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Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial – and Kerry Is Wrong

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the where-liddy-was-wrong dept.

Democrats 519

Daniel Ellsberg, no slouch himself in bringing to public awareness documents that reveal uncomfortable facts about government operations, says that "Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time." Ellsberg says, in an editorial at The Guardian pointed out by reader ABEND (15913), that Snowden cannot receive a fair trial without reform of the Espionage Act. According to Ellsberg, "Snowden would come back home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden's chance of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment). More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they're saying. As I know from my own case, even Snowden's own testimony on the stand would be gagged by government objections and the (arguably unconstitutional) nature of his charges. That was my own experience in court, as the first American to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act – or any other statute – for giving information to the American people." Ellsberg rejects the distinction made by John Kerry in praising Ellsberg's own whistleblowing as patriotic, but Snowden's as cowardly and traitorous.

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Ellsberg got a fair trial (1, Informative)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47143543)

and never saw a day in prison.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143557)

And he says Snowden won't. I believe him. What's your point?

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143593)

But why do you believe him? They were prosecuted for the same thing under the same act.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143641)

read the fucking summary, numbnuts. does this really have to be spelled out for you?

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (4, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | about 3 months ago | (#47143691)

He was the very first American to be prosecuted with it. That means the prosecutor was going to take it a lot more carefully and not try to piss off the public to the point where they would totally rebel against the unreasonable and probably unconstitutional aspects of it.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (5, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47143863)

Snowden would be prosecuted & sentenced. We would all be pissed off. Some cities would even have public protests. Then Snowden would get locked in a cell. Things would gradually cool down. Uh, whatever happened to ol' Ed?

*crickets*

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144103)

Chelsea Manning is a perfect example. Reveal war crimes and end up in a little box, forgotten.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (4, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | about 3 months ago | (#47144125)

Let's face it though. He is guilty. He admits what he's done. We can argue about what the law should be, but not what the law is. It's illegal to take classified documents like Snowden did, and start giving them away to everybody like Snowden did. His reasons for doing what he did are irrelevant as it pertains to his legal liability. The fact that he or even the public sees himself as a whistle blower over illegal actions by the government are irrelevant as they pertain to his legal liability.

Of course, we do have jury nullification in the common law system. A jury could very well say, okay, well he did the crime, the evidence is overwhelming, but we're not going to say he's guilty because we don't agree with the law. That's quite possible. Sure, the prosecutor and judge will try to tell the jury that's not allowed, but it is, and it can happen. The jury system exists specifically so the people can check the government's power.

This is all a separate matter from trial fairness, of course. If I was Snowden, I might not be so inclined to trust a US federal court with my fate. The judge might disallow evidence or testimony that would give Snowden and his lawyers a chance to argue however subtlety for jury nullification. The judge might not sustain valid objections from the defense. The judge could give a horribly unfair instruction. All kinds of things could happen. Considering the overwhelming political pressures that are sure to be placed on any kind of trial, Snowden might very well find himself screwed. He might also think it was all worth it anyway.

Then of course we have the appeals system and of course the presidential pardon. Even if Snowden doesn't get a jury to nullify, that's hardly the end of it. He might get his case to the Supreme Court and have a fairer chance there. He might also have a groundswell of popular support that results in a pardon or at least a commutation of his sentence.

Personally, I would like to see Snowden prosecuted for the crimes he's accused of and given a trial by his peers. I would very much like to see him get a fair trial, with all the evidence and arguments heard. The outcome of such a trial would be of great interest to me, as well as whatever happens afterwards. We would all learn something from it. It might suck for Snowden, but he thinks he's doing all of this to teach the American people about their government. The way his trial is conducted would certainly teach us all about our government.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (5, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#47144177)

You authoritarian monarchist hacks out yourselves by spending soooo much time talking about how Snowden deserves to go to jail, but say nothing about the lawbreaking and lawbreakers revealed by Snowden. Not one word on Clapper going to jail for perjury, not one word for imprisoning Alexander for FISA violations, not one word on impeaching the POTUS for overseeing it all.

We can argue about what the law should be, but not what the law is.

5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for each violation of FISA laws. But this was never about the law, for you.

Not today though - America has no honour left (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143605)

That was back in the days when honour still meant something in America.

Nowadays your military and intelligence services use the word "honour" as a get out of jail free card while murdering innocents and have no idea what that word really means.

Re:Not today though - America has no honour left (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144003)

That was back in the days when honour still meant something in America.

You don't know U.S. history very well, do you? What about the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Spanish-American War, and the forced relocation of Native American tribes?

The truth is every government has blood on its hands; some just have a lot more than the U.S.

Re:Not today though - America has no honour left (1, Insightful)

Microsift (223381) | about 3 months ago | (#47144069)

Here's where Snowden crossed the line from whistle blower to traitor. When he allegedly revealed that we had tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone. This was a legitimate piece of spycraft that he revealed to our enemies and allies. Now you may say, should we be spying on Germany? Well, you'd be naive if you believed the German's weren't spying on us in some fashion.

I'm not convinced the NSA is collecting more information about me than Google is, or whoever puts the ads for stuff I look at in Amazon on other web pages.

