June 17, 2013

"Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now."

Edward Snowden answers questions, including "Edward, there is rampant speculation, outpacing facts, that you have or will provide classified US information to the Chinese or other governments in exchange for asylum. Have/will you?" His answer is such a conundrum...
This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk "RED CHINA!" reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC, and is intended to distract from the issue of US government misconduct. Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.
... that the questioner comes back and demands "a flat yes or no." He says:
No. I have had no contact with the Chinese government. Just like with the Guardian and the Washington Post, I only work with journalists.
I still don't know the complete answer to the first question, however, which asked if he will provide — that is, in the future — classified information to the Chinese.
He gives the flat "no," but I see that the followup question was "Regarding whether you have secretly given classified information to the Chinese government, some are saying you didn't answer clearly - can you give a flat no?" That refers only to the past: have you given info. He says "no" only to that, and the sentence after the "no" also refers only to the past. The next sentence is in the present tense: I only work with journalists. There is no flat no about what he might do in the future. Even assuming that he's scrupulous about truth-telling now — we can infer that he wasn't scrupulous about the promises he made to gain security clearance — he has not made an assertion about the future.

Also "I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now" could be read as a clue that he's making things up, since there is no such beast as a phoenix. I check "phoenix" at Urban Dictionary:
3. Phoenix      128 up, 98 down
Coolest person you will ever meet. They're smart, funny, and extremely good-looking. In a nutshell they're the one everyone wants to be friends with and date.
You could pet that. (Miscellaneous: Urban Dictionary definitions #1 and #2 relate to the city in Arizona. Factoid discovered in Googling "phoenix": "Image of Jesus appears on floor tile at Phoenix airport... The smudge in Terminal 3 of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has become a pilgrimage site in recent weeks, as visitors have come to see for themselves whether the Lord and Savior flies coach or first-class.")

Back to Snowden. Asked why he didn't stay in this country, he expresses complete mistrust for the legal system:
[T]he US Government...  immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That's not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it.
Perhaps another way of putting this — without calling the legal system corrupt — would be to admit that you know you have committed serious crimes and the evidence is so clear that you are nearly certain that you will be convicted in a perfectly fair trial.

The final clause can stand as an independent opinion: Even with full justice, it's foolish to volunteer to go to prison if you think you can do more good outside of prison. In classic civil disobedience, one accepts the law's punishment. Volunteering to go to prison is portrayed as admirable and courageous, and not foolish. He is calling Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King, Jr. foolish, except to the extent that he's got a loophole: The question whether you do more good in prison than out of prison.

For Thoreau and King, perhaps being imprisoned does good — it's an important gesture. But for Snowden — he's done the cost benefit analysis and he can do more good if he stays free. That strikes me as ludicrous, but there's also the out of saying you're not doing old-fashioned civil disobedience. You're redefining it for a new era.

84 comments:

madAsHell said...

There's a guy that runs around Seattle in a super hero costume, and he fights crime.

He calls himself Phoenix Jones.

traditionalguy said...

Snowden is a Phoenix himself.

Why can't the GOP them find a Phoenix candidate? Envy. I suppose.

ricpic said...

The guy's under a lot of pressure, he meant to say clutching a kleenex and it came out petting a phoenix.

ampersand said...

"Petting a phoenix " may be code for whacking off.

Lem said...

Even assuming that he's scrupulous about truth-telling now — we can infer that he wasn't scrupulous about the promises he made to gain security clearance — he has not made an assertion about the future.

I'm Not sure Snowden is himself sure of what he is doing.

wholelottasplainin' said...

From Wikipedia:

"The Fenghuang [ a mythical bird] is also called the "August Rooster" (Chinese: 鶤雞; pinyin: kūnjī) since it sometimes takes the place of the Rooster in the Chinese zodiac[citation needed]. In the West, it is commonly referred to as the Chinese phoenix or simply Phoenix.

