Amnesty International Denounces Obama Administration’s Prosecution Of Snowden

100px-Amnesty_International_logo.svg228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenAmnesty International has issued a statement criticizing the Obama Administration’s prosecution of Edward Snowden. While the media has largely yielded to demands from the White House not to call Snowden a “whistleblower,” Amnesty International views him in this light and specifically objects to the use of the Espionage Act by the Obama Administration in this case. I discuss the charges against Snowden in a column today in USA Today.


Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International stated that “No one should be charged under any law for disclosing information of human rights violations by the US government. Such disclosures are protected under the rights to information and freedom of expression.” The organization further stated that “[h]is forced transfer to the USA would put him at great risk of human rights violations and must be challenged.”

The position of Amnesty International could prove helpful to Snowden. Even with countries with an extradition treaty with the United States, there is an exception for criminal charges viewed as political or cases involving a dissident. Moreover, countries can consider the denial of due process in the requesting country. Many Americans may be surprised to learn that the United Stats is increasing viewed as a country that is a menace to due process in the denial of basic rights and a heavily skewed legal system in national security cases. It is important to remember that President Obama has retained the claimed authority to send some people to real courts and some to military tribunals on his discretion alone. The use of the Espionage Act only magnifies those concerns from many civil libertarians.

The charge appears in part a desire to paint Snowden in the most sinister light. The White House and its allies appear surprised by how, despite such efforts, many Americans and people around the world view Snowden as not just a whistleblower but a hero. Even if you do not view him in such a light, he does appear to be a source of a journalist. President Obama is responsible for 70 percent of all charges brought under the 1917 act — targeting sources of journalists. This comes after his administration was found to have put journalists under surveillance and called one reporter a possible criminal conspirator for speaking with a source. The Justice Department would have been wiser to focus on the crimes of theft and disclosure of classified information.

The Administration could not be working harder to create a defense to extradition for Snowden. The rhetoric and the charges in the case make this look more and more political and undermine assurances of fair treatment in the eyes of many abroad. This may be why the United States is now putting such pressure on Russia to return him in transit. Once he arrives and is admitted into a country, a long extradition process will follow where these issues can be explored. That can be avoided if he is simply put on a plane to New York. Russia however appears not inclined to help according to reports out this morning.

Source: Amnesty

99 thoughts on “Amnesty International Denounces Obama Administration’s Prosecution Of Snowden

  1. Let’s face it Obama’s a WIMP, he doesn’t get the respect of the other world leaders. In a stare down who would you take Putin or Obama?

  2. Bruce this is not about partisan politics. Russia would do the same to any other. Partisan politics are how both parties have been lost to corruption.

  3. Mr. Snowden has transitioned from whisleblower/hero/traitor/thief (take your pick) to pawn.

    The U.S. wants Snowden back (for retribution, deterrence, to shut him up or simply for prestige reasons) and they will do/pay whatever necessary to get him.

    Pres. Putin now has a valuable chip. What will he get in return? Don’t know – we may never know – but he probably will get something valuable and Snowden will become “Defendant Snowden” in Virginia.

  4. Irony: Prior to World War Two, the United States wasn’t the world’s super-power and somewhat isolationist. England was the world’s super-power and lost that status in less than 4 years.

    Today the U.S. government is coercing and bullying sovereign nations around the globe to avoid embarrassment and avoid accountability. We blatantly violate international laws and agreements.

    Snowden is just a symptom of this larger hubris of the U.S. government! The bigger issue is how do we rein it in?

  5. Amnesty International has issued a statement criticizing the Obama Administration’s prosecution of Edward Snowden.”

    Good for them.

  6. There has to be something wrong. Mr. O was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I saw him speak in 2008 and looked in his eye when he said there was a different way of doing things than the GWB way. I saw the reports of he beer summit when he called a police department racist. Leave the man alone, he is governing in the most benign way and is such a benevolent dictator that I feel so safe. All this news about him ordering drone attacks on civilian s around the world, collecting phone records of all the people who own phones in the U.S, collecting internet traffic. All this stuff has to be in error, he wouldn’t do such a thing. He even told us how transparant all this is.

    I am pretty sure that history is going to be a B for this man and his minions. I just worry about the precedent that is being set that says to the next “leader”, lie through your teeth, the public doesn’t care.

  7. Excellent.

    And to put further perspective on G.Mason’s comment:

    The guy who claimed an ultra vires Presidential power to assassinate American citizens without due process is calling a whistleblower who outted the government for rights violations a “traitor”.

    Irony. It goes good with coffee.

  8. Lets give Obama a break…. He’s only furthering the Human Rights Violation established under the Bush Administration….. So Aptly called George W. Obama…..