Re:Not today though - America has no honour left (1)

mrxak (727974) | about 3 months ago | (#47144143)

I agree that crossed a line. I'm not sure the line was that of treason or not, but it certainly went against his purported claims of doing this to reveal government wrongdoing against American citizens.

Spy agencies spy on other countries. That's what they're supposed to do. Everyone spies on everybody else, friend or ally. If you disagree or find that surprising you're a naive idealist.

But mass warrantless surveillance of American citizens is not cool, and we need to know about that.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (5, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 3 months ago | (#47143613)

and never saw a day in prison.

Not because they didn't want to imprison him; it was due to an activist judge who held that there was such evidentiary misconduct that the case was dismissed.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

This was due to the climate immediately following Watergate, where the judiciary had a lot of motive to prove themselves uncorrupt, at least compared to the executive branch of the time.

The current climate is one much of the evidence against Snowden would be considered classified, and therefore not challengeable. The FISA court, the national security letters, and other instruments available for use in shielding against charges of misconduct, and thus preventing such a dismissal, did not exist in Ellsberg's time.

Frankly, Snowden is lucky he initially established, and is successfully maintaining, a high profile, since it makes him less of a target for extraordinary rendition, which had it been used, he would have just disappeared into a black hole somewhere already.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143701)

The current climate is one much of the evidence against Snowden would be considered classified, and therefore not challengeable.

Exactly. He'd be sent to one of those rubber-stamp FISA courts that approve blatantly unconstitutional general warrants. There would be no trial, just a guilty verdict, with no evidence presented due to "Classified" and "National Security", and everyone in the courtroom (which would probably just be Snowden, a Judge, and the prosecutor) would be put under a Gag Order, so no information, maybe not even the verdict itself or hell even that there actually was a "trial", would ever reach the public.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (-1, Troll)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 3 months ago | (#47143729)

Not because they didn't want to imprison him; it was due to an activist judge who held that there was such evidentiary misconduct that the case was dismissed.

I happily consumed ~99% of your post. The ~1% (activist judge) I was able to gobble down, but it generated a nasty fart. My wife, and - more importantly - my dog, curse you.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (1, Interesting)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 3 months ago | (#47143735)

If it wasn't for that last paragraph I'd have found your post quite persuasive.

A rendition is when you arrest somebody in a second country and immediately turn them over to a third. It generally looks a lot like a kidnapping, but with legal paperwork done in the second country, because all arrests are basically legal kidnappings. An Extraordinary Rendition is done outside of the legal system of the second country. It looks even more like a kidnapping then a normal rendition, because there's no paperwork for the second country's legal system involved. They almost never happen because they're PR nightmares and good fucking luck getting cooperation from said second country's legal system in the future.

Which means you're arguing that a) the US has the power to kidnap people in Russia, b) that a country exists that would claim jurisdiction over Ed Snowden, and c) there's a chance in hell that any US policy-maker would do this to a white man. By my count absolutely none of these things is true. All of our other extraordinary renditions have been to countries where the victim was born.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144063)

Not exactly the same thing, but I remember Bin Laden...

A military incursion on a neutral country, with the objective of executing the guy, converted into a media circus.
I can accept arguments in favour for the military incursion, but.

1) Pakistan was in no condition to deny the incursion.
2) Executing Bin Laden to avoid retaliation, even if the smart thing to do speaks what the US cares about Human Rights and a fair trial.
3) There was no need to have Obama eating pop corn while watching the streaming.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (2, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | about 3 months ago | (#47144189)

2) It wasn't an execution, it was an armed conflict on a battlefield. Americans were shot at from and inside the house. There was every reason to believe that Osama would have a suicide vest or otherwise resist violently to capture. Osama made no attempt to surrender and was therefore a combatant. Of course they shot him on sight. If they'd found him face down naked and spread eagle on the floor screaming "I surrender" they would have taken him alive.

3) As you say, it was a military incursion into a neutral country. There was also the fact that the compound was close to a lot of Pakistani military units. Having the Commander-in-Chief in the room to give immediate orders or call up foreign leaders in the event something went wrong with the raid makes a lot of sense. There wasn't any popcorn.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#47144209)

A rendition is when you arrest somebody in a second country and immediately turn them over to a third. It generally looks a lot like a kidnapping, but with legal paperwork done in the second country, because all arrests are basically legal kidnappings.

Probable cause, warrants, grand jury hearings, trial, lawyers, right to appeals

vs

No probable cause, illegal/secret evidence, no warrant, flown to a gulag or third world dictatorship, torture, no right to a lawyer much less an appeal, military kangaroo court under unlawful command influence [nbcnews.com] , and then tortured with force-feeding when you start a hunger protest at your continued incarceration five years after your incacerators have cleared you for release.

Oh yeah, they're totally the same thing!

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (1, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47143911)

So your basic point is that the US is deepest darkest totalitarian fascist Gulag state in the history of people. We don't actually have laws or courts.

Thanks for clearing that up. No, really, thanks.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144021)

So your basic point is that the US is deepest darkest totalitarian fascist Gulag state in the history of people. We don't actually have laws or courts.

Thanks for clearing that up. No, really, thanks.

The existence of courts when some of those courts are held in secret and evidence is
withheld from the public is not comforting to those of us who are paying attention.

I have bad news for you. You are out of your depth trying such "logic" on Slashdot.
There are many many people here who are your intellectual betters and the margin
by which they are better is very wide indeed.

