Julian Assange and Israel Shamir. From humanbeingsfirst.org
No, really. He says so himself.
(If you need to catch up on who Israel Shamir is, Google him to learn about how this notorious provocateur, pro-Kremlin "agent of influence," antisemite and supporter of the Belarusian tyrant Lukashenka came to represent WikiLeaks -- and still does despite WL's literalist claims that he isn't employed by them. Here's a good summary on 20committee, John Schindler's blog. And don't forget how Shamir himself explains his relationship to WikiLeaks; he is accredited to them, he has working relations but they don't go to the banya together.)
In an article on Counterpunch, which as long as I can remember has always taken the Moscow line, Shamir writes about the former NSA contractor:
The Russians loved him; the whole attitude to Snowden changed for better, as I expected when I called for this meeting on the pages of the leading Russian newspaper, the KP (Komsomolskaya Pravda). Now we’ve learned that the Russians have decided to issue him a refugee ID and grant him freedom of movement.
Then he links to his June 29 article in the Russian newspaper still called by the name for the Soviet youth organization, where he writes feverently of the "plundering of the country in the interests of American bankers" and how "before our eyes the American Reich is crumbling which had once seemed would never end" and the promise of the "brave freedom fighter" Snowden.
This passage is interesting for several things -- his claim that it was his idea to have Snowden speak in public (it was supposed to be a meeting with lawyers and human rights activist but it turned into a media circus); his claim that there are rival factions within even Russian intelligence itself (and he should know!) with some despising Snowden as a traitor and finding him a nuisance, and others welcoming him like Kim Philby; and his claim that Putin seemed to placate the latter for awhile while ordering an "iron blockade" be kept around him, but then relenting in the end, ostensibly under pressure from KP articles; and his claim that society itself is split:
As far as we know, Snowden is in Russia. His location is listed a "the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo Airport". Now he is deciding where he should go next. It would be good if he stayed with us for awhile. That would strengthen the place of Russia as the head of a large camp of freedom countries not under the power of the American diktat. But for this it is necessary to give him the opportunity to meet with the Russian public, and first of all with the Russian press. When he was located in Hong Kong, Snowden gave several wonderful interviews to the Chinese press, he showed them the tricks the Americans were using to follow Chinese business, politicians, and public thought. He can likely tell us many things as well.
Snowden expressed the wish to meet with the Russian press. He must be given this opportunity to tell us himself about his discoveries and hear from us that the people of Russia would be glad to take in this fugitive. The iron blockade that the Russian power structures erected around Snown was justified while his location was not known. But now it's time to end it. Komsomolskaya Pravda, in the interest of its readers, demands access to Edward Snowden.
Among the Russian elite there is a split in opinions about what to do with Snowden. Some -- and these include the human rights defenders of Russia and the patriots -- demand that he be offered asylum. Others -- and these include many members of the powerful "American lobby" -- are trying to diminish his achievements, discredit him, push him out, if not surrender him. Among the pro-American voices there are "turncoats with shoulder boards," the siloviki [power ministers of military, police, intelligence, border] who in their day surrendered the USSR, who believed in the idea of the "convergence of intelligence agencies" in the unity of all intelligence agences against the peoples of the world. They call him a "traitor," but in fact they are the traitors because they are closer to the CIA or the NSA than to their own people. We have heard their voices on Channel One on Russian TV where they have tried to portray Snowden as a psychopath, a fool, a naive boy who has betrayed the most important thing -- loyalty to his intelligence service.
But for us, the main thing is loyalty to the people. If Snowden "betrayed" his intelligence service, then he behaved like Kim Philby and many honest German patriots who fought in the ranks of the Red Army and other brave people who went over to the side of good. We will not forget that when traitors from Russia, former Russian intelligence officers went over to the side of the US, the US and England took them in and set them up. The battle is not over, it continues. We need to disrupt the conspiracy of the "turncoats in shoulder boards" and end the blockade of Snowden and give him an opportunity to speak of himself to Russians.
In the Counterpunch piece, Shamir further explains what he claims to be Snowden's reluctance to come over to Mother Russia right away:
For an average American, the prospect of befriending Russia is nigh unto impossible. Even more so for an American who served in the CIA and NSA, as Snowden did. He felt that by embracing Russia he would lose his whistle-blower status and be regarded as an enemy agent, a totally different kettle of fish.
This was the case for Julian Assange, as well. When it was proposed that the head of Wikileaks flee to Russia (it was technically possible), he procrastinated, dragged his feet and remained in England, unable, in the end, to cross the great East/West divide.
Then the experience of the Bolivian President Morales being forced to land his plane taught Snowden where his bread should be buttered:
This was an important discovery for Ed Snowden: he learned by this experience that there is just one country on the planet that is outside of the US grasp. Just one country that is a real alternative to the Empire; the only country Navy Seals are not likely to raid nor Obama drones to bomb, the only country whose planes can’t be scrambled and searched. He understood that Moscow is the only safe place on the globe for an identified enemy of the Empire. Now he was ready to contact the Russians; he resumed his temporary refuge request, which will probably be granted.
Shamir then knocks Ludmila Alexeyeva, the highly-respected veteran human rights leader, claiming falsely that she is "in the employ of the US State Department" and claiming she has said Snowden is a traitor and not a human rights defender and should be returned. Actually, I haven't found any statement of hers to that effect.
Shamir then also helpfully tells us some more about this putative split within the Russian intelligence circles:
Some siloviki were also against Snowden. These are members and ex-members of Russian intelligence community, who embraced the concept of convergence of security services and collaborated with the Americans and other services, notably the Israelis. They said that loyalty to one’s service is the most important virtue, and a traitor can’t be trusted. They pooh-poohed Snowden’s revelations saying they had known it all along. They said he is not worth quarrelling with Washington about. This was also the line of Konstantin Remchukov, an important Russian media lord, the owner of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, who added that Snowden was a Chinese spy.
Oh, okay. Shamir also says this camp feared Snowden might be a double agent.
But not to fear:
Among supporters of Snowden in Russia, there was my friend, the poet Eduard Limonov, who called Snowden the harbinger of Unipolar World collapse.
Unipolar World, of course, being the long-time Soviet, then Russian propaganda concept that the US wants to be the only "pole" in the world despite other perfectly fine candidates for the Multipolar World including Moscow and Paris.
For extra credit, you can read further of Shamir's denunciations of the "imperialist left" (the tools in the service of world capital like the Guardian). These are the forces that outed him as a friend of Lukashenka, a smearer of the Swedish woman who brought charges against Assange and an antisemite (which he claims is only for his pro-Palestinian views).
Then there are those "pseudo-socialists" who say Snowden is undermining his cause by fleeing to Moscow -- types who are an anaethema to Sham.
What follows -- and here's a real bonus for Greenwald-watchers -- is Shamir's expose of his correspondence with the Guardian and Greenwald about Shamir's supposedly false writings about Greenwald. Basically, Shamir accuses Greenwald of deliberately managing Snowden's hack of the NSA -- which of course has grave implications -- and complains that he forced poor Snowden to reveal his identity when the leet haxxor was supposedly reticent. He charges Greenwald with being an unscrupulous journalist only out to squeeze scandal out of Snowden and then toss him aside, whereas he, Shamir, by contrast, is opening up the arms of the peace-loving Russian people to take in the weary world wanderer.
Naturally, Greenwald vigorously denies any of this.
Well, who knows, like a broken clock, Shamir might be right twice a day.
Even Shamir asks what I ask -- why didn't Snowden just go to Venezuela first? The answer to that question indeed appears convoluted.