July 2, 2013

Putin on Snowden: "If he wants to remain here... he should stop his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners..."

"... no matter how strange this may sound coming from me."

Meanwhile:
Admitting Ecuador made a 'mistake' in helping Snowden flee Hong Kong in the first place, [Ecuador's president Rafael Correa] appeared to backtrack on previous suggestions he was welcome, adding: "Are we responsible for getting him to Ecuador? It's not logical. The country that has to give him a safe conduct document is Russia."

Asked if he would like to meet the 30-year-old, he added: "Not particularly. He's a very complicated person. Strictly speaking, Mr Snowden spied for some time."
And there's a statement purporting to be from Snowden that pretty much can't have been written by Snowden. Find the tell:
"For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum."
ADDED: The tell is "have," the use of the plural verb with United States. American don't slip into that usage, though it's strictly correct if you're following the rules of grammar. The irregular form is second-nature to Americans. So does that mean Snowden couldn't have written that? No. Meade — in conversation just now — suggested that Snowden might have deliberately adopted the form that a non-American would use. But think what that means: He wants not to be American. That runs counter to a desire to refute the accusation that he is a traitor, but it's consistent with other statements of his that stress the world as a whole, including the term "human right" in the very sentence quoted above.

AND: Let's look at the whole text of his statement, which appears at the link. Right after the above-quoted sentence, we read:
Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. 
He says "my country," but "the current government of," and the law he cites is transnational law. That sentence suggests that "the current government" is undeserving of loyalty and to be distinguished from "my country."

Snowden proceeds to call himself a "stateless person," because the current government has revoked his passport (and obstructed his "right to seek asylum"). He asserts that the current government is "afraid" of its own people:
It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.
Let me paraphrase: If the American people had the information — which I risked my life to set free — they would see the current government as illegitimate.

The sign-off is:
Edward Joseph Snowden
Monday 1st July 2013
I don't think it's too American to write the date like that. We tend to write: July 1, 2013. If you wanted to go all U.S. Constitution about it, you could write: First Day of July in the Year of our Lord two thousand and Thirteen. But "Monday 1st July 2013"? To my eye, that's either written by a non-American or an American affecting a transnational style.

96 comments:

Marshal said...

"have"

Chef Mojo said...

Marshall, you beat me to it!

edutcher said...

Shelby Foote:

Before the Civil War, it was perfectly proper to say, "The United States are". After the Civil War, we said, "The United States is".

The war turned us from an are to an is.

edutcher said...

PS Putin wants all he can get out of us to help rebuild Russia into USSR 2.0, so he'll make a little kissy-face.

That, however, does not preclude him from making Choom look like a fool whenever he gets the chance.

deborah said...

Putin gives good lip service.

Marshal said...

There's also a segment of the Latin American population that takes great offense when we call ourselves Americans. To them everyone in this hemisphere is American, we are United Stateseans.

Mogget said...

Neither Obama nor anyone in his administration has the brains and will to play successfully with Putin. What a joke we are these days!

David Hampton said...

Choom makes himself the fool. Putin, Merkel, Hollande et al are more than happy to throw fuel on the fire. I wouldn't put it passed Choom to go back to the dentist for another brightener on his teeth. Can't be too white, you know...Is Biden's dentist available? I hear blue is in these days.

Marshal said...

Chef Mojo said...
Marshall, you beat me to it!


I didn't want Althouse thinking it was difficult for the commenters.

SteveR said...

Putin got the information he wanted, now he can just have fun.

Clyde said...

"have"

No modern-day American would refer to the United States as a plural entity, which is what the phrase "the United States have" implies. We would say "the United States has." Now, any American from the period prior to the Civil War would have used the earlier phrase. Foreigners might as well, but since Snowden is an American, he wouldn't.

traditionalguy said...

The Russian Empire has been union by military force, and when the force went away, the regional cultural entities union went away with it.

Putin and friends believe the same will happen here. Obama also being a Marxist kind of can't wait for it to happen here. Mexafornia is a separate state in waiting.

Matthew Sablan said...

Maybe he's just a bad writer.

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

Snowden is finding out that what leaders the world over say about America is mostly for domestic consumption.

The whole ball of wax is not as round and smooth, as he may have thought, making it possible for him to roll with it at will.

edutcher said...

deborah said...

Putin gives good lip service.

It's also what he looks for in a woman.

traditionalguy said...

The Russian Empire has been union by military force, and when the force went away, the regional cultural entities union went away with it.