If all you can do is make remarks one would expect from a young child
( "we actually don't have courts ..." ) you may as well quit now, because you have
already removed any doubt about whether you are a fool with such remarks.
So unless you are being paid to post by your superiors at Ft. Meade, you should
read instead of posting.

By the way, any chance you used to use the name "ColdFjord" to post here ? Because you
sound just like that misguided neofascist piece of shit.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (0, Flamebait)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#47144153)

So your basic point is that the US is deepest darkest totalitarian fascist Gulag state in the history of people. We don't actually have laws or courts.

The U.S. has gulags: they're called Bagram Prison and Guantanomo. Where Obama is busy force-feeding prisoners (which is torture) that have been cleared for release for five years.

Do you have any smarter fascist troll friends that could do this for you?

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144015)

...he would have just disappeared into a black hole somewhere...

As soon as Putin has no further use for the "useful idiot", he will.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (5, Informative)

fleadope (234005) | about 3 months ago | (#47143719)

This is a gross isrepresentation -- Ellsberg states in the article that his trial was not fair:

As I know from my own case, even Snowden's own testimony on the stand would be gagged by government objections and the (arguably unconstitutional) nature of his charges. That was my own experience in court, as the first American to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act – or any other statute – for giving information to the American people.

I had looked forward to offering a fuller account in my trial than I had given previously to any journalist – any Glenn Greenwald or Brian Williams of my time – as to the considerations that led me to copy and distribute thousands of pages of top-secret documents. I had saved many details until I could present them on the stand, under oath, just as a young John Kerry had delivered his strongest lines in sworn testimony.

But when I finally heard my lawyer ask the prearranged question in direct examination – Why did you copy the Pentagon Papers? – I was silenced before I could begin to answer. The government prosecutor objected – irrelevant – and the judge sustained. My lawyer, exasperated, said he "had never heard of a case where a defendant was not permitted to tell the jury why he did what he did." The judge responded: well, you're hearing one now.

And so it has been with every subsequent whistleblower under indictment, and so it would be if Edward Snowden was on trial in an American courtroom now.

In addition, Ellsberg never got a "fair trial"; the charges against him were dismissed for gross misconduct on the part of the government -- see http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com] for a summary.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (-1)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47143901)

Your definition of a fair trial is that everyone gets acquitted and is given a trophy. That's not actually how the legal system works. But, if you prefer, we could go back and prosecute him now. Let's see how that works. More to the point, you seem to think that Snowden shouldn't ever be tried so even having a trial at all, is by your reasoning, unfair. Maybe you're right maybe we shouldn't have courts or trials for anything anymore and just let the Glenn Greenwald's of the world determine everything unilaterally. I mean how bad could fascist autocracy really be?

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (1)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#47144115)

Your definition of a fair trial is that everyone gets acquitted and is given a trophy.

You're repeating Big Lies as if makes them true, when it only makes you a bigger and more pathetic liar. That or a useful idiot for other liars - neither option looks good on you.

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144027)

"had never heard of a case where a defendant was not permitted to tell the jury why he did what he did." The judge responded: well, you're hearing one now.

The closing argument should then contain "Had these actions been taken for a wrong reason you would have heard the testimony of the wrong reason from the Defendent's mouth, but by denying them the sitting Judge has proved that he knows the reason was a good reason."

Re:Ellsberg got a fair trial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144075)

Seems pretty fair to me: despite what he purports is "unfair" conduct on the part of the presiding judge, the charges were ultimately dismissed because said judge felt the government wasn't playing by the rules. How more fair do you want it?

Come on home Ed! (5, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 3 months ago | (#47143573)

Unlike evil Tricky Dick Nixon, President Obama is a constitutional scholar. You have nothing to fear.

Re:Come on home Ed! (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47143895)

He was an Assistant Professor, right? Not even an Associate. Or was he just a Constitutional Law Lecturer? Are there any interesting peer-reviewed articles on Constitutional Law he wrote that we can read?

Re:Come on home Ed! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143967)

He was a visiting lecturer, who only had one lecture - on the subject of Civil Rights. Hardly what one could call a "constitutional scholar".

Re:Come on home Ed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144039)

He snuck into one class on contract law, but was thrown out when they caught him taking notes for his frat brothers.

prosecutions are done on law in place at the time (2)

swschrad (312009) | about 3 months ago | (#47143581)

which further reduces the changes of Snowden having any chance at a life, or a glimpse of sunlight. IMPHO he can only come home after being granted a full and unconditional pardon. try that in the face of spy bureaucracy in full sway.

Re:prosecutions are done on law in place at the ti (3, Insightful)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 3 months ago | (#47143849)

It's not just the spy bureaucracy. According to polls most of the American people do not approve of his actions. And this is a democracy, so that matters.

Snowden's core problem is that the American people approve of a good half of the programs Greenwald has outed. Spying on people like Angie Merkel is the entire reason we instructed our Congress to spend $30-$40 per person on an NSA. Period. End of story. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Same goes for most of the other NSA revelations (spying on Brazil's government, helping the Aussies spy on Indonesia, etc.). Pretty much the only thing he's revealed that most Americans actually care about was the mass surveillance on US Citizens, and a lot of that was oversold [zdnet.com] .

