Snowden and the Russians

Edward Snowden appears to be more than a whistleblower. Spy and traitor are words that will no doubt be examined.

Posted at Kiwiblog but also of interest here: Kremlin admits Snowden gave them information

In a remarkable interview this week, Franz Klintsevich, a senior Russian security official, explained the case matter-of-factly: “Let’s be frank. Snowden did share intelligence. This is what security services do. If there’s a possibility to get information, they will get it.”

With this, Klintsevich simply said what all intelligence professionals already knew – that Snowden is a collaborator with the FSB. That he really had no choice in the matter once he set foot in Russia does not change the facts.

Klintsevich is no idle speculator. He is a senator who has served in the State Duma for nearly a decade. More importantly, he is the deputy chair of the senate’s defense and security committee, which oversees the special services. The 59-year-old Klintsevich thus has access to many state secrets – for instance regarding the Snowden case. …

His statement outing Snowden’s relationship with the Kremlin therefore cannot be an accident or a slip of the tongue. For whatever reason, Putin has decided to out Snowden as the collaborator that he actually is – and has been for three years already.

One reason for this may be Snowden’s recent tepid criticism via Twitter of Russia’s draconian new laws on domestic surveillance – which vastly exceed any of the activities of the Western democracies that Snowden has so strongly criticized from his FSB hideaway. Indeed, his hosts finally allowing their American collaborator to tweet negatively about Russia – many had noted Snowden’s silence on FSB repression and worse – may be a sign that the defector has outlived his usefulness.

In truth, Snowden was never all that well informed about American intelligence. Contrary to the myths that he and his mouthpieces have propagated, he was no more than an IT systems administrator. Snowden was never any sort of bona fide spy. There are no indications he really understands most of what he stole from NSA.

The FSB therefore milked Snowden of any valuable information rather quickly. He likely had little light to shed on the million-plus secret files he stole. Instead, his value to Moscow has been as a key player in Kremlin propaganda designed to discredit the Western intelligence alliance.

In that role, Snowden has done a great deal of damage to the West. But he was never a “mole” for Moscow inside NSA. In reality, the Snowden Operation is probably a cover to deflect attention from the one or more actual Russian moles who have been lurking inside NSA for years, undetected.

Based on the cases of previous Western intelligence defectors to Moscow, Edward Snowden faces an unhappy future. Whatever happens to him is up to his hosts, who control all aspects of any defector’s life. There no longer can be any honest debate about his relationship with the Kremlin, which has settled the matter once and for all. Putin and his special services consider Snowden to be nash – there is no question about that now.

David Farrar comments:

So Snowden stole information from the US, and has shared it with Russia. Can’t see him getting a pardon anytime soon. He should get used to living in Russia.

Many people won’t be particularly surprised by the gist of this, but it puts a different complexion on the whole issue.

Whistleblowers going to the media or publishing secrets online is one thing. Working with ‘the enemy’ or an opposition state is quite a different matter.

Islam backlash takes a nazi turn in Germany

Just as the anti-Islamic organisatiion Pegida was organising another rally, this time in Leipzg, their leader has resigned after being exposed posing as Hitler.

BBC report: Germany Pegida: Protest leader quits in ‘Hitler’ row

The head of German “anti-Islamisation” movement Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, has resigned after a photo of him apparently posing as Hitler emerged.

Mr Bachmann stepped down just as tens of thousands of people were expected to rally in the eastern city of Leipzig for the latest Pegida rally.

Prosecutors opened an investigation after the photo was published on the front page of top-selling paper Bild.

A Pegida spokeswoman sought to play down the Facebook photo as a “joke”.

Claimed to be ex-Pagida leader Lutz Bachmann

Not a very appropriate joke in Germany.

Bild coverage: Pegida-Chef Bachmann: „Ja, ich trete zurück“

And there’s more covering it:

Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes), commonly known by its German acronym Pegida, is a German organization based in Dresden. Since 20 October 2014 it has been organizing public demonstrations, aimed at the German government, against what it considers to be the Islamization of the Western world.

Pegida was founded in October 2014 by Lutz Bachmann, who runs a public relations agency in Dresden.[1] Bachmann’s impetus for starting Pegida was witnessing a rally by supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on 10 October in Dresden,which he posted the same day on YouTube. The next day he founded a Facebook group called Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (“Patriotic Europeans against Islamization of the Occident”) which initially was mainly directed against arms shipments to the PKK.

– Wikipedia Pegida