  9. Thank you for the good news, Jonathan Turley.

    I was disappointed in John Kerry, calling upon Russia to extradite Snowden to the U.S.A.
    Kerry’s on the wrong side.

    I hope that Mr. Snowden makes it to Ecuador. For all of us.

    Not that the NSA band of patriotic thugs wouldn’t violate international law and kidnap or assassinate him in Ecuador.

    I’m so proud of my country, I could just soil myself.

  10. He may be in Cuba…. I hear tell the US is planning a rendition party where ever he ends up….

  11. “I hear tell the US is planning a rendition party where ever he ends up”

    Ya reckon? Unless a major power takes him in, the chances he gets whisked away in a black helicopter or “killed resisting apprehension” are pretty good with the lot of fascists we have running Washington. As Bob K. says, kinda makes one proud enough of their country to soil themselves.

    I’m hoping Russia comes around. As much as I dislike Putin, taking Snowden in would be a win for him. It’d piss off Washington, sure, but it’d give him a “I fight for right” card to play at home which he desperately needs (whether he thinks so or not).

  12. What’s in it for Putin? That’s the only relevant question for Putin. Snowden is in grave danger, as much from his ‘friends’ as ‘enemies’ IMO.

  13. Maybe he’s going to Cuba for the “free” healthcare system. Or maybe it because of the high literacy rate. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to read whatever he wants. And look what happened to Chavez. Iceland would maybe be a better choice but Anthony Bourdain has said they have the worst food of any country he has visited.

  14. While I would not mention Snowden’s name alongside Nathan Hale just yet, I think he will gain asylum somewhere and be in possession of enough information to use as a bargaining chip. The latest news states that he never entered Russia so Where’s Waldo Snowden?

  15. Raff,

    Saw a clip that Ruseia Sid some low level person in Russia did not know who he was an had authentic travel papers…. So he Did not question them…

  16. LK,

    A good PR play back home to quell those in dissent with many of his recent actions against the Russian people. Then again, that presupposes Putin cares. It kind of depends upon how Stalin-esque the man really is.

  17. Snowden would be safer if he stayed in Russia. I have to agree with Gene that if he ended up in Equador he would very possibly be snatched up by a CIA special forces unit if he moved around freely there.

  18. The Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not know what it was doing when it passed the Voting Rights Act in its most recent reaffirmation. This is the first time that the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress has not been thinking right. Perhaps Congress should pass a law reducing the salaries of the Supreme Court Justices to reflect the three months that they take off for bad behavior– which begins tomorrow. Tank Dog we wont hear from them until October.

  19. How many bubbles are in a bar of soap? I need to know that answer because I am going to apply for my voting rights in NC and I don’t know nuthin bout birthin babies.

  20. JT: You must have known that the Supreme Court was going to rule on the Voting Rights Act before they go South on vacation. We need a topic on this, an article. Today. Did you go South with them?

  21. I just hate my police state when I hear them rant about our modern hero, Edward Snowden. Time to put that name on T shirts. Anyone taking the government line should be shunned & ignored from here on, including John Kerry.

  22. From the article cited by Gene, above, regarding Putin’s refusal to extradite Snowden:

    “”Asked whether he had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama said on Monday that the U.S. government is “following all appropriate legal channels and working with all countries to ensure the rule of law is being followed.””

    What…rule of law would that be?

    When did the U.S.A. begin following the rule of law?

    I don’t remember being consulted on any such major policy change.

  23. Honest question here. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while. Exactly what is the difference between a ‘whistleblower’ and a ‘snitch’? How many years did people teach their children not to ‘tattle’? Is the difference on which side of the issue you stand?

  24. Kraaken: The difference is this. If daddy cheats on mommy and Sonnyboy knows about it and tells daddy then Sonnyboy is a snitch. If the Principal at school steals money from the school fund and Sonnyboy tells on him then Sonnyboy is a whistleblower. It goes on from there.

  25. Kraaken: And usually when mom tells Sonnyboy not to tattle the issue revolves around mom doing something wrong.

  26. Elaine, Kerry did hire Feingold so he was @ least sharp enough to hire an honest and bright politician. They’ve been on the endangered species list for awhile now.

  27. There’s been a lot of speculation as to what Russia might want from Snowden – secret docs, NSA access codes or his knowledge of the American intelligence community. But the reality is that his “intel” – priceless to the American public – is the last reason why Russia got on the “Snowden train”. That’s because a country with such a massive intelligence apparatus doesn’t need a celebrity whistleblower to tell them about PRISM. Russian intelligence has waged a covert war against the very institutions Snowden exposed for the better part of the 20th century.