It doesn't help that he ended up in Russia. With the Crimea mess he just looks like Putin's puppet. To an extent that can be blamed on the "spy bureaucracy," but if Snowden knew he was gonna piss of the State Department, and he knew that he'd only be allowed to travel if State didn't revoke his documents, then he probably should not have gone through Moscow. Moreover I suspect our spy bureaucracy is actually good enough to get the timing right on that. There wasn't that much time between boarding a plane in HK and switching flights. I suspect the Chinese didn't want him, so they let him through with revoked documents, and then Putin him decided to keep him in a glass box.

To an extent I sympathize with him, but what's that old saying about the Game of Thrones? You win or you die? Snowden could have chosen to leak his documents anonymously through a Congressman. Amash would have loved to blame Obama for evil. Wyden is always good on these issues. And he probably could have done so anonymously, because the NSA can't piss off Congress or they all get fired, and Congress doesn't like it when the Executive branch hinders them in their core duty of making life difficult of said Executive branch. But he went through the media, which meant nobody in power in the US had any particular reason to protect him, so now he's Putin's bitch. It would be nice if this was Star Trek and shit like this didn't happen, but it ain't.

Re:prosecutions are done on law in place at the ti (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 months ago | (#47143917)

Right. The NSA isn't chartered as a counter-intelligence operation, with the task of spying on adversaries. It's mission is to spy at the deepest level on the heads of state of our Allies. Not just spies, and not just agencies in idenitified enemy countries.

Your Realpolitik sucks, dude. Maybe you should go read another Tom Clancy novel.

There aren't any 'Old Sayings' from the Game of Thrones. It's a modern work, not a classical work. But you said 'this isn't Star Trek' so to a limited degree, you appear to base yourself in reality, not drugstore Fiction thrillers.

Re:prosecutions are done on law in place at the ti (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143973)

Basically the only thing I have out of your post is that you're a pissy bitch. You have done nothing but whine that someone disagrees with your fantasy.

Re:prosecutions are done on law in place at the ti (4, Insightful)

mendax (114116) | about 3 months ago | (#47143995)

It doesn't help that he ended up in Russia. With the Crimea mess he just looks like Putin's puppet. To an extent that can be blamed on the "spy bureaucracy," but if Snowden knew he was gonna piss of the State Department, and he knew that he'd only be allowed to travel if State didn't revoke his documents, then he probably should not have gone through Moscow.

If I were Edward Snowden I would not want to route a series of flights to South American, where he was originally intending to go, that would take me through airports in American-friendly countries. Going to Russia on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow and then to Cuba and then from there to somewhere in South American would have been the smartest thing to do. I doubt the US would be willing to piss off the Russians by sending out the F-15s to intercept a Russian-flagged airliner. And as Snowden has pointed out, once in Russia he was unable to go any farther except back to the US because the State Department had revoked his passport. However, it is rather fortuitous that Snowden is in Russian. That is probably the best place for him to be, especially now because Putin is not going to be doing any favors for the American government.

Re:prosecutions are done on law in place at the ti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144113)

They believe the propaganda, not the reality. There's a big difference.

Obama, Kerry, et al. (1, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 3 months ago | (#47143587)

All traitors.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 3 months ago | (#47143625)

Yeah, the administration is full of traitors and not the guy who leaked information on US spying operations abroad.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 3 months ago | (#47143697)

I hate to use FTFY...

So I won't.

But the administration (who I voted for and otherwise support) and the NSA are full of people who were conducing what should be illegal and probably are unconstitutional US spying operations IN THE UNITED STATES.

The sad thing is- Snowden's actions will probably hurt us abroad and not do a thing to stop the fascist and creepy internal spying on U.S. citizens.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143705)

They were (and still are) spying on their own people, the forces they command murdered innocent people abroad and they subverted the course of justice to murder their own people. Now perhaps this did lead to fewer deaths of American people on US soil and for that you feel the end justifies the means however that doesn't mean they are any less traitorous - both to their countrymen and to humanity.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143721)

Abroad? What about the spying done at home against citizens without so much as the benefit of probable cause?
 
I'm not saying Snowden is innocent but you just tried to pull a real shitty maneuver by misdirecting the question to other people. Nixon did much less and was practically lynched for it and fucktards like you make the continuing abuse of this and the last administration go by unpunished. You're a fucking traitor too.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 3 months ago | (#47143745)

Well, let's see... whose actions better reflect the will of the American people for more transparency regarding what could easily be considered unconstitutional spying?

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143791)

Yeah, you really sound like a guy who respects the law. You're pretty much more Catholic than the goddamn Pope, aren't you.

GTFO my country, asshole.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143631)

Traitors? They're terrorists. They use terror, violence & intimidation as political weapons.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (0, Troll)

meglon (1001833) | about 3 months ago | (#47144169)

...and you use... stupidity. Got it. One of the biggest problems in this country are people like you and Oldhack who are too fucking stupid to learn what words mean before they use them.

Re:Obama, Kerry, et al. (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 3 months ago | (#47144179)

Which simply shows you are too fucking stupid to know what a word means before using it. I suppose your one of these idiots that think these radical conservatives who denounce the US, talk secession, and want to use arms to confront the US are patriots too... instead of the seditious insurgents they actually are.

Grow a brain, then use it.

Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143601)

First, Snowden took more than just the documents that have been published by the Guardian, this was confirmed by the Guardian in the first days of the leaks. Snowden asked them "to use their judgement and not publish anything 'seriously damaging'", which means there is more than just what the public has been made aware of.
Second, it is almost certain that ALL of that information was given over to the governments of the countries he traveled to.
So the Espionage Act CAN be applied quite easily to Snowden for any classified information given to foreign governments that was not also part of the information leaked to the media.
Snowden is no patriot. Not by any definition of the word.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143639)

First, Snowden took more than just the documents that have been published by the Guardian, this was confirmed by the Guardian in the first days of the leaks. Snowden asked them "to use their judgement and not publish anything 'seriously damaging'", which means there is more than just what the public has been made aware of.

Which is not relevant, you dont even know what the unpublished documents are or whether they have any bearing on anything whatsoever.

Second, it is almost certain that ALL of that information was given over to the governments of the countries he traveled to.
So the Espionage Act CAN be applied quite easily to Snowden for any classified information given to foreign governments that was not also part of the information leaked to the media.

And thankfully "almost certain" is a meaningless term that you use because you want it to be true to support your point of view but you have no proof, you then use this baseless assertion to attempt to justify application of the Espionage Act.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143651)

"Second, it is almost certain that ALL of that information was given over to the governments of the countries he traveled to.
So the Espionage Act CAN be applied quite easily to Snowden for any classified information given to foreign governments that was not also part of the information leaked to the media"

There is absolutly no evidence of this supposition at all.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 3 months ago | (#47143739)

Snowden is no patriot.

If the revelations were to cause a significant turnover in congress (like 100%) and the executive, I would consider him one of the greatest patriots of our times. If not, well, at least he tried. At least that's what I like to think. Even the release of the Pentagon Papers had no effect on the elections at all. Switching back and forth between democrats and republicans does not count. Putting Nixon out to pasture did no harm to the party whatsoever. It is still business as usual.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47144055)

Yes re "the Pentagon Papers had no effect on the elections at all"
It woke up a generation of historians, the press and students to the ability of the mil to spin a story and have a generation fooled into taking sides in a distant civil war.
The other aspect is the two tracks of US mil thought - the correct view that you cant win a civil war vs more air support, cash, real troops, local death squads will win every time no matter realities on the ground.
US political power, section of the mil got to hide their mistakes pushing it all on planners :)

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47143765)

it is almost certain that ALL of that information was given over to the governments of the countries he traveled to

If Snowden is every standing before a jury I hope they have a better grasp of "reasonable doubt".

What reasonable doubt? (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47143855)

To borrow a line from a movie, "These are the facts of the case . . . and they are undisputed."

What're you people expecting, jury nullification? Unfortunately, one of the problems here is that Snowden will never be given a jury trial - and if he is, he'll be denied the right to provide a defense for himself. Also unfortunately, regardless of what his motives were his actions were clearly espionage.

"These are the facts of the case . . . and they are undisputed."

Re:What reasonable doubt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144211)

His actions can only be seen as esiponage since the term has been recently redefined by a unconstitutional law. Whistle blowing is the correct term, not espionage.

Nyet, tvarish - Snowden IS patriot. (1, Funny)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47143837)

Just not American patriot. Was American citizen, da . . . but is patriot of largest nation ever, is hero to workers' paradise. Would be citizen, but bear does not want to taunt eagle too much.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47143861)

So where would you put 'almost certain' on the scale of 'beyond reasonable doubt' and 'preponderance of the evidence'?

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (1)

NicBenjamin (2124018) | about 3 months ago | (#47143891)

I doubt the governments got the documents.

He could easily arrange it so that only the reporters got his copy of those documents, by storing them all on a single thumb drive, and he's probably got them encrypted pretty thoroughly. He knows enough about political reality that he probably did precisely that.

I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out he's let stuff slip to the Russians. They probably have cameras on him 24/7, and they control who gets to talk to him, which means that if the head of the FSB is really curious about some technical trick they can send somebody over to weedle it out of him. They may even have made "privileges" like not being sent to a "special apartment" with no heat in Moscow in January were dependent on him leaking some things. Whether that rises to the level of espionage is not something I'm equipped to say.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (4, Insightful)

neonsignal (890658) | about 3 months ago | (#47143899)

patriot: A person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.

Snowden has been consistent in explaining his motivation as exposing the misuse of government power against American citizens. Whether or not you agree with his method of doing so, it is hard to see that it was unpatriotic (unless your particular definition of patriotism is an unquestioning allegiance to his employer).

Anyway, you have to understand that from the point of view of the rest of the world, we don't really care whether or not Snowden is a patriot. What we care about is that NSA have been working to undermine systems of trust, whether those are the encryption of communications, or even the relationships between friendly countries. And much of this done without significant goverrnment oversight, let alone public discussion. You are naive if you think that the trial of a whistleblower is more important than these subversive actions of the NSA.

I want to know what MY Government is doing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143977)

Snowden is no patriot. Not by any definition of the word.

My government, the USA, has been doing things that would have made our Founding Fathers take up arms.

Spying on Americans.

Detaining Americans without due process.

Confiscating property without due process.

ALL enabled by the PATRIOT Act,. and the previous laws passed for these "Wars" on Drugs, Terrorism, Child Pornography, etc ....

