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US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden 616

Posted by timothy
from the you-bunch-of-sweet-talkers-you dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The WSJ reports that Attorney General Eric Holder promises Edward Snowden won't be tortured or face the death penalty in a new letter hoping to persuade Russia not to grant him asylum or refugee status. Holder's letter, dated Tuesday, notes that press reports from Russia indicated Snowden sought asylum in part based on claims he could be tortured or killed by the US government. It is common for the US to promise not to seek the death penalty against individuals being sought in other countries, because even America's closest allies won't turn over suspects if they believe that person might be executed. The United Nations special rapporteur on torture found Bradley Manning's detention was 'cruel and inhuman'." Update: 07/27 13:15 GMT by T : Several readers have noted that change.gov, established by the Obama transition team in 2008, has recently (last month) gone offline; among other things, it contained language specifically addressing the protection of whistleblowers.
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US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:28AM (#44398581)

    Get it? They said OR, so that's not a lie.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:33AM (#44398607)

      I would consider imprisonment and ruining his life just for doing the right thing to be a form of torture.

      • Eric Holder (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rockoon (1252108) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:02AM (#44398729)
        This is the same Eric Holder that lied under oath before congress about targeting members of the press, and before that lied under oath before congress about fast and furious, and before that lied under oath before congress about the dropping of the case against the New Black Panther Party.

        Eric Holder is well known to lie while under oath. Now when he is not under oath, Snowden is supposed to believe him? Give me a break.

        Fuck Eric Holder, a fuck this whole god damned completely corrupt administration.
        • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

          by woboyle (1044168) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:50AM (#44398961)
          Agree. They'll just put him in prison with a bunk mate that is a total psychopath and let him torture/murder Snowden - plausible deniability!
          • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

            by mendax (114116) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:24PM (#44400545)

            They'll just put him in prison with a bunk mate that is a total psychopath and let him torture/murder Snowden - plausible deniability!

            Bunkmate? You think he'll have a bunkmate? No, he will be put in solitary confinement after he is captured "for his own safety as well as security of the nation because of what he knows", found guilty in a trial that will be neither open nor fair because he will not be able to introduce the witnesses or evidence he'd like because of the classified nature of what he revealed, then sent to USP Florence ADMAX [wikipedia.org] where he will continue to be housed in solitary confinement for the rest of his life where he will have Robert Hanssen [wikipedia.org], the Unibomber [wikipedia.org], and various terrorists such as the shoe bomber [wikipedia.org] and the underwear bomber [wikipedia.org] as neighbors although he'll never meet them.

            Solitary confinement IS an effective form of psychological torture. It does permanent psychological damage. Eric Holder is a liar. Mr. Snowden will be tortured; there is no doubt of it. It's just that he, unlike the rest of the world, doesn't consider things like solitary confinement and water boarding to be torture.

          • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday July 28, 2013 @01:50AM (#44404281) Homepage

            Why bother, everyone knows according to bullshit American Politicians, it isn't torture it's enhanced interrogation techniques. As far as the US is concerned, if it doesn't involve 'PERMANENT' organ damage it isn't torture, so eyeballs, testicles, are free range as long as it ain't permanent, same goes for any imaginable form of sexual assault and rape as well as of course the indiscriminate use of chemical and electro schock weapons and of course heating and cooling have a totally different meaning to the US military, more like freezing and burning. Of course listening to music takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to US government interpretations.

            US don't torture, that's has to be the most laughable document imaginable. I fucking suppose the drone missile program is also designed to be utterly painless. The Uncle Tom Obama painless 'Hellfire Missle' no with local anaesthetic coatings. As for even pretending to hold fair trials, I have never heard of any government to be as ignorantly stupid as to position military police behind each and every reporter at a trial and claim it to be fair. Seriously the US has long ago drifted into the realms of autocratic Nazi style military law, when it comes to who is innocent and who is guilty, a total fantasy.

            Seriously what US politician would be so stupid, so publicly shameless as to put their name to a document like that and not expect to be laughed at globally.

        • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

          by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:18AM (#44399153)

          This brings up a curious point.

          How many people here that are complaining about the government's actions voted for President Obama? How many voted for him twice?

          Of those who voted for him, especially in 2012, how do you like what he's doing to your rights under the Constitution?

          • Re:Eric Holder (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ron Goodman (465764) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:21AM (#44399165)

            I voted for him twice and am disappointed, but have to admit he is still better than the alternative.

            • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

              by fustakrakich (1673220) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:32AM (#44399243) Journal

              You people make me wanna puke! Ew! he is still better than the alternative... How the hell are you going to know that if you never vote for an alternative?? And fuck your lesser evil crap. There is no 'lesser' evil amongst democrats and republicans. They are a single evil on the same team.

              • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

                by sjames (1099) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:06PM (#44400841) Homepage

                There's a reason Jimmy Carter said we have no functioning democracy.

            • Re:Eric Holder (Score:4, Insightful)

              by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:34PM (#44400163)

              I voted for him once, but wised up (and voted third-party) the second time.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Opportunist (166417)

            What does voting have to do with politics? If voting could affect politics somehow it would have been outlawed a long while ago.

            Voting is in the US what it had been in the USSR for as long as it existed: A show event to pretend that the population had some sort of say. Only that the US are a damn lot better at putting on a good show.

        • Re:Eric Holder (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @11:22AM (#44399617) Journal

          Holder is unquestionably the sort of human garbage that belongs in our prisons a great deal more than probably anyone he has helped put there. The larger is though is not Holder's credibility its our nations credibility in general. Why should any anywhere accept the word of the United States government for any reasons other than the threat of force at this point?

          I mean really:

          We don't give money to governments resulting from military coups....but we can decide to not bother and determine if a coup has happened.

          We only go to war when a plurality of elected Congress persons and Senators agree...Well unless is just a kinetic military action.

          No warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause...Except when a secret court issues them and then something less than reasonable suspicions appears to be good enough.

          We afford the accused a speedy trial...unless you happen to be held at GitMo

          We have a free press, which can protect its sources... unless someone says "national security" than all bets are off.

          You protected from cure and unusual punishment ... unless your name is Manning or you were sent to a CIA black site.

          Zeror fucking credibility.

    • I think it's pretty fucking sad when the US is obliged to promise explicitly, on a recurring basis, not to torture people.

      • by abigsmurf (919188)
        It's to prevent a technicality often used to block extraditions.

        Most countries will not extradite someone if there's a chance of them getting tortured or executed. Even if the prospect is very unlikely, defendant lawyers will be able use it to block an extradition. A signed letter from a head of state/justice from a country prevents this from being used as a defence.

        Extraditions can take a decade if someone has unlimited resources to fight them in the courts, prosecutors need to be really exhaustive i
        • by TCM (130219) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:43AM (#44399321)

          It's sad that you're arguing what the non-torture promise is actually for. If the USA was actually a free and civilized country, it would be so outlandish a thought that they could torture anyone, that an extradition would actually be doubtless.

          The whole situation says a lot about "The Land of the Free" when a communist country known for not-so-democratic behaviour has to protect a citizen from a so-called western democratic country.

          Why Americans aren't using their 2nd amendment rights already to get rid of all these corrupt fucks is beyond me.

          • by aepervius (535155) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:09PM (#44399999)
            "Why Americans aren't using their 2nd amendment rights already to get rid of all these corrupt fucks is beyond me."

            Because for the majority of them, nothing is wrong. For the majority of them, as long as they got their food, their work, their entertainment, all is fine. The giov reassure them, "we willg et the traitor!". Snowden is the one disturbing them , he is shaking the status quo, making them see stuff they don't want to see. So they when psyop poo-poo snowden for some minor stuff, "his girlfriend is strange and some sort of stripper" then they forget the main point and dismiss snowden. Or Manning. or anybody disturbing them in their comfortable status quo. Mind you the US is not the only one in that situation. But it is the most flagrant in the US, after they were caught torturing, killing their own citizen, spying on the whole world, lying, lying and lying even more.

            The only way the american will revolt, is if the middle and lower class get so much economic pressure that normal life get for them unviable. Then they will revolt. And their politics overlord might be stupid enough to let plutocrate of all ilk really destroy the middle and lower class enough that this will happen. But it will take at least a few more catastrophe like what happenned with the banks or 2 more decades of stagnation for the middle / low class.
          • by D'Sphitz (699604) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:11PM (#44400013) Journal

            Why Americans aren't using their 2nd amendment rights already to get rid of all these corrupt fucks is beyond me.

            People just like to feel like they have big balls, as far as most are concerned the 2nd ammendment is just the right to post pictures of themselves holding their Glocks in a menacing pose on Facebook.