    The over-exaggerated “treasure chest” of secrets the world presumes Snowden’s laptop to be is of no use to the Russian government since they have their own (albeit weaker) NSA with spies, satellites, cryptography specialists, and a general understanding of an intelligence agency’s modus operandi that is far beyond that of any journalist or civilian in the US. Official Moscow may have a hard time grasping the basic principles of democracy, but it sure knows a thing or two about intelligence gathering. So no PRISM, Tempora, Verizon court orders or, say, a secret program that installs NSA modules into TiVo sets for tracking al-Qaida based on TV preferences is of any interest (or surprise) to the Russian government. What they do care about is sticking it to the US any way they can. And Snowden is just the guy they need. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/25/edward-snowden-moscow-russia-us-rivalry

  28. Bob, so in other words the president’s answer was “no, he didn’t ask President Putin”

    Appropriate legal channels eh? How do you do this when there is no formal extradition treaty between the US and Russia?

  29. Glenn Greenwald: “Dianne Feinstein is Outright Lying” about NSA Surveillance Abuses

    Published on Jun 24, 2013
    Watch the full interview with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now! at http://owl.li/mkCnI. Greenwald, who broke the NSA surveillance stories, talks about the mystery around Edward Snowden and the Obama administration’s decision to charge Snowden with espionage.

    Greenwald says: “Dianne Feinstein is outright lying when she says that she doesn’t know of any instances of abuse at the National Security Agency. Leaving aside the fact that there have been several different reports by ABC News, by The New York Times, of the NSA abusing its eavesdropping powers over the last four years, there is a 2011 opinion, 80 pages long, from the FISA court, the secret court that oversees the NSA. And what it ruled, although the court—the opinion is top-secret and hasn’t been publicly released. What it ruled is that the way in which the NSA is spying on American citizens is in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as well as in excess of the limitations imposed by the statute, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. In other words, what the NSA is doing is both unconstitutional and illegal. And so, although the public doesn’t have access to that opinion—shockingly, that in a democracy you could have a court rule the government has violated the law and the Constitution and keep it all a secret—Dianne Feinstein has access to that opinion. And so, when she says into the camera that there’s no evidence that she is aware of that the NSA has abused its spying powers, she’s simply lying, because she knows that the claim she’s making is false.”

  30. Harry Skip Robinson
    1, June 25, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I have noted:
    That when an American has to flee to find the Rule of Law…
    … Says volumes about America and Her Rule of Men.

    .

  31. Darren,

    Correct.
    Yes, Putin mentioned that there’s no formal extradition treaty.

    I think “appropriate legal channels” is the same bayou that permitted us to torture prisoners taken during various undeclared wars in more countries than I can count.

    We took that channel, so it’s an appropriate legal channel. You may consult with John Woo for legal arguments.

  32. Feinstein is too old to lie. Too old to know the truth. Too old to be a Senator. Too Old. 80 is too old, especially in dog years. She would be 560 dog years old. Don’t think of her as a dog though. We dogs would not have her in a dogpac and we put up with a lot.

  33. Yo JT: it is Supreme Court Day. They overturned the Voting Rights Act. They say that Congress don’t know nuttin bout birthin babies. We need an article on the Supreme Court’s last day and the cases they decided. Yo: this is a law blog isn’t it? Yesterday you said that you were there in front of the court. I don’t know if you meant that you were speaking on behalf of a client or out there on the street with the protestors. Yo JT: we need a topic on the Supreme Court’s last day and where they are going for three months on vacation on our dime.

  34. Yeah. JT I wont itchBay about it but we need an article about the Supreme Court’s decisions this week before they all went off to the cathouse in Amsterdam to get laid. Can you picture Ginsberg getting laid at a whorehouse in Amsterdam? Naah.

  35. “Many Americans may be surprised to learn that the United Stats is increasing viewed as a country that is a menace to due process in the denial of basic rights and a heavily skewed legal system in national security cases. It is important to remember that President Obama has retained the claimed authority to send some people to real courts and some to military tribunals on his discretion alone. The use of the Espionage Act only magnifies those concerns from many civil libertarians.

    The charge appears in part a desire to paint Snowden in the most sinister light. The White House and its allies appear surprised by how, despite such efforts, many Americans and people around the world view Snowden as not just a whistleblower but a hero. Even if you do not view him in such a light, he does appear to be a source of a journalist.”

    I believe that Snowden has performed a heroic service for our Country in disclosing that our Government has acted in the manner of despots throughout history. The question of whether or not Snowden is a “hero” as a person is childish when compared to the service he has done for us all. The security establishment and Obama face two problems that prevent them from any course other than to try to catch him and punish him severely. The first is that Snowden “getting away with” these leaks, will empower others to follow suit and the “wall of self-serving secrecy” will be breached. The second is although there are economic interests that are really being served by the “Intelligence State” and its’ continuous “War on Everything”, almost all those supporting these unconscionable invasions of privacy must still justify their transgressions emotionally. The reaction supporting Snowden might insert a little self doubt into their self-serving consciousness and they must not allow themselves doubt, or recognize their actions are ultimately illegal no matter what laws have been passed to make it legal.