Sometimes an allusion is just an allusion...we can assume Snowden was referring to the fabulous life he would be leading if he really were a spy.

traditionalguy said...

Around here a Phoenix is an Egyptian mythological bird that arising from the ashes in rebirth.

We have statues of it that say FU to Sherman. (The ATL airport is believed to be the bird's home.)

ampersand said...

If he were a Chinese agent ,would his codename be The Craw

Mogget said...

I doubt Snowden knows much that would be news to Chinese or Russian intelligence. His value to them is as an embarrassment to Obama, which he provides on many levels. He will not be extradited because that might deter others, who know more, from making a similar choice.

Astro said...

Yeah, make Snowden the issue, not the Fed's overstepping their authority and their trampling on the 4th amendment.

“Pick the target, freeze it, ...”

Lem said...

Doesn't phoenix have something to do with fire mythology?

Can you believe this?... this good for nothing sellout traitor got us twisting ourselves into knots trying to figure HIM out.

Ann Althouse said...

"I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now" is a very distinctive thing to say. It gives us some indication of what kind of person he is. I'm trying to unravel that.

"we can assume Snowden was referring to the fabulous life he would be leading if he really were a spy"

Right, that's the most obvious interpretation. There are many expressions: I could be swinging on a star.

But the expressions chosen are meaningful. They tell us something about the person, and here is a guy who is all about communication. There is a mystery. Now, he's not a supervillain in a movie who might drop riddles that are real hints of the plot.

And yet, he seems to be a guy who's spent a lot of time inside video games. When he says something odd, there's reason to interpret.

pm317 said...

Snowden made Cheny defend Obama when Obama himself is nowhere to be seen. It is hilarious to see all these Rs going after Snowden and the Dems running for the hills. Fox was running an interview with Snowden's dad. I heard him say something to this effect over the course of the interview -- what if the postal service looked at every piece of mail it delivered -- open, read, copy, store, and reseal and deliver it to you and you didn't know it was doing that.

pm317 said...

They tell us something about the person

That he does not sound like a high school dropout?

edutcher said...

If Snowden were a spy, he'd still be undercover.

When the truth comes out about the guy behind him (and we are agreed Snowden couldn't find his way to the Exit without a map?), it will be somebody who was fed up with the Choom Gang and used some poor naif to front for him.

ampersand said...

If he were a Chinese agent, would his codename be The Craw?

Not the Craw.

The Craw!!

God bless you!

I loved that bit, what?, 50 years ago.

YoungHegelian said...

If Snowden ever becomes an embarrassment or non-compliant with the wishes of the government of the PRC, he will quickly discover what the phrase "immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial.." really means.

I will leave it to history to determine if Snowden is considered a martyr to our Constitutional rights, or a traitor, but in terms of the rest of his life, he is sooooooo fucked.

MayBee said...

There's reason to interpret his words because he spent time in video games? I don't follow.

How can he definitively say what he will do in the future?

steve uhr said...

Question "have/will you?"
Answer "No"

He did answer the question. Whether truthfully is another matter.

bagoh20 said...

"But for Snowden — he's done the cost benefit analysis and he can do more good set free. That strikes me as ludicrous, but there's also the out of saying you're not doing old-fashioned civil disobedience. You're redefining it for a new era."

Well, you're the one saying civil disobedience is his method, not him. I think he's going more of a Paul Revere type plan, so yea, he's right. Paul Revere wouldn't have been much good if he just sat in front of the Redcoats yelling the "British are coming"

In both cases, it's treason, it's illegal, and the powers of government would never let either succeed. Snowden's situation is much more like Revere's than MLK's. Even with the added safety of public support, look what happened to MLK anyway.

There is no way for Snowden to succeed via civil disobedience at what he is claiming to be trying to do.

Revenant said...