            It's a facade, if the time came to rise up against a tyrannical government for the security of a free state, most of them would be locked in the cellar.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Who in their right mind would believe such a promise though? If you suspect a country would resort to torture or execution of a simple whistleblower, you're already way past assuming they'd do something comparatively mundane such as lying.

        • by Patch86 (1465427) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @11:37AM (#44399747)

          Most countries will not extradite someone if there's a chance of them getting tortured or executed. Even if the prospect is very unlikely, defendant lawyers will be able use it to block an extradition. A signed letter from a head of state/justice from a country prevents this from being used as a defence.

          All that is required is certainty that the person won't be tortured. That should not need a special letter each and every time- there should be a letter saying that we promise to never torture anyone ever, which can be used in any circumstance.

          EU countries have that- no EU country has ever been asked to sign a letter promising not to torture someone, because it is understood that extant Human Rights legislation already covers that with gusto.

          The GP is expressing sadness because the US really should be in that category. The Constitution is supposed to promise exactly that. However, it is widely understood around the world that modern America partakes in what the rest of the world defines as torture- whether it be waterboarding, or the bizarre naked-solitary-confinement that Manning has had to endure. It is, therefore, a very sad thing that despite what the US Constitution says, there is no automatic guarantee that a prisoner of the United States will not be tortured. The President now needs to "Scout's Honour" promise it on a case-by-case basis.

          (And don't get me started on the death penalty. But that's a well trodden flamefest that I don't think we need to restart here and now...)

      • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:39AM (#44399295) Journal

        It's kind of sadder that we can never expect the US to keep any promises, and that its principles (as opposed to its interests) are a complete illusion.

      • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:41AM (#44399307) Journal

        I think it's pretty fucking sad when the US is obliged to promise explicitly, on a recurring basis, not to torture people.

        Worse it's a pointless exercise. When your definition of torture excludes things like water boarding and sleep deprivation any promise not to torture is clearly meaningless.

  • by scarboni888 (1122993) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:28AM (#44398583)

    Waterboarding was torture in Vietnam.

    But not anymore!

  • good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:34AM (#44398613)

    As an American, it breaks my heart that my fellow citizens are okay with indefinite detention and torture, and with the wiretapping which violates our constituation's 4th amendment.

    It's a small comfort that our government is facing trouble abroad because of those policies.

    • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:03AM (#44398743) Journal

      Our fellow citizens take an awful lot lying down. I wish they wouldn't. Why are Too Big To Fail banks still in business in one piece, and not broken up? The social conservatives are especially aggravating. Get all worked up over abortion, and even totally fake issues like whether global warming is just a big hoax to get more public funding for climate scientists, and "teach the controversy" over Creationism and Evolution, while failing to see any difference between science and propaganda, and letting these white collar thieves walk.

      Education is thought to be crucial for a democracy to function. If these US citizens aren't just plain stupid, they certainly are lacking a good education. To fall for idiotic notions such as the proposal to secure the US-Mexico border with 300,000 guards, after the recent lesson we had in Iraq over the limits of brute, military force... well, we'll never educate everyone well enough to see through such attempts at manipulation, but a few more could be enough to tip the US into taking much better directions.

      • Re:good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by scarboni888 (1122993) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:12AM (#44398789)

        Throughout history you will find that when the American people have been well-informed they have always made the right decision.

        It's hard to make good decisions based on bad information.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Throughout history you will find that when the American people have been well-informed they have always made the right decision.

          Bullshit. The American People have always had access to their representatives' voting records, and the majority of people say they want change, but virtually everyone votes for the incumbent which proves they don't. The American people can be exceptionally well-informed as to what their representatives are doing, but they just don't care.

          • Having 'access' to good information is not the same as having bad information constantly repeated to you day after day through government and corporate propaganda organs while you struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet and keep your family fed.

        • by he-sk (103163)

          [citation please]

          It sounds to me like you've swallowed the American exceptionalism propaganda hook, line, and sinker.

          Or did you mean that Americans have never made the right decisions? Ah, logic, it is such a confusing invention.

  • by Shadowmist (57488) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:34AM (#44398615)
    Those Romanians who are holding him for us.... What were they thinking?!!
  • by dns_server (696283) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:35AM (#44398621)

    The USA does not need to do the torture, it can send the person to another country and have them do it.

