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Washington Post story today - "U.S Asylum-Seekers Unhappy in Russia" (compares LHO and Snowden)


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Today's Washington Post has an article by reporter Kathy Lally discussing Edward Snowden's situation, in Moscow--in the context of other ex-defectors (notably, LHO).

Personally, I think the comparison is absurd, but that's just my opinion.

FWIW (and my advice to Snowden): If you do return to the U.S., make sure you don't take any jobs on any possible presidential parade route. (With Mapquest, you should be able to research this matter in advance of accepting employment.)

OTOH: if you decide to remain in Russia, you might continue your education (as Oswald considered doing) at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University, or use the Internet to take the wonderful courses in math and physics now available from MIT and other universities.

Anyway, and for those interested, here's the link to the Washington Post story (and someone ought to inform this reporter as to why its really ludicrous to compare Edward Snowden with Lee Oswald).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/us-asylum-seekers-unhappy-in-russia/2013/07/18/ced32748-eee8-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html?hpid=z11

Here's the text:

MOSCOW — If Edward Snowden has time on his hands, stuck as he is in Sheremetyevo Aiport’s transit zone, he might want to seize the opportunity to read up on the history of American asylum-seekers in Russia.

Those who have — such as Washington journalist and author Peter Savodnik — come up with a litany of disenchantment, which could prove meaningful for Snowden. The former National Security Agency contractor applied for temporary asylum here earlier this week.

“If history is any indication,” Savodnik said in a telephone interview, “he can expect purgatory on Earth if he stays in Russia. They’ll send him to a remote place, with no real society or life, somewhere far away from Moscow.”

The past reveals a rogue’s gallery of failed romantics who thought they would find a better world here. Most met unhappy ends. Take Big Bill Haywood, who, like Snowden, was charged under the federal Espionage Act of 1917. Haywood, a radical labor leader, was found guilty of violating the act after calling a strike in 1918 during wartime. He served about a year in prison and, while out on appeal, decamped to Moscow.

Haywood married a Russian but never learned the language — the couple talked by hand gestures. Eventually, he said he wanted to return home, but in 1928, at the age of 59, he died of alcoholism and diabetes. Half of his ashes were buried along the Kremlin wall and the other half were sent to Chicago, where he had helped found the Industrial Workers of the World.

Savodnik has a book coming out in November, “The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union,” about the most notorious U.S. defector, who went off to Moscow in 1959 with misplaced hopes of a glorious life in the worker’s paradise of the then-Soviet Union. He was given work in an electronics factory in dreary Minsk, where the bright future eluded him. He returned home in 1962, assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and two days later was killed by Jack Ruby.

In a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post, David Barrett, a Villanova University political science professor, described how two National Security Agency employees foreshadowed Snowden — in 1960.

William Martin, 29, and Bernon Mitchell, 31, said they were going on vacation (Snowden told his boss he had to get medical treatment) and turned up as defectors in Moscow, where they announced that the United States was spying on countries all over the world. It was the biggest violation of national security ever. Sound familiar?

“They went on to lead long, unhappy lives in the Soviet Union,” Barrett wrote.

Even though Russia has never been a beacon of democracy or free speech, that hasn’t stopped defectors, Savodnik said.

Joseph Dutkanicz, an American soldier stationed in West Germany, was recruited by the KGB in 1958 and defected in 1960. He worked in a TV factory in Lvov in western Ukraine, living under constant surveillance by the KGB and complaining that the officers were trying to drive him mad. He asked to return home but died, reportedly drunk, in 1963.

Glenn Souther, a Navy photo analyst, defected in 1986 and killed himself in 1989 at the age of 32 in Moscow, hailed as a master spy.

Robert Webster, a Clevelander who went to Moscow in 1959 to set up an exhibit for a plastics company at a trade fair, fell for a hostess at the Ukraine Hotel restaurant. The woman was thought to be a KGB agent. (These days the hotel is a good place to sit behind an overly expensive glass of wine and watch a parade of well-muscled, gold-chain-draped men conduct business.)