  36. From Australia News: “THOMAS DRAKE: I blew the whistle on massive fraud, waste and abuse in the multi-billions of dollars. I also blew the whistle with two 9/11 congressional investigations with respect to the secret surveillance program, which is really the foundation, the set of foundation programs that Snowden disclosed in terms of actual documents that we now see revealed. I was charged in a 10 felony count indictment facing 35 years in prison – five under the Espionage Act, one for obstruction of justice and four for making false statements.

    LEIGH SALES: And what happened with those charges?

    THOMAS DRAKE: Their case ultimately collapsed under the weight of truth, also in the court of public opinion, and I ultimately prevailed and was able to keep my freedom.

    LEIGH SALES: Well not everybody thinks Edward Snowden did the right thing. I presume you do?

    THOMAS DRAKE: I consider Edward Snowden a whistleblower. I know some have called him a hero, some have called him a traitor. I focus on what he disclosed. I don’t focus on him as a person. He did have a belief that what he was exposed to, US actions in secret were violating privacy and human rights on a very, very large scale far beyond anything that had been admitted to date by the Government. And so in the public interest, he made that available.

    LEIGH SALES: What do you say to the argument advanced by those with the opposite viewpoint to you, especially in the US Congress and in the White House, that Edward Snowden is a traitor who made a narcissistic decision that he personally had a right to decide what classified information should be in the public domain?

    THOMAS DRAKE: That’s a Government meme, it’s a Government cover, it’s a Government story. The Government is desperate to not deal with the actual disclosures, the contents of those disclosures, because they do reveal a vast, systemic, institutionalised industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance system that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism – far beyond.

    LEIGH SALES: Is it fair to say though that governments and their militaries and their intelligence services and their diplomatic arms require a degree of secrecy if they’re to be effective?

    THOMAS DRAKE: Yes. I was in the system for many, many years. I’m the first to tell you, as Daniel Ellsberg himself has said more recently, there are secrets – very, very few, but there are secrets worth keeping. Troop movements, nuclear secrets – things of that nature. What we’re seeing here though is secret law, secret rules, secret programs that have been removed from any form of public debate.

    LEIGH SALES: Somebody who works for a security agency and leaks classified information would be well aware that that is a serious crime that attracts a serious penalty, regardless of whether history judges that that leak was in the public interest. Therefore does Edward Snowden have any right to plead for leniency?

    THOMAS DRAKE: Well, you know, we’ll see how things develop (inaudible) plead for leniency. He’s outside the US and that does give him some advantages in terms of the long arm of “US justice”. I believe he committed a magnificent act of civil disobedience. He knew full well what risk he was taking. And he knew that he was potentially sacrificing his own safety, his own well-being and ultimately even putting his entire personal freedom at risk in disclosing top secret information regarding surveillance programs conducted by the United States Government.

    LEIGH SALES: But if everybody acted like that, wouldn’t the entire system crumble?

    THOMAS DRAKE: Well, the system’s outta control. I mean, amount of information – this is what’s happening. Not only the amount of information that’s continually classified, but also the number of people that have access to that classified information, it’s in the millions now. It’s in the millions. If Americans only knew the extent to which the executive branch has secretly interpreted even the legislation that was passed and signed into law by the President, they’d be angry and very upset. Well, we’re now starting to see the contours of that.

    LEIGH SALES: As somebody who’s been through it, what’s your advice to Edward Snowden?

    THOMAS DRAKE: Well, I – I very much feel for him and, I mean, one of the things that happens – I mean, he’s escaped from a very secret system and he’s outside the US and so all of his natural allies, support structure, family, is not there. He fundamentally has to rely and trust on those who understand what he’s going through and what he’s been. So, the lawyers, the advocates, the activists, the diplomats – I mean, this has become a world event. And you’re seeing someone who made a very, very fateful decision to share what he knew about the inside goings-on of the surveillance state with the world.”

  37. IMO, here is the crux of the matter stated by Drake: “THOMAS DRAKE: That’s a Government meme, it’s a Government cover, it’s a Government story. The Government is desperate to not deal with the actual disclosures, the contents of those disclosures, because they do reveal a vast, systemic, institutionalised industrial-scale Leviathan surveillance system that has clearly gone far beyond the original mandate to deal with terrorism – far beyond.

    LEIGH SALES: Is it fair to say though that governments and their militaries and their intelligence services and their diplomatic arms require a degree of secrecy if they’re to be effective?

    THOMAS DRAKE: Yes. I was in the system for many, many years. I’m the first to tell you, as Daniel Ellsberg himself has said more recently, there are secrets – very, very few, but there are secrets worth keeping. Troop movements, nuclear secrets – things of that nature. What we’re seeing here though is secret law, secret rules, secret programs that have been removed from any form of public debate.”