Putin and friends believe the same will happen here. Obama also being a Marxist kind of can't wait for it to happen here. Mexafornia is a separate state in waiting.


If you read a little history, you'll find the inhabitants of the Mexican Cession (there were only about 20,000) had very little problem with changing allegiances.

They figured they'd get a better deal from us and, in the end, they did.

traditionalguy said...

Putin is changing. He sees an opening to become the world power by military strength and frank truth telling much like the style he learned from watching W.

That opening comes from the USA submitting itself to a smiling narcissist with Marxist dreams who wants to disarm us and never tells a single word of truth about anything, ever.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...he should stop his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners...

...in public.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger Marshal said...

There's also a segment of the Latin American population that takes great offense when we call ourselves Americans. To them everyone in this hemisphere is American, we are United Stateseans.

7/2/13, 8:48 AM
---------------------------------

What latin Americans automatically identify themselves as Americanos?

edutcher said...

The point is we are Norteamericanos.

Scott M said...

Maybe he's just a bad writer.

Maybe he's fully aware of the history and the difference in meaning and wrote it that way to make a point.

edutcher said...

You mean he's a unreconstructed Confederate like Woody Wilson?

David said...

Actually, Snowden's politics in most matters are pre-Civil War southerner, so "United States have" could easily have come from him.

Also, Putin is bullshitting. One possible scenario is that this was a Russian job all along, and the last few weeks have been an elaborate act.

I bet the CIA is not discounting that theory.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Maybe it was written by a high school drop out?

Marshal said...

LarsPorsena said...
What latin Americans automatically identify themselves as Americanos?


I don't think this necessarily follows. They can think of themselves as Mexicans (for example) first and still be offended by us, abetted by the 'Americans are arrogant' stereotype.

edutcher said...

David said...

Also, Putin is bullshitting. One possible scenario is that this was a Russian job all along, and the last few weeks have been an elaborate act.

What did he do for a living before he went into politics?

I bet the CIA is not discounting that theory.

You mean they're not spying on the Daughters of the American Revolution?

Christopher said...

No modern-day American would refer to the United States as a plural entity, which is what the phrase "the United States have" implies. We would say "the United States has." Now, any American from the period prior to the Civil War would have used the earlier phrase. Foreigners might as well, but since Snowden is an American, he wouldn't.

You're right on the usage but wrong on the reason.

I'm familiar with the Shelby Foote quote and I'm sure it's accurate. But modern British usage conceives of most collective entities as plural. The government have.... The army have... It has nothing to do with our evolving conception of the United States.

Lem said...

Maybe it was written by a high school drop out?

Nice...

Achilles said...

It came from the Ecuadoreans. If it was translated back and forth this could change the original meaning as well.

bgates said...

"the current government" is undeserving of loyalty and to be distinguished from "my country."

Depends how far you want to take "loyalty", I suppose.

bagoh20 said...

OK genius, then explain Betamax. Is that typical American?

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

But "Monday 1st July 2013"? To my eye, that's either written by a non-American or an American affecting a transnational style.

FWIW, it's also a US military style.

Remember, our Philby wannabe was an 18X a decade ago.

bagoh20 said...

" If the American people had the information — which I risked my life to set free — they would see the current government as illegitimate. "


What if this is true? Do we want to see that information? Is there any information - anything whatsoever - that would lead a majority of Americans to see the government as illegitimate?

Lets leave out the serious stuff like covering up a third rate burglary or being a Republican. Anything else bad enough?

Scott M said...

But think what that means: He wants not to be American.

Not at all. As I suggested above, it could be that he wants to use the pre-Civil War usage because he believes strongly in federalism and limited central power.

madAsHell said...

Plural vs. singular?

Well....Obama has been very polarizing. Maybe Snowden knows something we don't!

bagoh20 said...

That Putin guy knows how to use a reset button.

Ann Althouse said...

"FWIW, it's also a US military style."

My internet research says military style would be 1 JUL 13 not 1st July 2013.

Ann Althouse said...

(One more bit of evidence that edutcher is an internet character whose shtick is to get everything wrong.)

Lem said...

To my eye, that's either written by a non-American or an American affecting a transnational style.

A non-American on a path, off the path, on a beam?

Althouse is very confusing today.

Scott M said...

My internet research says military style would be 1 JUL 13 not 1st July 2013.

Correct.

Hagar said...

The "spying on us" is a distraction. There might be cases where finding out a "secret" about a person, or an organization/corporation, comes into play, but the essence of "data mining" is what can be done by digitizing masses of just perfectly innocent information.