  • Fool me once .. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:36AM (#44398627)

    First off we Snowden should get the Nobel of Peace . HIs actions revealed Government wrongdoings like Ellsberg did 40 years ago.
    They are heroes to the People . The Government is the traitor and criminal here .. not Snowden.
    Second : the fact a Government promises not to torture of kill someone is a sign that things are gone terribly wrong.
    Torture and murder are now " normal course of business " for the US Government. Democracy is dead.Government out of control.
    Nothing will keep Snowden from assasination.Extreme right wing nutjobs ( yes , right wing republicans ) will subsidise hit men to kill him.
    There's few chances for him to stay alive . To be promised not to be murdered or tortured , but a life in jail for blowing the whistle on illegal and reprehensible Government conduct is totally immoral. Democracy is dead in the US . The land of Freedom ? HA ! Let me laugh.
    Anyone saying " ok i go back " would be a total fool and idiot.

  • hollow promise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:42AM (#44398657)

    Our government refuses to admit that waterboarding, sleep-deprivation, and blasting a person with loud music for days on end are "torture". So them claiming they won't "torture" someone is a pretty weak commitment.

  • by boorack (1345877) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:43AM (#44398665)
    Obama promised not to scramble jets to get Snowden and two days later he forced a presidential plane down on suspicions that Snowden might be onboard. Of course, technically he didn't lie as he did this by his european puppet proxies. Eric Holder is even worse than Obama - overtly corrupt [huffingtonpost.com] as contrasted to typical politicians who at least try to look honest. If he says he "won't torture nor kill", this is propably on the table. US of A desperately wants to make an example of Snowden - even if it will be messy and incur severe political costs. Those fucks want to prevent future whistleblowers by setting example now painful it is to have spine and resist criminal behavior of US government or US corporations.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      If you think this is about setting an example, you're giving our leaders way too much credit. It's the "great" American tradition of revenge. If someone makes you a laughing stock, kick the shit out of them. Then do it again, cause it's even more satisfying and manly to doing it to someone who's down and defenseless.

      Then thump your chest, so everyone can see what an uncouth ape you are.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        ...which is all about setting an example, so that other apes know you will react ruthlessly when confronted with difficulty.

    • Eric Holder is a horrible authoritarian shitsack. I remember hearing the news that Obama picked Holder as AG not long after he was first elected, it was the first and strongest sign that Obama's campaign promises were 100% bullshit.

  • by flogger (524072) <non@nonegiven> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:46AM (#44398685) Journal
    Is the American government so oppressive that if you speak the Truth, people assume that the government will kill and/or torture you? The government has to step up and say, "We will not Kill or torture."

    Freedom of Speech is only one of the freedoms which is gone. People know it. Yet nothing is being done to bring them back.

    Snowden is my hero for saying the Truth. Emerson and Thoreau would be proud. Snowden's name is going to come up when I teach Transcendentalism to this year's students.

    That last sentence made me thing of posting AC, but I now have the strength to speak the truth also.
    • The promise is a specific stipulation. Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights bars Britain and the other signatories from extraditing prisoners if they could face capital punishment. There is no death penalty in any of the 15 member nations of the European Union.

      This is an attempt to eliminate willing participation of these 15 EU member states, and other states with similar laws and policies, as potential havens for Snowden on the basis of a possible U.S. death penalty or torture of the extra

      • This is an attempt to eliminate willing participation of these 15 EU member states, and other states with similar laws and policies, as potential havens for Snowden on the basis of a possible U.S. death penalty or torture of the extradited person.

        Well, speaking as an EU citizen, I would not be happy with any extradition until they promised not to torture him using the definition of torture used in the EU. American and English often have somewhat different meanings for the same word and sadly 'torture' appears to be one of them. Even then frankly I'm not sure I would not trust them to hold to that and not drag up some legal argument that they don't have to hold to their promise or else have an 'accident' occur.

  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:46AM (#44398687) Homepage
    He will merely be given "Enhanced Detention".
  • by mizkitty (786078) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:50AM (#44398693)
    They're just going to hold him naked in solitary like Manning...subject to "suicide checks" by waking him every half hour...
  • Fool me once.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:54AM (#44398705) Homepage

    Really, what are the promises of the US worth nowadays?