Webster was given a job in Leningrad but eventually yearned for home and returned in 1962 — as an alien allowed in as part of a Russian quota, according to “The Defector Study,” a report prepared for Congress in 1979.

History has yet to decide how it will treat Snowden.

Savodnik predicts that if he stays, he’ll be hustled out of Moscow, sent to an out-of-the-way city and given an apartment in a khrushchevka — one of the now-crumbling five-story buildings hurriedly put up during the era of Premier Nikita Khrushchev more than half a century ago.

“From the Kremlin’s point of view, Snowden has already served his purpose,” Savodnik said. “He embarrassed the White House. If he had any data to share, they would have obtained it by now. At this point, if you’re [President] Vladimir Putin, you want Snowden to disappear.”

No doubt he would be given work, but the Russians wouldn’t trust him near anything sensitive, Savodnik said. The young man who might have thought he was changing the world can now expect to be a welder, or a janitor.

“It’s a life somewhere in provincial Russia, far away from everything you may consider stimulating,” Savodnik said. “It’s not a very happy existence.”

So, yes, they’ll probably give him asylum, but they’ll make it as unpleasant as possible, he said. “And eventually he’ll turn up at the U.S. Embassy begging to go back home.”

One of the most recent American asylum-seekers is John Robles, who declined a request to discuss life in Russia but has told his story through postings on his Web site and on Vkontakte, a Russian version of Facebook.

Robles, now 47, had been teaching English in Moscow and applied for a new U.S. passport in 2007. Instead, he has written, it was revoked because he was accused of owing child support in California. The revocation of his passport, he said, made him stateless and prompted his asylum request. He said the accusations against him were untrue and that his children were with him, supported by him.

More recently, Robles has been a presenter and interviewer on Voice of Russia radio.

Though he criticizes the United States, Robles makes no public complaints about Russia. He lives in an apparently typical Moscow apartment. Recently he wrote that the hot water had returned — the city shuts it off every summer for two to four weeks to clean the pipes — and celebrated its presence with a photo of rusty water emerging from his kitchen faucet.

Not long before that, he was asking the eternal question here: Will the winter ever end?

* * * *

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Today's Washington Post has an article by reporter Kathy Lally discussing Edward Snowden's situation, in Moscow--in the context of other ex-defectors (notably, LHO).

Personally, I think the comparison is absurd, but that's just my opinion.

FWIW (and my advice to Snowden): If you do return to the U.S., make sure you don't take any jobs on any possible presidential parade route. (With Mapquest, you should be able to research this matter in advance of accepting employment.)

OTOH: if you decide to remain in Russia, you might continue your education (as Oswald considered doing) at Moscow's Patrice Lumumba University, or use the Internet to take the wonderful courses in math and physics now available from MIT and other universities.

Anyway, and for those interested, here's the link to the Washington Post story (and someone ought to inform this reporter as to why its really ludicrous to compare Edward Snowden with Lee Oswald).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/us-asylum-seekers-unhappy-in-russia/2013/07/18/ced32748-eee8-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html?hpid=z11

Here's the text:

MOSCOW — If Edward Snowden has time on his hands, stuck as he is in Sheremetyevo Aiport’s transit zone, he might want to seize the opportunity to read up on the history of American asylum-seekers in Russia.

Those who have — such as Washington journalist and author Peter Savodnik — come up with a litany of disenchantment, which could prove meaningful for Snowden. The former National Security Agency contractor applied for temporary asylum here earlier this week.

“If history is any indication,” Savodnik said in a telephone interview, “he can expect purgatory on Earth if he stays in Russia. They’ll send him to a remote place, with no real society or life, somewhere far away from Moscow.”