  38. JT: Where you at man? Supreme Court has done ruled on the case regarding Voting Rights Act. Wake up!

  39. The irony here is that Amensty International–a Leftist agency if there ever was one–is criticizing the Leftist policies of the US Government. Amnesty International, apparenty, forgets what Leftism is all about.

    Amnesty Internation seems to want to pretend that there is a left-right paradigm, in which the “right” is totalitarianism, and the “left” is for freedom. Nonsense. The Left has actually hijacked the right wing, so that both fall under the easy to identify category, “Leftists.” Leftism is a political system in which the state makes its citizens dependent upon it and holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life whenever necessary.

    Thus, the US Government has become a virtual carbon copy of the old 1950s style Communist-run Soviet Union, in which the media, the politicians, business, and government work in concert to subjugate the people, monitor their movements, and, essentially control key aspects of their lives.

    The media in the US is just like the old “TAS” (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union)–holding a monoply over all that you see and hear. Of course, there is still the Internet, when there is a substantial level of freedom, but you can rest assured that the US Government has plans for invading and controlling that too.

  40. Snowden seems to me to be in that line of people of conscience who take on the reigning authority, recant, are punished and then gain their true due well after their lives are over and the threat to the public is properly assayed . People like Galileo, Thomas More, and Martin Luther spring to mind, but of course they did not run.

  41. Ralph, But all bets are off when the bread lines start forming. We Americans are the most impatient people in the world. We’ll be grilling and bbq’ing politicians when that happens.

  42. nick:

    “We Americans are the most impatient people in the world. We’ll be grilling and bbq’ing politicians when that happens.”

    *******************

    That fear by our leaders is all that keeps us free. Here’ s my suggestion for the rub:

    Total Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients:

    2 tablespoons garlic powder
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    2 tablespoons black pepper
    1 tablespoons salt
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    2 tablespoons cumin powder
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    3 to 4 tablespoons paprika
    2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    Preparation:

    Rub seasoning using 1-2 tablespoons per slab of ribs. I use more because I like them hot. Put on grill in single layer away from direct heat source. cook slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on low heat. After cooking I wrap the ribs in foil and let them rest for 30 min. this makes for very tender ribs. This seasoning mixture will keep in sealed jar in the refrigerator.

  43. mespo, Good dry rub for the torso. Any politician organ meat recipes? You know those chitterlings got to be cleaned thoroughly, being so full of shit!.

  44. mespo,
    Those heroes did not run, but the rules were different then, The current security apparatus learned how to take care of such problems from our friends south of the border in Argentina and other places. Bradley Manning is an example of how a whistleblower can be “disappeared” even in plain sight. Bad things happen to troublesome meddlers. Does the name Barry Seal ring any bells?

    The secret they learned was not to allow the whistleblower a chance to have an audience.

  45. mespo, Good dry rub for the torso. Any organ meat recipes. Those chitterlings have to be cleaned thoroughly, being so full of feces!

  46. http://rt.com/usa/snowden-greenwald-encrypted-copies-227/

    Snowden hid copies of secret NSA documents in case something happens to him

    Published time: June 25, 2013 19:37
    Reuters / Tatyana Makeyeva

    A trove of classified documents supplied to The Guardian newspaper by NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been copied and shared with several people around the globe, journalist Glenn Greenwald told The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

    Article continues…

  47. The fact is Snowden did break some laws telling us about a program we largely already knew about. Can you imagine the heavy artillery fire Mr. Obama would be taking from the right if Snowden were not pursued? Then imagine the potentially damaging affects on the mid-terms. Obama probably figures he can withstand and weather the criticism from civil libertarians and the left and follow the law without damaging Democrat down-ticket races in 2014. And he’s probably right.

  48. YO Turley: Supreme Court decisions this week. Weekend Update! When?
    Oh, there was this little old case which set aside the Voting Rights Act!

    Are we a numnuts law blog here?

  49. I don’t know nuthin bout birthin babies so quit asking me to post things like Supreme Court cases. My name is JT and I don’t know nuthin bout birthin babies.

  50. The more I think about this case, the more I believe it could have been handled better and the gov’t could have had the result it was looking for.

    It might have been a lesser risk to have some trusted interlocutor contact Mr. Snowden behind the scenes and outside the scope of the media with a deal that both could live with. The deal would have been that if Snowden returned to the US and handed over whatever it was he was carrying with him and that he not reveal any “actual” secrets that could endanger military or national security in the true and real sense, that he could plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge that would carry no jail time but he would have to pay a $50,000 fine which of course he could have supporters on the internet raise for him.

