Opinion Column

THE DUEL

Snowden’s silence on Russian human rights proves he’s a hypocrite 0

Brent Stafford

By Brent Stafford, The Duel

Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong on June 6.
REUTERS/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian

Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong on June 6. REUTERS/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian

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Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on education funding was Laila with 69%.

This week’s topic:

Does Russia's behaviour from the Olympics to the Ukraine suggest Edward Snowden is a hypocrite?

Does Edward Snowden wish he could redefine the nature of his relationship with Russia? If he doesn’t, then truly his hypocrisy knows no bounds. In the name of human rights he leaked a mountain of stolen U.S. national security files and then fled, seeking sanctuary in countries known for horrendous abuses of human rights. After first seeking refuge in China, he wound up in Russia where he was finally granted protection under the watchful eye of Vladimir Putin.

Prior to being granted asylum — confined in a Russian airport transit zone — Snowden attempted to woo potential benefactors and prove his value. Snowden issued a sanctimonious statement accusing the U.S. government of violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. His statement read in part, “These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless.”

This is a bizarre statement and defies reason. Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua are known for deploying death squads against their own people. And in Venezuela at this moment, a government crackdown on anti-government protesters has already killed eight and wounded dozens more.

Read Laila Yuile's column

Snowden’s opinion can’t be taken seriously. Where is Snowden on Russian human rights abuses? Why has he not condemned Russia’s crackdown on protesters and the free press following the 2011 election? Why doesn’t he denounce Russia’s anti-gay legislation passed last year, which promotes hatred, harassment and discrimination? Why has Snowden not come to the defence of the female rock band Pussy Riot? They were assaulted last week in Sochi by militiamen — the band members were simply trying to lip-synch a song for a video when they were pepper-sprayed, whipped, punched and thrown to the ground.

Why hasn’t Snowden taken a public stand supporting the protesters in Ukraine and condemning the Soviet-style, Putin-backed crackdown last week, which killed at least 75? Why has Snowden not vigorously called on Russia to end the Syrian war by withdrawing its political, economic and military support — support that so far has played a role in the death of over 100,000 Syrians?

How can Snowden ignore a litany of human rights abuses while at the same time expect the world to listen to him as he criticizes the U.S. and other western governments? Snowden has lost any moral high ground he may have had and his silence on Russia proves he’s a hypocrite.

Brent Stafford is a veteran television news-documentary producer and marketing specialist. You can watch his show at ShakyPolitics.com.

 

 

 

 

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