The past reveals a rogue’s gallery of failed romantics who thought they would find a better world here. Most met unhappy ends. Take Big Bill Haywood, who, like Snowden, was charged under the federal Espionage Act of 1917. Haywood, a radical labor leader, was found guilty of violating the act after calling a strike in 1918 during wartime. He served about a year in prison and, while out on appeal, decamped to Moscow.

Haywood married a Russian but never learned the language — the couple talked by hand gestures. Eventually, he said he wanted to return home, but in 1928, at the age of 59, he died of alcoholism and diabetes. Half of his ashes were buried along the Kremlin wall and the other half were sent to Chicago, where he had helped found the Industrial Workers of the World.

Savodnik has a book coming out in November, “The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union,” about the most notorious U.S. defector, who went off to Moscow in 1959 with misplaced hopes of a glorious life in the worker’s paradise of the then-Soviet Union. He was given work in an electronics factory in dreary Minsk, where the bright future eluded him. He returned home in 1962, assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and two days later was killed by Jack Ruby.

In a recent opinion piece for The Washington Post, David Barrett, a Villanova University political science professor, described how two National Security Agency employees foreshadowed Snowden — in 1960.

William Martin, 29, and Bernon Mitchell, 31, said they were going on vacation (Snowden told his boss he had to get medical treatment) and turned up as defectors in Moscow, where they announced that the United States was spying on countries all over the world. It was the biggest violation of national security ever. Sound familiar?

“They went on to lead long, unhappy lives in the Soviet Union,” Barrett wrote.

Even though Russia has never been a beacon of democracy or free speech, that hasn’t stopped defectors, Savodnik said.

Joseph Dutkanicz, an American soldier stationed in West Germany, was recruited by the KGB in 1958 and defected in 1960. He worked in a TV factory in Lvov in western Ukraine, living under constant surveillance by the KGB and complaining that the officers were trying to drive him mad. He asked to return home but died, reportedly drunk, in 1963.

Glenn Souther, a Navy photo analyst, defected in 1986 and killed himself in 1989 at the age of 32 in Moscow, hailed as a master spy.

Robert Webster, a Clevelander who went to Moscow in 1959 to set up an exhibit for a plastics company at a trade fair, fell for a hostess at the Ukraine Hotel restaurant. The woman was thought to be a KGB agent. (These days the hotel is a good place to sit behind an overly expensive glass of wine and watch a parade of well-muscled, gold-chain-draped men conduct business.)

Webster was given a job in Leningrad but eventually yearned for home and returned in 1962 — as an alien allowed in as part of a Russian quota, according to “The Defector Study,” a report prepared for Congress in 1979.

History has yet to decide how it will treat Snowden.

Savodnik predicts that if he stays, he’ll be hustled out of Moscow, sent to an out-of-the-way city and given an apartment in a khrushchevka — one of the now-crumbling five-story buildings hurriedly put up during the era of Premier Nikita Khrushchev more than half a century ago.

“From the Kremlin’s point of view, Snowden has already served his purpose,” Savodnik said. “He embarrassed the White House. If he had any data to share, they would have obtained it by now. At this point, if you’re [President] Vladimir Putin, you want Snowden to disappear.”

No doubt he would be given work, but the Russians wouldn’t trust him near anything sensitive, Savodnik said. The young man who might have thought he was changing the world can now expect to be a welder, or a janitor.

“It’s a life somewhere in provincial Russia, far away from everything you may consider stimulating,” Savodnik said. “It’s not a very happy existence.”

So, yes, they’ll probably give him asylum, but they’ll make it as unpleasant as possible, he said. “And eventually he’ll turn up at the U.S. Embassy begging to go back home.”

One of the most recent American asylum-seekers is John Robles, who declined a request to discuss life in Russia but has told his story through postings on his Web site and on Vkontakte, a Russian version of Facebook.

Robles, now 47, had been teaching English in Moscow and applied for a new U.S. passport in 2007. Instead, he has written, it was revoked because he was accused of owing child support in California. The revocation of his passport, he said, made him stateless and prompted his asylum request. He said the accusations against him were untrue and that his children were with him, supported by him.