    This way it would have avoided the risk that he would have been intercepted by the Russians, the US would have it’s conviction, and Snowden could return from exile and start a new life back in the US. Both sides could win something or save face. But probably more importantly, he would not go over to the other side.

  51. Snowden was right to flee, knowing that this administration has charged more whistle blowers with espionage than all other administrations combined. If the Obama administration showed any kind of sanity in regards to how it deals with leaks and whistle blowers, Snowden might very well have simply released the documents and turned himself in. But alas, the Obama were were promised is not the Obama we got…

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/06/20/194513/obamas-crackdown-views-leaks-as.html

  52. Some here have complained that there are no stories on recent SCOTUS decisions. There’s really not much to discuss. I’ve ‘splained how the SCOTUS works and how it makes its decisions, and they are 100% predictable. SCOTUS Rule: If one party is big business or big government and the other is a regular citizen, the citizen ALWAYS LOSES. That is simple enough. It does not matter what the facts or circumstances are, or even what other Circuit Courts have ruled. The SCOTUS will ALWAYS find a way to reward big business or big government and punish the ordinary citizen. Although the 5-4 composition is often behind these decisions, ALL of the justices are 100% behind this rule and only make a pretext that they are not beholden to it. They will sometimes do a round-robin where a “liberal” judge is chosen to render the decision against the little guy or the little business.

    Let’s take a very recent case to see if you understand the principle. One party is a ,big manufacturer of generic drugs and the other is a woman who suffered skin burns and was nearly blinded by the generic pills she took.

    Hmmmmm. This is very difficult to decide, right? I mean you have to know the facts, the circumstances, the law, and all that complicated stuff, right? Nope. Just apply my rock solid, ineluctable operating principle of the SCOTUS, and you will KNOW with absolute certainty what the SCOTUS will decide.

    Okay…. here’s the story…..

    The Supreme Court on Monday eliminated the last major avenue for consumers to seek damages for faulty generic drugs, giving manufacturers a broad shield from liability for the low-cost versions of brand-name prescription medicines.

    In a 5-4 decision, the court tossed out a $21-million jury verdict won by Karen Bartlett, a New Hampshire woman who suffered horrible skin burns over most of her body and was nearly blinded after taking a pill to relieve shoulder pain.

    The court majority conceded that the woman’s plight was tragic. But the justices said the Food and Drug Administration had approved the drug sulindac for sale and that federal approval trumped a state’s consumer-protection laws, under which she had sued.

    “You go to the pharmacy, and in most states they substitute a generic drug for the name-brand drug because it’s cheaper. And when they do that, they wipe out your rights,” said Arthur Bryant, executive director of public interest law firm Public Justice.
    —–

    See, it’s easy when you know how the justitutes on the SCOTUS operate.

  53. Is journalism being criminalised? Interview with Dirty Wars author Jeremy Scahill
    Published on Jun 25, 2013

    In the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leak of NSA files, Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield and featured reporter in the new documentary film of the same name, says under the Obama administration journalists are being intruded upon and whistleblowers are being charged with crimes. Scahill is also a national security correspondent for the Nation.

  54. I had to chuckle when I read this in the UK Guardian …………..

    Speaking earlier on Tuesday, Lavrov (Russian Foreign Mnister) insisted Russia did not help Snowden travel: “I would like to say right away that we have no relation to either Mr Snowden or to his relationship with American justice or to his movements around the world.

    “He chose his route on his own, and we found out about it, as most here did, from mass media,” said Lavrov.

    “We consider the attempts we are now seeing to blame the Russian side for breaking US laws and being almost in on the plot totally baseless and unacceptable, and even an attempt to threaten us,” he said.

    China’s top state newspaper had earlier praised Snowden for “tearing off Washington’s sanctimonious mask” and rejected accusations that Beijing had facilitated his departure from Hong Kong.

    The strongly worded front-page piece in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist party, responded to harsh criticism of China from the US for allowing Snowden to flee.

    The Chinese government has said it is gravely concerned by Snowden’s allegations that the US has hacked into many networks in Hong Kong and China, including Tsinghua University, which hosts one of the country’s internet hubs, and Chinese mobile network companies. It said it had taken the issue up with Washington.

    “Not only did the US authorities not give us an explanation and apology, it instead expressed dissatisfaction at the Hong Kong special administrative region for handling things in accordance with law,” wrote Wang Xinjun, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science in the People’s Daily commentary.

    “In a sense, the United States has gone from a ‘model of human rights’ to ‘an eavesdropper on personal privacy’, the ‘manipulator’ of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad ‘invader’ of other countries’ networks,” the People’s Daily said.

    The White House said allowing Snowden to leave was “a deliberate choice by the government to release a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant, and that decision unquestionably has a negative impact on the US-China relationship”.