  • The government of the USA wants to reduce the likelihood of more whistle-blowers exposing what they are really up to. The best way to do this is to show to any potential whistle-blowers that if they do then their life will not be pleasant: a boring, long, incaceration is the best way of doing this; it will put most people off.

    Edward Snowden is a celebrity at the moment, being in the public eye will be attractive to some, regardless of the reality of living in an airport (or sofa in the Ecuadorian embassy in the case of Assange). If Snowden is killed or tortured he will be seen as a martyr, again this may be attractive to some. I am not saying that this is for everyone, but it may put some attention seekers off (I am not trying to imply that Snowden is an attention seeker).

    Also: by making the no kill/torture promise it raises the bar for Snowden's various applications for political assylum.

  • Liars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:02AM (#44398733)
    Define torture. Is it what they did to Manning? Is life in the SHU torture? Is being forced to kneel on concrete for minutes and hours on end torture? Is being slammed into the back of an all metal transport vehicle which has its muffler removed or better yet, made unbelievably loud and driven around for hours and hours and hours in the baking heat, manacled and chained so you can't stop yourself from being tossed around torture? Is being shoved in a transport plane, blindfolded, diapered chained to a seat so tightly you permanently lose feeling in your hands and feet , unable to move a muscle and "transported": in that one excruciatingly painful position for 30 hours while the plane is delayed" and "plans change" torture? Because according to Cheney and Rumsfeld and the other torturers , none of that is torture. The fact that the US IS going to torture Snowden if they get a hold of him is the best reason to not let them get a hold of him and when I say them I mean us. Whatever you think of Snowden's actions, -not a choice I would have made btw- he's not acting against the U.S. as an enemy. Even people who ARE enemies don't deserve to be tortured. Useless as a truth elicitor, it inflicts long-term damaging to the foreign policy interests of any nation that uses it (Thtnks Cheney!) torture ought to be relegated to the imaginations of just ordinary people who are, you know, very mad about something they see on TV . It has no place in the conduct of real people in the real world.
  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:04AM (#44398749)

    No torture, neither death penalty, right. They will just send him to jail for the rest of his life, because he dared defend the US constitution against the corrupted (I mean corrupted as ill-behaving) government.

    That seems quite enough to grant him asylum.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:08AM (#44398767) Homepage

    1. The US should not have to be in a position where they are making such promises. The Eighth Amendment was created specifically to put a stop to the sort of thing that the US is now promising not to do. It's sort of like announcing, completely seriously, "I swear I'm not a murderer!" - that's usually a signal you're at least involved in something you shouldn't be.

    2. Nobody seriously believes those promises after what the US has done to Bradley Manning, Anwar Al-Awlaki, and what they tried to do to Julian Assange. When Julian Assange argued that the US could no longer be trusted to follow its own laws and promises and international commitments, that argument may have seemed ludicrous, but it is increasingly becoming common opinion. Another example of the US's lawlessness is that they convinced France to force Bolivian president Evo Morales to land so they could search his plane for Snowden, violating all sorts of diplomatic rules to do so.

    3. The US is going up against Vladimir Putin's Russia in a battle of human rights records, and losing. That's just astounding.

  • it's a joke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:18AM (#44398803) Homepage

    The U.S. government is already torturing Snowden by revoking his citizenship, by making threats to any country that might let him stay. Most Americans feel that Snowden is a whistle-blower, not a traitor. Yet, the government continues to treat him like a criminal. It's despicable that a government by the people for the people would not have the people's best interest in mind.

    Let's face the facts, the government in this country has become corrupt with power, and merely pointing out that the government is corrupt has become some kind of treason, yet nobody is doing anything about it. People are slowly handing over more and more power to their government.

    • They revoked his passport.

      Born US citizens cannot have their citizenship revoked.

    • Re:it's a joke (Score:4, Insightful)

      by quacking duck (607555) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @11:03AM (#44399453)

      The U.S. government is already torturing Snowden by revoking his citizenship, by making threats to any country that might let him stay.

      The US government and some allies are already doing a fine job of redefining "torture" to exclude certain acts, don't water it down by trying to include actions that aren't. Revoking a passport and threatening potential host countries are causing stress and sleepless nights, but does not fit the definition of psychological torture any more than hunting down any other high-profile suspect (freezing assets, BOLOs or APBs, pictures on wanted posters).

      To qualify as psychological torture, the US would at least need to threaten reprisals against his family, friends or former girlfriend if Snowden didn't return to the US.