AllenS said...

How about Sweden? They like to give us the big finger every once in a while.

I remember when men who didn't want to serve in the Armed Forces, or refused to be sent to Viet Nam, they went to Sweden.

Geoff Matthews said...

I've heard that (some) Canadians get offended by the use of the term 'Americans' by those who are citizens of the USA.
Personally, having grown up in Canada, I never heard that. It seems asinine for someone to complain about. Citizens of Canada are called Canadians. Citizens of Mexico are called Mexicans. Citizens of the United States of America are called . . .
What, if not Americans?

Gabriel Hanna said...

He's not stateless, he is still a US citizen until he renounces that status.

Snitches got no friends. A sizable fraction of this country thinks that the NSA programs are perfectly reasonable. Unless an overwhelming majority found them intolerable, this is the reaction he has to expect.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Geoff Matthews:I've heard that (some) Canadians get offended by the use of the term 'Americans' by those who are citizens of the USA.

I lump this phenomenon in with the ignorant butthurtitude exhibited by those who object to "niggardly" and "picnic" as supposedly racist terms, or the impersonal pronoun "he" as sexist, along with "chairman", "fireman".

It shows a profound ignorance of language and history as well as thin skin always looking for a slight to complain about.

Gabriel Hanna said...

People who are of mixed European and Asian ancestry are often called "Eurasian". Does anyone get butthurt about that, saying that all residents of all countries in Europe and Asia have equal right to the term? No.

Cedarford said...

Snowden appears to be in deep doo-doo.
He is a hot potato no country so far has been eager to grab and risk years of poor relations and reprisals coming from the US over. Just not worth it. Ecuador has been assessing just how much a pissed off US could fuck them up, and are backing off big time.

And Assange is in the same boat, as his anarchist targeting of "all evil nations, meaning all nations with governments" -- cuts down on his friends and thus his protegee Manning and Snowdens list of powerful friends quite severely.


Michael said...

The normal European convention would be 1 July, not 1st July.

It is quite possible that these are affectations but the "have" is a huge tell. I would agree with the Professor that there is another author involved.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

FWIW, it's also a US military style.

My internet research says military style would be 1 JUL 13 not 1st July 2013.


Your internet research neglects that, spoken, it's sometimes enunciated as 1st.

(One more bit of evidence that edutcher is an internet character whose shtick is to get everything wrong.)

Have you farmed out your snark to "somefeller"?

He seems to have appointed himself your spokesman. Is he doing your boilerplate, too?

Lem said...

To my eye, that's either written by a non-American or an American affecting a transnational style.

Snowden applies for asylum at IHOPs.

Amexpat said...

Putin is a gangster and can be criticized rightly for many things - but not this. If the situation were reversed, the US would grant political asylum to anyone working for Russian intelligence that had useful information.

Here's 3 possible reasons why Putin is reluctant to grant Snowden asylum:

1. Wants to gain leverage over the US in this situation or the US has some leverage it will refrain from using.

2. Is scared that Snowden's whistle blowing might catch on with the younger generation in the Russian intelligence community.

3. As an ex-KGB man, he doesn't like how Snowden is breaking the rules of the game.

virgil xenophon said...

edutcher @8:41/

The poet Carl Sandburg made that observation on CBS TV years prior circa 1958, iirc

edutcher said...

I never saw that. I guess Shelby Foote was paraphrasing.

Icepick said...

Snowden applies for asylum at IHOPs.

There are worse fates than joining the Pancake Internationale.

Mitch H. said...

Snowden was a pretty significant xenophile as a young adult, it's *possible* he's affecting a "citizen of the world" style. But using the European date format isn't the sort of detail your garden-variety weaboo would be likely to get right.

The have thing, on the other hand, is the sort of tense disagreement a high-school dropout might produce.

Meade said...

"Is he doing your boilerplate, too?"

No. That would be me. Please make a note.

Kirk Parker said...

Foote can say that if he likes, but in addition it's a normal, regular feature of British English that corporate mass nouns are plural ("Ford Motor Company have a product announcement scheduled for this afternoon") and of American English that they are singular ("Ford Motor Company has a product announcement scheduled for this afternoon") .

Cedarford said...

edutcher - I'm a Vet and in my experience writing and reading thousands of now long forgotten or trashed bits of military paperwork - Althouse is right and you are wrong.

Never ever saw a document prepared say, as "23rd March, 1990".
Nor did I ever hear a military person, officer or enlisted, ennunciate a date in the manner you suggest.



