Friday, July 12, 2013

G9 -- Snowden Appears In Russia Amid the Hoohah Over Microsoft Revelations (Ride The Tiger)

Yes. Well. The Prodigal Returns -- or at least he reappears. It will be interesting to see how his saga plays out from this point given yesterday's bombshell Guardian story regarding Microsoft's willing participation in the National Spy Games.

Julian got into his fine pickle, recall, almost immediately after he mentioned that WikiLeaks was going to release internal communications from some bank's (thought to be BofA) executive suites. Until that moment he'd been something of a gadfly and clown as far as the Powers That Be  were concerned, and his big releases were media chum and money makers. Afterwards, he was a wanted fugitive denounced and deplored by practically every living government or private sector personality suckling at the corporate teat. So he sits, fuming, in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, run to ground. WikiLeaks has been largely neutered.

The situation is somewhat different with regard to Snowden, Greenwald (et al) and the Guardian. The leaked material is being vetted with US government representatives prior to publication by the Guardian. You'll notice that almost nothing that's being published is bylined Greenwald alone -- and that I would say is a safety factor in all the hoohah. Snowden essentially disappeared after he made the video interview in Hong Kong, and reports of his travels and whereabouts and struggles had to be taken with a grain of salt because there were no witnesses and no proof that any of it was accurate or true. Now he has appeared, apparently in Moscow at the airport where he has apparently been staying since he arrived from Hong Kong, but video of this appearance has been forbidden, and practically all news of it is coming from tweets from inside the meeting room and interviews outside it  -- interviews not with Snowden.

His safety at the airport -- if not his comfort and convenience -- is supposedly assured as he or his handlers work out the details of asylum somewhere, eventually.

The Microsoft story yesterday was really the first time that the releases had touched upon how willingly cooperative the NSA's corporate partners have been on behalf of the National Surveillance State, and that struck me as the "BofA" moment for this saga.  Once that door is opened, it can never be shut again. Because it directly affects the international power and profits of behemoth corporate entities, it is seen as the same kind of existential threat to those behemoths that Julian's BofA threat-comment did, thus, you would think that the full force and power of the corporate-state would be unleashed against... what?

Julian threatened to release sensitive and confidential information about banks; Snowden provided information to the Guardian and the Guardian has released sensitive and confidential information about Microsoft's cooperative relationship with the NSA, and Snowden has now "appeared" in Moscow (at least for a moment) and, apart from some boilerplate denials and fudges, Microsoft and the government with which it functions in symbiosis have been remarkably silent, remarkably restrained -- despite claims of a Global Manhunt and all the rest of the spectacle that's been made of the saga, including the downing of the Bolivian president's plane in Vienna.

Of course both the government and Microsoft had foreknowledge of what was to be published and so it seems to be throughout this story, such foreknowledge has calmed some of the expected hysteria, something that was not necessarily the case with Julian and WikiLeaks -- though until the third rail of banking docs was touched, there was little effort to silence Julian or stanch the flow of leaks through WikiLeaks.

So far as I can tell from the very limited amount of information acquired by the Guardian at the Snowden Appearance in Moscow, the only "news" was that he is applying for asylum and will stay at the airport until it is granted and he is able to safely make his way elsewhere. Or maybe he'll stay in Russia.

OK. The tiger is mounted; let's see if it can be ridden.

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