CROSS: Snowden would NOT get a fair trial

Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial – and Kerry is wrong | Comment is free | theguardian.com

As Snowden told Brian Williams on NBC later that night and Snowden’s lawyer told me the next morning, he would have no chance whatsoever to come home and make his case – in public or in court.

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.

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John Kerry’s challenge to Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy. Either way, nothing excuses Kerry’s slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

  • writeby

    Oh, Christ, they’d throw away the key.

    Kerry? Anti-war, New Left radical Kerry wanting to try Snowden? Hey, John, how ’bout if we’d used that ploy for all those Canadian living U.S. draft dodgers. Can you imagine Nixon–or Mitchell–telling them what you told Snowden.

    Nobody’s that stupid, not even the current Secretary of State.

  • JohnG911

    If America is as evil as Snowden and the left want us to believe, why is Snowden still alive? I’ve seen videos of Snowden walking around in public and buying groceries. He certainly doesn’t act like he has anything to fear, unlike Salmon Rushdie!

    • writeby

      The (New) Left wants to nail Snowden?–not unless you think Obama, Kerry, Warren, Holder, etc., are on the Right. And please don’t confuse America with the NSA. That’s what the Left would like you to do.

      But it all did begin with Bush, so perhaps that’s what leads you to such a statement. Well, Bushy Tail did make Obama possible; however, as with above, perhaps we oughtn’t confuse Repubs with the Right.

      The Republicans (what passes for the Right) have–with the exception of slavery–never stood for genuine freedom.

      Note (and these are just a few of the highlights) the Republicans heartily endorsed the Interstate Commerce Act and it’s resulting Interstate Commerce Commission.

      It was a Republican who first proposed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (which passed 51-1 in the Senate & 242-0 in the House in 1890).

      The Republicans controlled Congress from 1896 to 1910 & again from 1918 to 1930. During that time, they “busted trusts,” established national parks & engaged in imperialist foreign policies during TR’s admin.

      They laid the foundations for the Federal Reserve Act & supported a “limited” national income tax during Taft’s Administration.

      Repubs, too, first proposed the fundamentals of the New Deal during the Hoover Administration.

      Repubs permitted the nationalization by the Shah of Iran of American oil companies in the Mideast during Ike’s admin.

      Repubs recognized Red China and kicked Taiwan, a founding Security Council member, out of the UN while enacting wage & price controls during the Nixon Administration.

      Repubs created soaring deficits during the “conservative” Reagan administration, while “hawkishly” increasing defense spending a whopping .03% above that of the previous Carter administration and happily welcomed the Religious Right into national politics.

      Repubs under Georgie Bush I snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq while increasing both taxes and deficits.

      Finally, under George Bush II, Repubs passed the Patriot Act, leading to legalized warrantless searches, established the fascist agency known as the Dept. of Homeland (Fatherland) Security, jettisoned Habeas Corpus at Guantanamo, empowered the TSA, laid the foundations for NSA domestic covert spying while engaging in a fruitless “War on Terror” and, as as coup de grâce, trumped LBJ and his Great Society spending on Medicare while pushing the nation closer to socialized medicine–something his wildly popular Democratic Presidential predecessor and his power lusting wife could not do.

      Without Bushy Tail, it’s doubtful Obama-La-Ding-Dong could have gotten away with as much as he has.

      When the religious supernaturalist Republicans on the Right (as opposed to the secular supernatualist social constructivist Democrats on the Left) say they are for a nation’s right to self-defense or for freedom or for the sanctity of human life, they are not for a nation’s right to self-defense or for freedom or for human life.

      Their notion of a right is that which is delimited by religious percepts and commandments; hence their moral opposition to an actual war on Iran & Saudi Arabia (& the use of nukes–as Bush vehemently opposed, saying so outright that nuclear retaliation was “off the table”) and their kid gloves prosecution of the Iraq & Afghan “wars”, sacrificing American troops for the sake of the “innocent civilians” (i.e., those who accepted fascist Islam or the Nazi-esque Ba’athists), dropping foodstuffs “for the Afghan children,” which was consumed by the enemy or poisoned by them and distributed by them to civilians & by collecting dollars from public school children to send to those poor Afghan folks “caught in the middle” of the Islamic despotism they never opposed.

      When done, there stood two Islamic tyrannies where only one had existed. Either-you’re-for-us-or-against-us-Bush was apparently against us, as in U.S.

      Then there’s their notion of freedom, which is limited by religious ethics; hence, their opposition to cloning, abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, people who make “more than their fair share of money,” etc., etc.

      Their notion of human life as sacred is made so by a mystic component: the soul — to which they would, and regularly do, sacrifice actual human beings.

      So much for the Republicans being on the Right, if by ‘Right’ one means capitalism & individualism.

      And so much for Snowden, who blew the whistle on the New Left’s plans for laying the foundations of a fascist government, being a (New) Leftist traitor.

    • writeby

      Associating Snowden with the left–Obama, Kerry, Holder, etc.–is just asinine. The left wants his hide.