And I might add, all of those laws went through without so much as a peep from the general public (just from those "Liberals").

Why no peep?!

Because John Q. Public was stupid enough to think that "if you do nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about." and that our Government is good and follows the American way - because America is ALL good. And the ONLY reason our government needed those powers is to fight "evil" - which makes my skins crawl when I hear people talk like that. They sound like children.

No sir,, Snowden opened up a lot of people's eyes on how out of control our Government has become.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47143999)

Re "Second, it is almost certain that ALL of that information was given over to the governments of the countries he traveled to."
Thats a big leap AC. Russia and China would not touch anything gifted to them by a CIA/NSA/contractor as a walk in while talking about the press.
Russia and China have had decades of gems from ex staff but with a lot of expensive CIA/MI6 junk in the mix.
China has its own path of internal growth, EU/US supporters and a collection of very smart students around the world.
China is doing fine in globally with its exports, brand building, loans and political charm that gets deals done. They know the West ability - surrounding listening stations, Western owned container ships with listening equipment, subs, optical taps, junk crypto, junk hardware/software, banking access, cults/NGO, protests - sorting a pile of 'free' docs for gems is just not worth it.
Russia will just take one look at the person and think back to how many times it has been fooled by the CIA and MI6.
They did not find this person, work with them, test them, build them up. They have their own vast skilled networks of trusted people doing great work over generations.
Sorting a pile of 'free' pre sorted docs for gems is just not worth it for Russia or China. They did what they had to politically - transit and a work permit.

Re:Ellsberg forgets a couple of things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144199)

Ellsberg really must have forgot that you are looking to win twit if the year award.

You first point i so valid it hurts that you attempt to use it to back up your bullshit second statement.

Almost certainly Snowden made certain that the countries he travelled to do not have ALL of the information, precisely because he is an American who cares more about his country and citizens than the politicians and his superiors at the three letter agencies.

Snowden broke the law; so "fair" is moot (-1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 3 months ago | (#47143615)

However you feel about Snowden this isn't debatable. And, he's basically pissed away the whistleblower defense by breaking the leaker's code (make all your evidence publicly available to all members of the media, discriminating in what information you leak to focus on wrongdoing by your government, and attempting to reduce "harm"). So, regardless of fairness he'd be accepting the reality of a long jail term if he comes back to the US.

Re:Snowden broke the law; so "fair" is moot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143659)

If that's true at all, he broke the law in the same sense that a person jaywalking to inform the police officer on the other side of the street of an impending murder broke the law. The jaywalking is insignificant in comparison to the prevention of the murder.

At least that order of magnitude exists here between what Snowden did, and what he acted to prevent.

Re:Snowden broke the law; so "fair" is moot (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 3 months ago | (#47143709)

I don't know why you dumb down the whole story to "OMG he leaked gud stuff!" Did you read my post? My point is (using your analogy) he exceeded simple jaywalking to report a crime. He picked the locks on random cars on the way in and reported the contents of gloveboxes. He broke into the cop's patrol car and broadcast the officer's notes on an ongoing investigation.

Re:Snowden broke the law; so "fair" is moot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144141)

No. Rather, he upheld his oath to defend his country from enemies foreign AND domestic. In this case, rather more the domestic kind.

Re:Snowden broke the law; so "fair" is moot (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 3 months ago | (#47143725)

However you feel about Snowden this isn't debatable. And, he's basically pissed away the whistleblower defense by breaking the leaker's code (make all your evidence publicly available to all members of the media, discriminating in what information you leak to focus on wrongdoing by your government, and attempting to reduce "harm"). So, regardless of fairness he'd be accepting the reality of a long jail term if he comes back to the US.

That isn't what happened. And so what if it did? How we feel about Snowden is debatable, you just want us to think it's not. I don't accept your reality because it's flawed.

Re:Snowden broke the law; so "fair" is moot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143767)

However you feel about Snowden this isn't debatable.

Oh ok, you have made up your mind that he broke the law and so that means he doesn't get a fair trial. Do you understand what a trial is? Actually that's rhetorical, your statements prove without doubt that you obviously don't.

And, he's basically pissed away the whistleblower defense by breaking the leaker's code

Then a fair trial will identify this, but you don't want him to have a fair trial. You have already made up your mind and you fear that a fair trial may bring a result that runs contrary to what you want.

So, regardless of fairness he'd be accepting the reality of a long jail term if he comes back to the US.

Just because he may have done some parts of this wrong doesn't preclude the necessity for a fair trial.

sNOwden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143617)

Come on back

it's about having embarrassed the ruling class (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143619)

You point out widespread malfeasance among the ruling class, and you will be made an example of.

Until the American public stands up and demands that the people responsible for turning the USA into a surveillance state ALSO see their day in court, there can be no fairness. That needs to happen not for some low level NSA guy made to take a fall, but to the very top, up to and including the current and former POTUSes.

Our society was built around not having a "ruling class" except from the law, and a "ruled class" against whom the law is used. We need to return to this. Alas, that won't happen if the American public continues to care more about Kim Kardashian than the freedom of their society.

For the last time, he is no hero (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143645)

There are processes in place to deal with law violations committed under the veil of state secrecy. Snowden did not lift a finger for even a moment to follow those processes, electing instead to break the law himself and go straight to the public.

