[Editor's Note: The following post is by TDV Editor-In-Chief, Jeff Berwick]
Questions swirled around Edward Snowden for the last year. The debate raged: was he a patriot or a traitor? Some even asked if he was a government patsy or a Russian spy. Over the last few months there has been more light shed on the question "Who is Edward Snowden?"
For one he seems to be very brainwashed and indoctrinated into believing that the US government is a protector of his freedoms… that, of course, couldn't be more untrue in his current situation yet he still wants to return to the geographic region where the US government maintains a complete monopoly on violence (law/police) and theft (taxation).
He would be much safer and freer anywhere else on earth. He would be celebrated everywhere he went in many countries on the planet. I understand the US is where he grew up, but we live in a new world where people are not tied-at-the-hip to the people of the geographic region where they were born. More than ever we are one big human family and our closest friends can live thousands of miles away. And we can chat with them regularly.
I cannot reconcile that this "trained spy" would not have prepared himself accordingly. How could he not have secured a second passport, for example? If it were not for Russia's asylum, it is likely Edward Snowden would have already met a similar fate as Chelsea Manning. Without a second passport, Snowden is forced to beg for forgiveness from one of the most violent institutions in history. He wants a plea bargain…
PLEA BARGAIN OR CONTINUED ASYLUM?
Federal prosecutors and representatives of Edward Snowden recently held discussions on a possible deal involving a return to the US to stand trial for stealing 1.7 million NSA documents and providing some of the material to media outlets. Officials and Snowden's lawyer said talks focused on a plea deal that would result in Snowden returning to the United States to face lesser charges.
Intelligence, security and law enforcement officials are divided on whether to pursue a plea with Snowden or seek legal and/or intelligence means to punish him. NSA Director Michael Rogers said last week he doubted the two sides would come to a deal.
Snowden told NBC news in May that he does not believe he will receive a fair trial in the United States, a truism to anybody who pays any attention whatsoever to the United States (In)Justice System, where millions are imprisoned for plants and other victimless crimes. “When people say, ‘Why don’t you go home and face the music?’ I say you have to understand that the music is not an open court and a fair trial,” Snowden said.
Snowden's Russian lawyer told a state-run Russian news agency last week that Snowden is preparing to extend his stay in Moscow beyond the current asylum period ending in August. Snowden also reportedly told Brazil’s Globo television June 1 his eyes are set on Brazil. “The period of asylum granted to me by Russia ends at the beginning of August. If Brazil offered me asylum I would accept with pleasure,” Snowden said. “I would very much like to live in Brazil.” Snowden presumably reached out to Brazil because Brazil was receptive to the revelations brought forth by the whistleblower, going on to consider setting up its own internet to circumvent the NSA.
If Edward Snowden really thinks he will not be persecuted in the US to the full-extent of the law and beyond, he is sorely mistaken. He will learn yet another lesson in what I am sure has been a whirlwind year filled with lesson-after-lesson.
If he truly attempts to return stateside, Edward Snowden will have demonstrated a keen knack for making decisions that jeopardize his freedom. The only way you can explain his lack of second passport and his resulting dependence on the US government is that he has Stockholm syndrome. According to Wikipedia:
Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.The FBI's Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 8% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.
Stockholm syndrome can be seen as a form of traumatic bonding, which does not necessarily require a hostage scenario, but which describes "strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other." One commonly used hypothesis to explain the effect of Stockholm syndrome is based on Freudian theory. It suggests that the bonding is the individual's response to trauma in becoming a victim. Identifying with the aggressor is one way that the ego defends itself. When a victim believes the same values as the aggressor, they cease to be a threat.
Edward likely suffers from this psychological condition, which is epidemic in the US.
FATE IN THE BALANCE
Edward Snowden has public opinion, mostly outside of the US, on his side. The world over people are fed up with egregious abuses of the US government. Snowden enjoys more protections abroad than he would have in the US. If he had bought a second passport, he would be infinitely freer than he is now. Who knows – maybe he'd even be on the beaches of Brazil right now and I'd be writing an article on a different topic.
The truth is quite simple: had Edward Snowden taken the time to understand what he was up against, he could have taken the appropriate measures to protect himself. Did he really not know the US would suspend his passport? It is common practice.
Edward Snowden's life was undoubtedly endangered by becoming one of the most well-known whistleblowers of all time. Chelsea Manning is in prison for leaking a lot less than Edward Snowden, while Julian Assange of WikiLeaks remains on lockdown in the Ecuadorian embassy in England for risk of being incarcerated.
Yet, Snowden still seems to believe that the US government is a good and noble entity that has merely overstepped its bounds and needs to be talked down off the the bridge before a fatal leap. He thinks the US government has capacity for good in the world. If he truly believes that then he has Stockholm syndrome.
The facade of the US government is quickly peeling away, however, as the internet enables people worldwide to access real information. Take for example this 16 year old boy who just asked one simple question of Nancy Pelosi about the NSA and what Snowden unveiled about it and made her look like a complete fool.
We wish Edward Snowden well and thank him for his service in exposing just a few of the criminal enterprises the US government is involved in. But we also really have to suggest that he get counseling for his Stockholm syndrome and realize that the US government and those that control it are plainly the largest criminal and terrorist organization that exists in the world today and he should stay as far away as possible until they are no longer in control of that region.