If modern laws and court rulings had been in place in the 1950s and 1960s, there would have been no "Letter from a Birmingham Jail Cell". King would have been held incommunicado in solitary confinement, naked, until the public started to forget he existed.

edutcher said...

YoungHegelian said...

If Snowden ever becomes an embarrassment or non-compliant with the wishes of the government of the PRC, he will quickly discover what the phrase "immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial.." really means.

No, like Philby, McLean, and the rest, he'll be retired to the country, safely out of the way.

One of those Potemkin Villages where the happy coolies will be warehoused.

Lem said...

This is a predictable smear that I anticipated before going public, as the US media has a knee-jerk "RED CHINA!" reaction to anything involving HK or the PRC,...

Snowden worked for an NSA consultant for three months... in three months HE worked out in HIS mind/fathomed an agency cultural profile that informed HIM with enough certainty that HE would be smeared.

Oh... its mythological alright.

Lem said...

...palace petting a phoenix...

Alliteration?

Is it a joke?

Revenant said...

in three months HE worked out in HIS mind/fathomed an agency cultural profile that informed HIM with enough certainty that HE would be smeared.

Because it takes lots and lots of training to figure out "if I leak US government secrets and flee to China, the US government's defenders will accuse me of being a Chinese agent".

It takes lots and LOTS of training to connect the dots on that one. Three months isn't nearly enough. In no way is it something that, say, anybody with common sense could guess in about two seconds.

Rabel said...

Hong Kong - no visa required for a US citizen.

And maybe (probably) he's a Harry Potter fan.

MayBee said...

He worked for Booz for three months, but had been at the NSA for much longer.

YoungHegelian said...

@edutcher,

No, like Philby, McLean, and the rest, he'll be retired to the country, safely out of the way.

It was actually guys like Philby, McLean, etc I was thinking of, ed.

They stayed quiet because they knew what would happen if they didn't. They were also not really happy with their lives in the Soviet Union.

Richard Dolan said...

No need to worry about the future tense, since Snowden has already provided classified information to the Chinese gov't, along with every other gov't on the planet. Why should they offer asylum when they can read it all in the Guardian or, if that's too bothersome, just wait a day and read it in every other media outlet, without paying any price at all.

edutcher said...

YoungHegelian said...

No, like Philby, McLean, and the rest, he'll be retired to the country, safely out of the way.

It was actually guys like Philby, McLean, etc I was thinking of, ed.

They stayed quiet because they knew what would happen if they didn't. They were also not really happy with their lives in the Soviet Union.


Keep in mind the Russkies understood that a man who turns his coat once will turn it again.

Lem said...

Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy...

No, moron. First of all, I cant ask myself that because my parents moved here running away from poverty and misery and we became grateful Americans that would not sell out new country.

And second, we have to work very hard to house and feed ourselves and pay the taxes and hopefully have a little money left over to go and have a picnic under a tree.
We don't have time to fantasize.

Asshole!

MikeDC said...

What a terrible bunch of bullshit, Ann Althouse.

Thoreau's civil disobedience amounted to a single night in jail.

Martin Luther King Jr was arrested 30 times, but I think spent only spent less than that in jail.

When it comes to whistle-blowing for national security, I think the government has effectively closed the civil disobedience loophole.

Evidence would be classified, the trial would be classified, and the whistle-blower would be sent away for 20 years to life.

In short, it's absurd to compare this as an opportunity for civil disobedience in the spirit of Thoreau and King.

First, the punishment Snowden would face is orders of magnitude more harsh.

Second, the whole possibility for civil disobedience turns on putting the unjustness of the government action on display, and that wouldn't happen here because the government would certainly quash open reporting of the trial owing to "national security".

It's not that Snowden has redefined civil disobedience, it's that the government has so vastly increased it's powers relative to ours that the disobedience is like that of an ant to a boot.

Revenant said...

Why should they offer asylum when they can read it all in the Guardian or, if that's too bothersome, just wait a day and read it in every other media outlet, without paying any price at all.