More recently, Robles has been a presenter and interviewer on Voice of Russia radio.

Though he criticizes the United States, Robles makes no public complaints about Russia. He lives in an apparently typical Moscow apartment. Recently he wrote that the hot water had returned — the city shuts it off every summer for two to four weeks to clean the pipes — and celebrated its presence with a photo of rusty water emerging from his kitchen faucet.

Not long before that, he was asking the eternal question here: Will the winter ever end?

* * * *

It would appear, from this morning's Washington Post (1/25/13) that Snowden is in fact going to stay in Russia.

He is going to be allowed to stay only in certain areas approved by the authorities.

I would like to know what is going to become of the laptaps (and thumb drives) that he apparently has in his possession--and whether the Russians are going to image all of his disks (if they have not already done so).

Meanwhile, the poll numbers have been changing markedly--and for the worse (for him).

This is going to be very interesting.

DSL

1/25/13; 5:30 AM PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton
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I visited Russia a few weeks ago. After speaking to local people I would advise Edward Snowden not to criticise Putin. Most of his critics seem to end up being charged with corruption. The media is more under the control of the power elite than even the UK and the USA.

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Ben Franklin - First Wikileaker

The first Wiki leaker - Ben Franklin and the Hutchinson Letters Affair

http://jfkcountercoup2.blogspot.com/2013/06/ben-franklin-first-wikileaker.html

While in England Ben Franklin obtained private letters between Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson and lieutenant governor Andrew Oliver that proved they were encouraging the Crown to crack down on the rights of Bostonians.

“In England, speculation ran rampant over the source of the leak. William Whately accused John Temple of taking the letters, which Temple denied, challenging Whately to a duel. Whately was wounded in the encounter in early December 1773, but neither participant was satisfied, and a second duel was planned. In order to forestall that event, Franklin on Christmas Day published a letter admitting that he was responsible for the acquisition and transmission of the letters, to prevent "further mischief". He justified his actions by pointing out that the letters had been written between public officials for the purpose of influencing public policy.”

“….they presented this as a clear indication that the provincial leaders were working against the interests of the people and not for them. Bostonians were outraged at the content of the published letters, burning Hutchinson and Oliver in effigy on Boston Common. The letters were widely reprinted throughout the British North American colonies, and acts of protest took place as far away as Philadelphia…”

Hutchinson Letters Affair

See: Political cartoon from 1774 by Paul Revere, depicting Death attacking Governor Thomas Hutchinson

The Hutchinson Letters Affair was an incident that increased tensions between the colonists of the Province of Massachusetts Bay and the British government prior to the American Revolution. In June 1773 letters written several years earlier by Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver, governor and lieutenant governor of the province at the time of their publication, were published in a Boston newspaper. The content of the letters was propagandistically claimed by Massachusetts radical politicians to call for the abridgement of colonial rights, and a duel was fought in England over the matter.

The affair served to inflame tensions in Massachusetts, where implementation of the 1773 Tea Act was met with resistance that culminated in the Boston Tea Party in December 1773. The response of the British government to the publication of the letters served to turn Benjamin Franklin, one of the principal figures in the affair, into a committed Patriot.

Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay Thomas Hutchinson, author of some of the inflammatory letters

During the 1760s, relations between Great Britain and some of its North American colonies became strained by a series of Parliamentary laws (including the 1765 Stamp Act and the 1767 Townshend Acts), intended to raise revenue for the crown, and to assert Parliament's authority to pass such legislation despite a lack of colonial representation. These laws had sparked strong protests in the Thirteen Colonies; the Province of Massachusetts Bay in particular saw significant unrest and direct action against crown officials. The introduction of British Army troops into Boston in 1768 further raised tensions that escalated to the Boston Massacre in 1770.

