Read this article in the Christian Science Monitor about the current state of relations between the United States and Brazil:
We are not talking about two small countries here. These are two heavyweights. When Brazil’s relations with China are friendlier than they are with the U. S., the United States has an image problem, and a trustworthiness problem.
The great thing about NSA’s downfall is the role of training slides in Snowden’s disclosures. To explain NSA’s surveillance capabilities to its employees, the slides bragged, “Look what we can do to Brazil, our neighbor down the street.” Brazil felt like a good friend had been peeping in at the bedroom window every night, for years. What an embarrassing – and deserved – comeuppance for the NSA. Its boasting, PowerPoint swagger, the smug attitude that we’ll never get caught, adds to the sweetness of NSA’s undoing.
Congratulations to the European Parliament for nominating Edward Snowden as a candidate for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Let Brazil nominate him for its top prize, too. A fellow nominee for the Sakharov Prize is Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban when she stood for girls’ education. The two should share the prize this year.
Consider this sequence:
The U. S. government charges Edward Snowden with espionage and revokes his passport.
Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Russia. Russia grants his request.
That tells me that Snowden’s U. S. citizenship is in doubt. No one at the State Department in Washington has stamped an official document that revokes Snowden’s citizenship, but he is stateless, as Snowden himself puts it.
These thoughts come about because of this possibility – actually, it’s a fantasy. Suppose Snowden were to travel to Europe to accept the Sakharov Prize. He should travel with a Russian bodyguard if he can get one. The act by itself would dare the U. S. government to apprehend him. Because the U. S. took the key step of revoking Snowden’s passport, to prevent him from travelling, it stripped him of the internationally recognized symbol and affirmation of citizenship. Moreover, the U. S. wants to arrest Snowden as an enemy of the state, to imprison him because, as they charge, he has committed a crime against the United States.
Because of Snowden’s legal status in the United States, and his legal status in Russia, the only way the U. S. can apprehend Snowden is to kidnap him. That is not how the U. S. would see it, of course, but that is how the rest of the world would see it. After extraordinary rendition, black sites, interrogations and torture, the U. S. finds itself wanting to kidnap one of its own, to put him in solitary confinement and try him as a spy. Wouldn’t it be an effective rebuke if Snowden travelled to Brussels to deliver an acceptance speech for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought? Would the U. S. stand by as he did that? We won’t know, because it’s only a fantasy.