He claims he has information actively harmful to US espionage, e.g. agent identities and the like, which he isn't making public.

He could be bluffing on that point to discourage the US from coming after him. But if he's telling the truth, that information is of obvious interest to the Chinese (or anyone else).

edutcher said...

Choom tells Charlie Rose the NSA spying is "transparent".

Certainly is now.

Revenant said...

Well said, Mike.

elkh1 said...

If he were a spy, he would still be under cover collecting his pay off, not to rat the intel out to the world to see for free.

Don't laugh at his phoenix, for hope and change, we voted for a unicorn rider in the last two elections. And most of us believe Big Govt who missed a known terrorist because of a misspelled name can catch terrorists by giving over our own electronic communication records.

Bob said...

> And maybe (probably) he's a Harry Potter fan.

That was the first thing I thought of.

Snowden's the perfect age to use that reference. Ann's too senior to pick it up (NTTATWWT).

Freeman Hunt said...

The "petting a phoenix" thing is classic geek humor. Remember that site called Something Awful? (Is that still around?) Their type of stuff. The geek irony humor genre.

Freeman Hunt said...

(And as someone with a part of her brain forever stamped with this kind of humor, I must admit that his phrase made me laugh, though not out loud. An in-mind laugh. IML!)

Freeman Hunt said...

IML would be a lot more useful than LOL.

chrisnavin.com said...

It's like LARPing by yourself, or something.

I take it Althouse didn't hang with the pasty white tech geek crowd at camp high IQ.

Now Bob Dylan, that was sticking it to the powers that be, man.

Man.

Ann Althouse said...

"The "petting a phoenix" thing is classic geek humor."

Well, this is what I am trying to figure out.

He's got a distinctive type of expression as well as a specific set of ideas and lots of commitment behind these ideas.

To me, he's not a recognizable type, but I believe he represents a kind of person whom we will need to understand as we move into the future.

elkh1 said...

edutcher said...
Choom tells Charlie Rose the NSA spying is "transparent".

A transparent top secret?

A transparent attempt to turn the United States into Oceanian, Big Sis into Big Bro', reset 2013 to 1984, in the guise of protecting national security, the greater good.

Lem said...

To me, he's not a recognizable type, but I believe he represents a kind of person whom we will need to understand as we move into the future.

Couldn't that be characterized some sort of stereotyping?

I'm not saying that, I'm just asking.

Freeman Hunt said...

I know this type well. I am related to one of this type. There is a part, though not an in-charge part, of my own mind that is of this type.

I can't see the writers of Something Awful LARPing. I think that's more in the domain of dork than geek. None of the geeks I knew in school, and I knew scads, were LARPers. I also know that my relative of this type would die before he'd go LARPing around

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Evidence would be classified, the trial would be classified, and the whistle-blower would be sent away for 20 years to life.

Yes. And perhaps he could get a double bunk cell with the guy who made the video that "supposedly" caused the Benghazi attack. The government, evidently, can send you to any Gulag that it wants for any reason at all. Do you wonder why Snowden ran for his life?

I imagine that he also just had a slip of the tongue and meant Peacock instead of Phoenix.

But ....whatever.....by all means, let us high center or vapor lock over a semantic issue.

Duh.

MayBee said...

The "petting a phoenix" reminds me of the DirecTv ad where the oligarch was petting a miniature giraffe. It made me LOL.

MCD said...

I am a little tired of hearing from our elites -- politicians AND media persons -- that there is a potential danger for NSA civil rights abuses in the future but that this Snowden guy is a traitor now.

MCD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

The "petting a phoenix" thing is classic geek humor.

Well, this is what I am trying to figure out.

He's got a distinctive type of expression as well as a specific set of ideas and lots of commitment behind these ideas.

To me, he's not a recognizable type, but I believe he represents a kind of person whom we will need to understand as we move into the future.


A man was walking down the beach when he found a bottle.

