snowden

    Western propagandists like David Gregory askes Glenn Greenwald ‘Why Shouldn’t You Be Charged With A Crime?’ Is this the kind of petty yellow journalism nowadays in the Western Propaganda in the advent of the Snowden Scandal?

  41. June 23rd, 2013 at 11:48 | #41

    W.r.t. “moral equivalence”, methinks, at this particular moment in front of the whole world, China should be mightily pissed that it’s been drawn to equivalence, or even a close comparison. On one hand, you had the cases such as Shi Tao that a government had gone through the normal legal channel to acquire his Yahoo emails, and the normal legal proceedings to put him in jail — you may not like the judgment. On the other hand, you have another government that is snooping according to some, billions of emails, phone calls, and text messages, and partially based on the snooping, drone-killing god-know how many people without any due process. Shi Tao is an adult with a choice who did what he did of his free will, had the choice to attorney, and at the very least is still alive. Excuse my language here — but what the fuck did the goofy teenage Abdulrahman al-Awlaki do?

  42. Black Pheonix
    June 23rd, 2013 at 13:57 | #42

    @pug_ster

    Yes, quite petty.

    He might as well ask his guests, “why shouldn’t we consider you the bastard of some syphilidic street whore?”

    Such questions betray the true nature of Western journalism nowadays, as nothing more than extension of government propaganda.

  43. June 23rd, 2013 at 21:51 | #43

    @perspectivehere
    “I find this debate about Einstein tangential and not on topic. ”

    Exactly but I don’t know why you are addressing this to me as well. That was my point all along. It was extremely pretentious to even bring up this topic from physics by Allen and try to divert the discussion about something completely different. It’s a red herring. Especially when he showed that he didn’t even understand it. Now he is denying that he even brought it up. See post 25 as proof that he was the one that introduced this digression and moreover, continue to focus on this digression (see post 29) because he cannot argue the relevant point.

    So let’s just be adults and move on. This is incredibly embarrassing for the blog and goes some ay to discredit it.

  44. Zack
    June 25th, 2013 at 05:36 | #44

    the Western propaganda machine works overtime, this time trying to portray snowden as having accepted the job at BoozAllen so as to ‘steal secrets’.
    i’ve read this oft repeated piece of disinformation from the NYT and the SMH along with other assortments of toilet paper masquerading as journalism in the West.

  45. Black Pheonix
    June 25th, 2013 at 07:36 | #45

    @Zack

    That’s the same kind of BS that they accuse Chinese people of doing, i.e. getting a job in the Western companies just to “steal secrets”.

    In Snowden’s case, that would imply that Snowden knew that there are secrets EVEN before he joined BoozAllen. Or that he would have leaked whatever “secrets” he found, for no money, and just for kicks, I guess.

    Does that somehow diminish the absurdity of the NSA dragnet cyber snooping operation?

  46. Black Pheonix
    June 25th, 2013 at 10:49 | #46

    On China’s “letting Snowden go”:

    I don’t know why US is getting all huffy about this. Afterall, US was the one who originally “let Snowden” escape from US.

    I mean, seriously, the guy downloaded all that information, nobody knew?

    He supposedly got the job with the intent to steal, OK, nobody in US knew?

    Then, he goes on “medical leave”, hops a plane to HK, and nobody in US knew??

    Too late to whine and bitch about other people “letting him go”, when you were the first one to let him out. And he was working for you at the time!!

  47. Black Pheonix
    June 26th, 2013 at 19:38 | #47

    I fear that the Russians may double cross Snowden. After they had their fun with US, they may just look the other way while US secretly whisks Snowden away. Then Putin will rave publicly about US’s betrayal somehow, while secretly receiving some kind of kickback from US.

    The problem with Russia is, they do want something out of US. That means they could be bought off.

  48. pug_ster
    June 27th, 2013 at 03:10 | #48

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-cohen/snowden-media-coverage_b_3503971.html?utm_hp_ref=edward-snowden

    Lol, it seems that Western propaganda knows that they are trying to sell propaganda.

  49. Zack
    June 27th, 2013 at 04:13 | #49

    @Black Pheonix
    i’ve had the same fears as well; the Russians are no strangers to realpolitik. Snowden should’ve stayed in HK but hindsight’s always 20/20 eh.
    i honestly hope it’s not the case and Snowden can make his way to either Ecuador or Iceland but the US is really pulling out all stops on crushing those two.

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