Laughter in the Kremlin?


I know, I know, y’all are all such Bolshies that you can’t take any interest in the Snowden story. Nothing structural about it. But since I am such a giddy frivolous mayfly, I am loving it.

One thing that I’m loving is our way-cool, laid-back President who assured us that he wouldn’t ‘scramble any jets’ in order to put a ’29-year-old hacker’ into the Bradley Manning oubliette.

And then of course he did just that — directing our loyal clients to force Evo Morales’ plane to land in reliable Austria, on the mere suspicion that the 29-year-old ‘hacker’ in question might have been aboard. And of course the various stooges complied.

This was a pretty extraordinary move. It made a lot of people in Latin America hopping mad. You might think that somebody in one of the staff meetings coulda raised this question: Is it worth it?

If somebody did, she or he was overruled. This is as clear evidence as you wish for the essential lunacy of the imperial mind-set. Pissing off a whole continent is inconsequential, but it’s really important to punish a rogue employee.

* * * * *

At least Nixon and Johnson were tortured souls, which suggests they had souls. Obama appears to be perfectly comfortable being a sanctimonious Tartuffian dog-faced liar. It doesn’t seem to bother him. There’s a word for this condition: psychopath.

Snowden’s own remarks from Moscow yesterday were, as usual, cogent, accurate, insightful, and pithily expressed. How I love the guy; and it’s not just the haircut, which one of his Russian admirers remarked upon. Though it is a pretty good haircut, by my (and Russia’s) admittedly low standards.

Snowden took the rhetorically effective line that the people trying to arrest him for breaking the law are, as it happens, international criminals themselves. I couldn’t care less about the law, myself, national or international, but this is kind of a fun high-ground strategy, and he has a point.

How I hope Putin decides to poke a finger in Uncle’s eye and give Snowden the asylum he asks for. Oh yeah, I know, Putin’s an awful guy, and Russia is a Mafia state, yadda yadda. All true, no doubt. But y’know what? I don’t care. That’s how anti-American I, for one, am.

12 thoughts on “Laughter in the Kremlin?

  1. “Russia is a Mafia state”

    Ours isn’t? I suggest you give it further consideration. Perhaps the mafia here calls themselves a different name (bond traders? hedge fund managers?), but a mafia it remains.

    They break the law with impunity and buy off the politicians to make sure it stays that way.

  2. According to RT he has been offered and has accepted asylum. Apparently on condition he not reveal any further secrets “damaging to the US.”…How strenuously this condition is applied I gather is another matter.

    Putin has seemed pretty ambivalent about Snowden’s presence. They’d I’m sure love noting more than thumb it to Uncle Sam but Moscow seem to be afflicted with a enough diplomatic self-regard not to simply tell Washington where to shove it. My guess is Russia’re hoping once he’s freed and given papers he’ll discretely fuck off to Latin America.

    But I agree, the story is very entertaining. He has succeeded in making a complete fool of the Obama administration and the US empire. And this, for me, more than the revelation of NSA spying (which I was already certain they were trying to do) is his most important contribution to the world.

    • Yes. One of the most fun things about it was how the Russkis seem to have found themselves in a bit of a box. One has the sense that they would rather not have been bothered, but once he was there and public opinion ran so strongly in his favor…

      Of course, trying to read tea-leaves like this on the other side of the world is an undertaking fraught with peril. But it’s so hard to resist temptation.

  3. I’d like to take joy in a sort of evil keystone koppers version of these events, even to go so far as find credible the idea that the Kremlin might’ve leaked “Snowden bound for Bolivia” to make the Might House look silly.

    And I strive not to live what the late RA Wilson described as “a loser script” – a concept that refers to a conspiratorial-thinking wing that maintains the existence of a powers-that-be who are too far ahead of the game to be outflanked.

    That said, I cannot help but wonder why it doesn’t more-often occur to sober thinkers that Eminence in Russland and Eminence in Amerika de Nord are, like, more or less on the same side.

    Have we seriously learned nothing from the (now quite open & out) kayfabe of professional wrestling?

  4. @Peter: “Damaging to the U.S.” Reminds me of Berkeley Breathed’s old line about “the secret of George Bush’s appeal.”

    Rilly tho, gentlemen, if they’d wanted to snatch him, they would’ve done it long ago. They can black-hood any peon, anywhere, anytime. If they really wanted him, they would’ve had Greenwald taped to a car battery last week.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with Sun Tzu: “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” The fake impotence at being unable to catch their own “runaway” operative is supposed to make folks like you giddy, and less worried about the advance of the security state.

    Them pulling this “we can’t get him” stunt, though, indicates to me that I should be more concerned about the security state than I was previously. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be trying so hard to look ineffectual.

    • On balance, I think he’s probably just what he says he is. I just don’t find these conjectural narratives of super-clever triple-crosses very plausible. And what would be the point, exactly?

    • There’s a reason why cover stories, false trails, and limited hangouts are so effective: suppositions like those in the linked article are indistinguishable from them. I can’t help but find especially suspect the “battle between the agencies” story, which is used much like two murder suspects accusing each other; they both skate.

      Although, I do find plausible the idea the gov uses these things as warning shots, both to induce fear in the troublemakers and acclimate the meeker citizenry to the world they should expect to see more of.

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