He picks up the bottle, and a genie comes out. The genie says that he will grant him one wish. 'Well, I'd like to go to Hawaii. But, I'm afraid of flying and I don't like the idea of going in a boat. So, I wish there was a bridge from here to Hawaii.' says the man.

The genie frowned 'I don't know. It sounds like quite an undertaking,' he said. 'Just think of the logistics. The supports required reaching the bottom of the ocean, the concrete, and the steel! Why don't you pick something else?' says the genie.

'Ok, I want to know about programmers. Why are they so temperamental? Why are they so hard to deal with, so hard to understand?' says the man.

'You want two lanes or four?'

I wish you luck, Madame.

Lem said...

When OJ Simpson killed his wife and Ron Goldman he ran away just like Snowden.

It's not rocket science.

Achilles said...

MikeDC nailed why the civil disobedience comparison is crap. A spy would not be doing what he is doing either. He is pretty clearly not doing this for personal gain. His life is over and nobody in the defense or contractor community will hire him again. Whether I agree with him or not he is doing this because he thinks it is the right thing.

It is also pretty clear he is smarter than the people trying to smear him. He is not a stupid person and has some skills that are valuable. Unlike most of the pundit class.

What this feels like is there is more than one leaker here. People think this kind of information would never be in the hands of someone like this. Partially true. But people in these communities work together. They are only read on to the parts of the program they need to know about, but the different operators usually go to the same meetings and end up hanging out together because you can't really talk to anyone else. It is likely he knows generally what is going on and specifically about his part. I think a lot of the people working for the NSA joined to fight America's enemies and are just as disgusted as the rest of us with the Obama/democrat perversion and abuse of these programs.

Carl said...

In classic civil disobedience, accepts the law's punishment.

That's such square bullshit. Like London matrons shocked to hear that those sniveling colonists hid behind trees to shoot at our redcoats, instead of lining up in neat rows to be knocked down by cannonballs, like real Englishmen woud. The bastards!

Civil disobedience has no rules, classic or otherwise. It's not being the Loyal Opposition, it's saying your system is fucked man, and so badly we can't change it by ordinary peaceful ballot-box ways. It will only change by violence. If there happens to be enough sympathy to engage to leverage our martyrdom, then by all means let us partition that violence out to you.

But it's insurrection nonetheless. It does not fit within the paradigms of the state. It's outside the system, a bolt from natural forces. It's ultimately the sword of Damocles that keeps the system on its toes and moderates the otherwise unlimited appetite of the governing class for power.

Insisting on imprisoning it within a set of safe (for the state) and predictable definitions, like protesters dutifully confined to a little roped-off area 3 blocks from where the blowhard politician is giving a speech, is to exchange real republicanism -- a vigorous and sometimes scarily unpredictable plant -- for a pro forma simulcrum pickled in formalin, like Octavian generously "giving back" the Republic of Rome to the Senate.

Freeman Hunt said...

Thinking more about this "type." I think you could say a lot about the young, early twenties version, but after that they fan out into all kinds of things.

I would say the durable parts of the type are wry, individualistic, intelligent, skilled at handling data and systems, and that this type splits into two subgroups: (1) idealistic (2) sublimated idealism (because idealism isn't cool enough, it doesn't work for detached irony) that masks as amoral pragmatism. Second type being more self-conscious than the first.

But that's just a preliminary gloss. I'd have to think about it more.

elkh1 said...

"In classic civil disobedience, accepts the law's punishment."

Don't be stupid. Laws and punishment are for little people.

Who leaked the Dearest Dear Leader's "gutsy call"? Who leaked Stuxnet? Who leaked Romney donors' tax returns to the Obama campaign? Which Secretary of the Treasury evaded taxes? Which president lied under oath?

edutcher said...

But it is catching up to him.

The next couple of years are going to be interesting.

Think Death of a Thousand Cuts.