Revealing classified information is not an issue of the 1st Amendment, and never has been. The right to free speech does not include treason, which Snowden is guilty of, without a doubt.

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (3, Informative)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 3 months ago | (#47143679)

There are processes in place to deal with law violations committed under the veil of state secrecy

And we also know that those processes don't work, and that going through those processes poses a decent risk of termination or at least crippling your career advancement.

Snowden did not lift a finger for even a moment to follow those processes, electing instead to break the law himself and go straight to the public.

Except we have claims that he actually did go through a lot of those processes without success.

The right to free speech does not include treason, which Snowden is guilty of, without a doubt.

Treason is giving nuclear secrets to the USSR during the Cold War, not making the NSA look like assholes.

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47143877)

You're right - Snowden's actions don't amount to treason. But they were espionage. Even Snowden's own account of events makes that clear.

Sadly, while it's clear that he should face some sanction for his action it's nearly certain that the punishment he will receive for his crime will be horribly out of proportion to the severity of it. Too bad; I guess he didn't think everything out all the way. He forgot that pawns are expendable - and in the final analysis, he was just a pawn.

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (2)

Hairy1 (180056) | about 3 months ago | (#47143923)

He could have simply shut up and lived the good life while being complicit in the spying machine that has rendered the freedoms of the US a joke. The real criminals have got away without a scratch and the spying continues without restriction or modification. Obama has betrayed the spirit and law of the Constitution, as did Bush. Unlimited power corrupts.

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#47144093)

He could have indeed remained silent, even continued working for them. What difference would that have made? None. What difference did his actions make? None.

Guys like me have been yelling about Echelon, Magic Lantern and half a dozen other "conspiracy" theories for decades now. The only change Snowden's 'revelations' made was that people have stopped telling me to take off my tinfoil hat (which I did some time ago - the radio waves coming through the tinfoil made it hard to hear the voices).

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (2)

meerling (1487879) | about 3 months ago | (#47143747)

Reporting, revealing, and refusing to take part in criminal activity is non-treasonous, lawful, and required by the military. I have no idea if the FBI or other TLAs (three letter acronyms/agencies) have that clause, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (5, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 3 months ago | (#47143751)

"There are processes in place to deal with law violations committed under the veil of state secrecy. Snowden did not lift a finger for even a moment to follow those processes, electing instead to break the law himself and go straight to the public."

If that was even true he would have had good reason to do that. Two of his predecessors had their lives completely ruined after they tried to follow process.

One of my favorite lines (gleaned from a post here as a matter of fact) is, do you really expect to win a rigged game by playing by the rules?

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47143883)

Even the goons admit that Snowden did try those channels and it went directly into the round file, so no.

What has he revealed that aided or comforted an enemy of the United States?

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144159)

The right to free speech does not include treason, which Snowden is guilty of, without a doubt.

Then tell us where and when, exactly, did Edward Snowden levy war against the United States? Where and when did he provide aid comfort to the enemies of the United States? Please enlighten us, as this is the only definition of treason according to Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution [wikipedia.org]

Edward Snowden is in no way levying war against the US. And last time I checked, he hasn't provided aid and comfort to any enemies, either. Unless, of course, you feel that a somewhat chilly relationship with the Kremlin makes Russia an enemy. Or is it the American people you consider to be the enemy?

So yes, there is very much all the doubt in the world that Edward Snowden is guilty of treason. In fact, there are, without a doubt, zero grounds with which to pursue a charge of treason. The definition is enshrined in the constitution and is very narrow. This was done on purpose so that "disagreeing with the ruling class" could not be used as a witch-hunt for "traitors". However, you seem to be longing for a simpler time under the rule of King George so that all the filthy peasants can be rounded up and sent to the gallows for having the temerity to think for themselves.

You, sir, disgust me.

Re:For the last time, he is no hero (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 3 months ago | (#47144165)

If you look around and see how other people doing "Whistleblowing" ended up http://cryptome.org/2013-info/... [cryptome.org]
You can talk to your boss - your job is over, your security work is over. No change
You can talk to a cleared US court - your job is over, your security work is over, you face jail. No change.
You can talk to a supportive US political leader and face a security court - your job is over, your security work is over, you face jail. No change.
You can talk to the supportive US press to face spin that your on the far left, right or a unionist, faker, just a contractor ... and just wanted better pay, conditions, advancement, had staff issues, had personal issues... a short human interest story at best. Your job is over, your security work is over, you face jail. No change.
A lot of people have tried the legal system and the cleared legal teams, the political support and US press. No change.
Try something new. No change in the US political or legal system but the individual is now more aware of the brands/crypto/maths/hardware/software that fooled them.
You can now buy/support/code for any different brand, learn about real crypto beyond tame junk gov standards, write about the small brand changes you have made.
Ellsberg showed generations how historical spin works.
Snowden showed generations how junk crypto and tame brands are sold.

Traitor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143667)

He clearly is a traitor. A trial will prove that. Sentencing guidelines are clearly specified. Period. Now move on.

Re: Traitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143749)

You are clearly either an idiot or a shill.

Re:Traitor (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47143897)

I'm sure the "trial" would be such that it would "prove" any damn crazy thing the feds want it to "prove".