    The People’s Daily, which reflects government thinking of the government, said: China could not accept “this kind of dissatisfaction and opposition”.

    “The world will remember Edward Snowden,” it said. “It was his fearlessness that tore off Washington’s sanctimonious mask.”

    ————————————————————- ———————-
    I guess many people are now seeing the Chinese and the Russians as the good guys – at least with this fiasco.

    I wonder after this will Washington and others be preaching to The PRC and Russia on human rights?

    Unfortunately Snowdon has ruined his life completely and the US Government will have to make a spectacle out of him as a clear message to others that may want to follow him.

    He will be safe no where . Ultimately I believe he will mysteriously wind up dead as a result of his actions and the US will continue to perform their spying programs unimpeded because there is no one or body capable of or willing to stop these activities. This President cetainly will not; nor will Congress – to state the bleeding obvious. So it is business as usual folks ….. and you are going to stop it how exactly?

    All the discussion and debate centres around Snowden and his actions and, sadly, hardly anyone is seriously discussing and questioning the legalities of what is going on with these excessive spying programs. But then you can fool most of the public most of the time.

  55. “In a sense, the United States has gone from a ‘model of human rights’ to ‘an eavesdropper on personal privacy’, the ‘manipulator’ of the centralised power over the international internet, and the mad ‘invader’ of other countries’ networks,” the People’s Daily said”

    Cameron,

    Can you imagine the glee within the Chinese government as this whole sad affair plays out. For so many years our country has played a human rights card against China, acting as if we are on the moral high ground. China is an oppressive country, but we haven’t had the right to claim moral superiority and have become almost equally oppressive.

  56. Anyone taking the government’s side on this is a suppressive AH. Unfortunately there are a few even on this blog.

  57. Ralph, I see a wise Guest Blogger paired us up last night. How about miniature golf for our first date? the reversal of DOMA may be a sign from above.

  58. Mike Spindell,

    I think that Friedrich Nietzsche had a few words of wisdom applicable to our erstwhile monster-slayer, Barack Obama:

    “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”

    Along somewhat similar lines, Sam Adams once said that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” If only he could have lived to see America go abroad just so as to needlessly create them.

  59. Gene wondered:
    It does make one wonder how “giggling like a school girl” translates into Mandarin
    ~+~
    You can watch the Chinese dubbed version of Sailor Moon and find out :)

  60. I don’t know if the Japanese anime market is big in China, Darren. I’d imagine it’s not. They have their own domestic animation industry. It’s not only huge, they’re a bit protectionist of it. Given their history, I’d think selling Japanese anything in China is problematic at best.

  61. Hmmmmm. Apparently such things do exist. At least for Dragonball Z and larger franchises like Sailor Moon. It started before the Chinese animation industry got established.

    Thanks, Darren. You led me round about to learning something new. I always dig that.

  62. “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”

    Michael Murry,

    When I was in therapy and then in training as a psychotherapist one of the principles we discussed was look at what someone loathes in others and most times it’s an aspect of themselves that they loathe but won’t let themselves admit to. I think that was what Nietzsche was getting at above. America decries the governmental systems of many in the world, yet has set up similar systems at home. I understand that in my own psyche there exists the possibility of becoming a monster and it is the reason I gave up a potential political career. Power is always corrupting and because of that societies must learn to share it, rather invest it in one entity or person.

  63. There’s a huge difference between thanking a friend for leading one to a new fact and being obsequious in pursuit of allies. Darren is already my friend and has been for much longer than you’ve been here. I have no need to curry his favor, nick. When you get over your anger and get some real friends, you might come to understand the distinction. We’re all pullin’ for ya.

  64. Nick, you say “I see a wise Guest Blogger paired us up last night. How about miniature golf for our first date? the reversal of DOMA may be a sign from above.”

    LOL

  65. I was fascinated by Charles Whitman, the UT Tower sniper. I have never been a gun nut. I am, contrary to what a few folks think here, a happy, easy going, live and let live, guy. I spoke @ length about this fascination w/ an abnormal psychology professor I had in college. I had this prof for 2 classes and we clicked well. We broke it down, and he thought what fascinated me most was the geometry and remoteness. The geometry being Whitman had a very elevated vantage point that gave him a perfect angle for many potential victims. The remoteness was simply, even w/ a scope, the faces of the victims were obscured. This professor was a caring man, and saw how this dark side troubled me. After several lengthy conversations he said to me, “Nick, you are one of the least likely people to ever do this something like this. Speaking about your dark side openly and honestly is rare, and in doing that you have faced up to it.” He then said something that I remember to this day. “Nick, your mind will do something on occasion to help you cope w/ this dark side.” I have noticed that when I go to a new city I look @ buildings and assess them as a sniper’s nest.