Achilles said...

edutcher said...
But it is catching up to him.

The next couple of years are going to be interesting.

Think Death of a Thousand Cuts.

6/17/13, 10:03 PM

There are enough Inga's out there he will never be brought down. Too many people in this country have a combination of greedylazystupidhateful that even an amateur fascist like Obama will have no trouble buying a constituency.

Astro said...

U.S. Constitution - Article 3 Section 3
Treason "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."


Broadcasting the fact that the government is ignoring the 4th amendment does not strike me as meeting the constitutional definition of treason.

edutcher said...

Ah, but the economy is getting ready for another crash, full time jobs are becoming a thing of the past, Chuckie and the boys are about to sell out the blacks to get more Hispanics, and the death panels are gearing up.

As the preceding post reminds us, even the low info voters are waking up.

There aren't enough She Devils of the SS to cover that.

Barry Dauphin said...

It's become clear that this guy didn't have authorized access to the information he's taken. That means he hacked into the system without even knowing what was there. He was on a fishing expedition very early into his work. In fact he probably knew that what ever he found would prove useful to somebody outside of the United States. The guy is a twerp. He not only violated his agreement by Stealing this information. He also likely committed crimes in obtaining it in the first place.

Astro said...

When OJ Simpson killed his wife and Ron Goldman he ran away just like Snowden.

And when Colonel Paul Tibbets released the atom bomb over Hiroshima he flew away just like Snowden.

Meaningless comparisons don't cost much, nor require much thought. 'Tain't rocket surgery.

William said...

If he gives information that is of material aid to the Red Chinese or other of our enemies, he's a traitor and should die in jail. If the info serves only to inform the American people of a clandestine snooping program, then he has claim to the title of whistleblower. But even then, he's a reckless and unethical whistleblower and deserves to serve some time in jail........His posture as an idealist committed to a higher morality is credible. But the same could be said of that fellow Lindh who fought with the Taliban against us. I'm sympathetic to Snowden and Lindh, but there's such a thing as high minded treason. History has lots of high minded traitors from John Wilkes Booth through Alger Hiss and on to Snowden. Fuck them all.

Damon said...

MikeDC nailed it... the thumb on the scale is one big ass thumb.

Damon said...

"But it is catching up to him.

The next couple of years are going to be interesting.

Think Death of a Thousand Cuts."


Isn't that the point... he just wants to ensure we are able to watch him as he bleeds out.

It is awful quite behind national security confidentiality.

edutcher said...

Barry Dauphin said...

It's become clear that this guy didn't have authorized access to the information he's taken. That means he hacked into the system without even knowing what was there.

Seems to me that would require a fairly proficient programmer.

Snowden's resume doesn't seem to have that sort of background. He's "taken courses", but never finished anything.

Makes you wonder if he's another Barry, somebody who is on record as having attended institutions, but nobody can remember seeing him there.

Damon said...

PS - Why aren't more people skeptical about government abuse of power?

There must be a name for this curve... now that government employees know that blatantly partisan political actions will not be thoroughly investigated... we can expect more of this.

It is a slippery slope of corruption.

VanderDouchen said...

It seems to me that this guy found himself over his head. He needed a way out of this situation that would provide cover for his inability to perform. He knew if he lost the gig, he'd never have another shot at comparable one. He rationalized this as his way out "with honor."

He can use this as the excuse for his failure for the rest of his life.

Petting a Phoenix is an allusion to fucking a dragon. I'll bet he's been a WoW player.

And I could be wrong. He could be completely honorable.

Barry Dauphin said...

Snowden's resume doesn't seem to have that sort of background. He's "taken courses", but never finished anything.

That could be the case, but I'm not sure that hacking requires a formal education.

Achilles said...

edutcher said...
Ah, but the economy is getting ready for another crash, full time jobs are becoming a thing of the past, Chuckie and the boys are about to sell out the blacks to get more Hispanics, and the death panels are gearing up.