  • Yeah, right.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:19AM (#44398811)

    "US promises not to torture or kill Snowden." Yeah, right. They also promised they weren't spying on their own citizens until Snowden disclosed that they were. They also promise that they don't assasinate their own citizens, but maybe that missle that killed Anwar al-Awlaki fired itself. Numerous groups, including the International Red Cross have charged the US with torturing prisoners at numerous facilities, but the US denies the charges, but not the techniques used. Why? Because they have classified the techniques in question as interregation techniques, but not torture.

    So, yes, the US may promise not to torture or kill Snowden, but when the US changes the definition of torture to suit its purpose and has a recent history of outright dishonesty in related matters, why should anybody believe them? And what if Russia does turn Snowden over and the US is lying? Can Russia get Snowden back? No, of course not.

    The US may promise not to torture or kill Snowden, but actions speak louder than words. The words of the US say one thing, the actions something totally different.

  • translation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0111 1110 (518466) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:25AM (#44398843)

    First, the United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States.

    Translation: We will not "seek" it, but we don't guarantee that he won't get it. It's up to the judge who does the actual sentencing.

    The charges he faces do not carry that possibility, and the United States would not seek the death penalty even if Mr. Snowden were charged with additional, death penalty-eligible crimes

    Translation: We haven't yet charged him with treason for "aiding the enemy" yet, as we did with Manning, but we will. However when he is charged with treason it's up to the judge to sentence him to death. The prosecutor doesn't do the actual sentencing.

  • by Aethedor (973725) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:26AM (#44398845)

    Attorney General Eric Holder promises Edward Snowden won't be tortured or face the death penalty

    Why such a promise? Can I read this as a confirmation by the USA that they've tortured other people?

  • by sasparillascott (1267058) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:26AM (#44398851)
    It's amazing how much Bin Laden changed our country, for the worse. In just a few years we openly torture (something George Washington wouldn't allow and hadn't since the founding of the country), publicly kill Americans and others and of course spy on the entire population.

    He may be dead, but we lost so much to the weak minded choices of our political weenies in Washington (the prior administration coming up with these awful choices and then the current one not stopping them so the become "the new normal" in perpetuity - its amazing what he changed our country into via our politicians.
  • Shameful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis (642305) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:36AM (#44398881)

    >"US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden""

    I can't believe how sad it is that such a letter would ever be necessary coming from the USA. I am so ashamed to be an American since 9/11. A land where everyone is treated as a potential terrorist and the government has destroyed the Constitution the country was built on.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:37AM (#44399281)
    Shouldn't not killing or torturing someone be default behavior. This would be like hiring staff and in their employment contract saying that you won't stab them to death with a sharpened chair leg. It sort of goes without saying in any civilized work place.

    Now on the other hand you have to look at their loose definition of torture. Is waterboarding torture? Is 20 years of solitary torture? Are 20 interrogations per day torture? Is putting someone who should be free, in jail torture? According to the white house the answer to all these is probably, no.
  • No other promises! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redelm (54142) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @11:33AM (#44399713) Homepage

    I note with interest the USG did NOT promise to hold a speedy, fair public trial. And the point is not redundant any more than torture is.

    I like to look for "negative knowledge" -- things that could reasonably have happened, and perhaps should have, but did not. Rejected options, certainly. While imperfect, this does yield insight.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @11:36AM (#44399735) Homepage Journal

    The US administration enabled laws to allow holding people indefinitely without trial.

    Congress and the Senate have made it clear that they don't care about the facts of the case: Snowden is guilty in their eyes.

    Snowden would be a fool to leave Russia for some small country. Russia has nukes that will make the US think twice before pulling a "Bin Laden" on him.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @12:09PM (#44400003)

    of oppressing their citizens in just this way. Now, a whistleblower, who can't be proven to have revealed even one explicit state secret (beyond the rather unshocking fact that they were being surveilled) to a foreign power is asking for asylum in Russia.

      Times change, don't they.

  • by Scarletdown (886459) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:28PM (#44401359) Journal

    Am I the only one here who finds it odd that our government officials specifically pointed out that Snowden would not be tortured? Is that not something that should not have even had to be said? Sounds like anyone who was involved in preparing this public statement should now come under investigation on suspicion of torturing prisoners, since it sounds like they are implying that torture is perfectly normal here despite being a blatant violation of the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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