    This is not a “possibly false” anecdote. This is not a “Can you top this” pathology. This is the flat ass truth, as is everything I say here. This was difficult for me to write about because it’s the kind of thing some folks here might exploit. They accessing their dark side. This is something I’m certainly not proud of, but as I dealt w/ people’s dark sides over my career, I realize a darkness sits within all of us. How we deal w/ it is key on what kind of life we will lead. I have never owned a rifle. However, I have owned numerous video cameras. I mentioned last week how geometry was the only math I really got, and liked it; and how people of my genre are often horrible @ algebra. Blouise stepped forward to say she was the algebra ace and geometry bust. This understanding angles, vantage points, etc helped me “shoot” many plaintiffs who were liars about their injuries in personal injury suits. I shot them w/ my video camera. It’s funny. I have 2 nieces who graduated from UT. My sister lived in Austin for years. However, I’ve never gone to the campus. I don’t want to see where so many were killed by a man who acted on his dark side. Pretty weird shit..I know. I can take some ballbusting on this. I think that’s a good way to deal w/ darkness, shining some light on it, laughing @ it. But, please be prudent. Fire away!

  66. Ralph, I’m glad to see you have a sense of humor. I’ve seen you here on occasion but really don’t know your personality. When someone can take a lighthearted joke, or more importantly engage in self deprecating humor, they’re ok in my book. Will you be my “real friend?” What’s your miniature golf handicap?

  67. Now if I heard this right this morning….. The reason we are in want of Snowden is because he might hold some secrets that the US does not want divulged….. Plus…. It kinda screwed up any hopes that the US had in trying to convience china not only to not spy on its citizens but to not take the spying into international realms….. I think I heard that right….. You don’t say….

  68. Sometimes you hear it said: “If you have nothing illegal & nothing to hide, who cares what the government knows about you!” Well, lets turn that around & apply it to the government. In fact, an honest government would have very few secrets from its citizens or the world in general. Every war it ever had was a failure to negotiate or a mean spirited criminal attitude in the first place. The distance between the good citizen & the government has gotten so far apart since 9/11, the biggest mean spirited criminal act perpetrated by our government, at least since WWII. Soon they will top that I suppose. Some of the presidential decrees of recent years could make this one of the worst places in the world to live if a declaration of emergency is made, second only to a few African & Arab countries, along with North Korea. Well, our government is definitely not our good priest, so there is your answer to the ‘nothing to hide’ quote.

  69. The governments of both Venezuela and Nicaragua have offered Edward Snowden asylum. The statements seem to be carefully worded, but the meaning is clear. When the US caused the airplane of the head of state of another sovereign nation to be forced down for a search that violated all kinds of diplomatic law and protocol, what could have possibly gone wrong?

    Now I am just waiting for some other country to order Air Force One down for a search. Anyone want to take any bets on that ever happening in the real world? Here is a clip from the story on MSNBC:

    The presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua offered Friday to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, one day after leftist South American leaders gathered to denounce the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane over Europe amid reports that the American was aboard.

    Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua made their offers during separate speeches in their home countries Friday afternoon. Snowden has asked for asylum in numerous countries, including Nicaragua and Venezuela.

    “As head of state, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden so that he can live (without) … persecution from the empire,” Maduro said, referring to the United States. He made the offer during a speech marking the anniversary of Venezuela’s independence. It was not immediately clear if there were any conditions to Venezuela’s offer.

    In Nicaragua, Ortega said he was willing to make the same offer “if circumstances allow it.” Ortega didn’t say what the right circumstances would be when he spoke during a speech in Managua.

    Source: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/05/19309635-venezuela-nicaragua-offer-asylum-to-nsa-leaker-snowden?lite

  70. OS,

    If this was ordered by Obama then I think there are grounds for impeachment. I am astounded by this srory and I don’t astound easily.

  71. It would be interesting to see what Air Force 1 would do if ATC in some country ordered it to land.

  72. Darren,
    Interesting question. I think AF1 would ignore local ATC and head for the nearest international airspace. They know that even a well armed country would never scramble jets to force it to land. There is a rather large difference between AF1, which is a Boeing 747, and the Dassault Falcon 900 used by the Bolivian President.

    Additionally, it seems reasonable to assume Air Force One has a much larger and more deadly system of defenses than what is essentially a French made business jet.

  73. I agree it would likely play out in the air as you describe. The political fallout would be where the intrigue would lie.

    The US is really destroying its creditility by strong arming these countries into submission with respect to Mr. Snowden. It would be certainly entertaining to see one of these countries to declare exactly what the US Gov’t threatened them with and then make an official announcement that they accepted the fact that the US would sanction them and spelled out what those were, making the US look like a bully, and welcoming Snowden in.

    A person can really take the wind out of a bully’s sails by agreeing to the punishment up front.

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