As the preceding post reminds us, even the low info voters are waking up.

There aren't enough She Devils of the SS to cover that.

6/17/13, 10:20 PM

The bad economy can be blamed on Bush. The surveillance program can be blamed on Bush. Bush was suppressing divergent opinions too. And worse bush did not support giving women free abortions and birth control. Anything that Bush didn't do was because of deregulation.

Public education has done its job. There is too much stupid to overcome.

creeley23 said...

Public education has done its job. There is too much stupid to overcome.

History isn't linear. If education were all that powerful, the sixties counterculture could never have taken off. In my catholic high school only one-third of the class took Holy Communion at the graduation mass despite years of instruction from nuns and priests.

Things look pretty chaotic. The Democrats aren't any more comfortable riding the tiger than Republicans.

Achilles said...

This isn't republicans vs democrats. This is statists vs traditional liberals. Notice there are both republicans and democrats supporting the surveillance state, open borders, growing the welfare state, ever expanding federal budgets.

The people don't have representation at the federal level anymore. The opposition to the statists is currently championed by the tea party. Establishment Republicans hate them as much as democrats.

Robert Cook said...

"It's become clear that this guy didn't have authorized access to the information he's taken. That means he hacked into the system without even knowing what was there. He was on a fishing expedition very early into his work. In fact he probably knew that what ever he found would prove useful to somebody outside of the United States."

None of the above is at all "clear," or even indicated.

Robert Cook said...

"His posture as an idealist committed to a higher morality is credible. But the same could be said of that fellow Lindh who fought with the Taliban against us."

There is no certainty that Lindh fought with the Taliban against us. In fact, it's very possible he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Nichevo said...

What's cleat is that this Snowden Caulfield did not go from wide eyed patriot to Red stooge in three months. I'd like a clear timeline of his history. Otherwise all I can say is that I have not yet heard the truth. Somebody needs to send a raven to Kowloon and see to this fellow.

Yeah, at this point I vote for a hit, or a snatch job, in case he can do any more harm. If he's right, he should have opened the whole bag and fled to a non aligned nation. You can't tell me he had no options here. Vote: who thinks we have the covert capacity to do a job in Hong Kong anymore?

Nichevo said...

Oh and RC, was it worth the very, very last shred of your credibility to say that about Lindh?

Simon said...

What he's trying to do is trap us into the idea that he is only a traitor if he's working for China, and then "prove" that he isn't working for China. Reject the premise.

John Lynch said...

Hong Kong is China. It's like saying a defector to the United States isn't a defector because they moved to Puerto Rico.

It ain't some kind of Asian Switzerland.

Robert Cook said...

Looks like Obama lied his ass off on Charley Rose last night. Rise, the ever loyal establishment vassal, did not challenge the president.

Simon said...

John Lynch said...
"Hong Kong is China. It's like saying a defector to the United States isn't a defector because they moved to Puerto Rico. "

My impression had been that in practice, it is a vassal state with China as its suzerain.

Balfegor said...

Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn't I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.

Well sure. But you'd be living in Beijing all the same, with its terrible pollution. And you don't seem to speak Chinese. If you're an English-speaking traitor defecting to the PRC, wouldn't Hong Kong offer you a much, much easier and more pleasant life?

Baron Zemo said...

What as crock of bullshit.

Everybody knows super villains pet a white cat.

Baron Zemo said...

As a super villain I know this for a fact.

Petting a pussy always calms you down.

Baron Zemo said...

Of course the pussy might get all hot and bothered but that's a different conversation.

leslyn said...

"...in a palace petting a phoenix." Would have been nice planned alliteration except that "phoenix" is pronounced as an "f" not "p."

Agree: Harry Potter fan AND WOW.

I wonder if the questions were required to be submitted in advance?

leslyn said...

@edutcher, 6/17/13, 9:06 PM: Perfect adaptation!