Her analysis on this letter is pretty good overall. Lots of signs besides the date this was not written by a 29-year old American. Likely a Wiki associate writing it on his behest.

AllenS said...

I have to agree with Althouse that military style would be 1 JUL 13.

Who knew?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Huh. I thought the tell was that he misspelled "Amerikkka".

Paul Zrimsek said...

Likely a Wiki associate writing it on his behest.

(singing) Ghost writers iiiiin disguise.

bpm4532 said...

Many IT folks I know in the US write dates like that, particularly in the Unix/Web world. They like to keep numbers in order of significance.

Robert Cook said...

Ecuador's "admission" they "made a mistake" helping Snowden shows the screws have been put to 'em by Obama.

Frankly, Snowden and Manning should be joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. It might do a tad bit to offset the egregious damage done to the legitimacy of the prize by it's having been awarded to "Bloody Barack," the scourge of the civilized world.

Inga said...

"edutcher - I'm a Vet and in my experience writing and reading thousands of now long forgotten or trashed bits of military paperwork - Althouse is right and you are wrong."

7/2/13, 11:42 AM

No, no I won't say it. This is Ed's safe place, he is valued.

ken in sc said...

I grew up reading Reader's Digest. They had a humorous section, every month, called 'These United States.' Not The United States.

The plural construction is not strange to everybody.

Chip Ahoy said...

I grew up with a 24 hour clock in the kitchen and we kids hated that thing. I still have trouble subtracting 12 all the time. Although if they say something like twentythreehundredhours then you can think, "that's kind of late, innit."

It's also the thing that tells me the 12 in a 12 hour clock refers to the thing before it, that is, 12:00pm is midnight and 12:00 am is noon.

Because it goes:

11:58 pm
11:59 pm
12:00 pm
12:01 am
12:02 am

This time-knowledge comes from being stuck with a 24 hour clock.

Also, the date would be 01,07,13

And sometimes if a geekish sort wrote it the 0 would have a line through it as if to say z-row which is just flat confusing because as you know it is a letter in Danish and Norwegian so you're right straight back to 'is it number or is it a letter?', the emphasis makes it more confusing not less and that's why those geekish sorts are jerks.

Crunchy Frog said...

This is a story coming from a UK paper, the Daily Mail, and is subject to their style sheets and copy editors.

It's been translated into Brit-speak.

Baron Zemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skyler said...

I think Ann's conclusion is likely correct mostly because of the awkward date.

The "have" is not so unusual for people who are against federal power and that is consistent with his views. I think though that when combined with the other nonstandard usages that it contributes to the conclusion that someone is making statements for him. Is he still acting freely?

Baron Zemo said...

When I was a kid there was this retarded girl that lived across the street. She had Downs syndrome and was quite obviously retarded which was not a good thing in the 1960's.

You know the full retard. Old lady clothes. Pete Rose haircut. The works.

All the kids on the block were very protective of her because we all grew up together. She was included when we hung out most of the time and believe it or not people were not cruel to her. The only people who were nasty were the ones who hung out with us but were friends of one of us and didn't know her. When the nastiness started one or the other of us would tell them to shut the fuck up or face a beating because that shit didn't go happen on our block.

You can tell a lot about someone from how they treat a retarded person.

edutcher said...

AllenS said...

I have to agree with Althouse that military style would be 1 JUL 13.

Who knew?


Pronunciation, as well?

Meade said...

Is he doing your boilerplate, too?

No. That would be me. Please make a note.


We both know you're capable of better.

PS Is this more about somebody correcting her? And military does put the day first, no?

I was correct about Snowden's 18X.

Freeman Hunt said...

So if I was 75% sure of what had happened to him before, I am now 98% sure. The guy is toast. He was lured to Russia, and now Russia's making him talk and then making him disappear or trading him for something.

Freeman Hunt said...

And a trade would be unlikely to bring him back. (As if our government really wants him back here!) even in a trade, he most likely disappears.

He's not a long term asset. This is not the Cold War. He's a guy who may have desired information but who is also a diplomatic problem. Pump and dump.

deborah said...

"Pronunciation, as well?"

Pretty much, but I'm wondering if we could find a general on youtube saying 1rst July, 2013, in a congressional testimony.

20 lashes with a wet noodle, ed! You're a bad, bad boy ;(

Clyde said...