RE: Traitor (5, Insightful)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 3 months ago | (#47143733)

If Mr. Snowden is a traitor, we need to fix the laws until he ISN'T a traitor. He performed a valuable service to the citizens of this republic, and to the citizens of many other nations around the world.

Re: Traitor (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47143853)

He isn't a traitor.

Treason is defined in the Constitution (Article 3, Section 3. Learn it, love it, live it), and what he allegedly did doesn't fit the definition.

And this ignoring the fact that a treason conviction requires (according to Article 3, Section 3) two witnesses to the same (treasonous) overt act.

Since there aren't two witnesses to what he did, and what he did does NOT fit the definition of treason, he can't be convicted of treason no matter how hard the Constitutional Scholar tries....

Re: Traitor (0)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#47144129)

and what he allegedly did doesn't fit the definition.

He allegedly adhered to enemies of the United States ("islamic terrorists"), giving them aid and comfort: in the form of disclosure/spoiling of secret information about government practices used to locate, investigate, and suppress activities specifically of the enemy.

There might or might not be an ability to find two witnesses to the act, or to get a confession in open court; however, in principal, he could be tried with treason, if there were.

Kerry should man up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143793)

He who comes to a fistfight with a gun is the one who is a coward. Kerry could man up and guarantee Snowden bail and a trial in an open court with no special evidence and testimony restrictions. "We'll keep everything secret and tell the public that we did the good thing" is not a sign of bravery. In this case it is not a sign of patriotism either, at least not patriotism to a free and democratic state.

-- Steve Wozniak

So why can't this argument be made in Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143805)

Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they're saying.

If it fails, keep appealing it until it reaches the SCOTUS.

Reverse the question. (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 3 months ago | (#47143847)

I think it would be easier to ask "Does anyone think Snowden would get a fair trial?" It would be a much shorter list. And most of the people answering yes can be easily identified as flat out liars. (Kerry and pretty much any politician.)

The penalty for treason (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143885)

Snowden's acts are by definition, treason. The penalty for treason is death.

Oh, for a magic wand. (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#47144029)

I'd wave it and make those who repeat stupid bullshit reflexively mule-kick themselves in the balls. Treason is the only crime spelled out in the Constitution, and for good reason - so fuckhead monarchists like the AC here can't sling it against anyone they don't like.

Speaking of fuckheads, what about the lawbreaking revealed by Snowden? You guys out yourselves as pathetic hacks when you aren't demanding the impeachment and incarceration of top level officials, from Clapper to Alexander to the POTUS himself, at the same time that you're demanding Snowden's head.

Re:The penalty for treason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144061)

If his actions are Treason then the US Government is at war with the US people.

Re:The penalty for treason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144095)

Snowden's acts are by definition, treason. The penalty for treason is death.

You wouldn't know who is on the side of the people of the US if you were given
a program which explained it in language so simple even your
simple minded ass could grasp it.

The people who are spying illegally on US citizens within the US without
warrants are breaking the law. Snowden exposed this and for his efforts
many millions in the US feel that Snowden is a hero and a patriot in the truest
sense of those words.

Re:The penalty for treason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144203)

How about you read the goddamn Constitution [wikipedia.org] before you open your mouth to spew nonsense. Not that I forsee that happening, as you're probably either a paid shill for the NSA/Obama/Kerry, or just a flat out idiot.

Only one to to find out. Try the SOB. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47143887)

Another predictor of the future. Why doesn't Ellsberg go to Vegas?

He's right, Snowden will never again see daylight (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47144065)

If he returns to the US, Snowden will never again see the light of day. Look at what happened to insiders like Thomas Drake (an NSA guy with 30 years in) who developed an analysis tool named "Thin Thread". He added constitutional protections. The NSA removed them. He complained. He was then threatened with 1000 years in prison by Federal Prosecuters (Persecutors?). Included was gag orders on just about everything, constant surveilence, seizure of this computers (home/work/wherever). Wiretaps, harrasment, intimidation, threats of physical violence, physical violence, etc. And he was an inside guy. Then take a look at what happened to the guy who was running Lavabit [wikipedia.org] . Gag orders prohibiting him from talking to his lawyer, gag orders preventing him from talking to anyone, judges imposing arbitrary fines of $5000 per day, he isn't even allowed to see the charges against him! This is sick! The US Constitution is an ideal that the US Government cannot live up to (and they have no intention of trying). If he returned to the US, what would happen to Snowden would best be described as "Punitive, Vindictive, and Arbitrary".

Gotta hand it to him... (5, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 3 months ago | (#47144123)

Traitor or not, he Pwned their ass. The NSA look like complete idiots, and continue to do so, and Snowden has shown them up at every turn. Remind me what we are paying billions of dollars for again? Whether or not you can lock up Snowden, the NSA needs its plug pulled for utter incompetence.

I'll wait for testimony under oath (0)

Crypto Cavedweller (2611959) | about 3 months ago | (#47144167)

Snowden and Greenwald's self-serving statements about motive I pretty much ignore. Let's hear the testimony under oath, subject to cross examination. It appears (and I hate to pre-judge) that by his own admission he is a thief on a massive scale, a breaker of oaths, and a naive idiot. Maybe he's also a traitor in the pay of one or more foreign governments. TBD, let's have the trial.
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