In the years after the enactment of the Townshend Acts, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Thomas Hutchinson and his colonial secretary (and brother-in-law) Andrew Oliver wrote a series of letters concerning the acts, the protests against them, and containing suggestions on how to respond, to Thomas Whately, an assistant to Prime Minister George Grenville. Whateley died in 1772, and his papers were turned over to his brother William. Whateley at one point gave access to his brother's papers to John Temple, another colonial official who sought to recover letters of his own from those papers.

Hutchinson was appointed governor of Massachusetts in 1770, following the critical publication by opposition politicians of letters written by his predecessor, Francis Bernard. Over the next two years Hutchinson engaged in an extended and rancorous written debate with the provincial assembly and the governor's council, both of which were dominated by radical leadership hostile to Parliamentary authority. The debate centered on the arbitrariness of executive prerogative and the role of Parliament in colonial governance, and greatly deepened divisions in the province.

Benjamin Franklin, portrait by David Martin, 1767

The Massachusetts debate reached a pitch in England when the colonial secretary, Lord Dartmouth, insisted that Benjamin Franklin, then acting as agent for Massachusetts in London, demand that the Massachusetts assembly retract its response to a speech the governor gave early in 1772 as part of this ongoing debate. Franklin had acquired a packet of about twenty letters that had been written to Whately. Upon reading them, Franklin concluded that Hutchinson and Oliver had mischaracterized the situation in the colonies, and thus misled Parliament. He felt that wider knowledge of these letters would then focus colonial anger away from Parliament and at those who had written the misleading letters. Franklin sent the letters to Thomas Cushing, the speaker of the Massachusetts assembly, in December 1772. He insisted to Cushing that they not be published or widely circulated. He specifically wrote that they should be seen only by a few people, and that he was not "at liberty to make the letters public."

The letters arrived in Massachusetts in March 1773, and came into the hands of Samuel Adams, then serving as the clerk of the Massachusetts assembly. By Franklin's instructions, only a select few people, including the Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence, were to see the letters. Alarmed at what they read, Cushing wrote Franklin, asking if the restrictions on their circulation could be eased. In a response received by Cushing in early June, Franklin reiterated that they were not to be copied or published, but could be shown to anyone.

Publication

A longtime opponent of Hutchinson's, Samuel Adams narrowly followed Franklin's request, but managed to orchestrate a propaganda campaign against Hutchinson without immediately disclosing the letters. He informed the assembly of the existence of the letters, after which it designated a committee to analyze them. Strategic leaks suggestive of their content made their way into the press and political discussions, causing Hutchinson much discomfort. The assembly eventually concluded, according to John Hancock, that in the letters Hutchinson sought to "overthrow the Constitution of this Government, and to introduce arbitrary Power into the Province", and called for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver. Hutchinson complained that Adams and the opposition were misrepresenting what he had written, and that nothing he had written in them on the subject of Parliamentary supremacy went beyond other statements he had made. The letters were finally published in the Boston Gazette in mid-June 1773, causing a political firestorm in Massachusetts and raising significant questions in England.

Content of the letters

Andrew Oliver, portrait by John Singleton Copley, c. 1758

The letters were written primarily in 1768 and 1769, principally by Hutchinson and Oliver, although the published letters also included some written by Charles Paxton, a customs official and Hutchinson supporter, and Hutchinson's nephew Nathaniel Rogers. The letters written by Oliver (who became lieutenant governor when Hutchinson became governor) proposed a significant revamping of the Massachusetts government to strengthen the executive, while those of Hutchinson were ruminations on the difficult state of affairs in the province. Historian Bernard Bailyn confirms Hutchinson's own assertion that much of the content of his letters expressed relatively little that had not already been publicly stated.