I think that "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" thingie is sort of like the metric system, something they'd like to foist on us but we ignore it because we already have a better system. Ours is called the U.S. Constitution, and when the government actually FOLLOWS it, then things go pretty well here. The more the politicians try to abuse it and warp it out of shape, the stronger the reaction will be when it invariably snaps back. There's not much that most Americans agree on, but "don't mess with our Constitutional rights" is right there at the top of the list. Those who forget that do so at their own peril.

edutcher said...

deborah said...

Pronunciation, as well?

Pretty much, but I'm wondering if we could find a general on youtube saying 1rst July, 2013, in a congressional testimony.


As I said, I know I've heard it more than once.

If I'm wrong, that's one thing and there are plenty of people here who have corrected me and I said, "Thank you".

Cheap shots are something else.

20 lashes with a wet noodle, ed! You're a bad, bad boy ;(

I've had worse from experts, but thank you, ma'am.

Clyde said...

edutcher said...

FWIW, it's also a US military style.


No. U.S. Military style would be 1 JUL 2013. "1st July 2013" doesn't match that.

Clyde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clyde said...

Although, to be honest, you guys who are saying it would just be 1 JUL 13 in military style might be right. I haven't been in the military for the last quarter-century, so I'm not sure if they are still using a two-digit number for the year like they were back in the '80s. After the whole Y2K thing, it wouldn't surprise me if they used the whole 2013 now.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Snowden should come back to these United States for a nice little show trial after the Zimmerman trial wraps up. Assuming things aren't burned to the ground.

edutcher said...

Clyde said...

FWIW, it's also a US military style.

No. U.S. Military style would be 1 JUL 2013. "1st July 2013" doesn't match that.


I was speaking in terms of day first, then month, and I have heard the ordinal used when spoken.

Ann called it transnational (the euros have used it for a long time) and I just pointed out the military (Snowden wanted to go SF, after all) used a day first form, too.

Then things got nasty.

Surf-ed said...

@edutcher - The Shelby quote. Good stuff.

edutcher said...

Thank you. I thought it very apt.

If Sandburg said it first, as virgil said, Foote didn't attribute it.

I first heard him say it on the Ken Burns documentary.

Meade said...

Although if they say something like twentythreehundredhours then you can think, "that's kind of late, innit."

Hah!

Meade said...

"I first heard him say it on the Ken Burns documentary."

Ken Burns the Progressive with the Pete Rose haircut?

Meade said...

Ken Burns who thinks Barack Obama is the second coming of Abraham Lincoln?

harrogate said...

Ermahgerd!!!!

edutcher said...

No, Ken Burns who made the "Civil War" documentary almost 25 years ago.

The one that was pretty fair to the Confederates.

Ken B said...

It is recommended in Strunk & White, and is the most rational and compact way to write the date as it requires no comma. It is quite rare. I do it that way all the time, especially when I wear shorts.

Freder Frederson said...

Your point about the date is ridiculous (I won't even start on your amateur psychoanalysis). The military uses that date format. I bet NSA does too.

Freder Frederson said...

No. U.S. Military style would be 1 JUL 2013. "1st July 2013" doesn't match that.

Actually, if any of you had bothered to look up actual military style manuals, 1 Jul 13, 1 JUL 13 (depending on the branch, rather like it is LTC in the Army, but Ltc in the Air Force) or 1 July 2013 (which is the proper format in the body of correspondence).

The internet is a powerful tool if you just don't stop at Wikipedia.

Freder Frederson said...

Ann has shockingly bad comprehension skill for someone who's profession is all about reading comprehension.

If the point of this is that Snowden didn't write the letter, that is self evident from the article. The letter was in Spanish (to the government of Ecuador) and translated back to English. Even if Snowden is fluent in Spanish, the double translation probably accounts for the awkward prose.

Lydia said...

Wikileaks says it got the letter directly from Snowden and they must have done the translation. That would explain the "transnational style" Althouse mentions.

But they've seen the error of their ways -- the Daily Mail article also says: "After the internet erupted in a flurry of doubt, the word 'have' was changed to 'has' on the official statement on the Wikileaks site."

JamesB.BKK said...

It is true what is written about this text and the tells. Too bad there wasn't an extra "u" in there.

It should be noted that the conversion of the plural United States to the singular and conflation of the country with the government in our minds result from progaganda and indoctrination of Americans in government-run schools or under government-controlled curricula in other schools.

Lem said...

I thought "Snowden applying for asylum at the International House of Pancakes" killed.

Apparently it did not.

I laid an egg.

Lem said...

another egg is probably more accurate.