According to Bailyn, Hutchinson's ruminations included the observation that it was impossible for colonists have the full rights they would have in the home country, essentially requiring an "abridgement of what are called English liberties". Hutchinson, unlike Oliver, made no specific proposals on how the colonial government should be reformed, writing in a letter that was not among those published, "I can think of nothing but what will produce as great an evil as that which it may remove or will be of a very uncertain event." Oliver's letters, in contrast, specifically proposed that the governor's council, whose members where then elected by the assembly with the governor's consent, be changed to one whose members were appointed by the crown.

See: 19th century engraving depicting Benjamin Franklin's appearance before the Privy Council

In England, speculation ran rampant over the source of the leak. William Whately accused John Temple of taking the letters, which Temple denied, challenging Whately to a duel. Whately was wounded in the encounter in early December 1773, but neither participant was satisfied, and a second duel was planned. In order to forestall that event, Franklin on Christmas Day published a letter admitting that he was responsible for the acquisition and transmission of the letters, to prevent "further mischief". He justified his actions by pointing out that the letters had been written between public officials for the purpose of influencing public policy.

When Hutchinson's opponents in Massachusetts read the letters, they seized on key phrases (including the "abridgement" phrase) to argue that Hutchinson was in fact lobbying the London government to make changes that would effect such an abridgement. Combined with Oliver's explicit recommendations for reform, they presented this as a clear indication that the provincial leaders were working against the interests of the people and not for them.

Bostonians were outraged at the content of the published letters, burning Hutchinson and Oliver in effigy on Boston Common. The letters were widely reprinted throughout the British North American colonies, and acts of protest took place as far away as Philadelphia. The Massachusetts assembly and governor's council petitioned the Board of Trade for Hutchinson's removal. In the Privy Council hearing concerning Hutchinson's fate, in which the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party was also discussed, Franklin stood silently while he was lambasted by Solicitor General Alexander Wedderburn for his role in the affair. He was accused of thievery and dishonor, and called the prime mover in England on behalf of Boston's radical Committee of Correspondence. The Board of Trade dismissed Franklin from his post as colonial Postmaster General, and dismissed the petition for Hutchinson's removal as "groundless" and "vexatious". Parliament then passed the so-called "Coercive Acts", a package of measures designed to punish Massachusetts for the tea party. Hutchinson was recalled, and the Massachusetts governorship was given to the commander of British forces in North America, Lieutenant General Thomas Gage. Hutchinson left Massachusetts in May 1774, never to return. Andrew Oliver suffered a stroke and died in March 1774

Thomas Pownall, who may have given Franklin the letters

Gage's implementation of the Coercive Acts further raised tensions that led to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in April 1775.Franklin, who had been politically neutral with respect to the colonial radicals prior to his appearance before the Board of Trade, returned to America in early 1775, committed to independence. He went on to serve in the Second Continental Congress and became a leading figure in the American Revolution.

Who gave Franklin the letters?

A number of candidates have been proposed as the means by which Benjamin Franklin acquired the letters. John Temple, despite his political differences with Hutchinson, was apparently able to convince the latter in 1774 that he was not involved in their acquisition. He did, however, claim to know who was involved, but refused to name him, because that would "prove the ruin of the guilty party."

Several historians (including Bernard Bailyn and Bernard Knollenberg) have concluded that Thomas Pownall was the probable source of the letters. Pownall was Massachusetts governor before Francis Bernard, had similar views to Franklin on colonial matters, and had access to centers of colonial administration through his brother John, the colonial secretary. Other individuals have also been suggested, but all appear to have an only tenuous connection to Franklin or the situation. Historian Kenneth Penegar believes the question will remain unanswerable unless new documents emerge to shed light on the episode.

Edited by William Kelly
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"It would appear, from this morning's Washington Post (1/25/13) that Snowden is in fact going to stay in the Soviet Union."

David, that would be a pretty good trick! The Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1989. :wacko:

You're right Richard. I just corrected that. That's what happens when you've been studying the JFK case too long. . its like living in a time warp.

And, it was getting late. . and I was tired. . etc.

DSL

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